Tentpoles That Hopefully Are Fun, Indies That May Or May Not Be Quality, Etc.
You could see our annual three sets of anticipated film features like this: the Most Anticipated is an earnest example of the films we’re truly looking forward to the most in that year, with a few caveats listed within if you read closely (i.e., we’re looking forward to it, but the writing might be on the wall). Then our Escapist, Popcorn piece is more like: these are the fun, entertaining films of the year that may or may not be good. For us and our taste, it’s always a bit of a toss up and history shows that we’re generally on the money in terms of how we’ll feel about the eventual product (not because we’re biased, but because we know our own taste, blah, blah, blah). That said, we always try and remain as positive as possible. Frankly, if you’re going to make super-hero films, sci-fi action films, fantasy/adventure films, etc. we want them to be good as touchstones such as “The Dark Knight,” “The Lord Of The Rings,” “Inception,” etc., but obviously those films set the bar a little higher than what your average film from these genres generally aim for.
Anywhoo, so these are just that: the entertainment, escapist popcorn films of 2011 that we’re looking forward to/tracking. Not all of them are tentpoles and you may see a few rom-coms and or even indies that we might not be 100% sure about, therefore not including them in our highly scientific “most anticipated” lists (got that?). Or as a recent reader snarked, this is a continuation of our “Every Film Released In 2011” feature. So be it, and anyway you want to look at it is fine by us. Let’s get to it, but yes, obviously certain audiences have many of these films in their utmost most anticipated films and others don’t.
“Captain America: The First Avenger” – Paramount – dir. Joe Johnston
Synopsis: A frail boy enlists in World War II, but isn’t strong enough for the army. Aided by a special serum, he becomes a true hero, and battles Nazi villain, The Red Skull.
What You Need To Know: The fourth and final pre-“Avengers” Marvel movie, and perhaps the most iconic of their heroes, signs were a little patchy about this one, particularly with director Joe Johnston, never exactly an A-lister, coming off the execrable “The Wolfman.” But the cast is the best of any Marvel movie so far. Chris Evans was probably the best choice of those up for the role, and he’s joined by Hugo Weaving, Hayley Atwell, Tommy Lee Jones, Toby Jones, Stanley Tucci and Dominic Cooper. And, while a trailer won’t appear until early into the year, the stills have been sort of promising, and the World War II setting could bring something fresh to the increasingly tired superhero flick. Maybe it’s just that it looks better than summer competition “Thor” and “Green Lantern,” simply because it’s rooted in reality and there are less goofy effects, but one to file under “cautious optimism.”
Release Date: July 22, 2011
“The Green Hornet” – Sony – dir. Michel Gondry
Synopsis: Newspaper publisher Britt Reid takes to the streets at night as masked vigilante the Green Hornet.
What You Need To Know: The behind-the-scenes pedigree is there, with Michel Gondry finally playing in a studio sandbox for once — on a superhero picture no less. Star Seth Rogen, who penned the script with writing buddy Evan Goldberg, seemed to understand basic action beats in “Pineapple Express” and is interested in exploring the mythos of the pulp character with a straight face, while also delving into the friendship between the hero and his chauffeur/sidekick, Kato. The departure of Stephen Chow was a blow to everyone’s confidence, but it was probably a case of too many alpha males on set, and the film’s been peppered with colorful faces like Tom Wilkinson, Cameron Diaz, Edward James Olmos and the great Christoph Waltz of “Inglourious Basterds,” here playing another baddie. A late stage conversion to 3D and a bump to a January release seemed to forecast a misfire (plus rumors that the studio was unhappy with the picture), but early screenings for nerds have gone over well and this one might just be the whimsical comic movie we’re hoping for.
Release Date: January 14, 2011
“Sucker Punch” – Warner Bros. – dir. Zack Snyder
Synopsis: A teenage girl is committed to an insane asylum by her vicious stepfather, and, along with those institutionalized with her, flees into a fantasy world to plan an escape before she’s lobotomized.
What You Need To Know: Zack Snyder made a fairly promising debut with the surprisingly decent remake of “Dawn of the Dead.” Since then, he’s shown himself capable of framing a pretty image, but not much more: “Watchmen,” “300” and “Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole” were all empty showcases of style and gore which suggested he’s got a tin ear for character, plotting and music. “Sucker Punch,” like “Inception,” marks Warner Bros. giving the keys to the place to keep favor with the helmer, signing off on a mega-budgeted passion project that seems likely to be a culmination of everything the director’s been working towards. Fans of Snyder will be thrilled. Us? Not so much. Although for the most part, the cast which includes, among others, Scott Glenn, Abbie Cornish and Jon Hamm, are better than the ones that Snyder’s used to working with. Since this is the man that will eventually be directing “Superman: Man of Steel,” we’re hoping, at least for that film’s sake, that he’ll have figured out the style-versus-substance ratio already.
