Saturday, 16 July 2011

Upcoming Films 2011

Wait, what? It's been over a year since my last post?! Yeah, and it's not as if I'm going to start boring myself and you, dear readers, by starting properly again either. Consider this a one off. Or something. It's come to my attention that so far 2011 has been a pretty poor year for cinema (I can think of only three proper 2011 releases that I've loved so far) so I've compiled a list of films due to be released later this year for your consideration (and so I have them written down somewhere as not to forget them).

The Future

Director: Miranda July
Release Date: 04/11/11

Story: When a couple decides to adopt a stray cat their perspective on life changes radically, literally altering the course of time and space and testing their faith in each other and themselves.

Anyone who's seen Me, You and Everyone We Know will attest to the talent of July, who hasn't made a film since her début. Judging from this trailer (and the glowing reviews from festival screenings) it'll have been well worth the wait.

Kill List

Director: Ben Wheatley
Release Date: 02/09/11

Story: Eight months after a disastrous job in Kiev left him physically and mentally scarred, ex-soldier turned contract killer Jay, is pressured by his partner Gal, into taking a new assignment. The film follows as they descend into the dark, disturbing world of the contract, Jay begins to unravel once again -- his fear and paranoia sending him deep into the heart of darkness.

Earning more than healthy buzz this festival season, Kill List is being touted as a highly psychological, violent, human and surprising film to keep an eye on.


Director: Nicolas Winding Refn
Release Date: 23/09/11

Story: A Hollywood stunt performer who moonlights as a wheelman discovers that a contract has been put on him after a heist gone wrong.

None of Refn's previous films have managed to impress completely but his latest is getting fantastic reviews so far and feature both Ryan Gosling and Carey Mulligan in a moody thriller about a get-away driver. What more do you want?

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

Director: David Fincher
Release Date: 26/12/11

Story: Journalist Mikael Blomkvist is aided in his search for a woman who has been missing for forty years by Lisbeth Salander, a young computer hacker.

I'll admit I was initially sceptical about this film as I wasn't a big fan of the original film and a remake in general seemed pointless. Then I learnt that Fincher was directing (the man how made one of last year's best films about the beginnings of a social networking website). And then I saw the above trailer. 'Nuff said.


Director: Mike Mills
Release Date: 22/07/11

Story: A young man is rocked by two announcements from his elderly father: that he has terminal cancer, and that he has a young male lover.

Like July, Mills hasn't made a film since his brilliant 2005 début; Thumbsucker. Thanks to a unique story, a promising trailer and the ever beautiful Mélanie Laurent Beginners is shaping to be a highly enjoyable piece of indie film-making.

Super 8

Director: J.J. Abrams
Release Date: 05/08/11

Story: After witnessing a mysterious train crash, a group of friends in the summer of 1979 begin noticing strange happenings going around in their small town, and begin to investigate into the creepy phenomenon.

Since its release in the US some viewers have found Super 8s reverence to 1970s Spielberg a little overbearing but ever since I saw the initial teaser it's been clear that this is going to be a thoroughly exciting cinematic experience, no matter how much it owes to previous films.

The Troll Hunter

Director: André Øvredal
Release Date: 09/09/11

Story: A group of students investigate a series of mysterious bear killings, but learns that there are much more dangerous things going on. They start to follow a mysterious hunter, learning that he is actually a troll hunter.

I've already had the pleasure of watching this film but anyone looking for a unique and fresh take on the faux-documentary/shaky cam formula could do far, far worse than this thrilling (and often hilarious) Norwegian film.

The Thing

Director: Matthijs van Heijningen Jr.
Release Date: 02/12/11

Story: At an Antarctica research site, the discovery of an alien craft leads to a confrontation between graduate student Kate Lloyd and scientist Dr. Sander Halvorson.

As a massive fan of the original it'd be an understatement to suggest that I'm nervous about this prequel. However, the trailer above is in tune with the original's atmosphere (except for the jump scare ending), it's reported that minimal CGI is being used and this teaser poster definitely gives off the right vibes. I'm getting a Dawn of the Dead remake/Let Me In feeling about this project so far and hopefully it won't disappoint.


Director: Jonathan Levine
Release Date: 18/11/11

Story: A comedic account of a 27-year-old guy's cancer diagnosis, and his subsequent struggle to beat the disease.

A comedy about cancer? It's clearly not going to be an easy sell but based on this trailer 50/50 seems to strike the right balance between sensitivity and humour for the subject matter and has a killer duo of lead actors.

Red State

Director: Kevin Smith
Release Date: 30/09/11

Story: Set in Middle America, a group of teens receive an online invitation for sex, though they soon encounter fundamentalists with a much more sinister agenda.

Whilst American critics have praised Smith for working outside of his comfort zone (and it seems to be one hell of a directorial transformation) unfortunately it has also been critised for being uneven in tone and message. Even with this taken into account that's a extremely impressive trailer and there'll no doubt be at least be sections of the film which live up to it's unnerving cinematic approach.

