Just as websites are finished posting their "Best Films of 2010" articles, moviegoers and critics alike look to what studios will bring to the screen in the new year. Trailers are hot videos online and the TV ads are already showing clips from movies that aren’t releasing for a while. To give a faith perspective on the coming year, this post focuses on what everyone can expect to find at the movie theater in 2011, with special attention to new films with interesting storylines and family-friendly movies.
As expected, studios are dishing out quite a few sequels this year. Kids will be delighted with the return of their favorite characters in releases such as Cars 2 and Kung Fu Panda 2. A Shrek spin-off also is in our future with Puss in Boots releasing next fall. Other franchises with sequels releasing this year are as follows (but not limited to):
- The Twilight Saga (Get your earplugs ready now for the crazed fans),
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part II,
- Johnny Depp returns as Capt. Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides,
- Transformers: Dark of the Moon (Megan Fox-less),
- The Hangover 2, and
- Fast Five (the fifth, yes, fifth, installment of The Fast and the Furious movies).
Superheroes aren’t missing on the line-up either with five major motion pictures releasing in 2011 (The Green Hornet, Thor, X-Men: First Class, Captain America: The First Avenger, and Green Lantern).
Movies that Pique the Interest
A valid argument is often made that Hollywood continuously leans toward remaking classics and pushing out sequels. Though this year will definitely be sequel-heavy, there are a few originals that have sparked my interest.
The Way Back
Plot: Siberian labor camp escapees walk 4,000 miles through Mongolia and Tibet to freedom.
Starring: Ed Harris, Colin Farrell, Jim Sturgess, Saoirse Ronan, Mark Strong
Director: Peter Weir (Master and Commander, The Truman Show, Dead Poets Society)
Rating: PG-13 for violent content, depiction of physical hardships, a nude image and brief strong language.
Opens: January 21
The Interest Factor: Director Peter Weir is responsible for such award-winning hits as Master and Commander, The Truman Show, and Dead Poets Society. That directing power coupled with a ‘based on a true story’ plot about prisoners who escape and then trek across wilderness and mountains to freedom are two reasons that make The Way Back one to watch for in 2011.
The Adjustment Bureau
Plot: An affair between a politician and a ballerina is affected by mysterious forces keeping the lovers apart.
Starring: Matt Damon, Emily Blunt
Director: George Nolfi
Rating: PG-13 for brief strong language, some sexuality and a violent image.
Opens: March 4
The Interest Factor: This romantic thriller examines the age-old debate of fate vs. choice. The Bourne Ultimatum director, George Nolfi, teams up again with Matt Damon as the two, along with English actress Emily Blunt fight against the fate being decided for them. The danger it faces is that it may unintentionally be to Inception-ish for the movie-going audience.
Plot: A troubled husband/executive relies on a beaver hand-puppet to communicate with his family and employees.
Starring: Mel Gibson, Jodie Foster, Anton Yelchin
Director: Jodie Foster
Rating: PG-13 for mature thematic material, some disturbing content, sexuality and language including a drug reference.
Opens: April 8
The Interest Factor: The Beaver is the first major motion picture Mel Gibson has starred in since the recent alleged abuse scandal. The Oscar winner is lacking supporters, so how well this drama does at the box office is in and of itself going to be interesting to watch.
The Tree of Life
Plot: The story centers around a family with three boys in the 1950s. The eldest son experiences loss and wrestles with which way of life to live: the way of grace and the way of nature.
Starring: Brad Pitt, Sean Penn, Jessica Chastain
Director: Terrence Malick
Rating: PG-13 for some thematic material.
Opens: May 27
The Interest Factor: With an intriguing story asking questions about the influence of nature versus faith in life and beauty perfectly capture on film (as evidence by the trailer), The Tree of Life is one to keep an eye on. Curiosity compels me to want to see how director/writer Terrence Malick addresses the subject matter.
Please note: My initial reactions to these films are based solely on trailers and movie info read thus far; Full reviews of newly released films can be found on CBN.com's movie page.