Continuing on, today I get back to counting down my most anticipated movies for 2011. Yesterday, I brought you Part 1 which listed numbers 16-25. Today, we’ll be looking at numbers 15 through 6 as we count down to my most anticipated movie for the year. So without further ado, here are the next 10 in this feature.
15. Red State
Director: Kevin Smith
Writer: Kevin Smith
Stars: Melissa Leo, John Goodman and Michael Angarano
Release Date: TBA (Screening at Sundance 2011)
Genre: Horror Thriller
What is it: A horror film in which a group of misfits encounter fundamentalism gone to the extreme in Middle America.
Why it should be good: Kevin Smith. Smith is one of my favorite directors around. While last year’s Cop Out was rather bland, this year he returns to writing his own material with Red State. Furthermore, he’ll be treading into a new genre with his first horror movie. I love Kevin Smith as a writer/director and have been fond of pretty much all of his work. From Clerks to Mallrats to Clerks II to Jay and Silent Bob, everything Smith has actually wrote and directed, I’ve enjoyed really. Couple that with the enjoyable John Goodman and the “fresh off an Oscar-worthy performance” Melissa Leo, and we should be in for a real treat.
Why it could suck: As stated before, this is Kevin Smith’s first venture into the horror genre. Some writers/directors find that there are just some genres that they can’t do, while they’re better suited for another particular genre. We’ll have to wait and see how Kevin Smith’s foray into the horror/thriller genre goes.
14. Ong Bak 3
Director: Tony Jaa and Panna Rittikrai
Writer: Tony Jaa and Panna Rittikrai
Stars: Tony Jaa, Sorapong Chatree and Nirut Sirichanya
Release Date: January 14, 2011
What is it: Ong Bak 3 picks up where Ong Bak 2 had left off. Tien is captured and almost beaten to death before he is saved and brought back to the Kana Khone villagers. There he is taught meditation and how to deal with his Karma, but very soon his arch rival returns challenging Tien for a final duel.
Why it should be good: I love Tony Jaa. He’s become, possibly, my favorite martial arts star around today. He’s just awesome to watch. The first two movies in this franchise I very much enjoyed. I’m assuming Part 3 should be no different as the story continues on. At the very least, we’re sure to get some good action and great fight scenes from the man himself, Tony Jaa.
Why it could suck: If there was a problem with Part 2, it was that the story of the movie and the emotional center were lacking. Maybe this was related to Tony Jaa and Panna Rittikrai taking over the writer/director parts of the franchise. Well they’re back for this one as well. So again, story could be lacking, though I still believe it should be at least entertaining for the awesome fight scenes.
Director: Jaume Collet-Serra
Writer: Oliver Butcher and Stephen Cromwell; based on the novel by Didier Van Cauwelaert
Stars: Liam Neeson, Diane Kruger and January Jones
Release Date: February 18, 2011
Genre: Drama Mystery Thriller
What is it: A man awakens from a coma, only to discover that someone has taken on his identity and that no one, (not even his wife), believes him. With the help of a young woman, he sets out to prove who he is.
Why it should be good: Liam Neeson is a bad-ass. Watching the trailer, I’m reminded of Neeson’s past movie Taken. Seems to be that similar mystery action thriller type movie. And I absolutely loved that movie. Neeson made it a very good film showing off his bad-assness in it. If Unknown turns out to be as good as Taken we’ll have a very entertaining movie on our hands. Didier Van Cauwelaert, whose novel the movie is based on, is an award-winning author with multiple best-selling novels. The novel this movie is based on has met plenty of praise. So, we’re sure to find that the story/source material is good.
Why it could suck: Two virtually unproven writers. While the source material may be good, they could mess it up and adapt a bad screenplay. On top of that, the director is responsible for such things as Orphan and House of Wax, neither of which were that good.
12. Apollo 18
Director: Gonzalo López-Gallego
Writer: Brian Miller and Cory Goodman
Stars: None Given
Release Date: April 22, 2011
Genre: Sci-fi Horror-Thriller
What is it: Apollo 18 is a found-footage movie that claims to be “a film about the real mission to space in the 1970′s that was canceled by NASA.” With the tagline “There’s a reason we’ve never gone back to the moon”, while implying a government cover-up of monsters existing on the moon.
Why it should be good: With these found-footage movies, they tend to go terribly wrong or be very entertaining. This one is looking to go the way of the latter. It’s giving a fresh take on the rising sub-genre and taking us to an interesting location. Furthermore, it’s basing itself on some real actual events, thus adding some extra layer to it. The viral marketing on this movie is going along nicely and the film has become something of a hot ticket. Gonzalo is a Spanish-born director who has had a couple of critically-acclaimed films in the past as well.
