Starring: Seth Rogen, Cameron Diaz, Christoph Waltz
Director: Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind)
Release Date: 14th January 2011
First up is a comic book adaptation (of which there are many on this list) from wacky director Michel Gondry. Anticipation was a little higher for this before the trailer hit, if only because we all assumed it would be more outlandish than it appears to be, but it still looks like a nicely executed superhero flick. If anything, it seems somewhat reminiscent of Iron Man, in terms of having a strong personality (in this case Seth Rogen) in the central role to give a piece of standard fare that added verve. It’s potentially the best superhero bromance to ever hit our screens.
19. Fright Night
Starring: Anton Yelchin, Colin Farrell, David Tennant, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Toni Collette
Director: Craig Gillespie (Lars and the Real Girl)
Release Date: 7th October 2011
Star Trek’s Anton Yelchin is Charley Brewster, the young man trying to convince everyone that a murderous vampire (Colin Farrell) has moved in next door. He turns to gothic TV celebrity Peter Vincent (David Tennant) only to find he’s not the tough vampire hunter he portrays. Christopher Mintz-Plasse is Charley’s best friend ‘Evil’ Ed, and Toni Collette plays the mum. The 80s original was an enjoyable, well written comedy horror.
18. Cowboys And Aliens
Starring: Daniel Craig, Olivia Wilde, Harrison Ford, Sam Rockwell
Director: Jon Favreau
Release Date: 29th July 2011
Most people were sold on this movie on its title alone – it’s about as high concept as it gets. Cowboys. Aliens. Throw in James Bond, Indiana Jones and Miss Tron and you have the kind of movie that makes the crowds at SDCC go nuts:
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Anthony Hopkins, Tom Hiddleston, Rene Russo
Director: Kenneth Branagh
Release Date: 29th July 2011
With the mighty Thor hitting theatres, we are one step closer to The Avengers, which we’ve been impatiently waiting for since a badass in an eyepatch broke into Tony Stark’s house. But more than just a stepping stone to a bigger picture, Thor is a different breed of Superhero movie. Sure, there’s a cape or two, and people punch things in the name of truth and justice, but the mythic side of Thor is pretty much unprecedented in the world of superhero movies, and now that we’ve seen stills and that leaked SDCC trailer.
16. Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark
Starring: Bailee Madison, Guy Pearce, Katie Holmes
Director: Troy Nixey (first timer, Guillermo del Toro ‘protege’)
Release Date: TBC 2011
It’s a conventional horror premise – young girl sent to live with her father (Pearce), and new girlfriend, discovers creatures in the home who want to claim her as one of their own. But the presence of Guillermo del Toro as hands-on co-writer/co-producer should elevate this to something genuinely unnerving. The filmmakers were going for a PG-13 but got rated R for ‘pervasive scariness.’ It’s a remake of a 1973 made-for-TV film that few will remember.
15. The Adventures Of Tintin: The Secret Of The Unicorn
Starring: Jamie Bell, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Daniel Craig, Andy Serkis
Director: Steven Spielberg
Release Date: 23rd December 2011
The dream team of Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson are presenting us with an adaptation of Herge’s beloved comic book adventures of Tintin. The ginger-quiffed Belgian reporter is being portrayed by Jamie Bell, who previously collaborated with Peter Jackson on King Kong. You’ll never see Bell’s face though, because the whole thing is being done using the performance capture technology that made James Cameron’s Avatar possible. We’re curious to see what the 3D versions of Herge’s illustrations will look like, and intrigued to see what Spielberg does with the character and the technology.
Studio: Warner Bros.Director: Steven Soderbergh (Michael Clayton, Syriana)
Cast: Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow, Marion Cotillard, Laurence Fishburne
Scheduled Release Date: 10/21/2011
Contagion is “an action-thriller centered on the threat posed by a deadly disease and an international team of doctors contracted by the CDC to deal with the outbreak”, will come at ya in three dimensions. I can’t find anything wrong with this cast and Soderbergh always does a fantastic job of making me ask, “Is this real life?” like I’m a kid fresh out of dental surgery. My gut says this could be the next Children of Men, which has some of the most intensely real action scenes.13. The Muppets
Starring: Jason Segel, Amy Adams, Charles Grodin, Steve Whitmire
Director: James Bobin
Release Date: 25th December 2011
Kermit and Co are like old friends. It’s been a long time since we saw them, and it’ll be a pleasure to see them on screen again – the silver screen is even better! With its working title of The Greatest Muppet Movie Ever Made, writer and star Jason Segel (Forgetting Sarah Marshall) has been giving himself a lot to live up to – and that’s a good thing, he’s acknowledging the daunting task ahead of him introducing the Muppets to a whole new generation.
