The 2011 Release Calendar (January & February)

Well, here we are. 2011 is upon us. Since 2010 was the year we made contact and 2012 is the end of all things, this is really the only year we have to get shit done. So, let’s look forward and see what he have to look forward to. We’re looking forward to looking forward.

As a note, I’m only using the release calendar of films that are currently scheduled to be released. This is for several reasons. One, because they’re scheduled already. Obviously. Keep in mind though, that a lot of Oscar films (except for this year. 2010 seemed to be an anomaly in that regard. But I discussed this already) generally don’t have release dates at the beginning of the year. They play festivals and stuff first. Examples: The King’s Speech did not have any release date back in January. Neither did Blue Valentine, Somewhere, Winter’s Bone, and Black Swan. However, to those paying attention, Blue Valentine and Black Swan were known to be coming out in 2011. But without a set release date, we can’t well look forward to them, can we? Shit can happen. Which leads me to another asterisk on this list. Films can be postponed. Red Dawn was scheduled for November last year, but was pushed because MGM is broke. Was broke. It’s still murky. But, the film got bumped to 2011, and then we forgot about it. Now? Still no release date. So, some of these may not come out for a long time. Case in point, there’s a film here that was shot back in 2007. Yeah, I know. Seems like so many years ago, doesn’t it?

Three. It was three years ago. Try harder.

The reason for this article, aside from all that shit I said yesterday, is to gauge my current interest in these films to see how that interest changes over the course of the year and see what made it change. I also want to see how close I am to guessing what my eventual reaction will be to seeing the films. I believe that I am very accurate in knowing how I’ll respond to certain films, so I’d like to see if the films end up being how I expect them to be (so I can say how they were who I thought they were), or if they surprise me. I want to know which films end up surprising me (for better or for worse), and see why that is. If it was marketing that made me want to see them (or not want to see them), or if it was marketed wrong and the film was much different, or I was just expecting something different than the product ended up being (like when I expected Due Date to be a good movie). It’ll also be interesting to see just how many films come out of nowhere to get Oscar notice. Often times a lot of the films gauged as Oscar films in March end up not even factoring whatsoever come December. I’d like to see how this release calendar plays into that.

Plus you get to learn about these movies from me, and gauge whether or not you give a shit about them based on whether or not I give a shit about them. That’s fun, right?

Let’s prognosticate.

(Note: The rating is what I think I’ll give it on Netflix.)

January:

Season of the Witch

Nicolas Cage movie. This, to me, is like waiting for Christmas presents. No matter how bad this is, it cannot be bad. I’m currently compiling research on the Cage to write a mega “In Defense of Cage” post. Don’t expect it soon, because I’m literally going to watch everything. And with the other amounts of “everything” that I’m currently attempting to watch, it may take a while.

Anyway, currently pulling a behemoth 2% on Rotten Tomatoes (you know, because that matters), comes this film, about Cage and Ron Perlman as crusaders, transporting a witch from someone to somewhere else. This is really all I know about this movie. I like to go in cold. Cage movies are rarely about the plot. And the worse the reviews, the more entertaining I expect it to be.

Either way, I expect this to be 3 stars. 4 if it’s really over the top. Cage movies are rarely not (at minimum) worthwhile.

However, movie pet peeve: movies named after song titles. Moreso if the song is used or referenced in the film itself. It makes you think they just listened to the song, said, “This would make a great movie,” then tried to write a script based on it. That’s the equivalent of trying to create a music video out of song lyrics. I guarantee you what you see on screen is nothing close to what that song is about.

Country Strong

This is Gwyneth Paltrow throwing out Oscar bait like Chief Brody. You’re gonna need a better movie. I remember when this popped up back in October and people were like, “Gwyneth might win an Oscar for this,” purely based on nothing but a trailer and synopsis. People forget that Jeff Bridges already won an Oscar for playing a drunk country singer, and it wasn’t even all that much of a performance. So, for someone who already has a statue, this is not going to be the role. Plus, someone from Gossip Girl is in the movie. This was never going to be nominated for awards. The release date answered that question for me. Anyway, I’m sure it’ll be throwaway.

Oh, I should be explaining what they’re about, so you don’t have to look it up. It’s about her as a drunk just out of rehab, and she’s “old” and fading (I-ron-y!), and there’s a new rising star, the dude she’s fucking (or mentoring, and then she’s fucking her manager, who’s just as old as she is, played by a real country star. Or she fucks one and goes to the other, and depending on which one she fucks first, goes back to the other one. It doesn’t really matter, does it?), and Gossip Cunt there is also taking her place or some shit. So, it’s like, “Look at me, I’m going to get over being a sloppy drunk. I still can sing. You can learn shit from the old people. You can be famous, but I’m still here.” Over/under on Taylor Swift references, anyone?

