Incoming: Three big 2011 films to keep your eye on


Curious about how the rest of 2011 is going to shape up at the movies? Tonight on Professionally Incoherent, I’m talking about a selection of the movies I’m keeping an eye on, including two films from the upcoming summer season. Read on to find out why I’m a bit skeptical about a couple of the big flicks of the next few months, and to see which November release I’m tracking, too!

First up, I’ve been following the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie, On Stranger Tides. This instalment won’t feature Orlando Bloom’s or Keira Knightley’s characters, and is instead mostly focused on the efforts of Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp - as if you needed to be told) to find the Fountain of Youth. There were a lot of promising casting decisions for this movie, including Ian McShane as Blackbeard, Penelope Cruz as Blackbeard’s daughter Angelica, and the return of Geoffery Rush as Barbossa.

I’m keeping an eye on this one because of the precedent set by the second and third movies in the series. I wonder if this film can break away from the effects-driven storylines and nebulous pirate/sea goddess mythology and stick to what made the first movie, Curse of the Black Pearl, so fun: strong characters and old-fashioned swashbuckling.

I think the success of On Stranger Tides will depend on the script - The key question will be whether it can make effective use of the cast, and not rely on huge FX set pieces like the sea battle at the end of movie #3, At World’s End. A ship-to-ship battle with sea-monster zombies on a revolving giant whirlpool? As awesome as it sounds, it’s a bit much, and I’d like to see the series freshen up a bit. On Stranger Tides hits theatres May 20th. (UPDATE: Check out my review of the film here!)

The next one I’m watching is Cowboys & Aliens, the latest from Iron Man director Jon Favreau. This one stars Daniel Craig as an amnesiac gunslinger who wakes up in the desert with a strange alien contraption attached to his wrist, and a nearby town under attack by UFOs. Craig must defend the town from the spiky invaders AND figure out what happened to him the night before. This movie also stars Harrison Ford (yes!) as the town’s gruff sheriff, and Olivia Wilde as the mysterious femme fatale.

I’m actually pretty excited about this one. It gets points right off the bat for its fresh, gleefully ridiculous premise, and I like all the principal actors. Jon Favreau has made a name for himself directing films with engaging, vaguely plausible action and dynamic characters, especially in the Iron Man series.  Plus, this film has the big Hollywood budget to bring it from the category of lame B-movie to wicked summer fun - I’m particularly interested to see how the Wild West villagers fight off the aliens and their advanced weaponry with TNT and six-shooters. Plus, Sam Rockwell is in it, so that’s just awesome. Cowboys & Aliens comes out July 29th.

The third film is bit further off: Tarsem Singh’s Immortals, starring Henry Cavill, the actor cast as Superman in Zack’s Snyder’s upcoming remake. Cavill plays the famous Greek mythological hero Theseus, in a story that seems pieced together from all kinds of myth and past movies. It will also have Freida Pinto (Slumdog Millionaire) as a priestess named Phaedra, and Mickey Rourke as a fallen Titan in the form of the earthly King Hyperion, who is set on bringing down the Olympians and controlling the world.

The trailer for Immortals premiered on iTunes a few days ago, and I immediately posted it to Facebook in a fit of fan-crazed excitement, but probably before I gave it enough thought. I noticed a few problems during my second viewing of the teaser: namely that Cavill’s delivery of what looks like a big speech is a bit too reminiscent of Sam Worthington’s Perseus in last year’s Clash of the Titans. In fact, that’s what I’m the most worried about for this movie. At this point, it feels like Immortals will end up being too much like the films in the genre that have come before: Clash and 300.

The colour palette of these shots is very similar to 300 and the sets seem very familiar (barren rocks and fortifications with landscapes added  in post-production). They are taking an interesting route with the Olympian gods in the film, though, with much younger actors playing Poseidon and Zeus. Weirdly enough, Luke Evans, who played Apollo in Clash, is Zeus in Immortals.  I think a full trailer might be able to tell us more about what to expect from the film, but until then, it seems a bit derivative. Immortals opens on November 11th.

What do you think about these three films? Excited? Bored? Mildly intrigued? Let me know in the comments below! Since I’ll be watching the latest episode of Doctor Who tonight, I thought tomorrow I’d bring you a review of the episode, "Day of the Moon", which promises to conclude the events set in motion last week during the premiere. Just don’t expect me to sleep tonight – as I mentioned in a recent post, the Silence are scary as hell!