2010's crop of films really didn't blow me away. Sure, there were some gems, but there was a lack of the kind of blockbusters I look forward to all year long. 2008 had THE DARK KNIGHT, 2009 had STAR TREK, I guess 2010 had INCEPTION, which was great for sure, but not the same.
This list likely won't include a lot of next year's award winners as those don't usually pass under my radar until the year's major festivals commence. This list will likely include a few crummy films (2010's featured THE WOLFMAN), but they're movies I'm jazzed about at the moment. Currently, 2011 is poised to be a pretty big year.
1. DON'T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK - February - Troy Nixey
The Hubbub (+): Guillermo del Toro worked on the screenplay and produced the film. This is similar to his involvement in THE ORPHANAGE a few years back and that worked out pretty well.
Word of Caution (-): This is a horror-remake being released in February, which isn't typically a good sign. However, it worked for THE CRAZIES.
2. BATTLE: LOS ANGELES - March 11 - Jonathan Liebesman
Hubbub: Some slick trailers show this film's promise. It's probably not going to be worse than SKYLINE at least.
Word of Caution: Liebesman isn't exactly a proven director with titles like DARKNESS FALLS and the TEXAS CHAINSAW prequel under his belt.
3. Red State - March - Kevin Smith
Hubbub: This film looks radically different than anything Smith has ever attempted. The subject matter seems interesting and the trailer catches your attention.
Word of Caution: This film will follow ZACH AND MIRI MAKE A PORNO and COP OUT in Smith's filmography and instead of giving his career a shot in the arm, might turn out to be a nail in the coffin.
4. SOURCE CODE - April 1 - Duncan Jones
The Hubbub: This is the follow-up to the Jones' critically-acclaimed debut feature, MOON. It's also an opening night feature at this year's SXSW.
Word of Caution: There has been some whispers about the film's quality not being that high. Its less-than-ideal wide-release date doesn't do a lot to negate that claim. The film also stars Jake Gyllenhaal, who is likable and talented enough, but hasn't been able to attach himself to a successful project since 2007's ZODIAC.
5. YOUR HIGHNESS - April 8 - David Gordon Green
The Hubbub: Talented cast including James Franco, Danny McBride and Natalie Portman. Lofty promises of high-adventure film from all involved.
Word of Caution: Trailers have been okay, but seem to forecast a long string of low-brow gags.
6. Hanna - April 8 - Joe Wright
The Hubbub: Rad trailer.
Word of Caution: The child-super-assassin angle could go wrong in so many ways.
7. PIRATES 4: ON STRANGER TIDES - May 20 - Rob Marshall
The Hubbub: A new director, a slew of new talent and more room in the limelight for Johnny Depp now that he's the sole focus of the film.
Word of Caution: Fresh start or no, a series this far in might have already lost steam a film or two ago.
8. THE HANGOVER 2 - May 26 - Todd Phillips
The Hubbub: Lots of buzz already stemming from cameos, plot details,and shooting locations. The follow-up to one of the most successful comedies in recent memory.
Word of Caution: It might be hard to replicate the circumstances that made the first film as good as it was in any natural-seeming way.
9. THE TREE OF LIFE - May 27 - Terrence Malick
The Hubbub: Details are scarce, but it's Malick and that's enough. Getting a Cannes premiere.
Word of Caution: None.
10. X-MEN: FIRST CLASS - June 3 - Matthew Vaughn
The Hubbub: The idea of a 60's-set superhero pic is pretty darn interesting. This film also marks the return of Bryan Singer to the series (Director of X-MEN and X2) as producer and writer.
Word of Caution: Could just as easily follow the trend of decreasing quality in the films of the X-Men Franchise.
To be continued shortly...