CAST RYAN GOSLING, CAREY MULLIGAN, RON PERLMAN, CHRISTINA HENDRICKS, BRYAN CRANSTON
DIRECTED BY NICOLAS WINDING REFN
Nicolas Winding Refn has slowly but surely become the filmmaker to watch thanks to his work on Bronson and Valhalla Rising.
Always on the cusp of mega success, Refn’s latest film Drive is sure to provide that push into the mainstream.
Based on the novel written by James Sallis, Drive will star Ryan Gosling as a Hollywood stuntman turned getaway driver, who learns that a contract has been placed on his head.
Featuring a cracker of an ensemble cast that includes Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston, and Ron Perlman, Drive just might be the sleeper hit of 2011.
The film is currently in post production and is eyeing a September release date.
BATTLE: LOS ANGELES
CAST AARON ECKHART, MICHELLE RODRIGUEZ, BRIDGET MOYNAHAN, MICHAEL PENA, TAYLOR HANDLEY
DIRECTED BY JONATAH LIEBESMAN
With Skyline bombing hard, all eyes are now on Battle: Los Angeles to fulfil our alien invasion fix, and if that trailer is anything to go by then we may just have one of the best sci-fi films of the year.
Starring the always solid Aaron Eckhart and fanboy favourite Micelle Rodriguez, Battle: Los Angeles will focus on a Marine platoon doing battle against pesky alien invaders who are packing some serious heat.
Directed by Jonathan Liebesman (Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning), the will feature a blend of mockumentary and faux news reel footage, along with VFX from top notch effects wizards Hydraulx (Avatar, Iron Man).
The battle will begin next March.
CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER
CAST CHRIS EVANS, HUGO WEAVING, HAYLEY ATWELL, STANLEY TUCCI, TOMMY LEE JONES
DIRECTED BY JOE JOHNSTON
For those who have lived through the traumatic experience which was the 1991 straight to video Captain America movie be afraid no longer, for a new film based on the iconic comic book title will soon be upon us.
After a lengthy and much publicised search, superhero movie stalwart Chris Evans will play the “First Avenger” in a film which will take place during WWII, as Captain America takes on the Nazi’s and their champion the Red Skull (Hugo Weaving).
Placed in the capable hands of Joe Johnston (The Wolfman), Captain America: The First Avenger will be the second in a series Marvel Studio productions which will lead to the mega-blockbuster ensemble The Avengers.
July 22 will see its worldwide premiere.
CAST ELLE FANNING, NOAH EMMERICH, AMANDA MICHALKA, KYLE CHANDLER, RON ELDARD
DIRECTED BY J.J. ABRAMS
Little is known about J.J. Abram’ latest sci-fi thriller, except that it may involve an alien invasion of sorts and that it will be heavily influenced by Steven Spielberg’s work from the 70s/80s (he will also produce).
Yet judging from that tasty little morsel of a teaser trailer, Super 8 is sure to have Abrams at his patented best, keeping the lid on his mysterious new mystery before its June release date.
Until then, we just have to rely on repeated viewing if Star Trek to tide us over.
CAST CHRIS HEMSWORTH, NATALIE PORTMAN, TOM HIDDLESTON, IDRIS ELBA, ANTHONY HOPKINS
DIRECTED BY KENNETH BRANAGH
First part of Marvel’s lead up to The Avengers is sure to be as ambitious in scope as it is in story.
It was always going to be a tricky process adapting Thor to the big screen, with its epic stature and Norse mythology. Yet adapt is what director Kenneth Branagh has done, and if what we’ve seen so far is any indication, than we might have a new fantasy classic on our hands (or at least something to tide us over until The Hobbit arrives).
Newcomer Chris Hemsworth will star as Thor, the heroic God of Thunder banished from the kingdom of Asgard due to his rebellious attitude toward the All Father (i.e. God) Odin, played by Anthony Hopkins.
Natalie Portman will co-star as a love interest, and Tom Hiddleston will portray the mischievous Loki, yet it is Hemsworth which we will be expecting great things from.
Come next May, we will soon find out.
