With the holiday movie season coming to a close, and the cinematic dead-zone that is January just around the corner, what better time than now to look ahead to the next 12 months in film? We’ve compiled a list of what we see as the 35 most anticipated films of 2011, conveniently separated into five categories: Superheroes, Sequels, Dramas, Comedies/Family and Action/Sci-Fi. For each film, we’ve provided basic director/cast information, as well as what it’s about and why we’re excited about it. Sure to be another great year in film, 2011 has sequels galore, two Marvel films, two Steven Spielberg films, the return of Cameron Crowe, and Martin Scorsese’s first foray into 3D. So what are you waiting for? Hit the jump and check out what 2011 has in store for us movie lovers.
The films are separated into categories: Superheros, Sequels, Dramas, Comedies/Family and Action/Sci-Fi. In each category, the films are listed in order of release date.
The Green Hornet
Director: Michel Gondry
Cast: Seth Rogen, Jay Chou, Christoph Waltz and Cameron Diaz
Release Date: January 14, 2011
What it’s about: Seth Rogen stars as the playboy son of a wealthy billionaire, who inherits his father’s wealth following his untimely death. Realizing he should be doing more with his life, he teams up with his father’s employee Kato to become crimefighters, much to the chagrin of Russian criminal Benjamin Chudnofsky, who unites all of the city’s gangs to take down the Green Hornet.
Why we’re excited about it: While the release date shift to January was worrisome, early word has been positive on the flick. Plus, Rogen and partner Evan Goldberg have yet to write a bad film. Throw in the off-the-wall choice of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind director Michel Gondry, and this just might be the first surprise hit of the year.
Director: Kenneth Branagh
Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Natalie Portman and Anthony Hopkins
Release Date: May 6, 2011
What it’s about: Continuing in their successful film franchises, Marvel’s next in line is the story of Thor, a powerful and arrogant warrior who is cast down to Earth as punishment for reigniting an ancient war back home in Asgard.
Why we’re excited about it: While Branagh may seem an odd choice as director, his dramatic sensibilities just may be the perfect fit for helming Marvel’s first “other-worldly” superhero film. And did we mention Natalie Portman?
X-Men: First Class
Director: Matthew Vaughn
Cast: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Kevin Bacon, January Jones, Rose Byrne, Jennifer Lawrence and Oliver Platt
Release Date: June 3, 2011
What it’s about: A prequel of sorts to the first three X-Men films, First Class takes place in the 1960’s. The film shows Charles Xavier (Professor X) and Erik Lensherr (Magneto) working together as the closest of friends to defeat the Hellfire Club. However, in the process of working together as friends, a rift occurs between the two and an eternal war between two factions of mutants is born.
Why we’re excited about it: Though it would’ve been great to have original X-Men director Bryan Singer back at the helm of the franchise, I can think of no director better suited to “reboot” the series with a fresh take than Kick-Ass director Matthew Vaughn. He’s assembled a high-caliber cast of true thespians and you know his action set-pieces are going to be fantastic. This one’s got the perfect ingredients for one hell of a film.
Director: Martin Campbell
Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Mark Strong, Blake Lively and Peter Sarsgaard
Release Date: June 17, 2011
What it’s about: Hal Jordan, a test pilot for the US Air Force, is unexpectedly recruited by the Green Lantern Corps, a brotherhood of warriors sworn to keep intergalactic order. The first human ever selected, Jordan must corral the superpowers granted to him by a ring in order to defeat Parallax; the fate of the universe hangs in the balance.
Why we’re excited about it: Reynolds seems a perfect fit to tackle the cockiness of Jordan with an air of likeability. Casino Royale director Martin Campbell is a fine choice as well, with a litany of fantastic action set-pieces sure to be featured.
Captain America: The First Avenger
Director: Joe Johnston
Cast: Chris Evans, Hugo Weaving, Sebastian Stan, Hayley Atwell, Stanley Tucci and Tommy Lee Jones
Release Date: July 22, 2011
What it’s about: Marvel’s first period piece, Captain America focuses on Steve Rogers, a sickly young man who is enhanced to the peak of human perfection by an experimental serum in order to aid the United States in World War II.
Why we’re excited about it: Audiences have longed to see a Captain America movie, and what better way to do it than to set up The Avengers? Joe Johnston’s work on The Rocketeer is more than enough proof that he can tackle this material, and Evans seems like a great choice to portray Steve Rogers. Plus, with this being the last Marvel film before the all-star Avengers movie, expect one hell of a tag at the end of this flick.