Release Date: March 25, 2011
“Limitless” – Relativity – dir. Neil Burger
Synopsis: A writer whose dependency on a designer “viagra for the brain” drug — which makes one more intelligent — hits a stumbling block when his stocks dwindle and dangerous side-effects affect his sanity. The writer must then venture into the drug’s dark past to feed his habit all while suffering the drug’s side effects of sanity splitting headaches, spontaneous blackouts and violent outbursts.
What You Need To Know: We don’t know what to make of this one really. The trailer plays like a jacked up version of the “Seinfeld” episode where George stops having sex and becomes a genius pretty much overnight, except in this case it’s not lack of intercourse, but a wacky drug that gives Bradley Cooper his brain powers. We admit, the premise is actually pretty cool and with Cooper, Robert De Niro and Abbie Cornish, we hope there’s more than currently meets the eye. At the very least, Neil Burger has the potential to break out with this film after helming distinguished looking but unremarkable pics like “The Illusionist” and “The Lucky Ones.”
Release Date: March 25, 2011
“Thor” – Paramount – dir. Kenneth Branagh
Synopsis: The youthful Norse God of Thunder is banished to Midgard for his vanity and ego, only to find himself needed to avoid an Asgardian coup by half-brother Loki.
What You Need To Know: Okay, that synopsis kinda read like Greek, didn’t it? Well, not to worry, because someone in line to see “Thor” will likely be a big fan of the character and happy to explain it all. Chris Hemsworth steps into the mighty boots of the hammer-swinging hero of the mythical plane of Asgard, who is forced to survive on Earth for being a superpowered showoff. Along the way, he romances a nurse (Natalie Portman) while discovering that his father Odin (Anthony Hopkins) is being usurped by Loki, the God of Mischief (Tom Hiddleston). Super battles ensue, but director Kenneth Branagh is an inspired choice for the director’s chair in that he understands the tenets of High Drama, which will be necessary since not only do these superhero movies cling to their formulas, but we know full well our hero survives, given that he will be fighting alongside 2012’s “Avengers.”
Release Date: May 5, 2011
“Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” – Disney – dir. Rob Marshall
Synopsis: Captain Jack Sparrow chases down the Fountain of Youth.
What You Need To Know: It isn’t a question of whether or not the fourth entry in the hugely successful ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ franchise will be successful, it’s if we’ll enjoy it. The latest installment comes in 3D (natch) with a mix of regulars and newcomers rounding out the cast with Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush, Penelope Cruz, Ian McShane, Stephen Graham, Richard Griffiths, Keith Richards, Judi Dench, Sam Clafin and Astrid Berges-Frisby all on board. Yes, Captain Jack Sparrow is a great character and pretty much a hand-in-glove type role for Depp, but we just hope that the script this time is a bit more streamlined and less confusing because the last thing we want to do is yet again, sit through 2 1/2 hours of pirates splish-splashing around while we wonder what the hell is going on.
Release Date: May 25, 2011
“Green Lantern” – Warner Bros. – dir. Martin Campbell
Synopsis: Test pilot Hal Jordan encounters a crash-landed alien spacecraft, the inhabitants of which grant him a magic ring with untold powers and a membership in an intergalactic police force.
What You Need To Know: After Superman and Batman, Warner Bros. has anointed Green Lantern to be their next big hero, with a huge budget (rumored to be $200 million-ish), a big star (Ryan Reynolds) and a major director in Martin Campbell, who previously started one strong franchise (“The Mask of Zorro”) and rebooted another twice (“Goldeneye,” “Casino Royale”). Oh, did we mention that Campbell also brought us turgid slop like “Beyond Borders” and “Vertical Limit”? And that his strengths lie in practical effects when this science-fiction premise will rely on wall-to-wall CGI? The script we read awhile ago suggested a passable superhero picture if all the right decisions were being made, but that was before the milquetoast casting of hunky Steve Guttenberg manque Reynolds and the decision to drown the entire production on a fizzy green special effect that only strains the eyes. Oh, and Peter Sarsgaard as the least-threatening actor to ever portray a comic book villain. Maybe the co-starring cast of Blake Lively, Mark Strong and Temuera Morrison can help things along.