3 stars. 2 if its schmaltzy. So, probably like 2½, and it sways either way based on whether or not there’s something I like or something that pisses me off.

Barney’s Version

I don’t like Paul Giamatti. He never seems like he does anything in movies. Perhaps this is stemming from when they were all like, “He deserves an Oscar nomination for Sideways.” No he didn’t. Gotta tell you, there is not one movie he was in where I thought he added anything to the proceedings. Not one. Cast him with any other actor and you would have had the same impact. (John Adams was a mini-series.) Sorry, not a fan. But I do like Dustin Hoffman, so this is a begrudging watch for me.

This is about (based on the trailer, because, I don’t care enough to look at a synopsis) Giamatti, getting married to Mini Driver, and then, at the wedding reception, meets a woman whom he thinks is actually the one for him. And Dustin Hoffman is there giving expositional, plot device-type advice with a flavor saver. It sounds like one of those soap operas that they pretend is a comedy, but the laughs aren’t really there.

2 stars. 3 if it’s actually funny.

The Dilemma

Here’s a movie destined to fail with me. And yet, it has a lot of pieces that make me think it can actually win me over. But the January release slot is not comforting. Jennifer Connelly — love. Winona Ryder — love. Vince Vaughn can be funny if he has the right material. Lately though, he has not had the right material. Mostly ever has he not had the right material. Old School, Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Even Wedding Crashers, a movie I don’t really like but tolerate because he makes it work. That’s good material. Dodgeball, he didn’t really do much in terms of what made that movie funny. He kind of was the straight man there. Admirable  though, because the movie worked so well. Be Cool, good shit from him there. He made the movie better than it was. So did The Rock. Into the Wild, really liked him in that, but that was more of a cameo than anything. Other than that, he’s been mostly doing bad stuff.

Another movie pet peeve before I talk about this movie. Using pop songs in the trailer. And to make it worse using a song called “Fuck You,” and then using the edited version. That’s a double nuh uh. Fuck you indeed, marketing department. That alone means I will never pay for this movie and will instead stream it online when someone else illegally uploads it.

This movie is about Vaughn catching Winona Ryder (married to Kevin James…always the high watermark of comedy), allegedly having an affair (I smell an Idiot Plot coming), and can’t say anything despite wanting to. Connelly is playing straight woman, Ryder is playing bitch, who will probably end up not being the bitch, and it’s a lot of screwball comedy.

I’m thinking the same thing you are – this movie seems like it would be right up Ron Howard’s alley. I mean, Cinderella Man – practically the same movie! They should have called this A Beautiful Marriage, because that movie was hi-larious!

2 stars. 3 if it’s funnier than I expect. Possible 1 and unforgivable status. Will be monitoring closely.

The Green Hornet

Boy, this had train wreck written all over it from June, didn’t it? You know when a trailer comes out that early and the movie is being dumped in January, it’s going to suck. They’re looking to get people to go based solely on strength of advertising. Look at the advertising. There is no way this movie is going to be good. I can’t see it. (Note: Pun!)

I guarantee you already know what this is about. I’m pretty sure whole movies were filmed and released since the trailer came out. I’m not going to bother. Superhero movie starring Seth Rogen. Yeah, that was a good idea.

At most, and I mean, at most, this is 3 stars. I can’t see it being a strong 3 though. Really can’t.

The Heart Specialist

Urban romantic comedy that isn’t Tyler Perry. There’s always one a year. I will not be seeing this. Recent examples include: Something Else, Just Wright – oh, fuck it. You don’t know what these movies are, anyway.

2 stars. Whatever.

No Strings Attached

God, look at her — the poster is the best thing about this.

Yeah….this movie. Here’s the thing. This has unforgivable written all over it. The script was on the Black List, back when it was called “Fuckbuddies.” The title change alone lets you know what to expect from this film. That and the release date. The first trailer turns Kutcher into a whiny bitch, and the second includes one semi-humorous moment at the beginning while then doing nothing to change that sentiment. It makes me think the movie will end up making me really hope the title is true so I can send it skydiving.

Oh, it’s about Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher being friends and fucking. A lot. Seriously, the first 45 pages are lots of scenes of them fucking. And, in what I expect they thought was a nice twist on the genre, he’s the one that wants the relationship and not her. That’s about it. There’s sitcom shit along the way. Some people will see this as a diamond in the rough, while I’ll probably see this as something that needed more work to be something special. That’s because they’ll be seeing it from the angle where it’s not as bad as it could have been. But I read the script. Trust me, it’ll be the opposite angle.