Director: Wes Craven
Cast: Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox, David Arquette, Emma Roberts, Hayden Panetierre, Adam Brody, Alison Brie, Aimee Teegarden, Anna Paquin and Kristin Bell
Release Date: April 15, 2011
What it’s about: The Scream franchise has always been shrouded in secrecy, so at this point little is known about the plot. Set 10 years after the events of Scream 3, the fourth installment begins with Sidney Prescott now living a new life as an author. Dewey and Gale Weathers are back, alongside a new cast of youngsters headed up by Sidney’s cousin (Roberts).
Why we’re excited about it: The wildly successful original Scream franchise began the whole “meta-horror movie” craze back in the 90’s, and Craven has been promising that this new installment has much to say on the state of horror movies today. It’s also exciting that the entire original cast is back, along with Craven in the director’s chair. The long list of talented new cast members is enticing as well.
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
Director: Rob Marshall
Cast: Johnny Depp, Penélope Cruz, Ian McShane and Geoffrey Rush
Release Date: May 20, 2011
What it’s about: Captain Jack Sparrow returns, this time sans Will and Elizabeth Turner, to seek out the Fountain of Youth. On his journey, he encounters a woman from his past (Cruz), Blackbeard (McShane), and Captain Barbossa, of course.
Why we’re excited about it: No matter what your feelings are regarding the previous two Pirates films, they were damned great looking. This time, Chicago director Rob Marshall is at the helm and his new blood may be just what this franchise needs for a fourth installment. Adding Penélope Cruz and Ian McShane doesn’t hurt either.
The Hangover: Part II
Director: Todd Phillips
Cast: Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, Justin Bartha and Ken Jeong
Release Date: May 26, 2011
What it’s about: In this sequel to one of the funniest/most successful comedies in recent years, Phil, Stu, Alan and Doug travel to Bangkok for Stu’s wedding (though it’s not Heather Graham he’s marrying).
Why we’re excited about it: Did you see the original? The comedic sensibilities of the lead actors made for palpable chemistry and more endlessly quotable one-liners than you can count. With Phillips back at the helm and the entire principal cast along for the ride once again, it’s a safe bet that lightning may in fact strike twice.
Kung Fu Panda 2: The Kaboom of Doom
Director: Jennifer Yuh Nelson
Voices: Jack Black, Dustin Hoffman, Angelina Jolie, Lucy Liu, Gary Oldman, Jackie Chan, Jean-Claude Van Damme, David Cross, Seth Rogen, James Woods, Victor Garber, and Michelle Yeoh
Release Date: May 27, 2011
What it’s about: Now a kung fu master, Po is fighting alongside Master Shifu and the Furious Five. The team must join forces with another group of kung fu masters in order to defeat the evil peacock Lord Shen, who is in possession of a weapon that can destroy kung fu forever.
Why we’re excited about it: The first film was a fun and refreshingly exciting output from DreamWorks Animation. With the addition of Gary Oldman, and a slew of other characters, it’s possible that this sequel could turn out to be just as fun. Though there is danger of DreamWorks sequel fatigue a la Shrek, I’m choosing to hope for the best.
Director: John Lasseter and Brad Lewis
Voices: Owen Wilson, Larry the Cable Guy, Michael Caine, Emily Mortimer and Jason Isaacs
Release Date: June 24, 2011
What it’s about: Racecar Lightning McQueen and tow truck Mater head overseas to compete in the first-ever World Grand Prix. Along the way, Mater gets caught up in international espionage and is thus torn between completing his mission or assisting McQueen in readying for the race.
Why we’re excited about it: Though Cars is generally considered the least critically successful film in Pixar’s library, it’s also the biggest cash cow merchandising-wise for Pixar, so a sequel was all but inevitable. Pixar guru John Lasseter is back at the helm, and fingers crossed they’ve laid off the “Mater is dumb/naïve” jokes. Nevertheless, this is a Pixar film we’re talking about, and their worst is still better than 90% of the animated junk that’s out there.
Transformers: Dark of the Moon
Director: Michael Bay
Cast: Shia LaBeouf, Rosie Huntington-Whitely, Josh Duhamel, Tyrese Gibson, John Turturro, Patrick Dempsey, Frances McDormand and John Malkovich
Release Date: July 1, 2011
What it’s about: The Autobots learn of a Cybertronian spacecraft on the Moon and must race against the Decepticons to find it and learn its secrets, which could turn the tide in the Transformers’ final battle.