Release Date: June 17, 2011
“Real Steel” – Buena Vista – dir. Shawn Levy
Synopsis: A father-son team train a robot to win a mechanized boxing circuit championship after the father’s fall from glory as an actual human boxer.
What You Need To Know: Basically, this is a robot boxing movie. Correction: this is an expensive robot boxing movie boasting an $80 million price tag. Call it “Rocky” for robots. This certainly has to be one of the strangest boxing movies to come down the line in a while, but we figure the father/son bond and the redemption of the family patriarch will be narrative hook we’re supposed to hold on to. But let’s face it, most people will be planting their asses in seats to see some shiny robots tear each other to shreds. Big dumb fun? Or just big and dumb? Hugh Jackman stars along with Evangeline Lilly, Kevin Durand, Anthony Mackie, Hope Davis and newcomer Dakota Goyo . Shawn Levy, known for his high-concept “Night at the Museum” films directs, but he’s not uncomfortable in the CGI realm.
Release Date: October 7, 2011
“Dredd” – Lionsgate – dir. Pete Travis
Synopsis: In the post-apocalyptic dystopia, the lawmen act as judge, jury and executioner. The remorseless Judge Dredd is teamed with a young psychic, Rookie Anderson, to battle the dealers of a new drug, SLO-MO.
What You Need To Know: The ’90s were not kind to the comic book movie, but few were quite as bad as the Sylvester Stallone– starring “Judge Dredd,” which took the beloved 2000AD character and watered it down beyond recognition. But DNA Films are trying another, more faithful stab with Karl Urban as the Dirty Harry-inspired supercop (who won’t remove his iconic helmet, as in the comics) and “Juno” star Olivia Thirlby as his apprentice. The main reason we’re optimistic for this one (being shot “District 9“-style in South Africa by “Vantage Point” director Pete Travis) is the script, from “Sunshine” and “Never Let Me Go” writer Alex Garland. It’s a taut, economical, firmly R-rated actioner with echoes of early John Carpenter and Paul Verhoeven. Of all the comic book adaptations of 2011, this might be the one we’re looking forward to most. That said, Garland admitted it was a paycheck gig, not a work of passion, and who knows how much they fucked with it after he submitted it.
Release Date: December 1, 2011 (U.K.), TBD (U.S.)
“Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol” – Paramount – dir. Brad Bird
Synopsis: Exact plot details are under wraps, but we know it’ll see Ethan Hunt and the Impossible Mission Force, with some new recruits, take on a trio of villains.
What You Need To Know: The only reason that you can’t say that the ‘Mission: Impossible‘ franchise suffers from declining returns is that the second film is by far the worst of the trilogy. But that shouldn’t be read as a defense of J.J. Abrams‘ third entry, which is sometimes interesting, but mostly feels like a long episode of “Alias.” Abrams returns, but as a producer, while animation genius Brad Bird (“The Iron Giant,” “The Incredibles“) makes his live-action debut in his place. Bird’s the big selling point for us, and one of the few helmers that could have interested us in this one, but it remains to be seen if he’ll have the same chops in live-action. Jeremy Renner joins the cast this time out, with the idea that he may take over the franchise from Tom Cruise at some stage, but this one’ll have to really be special for the series to get that kind of extension. Simon Pegg, Paula Patton, Josh Holloway, Anil Kapoor, Léa Seydoux and Michael Nyqvist co-star.
Release Date: December 16, 2011
“Red State” – TBD – dir. Kevin Smith
Synopsis: A Middle America preacher with conservative values spreads hate, and eventually murder.
What Do You Need To Know: Kevin Smith has been talking about this movie alongside “Fletch Won” and “Ranger Danger” as potential films he would tackle if he ever developed a set of balls (excuse our French, his words are usually a bit more graphic). As such, the film has happened — a supposed ultra-low budget horror film about the corrupting nature of conservative values in small town America taken to their extremes. If done well, this should be an upsetting, disquieting film, and ideally one of the year’s most powerful. Then there’s the reminder that this is Kevin “Cock Joke” Smith involved, a filmmaker who hasn’t grown since his debut in the early ’90s. Still, the idea is so ripe that it would be really difficult to screw this up and an early teaser trailer was strikingly good. Smith has labeled us a hater on Twitter. We say, ball’s in your court, prove us wrong.