Segel is joined on the project by director James Bobin, an unfamiliar name perhaps, but he was instrumental in bringing us Sacha Baron Cohen’s colourful cast of characters (Ali G, Borat and Bruno) as well as all-singing all-moping Kiwi folk-comedy duo Flight of the Conchords.
Starring: Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, Marion Cotillard, Jude Law, Gwenyth Paltrow
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Release Date: 21st October 2011
Think Swine Flu: The Movie. Action-thriller about a deadly disease and the international team of doctors contracted by the Center for Disease Control to deal with the spread. It’s also about how information spreads virally in the internet age. Contagion is a global story, filming in 10 countries, described as ‘procedural’ yet ‘breakneck tense’. With Steven Soderbergh directing, a script by the writer of The Bourne Ultimatum, and a cast this strong, we’re confident it’ll be more along the lines of 1971′s brainy The Andromeda Strain than Dustin Hoffman’s Outbreak.
Cast: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Seth Rogen (voice), Jason Bateman, Kristen Wiig
Director: Greg Mottola
Release Date: 18th March 2011
Two British sci-fi geeks (Pegg and Frost) go on a road trip through America. On the way, they discover an escaped alien named ‘Paul’ (voiced by Seth Rogen) near Area 51. As they try to reunite him with his mother ship, they find Paul has many more opinions than your typical ET. You might expect Edgar Wright to be directing this, but instead it’s Greg Mottola (Superbad, Adventureland). Pegg, Frost and Mottola are guaranteed to provide a few laughs.
10. Sucker Punch
Starring: Emily Browning, Jon Hamm, Vanessa Hudgens
Director: Zack Snyder
Release Date: 25th March 2011
The first original movie from slow-mo supremo Zack Snyder. The director of the Dawn of the Dead, 300, Watchmen and that owl movie is taking us inside the mind of Babydoll, a young woman committed to to a mental institution who dreams up some pretty crazy stuff whilst inside (see trailer). This is supposedly set in the 1950s, so quite how her fantasy world comes off as a yet-to-be-invented Heavy Metal/anime hybrid remains to be seen. What we can already see is that Snyder’s visual flair is intact, and his female ensemble cast looks pretty kick ass hot insane.
9. X-Men: First Class
Starring: James McAvoy, Kevin Bacon, Michael Fassbender, Rose Byrne, January Jones
Director: Matthew Vaughn
Release Date: 3rd June 2011
The X-Men franchise wasn’t on the boil for long. Bryan Singer’s semi-good X-Men was the movie that kicked off the superhero boom at the turn of the century, its sequel remains one of the best superhero movies ever made, but the third movie was weak and spinoff Wolverine fared no better. But wait, here comes Matthew Vaughn, the director of the excellent Kick-Ass, to tackle an X-Men prequel. And Kevin Bacon is the villain. Ok they started shooting without a finished script. And the 60s set images look a bit Austin Powers.
8. Sherlock Holmes 2
Starring: Robert Downey Jr, Jude Law, Noomi Rapace, Jared Harris
Director: Guy Ritchie
Release Date: 16th December 2011
Guy Ritchie surprised a lot of people with the first Sherlock Holmes, a movie that was outside his comfort zone but managed to retain his sensibilities and be a fast paced, humourous adventure. In contrast to the staid adaptations of Holmes that have gone before, Ritchie managed to inject some real excitement into the proceedings. Unfortunately, because the movie wasn’t based on anything Conan Doyle had written, it deviated considerably from the structure of Holmes mysteries, and the actual mystery itself didn’t seem so important. But the interplay between all of the characters was great, Robert Downey Jr got to be Robert Downey Jr (which doesn’t seem to bother people) only this time with an English accent, and Jude Law got to shine for once in his supporting role as Watson. Now in the sequel the less-impressive Rachel McAdams is sidelined in favour of Noomi Rapace from The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and Stephen Fry will play Holmes’ smarter-but-lazier older brother.
7. Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 2
Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Ralph Fiennes, Bill Nighy, John Hurt
Director: David Yates
Release Date: 15th July 2011
Some will be upset that this hasn’t been put higher on this list, but amongst the writers here there’s a feeling the series has dragged on for slightly too long (8 movies now). Nonetheless expect this to be a rousing finale to one of the most spectacular film series ever made. Harry, Ron, and Hermione go back to Hogwarts to find and destroy Voldemort’s final horcruxes, but when ‘Ol Snake Nose finds out about their mission you can expect to see school totally trashed by Harry and foe firing enough bolts at each other to keep local glaziers in work for years. In fact their fight sequence will reportedly expand on what’s witnessed in the book. Even though Part 1 missed out on 3D, Part 2 will probably be converted in time.
