There’s been a lot of talk about how 2010 has been an awful year for film. In fact earlier this year in the Wall Street Journal, novelist and screenwriter Joe Queenan dubbed it the worst movie year ever. While we don’t necessary agree (just look at The King’s Speech, Toy Story 3, Inception, The Kids Are All Right, The Social Network, and Black Swan), we do know that the upcoming year looks even more promising. After the jump check out ten of the films that already have us excited for 2011, and be sure to add anything that we’ve missed in the comments.
The Green Hornet , directed by Michel Gondry (1/14)
There are numerous comic book-inspired flicks headed into theaters this year (and two of them happen to have the word “green” in the title), but as this one is directed by the delightfully quirky Michel Gondry and features Seth Rogen as Britt Reid, its party boy turned superhero, we think it has the most potential to surprise us. In other words, it will either be really amazing or totally awful. Watch the trailer below.
Restless , directed by Gus Van Sant (1/28)
If anyone knows how to make a smart tearjerker, it’s Gus Van Sant. This story about a terminally ill teenage girl (Mia Wasikowska) who falls for funeral crashing boy with a ghost for a best friend, looks like it will be the perfect mix of weird and sad. Check out the trailer below.
Jane Eyre , directed by Cary Fukunaga (3/11)
Indie filmmaker Cary Fukunaga — who wowed us in 2009 with Sin Nombre — puts a spin on Charlotte Bronte’s classic tale that looks much darker than other recent film adaptations. Check out Mia Wasikowska again — this time as a very convincing Jane Eyre — in the trailer below.
Your Highness , directed by David Gordon Green (4/8)
This one is a comedy set in medieval times about two brothers on a quest to save a beautiful young virgin. Considering that the cast includes James Franco, Danny McBride, Natalie Portman, Zooey Deschanel, and Justin Theroux — most of whom have worked with director David Gordon Green before — and the storyline involves “wizard weed” and Portman in a thong, this should be one of the most buzzed about movies of the spring. Watch the redband trailer below.
Water for Elephants , directed by Francis Lawrence (4/15)
Based on the best-selling novel by Sara Gruen, this film tells the story of Jacob Jankowski (Robert Pattinson) a Cornell University vet school dropout who inadvertently winds up in a traveling circus after the death of his parents. Reese Witherspoon plays Marlena, his married love interest, and Christoph Waltz is August, her cruel husband, a paranoid schizophrenic, and the circus’ head animal trainer. While we’re a little unsure about Francis Lawrence as director (his previous work includes Constantine and I Am Legend), we love the book version so much that we’ll have to see it in theaters. According to a recent tweet from Lawrence, a trailer should be dropping any day now.
Bridesmaids , directed by Paul Feig (5/13)
While the storyline of Bridesmaids is nothing special (two women battle to plan their friend’s wedding party) we’ve been fans of Paul Feig’s work since Freaks and Geeks, and it’s about time someone gave Kristen Wiig an interesting comedic role. Plus it has Jon Hamm! As Wiig told EW earlier this year, “It’s more a story about friendship than a ‘wedding movie’… There’s this weird pressure in society, and in a lot of these kinds of movies, that says you need to be married… We were careful about avoiding that.”
The Tree of Life , directed by Terrence Malick (5/27)
“There are two ways through life, the way of nature and the way of grace,” a mother tells her boy in the trailer for The Tree of Life. “You’ll have to choose which one you’ll follow.” His father’s advice: “Always be strong, always be your own man.” His struggle to align his parents’ diverse ideals as a boy growing up in the Midwest, and then later, some sort of existential crisis as an adult, seem to be the central conflicts in this beautifully-shot film. Watch a bootleg version of the trailer here.
The Help, directed by Tate Taylor (8/12)
Set in 1960s Jackson, Mississippi, The Help stars Emma Stone as Skeeter, a society girl turned writer, who decides to interview the black women in her community about their experiences working for prominent white families. As you would imagine, as more and more women open up to her with their stories, racial conflict and class warfare ensues. Based on the book by Kathryn Stockett.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo , directed by David Fincher (12/21)
We’ll be honest: We loved Niels Arden Oplev’s Swedish film adaptation of this book, and we weren’t sure that it needed to be remade for American audiences. Or more importantly, how they were going to find a young Hollywood actress who would be able embody the coveted role of Lisbeth Salander as well as Noomi Rapace did. Rooney Mara (who is pictured above, taking a break on set): You’ve got a lot to live up to. That said, we can’t wait to see what David Fincher does with the incredibly dark source material. This could be his next Fight Club.
The Greatest Muppet Movie Ever Made , directed by James Bobin (11/24)
If the idea of a new Muppets movie scripted by the hilarious Jason Segel (a huge Muppets fan) isn’t enough to get you excited, then how about reported cameos from Emily Blunt, Ricky Gervais, Alan Arkin, Jack Black, Billy Crystal, Zach Galifianakis, Donald Glover, Ed Helms, John Krasinski, Paul Rudd, Eric Stonestreet, Danny Trejo, Jean-Claude Van Damme, and Lady Gaga? The fim’s main cast includes Segel, Amy Adams as his girlfriend, Chris Cooper as an evil mogul, and Rashida Jones as an ABC executive, and the storyline is simple: the Muppets must reunite to save their old production studio. Can you think of a better way to spend next Thanksgiving?