25 most anticipated films of 2011, part 2

#20 Detachment (dir. Tony Kaye)
With a very promising premise and serious indie cred courtesy of director Kaye (American History X), the teachers drama has the potential to be a riveting piece of work. What’s most anticipatory about this feature, though, is it’s stellar and diverse casting choices. Adrien Brody heads up the crew, playing a substitute teacher who becomes invested in his troubled students. Christina Hendricks and Lucy Liu play pivotal roles as well, as a fellow teacher who grows fond of Brody’s substitute and a school psychologist who’s grown weary of her job, respectively. It’s nice to see Hendricks get a plum role on the big screen, and I’ve missed Liu ever since her misstep with Ballistic (I’ve longed for her Ally McBeal brilliance to return for years). (TBA)

#19 Paul (dir. Greg Mottola)
Well, it just opened today, and I will likely see it in the next few days, but this latest outing of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost can still be anticipated for a few moments longer. After Shaun of the Dead took the world by storm and Hot Fuzz perfected the duo’s daffy charm (I prefer the latter and find it highly underviewed and underrated, honestly), Paul finds a host of bit parts from great comedic talents and voice work from Seth Rogen as the title character, in a movie playing off of the magic of friendly alien movies. The previews look very promising, and the wit of Frost and Pegg as writing collaborators is undeniably successful at every turn. Throw in the goofy Kristin Wiig as a traveling companion, and I’m immediately hooked. (In theaters)

#18X-Men: First Class (dir. Matthew Vaughn)
First off, what a cast! What Vaughn has assembled for his throwback comic book prequel is quite impressive. (Keeping in mind, of course, that what Bryan Singer put together in those first two X-Men movies was also quite entertaining.) Headed up by the stellar James McAvoy and the rising star Michael Fassbender, First Class finds the pioneering mutants in their early years in the 1960s, along with younger versions of some of the series’ best-loved mutants. I’m hoping the classy-looking angle they’re going for with this one pays off. In the comics, these two powerhouses have a very interesting past relationship that should play very well as a film – and I’m hoping this one is an improvement on the entertaining, if silly, previous origin story, Wolverine. (June 3)

#17 The Ides of March (dir. George Clooney)
Adapting a talkie political play into a film can be a troublesome venture. Sure, Frost/Nixon proved a successful adaptation for its two talented stars, but what of this fictional story? George Clooney plays a governor-turned-presidential candidate whose young advisor (Ryan Gosling) learns the ins and outs of the politics game on the campaign trail. We’ve all seen that Clooney can do exceptional things in the director’s chair (Good Night, and Good Luck), so I have high hopes for this drama. And though co-stars Evan Rachel Wood, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, and Paul Giamatti all tend to rub me the wrong way, underused Marisa Tomei as a New York Times reporter cancels all that out singlehandedly. (Oct. 14)

#16 Untitled Lynn Shelton Project (dir. Lynn Shelton)
All right, so the plot of this film hasn’t actually been revealed. And to be honest, Lynn Shelton’s directorial choices sort of make me nervous (Was I the only one who thought the mumblecore Humpday was so quirky to be quirky and uneven that it wasn’t worth watching?). But with two leading ladies with such filmographies, Shelton is working me over. Ever-present Emily Blunt continues to nab high-profile roles, including this here one, and one-time Rachel Getting Married scene-stealer and current bratty sister Charmaine on United States of Tara Rosemarie Dewitt could bring a much needed wryness to the extremely niche genre. (TBA)

#15 Take This Waltz (dir. Sarah Polley)
The super-talented writer/director Polley returns from her too-long hiatus yet again (Away from Her was almost five years ago!) with a romantic drama starring Seth Rogen and Michelle Williams, fresh off her much-deserved second Oscar nod. I feel this one could have some great potential, thanks to Williams’ indie girl-next-door demeanor and Rogen’s surprising depth (I always feel the need to defend the guy, as I feel he has such potential and appeal). Oh, and Sarah Silverman is also involved in some capacity, so I’m of course there. (TBA)

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2 responses to “25 most anticipated films of 2011, part 2”

  1. Robert says :

    Good choices! I'm definitely looking forward to "Paul" if only for the Wiig-Lynch-Weaver factor. And "Take This Waltz" sounds like it's going to be surprisingly fantastic. I mean, Michelle Williams AND Sarah Silverman? Yes, please.

  2. Jose says :

    Yay for anything with Rosemarie! I dunno what movies I'm expecting this year :(Nowadays I like being surprised I guess.

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