Why we’re excited about it: Though Revenge of the Fallen was a bit of a misfire, the first Transformers was refreshingly entertaining and engaging. With Bay saying that this film will be his and LaBeouf’s last in the franchise, and that he plans on making up for the shortcomings of the second film, he’s sure to go out with a bang and one hell of a flick. If all else fails, this should make for some fairly epic robot battles.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2
Director: David Yates
Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Ralph Fiennes, Alan Rickman and Helena Bonham Carter
Release Date: July 15, 2011
What it’s about: Every story must have an end, and so the massively successful and one-of-a-kind Harry Potter film franchise finally comes to a close this summer. The second half of what is essentially one giant movie, as Part 2 begins, Voldemort is now in possession of one of the three Deathly Hallows and Harry, Hermione and Ron are seeking out the last of the Horcruxes to destroy. All parties involved eventually meet in what’s sure to be one of the most epic showdowns in history at the iconic Hogwarts School of Wizardry.
Why we’re excited about it: The Harry Potter film franchise began in 2001 and has gone on to create what will be 8 extraordinary and wholly original films that have managed to keep essentially the entire principal cast for every single film (save for the death of actor Richard Harris after the second film, which prompted Michael Gambon to take on the role of Dumbledore). If you’ve read the book, you know just how unbelievably epic this film is going to be. If you haven’t: start preparing yourself now.
Sherlock Holmes 2
Director: Guy Ritchie
Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law, Noomi Rapace, Jared Harris and Stephen Fry
Release Date: December 16, 2011
What it’s about: Sherlock Holmes and Dr. James Watson are back, this time with newcomer Sim joining them as they take on their arch-nemesis Professor Moriarty.
Why we’re excited about it: In a climate of ho-hum adaptations and reboots, the first film was refreshing and exciting. The casting choice of Mad Men star Jared Harris as Professor Moriarty is impeccable, and Girl with the Dragon Tattoo star Noomi Rapace is an exhilarating addition. But at the end of the day, who doesn’t want to watch more of Robert Downey Jr. as Sherlock Holmes?
Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol
Director: Brad Bird
Cast: Tom Cruise, Ving Rhames, Jeremy Renner, Josh Holloway, Simon Pegg and Paula Patton
Release Date: December 16, 2011
What it’s about: Very little is known about this project at this moment, as no plot information has been released. What we do know is that is being viewed as a sort of reboot, with Jeremy Renner’s character expected to pick the franchise up on his own following this film.
Why we’re excited about it: Um, it’s freaking Brad Bird’s live-action directorial debut! The Incredibles and Iron Giant director makes his first foray into live-action a big budget franchise flick, and he couldn’t be a more perfect choice. Throw in the fantastic cast (Sawyer from Lost!) and the possibility of a Jeremy Renner-fronted franchise, and this is shaping up to be a very exciting film.
The Tree of Life
Director: Terrence Malick
Cast: Brad Pitt, Sean Penn and Jessica Chastain
Release Date: May 27, 2011
What it’s about: A 1950’s period piece set in the Midwest, we trace the evolution of an eleven-year-old boy’s perception of the world around him and his relationship with his parents. We’re then transported to present day, where the boy is now an adult; a lost soul in a modern world.
Why we’re excited about it: Malick doesn’t make a lot of films, but when he does they are often wholly original, beautiful masterpieces. When I say he doesn’t make a lot of films, I mean that he’s directed a total of six since his debut in 1969. His films are not simply films, but carefully crafted works of art that are meant to invoke a visceral response from the audience. You don’t just watch a Terrence Malick film, you experience it. So yeah, I’d say we’re a little excited about it.
Director: Bennett Miller
Cast: Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Chris Pratt and Robin Wright Penn
Release Date: September 23, 2011
What it’s about: Based upon the non-fiction book by Billy Beane, the film tells the story of Beane’s tenure as the Oakland A’s general manager. Through analysis and a new, nontraditional sabermetric approach to scouting players, Beane completely transformed the way baseball teams choose players.
Why we’re excited about it: A script by The Social Network screenwriter Aaron Sorkin and Schindler’s List screenwriter Steven Zaillian, helmed by Capote director Bennett Miller, starring Brad Pitt, Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Jonah Hill: that is about as close as one can get to the perfect ingredients for a fantastic film. Is it too early to buy tickets?
