Kill List (Jan. 4)
British director Ben Wheatley took the traditional route to garnering favor with Austin movie geeks: he had a kick-ass film play Fantastic Fest. In 2009, his gangster dark comedy Down Terrace won the festival’s Next Wave Award, and our sincerest respect for the man behind it. His new film promises to be a return to crime film form. -BS
Check out the trailer for Kill List.
Red Tails (Jan. 20)
It’s true that newcomer Anthony Hemingway is an unproven entity in the world of features, but it’s the names involved with the project (from George Lucas producing to Bryan Cranston, Cuba Gooding Jr., and Terrence Howard starring) alongside the historical bombast of the Tuskegee Airmen that makes this one worth fighting for. And if that hadn’t sold it, the trailer sure as hell did. -CA
Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax (Mar. 2)
Zac Efron is one of the voices! Kidding (not really), but when one of my favorite Dr. Seuss books from my childhood is being made into a movie, it’s naturally something I’m going to want to see. Especially when it is done in stunning 3D (and I rarely say that about 3D) making it look like one of the more magical (and heartfelt) films of next year. -AL
Watch The Lorax trailer.
Jeff Who Lives At Home (Mar. 2)
This may be a bit of a cheat on my part, as I’ve already seen (and loved) the Duplass brothers’ latest, a Jason Segel-starring gem, thanks to last month’s AFI FEST (review HERE, for those of you who don’t give a whiff about spoilers). The film is the most accessible and charming project yet from the pair, starring Segel and Ed Helms as loser brothers (who are both losers in very different ways) who embark on a mission of discovery with, ding ding, unexpected results. It’s not the stoner comedy some people may be expecting, and that’s why I’m still anticipating it – I cannot wait to see how audiences react to a film I already love. -KE
John Carter (Mar. 9)
In one of the big surprises of 2010, Pixar star Brad Bird made a splash in live-action with the latest Mission: Impossible film. Next year, one of his Pixar all-star brethren, Andrew Stanton, will make his live-action debut with his twist on Edgar Rice Burroughs’s “John Carter of Mars” tale. This hero is just John Carter (of Earth), and he’s surrounded by what appears to be some ambitious visuals. In the end, story will be the hinge on which John Carter lives or dies, but with Stanton’s track record, we’re more than comfortable betting on the former. -NM
The Raven (Mar. 9)
Edgar Allan Poe (John Cusack) searches for a serial killer who’s using Poe’s own grisly stories as inspiration, and you’re either on board with that concept or not. You should be though, as it looks to be a more action-oriented From Hell, and that’s not a bad thing. Plus, we can all agree that the awfulness of Ninja Assassin is canceled out by the awesomeness of V for Vendetta, so that means director James McTeigue is working from a clean slate here. -RH
Salmon Fishing In The Yemen (Mar. 9)
It may have the worst title of any upcoming film, but Lasse Hallstrom’s next film has already wowed audiences with its incredibly charming trailer. More than anything, it should (hopefully) be a return to form after Hallstrom’s last effort, the cookie-cutter Nicholas Sparks flick Dear John, which was boring and manipulative as only Sparks films can be. Ewan McGregor! Emily Blunt! Salmon fishing! 15 Yemen Road, Yemen! -KE
Casa de mi Padre (Mar. 16)
Will Ferrell’s Gary Sanchez productions has put together a film that only somebody with Ferrell’s star power can get away with: an entirely Spanish-language feature length melodrama. Because studios think Americans hate to read, Casa de mi Padre has a pretty small-time distributor for Ferrell (Pantelion), but it’s great to see a big-name comedian try something risky, different, and bizarre (if we’re assuming he’s not simply making a film for a non-Anglophonic continental American audience). Casa de mi Padre vaguely resembles a recurring Spanish language telenovela skit Ferrell did back in his SNL days, so it could turn out to be a one-joke potro…or it could be brilliant. We’ll see. -LP
Watch the trailer for Casa de mi Padre.