Not ranked, but just sixteen movies I picked out for my enthusiasm to be aimed at this year. Just a note the following have been excluded for a variety of reasons: Kick Ass/Shutter Island (both coming out pretty soon), The Tree of Life (was on last year’s list and may still not come out this year), Inception/Toy Story 3 (too big to need my advocacy) and Scott Pilgrim vs The World (purely because Tommy was always going to choose it). Also, remember to check out Chris’ list here.
So, here are the sixteen I’ve chosen, in alphabetical order, after the jump:
The Adjustment Bureau – Philip K Dick adaptation about government officer caught up in conspiracy after befriending a ballerina. Matt Damon in lead role is good choice given previous experience with espionage and conspiracy. Emily Blunt, one of the UK’s brightest talents, is the ballerina. Should be a high-quality thriller.
The American – George Clooney plays an assassin hiding out in the south of Italy who is called back into action. Directed by Control’s Anton Corbijn, this should make for an interesting take on the assassin genre, though may have been made purely to allow Clooney to stay in Italy for a while.
The Beaver – Jodie Foster directing a dark comedy in which Mel Gibson plays a guy with a beaver puppet on his hand. I cannot understand a person who would not want to see this film, if only for curiosity value.
Biutiful – A criminal comes face-to-face with a childhood friend, the latter now a police officer. The first non-Arriaga project for Alejandro Gonzalez Innaritu with Javier Bardem should give him freedom to escape from the multiple storyline style and just show his skill at handling a story.
Black Swan – Aronofsky will always make my most-anticipated list if he has a movie coming out. This one, about a ballerina and doppelgangers and possibly-not-reality sounds interesting but sounds superb when you combine his talents with those of Natalie Portman (above), Mila Kunis and Vincent Cassell. Promises to be a fascinating watch.
The Fighter – The return of David O Russell, a possible home run role for Mark Wahlberg as ‘Irish’ Micky Ward, generally something to get excited about in a Wrestler-esque way for the combination of talented director and potential-filled star.
The Grand Master – Wong Kar-Wai has been patchy with kung-fu action in the past, but you can’t deny the pleasure in seeing what he creates each time. Tony Leung is on board for his take on the biography of Bruce Lee-mentor Ip Man, so this will at least be impeccably acted and elegantly directed.
Howl – James Franco has long-promised greatness, but this could be his year. Finally with this he gets an opportunity to take on a meaty role, playing Allen Ginsberg (rendered above) during the obscenity trial for the poem the film is titled after. Also boasts Mary Louise-Parker, Jon Hamm, Jeff Daniels and David Strathairn.
Kaboom – Gregg Araki is a patchy filmmaker, but I’m putting a little money on his using this film to put Thomas Dekker, the talented star of The Sarah Connor Chronicles, on the map as an actor the way that Joseph Gordon-Levitt made the leap with Mysterious Skin.
The Killer Inside Me – The acting return of Casey Affleck with Michael Winterbottom behind the camera. Adaptation of the serial killer psychology thriller by Jim Thompson, so should provide enough meat for both actor and director. Also represents first true chance for Jessica Alba to prove herself as an actress.
Never Let Me Go – Kazuo Ishiguro’s novel should make for a beautiful project for Mark Romanek in the chair. Keira Knightley is getting better, so my confidence there is stronger, but add in Carey Mulligan and Andrew Garfield and you have something that could have some of the heart-stopping brilliance of the book.
Paul – Simon Pegg and Nick Frost star as two geeks on a road-trip who befriend an alien in New Mexico. Gives Pegg and Frost a chance to work with a pile of great comedic talent (including Rogen, Hader and Wiig) and Greg Mottola proved himself adept at handling friendships in Superbad. Should be very funny and tinged with bromantic pathos.
The Rum Diary – Depp playing another Hunter S Thompson surrogate is exciting on its own, but more celebratory is the return behind the camera of Bruce Robinson, director of the immortal Withnail and I.
The Social Network – The story itself sounds a little pointless and is pretty well known, but with a script by Sorkin and Fincher in the director’s chair, my curiosity has been sparked. Could be a disaster, but something must have drawn in Fincher and I want to know what it was.
Somewhere – Sofia Coppola is another talent I will always watch and her return, after the underrated Marie Antoinette, will herald the potential Oscar role for Stephen Dorff, an actor who has long been searching for a perfect part to exhibit his skills. The story is about an actor holed up in a hotel who reconnects with his daughter.
We Need to Talk About Kevin – Lynne Ramsay finally returns, after having The Lovely Bones stolen from her and destroyed by Peter Jackson, to take on Lionel Shriver’s book about the aftermath of a school shooting for the parents of the shooter. Will star the always-great Tilda Swinton but Ramsay is the reason to be excited.