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Cast: Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow, Marion Cotillard, Lawrence Fishbourne and Bryan Cranston
Release Date: October 21, 2011
What it’s about: An action-thriller centered on the threat posed by a deadly disease and an international team of doctors contracted by the CDC to deal with the outbreak.
Why we’re excited about it: Only the man behind the Ocean’s 11 franchise could put together a cast like this. Soderbergh is a master with the camera, and takes more risks than just about any director out there. And if Damon’s recent comments are to be believed, this could very well be Soderbergh’s last film. If that’s true, here’s hoping he goes out with a bang.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Director: David Fincher
Cast: Rooney Mara, Daniel Craig, Robin Wright Penn, Stellan Skarsgård and Christopher Plummer
Release Date: December 21, 2011
What it’s about: Based upon the wildly successful book trilogy, which was then turned into a wildly successful Swedish film trilogy, David Fincher takes the reins of the American adapation. The mystery focuses on two main characters: Michael Blomkvist, a journalist facing libel charges, and Lisbeth Salander, an underage private investigator hired to look into Blomkvist’s past.
Why we’re excited about it: Beside the fact that it’s the newest Fincher film, which is reason enough in and of itself to be excited about it, the Millennium Trilogy is all anyone has been talking about for the past year. The dark and mysterious tone of the book, mixed with the directorial sensibilities of Fincher is an absolute perfect combination. Throw in some pitch perfect casting, and this looks to be one of the can’t-miss flicks of next year’s holiday season.
We Bought a Zoo
Director: Cameron Crowe
Cast: Matt Damon, Scarlett Johansson, Thomas Haden Church, Colin Ford, Patrick Fugit and Elle Fanning
Release Date: December 23, 2011
What it’s about: Based upon the memoir by Benjamin Mee, the film tells the story of a man who moves his family to the English countryside following his wife’s death from cancer. The man buys a dilapidated zoo, complete with 200 animals, and proceeds to fix it up and operate it with his kids.
Why we’re excited about it: Cameron Crowe is back! It’s been five long years since his last film (Elizabethtown), and boy was he missed. The thought of Crowe tackling this offbeat material, with Matt Damon as the lead no-less, seems like a match made in heaven. Not to mention, it’s sure to be chock-full of expertly-timed pop songs.
Director: Steven Spielberg
Cast: David Thewlis, Benedict Cumberbatch, Jeremy Irvine, Emily Watson and Tom Hiddleston
Release Date: December 28, 2011
What it’s about: Based upon the play of the same name, which itself is based upon the book of the same name, the film centers on a young boy’s horse who is sold to the cavalry in World War I. The horse is caught up in the frenzy of WWI, serving on both sides, but cannot forget the boy, and sets out on a journey to find him.
Why we’re excited about it: This is Steven Spielberg we’re talking about. Doing a World War I film. Is there really more that needs to be said to get you into the theater?
Director: Kevin Smith
Cast: Michael Parks, John Goodman, Melissa Leo, Stephen Root, Kevin Pollak, Michael Angarano, Kyle Gallner, Nicholas Braun and Ralph Garman
Release Date: TBD
What it’s about: Red State begins by following three horny high school boys who come across an online ad from an older woman looking for a gang bang. Boys being boys, they hit the road to satisfy their libidinal urges. But what begins as a fantasy takes a dark turn as they come face-to-face with a terrifying “holy” force with a fatal agenda. Three boys go into the woods to find sex, but instead find God.
Why we’re excited about it: Judging by the trailer, Smith has done a complete 180 as a filmmaker. Instead of the usual dick and fart jokes, Red State is a straight-faced horror/drama. The cast is fantastic and the premise is chilling. Fingers crossed this one’s every bit as engrossing as it looks to be.
Director: Greg Mottola
Cast: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Seth Rogen, Jason Bateman, Kristin Wiig, Bill Hader, Sigourney Weaver, David Koechner, Jeffrey Tambor and Jane Lynch
Release Date: March 18, 2011
What it’s about: Two British comic geeks go on a road trip through America. On the way, they discover an alien named Paul at Area 51 and are subsequently lead on a cross-country adventure on the run from the government.
Why we’re excited about it: The onscreen chemistry of Pegg and Frost makes for some of the funniest moments put on film in the last two decades. Throw in an all-star cast of pitch-perfect comedians, and the director of Superbad and Adventureland, and you can pretty much bet on an all-out hilarious cinematic adventure with a lot of heart.
