I look back at the young naive Chris of five months ago and wonder what led me to make the list of my anticipated movies of 2011. I think I had a lot of caffeine pumping through the bloodstream and was probably highly unstable coming down from the holiday season.
Now, that the spring air is clearing my head and I have a little bit more granularity on films coming out this summer, I present to you this list of my Top Ten Anticipated Summer Movies:
10. Everything Must Go (Release Date: 14 May, 2o11)
Synopsis from IMDB:
When an alcoholic relapses, causing him to lose his wife and his job, he holds a yard sale on his front lawn in an attempt to start over. A new neighbor might be the key to his return to form.
Chris’ Take: Will Ferrell returns to what seems like a similar role to Stranger than Fiction. Rather than the loud and brash character that he normally plays, he will be shifting gears to play the understated, yet desperate man. The film had trouble finding a distributor, but now that it is about to make its release it is receiving rave early reviews (90% on RT). While it may not end up being my favorite movie this summer, I certainly have hope that it will bring back the dramedic style that Ferrell showed a knack for in 2006.
9. Larry Crowne (Release Date: July 1, 2011)
Synopsis from IMDB: After losing his job, a middle-aged man re-invents himself by going back to college.
Chris’ Take: Who doesn’t like Tom Hanks? He is probably one of the most genuinely likeable guys in Hollywood and his knack for comic timing is uncanny. While he has been in some bad movies recently, overall everything he touches seems to at least end up in “decent” territory. Another plus, is that he is getting in the director’s chair again, a place he hasn’t been since That Thing You Do!, which was just a downright enjoyable experience to watch. There is a downside for me to this movie though: Julia Roberts. She is never really bad in her movies, it’s just something about her….
8. Fright Night (Release Date: August 19, 2011)
Synopsis from IMDB: Teenager Charley Brewster (Yelchin) guesses that his new neighbor Jerry Dandrige (Farrell) is a vampire responsible for a string of recent deaths. When no one he knows believes him, he enlists Peter Vincent (Tennant), the opportunistic host of his favorite TV show, to help him take down Jerry and his guardian.
Chris’ Take: I think Scream 4, wet my appetite for horror movies that know how to have fun. While too many of them get old, I think I will be ready by the time Fright Night hits theaters. The remake of the 1985 cult classic will hopefully not only pay its respects to the original, but will take its style and update it. I think the cast is intriguing, bringing in Colin Farrell to replace Chris Sarandon as the vampire Jerry Dandridge. I am interested to see if Farrell has as much fun with the role as Sarandon seemed to have.
No Trailer Available
7. Super 8 (Release Date: June 10, 2011)
Synopsis from IMDB: After witnessing a mysterious train crash, a group of friends in the summer of 1979 begin noticing strange happenings going around in their small town, and begin to investigate into the strange phenomenon.
Chris’ Take: J.J. Abrams certainly knows how to market his films, shrouding them in mystery so that half of the audience in the theater is only there so they can stop staying up at night wondering what the heck that random trailer they saw was about. He also makes pretty good films to boot. What I like about Super 8 is that it looks like it wants to return to the coming of age adventure tale that made films like The Goonies and E.T. so popular, memorable and appeal to all ages. While it still is unclear what the movie is about, it is an original script and not a remake, reboot, adaptation or sequel, which already garners some points in my book.
6. Thor (Release Date: May 6, 2011)
Synopsis from IMDB: The powerful but arrogant warrior Thor is cast out of the fantastic realm of Asgard and sent to live amongst humans on Earth, where he soon becomes one of their finest defenders.
Chris’ Take: The trailers for this film looked cheesy and somewhat campy, which is why it didn’t even come near my most anticipated movies for this year earlier. With all the buzz and great early reviews (and there are a lot of them), this film rapidly shot up my list. I was afraid that this film, especially with how little audiences seem to know about the character, would just merely be tossed in as a stepping stone to The Avengers. However, all the raving about this film hints that it could be this year’s Iron Man.
5. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II (Release Date: July 15, 2011)
Synopsis from IMDB: The end begins as Harry, Ron, and Hermione go back to Hogwarts to find and destroy Voldemort’s final horcruxes, but when Voldemort finds out about their mission, the biggest battle begins and life as they know it will never be the same again.
Chris’ Take: I think at the beginning of the year my anticipation for this film was much higher, but the first one did not age well in my mind. I know I kind of liked it, but at the same time I thought it could be so much more. Now, while I will definitely be part of the droves that show up for this one, I am not as excited about it, because since the first and second parts were filmed at the same time, they probably have the same tone. Films that do that tend to either maintain their level of success, or their level of ineptitude.
My hope is that the swan song of the Harry Potter films will be the exception to that and improve on the first part.
4. Captain America (Release Date: July 22, 2011)
Synopsis from IMDB: After being deemed unfit for military service, Steve Rogers volunteers for a top secret research project that turns him into Captain America, a superhero dedicated to defending America’s ideals.
Chris’ Take: This looks like it will be one of the more ambitious superhero films, in both special effects and storyline. Captain America is hard to take seriously because as a comic book character he almost grew into a caricature of the patriotic era during World War II, even if he wasn’t meant to be. That is not to say that he isn’t a great character, but that just became my perception, and a couple of months ago it dimmed my desire to see this film. Now, watching the trailer and seeing him come to life, be taken seriously, and have Hugo Weaving playing Red Skull…
I am amped about it and look forward to seeing a classic character revived(cue the Team America theme song).
3. The Tree of Life (Release Date: May 27, 2011)
Synopsis from IMDB: The story centers around a family with three boys in the 1950s. The eldest son witnesses the loss of innocence.
Chris’ Take: While this film topped my list at the beginning of the year, but hipsteresque rumblings from director Terrence Malick and actor Fiona Shaw have dropped it from the #1 spot. Shaw said this to Empire Online, “I can’t tell you what it’s about because it’s about everything.” Sounds pretty ambitious, but a little bit too ambitious. That is not to say that I can’t wait to see the result, because the trailer moved me like no trailer has moved me before. Malick apparently let some of the actors write their parts for the film, based on general ideas in his head and let them pick where they wanted to film it, then molded what they came up with into his overall concept for the film. Sound confusing? Yeah, I am not sure I quite know how that works, but the heart that Malick poured into it, and the originality of the style, is enough to boost this past several special effects riddled summer spectacles on this list.
2. Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark (Release Date: Aug 26, 2011)
Synopsis from IMDB: A young girl sent to live with her father and his new girlfriend discovers creatures in her new home who want to claim her as one of their own.
Chris’ Take: Guillermo Del Toro is one of the best directors in the business, and even though he is not at the helm of this film, his touch is all over it. Troy Nixey, is under Del Toro’s tutelage for his feature film directorial debut and it looks like a good old fashioned haunted house story. I am disappointed to see Katie Holmes in the lead, but I have a hard time believing Del Toro would attach his name to anything that wasn’t at least “decent”. I mean, did you hear his strong words while on tour with the Scott Pilgrim vs. The World DVD release troupe? As some of you know, Pac and I are avid fans of the horror genre and I think this has the potential to be one of the best, if not the best, to come out this year.
1. X-Men: First Class (Release Date: June 3, 2011)
Synopsis from IMDB: In 1963, Charles Xavier starts up a school and later a team, for humans with superhuman abilities. Among them is Erik Lensherr, his best friend… and future archenemy.
Chris’ Take: This was the only comic book movie to make my list the first time around, but it was only somewhere in the middle of the pack. After the second trailer, which I will show below, I am brimming with joy to see a retro version of the X-Men franchise. Even though we know where the characters will eventually end up, there is still that desire to see the beginning of the complex relationship between Professor X and Magneto (or Charles and Erik). Also, Bryan Singer is returning to the director’s chair after the franchise was chewed up and vomited back on the screen by Bret Ratner and Gavin Hood. I don’t know if it will pull it off, but I want this film to be the redemption of the film series and return the X-Men back to their former glory.