Release Date: TBD, Sundance Premiere
“Warrior” – Lionsgate – dir. Gavin O’Connor
Synopsis: The youngest son (Tom Hardy) of an alcoholic former boxer (Nick Nolte) returns home, where he’s trained by his father for competition in a mixed martial arts tournament.
What You Need To Know: Yet another film about the phenomenon known as Mixed Martial Arts? We know what you’re thinking but underneath that exterior, this film is reportedly a hearty, family drama. We’re inclined to call it a poor man’s “The Fighter,” but with Nick Nolte as the paternal figure and rising stars Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton as the two sons, this could end up being a strong B-grade work. Jennifer Morrison, Noah Emmerich, Kevin Dunn and Denzel Whitaker co-star and Gavin O’Connor‘s last effort is “Pride and Glory,” which ended up being fairly familiar, but showed promise.
Release Date: September 9, 2011
“This Means War” – 20th Century Fox – dir. McG
Synopsis: Two spies and best friends wage war over one woman.
What You Need To Know: In development for nearly a decade and with a battery of writers taking a stab at the script, don’t be surprised if this turns about to be an “A-Team”-sized disaster. And with McG at the helm, our hopes are certainly tempered. If we have any interest in this one, it’s due to leading men Chris Pine and Tom Hardy, two easily likable, effortlessly charming stars-on-the-rise that are a pure joy to watch on screen. But Reese Witherspoon as the object of affection that leads to these two super spies fighting? Really? We may need some convincing on that one.
Release Date: TBD
“Rise of the Apes” – 20th Century Fox – dir. Rupert Wyatt
Synopsis: An origin story for the franchise that tracks the rise of super intelligent apes.
What You Need To Know: This is Fox’s second attempt to bring back the ape franchise following Tim Burton’s failed go of it, and they’ve gone with lesser known (and cheaper) talent this time around, tasking Brit director Rupert Wyatt (“The Escapist”) to bring their apes to life. The likely-to-be-Oscar-nominated James Franco will step into his first tentpole in some time (one that isn’t a stoner comedy or a “Spider-Man” film) and as “127 Hours” proved, he’s got far more skills that anyone gives him credit for. The real question is whether or not a story about super-intelligent primates even resonates any more and we’ll need to see some convincing trailers to make us feel good about this one. But if Franco can bring the palpable sense of desperation from his “127 Hours” turn here and if Wyatt keeps the action and thrills brisk, we’ll gladly give in to ape goofiness. And hell, with Andy Serkis, Brian Cox, Freida Pinto and the always awesome John Lithgow, this can’t go wrong. Can it?
Release Date: June 24, 2011
“Man on a Ledge” – Summit Entertainment – dir. Asger Leth
Synopsis: An ex-cop-turned-conman threatens to jump to his death from a Manhattan hotel rooftop. Unbeknownst to the police on the scene, the suicide attempt is a cover for the biggest diamond heist ever pulled.
What You Need To Know: A common theme cropping up among our 2011 lists is “will-this-finally-be-the-film-that-proves-that-Sam-Worthington-can-do-more-than-react-against-a-green-screen”? So yeah, once again, we have the same question going into this one. The picture has a pretty nifty high-concept premise and with a great cast in place to deliver, including Elizabeth Banks, Ed Harris, Jamie Bell, Anthony Mackie and Kyra Sedgwick, this has the makings of a great little potboiler. Again, the question is whether or not Sam Worthington has any presence at all outside of a CGI setting. Early word will be the determining factor, and should help Summit decide where it gets highlighted (or hidden) in their upcoming calendar.
Release Date: TBD
“Intruders” – Universal – dir. Juan Carlos Fresnadillo
Synopsis: An 11-year-old girl is forced to confront childhood demons.
What You Need To Know: The follow-up to “28 Weeks Later” for Spanish director and Danny Boyle protege Juan Carlos Fresnadillo has flown somewhat under the radar especially considering it boasts a cast featuring Clive Owen as the father of the lead girl and the likes of Euro thesps Daniel Bruhl, Kerry Fox, Pilar Lopez de Ayala and Carice van Houten. To date, little is known of the story other than the logline mentioned above, but with Fresnadillo teaming with the producers of ‘28 Weeks’ and his fantastical tale “Intacto, it’s probably something not too far outside his wheelhouse.
Release Date: TBD
“Drive Angry 3D“- Summit – dir. Patrick Lussier
Synopsis: Nicolas Cage will die for his daughter’s honor after breaking out of Hell in a dope, souped-up muscle car. William Fichtner, the devil’s right hand man pursues him while Amber Heard’s tough, yet sensitive, country girl rides shotgun — in 3D.
What You Need To Know: While it is not yet known whether the extra dimension is added by Nicolas Cage’s craziness, “Drive Angry” tiptoes a dangerous terrain. It’s grimy, fast and loose, but will it prove too base and cliched for the same audience that turned their backs on “Grindhouse” and a dozen throwaway exploitation films that followed (the except being the balletsploitation “Black Swan”)? The Cage factor can still bring an audience and the reckless explosions exhibited in the trailer do whet an appetite for a special type of brain-hibernation filmmaking. We wait with bated breath for your next acting maelstrom, Mr. Cage. Plus, a little Fichtner can’t hurt. Then again, it’s the same guy that directed “My Bloody Valentine 3-D.” Perhaps it’s a matter of taste.
Release Date: February 25, 2011
“Hall Pass” – Warner Bros. – dir. Farrelly Brothers
Synopsis: Two wives allow their respective husbands one week to pursue extramarital sex without consequences.
What You Need To Know: The film pairs up Owen Wilson and Jason Sudeikis as two guys given every married man’s dream: a consequence-free chance to nail other women. The catch is that the two guys couldn’t pick up a check let alone bed a beautiful woman so it seems the possibilities for the film to be subversive, smart and sexy have been killed right off the bat. But with an excellent roster, including Jenna Fischer, Christina Applegate, J.B. Smoove, Stephen Merchant and Richard Jenkins all on aboard, we hope that we’re too busy laughing to pick apart the premise.
Release Date: February 25, 2011
“Apollo 18” – Weinstein Company – dir. Gonzalo López-Gallego
Synopsis: A found-footage thriller based on the NASA mission to the moon that was canceled. The Weinstein Company says it wasn’t.
What You Need To Know: Basically, it’s “‘Cloverfield‘ in Space.” Let’s remember that aside from some overcooked moments, Matt Reeves‘ picture was quite entertaining, but do we really need another film that basically tries to pull off YouTube clips as a film? We suppose with “Paranormal Activity” going the same route and making a killing, The Weinstein Company would naturally follow suit. There’s a lot riding against this one, including the rushed production and goofy poster/tagline, but with lowered expectations there might actually be some decent scares here and there.
Release Date: March 4, 2011
“No Strings Attached” – Paramount – dir. Ivan Reitman
Synopsis: Two friends attempt a relationship free of emotional commitment but find themselves wanting more.
What You Need To Know: Despite nerds begging Ivan Reitman to do the next “Ghostbusters” film, he hasn’t done anything worth talking about in more than a decade. That said, the trailer debuted and wasn’t disastrous — it displayed a light affair and a lovable Natalie Portman, who will hopefully offset the typically irritating Ashton Kutcher. Throw in an smorgasbord of supporting roles, including Jake Johnson, Ludacris, Cary Elwes, Kevin Kline, Greta Gerwig and Olivia Thirlby and they may, just may, have a recipe for an enjoyable romantic comedy. We’re still on the fence.
Release Date: January 14, 2011
“Anonymous” – Columbia Pictures – dir. Roland Emmerich
Synopsis: An ensemble thriller following Edward de Vere (the man rumored to be the true writer of Shakespeare‘s works) during the succession of Queen Elizabeth I.
What You Need To Know: Emmerich’s been in autopilot for most of his career, packing in as much ugly CGI and as many legit actors in unquestionably silly roles as humanly possible into a movie, though that term is debatable. We’d like to think things would be different this time, as the premise is intriguing enough and it’s written by John Orloff (“A Mighty Heart“), but with a claim that the entire period setting would be CGI and a vague feeling of something akin to “The Da Vinci Code,” it seems like all the cards are falling into the same unfortunate place.
Release Date: March 25, 2011
“Battle: Los Angeles” – Sony – dir. Jonathan Liebesman
Synopsis: A marine unit must survive brutal urban combat against an alien threat that descends on the titular city.
What You Need To Know: You saw the trailer, right? Now that was one impressive piece of marketing. The actual film will probably never reach the chilling heights of that trailer precisely because eventually the aliens will be revealed and the power of the unseen will be replaced by bombastics and dirty-faced but still impossibly beautiful leads Michelle Rodriguez and Aaron Eckhart, but we’re holding out hope. If only because this is one of the more visceral and moving action/sci-fi trailers we’ve seen in some time. It feels raw, full of genuine global anxiety and it feels like there’s something really at stake. This is director Jonathan Liebesman’s biggest outing to date (his credits include “The Killing Room” and “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning“), and if he brings the noise, that may be enough. Still, 2011 could use what at its best may be “Call of Duty: District 9.”
Release Date: March 11, 2011
“Take Me Home Tonight” – Relativity – dir. Michael Dowse
Synopsis: Recent college grad Matt, unsure of his future, seeks his dream girl at a Labor Day party in 1988.
What You Need To Know: Although this was shot way back in early 2007 and the idea of disillusion of post-college life has been done to death thanks to the mumblecore genre, this actually looks pretty amusing while fairly nostalgically typical at the same time. A throwback to the teen-comedy heyday (much like “Hot Tub Time Machine“), Michael Dowse‘s romp sports a decent cast (Topher Grace and the indelible Anna Faris) and a script by “That ’70s Show” vets. Also, after fun, smart little Canadian indies like “It’s All Gone Pete Tong” and “Fubar,” this is Dowse’s first shot at the Hollywood big leagues. Let’s hope he didn’t dumb it down too much and let’s pray their view of that decade has no relation to the ill-fitted “That ’80s Show.”
Release Date: March 4, 2011
“Rango” – Paramount – dir. Gore Verbinski
Synopsis: A pet chameleon is stranded in the desert, and ends up as the sheriff in a spaghetti-western-like town.
What You Need To Know: The first ever fully animated film from legendary effects house Industrial Light & Magic and the first reteam of “Pirates of the Caribbean” duo Gore Verbinski and Johnny Depp since that multi-billion dollar trilogy, we have literally no idea what to make of this one. It’s visually stunning to be sure, and the cast, including Isla Fisher, Timothy Olyphant, Bill Nighy and Abigail Breslin, are impressive. Plus, Verbinski used an unusual working method for the film, which should prove interesting. But every trailer’s sold a wildly different film, all of them pretty (almost gloriously) weird. This’ll either be a total clusterfuck, or the most interesting, bugnuts crazy mainstream animation to come out in some time.
Release Date: March 4, 2011
“Columbiana” – Sony – dir. Oliver Megaton
Synopsis: A girl grows up and turns contract killer after witnessing the murder of her parents as a child.
What You Need To Know: Apparently being in “Star Trek” and “Avatar” wasn’t enough to get Zoe Saldana into the spotlight, so she’s enlisted in Luc Besson’s troops in order to breakthrough as the next big female headliner. Besson penned this script with “Taken” and “Transporter” co-writer Robert Mark Kamen, reportedly as a response to the difficulty in mounting a sequel to “The Professional,” so we probably know what to expect here. The wild card here is Oliver Megaton, who directed the third and weakest in the “Transporter” series, but remains someone we can’t write off because of that awesome name. We take that back if the “n” is silent.
Release Date: September 2, 2011
“Cars 2” – Disney – dir. John Lassetter, Brad Lewis
Synopsis: Lightning McQueen and redneck friend Mater team up for a global adventure when they are mistaken for spy cars.
What You Need To Know: “Cars” is near the middle of Pixar’s highest grossing films, admirable for any studio, but it’s widely considered to be the weakest in their canon. That doesn’t change the fact that in its year of release alone, “Cars” merchandise was responsible for billions of dollars in sales. Not millions. Billions. Fortunately, the sequel saves us from the backwoods humor of the first film by taking the action overseas, though we still have to contend with the voice of Larry the Cable Guy and the increasingly implausible existence of a world of cars that didn’t pass even the most remote scrutiny in the first offering.
Release Date: June 24, 2011
“ATM” – Lionsgate – dir. David Brooks
Synopsis: Three co-workers take a late-night trip to an ATM only to find themselves in a desperate fight for survival against an unknown male.
What You Need To Know: Based on an idea and script by “Buried” writer Chris Sparling, David Brooks‘ ATM-set Hitchcock-ian thriller sound like it’s playing with the exact same themes as the writer’s preceding pic and he even disappointingly admitted to be drawing from the lot of “contained thriller ideas.” However, there’s an interesting cast in the mix here with Josh Peck (“The Wackness“), Brian Geragthy (“The Hurt Locker“) and Alice Eve (“She’s Out of My League“) which may make it redeemable.
Release Date: TBD
More to come (of course), tomorrow. – Kevin Jagernauth, Oliver Lyttelton, Gabe Toro, Simon Dang, Christopher Bell, Kimber Myers, Drew Taylor, Jessica Kiang, Mark Zhuravsky, Erik McClanahan, Katie Walsh