Director: David Gordon Green
Cast: Danny McBride, James Franco, Zooey Deschanel, Natalie Portman, Justin Theroux and Michael Clarke Duncan
Release Date: April 8, 2011
What it’s about: In this Princess Bride with a dirty mouth-like fantasy tale, Fabious enlists his lazy and arrogant brother Thadeous to help him rescue his princess from an evil wizard who threatens to take her virginity. Along for the ride is a warrior princess in whom Thadeous takes an interest.
Why we’re excited about it: Franco and McBride reteam with Pineapple Express director Green for an all-out romp. Express was one of those films that got funnier and funnier with each watch, and I’d imagine this one to be similarly great. The trailer was laugh-out-loud fantastic, with Portman kicking sufficient ass.
Director: Tom Hanks
Cast: Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, Bryan Cranston and Taraji P. Henson
Release Date: July 1, 2011
What it’s about: After Larry Crowne, a middle-aged man, is terminated from his job, he goes back to college, where he unexpectedly forms bonds with his fellow students and a romantic relationship with Mercedes Tainot, a professor.
Why we’re excited about it: The last time Hanks was in the director’s chair he turned out the fantastic That Thing You Do!, so it’s safe to say that there are high hopes for this one. Throw in the re-teaming of him with Roberts, a script co-written with Nia Vardalos, and this looks to be a refreshing comedy in a sea of duds.
30 Minutes or Less
Director: Ruben Fleischer
Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Danny McBride, Fred Ward, Nick Swanson and Aziz Ansari
Release Date: August 12, 2011
What it’s about: Two fledging criminals take a pizza delivery boy hostage, strap a bomb to his chest, and force him to rob a bank within 30 minutes.
Why we’re excited about it: This is Fleischer’s follow-up to his superb directorial debut Zombieland, so there’s that. The cast of seasoned/hilarious comedians is promising, and can’t you just envision Eisenberg nervously sweating through an awkward bank robbery with a bomb strapped to his chest? Fingers crossed we get some super-cool opening credits a la Zombieland.
Director: David Wain
Cast: Jennifer Aniston, Paul Rudd, Justin Theroux, Malin Akerman, Christina Hendricks and Ray Liotta
Release Date: October 7, 2011
What it’s about: After an urban couple purchase a place in New York, the husband loses his job. With no other options, the couple leave for Georgia to live with family. Along the way, they stay at a bed and breakfast that turns out to be a nudist commune.
Why we’re excited about it: The last theatrical output from the writer/director duo of Wain and Ken Marino was 2008’s Role Models, which was pretty fantastic. The fish-out-of-water premise sounds right up Rudd’s alley, and his chemistry with Aniston in the past has made for some great comedic moments. And yes, we’re all hoping Hendricks turns up at the nudist commune as well.
Director: James Bobin
Cast: Jason Segel, Amy Adams, Chris Cooper and Rashida Jones
Release Date: November 23, 2011
What it’s about: An evil oil tycoon threatens to tear down the Muppets’ theater in order to drill for oil underneath. The gang must band together to put on the greatest show the world’s ever seen in order to save the theater.
Why we’re excited about it: Honestly, who doesn’t like the Muppets? People with no soul, that’s who. Segel, a self-described Muppet nerd, wrote the script alongside Get Him to the Greek screenwriter Nicholas Stoller, and the flick is bursting at the seams with celebrity cameos.
Director: Martin Scorsese
Cast: Asa Butterfield, Chloe Moretz, Ben Kingsley, Sacha Baron Cohen, Jude Law, Christopher Lee and Emily Mortimer
Release Date: December 9, 2011
What it’s about: Based upon the popular children’s adventure tale, the film tells the story of an orphan boy living a secret life in the walls of a Paris train station. When Hugo encounters a broken automaton, an eccentric girl, and the cold, reserved man who runs the toy shop, he is caught up in a magical, mysterious adventure that could put all of his secrets in jeopardy.
Why we’re excited about it: This is Scorsese’s first foray into family-friendly filmmaking, as well as his first time shooting in 3D. The man really knows his way around the camera, and his dramatic sensibilities may just be the perfect fit for this sprawling adventure tale. But at the end of the day, this is the new Martin Scorsese flick, so you already know you’re going to be there.
The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn
Director: Steven Spielberg
Cast: Jamie Bell, Andy Serkis, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Daniel Craig, Toby Jones and Cary Elwes
Release Date: December 23, 2011
What it’s about: Based upon the popular comic strip by Hergé, this 3D motion-capture film chronicles Tintin’s first encounter with Captain Haddock and the discovery of a clue to the treasure of his ancestor, Sir Francis Haddock
Why we’re excited about it: Utilizing the same 3D motion-capture technology that James Cameron used on Avatar, this marks Spielberg’s first foray into animation. We already know that Spielberg can do entertaining family films like nobody’s business (E.T. anyone?), and the thought of him tackling this larger-than-life adventure is enough to get anyone excited about this project.
