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Our Most-Anticipated Films of 2011

Written by on February 21, 2011 

Bridesmaids (Paul Feig; May 13th)

Synopsis: A comedy centered on two women battling to plan their friend’s wedding party.

Why You Should See It: After Your Highness kicks off the summer laughs, this Judd Apatow-produced, Paul Feig-directed blockbuster comedy is the next big entry. The (almost) all-female cast is unfortunately a rarity in Hollywood and I can’t think of a better woman to lead than Kristen Wiig. – Jordan R.

The Beaver (Jodie Foster; May 20th)

Synopsis: A troubled husband and executive adopts a beaver hand-puppet as his sole means of communicating.

Why You Should See It: This Mel Gibson vehicle has been surrounded by controversy since his racist/sexist debacle, but it actually looks like it could be one of the better films this spring. After topping the Black List of best unproduced screenplays, the film will finally see its premiere at SXSW before hitting theaters in May. – Jordan R.

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (Rob Marshall; May 20th)

Synopsis: Jack Sparrow and Barbossa embark on a quest to find the elusive fountain of youth, only to discover that Blackbeard and his daughter are after it too.

Why You Should See It: Gore Verbinski is out as we welcome Rob Marshall (Chicago, Nine) to the directing chair for Disney’s biggest film of the summer. While his stamp isn’t apparent in the trailers, they smartly got rid of Keira Knightley and Orlando Bloom to trim this down to a stand-alone Jack Sparrow adventure. Add in the perfect casting of Ian McShane as Blackbeard and Penelope Cruz as our sidekick, and we could have a surprising return to form for this massive series. – Jordan R.

The Tree of Life (Terrence Malick; May 27th)

Synopsis: The story centers around a family with three boys in the 1950s. The eldest son witnesses the loss of innocence.

Why You Should See It: I mean…did you see that trailer? Have you not seen Terrence Malick’s only four other films from the past 38 years? How could this not be on the list? Will you just get excited for it, like you already should be, so I can stop asking these questions? – Nick N.

The Hangover: Part II (Todd Phillips; May 27th)

Synopsis: In the follow-up to the record-breaking hit comedy The Hangover, Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms), Alan (Zach Galifianakis) and Doug (Justin Bartha) travel to exotic Thailand for Stu’s wedding. After the unforgettable bachelor party in Las Vegas, Stu is taking no chances and has opted for a safe, subdued pre-wedding brunch. However, things don’t always go as planned. What happens in Vegas may stay in Vegas, but what happens in Bangkok can’t even be imagined.

Why You Should See It: It may be difficult follow up the craziness in the biggest R-rated comedy of all-time, but heading to Thailand is a step in the right direction. Todd Phillips’ sequel brings back our main leads, as well as a number of cameos that have been spoiled to high heaven during production. Even though the sequel may be unnecessary, it is hard to deny my excitement for this high-profile comedy. – Jordan R.

X-Men: First Class (Matthew Vaughn; June 3rd)

Synopsis: Before Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr took the names Professor X and Magneto, they were two young men discovering their powers for the first time. Before they were archenemies, they were closest of friends, working together, with other Mutants (some familiar, some new), to stop the greatest threat the world has ever known. In the process, a rift between them opened, which began the eternal war between Magneto’s Brotherhood and Professor X’s X-MEN.

Why You Should See It: After prepping, but ultimately departing X-Men: Last Stand, Matthew Vaughn’s (Kick-Ass, Stardust) return to the franchise should provide a breath of fresh air after a sharp decline with non-Singer productions. Bryan Singer also returns as producer, and the stellar cast top-lined by James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender place it in my most-anticipated summer movie category. – Jordan R.

Beginners (Mike Mills; June 3rd)

Synopsis: A young man is rocked by two announcements from his elderly father: that he has terminal cancer, and that he has a young male lover.

Why You Should See It: Ewan McGregor, Christopher Plummer, and Mélanie Laurent lead this tender look at life and death. Through flashblacks and images, Mills creates a deeply personal look at these universal situations. After checking out its TIFF premiere, it will finally get a release this summer via Focus Features. – Jordan R.

Super 8 (J. J. Abrams; June 10th)

Synopsis: Not provided by studio (i.e. it is a Abrams project).

Why You Should See It: If there was one blockbuster film to top this list, it would be J.J. Abrams and Steven Spielberg’s ode to the 1970 and ’80’s Amblin classics. It looks visually stunning and Abrams is sure to keep the enticing alien invasion story under wraps until release. – Jordan R.

