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In the last edition of Elegies (see it here), I began my list of Top 10 Movies I Am Most Looking Forward To in 2011, which included DRIVE ANGRY, THE INNKEEPERS, THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE (FULL SEQUENCE), INSIDIOUS and SUPER 8. Here are the final five:
6. COWBOYS & ALIENS (July 25, Universal): With his two IRON MAN films, director Jon Favreau proved he could helm big-budget summer blockbusters and not sacrifice heart and soul to the pyrotechnics. Favreau tries again in his latest comics-derived film, COWBOYS & ALIENS, about a Western town circa 1873 that must contend with an invasion from space. There’s been no lack of INDEPENDENCE DAY derivatives of late (SKYLINE and the upcoming BATTLE: LOS ANGELES), but COWBOYS & ALIENS at least changes the setting and was special enough to attract the likes of Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig (channeling Kim Milford from LASERBLAST, per the kick-ass trailer). The script comes from the word processor of genre aces Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman (STAR TREK reboot, FRINGE) and LOST’s Damon Lindelof. There are at least 15 (!) producers involved, including 400-pound gorilla Steven Spielberg, which makes me nervous that this could be another “movie by committee.” But Favreau and the screenwriters successfully swam these commercial waters before.
7. THE DARKEST HOUR (August 5, Summit): The logline for this summer flick may sound familiar—a group of kids try to survive an alien invasion—but THE DARKEST HOUR does have more than a few cool things going for it. First, it’s set in Russia; second, it stars a group of talented young indie actors (MILK’s Emile Hirsch, AGORA’s Max Minghella and JUNO’s Olivia Thirlby); and finally, the movie marks the sophomore effort of director Chris Gorak, who helmed the dirty-bomb paranoia film RIGHT AT YOUR DOOR. Gorak worked wonders with the limited resources on that initial thriller, so it will be interesting to see what he comes up with under the auspices of a ministudio with deeper pockets.
8. KNIGHTS OF BADASSDOM (TBA): When I interviewed TRUE BLOOD actor Ryan Kwanten (see piece here) last fall, the Aussie thespian practically bounced off the walls with excitement when talking about his next feature film. It concerns a group of role-playing-game nerds (including Steve Zahn and Peter Dinklage as “Hung”!) who unleash a real demon. WRONG TURN 2’s Joe Lynch directs KNIGHTS OF BADASSDOM, which has not garnered a distrib or much press yet, but is expected to get a big fan push at July’s San Diego Comic-Con. Lynch is a creative maniac who deserves a big-screen break, and KNIGHTS OF BADASSDOM has the same hip vibe of SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD and KICK-ASS.
9. SINT (pictured at top; TBA); This killer-Santa movie burned up the box-office charts in its native Netherlands and comes from the demented mind of Dick Maas (THE LIFT, AMSTERDAMNED). The equally comedic/horrific SINT reimagines Old Saint Nick as a bloodthirsty bishop who goes on a rampage during a Christmas-season full moon. Last year’s wicked RARE EXPORTS: A CHRISTMAS TALE (see review here) left me hungry for more twisted holiday tales, so SINT should fit the bloody bill.
10. JOHN DIES AT THE END (TBA): FANGORIA #288’s Nightmare Library raved about David Wong’s JOHN DIES AT THE END. Currently immersed in this nutzoid comedic horror novel myself, I can see why. JOHN DIES AT THE END is an inventive, funny and deliriously absurd book that’s almost impossible to describe—or put down. The story involves two slackers with ghostbusting abilities (courtesy of a drug called Soy Sauce) who, of course, must save the world from paranormal forces—like the frozen meats that animate and attack them. Now JOHN DIES AT THE END has become a movie, courtesy of PHANTASM creator Don Coscarelli, who last directed the cult hit BUBBA HO-TEP. Relative newcomers Chase Williamson and Rob Mayes star as protagonists John and buddy/author David Wong, ably supported by the likes of Oscar nominee Paul Giamatti (a major horror fan!), Clancy Brown (also in COWBOYS & ALIENS) and HELLBOY’s Doug Jones, plus a cameo by the Tall Man himself, Angus Scrimm. JOHN DIES AT THE END’s extensive postproduction visual FX are keeping the film’s release date up in the air, but this one would make my Top 10 Movies I Am Most Looking Forward To list whatever year it comes out.
Honorable mentions: Of course there are plenty of other movies that I’m curious to see this year, like RED RIDING HOOD (CGI werewolf?), SCREAM 4 (do Craven and Williamson still have the goods?), the THING prequel (worried about that delay…), THE APPARITION (new Dark Castle), APOLLO 18 (another found-footage movie, but with aliens) and DIBBUK BOX (Jewish demon, from producer Sam Raimi; must be better than THE UNBORN), to name a few. I’m also anxiously awaiting new seasons of TRUE BLOOD (June), THE WALKING DEAD and DEXTER (both fall), plus I can’t wait to read THE NIGHT ETERNAL, the last book in Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan’s THE STRAIN trilogy. I just love bein’ a horror fan!
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