Battle: Los Angeles
Director: Jonathan Liebesman
Cast: Aaron Eckhart, Michelle Rodriguez, Bridget Moynahan and Michael Peña
Release Date: March 11, 2011
What it’s about: The film follows a platoon of Marines and Airmen in Los Angeles during a global alien invasion.
Why we’re excited about it: This one was flying under the radar for quite a while. That is until the trailer was released. Brilliantly epic, sweeping and enthralling, Liebesman was able to sell a mostly unknown film in under 3 minutes.
Director: Zack Synder
Cast: Emily Browning, Abbie Cornish, Jena Malone, Vanessa Hudgens, Carla Gugino, Scott Glenn and Jon Hamm
Release Date: March 25, 2011
What it’s about: In Zack Snyder’s first entirely original feature film, the story is an epic action fantasy that largely takes place in the mind of a young girl locked away in an insane asylum. If she, along with her fellow inmates, can complete a series of tasks in her imagination, she’ll find the key to freedom.
Why we’re excited about it: Everyone knows Snyder’s a visionary when it comes to visual stylings, but the story on this project is highly intriguing. The trailer looks positively epic, and the cast he’s assembled seems to be a perfect fit.
Director: Duncan Jones
Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Vera Farmiga, Michelle Monaghan and Jeffrey Wright
Release Date: April 1, 2011
What it’s about: A soldier becomes part of an experimental government program that is investigating a train bombing in an attempt to prevent a future bombing from occurring. The soldier is sent into the body of a civilian aboard the train, in the last eight minutes of his life. He is forced to relive the incident over and over again until he can find out who is responsible and how to prevent the next terrorist attack from occurring.
Why we’re excited about it: Jones burst onto the scene with 2009’s marvelously original Moon, and this film marks his sophomore effort. If Source Code ends up even half as engaging as Moon, we’re in for quite a ride.
Director: JJ Abrams
Cast: Kyle Chandler, Elle Fanning, Amanda Michalka and Noah Emmerich
Release Date: June 10, 2011
What it’s about: Given that this is JJ Abrams’ top secret project at the moment, very very little is known. What we do know is that the film is set in the 1970’s, that it’s being produced by Steven Spielberg, and that it’s an homage of sorts to Spielberg’s 1970’s and 1980’s sci-fi films.
Why we’re excited about it: The mystery surrounding the project is precisely what makes it so intriguing. The idea of an Abrams/Spielberg combo doesn’t hurt the film’s prospects either. And judging by the teaser that was created before the film even began shooting, we’re in for quite a ride.
Cowboys & Aliens
Director: Jon Favreau
Cast: Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, Olivia Wilde, Sam Rockwell, Paul Dano and Adam Beach
Release Date: July 29, 2011
What it’s about: In 1873 Arizona, a loner awakens with no memory of his past and a mysterious shackle around his wrist. He enters the town of Absolution where he learns he is a notorious criminal wanted by many people. But Absolution soon faces an even greater threat when mysterious forces attack the town from the sky, taking anyone in their path.
Why we’re excited about it: Equal parts western and sci-fi, this film is a geek-gasm waiting to happen. If you’re not absolutely giddy about seeing Harrison Ford as a tough-as-nails Colonel in the Old West, there’s something seriously wrong with you. Add in Steven Spielberg as producer, and script by Lost mastermind Damon Lindelof and superwriters Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, and you’ve got one epic summer flick.
Director: Andrew Niccol
Cast: Amanda Seyfried, Justin Timberlake, Cillian Murphy, Olivia Wilde, Matt Bomer and Alex Pettyfer
Release Date: September 30, 2011
What it’s about: In a future where aging has stopped and people must pay to stay alive, a man is accused of murder when he inherits a fortune from a dead upper class man, and he is forced to go on the run.
Why we’re excited about it: Niccol’s last feature film was 2005’s underrated Lord of War, but let’s not forget that the man’s also responsible for writing The Truman Show, which remains one of the best screenplays of the past few decades. Timberlake showed he’s got serious acting chops in The Social Network, and the all-star cast of pretty faces in a society without aging ensures that there will be plenty to look at.