At best, it’s 3 stars. Why? Because for every bit of 4 star dialogue, there are caricatures, sitcom humor, and contrived scenes that make you want to slap yourself because it really looked like it was going somewhere interesting.

You know that moment, when Neo and Trinity reach the sky above the clouds, before plummeting back down to her death? Yeah, that’s what this script is. You reach the clouds and then it goes back to boring sit-commy shit.

Also, the film loses a star if it cuts the opening scenes of them as kids. It loses another star if it opens with voiceover instead. It also loses another star if there’s a pop song over the opening credits.

The script is 3 stars. The movie I’d imagine to be a solid 2, maybe a 1 of unforgivable if they cut out the good stuff. Lord knows that’s been known to happen.

The Way Back

Peter Weir can do no wrong. And by wrong, I mean, less than 3 stars. All his movies are interesting in some way. Granted, dude’s made 5 movies in the last 20 years (with Dead Poet’s Societythe year before the 20), and all were at least 3 star work. So, I’m sure this will be worthwhile. Colin Farrell, Ed Harris, Saorsie Ronan…

It’s about Siberian prisoners escaping from a Gulag in World War II. Sounds like Great Escape shit to me. This interests me all around.

As long as this isn’t Defiance, it’s a 4 star movie (potential for 5, but let’s not get crazy here). 3 if it’s riddled with clichés. But Peter Weir is not Ed Zwick. I recommend people to go see this.

The Company Men

Here’s a movie I was interested in from when I heard about it. This is the flip side to Up in the Air. Here we get to see all the people that lose their jobs. With the acting talent that’s in this movie, I’m surprised it got bumped to January/didn’t get awards recognition. I’m sure one had to do with the other. Affleck, Cooper, Tommy Lee Jones…which one kills himself by the end of the movie? Because someone’s going to. Another is going to get a job working construction and be satisfied with himself (but not happy), and the other…whatever…it doesn’t matter.

3 star movie, 4 if the performances are standout. I’ll recommend it.

From Prada to Nada

So, this is Sense and Sensibility” with Latina girls? Oh-kay. Starring the girl from Spy Kids, and Camilla Belle. Notice how Camilla Belle only makes bad movies? When a Stranger Calls, 10,000 BC, Push (that was halfway decent, actually)…I mean, what demographic is this playing to? The Confessions of a Shopaholic one? Because that movie fucking tanked.

2 stars. And I’m being generous. Not that I will ever see this movie.

The Mechanic

Remake of a Charles Bronson movie with Statham. Yeah…here’s a movie that can be 3 stars if it’s not boring, and probably will be closer to 2. Statham movies usually aren’t unwatchable, but rarely are they cinematic pieces of artistic storytelling, either.

So…assassin, kills people, mentor is murdered, takes on dude’s son. Either dude isn’t dead, son is bad and killed him, or it’s straightforward (with a possible tease of son being bad just to kill real bad guy). Nothing complicated here.

3 stars, possibly 2. That’s really it. No other possibilities.

The Rite

Exorcism movie starring Tony Hopkins. This is the spot set aside for films like, The Unborn and those other bad horror movies that make you wonder why these people do them.

Won’t see it, don’t give a fuck. Tony Hopkins gets to overact, because no one lets him just act anymore.

1 star. Maybe 2.

The Roommate

1 star. Nuff said. Remember Swimgirl? The Stepfather? Those, “this person may be crazy and killing all my friends” movies? Where the person is clearly crazy but only to the protagonist, and does creepy shit to them while also seeing totally okay to everyone else? Yeah, it’s going to suck. Have fun wasting money, America. You go to this movie, I already know which percentage of the population you fit into.

Cedar Rapids

Here’s an interesting movie. It was on the Black List. Very highly ranked, too. Which leads me to believe it wasn’t all due to studio rigging. However, being dumped in January and starring Ed Helms are two things that give me pause. Also, Miguel Arteta gave us the abortion that was Youth in Revolt last year.

I would read the script, but I feel that would only make this more unforgivable than it already seems.

1 star. 2 if I don’t get angry. 3 if it really wins me over. Doubtful. If it’s unforgivable, I’ll read the script and save a spot for next January.

