2011 Fall Movie Preview

To be honest, I really wasn’t all that excited for this fall’s crop of movies—at least not as excited as I usually feel around this time. I’m not sure if it was this year’s spring and summer malaise carrying over, or if I just hadn’t been keeping up with things as closely as I usually do, but frankly, until now, I was ready to write off 2011 as the most uninspiring year since I started closely following the world of film.

Then, I got my EW 2011 Fall Movie Preview issue in the mail. Now, my anticipation is really high—for a lot of films. I couldn’t even narrow this list down to just 10, so I made it 15. They run the gamut from the commercial blockbusters to the indie darlings, and they don’t include such films as War Horse, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, We Bought a Zoo, J. Edgar, and others that I have high hopes for.

Here they are. Enjoy!

15.) My Week with Marilyn
This one is all about Michelle Williams for me. She’s one of the most promising actresses working today. The camera loves her, and she’s not afraid to take a chance or two with her performances. As Marilyn Monroe, I have no idea what direction she’ll go in, but I can’t wait to find out.

14.) A Dangerous Method
Not as high on this as most people are, but that’s not to say I’m not excited about it. I’m just not as ecstatic about David Cronenberg as most people are. Still, this sounds like an atypical film for him, and the pairing of Viggo Mortensen and Michael Fassbender will undoubtedly be fascinating.

13.) Martha Marcy May Marlene
This year’s Sundance darling hits theaters in October, and early word is crazy enthusiastic. Not sure any Oscar talk is in the cards, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be one of the year’s best.

12.) The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
I think the only thing more boring than last year’s Swedish adaptation of Stieg Larson’s bestseller is the bestseller itself. But with David Fincher behind the camera, I can’t help but be excited. After The Social Network, I’d watch a four-hour movie about dirt if it was directed by Fincher.

11.) Carnage
Look at that cast! Winslet, Waltz, Foster, Reilly. Oh, and did I mention it was directed by Roman Polanski. Yeah, why is this only 11 on my list?

10.) Contagion
I’ve had my eye on this since last year. Yeah, the cast is great, and it’s Steven Soderbergh. The trailer was great, and the subject is inherently interesting to me. But what I’m most excited about is the fact that it’s in IMAX. I don’t know why, but it seems like such an odd (but intriguing) move.

9.) Melancholia
I hope this high-minded sci-fi tragedy from Lars von Trier is as good as advertised from Cannes. The Tree of Life wasn’t exactly, but something tells me this one will be more my speed.

8.) Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol
This series is a total guilty pleasure for me. I adore all three films (especially MI:3), and the fact that this one is directed by Pixar vet Brad Bird intrigues me all the more. The trailer was great, the supporting cast is strong. Can’t ask for much more than that.

7.) We Need to Talk about Kevin
Another from this year’s Cannes crop (and not the last on this list). I’ve been looking forward to this film for over a year, since I first heard Tilda Swinton would be playing a mother trying to deal with the gravity of a son who commits a horrible crime. She’ll be sensational, I’m sure.

6.) Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
I’ve read John LeCarre’s massive novel upon which this film is based, and always thought it’d make for a great The Good Shepherd-esque film. That’s precisely what the trailer promises, and I really hope Gary Oldman can capture his first Oscar nomination with this juicy material.

5.) Drive
The buzz on Nicolas Winding Refn’s latest film is deafening right now. Many are calling it the most exciting film of the year, and his Best Director prize from Cannes likely means this neo-noir will be really juicy and stylish. September 16 can’t come soon enough.

4.) The Muppets
With all the heavy stuff coming out toward the end of the year, I think this might be the counter-programming everyone will need come November. Jason Segel’s involvement (and obvious passion for the material) makes me confident this won’t be simply a nostalgic money grab.

3.) The Ides of March
I was excited about this one when I first heard about it. I love George Clooney. I think he’s a great director. And the material sounded really interesting. Then I saw the poster…awesome. Then the trailer. Now it’s one of my most anticipated of the year, and I have a feeling we’ll be talking about it a lot come next February.

2.) The Artist
I’ve always thought a well-made silent film could do relatively well in today’s market, and I think this film might be the fall’s breakout hit. Audiences loved it at Cannes, and like The Muppets, I think it might be the kind of light-hearted film the Oscar season will need.

1.) The Descendants
It’s been seven years since an Alexander Payne film last graced the big screen, and what a long wait it has been. This film promises a terrific blend of comedy and drama, as well as another sensational George Clooney performance. The trailer floored me, and the whispers I’ve heard about the film have been overwhelmingly positive. There was no question about this one. It’s far and away my most anticipated film of all of 2011.

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