Generation Film’s Top 11 Films to Look Forward to in 2011

11. Tree of Life- the non-sensical thought provoking films of Terrrence Malick are certainly ambiguous in their attempts to be highly conceptual but it doesn’t make them any less impressive in the visual delivery and diverse acting. With a cast already in place with the likes of Brad Pitt and Sean Penn within a story framework about the loss of innocence surrounding a family in the 1950s there is sure to be some memorable and intriguing moments given to us from the director of The Thin Red Line and Badlands. It won’t be a blockbuster draw but it will offer a more cerebral and methodical artistic approach to cinema that only Malick’s signtaure style can offer.

10. Contagion- while no one can say director Steven Soderbergh isn’t ambitious (Che, Traffic) he has always been better at offering indepedent simpler cinema, with known examples such as Schizopolis and Sex, Lies, and Videotape. Unfortunately Soderbergh’s next project, Contagion, is a large scale action-thriller focusing on an international CDC team to deal with a virus outbreak. It just might be filled with Soderbergh’s pseudo-intellectual ponderings, especially considering screenwriter Scott Z. Burns last Soderbergh written film The Informant, but the cast is immensely diverse and offers a great deal of hope that Contagion will bring an entertaining virus film that won’t be as melodramatic as Outbreak. The cast includes Matt Damon, John Hawkes, Kate Winslet, and a surprising noteworthy appearance by TV’s Bryan Cranston.

9. War Horse- though Steven Spielberg has been on the rapid decline in the last 10 years for cinema quality (War of the Worlds? The Terminal? Indiana Jones 4?) it seems his next film will be in familiar territory in a World War. War Horse seems as though it might be a World War I era Seabiscuit where a young boy named Albert heads to France to find his horse after it is sold into the cavelry. Already it seems a tad over the top and sentimental but this adaptation based on an acclaimed novel should bring most of Spielberg’s strengths back to the forefront and allow it to be a much better film than his other 2011 release: The Adventures of Tin Tin.

8. Source Code- probably one of this blog writer’s most anticipated films merely for it being the second film from writer/director Duncan Jones after his marvelous and understated science-fiction masterpiece Moon just two years ago. Sure it features the semi-talented Jake Gyllenhaal who could ruin aspects of the film but Duncan Jones has proven he can write complex characters and thought-provoking science-fiction. Source Code follows a soldier chosen to go back in time into someone else’s body on a train in the attempt to find a bomb that had detonated and killed everyone. Think of it as Terry Gilliam’s 12 Monkeys meets Run, Lola, Run. It should prove to be an intriguing and fast paced science-fiction thriller and will certainly stick out amongst the years more typical titles.

7. The Grandmasters- Known as the romantic filmmaker, Wong Kar Wai’s visual style is expressively unique. And now he is taking his expressive talents to the martial arts venue where he is doing a docu-drama on the story of Yip Man, the trainer and inspiration to known martial arts legend Bruce Lee. Just recently some acclaimed martial arts films featuring Yip Man have been coming into the states, such as Grand Master Ip Man, and should provide a good template for what to expect on a true story of the relatively unknown martial arts legend. Wong Kar Wai’s a masterful director and tackling this subject matter will be done in an expressive and truly unique fashion.

6. Super 8- Although we really know nothing about it, director J.J. Abrams who is the mastermind behind Super 8 certainly knows how to market a product by letting us know as little as possible. But just because the trailer has caught our interest, it’s the great track record Abrams’ has acquired for filmmaking and storytelling through the last couple of years including the well made action remake of Star Trek. It was between this one and Jon Favreau’s Cowboys & Aliens to make this list, it’s just Abrams ability to make a fast paced summer blockbuster has trumped all the mediocre films of Jon Favreau to beat it out (you know, Zathura and Iron Man 2).

5. Thor- Laugh all you want at the superhero comic everyone thought would never be made but thanks to the determination of director Kenneth Branaugh it will become a Marvel produced film. And the early trailers are already making Thor seem as though there was a lot of thought, precision, and accuracy when creating this superhero film. There’s no doubt that Thor is going to be the better alternative through this year’s mediocre superhero films including The Green Lantern and Joe Johnston’s already ridiculous take on Captain America. Still don’t believe me? Well then take a look at the trailer yourself and be shocked at how relevant and modern they have made Thor, while also having a great deal of Norse mythology to decorate the sets and give the film an authentic style.

4. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo- though remakes seldom deliver a product as good as their original, which the Swedish version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was quite good, director David Fincher is at the helm of this remake and there’s never a doubt he can make a great mystery thriller interesting. This will have Fincher returning to the genre of the thriller, which he mastered in the 90s throughout the early 00s with notable examples including Se7en, Fight Club, and Zodiac. It’s a popular book and even more anticipated film featuring a great cast including Daniel Craig, Stellen Skarsgaard, and The Social Network’s Rooney Mara. Fincher’s cold directing style will certainly bring alive in style The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo‘s gritty realism though evidence suggesting it will match the original has yet to be seen.

3. Hugo Cabret- A Martin Scorsese picture is always something to look forward to and it will be his first film (excluding documentaries and television) in 9 years that doesn’t feature Leonardo DiCaprio. Set in the 1930s, Hugo Cabret follows a young orphan boy living in the walls of a train station who gets caught up in a mystery. It’s a subject matter that is quite new to Scorsese unless we include dealing with the young actors in Kundun and Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore but as always Scorsese’s professionalism and expertise in the cinematic field always delivers something to marvel at. Besides Hugo Cabret’s cast includes Chloe Moretz (Kick-Ass), Ray Winstone (Sexy Beast), Ben Kingsly (Gandhi), and Sacha Baron Cohen (Borat), who couldn’t look forward to it?

2. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy- based on the classic espionage novel by John le Carre and following in the footsteps of a classic British adaptation featuring Alec Guinness, the next adaptation of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy is certainly a film that should be on everyone’s radar. Swedish director Tomas Alfredson follows up on his highly acclaimed (and already remade) film Let the Right One In to bring us a highly classy and intricate spy thriller with an incredible cast including Colin Firth, Tom Hardy, Mark Strong, Ciaran Hinds, Stephen Graham, and the always incredible Gary Oldman as the forced from Retirement Espionage expert George Smiley. It will be one of those political thrillers that will be intriguing in delivery, delicate in style, and gripping with its drama.

1. Immortals- Anyone who is familiar with Director Tarsem Singh’s style should be in full anticipation for his Greek mythological endeavor. His last (and only) two films, The Cell and The Fall, were incredibly unique in visual style and showed a storyteller slowly on his way to perfecting his craft. Immortals follows Theseus and his battle against imprisoned Titans as well as other well known Greek mythological characters. There’s no doubt that the costumes, the cinematography, and the story will be incredibly epic if Tarsem’s previous projects are anything to judge by. And with a cast filled with the likes of Mickey Rourke, Henry Cavill (now the new Superman), John Hurt, and Stephen Dorff just adds to the anticipation of this epic storyteller’s next project.

Any movies you might be looking forward to in 2011?

Other notable titles: A Dangerous Method (David Cronenberg), Cowboys & Aliens (Jon Favreau), The Skin That I Inhabit (Pedro Almodovar), 30 Minutes or Less (Ruben Fleischer), Young Adult (Jason Reitman), Hanna (Joe Wright), Jane Eyre (Cary Fukunaga), The Descendants (Alexander Payne), Water for Elephants (Francis Lawrence), and possibly The Hangover Pt. II (Todd Phillips)

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