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2011 Film Preview

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The 2011 film release calendar features an exciting, record breaking line-up (all mentioned release dates subject to change) including intriguing documentaries like I Am.

Unique characters make themselves heroes in The Green Hornet starring comedian Seth Rogen stars with Jay Chou as Kato while Super (April 1) stars Rainn Wilson, Ellen Page, Liv Tyler, and Kevin Bacon.

Superheroes continue their domination with Thor (May 6) starring Australian actor Chris Hemsworth, Rene Russo, Anthony Hopkins, and busy star Natalie Portman, First Class (June 3), Green Lantern (June 17), and Captain America: The First Avenger (July 22). 

More 3D Film Fun

3D film offerings include Sanctum (also showing in IMAX 3D theaters), Drive Angry 3D, The Lion of Judah, Mars Needs Moms (also in IMAX 3D), Priest, The Darkest Hour, Fright Night, Spy Kids 4: All the Time in the World, Final Destination 5, Born to be Wild, Immortals, Happy Feet 2 (also in IMAX 3D) and Arthur Christmas.

Steven Spielberg will offer the 3D motion-capture fantasy Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn on December 23 and the drama War Horse, set during World War I, on December 28. Spielberg also wears his executive producer hat on high profile films like the J.J. Abrams directed sci-fi film Super 8 (June 10), I Am Number Four (Feb. 18, also in IMAX theaters), the robot ring fighter Real Steel (October 7), and Cowboys & Aliens (July 29). 2011 will also be the year of Natalie Portman who also stars in Your Highness, Thor, No Strings Attached, and The Other Woman.

Busy Stars

Justin Timberlake stars in the sci-fi aging fantasy Now and a bevy of leading man roles including Bad Teacher (June 17) with Cameron Diaz and Friends with Benefits (July 22) with Mila Kunis. As always, Jennifer Anniston has a full slate of films including the moving comedy Wanderlust, the star studded Horrible Bosses, and the Adam Sandler romantic comedy Just Go With It (Feb. 11).

Ben Affleck and Matt Damon get releases for their previously delayed films like The Company Men and Adjustment Bureau, respectively. Vanessa Hudgens gets Beastly, then helps deliver a Sucker Punch, directed by Zach Snyder, on March 25. Oh, then she co-stars in the sequel Journey 2: The Mysterious Island with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Michael Caine and Luis Guzman.

Sequels include Scream 4, Fast Five, Cars 2, Sherlock Holmes II, Ong Bak 3, Ip Man 2: Legend of the Grandmaster, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules, Caesar: Rise of the Apes, Johnny English Reborn, Piranha 3DD, Paranormal Activity 3, Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1 and Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol.

Thrills flicker on the screen in The Roommate, The Apparition, Abduction, Dream House, and Contagion. Find more thrills with Source Code and Unknown starring Liam Neeson. Sport themed releases include Warrior (mixed martial arts) and Moneyball (baseball) starring Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill, and Philip Seymour Hoffman.

Endless laughs.

Comedy kicks off the year with The Dilemma, then February has the Farrelly Brothers comedy Hall Pass (Feb. 25) and Ed Helms in Cedar Rapids (Feb 11). Anna Faris and Chris Evans address past relationships in What’s Your Number? (April 29). The party comedy Take Me Home Tonight (March 4) stars Faris with Topher Grace as the laughs continue with Paul (March 18) a sci-fi comedy starring Simon Pegg, Jason Bateman, Seth Rogen and Sigourney Weaver.

More comedy includes Bridesmaids, Project X, Something Borrowed, Monte Carlo, One for the Money, The Help, The Sitter, The Heart Specialist, and the body switching The Change-Up starring Ryan Reynolds and Jason Bateman. The crime comedy 30 Minutes or Less (Aug. 12) features Jesse Eisenberg and Aziz Ansari battling bad guys played by Danny McBride and Nick Swardson.

Big star comedies include Crazy, Stupid, Love (July 29) starring Steve Carell while Ben Stiller and Eddie Murphy team up for Tower Heist (Nov. 4). Jack and Jill stars Adam Sandler, Dana Carvey, Katie Holmes, and…Al Pacino.

Action time

Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen team up again for assassin action flic Colombiana starring Zoe Saldana and Michael Vartan. Action fans can tinker with Jason Statham’s latest, The Mechanic, on January 28. Bruce Willis stars in the diamond heist film Setup, conspiracy thriller The Cold Light of Day and crime drama Catch .44. Battle: Los Angeles has epic action while McG directs the action comedy This Means War starring Reese Witherspoon who also stars in the travelling circus drama Water for Elephants.

Inspiration abounds in the fatherhood/police officer themed Courageous while Mel Gibson stars in one of the most interesting offerings, The Beaver, directed by Jodie Foster who also co-stars. Interesting titles and adapted material go hand in hand with Jane Eyre, Red Riding Hood, Winnie the Pooh, and Jim Carrey’s Mr. Popper’s Penguins (Aug. 12).

All ages

Animated films include Gnomeo & Juliet, Hop, Rio and the Shrek spin off Puss in Boots. Johnny Depp headlines Rango, which is animated, but supported with real life theatrical performances.

Life action works into the animation mix in the Saturday morning TV adaptation of the Smurfs. Kevin James plays Zookeeper (July 8) with an all star animal voice cast while Jason Segel and Amy Adams star as The Muppets return to the big screen on November 23. Dolphin Tale has the familiar animal/youngster friendship with stars Morgan Freeman, Kris Kristofferson, Harry Connick Jr., and Ashley Judd.

Calendar potpourri

Earth Day environmental documentaries continue with African Cats while audiences can also go to the Prom in April. Memorial Day weekend looks marvelous with Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (May 20) features Jack Sparrow sans Will and Elizabeth. Geoffrey Rush returns while new cast members include Penelope Cruz and Ian McShane. All the guys are back for The Hangover, Part II (May 26) who visit Thailand this time while Jack Black returns in Kung Fu Panda 2 to voice Po as the all star voice cast expands with Gary Oldman, Jean-Claude Van Damme, and Michelle Yeoh.

July Fourth weekend: Transformers: Dark of the Moon, the Tom Hanks/Julia Roberts comedy drama Larry Crowne, and the comedic romance Monte Carlo starring Selena Gomez and Leighton Meester. Sinbad the Fifth Voyage competes with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 in mid-July.

August 26 will kick off a hat trick of remakes – The Three Musketeers, Footloose, and The Thing. Jason Momoa steps into Arnold Schwarzenegger’s shoes in a Conan the Barbarian update (Aug. 19) while the delayed remake of Red Dawn hopes to rise in 2011.

The holiday slate includes director Garry Marshall’s superstar follow-up to Valentine’s Day, New Year’s Eve (Dec. 9). David Fincher starts another film adaptation series of author Stieg Larsson’s crime thriller trilogy with Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Dec. 21) starring Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara.

Filmmaker Showcase

Other premier filmmakers look for even more success this year. Terence Malick directs Brad Pitt and others in Tree of Life while Peter Weir directs the prison escape drama The Way Back starring Ed Harris, Colin Farrell and Mark Strong. Zhang Yimou directs Christian Bale in The 13 Women of Nanjing, based on Chinese author Yan Geling’s novel chronicling atrocities during the 1937 Japanese invasion. Cameron Crowe directs the drama We Bought a Zoo starring Matt Damon and Thomas Haden Church.

Enjoy the 2011 film year!

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  • Novelty

    Saw the trailer on Leno… it looks like it’s gonna be good!