Just one bit of housekeeping before we get cracking with this one. We’re covering films that are due to get a UK release between September 1st and the end of December in this round-up. That accounts for why we’re not continuing to eulogise about The Guard (due out August 19th), and it’s why we don’t get to fully profess how much we’re looking forward to Conan (also out in August).
Also, the Oscar-baiting movies don’t tend to make it to the UK until January and February, so we’ll deal with them separately another time.
Crucially, The Muppets, which has been top of our to-watch list for a long time, doesn’t hit the UK until February. We have, of course, threatened Disney with everything we can throw at them to make this appear in Blighty before then, but as of now, our efforts have been in vain. Rest assured, friends, that our plan continues.
Here, then, is what we’ve got to look forward to…
The Big Blockbusters
Top of our blockbuster radar here are a pair of films that are arriving in December.
Firstly, there’s Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol. We’ve had several arguments in recent weeks with people who suggest that there’s never been a good Mission: Impossible film. For our money, Brian De Palma’s first stab was brilliant, John Woo’s sequel was flabby, but had its moments, and JJ Abrams’ third film sat between the two.
The key selling point of Ghost Protocol? That’d be the live-action directorial debut of Brad Bird. Bird’s directorial CV includes firm favourites The Iron Giant, Ratatouille and The Incredibles, and we can’t wait to see what he can do with a major, live-action blockbuster.
We’re intrigued, too, as to David Fincher’s take on The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, not least because both this and Ghost Protocol are released on the same day in the UK (26th December). Early signs are that Fincher hasn’t compromised the grown-up nature of the story. There’s also a Sherlock Holmes sequel arriving in December (the 16th, to be precise), which should be fun.
Keep an eye on Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 1 (18th November), too. Even though non-Twilight fans are unlikely to queue up for it, this one’s been directed by Bill Condon, the genius behind the likes of Gods And Monsters. It’s got us interested, anyway.
We’re less pumped up for Paul W S Anderson’s take on The Three Musketeers (12th October), although the last trailer for it was really quite good. It’s certainly one that shouldn’t be written off. Nor should Real Steel (14th October), the Hugh Jackman headlined take on an original Richard Matheson story, which will be the second movie this year to feature giant robot-y things battling each other. We will happily wager right now that Real Steel will be the best of those two.
Steven Soderbergh, meanwhile, has united a cast of potential disease fodder for his modern day Outbreak, Contagion. It’s arriving on 21st October, and we expect it to be full of serious-looking scientists.
Earlier in the year, Ryan put together a look at the intriguing science fiction movies heading our way before the year is out (linked below). Apollo 18 (2nd September), a found footage on the moon film, was on it, although it was bumped from April to eventually settle on a September release slot. It could go either way, this one.
As could the prequel to The Thing (2nd December). Our fondness for remakes hasn’t warmed at all in recent times, although the trailer that was released for The Thing prequel did show some promise (even if it, arguably, gave too much away). It’s due in October and might actually turn out to be a pleasant surprise.
The absolute sci-fi highlight to come, though, is surely Andrew Niccols’ In Time. Niccols is the man behind the script for The Truman Show, and then he directed the outstanding Gattaca. This time, he’s come up with a cracking sci-fi idea, which skews Logan’s Run a little. You can read more on it here.
Also, Another Earth, due on 7th October, is an indie sci-fi movie, and as the title suggests, its idea surrounds the discovery of an identical planet to our own. You can see the trailer here.
Animation & Family
There are a couple of animated films coming up that we don’t, as of yet, have a great deal of excitement for. Happy Feet Two and Puss In Boots have done little to set the pulse racing, based on material released thus far. But there are, nonetheless, a couple of projects to keep an eye on.
Top of the list must be Aardman Animation’s first new movie since Flushed Away, five years ago. The firm actually has two films coming out in a matter of six months, and while The Pirates! An Adventure With Scientists is the one we’re looking forward to the most, Arthur Christmas still has real promise.
It’s digitally animated, and is being made in conjunction with Sony Imagemovers Digital, which itself was behind the delightful Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs. It’ll be interesting to see which company’s DNA influences Arthur Christmas the most, but whichever way it goes, we’ll be surprised if the end product isn’t worth seeing.
Then there’s The Adventures Of Tintin. We appreciate it’s not an animated film per se, but it’s hard to class it any other way, given that it’s performance capture technology that’s been used to realise the film. It’s a curious choice, and we concur with the consensus that the problem with performance capture techniques is that the characters have a habit of looking dead behind the eyes as a result.
Still, with Steven Spielberg back behind the camera/computer/capture machine for the first time since Indiana Jones 4, it’s a project we’re keen to see. Spielberg has already followed up Tintin with War Horse, which doesn’t arrive in the UK until January.
Martin Scorsese, meanwhile, has made his first family-friendly movie, in the shape of Hugo 3D, based on the book, The Invention Of Hugo Cabret. You’ll have to wait until 2nd December for it, where it goes head to head with the aforementioned Happy Feet Two.
We’ve touched on The Thing already, and there is, of course, a Paranormal Activity sequel on the way this October. But it’s Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark that looks like being the one to watch. This is one that’s sat on the shelf for a while, only because of the financial uncertainty surrounding MGM. With that cleared up, the Guillermo del Toro-produced horror is finally set to see the light of day.
Also, keep an eye out for David Tennant in Fright Night 3D, which arrives on 2nd September. That one should be fun.Ones you might not have heard of
We’ve had a chance to see The Art Of Getting By, starring Freddie Highmore, and while we’re not allowed to put a review up yet, it’s a coming of age drama that’s set to kick off September very well. It’s out on 2nd September.
We’ve also seen Paddy Considine’s directorial debut, Tyrannosaur, which turns up in the UK on 7th October. It’s a downbeat British drama, and a very violent one, that, if there’s any justice, should be a magnet for awards attention.
We Need To Talk About Kevin, meanwhile, has already attracted significant awards attention, and it finally makes it to UK cinemas on 21st October. Directed by Lynne Ramsay, it’s based on Lionel Shriver’s novel, about a mother trying to come to terms with the actions of her son.
Another film that’s picked up a prize or two is Drive, starring Ryan Gosling. It’s being pitched as more of an action movie in the promotions thus far, but there’s a lot, lot more to it than that. You’ll be able to find out for yourself on 23rdSeptember.
Warrior, meanwhile, stars Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton, with an added dose of Nick Nolte. This one’s basically a two-fisted Rocky, which is due out on 23rd September, too. That’s also the same day the next Jason Statham film is out. It’s called Killer Elite, and it will be violent.
You’ve probably heard of the big screen take on Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, but we’ve cunningly, in this feature, come up with a series of subheadings that it doesn’t easily fit under. The film arrives on 16th September, and it’s got a cracking cast, including Tom Hardy, Colin Firth, Gary Oldman, John Hurt and Stephen Rea.
Ben Wheatley is the director who gave us 2010’s most underappreciated movie, Down Terrace. His next film is Kill List, and it’s one that’s hard to pin down to a specific genre. It does look damn near unmissable, though, and turns up on 2nd September.
And then there’s…
Well, where else can we stick a Roland Emmerich movie about Shakespeare? Comfortably one of the most fascinating unknowns due to arrive before the year is out, Anonymous sees world-wrecker Emmerich putting most of his special effects toys away, as he instead delves into the mystery of who actually wrote Shakespeare’s plays. What next, we wonder? Michael Bay’s Macbeth? Anonymous is out on 28th October.
Which of those are you looking forward to? Leave your thoughts in the comments…