The Guard

Director: John Michael McDonagh
Release Date: 19/08/11

Story: An unorthodox Irish policeman with a confrontational personality is teamed up with an uptight FBI agent to investigate an international drug-smuggling ring.

John Michael McDonagh, brother of Martin (director of the brilliant In Bruges), seems not only to have borrowed his brother's lead actor, but also his wit in this hilarious looking comedy.

30 Minutes or Less

Director: Ruben Fleischer
Release Date: 07/10/11

Story: Two fledgling criminals kidnap a pizza delivery guy, strap a bomb to his chest, and inform him that he has mere hours to rob a bank or else...

After Fleischer's brilliant Zombieland he chose not to follow it up with a sequel (yet), but to focus on this heist-gone-wrong comedy. So what's all the fuss about? Two words: Aziz Ansari. This man is a comedic genius and from the looks of both trailers already released it looks as though he'll be bringing his a-game to this one.


Director: Lars von Trier
Release Date: 30/09/11

Story: Two sisters find their relationship challenged as a nearby planet threatens to collide into the Earth.

Although the festival response to von Trier's latest have suggested it to be little more than a therapy session for the director, Kirsten Dunst's performance has been hailed as exemplary. It'll also be worth watching just for von Treir's signature portrayal of extreme human emotion and breathtaking cinematography.

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

Director: Tomas Alfredson
Release Date: 16/09/11

Story: In the bleak days of the Cold War, espionage veteran George Smiley is forced from semi-retirement to uncover a Soviet agent within MI6's echelons.

Alfredson, director of the brilliant Let the Right One In, is back. For my shame I've not seen the original TTSS but this updated version looks to bring the directors eye for detail and cool restrained style to the screen once again, along with an extremely impressive roster of British actors.

We Need To Talk About Kevin

Director: Lynne Ramsay
Release Date: 21/10/11

Story: The mother of a teenage boy who went on a high-school killing spree tries to deal with her grief -- and feelings of responsibility for her child's actions -- by writing to her estranged husband.

In what appears to be this year's theme, Ramsay also returns to our screens after a prolonged absence(her last film was the impressive 2002 film, Morvern Callar). Based on Lionel Shriver's much-praised novel (which I admittedly have not read) We Need To Talk About Kevin looks to be an extremely uncompromising and effecting film, especially based on the above clip.


Director: Paddy Considine
Release Date: 14/10/11

Story: Joseph, a tormented, self-destructive man plagued by violence, finds hope of redemption in Hannah, a Christian charity-shop worker he meets one day while fleeing an altercation. Initially derisive of her faith and presumed idyllic existence, Joseph nonetheless returns to the shop and soon realizes that Hannah's life is anything but placid. As a relationship develops, they come to understand the deep pain in each other's lives.

Phenomenal English actor Paddy Considine (Dead Man's Shoes, Hot Fuzz) steps behind the camera for the first time to expand upon his short film, Tyrannosaur. No, it's not about dinosaurs, but based upon the original short and the above clip it looks as though Considine may have a modern masterpiece of kitchen-sink drama on his hands.


Director: Evan Glodell
Release Date: TBC

Story: Two friends spend all their free time building flame-throwers and weapons of mass destruction in hopes that a global apocalypse will occur and clear the runway for their imaginary gang "Mother Medusa".

Bellflower is said to be a blend of indie drama, romance, film geekery and post-apocalyptic action. Not an easy mix to juggle but if the trailer and early festival reviews are to be believed it's sure to be a future cult classic. Gotta love that over-saturated cinematography too.

Take Shelter

Director: Jeff Nichols
Release Date: TBC

Story: Plagued by a series of apocalyptic visions, a young husband and father questions whether to shelter his family from a coming storm, or from himself.

Starring the brilliant Michael Shannon, Take Shelter gives off a heavy, intoxicating atmosphere of dread and psychosis which has me aching to see the final thing.


Director: Tarsem Singh
Release Date: 11/11/11

Story: Greek warrior Theseus battles against imprisoned titans.

So yes, it basically looks like 300/Clash of the Titans directed by Tarsem but who wouldn't want to see that? Anyone who's not seen his previous films The Fall and, to a lesser extent, The Cell, that's who. The directors eye for stunning visuals are on full display here (especially the shot of the gravity-free sky battle) and it'll be really interesting to see what Mickey Rourke does with the villainous King Hyperion.

And finally...

The Rum Diary

Director: Bruce Robinson
Release Date: 04/11/11

Story: Paul Kemp is a freelance journalist who finds himself at a critical turning point in his life while writing for a run-down newspaper in the Caribbean. Paul is challenged on many levels as he tries to carve out a more secure niche for himself amidst a group of lost souls all bent on self-destruction.

A film that I'll believe is being released when I see it (and I do so want to see it). The Rum Diary is based upon the novel by Hunter S. Thompson, is directed by the man that brought you Withnail & I and once again stars Johnny Depp as the main protagonist who is (more or less) a representation of the author in question. Although US and UK release dates have been confirmed it's been a film plagued with delays and we've yet to see a single frame of footage. Like I say: I'll believe it when I see it.


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