The Eagle

Oh, the Roman/Greek/Ancient Times action movie that comes out every year. Seriously, it’s like the same type of movie comes out every year on the same weekend. Or every other year. It’s great, because it’s like the big trickle down effect. You get 300, and then they’re like, “Let’s put 10,000 BC (second mention in this post. I bet no one else has mentioned that movie twice in one post since it came out…even then) in March too, because people will subconsciously link it to 300 (aside from the whole numbers thing) and go see it,” and then it becomes, “Wasn’t that ancient action movie out this time that year too? Yeah, let’s put this new one there.” And then these movies go in the same spot for a few years, and gross less and less money each time, to the point where you get weekends where a film wins while only grossing like $12 million, and then the next year, some film that shouldn’t be released at that time comes out, and it’s actually halfway decent, and then it makes like $40 million opening weekend, and thus starts the whole chain over again. It’s great. It’s one of my favorite Hollywood games to play. I wonder if people find this phenomenon as interesting as me. Because I’d love to just sit down and do that one day. Track, over the last 15 years, the chain of genre to genre, how the same kinds of movies end up coming out on the same weekend, every year. And you can always link it to something else. Seriously, try it. Look at what’s coming out this weekend. Think back to another movie with a similar theme and similar in scope (Don’t compare Drag Me to Hell to My Bloody Valentine. You know what I’m talking about), and when that came out. Pretty close, isn’t it? It’s a fun little game. It’s like the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.

Oh, yeah. I don’t know what the fuck this movie is about. Let’s assume a bird. Whatever. I won’t see it. 2 stars. Because it’s ancient.

Gnomeo and Juliet

I gauge animated movies by their budgets. My guess is this will be a movie that doesn’t gross more than $60 million. If it’s lucky. So, I’m guessing it will by highly inoffensive, mostly pandering to children, and have one or two jokes that are worthwhile. Also, you can pretty much guess what it’s about by its title.

3 stars. Unless they really do something wrong, in which case 2.

Just Go With It

Here’s unforgivable nominee #1. How can it not be? Sandler just manages to miss being nominated every year and Aniston is Public Enemy #1. Not only that, but this movie is essentially stealing its entire plot from Cactus Flower. Don’t believe me?

Cactus Flower: Walter Matthau, a dentist and philanderer, is dating 21-year old Goldie Hawn. He’s like 50 at this point. And he doesn’t want to get too serious with her, so he tells her he has a wife and 3 kids. Meanwhile, his spinster secretary, Ingrid Bergman, is secretly in love with him. He gets her to agree to pose as his ex-wife, because Goldie finds the fact that he has a family endearing, the exact opposite reaction he was hoping for. So the rest of the movie becomes about Ingrid Bergman pretending to be Matthau’s wife, and how those two end up falling in love, and Goldie Hawn ends up falling for her neighbor, who is around her age and more appropriate for her. She won an Oscar for the role, and it’s a nice little movie. Very 60s. A nice record of what the 60s were like.

This movie: Adam Sandler is a plastic surgeon. He’s like 45 at this point (the new 50). He pretends to be unhappily married to get women. He doesn’t want to get too serious with them, so he tells them he has a wife and kids. He meets a girl he believes to be the woman of his dreams (I’m guessing because her tits are bigger than his head), she finds the ring and gets pissed off. He tells her that he’s actually getting divorced, rather than tell the truth, and she naturally says, “I want to meet her.” Enter Aniston. She’s his “office manager” (a.k.a. secretary), who agrees to pose as his wife. Then, “one lie turns into another that brings (Aniston’s) children into his scheme, resulting in a trip to Hawaii that will change all their lives.”

That was straight from the Wikipedia synopsis. Seriously, is it possible to give this less than 1 star? I’m going to go into this film looking to not put it on my unforgivables list. This film needs to do anything right in order to make it off, and I guarantee it will still find a way to be on.

This is like in SNL Celebrity Jeopardy, when Trebek is so exasperated he makes the Final Jeopardy question impossible to fuck up, and all the contestants manage to fuck it up anyway.

Also, the original title of this movie was “Pretend Wife.” That’s how much creativity went into it. This movie was made for people who are simply nothing more than meat with eyes.

0 stars. Unforgivable. Almost guaranteed.

Big Mommas: Like Father Like Son

What happened to Big Momma’s house? That’s how you know the economy is really in the toilet.

Martin Lawrence must keep a Spitzer hooker on retainer, because that could only explain why he keeps making these movies.

Who gives a fuck what it’s about? You already know what it is.

0 stars, not unforgivable because it’s a sequel. But, there’s still that chance anyway.

I Am Number Four

This sounds like it was the alternate title to Star Wars.

