Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Filmstubs' 2011 Predictions - The Good

Another year, another long list of films that we hope and pray will be great (and some we'd really like to fail). Nothing marks a new year like making ill-advised predictions on what's going to happen over the next 12 months that will inevitably come back to haunt us so Filmstubs has decided to take a stab on which films will be great over the coming years. I decided to not cheat and include the films that are being released this year that we already know are good (sorry The King's Speech!). Also, this is a list based on quality, not box-office performance. It's too easy to predict that the latest Twilight film will make a hat-full of money, but it still won't mean it's any good.

Here's 10 films that I expect to be great over the next year, and if they're not I will be severely disappointed.

1. Paul

Simon Pegg and Nick Frost head stateside and befriend an alien named Paul. Expect pop-culture references galore and great support from some of America's finest comedians. This may not have Edgar Wright at the helm but when Simon Pegg and Nick Frost get together they've yet to let us down. Could be a sleeper hit and launch Pegg and Frost into the stratosphere.

2. Thor

There's a raft of comic book movies heading our way over the summer and Thor's probably the one I have highest hopes for. Hiring Kenneth Branagh as director is a left-field decision but it's crazy enough to actually work. If it takes itself too seriously it could suffer but if we get a dose of epic mythology mixed with popcorn fun it should be a hit.

3. Pirate of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

Believe it or not, this could actually be good. The sequels were atrocious and there's a lot of people out there who would rather not see this franchise dragged out. But, gone are Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightly and their insipid romance, and arriving are Penelope Cruz and Ian McShane. Now that's a good deal. Factor in a (hopefully) more focused storyline and some new locations and this might just make people love the franchise again. Either way it will be among the highest grossing films of the year.

4. The Tree of Life

It's taking a big risk to say this film will be great because we know so little about it. However, Terence Malick is always interesting if not always coherent and it has massive star power in Brad Pitt and Sean Penn. The trailer doesn't reveal much but it looks fascinating and it's refreshing to know so little about a film and to be incredibly interested in it at the same time. After all, it was around about this time last year that we saw the first footage of Inception and were scratching our heads as to what it was all about.

5. Cowboys and Aliens

When we first heard the title, it seemed like a bit of gimmick. I expected a tongue-in-cheek schlocky film to kill a summer evening and forget about. But Jon Favreau seems to be crafting something a lot more interesting than that. A proper, moody Western with James Bond and Indiana Jones acting side by side colliding head on with an old school alien invasion movie. This sci-fi western means business and combining the two might not be a gimmick and may just be a bit of genius.

6. The Invention of Hugo Cabret

Martin Scorsese is never afraid to try something a little bit different and this seems like an unusual choice for him to direct but I think it will work. A 3D adventure based on the best-selling book of the same name, the cast is simply outstanding. Ben Kingsley, Jude Law, Christopher Lee, Ray Winstone and Emily Mortimer are all due to appear and this could well be a big hit.

7. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

Scorsese may have a good cast, but Tomas Alfredson's is better. Gary Oldman, Tom Hardy, Colin Firth, Mark Strong, Stephen Graham and Benedict Cumberbatch all appear in this adaptation of the John le Carre spy novel. The 70's mini series with Alec Guinness is a classic and an intelligent, well crafted spy movie is something we could do with more often in cinema and this could well deliver.

8. War Horse

Steven Spielberg's been quiet for a while now. With the disappointment of Kingdom of the Crystal Skull it seems like a long time since he worked his unique magic on screen. War Horse is familiar territory; you can trust Spielberg to deliver an emotionally charged war film. Expect dramatic scenes and a lump in your throat. Spielberg could be back with a bang.

9. A Dangerous Method

The last two collaborations between Viggo Mortensen and David Cronenberg have been great and there's no reason to believe this film, focusing on the relationship between Sigmund Freud (Mortensen) and Carl Jung (Michael Fassbender), won't be. We don't know too much about it but somehow Freud and Cronenberg seem a perfect fit.

10. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

The Swedish version of the pop culture phenomenon was a pretty good attempt and the casting of Noomi Rapace as Lisbeth was perfect. So, why do we need an American remake a little over a year later? David Fincher, that's why. Any other director and I would have had my doubts but this is well trodden ground for Fincher and he's sure to deliver and dark and atmospheric thriller that can surpass the original. It's difficult to tell if Rooney Mara will be well cast as Lisbeth but Daniel Craig as Mikael seems just right.

Special mentions: Hanna, X-Men: First Class, Super 8, Contagion, Your Highness, and Source Code. All of which I hope will be great.

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