Previewing the Films of 2011: 25 Most Anticipated


What’s the best way to go about previewing 2011? A most anticipated list? An Oscar hopeful list? A prediction of what films will most likely be atop the yearly box-office? What?

I created a massive list of films coming in 2011 with the intention of doing what I did last year when I previewed 50 films in two parts. Only this year I was wrestling with over 100 movies and then I was bumping up against the problem of whether I should work with just the films I am personally anticipating or preview the films most people will be talking about?

Personally I’m not anticipating films such as Thor, Captain America: The First Avenger or Transformers: Dark of the Moon, but can you really write an article about the films of 2011 and not mention these movies? Therefore, I figured I’d just make a few categories and then open the doors for comments and your lists of most anticipated films. After all, my job is to simply start the conversation and it’s yours to determine where it goes from there.

With that said, I’ll begin with my most anticipated films of 2011 and we’ll move on from there as I will offer up a new installment over the next three days. Here’s the schedule:

This is an attempt to make sure I cover the largest spectrum and each preview will come with my thoughts on each and links to each film here on the site where you can get further information, cast listings and trailers and pictures where available.

I did my absolute best to make these quick reads rather than long, multi-page slogs with more movies than you could ever care to read about all at once. So if you don’t see your most anticipated film(s) on this list, rest assured it is likely to wind up in one of my following previews.

Most Anticipated: (in alphabetical order)

Damsels in Distress [TBA 2011]: Whit Stillman‘s fourth film in 21 years is likely to hit theaters this year and after having seen Metropolitan and The Last Days of Disco in 2010, I fully believe this is one to keep an eye on.

A Dangerous Method [TBA 2011]: David Cronenberg directs Viggo Mortensen, Michael Fassbender, Keira Knightley and Vincent Cassel in a film centered on the conflict between Freud (Mortensen) and his pupil Jung (Fassbender). It’s almost impossible to not be excited for this one.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo [December 21]: David Fincher brings his moody style to Stieg Larsson’s internationally best-selling novel. Is it worth Fincher’s time to adapt a novel that was only recently adapted in Sweden to much acclaim? It’s Let the Right One In all over again, but this time I am far more interested.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II [July 15]: We’ll get to see what happens in the second half of the two-part movie. My guess is once both parts are seen together we’ll have an excellent five-hour feature.

Immortals [November 11]: Tarsem Singh brings his artistic vision to his own Clash of the Titans with Henry Cavill, Freida Pinto, Kellan Lutz, Mickey Rourke, Stephen Dorff, Luke Evans, John Hurt and Isabel Lucas starring.

The Impossible [TBA 2011]: Juan Antonio Bayona directs his follow-up to The Orphanage (a favorite of mine from 2007) and he’s brought along Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor to help him tell the story. A short synopsis tells us this is based on a true story that took place during the 2004 tsunami that hit the coast of Thailand.

Love [TBA 2011]: There’s no guaranteeing Michael Haneke‘s latest will be released this year, but I’m holding out hope he’ll have it ready for a late year festival run. This latest drama stars Isabelle Huppert, Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva.

Melancholia [TBA 2011]: Lars von Trier is directing what is described as a “psychological disaster film” starring Charlotte Gainsbourg, Kirsten Dunst, Kiefer Sutherland, Charlotte Rampling, Alexander Skarsgard, Stellan Skarsgard and Udo Kier. This is another questionable 2011 release, but I’m holding out hope. Though the July through September shooting schedule will likely find this film hitting Cannes in 2012.

Midnight in Paris [TBA 2011]: Woody Allen‘s latest is always a must see for me and this time he has Owen Wilson, Marion Cotillard, Rachel McAdams, Kathy Bates, Michael Sheen, Tom Hiddleston, Kurt Fuller, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, Adrien Brody, Alison Pill and Léa Seydoux in tow.

Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol [December 16]: Brad Bird‘s first live action feature brings Tom Cruise back as Ethan Hunt in film that may bring us a new star of the Mission series in Jeremy Renner. As a fan of the first three (some more than others) I can’t wait to see what this one delivers.

The Muppets Movie [November 23]: The supporting cast list is huge (and also unconfirmed), but I think the fact Kermit and the gang are heading back to the big screen is enough cause for excitement.

