I was having a conversation with a friend after having seen Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes and expressed my disappointment. The mere fact that I could be disappointed meant that I had some level of expectation the film just didn’t seem to meet.
I’m the type of person who has three or four movie sites I visit every day to gather my news information. I watch trailers incessantly. I read Roger Ebert’s reviews every Friday. I saw fifty-nine movies in theaters last year. Is that all that were released? No, but more than one per week. Coupled with all the films I watch and re-watch at home, I consider myself to be a huge movie fan. I’m aware that there are people out there more fanatical than I. That happens.
However, I’ve had the thought every once in a while and re-registered the notion in the conversation with my friend, what would happen if I refused to read anything about what a movie is about (to go in completely surprised) or read any reviews (thus staving off perhaps swaying my opinion and my expectations of them). I’d done a lot of thought about this and would like to try this little experiment out myself. I’ve been so envious when Ebert every once in a while mentions he had no idea what to expect from a film, as he mustn’t even see trailers when he attends his press screenings. The idea that I could see a movie with a completely blank slate is probably impossible. If I don’t read any reviews, how do I know what I should see? I’m not going to go to the theater each Friday and blindly pick one of the new titles. That’s just not going to happen. There are also certain filmmakers’ works I just NEED to see. I don’t want to miss out. So, I think I’ve come to the conclusion that I’ll obviously be forced into seeing the trailers in front of the films I see in the theater and just to get a little bit more exposure to smaller films, I’ll watch “The Ultimate Trailer Show” on HDNet. I won’t seek trailers out. I won’t hunt down information about each film. I’ll try to keep my judgments to a minimum only enough to tell myself whether I feel I should seek out a particular film or not. I’m not the New Year’s Resolution type, but this timing happens to correspond pretty nicely.
Although what I just said above I’ll attempt to hold true, there are still a list of 20 films I look forward to seeing this year. I’m sure I’ll be disappointed by some and I naturally know a bit about each and the hype surrounding them, but that’s what it takes to put together a list like this.
Please note: The Wolfman and Shutter Island are not on this list, because they were on last year’s list. I still look forward to seeing them, however.
Here they are, in alphabetical order:
Alice in Wonderland
I wouldn’t consider myself a Tim Burton fan, but I’m curious to see his take on this age-old tale. Helena Bonham Carter looking like she just got hit with the “Big Head” code in NBA Jam looks amusing. Of course, I also enjoy myself some Anne Hathaway.
Cloon-dog plays an assassin who hides out in a village to shroud his identity. His presence is the reason for my interest in this.
Dinner for Schmucks
An adaptation of a French film that I’ve yet to see, but is consistently touted about a group of people who play a game where the players are supposed to bring the stupidest people they can find to dinner. Sacha Baron Cohen (whose Bruno I just got on Blu-ray today) was once supposed to star. Now it’s Paul Rudd and Steve Carrell. Still.
Zach Galifianakis continues to rise after his turn in The Hangover. This time in kind of a Midnight Run situation with Robert Downey Jr. Gotta like the comedic chops on display in this one.
Green Hornet, The
If I could only see three movies this year, this would be one of them. I’m serious. Seth Rogen wrote the script with Evan Goldberg, to be directed by Michel Gondry. It was huge news to me when it was announced and my excitement remains. I couldn’t imagine a more interesting choice and this just has to be one of the most intriguing films of the year.
The trailer underwhelmed me. It looks like Bourne in the Army, when I was hoping for something at least slightly different. However, I don’t want to underestimate what Paul Greengrass can do.
“Director, Clint Eastwood.” If you read my Movies of the Decade list, you’ll find those words used to mean nothing to me. Now, they mean a lot. He’s directing a supernatural thriller this time out which normally wouldn’t intrigue me, but because he’s at the helm, I’ve got to root for him.
I’m glad the trailers have told me nothing. With my little experiment, I assume I’ll stay that way until I’m parked in a theater seat. It just looks mind-bendingly insane.
Iron Man 2
The first IM was very cool. Downey proved to be a great choice and the scene with Whiplash banging his electricity-crackling whips on the ground in the trailer looks beautiful.
Sadly, there’s been WAY too much hype surrounding this film. It probably won’t die down for me in the next three months. I need to see exactly what it’s all about. I’ve at least refused to watch the redband trailer that’s been put out there.
Last Airbender, The
I still like Shyamalan. Do I have faith in him? Probably not, but I do root for him. I liked the two-shot teaser that was released. The tons of ships being slowly revealed brings a shiver to my spine. I’ve never seen the show it’s based on, nor do I care to.
Nightmare on Elm Street, A
I couldn’t care less about the Nightmare of Elm Street series. I’m all about Jackie Earle Haley, though, and he is THE reason I can’t wait to check this one out.
Other Guys, The
Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg, directed by Adam McKay. I have yet to be truly wowed by the Ferrell/McKay team, but still look forward to when they do.
I’m not a rabid fanboy of the Predator series, as I’ve only seen the first installment. I re-watched it a few months ago and it still holds up. Robert Rodriguez’s script sounds like it has a good basis to it, so I say “bring it on.”
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
Another comic-book based film in which I’m completely unfamiliar with the source, but it doesn’t temper my hopes for it. Edgar Wright’s proven to be a visual stylist.
Social Network, The
I was thrown off by the idea of David Fincher doing a Facebook movie for the longest time. It still seems an odd choice, but over time I’ve grown extremely interested. I even downloaded an audiobook of the original novel. But, maybe now I shouldn’t listen to it.
Toy Story 3
Pixar. You know each film you make will make this list on a yearly basis. I’m somewhat worried about it being another sequel of course, but I have no reason to believe this won’t be as great as any other of their entries.
Tree of Life, The
This is the one that may or may not come out this year. Who knows? It’s Terrence Malick. It stars Brad Pitt and Sean Penn. Supposedly there are going to be dinosaurs. No more info needed.
Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps
I’m a moderate fan of Wall Street. I’ve only seen it once, but enjoyed it and admired Stone’s directorial flourish. I still like Shia LaBeouf as an actor, no matter what people say about him. This has me very intrigued.
I’ve read other “Most Anticipated” lists and although not stated why, I’ve read that I should be looking forward to this. Danny McBride, James Franco, Natalie Portman and David Gordon Green at the helm at least provides some reason for interest.