2011 Winter Film Releases – Part III

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This marks the third of my four-part series on the films still to be released in 2011. Part I and Part II covered a number of exciting films and I hope to continue that with this installment.

New Years’s Eve

Release Date: 12/9/2011

Rating: Not Yet Rated

Starring: Halle Berry, Michelle Pfeiffer, Jessica Biel, Hilary Swank, Jon Bon Jovi, Sarah Jessica Parker, Ashton Kutcher, Robert DeNiro, Katherine Heigl, Zach Efron…

This film has been on my radar since the first preview was released. Perhaps it’s the all-star cast that caught my eye. I’m not even going to attempt to name all of the famous names that are featured in this film. Director Garry Marshall takes this film in a similar direction and style to his last release Valentine’s Day. The reviews are scarce to this point and I’m interested to see if the connection to Valentine’s Day is more direct than just style and theme.

The story follows many different lives as they venture out in New York City on New Year’s Eve. The series of stories encompass many different views on the importance of the night and in many cases the importance of the new year. There’s reflection, renewal, rejection, and resolutions all coming together on this one night. Each of the characters is trying to make New Year’s Eve exactly what they need it to be.

The plot seems to be vague at this point, but this may be intentional. The trailer is also interesting but unrevealing when it comes to the main point of the film or even the connections between the different characters. Either way this could be a big hit with the amazing cast and a good director. I’m thinking that this might make for a good date night movie.

The Sitter

Release Date:  12/9/2011

Rating: R

Starring: Jonah Hill, Sam Rockwell, Ari Graynor

This movie looks like the modern version of Adventures in Babysitting. The star of the film Jonah Hill takes on the role on the heels of his success in Moneyball and the start of his new series Allen Gregory. The cast also includes Ari Graynor (Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist) and Sam Rockwell (Moon). David Gordon Green takes on direction of this film with a background that includes Pineapple Express and Snow Angels.

The story is bound to be a goofy one. Jonah Hill stars as Noah Jaybird, a suspended college student with a need for a job. Eventually he’s persuaded to babysit the kids next door and he isn’t ready for that experience. Each of the kids has their own unique set of skills which are bound to test Noah’s ability to succeed. He’s also torn between his new responsibilities and his personal lack of responsibility.

The Sitter is one that I’m excited for. This isn’t a serious movie and I’m not looking for award-winning material. I think this is one you can see for a few good laughs.

Young Adult

Release Date: 12/9/2011

Rating: Not Yet Rated

Starring:  Charlize Theron, Patton Oswalt, Patrick Wilson

Written by Diablo Cody and directed by Jason Reitman this film brings these two talents together for the first time since Juno. This time they also have the talents of Charlize Theron, Patrick Wilson, and Patton Oswalt.

A newly divorced young adult author Mavis (Theron) returns to her hometown to rekindle the love she feels for her high school sweetheart Buddy (Wilson). The problem is that he’s married and has a child on the way. Undeterred, Mavis enlists the help of Matt (Oswalt) the only person in town still unable to let high school go.

This film doesn’t really call to me. The trailer left me with the feeling that I might have seen most of the funny scenes in the movie already. Charlize Theron seems to come up with a decent performance but it feels like something rehashed from other roles. In addition, I’m not sure that Patrick Wilson is someone I would cast as a love interest. He seems to work better in awkward roles like The Switch. Patton Oswalt is a favorite of mine but I’m not sure it’s enough for me to spend the money. This film seems destined for a heartwarming conclusion but not much more. I’m likely to wait for Netflix to get this one.

I Melt With You

Release Date: 12/9/2011

Rating: R

Starring: Thomas Jane, Jermy Piven, Rob Lowe, Christian McKay

This is likely to be the most divisive movie amongst critics of all films yet to be released in 2011. One critic called the film “howlingly, outrageously bad.” (Owen Gleiberman – EntertainmentWeekly.com) Another had this to say about the film. “Heck, of the press audience I saw this with, I’d wager about a quarter of the audience walked out, while another quarter seemed openly contemptuous of the film once the credits rolled. However, I’d also wager that a good 50% of the audience thought the film was incredible.” (Chris Bumbray – JoBlo.com) I hope to be part of the latter since this film has a very interesting premise.

