25 most anticipated films of 2011, part 3

#14 Young Adult (dir. Jason Reitman)
No, I’m not including this upcoming, assumedly quirky, comedy because of its stars. Sure, Charlize Theron has her occasional moments and Patrick Wilson is typically a decent performer, but this one’s really about the re-teaming of a talented twosome behind the scenes. Director Jason Reitman, whose batting average is virtually perfect (Thank You For Smoking, Juno, Up in the Air) for someone so young, and his talented screenwriter Diablo Cody are hopefully out to rekindle the movie magic of Juno that got them Oscar attention four years ago. On top of that, the movie, which follows a divorced novelist returning to her small-town Minnesota former life, has a setting that I happen to be partial to. (TBA)

#13 One Day (dir. Lone Scherfig)
In her high-profile follow-up to the slick drama An Education, director Scherfig is looking to pair up Hollywood golden child Anne Hathaway with under-the-radar UK actor Jim Sturgess for this romantic drama which follows Emma and Dexter, from one passionate night on their college graduation, to every subsequent anniversary of that day as years pass. It’s a high-concept idea for a romance movie, but it reminds me of the complexities of Eternal Sunshine and (500) Days of Summer, and for that it easily makes this list. Top it off with the unbeatable Patricia Clarkson as Dexter’s mother, and I could see it easily topping the visual attractiveness of Scherfig’s 2009 film. (July 8)

#12 Albert Nobbs (dir. Rodrigo Garcia)
It’s tough for a woman in Hollywood. And as one of the many that have transitioned to television for better roles, Glenn Close hasn’t headlined a feature film in far too long. Well, thanks to director Garcia (Mother and Child), the five-time Oscar nominee (Can you believe it’s been more than 20 years since Close has been nominated?) may finally have the role that breaks through for a win. Gender-bending it, Close plays the title character, a woman who cross-dresses to work as a butler, in order to get by in 19th Century England. Close co-wrote the screenplay, and it frankly looks bloody good. Up-and-comer Brits Mia Wasikowska and Aaron Johnson co-star, with a host of noted British character actors supporting. (TBA)

#11 War Horse (dir. Steven Spielberg)
The big question of 2011 in film on most everyone’s minds has got to be, will Spielberg make a triumphant return? It’s been six years since the director had a major buzzworthy movie in theaters, and this year there are two. The more promising of the two is clearly War Horse, about the bond between a boy and his horse, who is sent to the cavalry of WWI. The premise sounds a bit early-90s, live-action Disney, but the pedigree behind it is undeniable. Newcomer Jeremy Irvine was picked from an undoubtedly huge crop of young actors to play the lead. With Emily Watson, Eddie Marsan, and The Reader‘s David Kross rounding out the cast, let’s hope this effort can stand apart from Seabiscuit and Secretariat. (Dec. 28)

#10 Meek’s Cutoff (dir. Kelly Reichardt)
We found out very quickly that director Reichardt has a way with Michelle Williams, courtesy of the underseen but deeply effective Wendy and Lucy, and here’s hoping their collaborative magic continues. Riding high off of a string of stellar roles in recent years, Williams continues her high profile work in this western, which follows a band of settlers who’ve become stranded in the Oregon desert in the 1840s. It’s not typical Williams fare (or Reichardt fare for that matter) to be sure, but the promotional material looks fantastic, and co-star Paul Dano holds a special place in my heart thanks to Little Miss Sunshine and There Will Be Blood. (April 8)

#9 The Grandmasters (dir. Wong Kar Wai)
Ever since her breakout role more than a decade ago in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, I’ve yearned for Zhang Ziyi to return to the fold. Memoirs of a Geisha was her big vehicle, and it unfortunately tanked. But teaming up with acting heavyweight Tony Leung in a story about the man who trained martial arts legend Bruce Lee might be a good first step. Behind the camera is beloved writer/director Wong, responsible for In the Mood for Love and 2046. Nothing could possibly go wrong right? Well, the only thing holding the movie back at this point is distribution. There’s a big chance this one will be pushed to 2012. (TBA)

#8 A Dangerous Method (dir. David Cronenberg)
I must admit, Cronenberg sort of lost me with A History of Violence, which I found mostly frustrating. But the director is bringing the one thing that worked well from that film to his newest effort, star Viggo Mortensen. A Dangerous Method follows Sigmund Freud (Mortensen) and Carl Jung (Michael Fassbender) in their intensely personal founding of psychoanalysis. Keira Knightley co-stars as Sabina, one of the first female analysts and paramour of Jung’s, and it’s safe to assume that Knightley, who flourishes in period dramas, could be back on her A-game as in Atonement and Pride & Prejudice. (TBA)

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One response to “25 most anticipated films of 2011, part 3”

  1. Robert says :

    OH man I hope that "The Grandmasters" gets some distribution because it sounds like perfection.

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