Eleven Films for ’11

We select the eleven films we're most looking forward to in 2011...

1. 127 Hours
UK Release: 7th January
Already hugely controversial despite only having done the festival rounds, 127 Hours follows the torturous five days endured by a mountain climber after he is trapped by a boulder after falling whilst canyoneering. Whether the promise of seeing James Franco hack his arm off allures or you’re simply a Danny Boyle fan, one thing’s for sure – 127 Hours is a film not to be missed. Already the centre of conversation in the movie-world, the film is set to get chins wagging globally – but don’t let the rumours around its gory content disguise the film’s other aspects. Franco’s character, dominating the film’s 94 minute runtime, suffers great psychological trauma and, having based his performance on actual footage produced by the real-life Aron Ralston, Franco is set to give the performance of his career.

Bradley says: “From early audience reaction a sick bag may be required”.

2. The King’s Speech
UK Release: 7th January
Hotly tipped for Oscar recognition, The King’s Speech follows Colin Firth’s King George VI’s attempts to overcome his speech-debilitating stammer after he is catapulted into the regal spotlight when his brother abdicates. Having to lead the country during a torturous world war, his ability to give inspiring speeches is intensified. Enter Geoffrey Rush as Lionel Logue, a speech therapist renowned for his unorthodox methods. Having achieved award-season buzz and captured critic’s attention, The King’s Speech is set to become a classic.

Bradley says: With Helena Bonham Carter hanging up her usual oddball attire to play the Queen Mother, The King’s Speech promises to defy convention.

3. Green Lantern
UK Release: 17th June
Until recently Ryan Reynolds has starred in countless humdrum romantic comedies. Green Lantern poses to free him from such shackles and propel him into the world of superhero adaptations. Having glimpsed his capabilities in X Men Origins: Wolverine where he played the bald eyelidless villain Deadpool (who, coincidently, is set for his own feature film in 2012), Green Lantern promises to let Reynolds shine. Donning a completely CGI all-in-one superhero look, Reynolds stars as the film’s hero, the super-hero-esque alter-ego of test pilot Hal Jordan. When he is given a powerful ring he joins the forces of a mighty group who hold the ability to maintain peace in the universe.

Bradley says: “With comic book adaps still being the in-thing in Hollywood, Green Lantern is sure to be cinema-friendly when it is released in June”.

4. Paul
UK Release: 18th February
Simon Pegg and Nick Frost reunite, this time without the aid of director pal Edgar Wright, to tell the tale of Paul. Playing comic book geeks shouldn’t be too much of a stretch for the duo as they journey across the U.S. to pay homage to their UFO geekishness. Little do they know that they’re about to get more than they could ever have bargained for from their trip when they meet Paul, a small alien voiced by Seth Rogen who has escaped from Area 51. A fumbling adventure ensues filled with misconstrued antics and frolics that is sure to delight both Pegg/Frost fanatics as well as comedy lovers.

Bradley says: The bromance between Frost and Pegg is sure to provide the film with entertaining central characters, and the inclusion of Sigourney Weaver and Rogen will only add the likeability of the film.

5. Thor
UK Release: 29th April
Thor is set to one of the boldest and most extravagant comic book adaptations. Focusing on the outcome of the fall from grace suffered by the fierce warrior Thor, the film sees the God-like Thor banished from Asgard (after giving life to a war long forgotten) to a life on Earth. With Kenneth Brannagh in the director’s seat, Thor is sure to live up to its hype. Due to his reputation, the casting of Thor had to be exact to ensure the muscle-man could believably wield his infamous hammer. Enter Chris Hemsworth, aka Kirk’s Dad who got prematurely killed off in J. J. Abram’s reimagining of Star Trek in 2009. Natalie Portman fills the role of love interest while Anthony Hopkins appears as Thor’s father Odin.

Bradley says: “Thor’s appeal will no doubt be enhanced by the promise of its 3D making it one to watch for comic book fans and 3D lovers alike.

6. The Adjustment Bureau
UK Release: 4th March
Thanks to Team America there are very few times that Matt Damon’s name isn’t followed by several retarded echoes but thankfully that hasn’t tarnished his film making. Based on a story from Philip K. Dick, the man who inspired such films as Minority Report and Blade Runner, The Adjustment Bureau is set to follow in the footsteps of serious head fuck Inception(whose release, rumour has it, saw this film shelved for a year). Following David Norris (Damon)’s attempts to challenge his fate when he happens across Elise (Emily Blunt), The Adjustment Bureau questions the reality of destiny and fate. With men in suits appearing when Damon veers off of his predetermined path the film promises to provide some meaty brain food.