Why it could suck: It’s kind of the nature of the genre. If they don’t hit they mark, then they tend to really suck. Couple that with a pair of brand-new writers, and there are no guarantees for this movie. I’m getting a feeling though that this will end up being up there with Paranormal Activity.
11. Cowboys and Aliens
Director: Jon Favreau
Writer: Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman and Damon Lindelof; based on the comic book by Scott Mitchell Rosenberg
Stars: Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford and Olivia Wilde
Release Date: July 29, 2011
Genre: Sci-fi Action-Thriller
What is it: A spaceship arrives in Arizona, 1873, to take over the Earth, starting with the Wild West region. A posse of cowboys are all that stand in their way.
Why it should be good: It just looks fun. It’s like Indiana Jones meets Men in Black with a good western feel to it. This also comes from the writers that brought us such movies as Transformers and Star Trek, and such TV shows as Alias, Fringe and Lost (though in my book “Lost” might be a bad example, though others seemed to enjoy it). Also, there’s a good cast (Craig, Ford and Wilde), coupled with a nice supporting cast which includes Sam Rockwell and Paul Dano. At the end of the day, it may end up being a mindless action movie, but still looks to be fun.
Why it could suck: Jon Favreau. I’m sorry, but the guy hasn’t sold me. People seem to like him, but I’m not entirely sure why. The guy hasn’t delivered any really great movies. And only a few decent ones. Well, Elf I thought was really funny. Both Iron Man movies were really nothing to write home about though. Both were enjoyable, but they definitely weren’t spotlights in their genre. And the second one was panned quite a bit (though I enjoyed both, but the second was a bit lacking). And that’s really the only movies (Iron Man) that he’s done in this genre/realm. So that doesn’t give me a big vote of confidence in the guy. His other movies: Zathura was crap and Made was decent. Nothing else to note really. On top of that, the writers did also give us Revenge of the Fallen, which I enjoyed well enough, but wasn’t on par with the first Transformers movie. And they’re also responsible for such things as The Island and Legend of Zorro.
10. Battle: Los Angeles
Director: Jonathan Liebesman
Writer: Christopher Bertolini
Stars: Aaron Eckhart, Michelle Rodriguez and Bridget Moynahan
Release Date: March 11, 2011
Genre: Sci-fi Action
What is it: A Marine platoon faces off against an alien invasion in Los Angeles.
Why it should be good: The official trailer makes it look so damn bad-ass. Maybe that’s in part due to the great song selection for the trailer, but it looks just completely thrilling. It looks to be a sci-fi action movie that actually has some depth too. It sort of reminds me of Independence Day but with the seriousness, depth and emotional-center of some type of good post-9/11 movie. It’s like we may finally get a really good sci-fi movie with the heart of the best war movies, coupled with the awesome actual and visual treats of some of the best sci-fi/alien movies. Eckhart is a good actor that should do well in this movie as well. Also, the writer’s only past feature film work was The General’s Daughter which I thoroughly enjoyed. So if that’s any indication of the type of writing we’ll get for Battle LA then we should definitely have a compelling story to go with the visual flare of it all. Likewise, Jonathan Liebesman has brought us The Killing Room which I felt was a fairly enjoyable suspense/thriller movie.
Why it could suck: Liebesman also brought us Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning which was garbage. On top of that, movies like this can often take themselves too seriously and often times become pretentious and/or preachy and just plain unimaginative with no real heart to the movie (I’m looking at you War of the Worlds). Let’s hope they avoid that here.
9. Source Code
Director: Duncan Jones
Writer: Ben Ripley
Stars: Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Monaghan and Vera Farmiga
Release Date: April 1, 2011
What is it: An action thriller centered on a soldier who wakes up in the body of an unknown man and discovers he’s part of a mission to find the bomber of a Chicago commuter train.
Why it should be good: The trailer just makes this like it could be a cool creative story that provides for an entertaining thriller that could keep you on the edge of your seat. This is Duncan Jones sophomore release, after 2009′s highly acclaimed Moon. So, if he delivers again, we could have a nice treat on our hands and he could solidify his place as a talented filmmaker. I also really enjoy Jake Gyllenhaal. I think he’s a great actor and should do fine in leading this movie. Vera Farmiga is also a really talented actress and one I definitely don’t mind seeing. Meanwhile, Michelle Monaghan isn’t too bad either.
Why it could suck: This is coming from an unproven writer. And while Duncan Jones’ Moon was well-received, it’s not rare that a filmmaker comes in to become something of a one hit wonder. Let’s just hope Jones can deliver a worthwhile follow-up.