Wikipedia describes this as a ”teen science fiction film.” Yeah, I think that’s what Jumper was. Jumper also came out this exact week 3 years ago. Hmm…

So it’s about baby aliens, who magically look like humans, who flee from their home planet (can’t infants like, not do anything? Even Superman needed Marlon Brando’s help to get off his planet), get to earth, and are chased by an invading species called the “Mogadorians,” which sounds exactly like one of the species from The Fifth Element. Movies should never remind you of better movies you’d rather be watching.

Each of the 9…there are 9 of them apparently, like the fellowship of the ring…how about something not stolen from another franchise? These 9 develop powers and are given guardians. They’re all assigned a number. Like 9, that animated movie where all the characters had numbers and were only called by their number. We work hard to cut out the originality here. So, these 9 can only be killed in the order of their numbers…just because.

1, 2 and 3 are already dead before the movie begins. Good thing, too. I was wondering how this could be a movie aimed at tweens that involves the mass killing of a bunch of teenagers.

Number 4, our protagonist, is a high school student in Ohio. So, let’s assume he’s one of the Glee kids. He’s “disguised” as a high school student. Oh, so he wears glasses and Clark Kents this shit, huh? Why must he be disguised? I don’t get this. Isn’t he higher profile if he’s in a public space? Shouldn’t he be like, kept away in a bunker somewhere, just hiding? Stupid fuck. Anyway, he has a girl…played by one of the actual Glee kids…ha…me joking around is the same as Hollywood making a business decision…let’s see who has the last laugh on that one…so, he’s into her, and he’s like, “Fuck this, I’m not running anymore. I have something to fight for.” Which, if he’s safely hiding, why does he need to stop running? This makes no sense. Man, this movie is going to suck.

2 stars. Maybe 1. I assume it’ll look competently made and just suck. That’s usually what gets something a 2. Tried and failed gets 2. When it looks like you weren’t even trying, that’s a 1.

Unknown

This is Taken part 2. And I bet, like all sequels, it won’t be nearly as good. And Taken was only a 3 star movie to begin with.

Neeson gets into a cab ride, wakes up, finds out nobody knows who he is and that someone else has stolen his entire identity. A flimsier plot than Taken, which is saying something. No way everyone can be in on it, unless it’s the Truman Show. This seems like a thriller and not an action movie. Which means it’ll be bad.

So, 2 stars. Maybe a 3 if Liam really beats the shit out of some people. But this doesn’t look like that kind of movie. Maybe it’ll get a 3 because Diane Kruger is gorgeous. I still say 2.

Drive Angry

2 Cage movies in 2 months? Holy jumping fucking shitballs! This is like hitting the Mega Millions. I am so fucking excited for both of these movies.

I won’t say anything. I’ll just paste the synopsis of the film:

“Milton (Nicolas Cage) has broken out of hell to prevent the cult that murdered his daughter from sacrificing her baby.”

Done. 3 stars. Nice likelihood of 4 if it’s really off the wall. Ghost Rider meets Gone in 60 Seconds. I also don’t know what the title means but I hope he does a lot of it.

There’s also a man listed in the credits as “Man in Wig.” Bonus point.

Hall Pass

Oh, the Farrelly brothers, who haven’t been relevant since 1998. Okay, 2000. Remember when they had that run of awesome films? Dumb & Dumber, Kingpin, There’s Something About Mary, Me Myself & Irene? Then OsmosisJones went and changed everything. But even that movie wasn’t terrible. Then they went and did Stuck on You, Fever Pitch and The Heartbreak Kid remake. Yeah, it’s been a bad decade for them.

Now they have a movie starring Owen Wilson, who is to comedy as AIDs is to a long and healthy life. He and his buddy get a “Hall Pass” from their wives, after their long marriages have hit a stale patch, to do whatever they want, for one week, no questions asked.

No…. Just … no.

1 star. Maybe 2. Probably 1. Not unforgivable, likely, but still, 1 star.

Shelter

Oh, great…Julianne Moore is back doing shitty thrillers! I remember back when The Forgotten came out and I thought, “Boy, I could sure use more of these in my life!” Then she went and did reputable movies for 6 years. But now she’s back! Oh boy!

Now instead of her child being taken away, her child is in danger! She’s a psychiatrist who discovers that the multiple personalities of her patient (that aren’t the main one, I’m guessing) are all murder victims. As she tries to find out what happens, apparently she puts herself and her daughter in danger. Oh, goody gumdrops.

1 star. Maybe.

Bonus points for including Jeffrey Jones (a.k.a. Principal Ed Rooney) in the cast. Convicted sex offenders just don’t get all the juicy roles anymore.

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