Bad Teacher (Jake Kasdan; June 17th)

Synopsis: A comedy centered around a foul-mouthed, junior high teacher who, after being dumped by her sugar daddy, begins to woo a colleague — a move that pits her against a well-loved teacher.

Why You Should See It: Director Jake Kasdan has yet to quite break out, after delivering the underrated gems Zero Effect and Orange County. Bad Teacher, written by Gene Stupnitsky and Lee Eisenberg (Ghostbusters III, The Office), the comedy brings together Justin Timberlake, Jason Segel, and Cameron Diaz for Kasdan’s biggest film yet. – Jordan R.

Green Lantern (Martin Campbell; June 17th)

Synopsis: A test pilot is granted a mystical green ring that bestows him with otherworldly powers, as well as membership into an intergalactic squadron tasked with keeping peace within the universe.

Why You Should See It: The trailer for The Green Lantern was bland, choppy, and across the board unexciting. It felt like a total rush job, but there’s still hope for Martin Campbell’s space epic. Very few films have reached the level of scope Cambell and co. seem to be going for. Star Wars with a superhero? Sounds great. Lets just hope the film surpasses that so-so teaser. – Jack G.

Larry Crowne (Tom Hanks; July 1st)

Synopsis: After losing his job, a middle-aged man reinvents himself by going back to college.

Why You Should See It: Tom Hanks teams with My Big Fat Greek Wedding helmer Nia Vardalos for this screenplay, then went on to direct himself. Co-starring with Julia Roberts, Crowne should be one of the more crowd-pleasing comedy/dramas this summer. – Jordan R.

One Day (Lone Scherfig; July 8th)

Synopsis: After spending the night together on the night of their college graduation Dexter and Em are revisited each year on the same date to see where they are in their lives. They are sometimes together, sometimes not, on that day.

Why You Should See It: After her Sundance hit An Education nabbed a Best Picture nod, Scherfig heads into more comedic territory with One Day. Starring Anne Hathaway, Jim Sturgess, and Patricia Clarkson, this is certainly one to look forward to. – Jordan R.

Horrible Bosses (Seth Gordon; July 8th)

Synopsis: Three friends conspire to murder their awful bosses when they realize they are standing in the way of their happiness.

Why You Should See It: This murder-centered comedy stars a trio of funny men best-known for their work in television. Jason Bateman (Arrested Development), Jason Sudeikis (SNL) and Charlie Day (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia) team up with such big names as Jamie Foxx, Colin Farrell, Kevin Spacey and Jennifer Aniston in this crime caper helmed by King of Kong director, Seth Gordon. Though Gordon’s last comedy feature was the critically panned Four Christmases, he’s helmed a string of popular sitcoms since then, so here’s hoping his sense of humor is now as sharp as his cast deserves. – Kristy P.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (David Yates; July 15th)

Synopsis: The end begins as Harry, Ron, and Hermione go back to Hogwarts to find and destroy Voldemorts final horcruxes, but when Voldemort finds out about their mission, the biggest battle begins and life as they know it will never be the same again.

Why You Should See It: If you’re like almost every other movie goer for the past decade, you’re anxiously awaiting the finale of this epic series. With the original cast reprising their final roles, the special effects blowing our minds, and the final battle between good and evil within our grasp, this is definitely a film you don’t want to miss. – Josh B.

The Sitter (David Gordon Green; July 15th)

Synopsis: A comedy about a college student on suspension who is coaxed into babysitting the kids next door, though he is fully unprepared for the wild night ahead of him.

Why You Should See It: It’s a special year when we get not one, but two David Gordon Green films. We’ll see his delayed medieval epic Your Highness in April, then this comedy which features the compelling pair of Sam Rockwell and Jonah Hill. – Jordan R.

The Fields (Ami Canaan Mann; July 16th)

Synopsis: In the Texas bayous, a local homicide detective teams up with a cop from New York City to investigate a series of unsolved murders.

Why You Should See It: We may not get a Michael Mann film this year, but his daughter Ami Canaan Mann will deliver one this summer. Starring Chloe Moretz, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Sam Worthington, Jason Clarke, Stephen Graham, and Jessica Chastain, we’ll have to see if she has the same crime/drama blood as her father. – Jordan R.

Check out the rest of the list on the next page >>

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