2011 A Year of Promise at the Movies (with trailers)

I wanted to do a proper post saying goodbye to 2010 and hello to 2011 but a combination of flu and a hang-over laid me out for a few days and all I could manage was a half-hearted adieu to a year that had been good.

2010 was a pretty good year for film (from what I saw, at least). 2011 looks like it is shaping up to have some interesting releases as well. Here’s what has interested me from the trailers and information on the web.

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (Dir. by Tomas Alfredson) Release scheduled for September 2011

Alfredson (Let the Right One In) directs the adaptation of the classic British cold war spy-thriller written by John Le Carre. The book is about men in rooms re-examining memories and playing verbal games of life and death to root out a Soviet mole within British spy networks. It was a gripping read and I look forward to the results. Confirmed so far is Gary Oldman as Smiley, Tom Hardy as Rikky Tarr, Colin Firth and Ralph Fiennes. So much exciting talking… perhaps it will be this year’s Social Network.

Submarine (Dir. Richard Ayoade) Release pencilled in March 2011

Reception at the Toronto International Film Festival was enthusiastic and judging by the people behind the camera and in front of it, it is easy to see why. A coming-of-age drama that stars Craig Roberts (the narrator and central protagonist) who wants to save his parent’s marriage (mother played by Sally Hawkins) and lose his virginity to Jordana (Yasmin Paige). Ayoade himself is a fantastic comedy performer (The IT Crowd, Garth Merenghi) and from what audiences have said about the film, a natural director. Here’s a feature from the TIFF:

Vampire (Dir. Shunji Iwai)

From the Japanese director of the emotionally scalding All About Lily Chou-Chou comes a vampire tale set in the west. Starring Keisha Castle-Hughes and Kristin Kreuk, it is due to be screened at the Sundance Film Festival, this should be visually arresting and probably emotionally traumatic at the very least. Here’s more info.

The Guard (Dir. John Michael McDonagh) 

Also due for a screening at Sundance is this film about an Irish border guard (Brendan Gleeson) finds his turf infringed on by the arrival of an FBI agent (Don Cheadle) in this Irish drug smuggling comedy. The writer/director is John Michael McDonagh. The surname should be familiar to film fans because his brother Martin wrote and directed the fantastic In Bruges. Tough act to follow.

13 Assassins (Dir. Miike Takashi) Release pencilled in for April 2011.

I find his films hit and miss. Gozu had a brilliantly surreal and hilarious opening and ending with a desert of boredom in between the two. Sukiyaki Western Django was fun throughout. 13 Assassins looks to be much more of a normal film as it is a traditional samurai revenge drama and word is, it pretty good. It is a remake of an earlier film by Eichi Kudos and focuses on the assassination of an insane Lord by the name of Naritsugu. Here’s a trailer:

Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame (Dir. Tsui Hark)

Any fan of Hong Kong cinema will be familiar with the work of Tsui Hark and will thus be excited whatever the film is about. Fortunately, the story sounds far more interesting than a lot of contemporary films as the titular Detective Dee, a dissident released from prison, must come to the aid of an empress who is surrounded by people who either spontaneously combust or die of poisoning. Filled with martial arts, this is one release I look forward to. Trailer:

Vanishing on 7th Street (Dir. Brad Anderson)

A group of strangers in detroit (including Hayden Christensen, Thandie Newton and John Leguizamo) find themselves alone, people having disappeared leaving behind heaps of empty clothes and shadows. Shadows that threaten the strangers. I like a good scare and this looks like it might deliver. Anderson directed the rather underrated thriller Transsiberian so there is hope. Croatoan flashes up in the trailer. As well as being a great episode of Supernatural, it is a fascinating story about the disappearance of the first English colony in America. I am looking forward to some thrills.

I know I will be watching True Grit and Black Swan. I have already seen The King’s Speech (just to support UK cinema) and found it to be a brilliant film – review to follow. I just can’t wait to see the rest.

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