Following an extremely impressive slate of films to wrap up 2010, this year’s cinematic offerings have yet to provide moviegoers with anything extraordinary or even exciting. Hopefully, Hollywood, like the ridiculous Northern Nevada climate, is merely experiencing a long winter and is holding onto its more ambitious works for warmer temperatures. With that in mind, here is a list (yes, we here at Insight are listaholics) of some upcoming flicks that hopefully will warm our spirits as well as a few that should be avoided.
Starring: Saoirse Ronan, Cate Blanchett, and Eric Bana
Description: Hanna (Ronan), a young girl who is raised by her father (Bana) as a lethal assassin, is unleashed on an unknown mission while being pursued by a merciless CIA operative (Blanchett).
Why it should be good: This is director Joe Wright’s (“Atonement”, “The Soloist”) first foray into the action-thriller genre, so it should be interesting how he transitions from his to regular patient and heavy drama into a more energetic, quasi-action film.
Starring: James Franco, Natalie Portman, and Danny McBride
Description: The lazy Thadeous (McBride) must help rescue his brother Fabious’ (Franco) virginal bride (Zooey Deschanel) from the clutches of an evil wizard (Justin Theroux) on a quest of epic proportions.
Why it WILL be good: Normally, this sort of description would better fit a children’s fantasy movie, but with David Gordon Green (“Pineapple Express”) at the helm, expect this medieval epic/stoner-flick hybrid to be one gonzo quest. Look for Franco and McBride (who were downright hilarious in “Pineapple Express”) to continue their comedic hot streaks, while adding the smoking hot duo of Portman and Deschanel makes for one appealing journey.
Warning: The following is the red-band, R-rated trailer of the movie and is NSFW.
Description: A found footage-style movie that supposedly documents NASA’s final mission to the moon, where the crew made contact with hostile life forms.
Why it should be good: For those of you who are still in the mood for some eerie mockumentary fare after “Paranormal Activity 2,” this one channels the same vibe: with skin-crawling aliens replacing door slamming demons though.
“POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold” (Limited Release)
Description: Documentarian Morgan Spurlock applies his probing and humorous antics to the advertising world. Satirizing the world of product placement, marketing and advertising Spurlock documents the making of a movie through his newest movie (cue “Inception” theme).
Why it should be good: Spurlock, known for his hilarious yet haunting docudrama “Super Size Me,” knows how to keep his intended audience interested and engaged, and this metafilm should be no different.
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, and Anthony Hopkins
Description: The all-powerful and proud Thor (Hemsworth) is cast down to Earth after his arrogance reignites an ancient war in the realm of Asgard. Thor is then forced to protect all humankind from the most treacherous foes of his realm as they are unleashed on our planet.
Why this should be good: As we patiently await Christopher Nolan’s final “Batman” picture, a wave of superhero films attempt to fill the void (with “X-Men: First Class,” “Green Lantern,” and “Captain America” to be released this year as well). Of the mix, “Thor” seems the most interesting and unique: not only with its premise, but also with its director, Kenneth Branagh, who usually dabbles in Shakespeare adaptations.
“Hesher” (Limited Release)
Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Natalie Portman (Yes, another Natalie Portman movie!), and Rainn Wilson
Description: Following the death of his mother, T.J. (Devin Brochu) is left effectively parentless, as his father (Wilson) becomes an emotionally crippled wreck. That is, until he is taken under the wing of Hesher (Gordon-Levitt), a greasy-haired foul tempered delinquent who tends to torment as much as he mentors.
Why this should be good: Other than this being the third chance to get a glimpse of Natalie Portman, “Hesher” appears to be an intriguing starring vehicle for the talented, up-and-coming Gordon-Levitt. This could be his opportunity to let loose and go crazy, as his titular Hesher is a lunatic.
And now, for the bad news… There also looks to be a slew of trash to be released in our near future; so much so, the thought of spring cleaning just became appealing.
“Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Big Happy Family”
Starring: Tyler Perry
Description: A World War II veteran must confront the ghosts of his past… Hell, who am I kidding; it’s another chance for Perry to show off his ridiculously annoying Madea character in another dismal mix of sitcomy laughs and soap-opera melodrama.
Why this WILL suck: When a director manages to pump out 11 movies in five years, you know that the quality of the films is going to suffer. Expect some more of Madea’s yelling and butt-whooping, and plenty of urban-geared jokes.
Starring: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson
Description: In the unnecessary fifth installment of the “Fast and the Furious” franchise, Dominic (Diesel) and Brian (Walker) lead a crew of street racers into some sort of heist, while being chased angrily by The Rock.
Why this is going to suck: Not only is it surprising that this franchise has survived this many sequels, its equally surprising that people still find this series appealing. If I wanted to see predictable car crashes and listen to engines revving loudly for two and a half hours, I’d watch NASCAR.
Starring: Paul Bettany, Maggie Q, Karl Urban
Description: An absurd flick about an order of warrior priests who held off a vampire invasion, but now, one priest (Bettany) must go on a quest to fight off a new wave of evil.
Why this is going to suck: Brought to you by the same team that dropped the horrible “Legion” last year, expect more of the same pathetic fantasy-creature thrillers from seemingly dreadful picture. Bettany can be entertaining, but don’t expect his current rut to end with this assured bomb.
Photo courtesy of Universal Pictures