I know I have already addressed the startling lack of quality summer movies, so I thought I would provide a silver lining by laying out the five movies I wish were coming out this week.
1. Battle: Los Angeles
Release Date: TBA 2011
Starring: Aaron Eckhart and Michelle Rodriguez
Why it will be great: While there are no shortage of alien invasion movies in the film lexicon, Battle: LA looks as if it just may provide the new take on this classic genre. Taking a semi-documentary style this film follows the modern day battle between a group of U.S. Marines (helmed by Eckhart) and an alien invasion force. What makes Battle: Los Angeles noteworthy however is that the director was aiming to channel the feel of soldiers fighting in Irag in Afghanistan as opposed to Independence Day. The hyper realism hinted by the films cast and crew indicates that the alien force has air superiority yet both sides are evenly matched on the ground. One of the few things moviegoers have yet to see effectively depicted is a functional alien military command structure. The largest challenge facing this movie the the successful integration of sci-fi and fantasy elements into a realistic military situation. Hurt Locker meets District 9, Battle: Los Angeles looks to be one of the most promising films debuting in 2011.
For more information check out the viral marketing sight for Battle: Los Angeles http://reportthreats.org/
2. Green Lantern
Release Date: June 17, 2011
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Mark Strong, Peter Sarsgaard, Blake Lively
Why it will be great: So prior to this movie being announced I had little interest in delving into the mythology of the Green Lantern comic book character. I mean seriously the guy's power came from a magic ring and he is essentially a space cop. Doing some background research however has really turned around my opinion and I have begun to drink the Green Lantern Kool-Aid. Rather than being a liability I think the non-traditional nature of this particular superhero property will be a huge advantage going into a summer chock full of other heroes (Captain America etc.) Another reason to get excited for this movie is that the studio is supposedly already given the green light for the filming of two more Lantern movies back to back. By far the most compelling case to invest in a ticket to see Green Lantern is that thus far (with the exception of Superman Returns) DC Comics has carefully protected their characters from crappy movie adaptations. You only have to look at the Batman films to see the care in which DC chooses who will bring their characters to the big screen.
Release Date: October 29th, 2010 (limited release)
Starring: Whitney Able, Scoot McNairy (yeah I don't know who they are either)
Why it will be great: Aside from blowing crowds away at the Cannes Film Festival this low budget sci-fi story seems to largely flown under the radar. Telling the story of a NASA probes that crashes in southern Mexico while returning with samples of the first recorded life on another plant, Monsters picks up with massive creatures being cordoned off in a quarantine zone inside of Mexico. The U.S. and Mexican military patrol their respective borders to keep the creatures inside the predetermined boundaries. Similar to District 9 in both the size of the budget and quality of the special effects produced, this film looks to be a sleeper hit.
For more information and the trailer check out Screen Rant's piece on Monsters
4. Sucker Punch
Release Date: March 25th, 2011
Starring: Emily Browning, Vanessa Hudgens, Jon Hamm
Why it will be great: The undisputed winner of Comic-Con 2010's much sought after buzz-worthy status Sucker Punch is now among the most anticipated films of 2011. From the mind if 300 Director Zac Synder Sucker Punch is the story of a girl who is detained in a mental institution by her step-father and uses alternative reality as a means of formulating an escape plan. While on the surface that sounds like a quiet drama more akin to Girl Interrupted than 300 the trailer tells another story all together. This alternative reality is a war zone that transcends time and space. The protagonist (Baby Doll) joined by several of the other girls from the facility much fight their way to freedom in a steam punk inspired dream world. This film offers massive gun battles, sword play, and a healthy dose of female empowerment. The most important aspect of this movie however is that it is an original concept. The box office is flooded with crappy buddy comedies, remakes, reboots, and rehashing of characters that audiences are frankly sick of. While I am sure this won't be on everyone short list I will certainly be buying a ticket.
For more information check out the Official Sucker Punch website
5. Cowboys and Aliens
Release Date: July 29th, 2011
Starring: Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, Sam Rockwell
Why it will be great: So this movie is exactly what you think it is. Based on a graphic novel by the same name Cowboys and Aliens focuses on the battle between the local inhabitants of frontier New Mexico (Cowboys and Indians) and the aliens aboard a crazed spaceship. If this movie wasn't starring Harrison Ford, Dan Craig, Sam Rockwell, and directed by Jon Favreau (Iron Man) I would not even consider seeing it. But they are and I am interested. The clip shown at Comic-Con just two weeks after filming started had people really excited for this film. I think this movie will do well because people are looking for an updated western. This year's Jonah Hex utterly failed to strike a balance between the western source material and its sci-fi inspiration. I think Cowboys and Aliens will succeed where others have failed and I will definitely be seeing this movie.
Let Me In
Release Date: October 1st, 2010
- Remake of an incredibly chilling Swedish Vampire movie starring Chloe Moretz.
Release Date: December 17th, 2010
- Follow up to the ground breaking Tron starring two versions of Jeff Bridges.
Release Date: September 17th 2010
- Story of five people trapped in an elevator one of whom is the Devil. Despite being from the mind of M. Night Shamaylan this movie shows real promise (especially because he isn't directing!)