The film follows four men who’ve been best friends since college. Every year they take time to get together and celebrate life. This year is different for the men though. Things get out of control and a pact they made is put into play that might change everything.

The actors in this film have all had their shining moments. Part of my interest in the film is the cast. I’ve enjoyed each the men in different films and now I’ll have a chance to see if they can exist on the screen together. It does seem like a mid-life crisis film but I’m hoping it’s something deeper. The critics are divided so I’m going to see this for myself and see what my feelings are. I guess this is one of the 50/50 chances in the winter film releases.

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

Release Date:  12/16/2011

Rating: Not Yet Rated

Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law, Rachel McAdams, Jared Harris

This is going to be the film of the season as far as the box office is concerned. Bringing back a great cast for a sequel to a hugely successful movie is likely to repeat that success for this series. This time around the detective and his sidekick are on the case as they try to bring down the evil Professor Moriarty (Harris).

The story from there is best introduced by one of the trailers released for the film.

I have high hopes for this film. Despite my hatred of the sequel fad in Hollywood, I think this could be the exception to the rule. The cast and story are great and director Guy Ritchie has proven his ability to work with this group already. This is one I’m likely to see on the day it comes out. If you liked the first film I think it’s pretty likely that this one is for you. If you haven’t seen the first film I would highly recommend it.

Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked

Release Date: 12/16/2011

Rating: Not Yet Rated

Starring: Jason Lee

If you’ve paid attention you know that sequels and I aren’t the best of friends. My reasoning is this, we don’t need to beat everything to death. Some stories are worth a second look while others should be forgotten or accepted as a one-time endeavor. I never saw the first two films in this series but along with the critics I think this might be a waste of time as the last two were.  I’ll leave the trailer for you and let you decide what to do about this film.

The Iron Lady

Release Date: 12/16/2011

Rating: Not Yet Rated

Starring: Meryl Streep, Harry Lloyd, Jim Broadbent

It’s time for Meryl Streep to prepare another acceptance speech. Actually this is another test of the woman and her skills as she takes on the role of  Margaret Thatcher. Surrounded by a great cast this looks like another film destined for many awards.

The story follows Thatcher in her rise to power as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. The focus of the film seems to be not only on the woman and her successes, but on the price she paid for it all.

This is a film that I think could be wonderful. In the spirit of The Queen and The King’s Speech this could be the next great historical drama. Meryl Streep isn’t as convincing physically but her acting makes up the difference it what seems to be a believable performance as this important woman. I’m sure that I’ll be seeing this film since it has a great cast and a good story.

Carnage

Release Date: 12/16/2011

Rating: R

Starring: Kate Winslet, Jodie Foster, John C. Reilly, Christoph Waltz

For the final film in this series I’m glad I get to finish strong. The cast features four people I might never have expected to see on the screen together. I am excited to see Christoph Waltz in a new role after his success in Inglourious Basterds. I am also interested to see John C. Reilly in a role that might actually be considered mature when you look at his previous films. With Roman Polanksi directing I have hopes that this film is more than an average comedy. His most recent films have all been incredibly serious and this might be an interesting departure from that.

The story is about two couples who are forced to come together after their sons brawl at school. The discussion escalates as the two sets of parents seek to resolve the situation their boys have created.

This looks like it could be a great comedy for the month of December. I’m not a huge fan of any involved, but I am excited to see them all come together. The film has already won The Little Golden Lion in the Venice Film Festival and I think it could be accepting a few more trophies along the way.

The fourth installment of the series on 2011 films yet to be released will be coming soon. Stay tuned and let me know if a film you’re excited about hasn’t made the list so I can add it to a later article.

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