THE RUM DIARY
CAST JOHNNY DEPP, AARON ECKHART AMBER HEARD, GIOVANNI RIBISI, RICHARD JENKINS
DIRECTED BY BRUCE ROBINSON
Don’t let those double Golden Globe nominations full you: it has not been a good year for Johnny Depp, with Alice in Wonderland and The Tourist marking career lows for the eccentric thesp.
Yet the combination of late gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson and writer/director Bruce Robinson (Withnail and I) just might be the remedy to put Depp back on track, as the combine forces in the highly anticipated drama TheRum Diary.
Based on Thompson’s novel of the same name, Depp will stars as a freelance journalist who travels from New York to Puerto Rico to write for run-down newspaper, drowning himself in rum and obsessing over the fiancé (Amber Heard) of a business man (Aaron Eckhart) he has befriended.
Originally set for release in 2010, The Rum Diary will drop sometime next year.
X-MEN: FIRST CLASS
CAST JAMES McAVOY, MICHAEL FASSBENDER, JENNIFER LAWRENCE, JANUARY JONES, KEVIN BACON
DIRECTED BY MATTHEW VAUGHN
While Kick-Ass was overrated dribble, there were moments within its sadistic exploitation that showed Matthew Vaughn can be great genre director given the right material.
That time has now come in the guise of superhero prequel X-Men: First Class, and with a top notch cast headlined by James McAvoy and Charles Xavier, Michael Fassbender as Magneto, and Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique this just might well be the best comic book movie to emerge in a year packed with contenders.
Little has been released in terms of images and marketing materials, but what has been confirmed is that class will be in session come early June.
COWBOYS & ALIENS
CAST DANIEL CRAIG, HARRISON FORD, OLIVIA WILDE, SAM ROCKWELL, PAUL DANO
DIRECTED BY JON FAVREAU
Why do I have a feeling that come next July we’re gonna be wondering “Iron Who?” when this genre mash is released?
No, director Jon Favreau will not return for a third round with Robert Downey Jr. on Iron Man 3. Instead he will return to the screens with none other than Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford, in what promises to be the best genre film of 2011, Cowboys & Aliens.
Based on the Platinum Studios comic book, which was adapted by Star Trek scribes Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, Cowboys & Aliens will star Craig and Ford as rival cowboys who must put their differences aside when an alien spaceship drops into town.
Even though Olivia Wilde and Sam Rockwell provide support, and the concept just plain kicks ass, it is the idea of Ford headlining an action adventure which provides goosebumps. Welcome home, good sir!
MEL GIBSON, JODIE FOSTER, ANTON YELCHIN, JENNIFER LAWRENCE, RILEY THOMAS STEWART
Let’s face facts: Mel Gibson will never recover from his disastrous personal scandals. But that doesn’t mean he won’t star in great films, and The Beaver looks like it could be Gibson’s best in some time.
Plucked from the famed Black List and brought to life by actor/director Jodie Foster, The Beaver star’s Gibson as a depressed CEO of a toy company who dons a beaver hand puppet to better communicate with his family.
Originally set for a run during the current awards season, The Beaver found itself in temporary limbo after Gibson found himself embroiled in scandal once again.
An April release date has been set, and if word of mouth is true than this might be one of the best films to come next year.
One of the biggest disappointments of 2010 was the constant delays which saw The Tree of Life pushed back from a December release to a now confirmed May date (knock on wood).
Of course being a Terrence Malick film, such delays are unavoidable. Yet in the mean time we have been treated with a preview of what to expect, with images and a tremendously good trailer filling in the time until the master reveals his new work of art.
Brad Pitt and Sean Penn will star as an estranged father and son in a mostly 1950s period piece of a Midwestern boy’s journey from the innocence of childhood, to his disillusioned adult years as a "lost soul in the modern world”.
Little has been revealed in regards to the two other features set to be released at the same time, one an IMAX release titled Voyage of Time and the other a film that is neither a feature nor an IMAX release, but something different altogether.
Oh, and supposedly there will be dinosaurs.
A Malick film is indeed a rare thing (it has been 5 years since The New World). That makes The Tree of Life an event worth anticipating.