8. X-Men: First Class
Director: Matthew Vaughn
Writer: Jane Goldman, Ashley Miller, Jamie Moss, Josh Schwartz and Zack Stentz; story by Bryan Singer
Stars: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender and Jennifer Lawrence
Release Date: June 3, 2011
Genre: Sci-fi Action
What is it: Before Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr took the names Professor X and Magneto, they were two young men discovering their powers for the first time. Before they were archenemies, they were closest of friends, working together, with other Mutants (some familiar, some new), to stop the greatest threat the world has ever known. In the process, a rift between them opened, which began the eternal war between Magneto’s Brotherhood and Professor X’s X-MEN.
Why it should be good: A look at when Xavier and Magneto were younger. A backstory to where it all started. For such a thrilling franchise, this could be a nice take on the story and provide quite some entertainment and thrills. Plus, having directed movies like Kick-Ass and Stardust, Matthew Vaughn is, I believe, much more adept at creating a movie like this than say a Jon Favreau or such. Vaughn also has the enjoyable Layer Cake under his director’s belt, which very much shows off that he learned well producing Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch. Furthermore, his friendship and learning under the great Guy Ritchie, only further adds value to his role as a filmmaker. Meanwhile, the writers have brought us such movies as Stardust and Kick-Ass as well as TV shows such as Fringe and Chuck. Also, it has a pretty good cast.
Why it could suck: Well, those writers did also bring us The Sarah Connor Chronicles and Andromeda. Also, prequels sometimes have a tendency to not do so well. It’s, sometimes, almost as if a prequel is a last resort when the writers have run out of ideas of where the current story can go, so they decide to go back and cash in on the name once more by filling in some gaps from the beginning. I guess only time will tell if this becomes a Batman Begins (ie a very good prequel movie that did very well to reboot the franchise) or it falls more in line with The Scorpion King (ie a complete waste of my time that probably shouldn’t have even been made).
7. Transformers: Dark of the Moon
Director: Michael Bay
Writer: Ehren Kruger
Stars: Shia LaBeouf, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Josh Duhamel and Tyrese Gibson
Release Date: July 1, 2011
Genre: Sci-fi Action-Adventure
What is it: The Autobots learn of a Cybertronian spacecraft hidden on the Moon, and race against the Decepticons to reach it and learn its secrets, which could turn the tide in the Transformers’ final battle.
Why it should be good: I’ve enjoyed the franchise so far. While Part 2, was blasted pretty well by critics, I didn’t hate it that much. Granted it wasn’t as good as the first, but I still found it fairly entertaining. And the movies are always a fun visual treat. Also, Michael Bay. I still have no idea why he receives so much crap while James Cameron is given a pass. Bay is just as adept a director as Cameron is. Anybody that still likes to tell me there’s a difference between Pearl Harbor and Titanic will kindly receive a “fuck off” as you buy into the pretentious drivel. At least Bay knows his place (a mindless action director who can make pretty movies and fun explosions). Whereas Cameron believes his some gift to cinema which often leads to his films being poorly written, yet pretentious as hell. Seriously, I’ll take Armageddon, Transformers, The Rock and Bad Boys over Titanic, Avatar, Aliens, and T2 any day of the week. Even though, yes, I know that will enrage many people and get me flamed for that opinion. Now, this movie (Transformers: Dark of the Moon) surely won’t be a great cinematic piece. But as a mindless “let’s make some cool special effects scenes and also blow some shit up” type of movie, it should be entertaining.
Why it could suck: Well, if I had to pick one movie from the franchise that was better, it’s definitely the first. The writer for this third film, unfortunately, is the same writer from Part 2 rather than the first. Also, it’s still Michael Bay. He’s not the greatest of directors.
6. The Hangover 2
Director: Todd Phillips
Writer: Todd Phillips, Scot Armstrong and Craig Mazin
Stars: Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis, Ed Helms and Justin Bartha
Release Date: May 26, 2011
What is it: Not a lot is known about the plot of this sequel. What is known is that the gang is back to get into more trouble as they travel to Thailand. And Phillips promise a lot of fucked up surprises and hilarity.
Why it should be good: The Hangover was hilarious I thought. The cast of the original had good chemistry and the writing was hilarious. It provided for several laugh-out-loud moments and was one of the funniest movies of the year (one of the funniest I’ve seen in a while too). Hopefully, getting the gang back together will provide for more hilarity that the first one delivered.
Why it could suck: New writers. The writers from the first aren’t coming back and have been replaced. Instead we get Scot Armstrong and Craig Mazin that have brought us such garbage as Semi-Pro, Starsky and Hutch, Scary Movie 4 and Superhero Movie. If their past work is any indicator of their talent, the writers could really butcher this franchise.
So there you have it, one step closer to finding out my most anticipated movie. Here you have numbers 6-15. Come back later to check out what the Top 5 are as we finish the countdown. And as always, feel free to share your thoughts below. Disagree with some of my thoughts on these movies? Feel that one of your potential favorites has been dropped too low? Feel free to flame me and tell me how much I suck below.
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