Feb 6, 2011

My Top Dozen Most Anticipated Films of 2011

12. Tintin
If Steve Spielberg's doing two movies in a year, one of them has to show up on this list. Between Tintin and War Horse, I'd pick this one because: 1- Tintin is a childhood obsession; Those are the only comic books I've read in my life. 2- The promotional material looked interesting. 3- His chapter is probably going to be better than Peter Jackson's, given Jackson's post Rings career so I'm putting my hope in this part of the series.

11. On the Road
I'm a big fan of the original novel by Jack Kerouac and Walter Salles has proven himself with road films before, but the actors worry me. None of the three leads in this film are in the calibre that the characters deserve, in my opinion. To be honest, I'm not as excited for this particular film as much as I am for On the Road getting a cinematic treatment, I just hope it turns out fine. Regardless of that, the purpose of the list is to talk about the films I'm most definitely going to watch. On the Road is one of them.

10. Winnie the Pooh

I know, I know. "How does anyone rank this film so high on a most anticipated list?" I hear you ask with your eyebrow raised. Well, first of all, films that open on my brithday weekend are always important to me. (Last year's Inception was such a treat.) More importantly, like Tintin, Winnie is something of a childhood obsession and the trailer made me oh so nostalgic. Not to mention that Craig Ferguson, one of my most favourite people will lend his voice to Owl, and his last voice work in How to Train your Dragon was funtastic.

9. Crazy, Stupid, Love
As funny and cheerful as I Love You Phillip Morris was, I'm not familiar enough with the work of this pair of directors to consider them the biggest factor for my interest in this film, but they certainly showed chops at making comedy. Crazy, Stupid, Love gives them the opportunity to work with the funniest TV actor of our times (Steve Carrel), the promising starlet of Easy A (Emma Stone), and two of the finest actors of their respective generations and my personal favourites (Julianne Moore and Ryan Gosling). Carrel and Moore cast as a couple may be quite an awkward match, but the story sounds intriguing and I especially want to see what Gosling can do with comedy after his exceptional work in Lars and the Real Girl.

8. Hugo Cabret
My feelings about the Scorsese films that I've watched range somewhere between "enjoyed", "liked", "loved" and "can't get over how amazing it was, I don't think it can be any better". His last film Shutter Island wasn't his best, but it was an enjoyable venture into genre filmmaking. Hugo Cabret's story is the type of fantasy I usually like and the cast is terrific (Moretz notwithstanding). It also brings Michael Stuhlbarg back to the screen after his incredibly underrated work in A Serious Man. I'm not sure how big the role is but it's nice to see him in a Scorsese film nonetheless.

7. Take This Waltz
My fascination with Sarah Polley will lead me to the theatre to see ANYTHING she does, let alone her second directorial feature with a pairing of Michelle Williams and Seth Rogen.
The premise sounds like something she'll do well with, and the title of the film is taken from one of Leonard Cohen's best songs (cause you know, that's usually an indicator of how good the film is!) I really don't see this one going wrong, so I'll be first in line.

6. A Dangerous Method
Honestly, everything about this film screams perfection. It was about damn time for a top-notch director to take over a project about Freud, or Jung, or better yet, Freud AND Jung. Cronenberg's recent run of films have been brilliant and he's teaming up with his two-time collaborator Viggo Mortensen here. If that's not enough, add Michael Fassbender and Keira Knightley to the equation. If this film doesn't excite you, I'm really not sure what will.

5. The Grandmasters
I'm a sucker for visually rich cinema and of today's working auteurs, no one does that better than Wong Kar Wai. In The Grandmasters, he returns to Martial Arts cinema, from which he's been away for almost 17 years now. On top of that, he's reuniting with Tony Leung and we all know how that collaboration turned out before. (In the Mood for Love is in my top 5 favourites of the last decade.) Let's hope for an early North American release.

4. The Skin that I Inhabit
Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!, All About My Mother, Talk to Her, Bad Education, Volver.
Case Closed!

3. Nader and Simin, A Separation
The Iranian film community and I seem to agree that Farhadi is getting better film by film. This Iranian auteur was largely unknown outside of his native country until his last feature, About Elly won best director at Berlinale and best picture at Tribeca. Separation will also premiere in Berlin this month. Aside from Farhadi himself, there are other factors at play that make me all the more excited for this. The film's production was stopped halfway through by the government, which is Iranian code for "this film is gonna be great." Also, some of Iran's biggest stars are in this film, including three actors from the stellar cast of his previous feature. Whether I'll get to see this film in 2011 depends on how much the TIFF programmers love me, but here's hoping.

2. Shame
Steve McQueen's second effort behind the camera would top my list had it been scheduled for release in any other year. Hunger is one of the most powerful films I've seen in my life and Michael Fassbender gives his best performance there. (That's no small compliment given how great he is on a regular basis.) Here they are reuniting and teaming up with Carey Mulligan for a modern day story set in NYC about a man who has to deal with his sister in the middle of his sexcapades. Interesting premise, amazing cast, promising director and already strong promotional material.

1. Tree of Life
If you remember my list from last year, you probably saw this one coming. Back then, I wrote that the name Terrence Malick alone guarantees a number one spot on a list of this sort for me. As if that wasn't enough, a whole other year of anticipation and a trailer that promises another epic of the scope of Malick's last features have only made me more impatient. June 10th really can't come soon enough.


  1. Reading your list just got me so excited for this year in movies! I am psyched for "Shame" And "Tree of Life" and the cast of "Crazy Stupid Love" is PERFECT. Even though it looks like January-April are going to suck, after that 2011 should be awesome. Haha!

  2. I'm also getting very excited to see these forthcoming movies and especially 'A Dangerous Method'.

    P.S. Your writing is very much expressive and well structured.

  3. I am right there with you on Tree of Life. Malick just amazes me.

  4. nice list, you shed light on movies I was interested in.

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