What to look for in 2011

Posted: Thursday, January 06, 2011

L ess than a week into the New Year, and about half of us have already fallen off the resolution wagon. Right? I happen to know my little sister’s New Year’s Eve declaration (“I won’t eat any cheese!”) lasted less than 48 hours. Me, I didn’t even bother going through the motions of making half-hearted promises to myself. Instead of getting too carried away with life examinations, why not take a look at something we will all be doing at some point in 2011?

If you are one of those folks that have not gone to the movies in, like, forever, then I will make a New Year resolution for you: You will go watch something on the big screen this year. Hey, look at that! A New Year’s resolution you can actually achieve!

With about 500 words left at my disposal, a somewhat random and likely-to-be rushed look at the options on the big screen over the next 359 days:

“Season of the Witch” (Jan. 7) – Nicolas Cage is still getting work. That is the only reason this one’s on the list. Thought you should know.

“The Green Hornet” (Jan. 14) – Raise your hand if you buy Seth Rogen as an action hero. Just… raise your hand. Any hand will do. Just need one volunteer… nobody? Sorry, Seth.

“Scream 4” (April 15) – Yup. And everyone that matters from the 1996 original (Wes Craven, writer Kevin Williamson, Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox and David Arquette) is back.

“X-Men: First Class” (June 3) – It is a prequel. Surely, it can’t be as bad as “X-Men: The Last Stand”… can it? Kevin Bacon is the villain, so it has at least one check in the pro’s column.

“Green Lantern” (June 17) – I like Ryan Reynolds. I like comic book movies. I hate the trailers.

“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II” (July 15) – If you care, you already know.

“Cowboys & Aliens” (July 29) – It is exactly what it sounds like. 1873, cowboys and Indians are doing their thing, but they have to, ah, adjust when aliens enter the picture. Not sold? Let me name drop. The cast features Harrison Ford, Daniel Craig, and Olivia Wilde. Jon Favreau (“Iron Man”) directs and the producers include Steven Spielberg, Ron Howard, and Brian Grazer.

“Thor” (July 29) – Another step toward an eventual “The Avengers” mega-movie. Kenneth Branagh directs Chris Hemsworth as the hero but just for good measure Natalie Portman, Anthony Hopkins and Idris Elba are around, too.

“Contagion” (Oct. 21) – Steven Soderbergh tries to earn back our trust after “Ocean’s Thirteen” (Seriously, how did the “twist” of having Julia Roberts’ character look like the actual Julia Roberts ever make it past the brainstorming phase? I have no evidence, but I blame M. Night Shyamalan.) with a thriller set all over the world about an outbreak of a nasty illness. Matt Damon, Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow and Kate Winslet headline the cast.

“The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part I” (Nov. 18) – Blame Harry Potter for the whole, “Let’s make a five hour movie and then divide it into two parts and make everybody pay twice!” concept. Still, Team Edward, baby!

Finally, at the end of the year, two very interesting projects will hit theaters. On Dec. 23, Spielberg and Peter Jackson are apparently giving us an “Avatar”-style “The Adventure of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn.” Two days later, “The Muppets Movie” is slated for a Christmas Day release (Jason Segel seems to be the face, so to speak, of the flick).

There are, of course, movies I am purposely neglecting to mention (another “Pirates of the Caribbean”? Really?) and some I am definitely going to see but did not have space for (“Fast 5” adds The Rock to the “Fast & Furious” franchise, Chris Evans is “Captain America,” “Mission Impossible — Ghost Protocol” gives us a fourth chapter for Tom Cruise and Ethan Hunt, “Transformers” will try again, “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” gets the American treatment, and “The Hangover 2” will hopefully be at least half as funny as the first one).

A happy New Year? Sure, at least at the movie theater. Keep eating cheese, little sister, because we’ll need it on those movie theater nachos.

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