What? A new year already? They do keep springing them on us, don’t they? And always around the same time. Suspicious, that. But a new year also means a new slate of science-fiction films to get excited about. I’ve looked at the film schedules of 2011, and in them I have found ten science-fiction films I’m (tentatively) looking forward to this year. Which films and why (and when do they come out)? Well, let me tell you.
Mar. 4 – The Adjustment Bureau
Oh, no! Sinister men in serious hats want to keep Matt Damon and Emily Blunt apart. Such nefariousness. It’s based on a Philip K. Dick story, which explains the paranoid edge, and is the directorial debut of George Nolfi, who wrote The Bourne Ultimatum (good) and Timeline (yikes). Still, good actors, sharp-looking trailer, interesting idea. I’m in.
Mar. 11 – Battle: Los Angeles
Alien-invasion movies are cropping up all over the place in 2011 — alien invasions are the new sparkly vampires — and, of all the alien-invasion movies, this one looks the most explode-y. So what the hell? I’m in just for the damage. Although if the aliens mess with In-N-Out Burger, I’m coming down there myself to have a word with them. Oh, and a cast featuring Aaron Eckhart and Michelle Rodriguez is not such a bad thing, either.
Mar. 18 – Paul
Simon Pegg and Nick Frost (i.e., two of the three dudes behind Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz) play British nerds who pick up an alien outside Area 51 and then get chased around by Jason Bateman as a special agent. I’m racking my brain
to see a downside to this scenario, and I’m just not seeing it. Well,
Seth Rogen as the voice of the alien. But that’s my problem, not the
Mar. 22 – Sucker Punch
Man, I keep watching the trailer for this film, in which Emily
Browning plays a mental patient visiting a number of alternate
universes, and I have no idea what’s supposed to be going on. I just know I want to see more of it. Directed by Zack Snyder, of 300 and Watchmen. Snyder doesn’t always hit, but at least he always comes out swinging.
Apr. 1 – Source Code
Two years ago, director Duncan Jones dropped himself into the hearts of science-fiction lovers everywhere with Moon, which was not only (arguably) the best science-fiction movie of its year but one of the best films of the year, period. Source Code,
in which Jake Gyllenhaal inhabits someone else’s body to stop a
bombing, looks somewhat louder and more action oriented, which is not
necessarily a plus. But after Moon, Jones has some credit to burn.
Jun. 10 – Super 8
So I liked Cloverfield better than just about anyone else I
know, and much of the credit for the film goes to J.J. Abrams, who
produced it. So now Abrams is helming what appears to be another alien-monster film, this one produced by Steven Spielberg, set in the seventies. If
he pulls this off, I might even be willing to forgive him the red matter in the last Star Trek film. Maybe.
Jun. 17 – Green Lantern
Disclosure — from the trailer and from the fact that they cast Ryan
Reynolds, I expect this film to have the IQ of a small dazed puppy. On
the other hand, director Martin Campbell has a track record of making
stupid films seems smarter than they are, and when I was a kid Green
Lantern was my favorite DC superhero. What are you gonna do? I’m
grading this one on a curve.
Jul. 29 – Cowboys & Aliens
Remember how I said that this was an alien-invasion kind of year? Yeah,
that. I’m very curious to see whether director Jon Favreau can pull this one off;
the track record for science-fiction and/or comic-book-related Westerns is very bad indeed. (See Jonah Hex and Wild Wild West.) But the presence of Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford means that, even if it fails, it’ll fail with at least a little bit of style.
Sep. 30 – Now
The good news: in the future, you don’t have to age anymore. The bad
news: time is now used as a currency, and most people in the future,
unfortunately, have about as much time as most people have money today.
Interesting concept, and director Andrew Niccol has played with
interesting science-fiction concepts before (Gattaca being his
calling card), and he’s got a very hip young cast — Justin
Timberlake, Cillian Murphy, Amanda Seyfried, and Olivia Wilde.
Oct. 14 – The Thing
Not actually a remake of the 1982 John Carpenter film (itself a remake of the 1951 movie The Thing From Another World) but a prequel covering the events at the Norwegian Antarctic camp that met the Thing before the American camp of the 1982 film. Whatever, man, I’m in, for the hopefully awesome special effects and because I have a
wee crush on Mary Elizabeth Winstead. Yes, I’m a nerd. Sue me.