In 2011 - or at least the first half of it - it's all about Natalie, as she has FOUR films out in five months! (March is the barren one). I haven't seen this much Natalie action in forever. It also means I'm going to be mega fat, as a Natalie film = Ben and Jerry's sundae. Squee.
As ever the first few months are always the more exciting before the tepid Summer months begin, and release schedules for the end of the year are still in development. Here are the ones I'm most looking forward to - let's hope they live up to the hype (the first one already has...shhhhh!).
Danny Boyle's latest film is garnering all kinds of attention due to the fact that to escape from his perilous entrapment, James Franco's character must cut his arm off with his pen knife. And it's been making people faint. The story is a real life one, and one that ends well (I don't think that's too much of a spoiler): adventuring in The Blue Canyon one weekend, Aron Ralston slips down a crevice, a boulder trapping his arm to the rock side. The next 127 hours are focused on him, just him, in this impossibility that just might be fate. It's been getting some great reviews, and whilst I'm a little squeamish, I can always hide when that bit comes on, right?
To be blunt, this film doesn't seem like very much at all: a man (albeit The King) overcoming his stammer so he can speak publicly (albeit to the nation). But it's the cast and the exuding elegance and quality of the film that makes it onto my list. It's been getting crazy good reviews - especially for a film of such slightness - and I have to admit I have become a bit of a stickler for Colin Firth as of late. He looks certain for a shoo-in as the awards season approaches, as well as fellow star Geoffrey Rush who plays his speech therapist with rather unconventional treatment techniques. It's going to be a blubfest!
I feel like I've been talking about this film forever! Finally on the 15th of this month we'll finally get to see Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams fight with their emotions, and lay bare the tortures of love in this little indie gem that's been silently collecting nods from the peeps who have been lucky enough to see it. Williams in particular has been bringing in the nominations for her performance as the wife.
Black Swan (January)
OH MY GOD IS IT OUT YET? I'm probably boring all the people around me half to death with exaggerated waiting for Black Swan to come out. It feels like everybody and their swan has seen this already, and it's excruciating having to queue up for it. This needs no introduction as I've banging on about it for months, but it's the biggest film of Natalie's career so far playing a troubled and fragile ballerina whose thrust into the spotlight as the lead in Swan Lake leads her into insanity...or does it? Less than 2 weeks to go people!
This time last year it was The Princess and the Frog, which, throwaway as it was, was Disney's return to its classic roots and 2D drawings. Tangled is a compromise of new and old styles, being shot in 3D with a goofy plot to try and attract the younger boys it's actually a version of the Grimm's fairytale Rapunzel. I've already let it be known that I wish they had stuck to their guns and played it straighter (Disney is for girls, anyway!) but the trailer looks like a lot of fun, with some sharp comedy, so perhaps it won't be too much of an animated car wreck.
I'm sightly scared of this film, mostly because the traumatic nature of it is more than likely going to make me cry, and also dig into my soul which is never very pleasant and I'll emerge a bit of a pummelled mess by the end of it. I'm hopeful there's an uplifting message somewhere in the film to be had - but it's certainly not a sit back and relax with a tub of popcorn on a Friday night experience. I'm hoping for more powerful than upsetting.
The new one from the Coen brothers sees them back in Western territory with a remake of the John Wayne film and a more up-to-date adaptation of the novel written by Charles Portis. Guaranteed excellence (and it's just been given a 5 star review in Empire) and a stellar cast as well including Jeff Bridges back with the brothers once again. If it's anywhere near as impressive as No Country For Old Men then I'm certainly gonna enjoy this one.
The second film up for Natalie is something completely different to Black Swan: it's her first proper romcom playing opposite Ashton Kutcher in a film originally titled Fuck Buddies (so you get the picture). Timely scheduled for Valentine's Day, I'm hoping Natalie's presence and sense will mean this is an above average outing in the genre and predictable as it will turn out actually be funny, entertaining and maybe a teeny bit original with its ideas? Either way we get to see Natalie shriek "BITCH!" and have a cat fight, so it's not going to be a total waste.
There's actually some horror films I'm really looking forward to seeing this year - a few of them will be guilty pleasures, but this one will be the one that scares the bejesus out of me. Similar to The Orphanage, this is a 'Guillermo Del Toro' presents feature helping to lift the debut film from a upcoming director (in this case Troy Nixey). It's also a remake of a 1970s TV film which has obtained a cult following for its general whimper-inducing creepiness. Katie Holmes and her family move into a new house, and of course, they are not alone...
Despite the widespread lukewarm reviews, I'm still really excited to see the big screen version of one of my favourite love stories out over here in March. It looks stunningly beautiful, but I fear the problem with it is going to be style over substance: how to capture protagonist Toru's internal angsty monologue into scenes and dialogue that pack the same amount of power. I'll reserve judgement until I've seen it, and I hope it'll encourage many more people to read the book, too.
This is the official release date, although I'm unsure if I'll actually get to see it as it doesn't have the back up of a well known and loved book behind it like Norwegian Wood does. It's an indie French film about three people believing they can successfully maintain a menage a trois, which of course will end up in disaster. I've had my eye on this one as it travelled through the festival circuit last year, so I really do hope my local arthouse picks it up and I'll get to see it.
Nnneurgh... this film almost didn't get a mention at all because Mia Wasikowska is in it and as we've recently established I have no tolerance for her anymore. Buuuuut it has a quirky plot to it, and it's being directed by Gus Van Sant, one of my favourite directors (when he gets it right), so I've had to include it on my list as I'll more than likely end up going to see it. And who knows, maybe she'll actually show some range in this film and I'll take back my denouncement..?
Part Two arriving soon!