Most Anticipated of 2011

25 01 2011

There’s a strong chance I haven’t even heard of most of the movies that will end up being my year-end favorites, but as of now, here’s what I can’t wait to see:

20) Source Code

Duncan Jones’ follow-up to Moon, one of my recent favorites.  Honestly, I didn’t care for the trailer much, but I’m excited for this based on Jones’ name alone and the fact that it’s another original sci-fi.

19) The Grandmasters

Wong Kar-Wai’s new film about Bruce Lee’s trainer.

18) J. Edgar

A Clint Eastwood directed biopic about J. Edgar Hoover starring Leonardo DiCaprio.  Not usually a biopic fan, but I can’t wait for anything Leo does at this point.

17) Tintin

Peter Jackson produces, Spielberg directs.  I’m honestly not very familiar with the source material, but I like the idea of Spielberg making an animated film, plus he and Peter Jackson should make a great combo.

16) The Hunter

An Indie thriller starring Willem Dafoe.  I can’t say exactly why I’m anticipating this one so much, just have a good feeling about it.

15) The Skin That I Inhabit

Pedro Almodovar’s latest.  That’s all I know about this one.

14) Hobo With a Shotgun

Like Machete, this was originally a fake trailer.  Should be another good 90 minutes of Grindhouse fun.

13) The Rum Diary

The first film from Withnail and I director Bruce Robinson in 19 years.  Johnny Depp stars in his 2nd Hunter S. Thompson adaptation.

12) Meek’s Cutoff

Kelly Reichardt and Michelle Williams are collaborating again after 2008’s Wendy and Lucy, which was great.  This is about settlers traveling through the Oregon desert in the 19th century.  Could be amazing.

11) Hanna

The trailer makes this look like a blast.  Good director, good cast, should be fun.  Check out the trailer here.

10) The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

The Social Network was so good that I can’t wait to see this.  David Fincher’s next has some of the same cast and crew as Network, with Trent Reznor writing the score and Rooney Mara taking the lead role.  Even though I don’t like the idea of Hollywood remaking every recent successful foreign film, I’m on board with this one.

9) The Borrowers

The new Studio Ghibli film, written by Hayao Miyazaki.  Can’t wait.

8.) Wuthering Heights

Andrea Arnold’s follow-up to Fish Tank, one of my favorites from last year.  Classic source material, can’t wait to see what she’s able to do with it.

7) Shame

Director Steve McQueen and his leading man Michael Fassbender’s follow-up to their amazing 2009 film Hunger.  I can’t see this duo not going 2 for 2.

6) Drive

Nicolas Winding Refn (Bronson, Valhalla Rising) is one of the most interesting up-and-coming directors around, and this is first big “Hollywood” film, starring Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, and Ron Perlman.  The film is about a stunt driver who discovers that he has a price on his head.  Can’t wait to see what Refn does with a more straightforward story like this.  My hopes are sky high.

5) A Dangerous Method

The third film from David Cronenberg and Viggo Mortensen, this time also starring Michael Fassbender (!) and Keira Knightley.  The film’s about Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud, and it should be amazing.

4) Hugo Cabret

Martin Scorsese directing a kid’s film?  In 3D?  I’m happy to see Scorsese trying something so new, and the source material is great.  It’s also got a good looking ensemble with Chloe Moretz, Ben Kingsley, Jude Law, Emily Mortimer, Michael Pitt, Christopher Lee, Ray Winstone, and Sacha Baron Cohen.

3) Melancholia

Lars Von Trier’s follow-up to Antichrist.  I love anything Von Trier, and I love sci-fi, so my expectations are pretty much through the roof on this one.  Von Trier jokingly said that he’d have “no more happy endings!” before filming this one, and sure enough the plot deals with Earth’s imminent destruction.

2) The Tree of Life

I said the same thing last year, but I can’t remember a time when this wasn’t on my most anticipated list.  It looks like all the delays are finally over, especially since a beautiful trailer was released recently.  Terrence Malick movies are always an event, and this sounds like it could be one of his best.

1) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

It’s been an incredible series, and the end is looking to be 2 hours of epic non-stop climax.  I thought part 1 was amazing, so this should basically be the best thing ever for big Potter fans.  I’ll be sad when it’s over.

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Best of 2009

1 03 2010

There are still a few films I haven’t seen that could have an impact on this list, however I have no way of seeing these films for at least a couple of months and don’t want to be posting a best of 2009 list during the summer of 2010.  Those films are Tetro, A Single Man, Bright Star, The Last Station, The Secret of Kells, 35 Shots of Rum, The Princess and the Frog, and The Fantastic Mr. Fox.  So with that in mind, here’s my top 10 with a few honorable mentions thrown in:

10.  SUGAR

9.  PARANORMAL ACTIVITY

8.  CRAZY HEART

7.  THE WHITE RIBBON

6.  THE COVE

5.  PONYO

4.  ANTICHRIST

3.  AVATAR

2.  FISH TANK

1.  UP

Honorable mentions:

The Hurt Locker, Inglourious Basterds, A Serious Man, Up in the Air, In the Loop, Sin Nombre.

Feel free to post your own top 10 below!





Fish Tank

29 12 2009

Andrea Arnold’s sophomore film is a British indie drama about Mia, a volatile young girl aspiring to be a dancer while living with her dysfunctional family in a rundown neighborhood.  When Mia’s mother brings home a new boyfriend, an odd series of events occur, prompting everything to change for Mia and her family.  It’s somewhat similar plot-wise to An Education, only much more authentic and in a lower class setting.  And much better.

Katie Jarvis, in her first performance ever, is absolutely brilliant as Mia and if there was any justice would be a shoe-in at the Oscars.  Michael Fassbender, who starred in last year’s Hunger and had a role in Inglourious Basterds, plays the new boyfriend and is also terrific (he’s quickly becoming one of my favorite actors).

Despite being such a small film with a shoe-string budget, natural lighting, and an unknown lead actress, Fish Tank is one of the most arresting and poignant films in recent memory.  It uses everything it has so effectively.  I’ll certainly never see Bobby Womack’s song “California Dreamin” in the same way.

As far as I know Fish Tank does not yet have a U.S. release date, and when it is released chances are it won’t be at your local theatre so you’ll probably have to go out of your way to check it out.  But please do, it deserves more exposure.

RATING:  9.5/10 (my #2 of 2009)