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Movies to Look Out For in 2011

Shane Steinberg | Thursday, January 20, 2011

More not less vampires:

Vampires! No not pale vampires with emotions who fight werewolves. In “Fright Night” a remake of an 80s comedy hit, Craig Gillespie (“Lars and the Real Girl”) directs a team of witty, talented actors including Colin Farrell, Anton Yelchin and David Tennant. The story takes place in your average 80s suburb where one high school student suspects that his mysterious neighbor is a vampire.

The good, bad and the comedy:

Here’s a spoiler: “The Hangover 2” will be hilarious. Yes, the whole crew is back on the eve of another wedding (this time in Thailand) where Stu (Ed Helms) takes all the precautions imaginable to make sure what happened in Vegas doesn’t happen in Thailand. One cameo by Bill Clinton, a Zack Efron appearance, a truck’s worth of booze and hopefully another album of pictures later, this movie has the makings of another night to remember (or not).

File “Cowboys and Aliens,” a film where cowboys … fight aliens under ” The Bad.” No, it’s not a comedy per se, but if you’ve seen the trailer and wound up asking yourself “Why?” or “How?” then you know that while the cast is packed and Spielberg’s name is attached to the film, this should be one hell of a laugher.

Horror movies that might actually scare us:

The top horror movie to look out for in 2011 is “Atrocious,” a “Paranormal Activity” meets “Blair Witch Project” film out of Spain. The trailer looks genuinely scary, so now the question becomes whether “Atrocious” is what “Paranormal Activity” couldn’t be — believable.

“Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark” is the directorial debut of Troy Nixey, Guermillo del Toro’s protégé. The story of a little girl who discovers monsters at home has been done a million times but Guermillo del Toro’s name being associated with this and a rare Guy Pearce sighting is enough to make this film worth the wait.

The year of superhero movies:

This year features an overstuffed line-up of superhero movies: “Thor,” “X-Men: First Class,” “The Green Latern,” “Sucker Punch,” “I am Number Four,” “Captain America” and “The Green Hornet.”

Probably the most anticipated of the group is “Thor.” The film features a star-studded cast including Natalie Portman and Anthony Hopkins and marks a break from the cameraman-becomes-Spiderman or billionaire-becomes-Batman type of superhero movie. Instead, Thor’s back-story is mythical, which should be something fresh in a year of superhero films with back-stories that seem a bit redundant. Additionally, in “Sucker Punch,” Zack Snyder (“300”) brings his unique flair to his first ever original script about a girl admitted to a mental institution who dreams up an alternate realty where she and her hot friends kick some ass.

Early Oscar hopefuls:

It seems these days that any emotional boxing movie gets an Oscar nomination (which is not to say that films like “Million Dollar Baby” or “The Fighter” are bad). With “Moneyball,” the story of how Oakland A’s GM Billy Beane turned the low-budget team into a contender using unorthodox methods, baseball might enter the Oscar ranks. With Brad Pitt playing the charismatic Beane, Philip Seymour Hoffman as Arty Howe (the team’s manager) and Bennett Miller (“Capote”) in the director’s seat, this one is as close to a sure shot Oscar favorite as there is.

David Fincher, who might have to buy a new house to fit all his Best Director awards for “The Social Network,” directs the American adaptation of the international hit film, “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.” Slated for a December release and featuring a talented cast headed by Daniel Craig (who will need the good attention after “Cowboys and Aliens”), this film should be as good as if not better than the original.

Our Yearly Dose of Pixar:

Pixar gets its own category for an obvious reason. This year’s installment is a continuation of Pixar’s planned sequels, “Cars 2.” Although “Cars” is widely regarded as “the worst” (if you can really call it that) of Pixar’s recent films, the studio has decided to take a different direction with the movie and from the first few trailers it looks to be worth giving the benefit of the doubt to Pixar, the studio that never fails.