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy [TBA 2011]: Tomas Alfredson (Let the Right One In) is taking a stab at John Le Carre’s 1974 bestseller and he has Ralph Fiennes, Colin Firth, Gary Oldman, Tom Hardy, Mark Strong, David Dencik, Toby Jones, John Hurt and Stephen Graham to help him out.

The Tree of Life [May 27]: We’ve been waiting forever for Terrence Malick‘s latest and it will finally arrive this year. I only hope I get the advance preview at Cannes.

Second Tier: (in alphabetical order)

Anonymous [September 30]: Roland Emmerich‘s Anonymous centers on the idea 17th Earl of Oxford, Edward de Vere, actually wrote Shakespeare’s plays. This seems like such a departure from Emmerich’s recent disaster epics I can’t help but be intrigued. It was also cited as one of the reasons Rhys Ifans scored the villain role in the Untitled Spider-Man Reboot.

The Beaver [March 23]: This one actually looks pretty good if not a little schmaltzy. The question is whether or not we’ll be able to get over our feelings for Mel Gibson while we watch.

Contagion [October 21]: This is one of two Steven Soderbergh films worth checking out this year along with Haywire. Contagion follows a worst case scenario of a deadly virus taking place over four continents and stars Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, Marion Cotillard, Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow, Laurence Fishburne, John Hawkes, Josie Ho, Demetri Martin, Jennifer Ehle, Bryan Cranston, Elliott Gould and Sanaa Lathan.

Dream House [September 30]: This isn’t just another haunted house film, it’s a haunted house film from Jim Sheridan (In America) and starring Daniel Craig, Naomi Watts and Rachel Weisz.

Fast Five [April 29]: The Fast and the Furious franchise has become a guilty pleasure of mine and this is probably the one C-level blockbuster I am truly looking forward to next year. The idea of having Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Tyrese, Ludacris and The Rock in the same movie about fast cars, girls in bikinis and loud beats sounds like a ton of fun to me.

The Fields [TBA 2011]: I’m quite curious to check out the work of Michael Mann’s daughter, Ami Canaan Mann. The film is an unsolved murder feature set in the Texas bayous and stars Sam Worthington, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Jessica Chastain and Chloe Moretz.

God of Carnage [TBA 2011]: Roman Polanski is free to make movies and that means we may get God of Carnage late this yaer, though I am not going to hold my breath. However, once this one gets made with the likes of Jodie Foster, Kate Winslet, Christoph Waltz, Matt Dillon and John C. Reilly set to star I’ll be ready to watch.

Hanna [April 8]: Which direction will Joe Wright go after the lackluster response to The Soloist? Will he head back to the quality filmmaking we found in Pride and Prejudice and Atonement or head further into obscurity? This is his first foray into action so it will be interesting to see what comes as a result.

Jane Eyre [March 11]: Cary Fukunaga‘s Sin Nombre was a devastating feature and all eyes will be his next film, a new telling of Charlotte Bronte’s classic novel with a cast that includes Mia Wasikowska, Michael Fassbender, Jamie Bell, Judi Dench, Sally Hawkins and Imogen Poots.

On the Road [TBA 2011]: Walter Salles directs an adaptation of Jack Keroac’s “On the Road” and has put together a strong cast to do it with including Garrett Hedlund, Sam Riley, Kristen Stewart, Kirsten Dunst, Viggo Mortensen and Amy Adams.

Rango [March 4]: I haven’t watched a trailer yet but people keep telling me, “It looks good!” which makes me happy I haven’t seen a trailer yet. This is Gore Verbinski‘s first attempt at an animated film and he’s brought Captain Jack Sparrow with him to voice the lead character along with the rest of the voice cast including Abigail Breslin, Isla Fisher, Ned Beatty, Harry Dean Stanton, Alfred Molina, Ray Winstone, Stephen Root, Bill Nighy and Timothy Olyphant.

Twixt Now and Sunrise [TBA 2011]: Francis Ford Coppola‘s latest is based on an unpublished short story written by Coppola and stars Val Kilmer as a horror novelist in a film described as a thriller with overtones of horror. Sign me up. The film co-stars Elle Fanning, Bruce Dern, Alden Ehrenreich, David Paymer and Ben Chaplin.

Now, time for you to list your most anticipated films and stay tuned as tomorrow I will have a whole new batch of films to discuss in my lists of Curiosities and Quirky, Unconventional and Bizarre Movies of 2011. There are a lot more films to discuss, here’s the rest of the schedule once again with links to live previews: