Let me wish you all a Happy New Year to start with and I hope this is the start of a good year for you, as it certainly is one for films. The start of the year will see some Oscar worthy films released as we are well in to Awards Season, but once we hit May we’ll start getting the good old blockbusters, with most of them once again being either a comic-book adaptation, a sequel or a reboot of whatever. Which, in some cases, isn’t always a bad thing. Without further ado, here are my most anticipated movies for the upcoming year in order of release date.

1. 127 Hours– Release date: January 7th

Danny Boyle is one of the more unpredictable directors working in Hollywood today, having made a grungy drug dramedy with Trainspotting, dabbling in sci-fi with the underrated Sunshine and seeing oscar glory with rags-to-riches tale Slumdog millionaire. Now his next move is tackling a true story of one man’s struggle for survival after getting his arm trapped between literally a rock and a hard place, with only one feasible route of escape. It has been getting some degree of Oscar buzz, particularly for James Franco in the lead role, as critics agree he carries the film, making it more powerful and gut wrenching. It certainly has caught my attention and I’m looking forward to this being one of the first films of the year that will hopefully match expectations.

2. Black Swan- Release Date: January 21st

Another movie getting award buzz, once again in the acting categories, especially lead Natalie Portman who plays Nina, a highly skilled ballet dancer fighting for the role of a lifetime in a production of Swan Lake, playing both the pure and good White Swan and the dark and twisted Black Swan. But the pressures from her endearing mother and her artistic director (La Haine’s Vincent Cassel) along with competition from the beautiful yet mysterious Lily (Mila Kunis) forces her to get more in touch with her dark side, that could very well destroy her. A psychological thriller set in the world of ballet might not sound like a great mix, but when you have a cast like this under the helm of The Wrestler’s Darren Aronofsky, this could be easily on the best and most interesting movies of the year.

3. Brighton Rock- Release Date: February 4th

I’ve been following this remake since first viewing the original 1940’s Richard Attenborough classic back in my film studies class, probably a good year ago now. It certainly looks like it’s doing what a remake should do, respecting the original material whilst also offering something new. This something new is updating the action to 1960’s Brighton, where we find troubled youth Pinkie Brown (Control’s Sam Riley) trying to establish himself as an impressionable gangster, leading to murder and deceit, having to pretend to fall in love with a potential witness, the innocent and naive Rose. With a strong-minded woman, Ada (Helen Mirren) looking out for her and trying to take him down, Pinkie is willing to go to dark lengths in order to establish himself in Brighton’s underworld.

 4. Sucker Punch– Release Date: March 25th

The next movie from director Zach Synder, the man behind 300 and Watchmen, has had my interest ever since I saw the completely bonkers trailer. The film follows Babydoll (Emily Browning) whose evil step-dad places her in a mental asylum, and schedules her to be lobotomized. To get away from the horrors of the real world, Babydoll enters the world of her imagination, where dragons roam, World War Two jets soar and robots and samurai warriors are a constent threat. But Babydoll soon begins to discover that the key to escaping in the real world could well be found in her mind. It looks trademark Synder, with stunning visuals, kick-ass action and lots of sloooowwwww-mooooo. Bring on Synder’s Superman!

 

 5. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides- Release Date: May 18th 

I initially wasn’t at all bothered by the release of this movie, having been bored of the franchise by the tiresome end of the last installment At World’s End. But then the trailer was released a couple of weeks ago and now I’m more excited as it looks a lot of fun, finally the franchise realising why the first one worked so well. Johnny Depp is of course back as Captain Jack Sparrow who this time is on the search for the fabled Fountain of Youth. Of course, a quest can never run smoothly with Jack having to take on deceiving Mermaids, hostile zombies and the villainous Pirate Blackbeard (Ian McShane). Geoffrey Rush also returns as Barbossa, with Penelope Cruz joining the crew as an old flame of Sparrow’s.

 

6. Captain America: The First Avenger– July 29th

Definitely my most anticipated comic-book adaptation of the year, a year which also sees the likes of Thor and X-Men First Class coming to the screen. Chris Evans’ is holding the shield as we see the origins of Captain America, going from the Average Joe Steve Rogers to becoming America’s greatest World War Two soldier as part of a Government Super Soldier experiment. Plot details are still pretty under wraps, but we do know he’ll be facing up against Hugo Weaving’s Nazi Red Skull and his Hydra henchmen. Hopefully director Joe Johnston (Jurassic Park 3, The Wolfman) doesn’t allow this to get bogged down with loads of Avengers references like Iron Man 2 did, same with Thor. The annoying thing about this film is, so far, there has been a lack of preview material, not even an official poster yet. I’m really, really hoping we’ll get a trailer soon, we’ve been more than patient for a proper look at Evans in costume, rather than this snapshot on the cover of Entertainment Weekly. But from the looks of it, Johnston has delivered quite a stunning period setting, thankfully respecting the comic book origins. Watch this space for a trailer. 

 

7. Cowboys and Aliens- Release Date: August 12th

Another comic-book adaptation, albeit a lesser known one. But one sentence sells this movie for me. James Bond and Indiana Jones V.S. Aliens. Sold. Jon Iron Man Favreau directs this mish-mash of genres as Daniel Craig’s Jake wakes up in the middle of the West with no knowledge of how he got there or what this strange device is that’s strapped to his wrist. He wonders into town and finds he is wanted by the law, led by Harrison Ford of all people. But they soon have to put their differences behind them when the town is attacked by intergalactic invaders, who Jake may have come across before. The tone looks perfect from the trailer, somehow the two genres seem to mix surprisingly well, good man Favreau!

 

8. Super 8- Release Date: August 19th

A team up made in heaven here, with Steven Spielberg producing a film written and directed by J.J. Abrams, the maestro behind Lost and director of 2009’s Stark Trek and Mission: Impossible 3. Abrams is hopefully on his way to firmly establishing himself as the Spielberg of our generation, depending on the success of this movie. This is another one where plot details are being kept very much under wraps, as is becoming known as trademark Abrams, with no one literally knowing this film was actually going to be made until the brilliant teaser was released earlier in 2010. All we know is that it concerns ‘something’ that’s involved with a Government cover up. Possibly aliens. But maybe not. And a group of kids who may, or may not, catch it on Super 8 cameras in the 1970’s. But then again maybe not. We’ll find out more soon, hopefully. Surely. Right? Oh well, here’s that teaser again to keep you interested. Possibly.

9. War Horse– Release Date: September 9th

Spielberg is once again involved in this movie, in this case he is back in the directors chair for the big screen adaptation of Michael Morpurgo’s War Horse, which of course has been adapted for the stage in the hugely acclaimed puppet production. It follows the story of young Albert who has a strong relationship with his horse Joey in the English countryside. But then, in 1914, the First World War breaks and the special bond that the pair share is shattered as Joey is taken to join the cavalry and is sent to the Western Front. Although he is too young to enlist, Albert heads to France in order to save his friend from the horrors of war. This is good territory for a family film from Spielberg, who hasn’t made a film since the mixed bag that was Indiana Jones and the Kingdom and the Crystal Skull. This year will also see Spielberg release another film in the form of The Adventures of Tintin set for release in October, but this film interests more as it is much more of a traditional small Spielberg movie that sometimes turn out to be highlights of his career, Catch me if you Can and The Terminal easily highlighting this. No trailer yet as shooting has barely wrapped on the movie. 

10. The Thing (Prequel)- Release Date: October 14th 

 A long-awaited prequel to the John Carpenter classic sci-fi horror The Thing (to which the poster on the right belongs to) finally comes to the screens in October. It was originally scheduled for an April release, but some reshoots caused Universal to shift their schedule around, moving Fast Five up and this down. Hopefully this doesn’t say anything about the quality of the film, and the more time may allow for further refinements and allow for a film that does Carpenter justice, directed by promising newcomer Matthijs van Heijningen Jr. The story is about what really happened at the research base that Kurt Russell and his team found abandoned and with a strange alien craft frozen in the ice in the original. Along with its owner, a shape shifting alien which can take the form of anything, and anybody it touches. Mary Elizabeth Winstead leads the cast as a Graduate student who joins a scientist in a research project at this Arctic outpost. I’m excited for this mostly because of my love for the original, and partly because of my Mary Elizabeth Winstead crush. But mostly appreciation of the original. I think. This is another one that hasn’t even got its own poster and trailer yet, there is a bootleg version that I’ll put here, but it is bad quality but you can hear the dialogue, despite not being able to see a great amount of detail, so I’m hoping this is officially released very soon.

Well those are my personal favourites amongst the films coming our way in the next 12 months. And those are only 10 of the good few coming out this next year, along with the return of the Transformers, Harry Potter and The Hangover gang in the summer, with the return of some Paranormal activity in October and  Sherlock Holmes and Tom Cruise’s Ethan Hunt in Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol at the end of the year. Hopefully it’ll be a fun year and I’m sure there will be plenty of brilliant films to keep fellow moviegoers happy for another year. I wish every one of you the best for the New Year, let’s make it a good one.

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