Bradley says: “As enticing as the film may be, it doesn’t answer one fundamental question… why is Matt Damon wearing that ridiculous hat?”

7. Black Swan
UK Release: 21st January
Already having has received huge press coverage, Darren ‘director of The Wrestler’ Aronofsky’s Black Swan follows Natalie Portman’s Nina’s psychological deterioration as she faces fierce rivalry in the production of Swan Lake. With Nina fitting the role of the White Swan perfectly and Lily (Mila ‘Meg from Family Guy’ Kunis) being perfect for the role of the Black Swan, the two form an unlikely relationship that will see only one of them getting the part of the famous swan lead. The gruelling commitment required of its cast measn that no bars have been held with Black Swan. Winona Ryder also prophetically appears as an ageing dancer (which could read as actress) who is replaced by younger models.

Bradley says: “Being neither sequel nor adaptation, Black Swan promises to provide 2011 with something fresh”.

8. The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn
UK Release: 26th October
Not much is known about this Spielberg-Jackson collaboration, but here’s what we do know; 1. The film is using the increasingly popular motion capture technology that made films such as Avatar and Tron: Legacy possible. 2. Jamie Bell stars as the eponymous hero, Andy Serkis (now a mo-cap veteran) appears as Captain Haddock, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost as Thompson and Thompson whilst Daniel Craig is set to star as Red Rackham. 3. The film will take the form of a treasure hunt… and that’s about all we know. Empire ran an interesting preview special in 2010 but the project still remains fairly tight-lipped…

Bradley says: “With Spielberg and Jackson at the helm it seems the film will do no wrong… they just have to please the countless hoards of Tintin fans who grew up with the boy detective”.

9. Cowboys and Aliens
UK Release: 12th August
Indiana Jones and James Bond onscreen together – a cinema-lover’s dream becomes reality in Cowboys and Aliens with Ford and Craig taking the leads. Directed by action buff Jon Favreau the premise behind the film is so simple it’s amazing it hasn’t been done before. A spaceship arrives in the Wild West only to meet the wrath of a group of cowboys, melding two of cinema’s biggest genres. With the coverage the film has already received and the eight month wait left for those anticipating the film’s release, Cowboys and Aliens is still a long way off…

Bradley says: “If Cowboys and Aliens pulls its task off well it may spark a spate of genre-mixing films – watch this space”.

10. Never Let Me Go
UK Release: 11th February
Kazuo Ishiguro’s 2005 novel is latest booker prize nominated literary adaptation to hit cinemas. Telling the story of Kathy H and her Hailsham friends Ruth and Tommy, Never Let Me Go is set in an alt-modern-day Britain where cloning has cured fatal diseases but has left society with ethical dilemmas. One of the film’s conquering achievements, from trailers and sneak pictures alone, is the perfect casting, matching child actors with their adult counterparts (namely Carey Mulligan, Keira Knightly and Andrew Garfield). A depressingly bleak tale, Never Let Me Go promises to lift the heart-breaking scenes from Ishiguro’s original and beautifully retell them.

Bradley says: “Read our review of the original novel here“.

11. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2
UK Release: 15th July
The end of an era awaits… Having reigned at the top of cinema listings for the last decade, the Harry Potter is set to finish with a dramatic finale this July. Fans of Potter will have already read how Potter and co. Fare against Voldemort in the final battle but, for the sake of cinema-goers, we’ll leave the facts as a surprise. Needless to say the tedium posed by the tent in Part 1 is a thing of the past and is replaced by rip-roaring battle scenes and a show-down that is set to put other show-downs in the franchise to shame. Who dies and who survives is left to be discovered…

Bradley says: “Sure to get Potter fans blubbing, whether you like Potter or not, HPATDHP2 (catchy, eh?) is the end of a cinematic era. Bye Potter!”

Twenty other films to look out for in 2011…

12. The Fighter (4th February), 13. True Grit (11th February), 14. I Am Number Four (18th February), 15. West is West (25th February), 16. Rango (4th March), 17. Battle Los Angeles (11th March), 18. Hop (1st April), 19. Sucker Punch (1st April), 20. Red Riding Hood (15th April), 21. Scream 4 (15th April), 22. Source Code (22nd April), 23. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (18th May), 24. The Hangover Part II (27th May), 25. X Men: First Class (2 June), 26. Captain America: The First Avenger (29th July), 27. The Smurfs (3rd August), 28. Twilight: Breaking Dawn, Part 1 (18th November), 29. Puss in Boots (9th December),  30. Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (16th December), 31. Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (26th December)


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