6. Green Lantern
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, Mark Strong
Director: Martin Campbell (Casino Royale, Edge Of Darkness)
Release Date: 17th June 2011
The highest ranking comic book movie on our list is Green Lantern, the first major DC hero to hit the big screen that isn’t a bat, cat, or Kryptonian refugee. Coming to us from Casino Royale director Martin Campbell, Green Lantern, much like Thor, promises to show us a different side to superheroics and take us on a cosmic adventure. The story follows a test pilot who is given a ring by a dying alien which turns him into the Green Lantern, part of a collective who protect the galaxy from similarly powered villains. There have been a few voices of dissent about the casting of Ryan Reynolds.
5. Scream 4
Starring: Neve Campbell, David Arquette, Courteney Cox, Emma Roberts
Director: Wes Craven
Release Date: 15th April 2011
Scream transformed the horror landscape when it came out in ’96, kicking off the second slasher cycle (the first was after Halloween) and bringing a truly unique tone to the genre. Brilliantly directed as it was, it was Kevin Williamson’s script that really was a cut above. Scream 2 was largely a success too. Then the studio stupidly booted Williamson for the third instalment and the result was something like a Scooby Doo episode. We’re excited about Scream 4 because Williamson is back, and there are 10 years of horror movies (from Asian ghost movies to torture porn) to riff off, in that clever but still frightening way.
4. The Cabin In The Woods
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Jesse Williams, Amy Acker
Director: Drew Goddard
Release Date: 15th April 2011
Whedonites are legion. So having Joss Whedon produce and co-write the script is a good thing in terms of drumming up hype. And Cabin in the Woods promises a new take on a played out horror movie trope – the cabin in the woods. It’s directed by Drew Goddard, who was heavily involved with Lost and wrote Cloverfield. It stars Chris Hemsworth, the man who will be Thor. Shooting was finished a while ago but, like Bond, it’s caught in limbo by of MGM’s financial problems. The script is doing the rounds on the internet if you want to get a head start.
3. Super 8
Starring: Kyle Chandler, Elle Fanning
Director: J.J. Abrams
Release Date: TBC 2011
Godammit, Abrams. You’re doing it again. Remember how the hype for Cloverfield was fueled by furious speculation? How the starfleet uniforms from Star Trek were hidden from the world? Well, here’s J.J. Abrams’ Super 8. Another project shrouded in mystery. We know it’s heavily influenced by the films of producer Steven Spielberg, and that it involves Area 51. We know it involves a group of kids in 1979 playing around making movies with their Super 8 cameras who accidentally capture something sinister, possibly alien, on film. We know one of the stars is Elle Fanning, younger sister of Dakota.
The Movie Preview Critic has a few predictions about what the movie might have to offer, so it’ll be interesting to see how much he gets right:
Starring: Asa Butterfield, Chloe Moretz, Jude Law, Sacha Baron Cohen, Ben Kingsley
Director: Martin Scorsese
Release Date: 9th December 2011
Hugo Cabret is a film of firsts. It is Martin Scorsese’s first children’s movie, it is Martin Scorsese’s first 3D movie, and it is Martin Scorsese’s first major release in ten years not to feature Leonardo DiCaprio. The official story of The Invention of Hugo Cabret is as follows: “Orphan, Clock Keeper, And Thief, 12 year old Hugo lives in the walls of a busy Paris train station, where his survival depends on secrets and anonymity. But when his world suddenly interlocks with an eccentric girl and the owner of a small toy booth in the train station, Hugo’s undercover life, and his most precious secret, are put in jeopardy. A cryptic drawing, a treasured notebook, a stolen key, a mechanical man, and a hidden message all come together…” You can see some of the illustrations from the book upon which the movie is based right here. The movie has the potential to be magical in every sense of the word.
1. The Thing
Starring: Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Joel Edgerton, Eric Christian Olsen
Director: Matthijs van Heijningen Jr.
Release Date: 29th April 2011
Why are we anticipating this so much? Because there’s still so much mileage in the concept (if they are smart filmmakers), the setting and idea haven’t really been revisited by other movies since, and seeing our favourite horror movie ‘prequelised’ decades later has a big curiosity appeal. The prequel has already dropped the ball on two unconventional, but key, elements that helped make the original so unique – the all male cast has gone (the lead is now a hot female who’s helicoptered in), and the large cast of 12 mostly older character-actors has been replaced by the conventional 7 younger characters. It’s asking a lot, but if The Thing prequel turns out to be the smart, well written whodunit mystery it should be, and it stays away from cgi for its creature fx.
Thanks for reading!