It’s that time of the year again, so CHUD will be bringing you our preview of the films coming at you in the last four months of the year. This is the third of four entries that will debut each week for four weeks in which we pick out the films we’re most excited (or particularly fearful) to see. If you think we missed something major or think there’s been a date change we didn’t catch, feel free to let us know…
Enjoy, and be sure to give us an idea what you’re looking forward to! Twitter, email, comments, boards… all good places to list your own most-anticipated flicks of the back end of 2011.
+++++ November 4th, 2011 +++++
Director: Todd Strauss-Schulson
Humans: John Cho, Kal Penn, Neil Patrick Harris
Synopsis: In the six years since winding up in Guantanamo Bay, Harold (Cho) and Kumar (Penn) have grown distant from one another. When Kumar surprises Harold for some Xmas season “chillaxin'” they accidentally wind up destroying Harold’s father-in-law’s Christmas tree. So the two stoners decide to embark on an adventure through New York City to find the perfect Christmas tree. Shenanigans and Neil Patrick Harris ensue.
CHUD Prognosis: The best kind of vice reveling movies (pot, booze, whatever) should be able to appeal to anyone who isn’t looking to hate it because of an aversion to said vice. You don’t need to be into pot to like Pineapple Express or hard drugs to like Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and I think Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle, while having an obvious edge with stoners, is a funny enough movie that anyone who likes Adult Swim-esque absurdity can have a good giggle (“Bullets! My only weakness! How did you know?”). The sequel better qualifies as a “stoner movie,” as in, “if you aren’t high while watching this, don’t bother,” and this Xmas sequel looks to be more of the same. Harris remains the entertaining novelty in this franchise, having gone through the unlikely arc of Has-Been Poking Fun At Self in the first film to now being the biggest name in the newest film.
CHUD Pull quote: “The Xmas movie you’ve been waiting for… but will miss your show time when you totally space out, and decide to just wait until it is on DVD.”
Film: Puss In Boots
Director: Chris Miller
Humans: Voices of Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek, Zach Galifianakis, Billy Bob Thornton, Amy Sedaris
Synopsis: A prequel to the Shrek films, at least as regards Puss (Banderas). Two outlaws, Jack (Thornton) and Jill (Sedaris), have discovered an ancient power that can destroy the world. When Puss finds out about this, he sets off on an adventure to stop them, aided by his buddy Humpty Dumpty (Galifianakis) and the sexy Kitty Softpaws (Hayek).
CHUD Prognosis: I don’t like the Shrek films. I find them creatively shrill and too sporadically amusing. Though even I was amused by Banderas’ silly turn as Puss in Shrek 2, so if the franchise had to keep going (and the almighty dollar demands that it does) I’m at least happy they’re trying something new — and trying something that saves us from having to listen to Cameron Diaz.
CHUD Pull quote: “It’s like Shrek, minus all the characters you’ve grown to hate!”
Film: Tower Heist
Director: Brett Ratner
Humans: Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy, Casey Affleck, Alan Alda, Matthew Broderick
Synopsis: When the hard-working staff of a Columbus Circle high-rise find out they have fallen victim to the Ponzi scheme of one of the tenants, Arthur Shaw (Alda), a wealthy Bernie Madoff-like Wall Street businessman, Josh Kovacs (Stiller) and the staff conspire to rob Shaw’s penthouse. For assistance, Kovacs seeks out a childhood friend (Murphy) who turned to crime many years ago.
CHUD Prognosis: Ratner is an interestingly reviled filmmaker. His films aren’t always necessarily terrible, yet his lack of style and the way he seems to only be interested in swooping in on projects that are already in development have made him the poster child Hollywood Hack (at least Michael Bay has a discernible style, right?) And despite giving us recent gold like Tropical Thunder, many Ben Stiller fans feel he’s really fallen from his 90’s grace chasing mainstream blah. Then there’s Eddie Murphy, who most definitely has fallen from grace, no matter how you slice it. And then there’s the fact that this film was once going to be an all black Ocean’s 11 and now it is starring a ton of white people. Point being, this movie has a lot going against it for the prudent filmgoer.
CHUD Pull quote: “More like Tower Sheit.”
My Week With Marilyn [IMDB]
+++++ November 4th, 2011 +++++
Film: J. Edgar
Director: Clint Eastwood
Humans: Leonardo DiCaprio, Armie Hammer, Naomi Watts
Synopsis (via IMDB): As the face of law enforcement in America for almost 50 years, J. Edgar Hoover was feared and admired, reviled and revered. But behind closed doors, he held secrets that would have destroyed his image, his career and his life.
CHUD Prognosis: Wirtten by the guy who wrote Milk and directed by the guy who directed Gran Torino. It’ll be pretty good, ultimately forgettable, will make some money and at the very least DiCaprio will snag himself a For Your Consideration campaign. I am curious as to how they’re gonna handle the “secrets” angle. Is it gonna be Hoover’s cinematic Coming Out Party or is it just gonna be part of an overall story? The media will undoubtedly sell it as the former, no matter what the movie is, so I suppose we’ll see.
CHUD Pull quote: “*tacky vacuum cleaner joke*”
—Jeremy G. Butler
Director: Tarsem Singh
Humans: Henry Cavill, Freida Pinto, Mickey Rourke, Kellan Lutz, Luke Evans, Isabel Lucas, Stephen Dorff, John Hurt
Synopsis: Greek villager, Theseus (Cavill), sets out on a mission of vengeance against King Hyperion (Rourke), who is razing greece looking for the mythical bow of Epirus in his quest to overthrow the Olympian gods. The Oracle Phaedra (Pinto) puts her money on Theseus as he and a small band of followers challenge Hyperion and his army in this 3D epic.
CHUD Prognosis: Clash of the Spartans comes to mind. Tarsem called the look of the film, which thankfully was shot in 3D and not posted, as “Caravaggio meets Fight Club”. Should be a good dry run to see if Cavill can hold together a big time action movie with Man Of Steel pending. Love that Mickey Rourke hasn’t let his post-Wrestler career wane. And I want to know which type of shark he fucked to death to get that helmet. I still geek out on movies like 300 and this looks pretty good. I’ll be checking it out.
CHUD Pull quote: Is Kellan Lutz a Greek god or what?
Film: Jack & Jill
Director: Dennis Dugan
Humans: Adam Sandler, the whole Happy Madison gang, Al Goddamn Pacino
Synopsis: A family man is forced to deal with his twin sister from the Bronx who comes to Los Angeles for a visit — then won’t leave.
CHUD Prognosis: Goddamn.
CHUD Pull quote: “Goddamn!”
—Jeremy G. Butler
Like Crazy [IMDB]
+++++ November 18th, 2011 +++++
Director: Bill Condon
Humans: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Dakota Fanning, Taylor Lautner, Anna Kendrick, Michael Sheen, Ashley Greene, Nikki Reed, Kellan Lutz, Maggie Grace, Jamie Campbell Bower, Jackson Rathbone, Peter Facinelli,
Lee Pace, Billy Burke”
Synopsis (via IMDB): The Quileute and the Volturi close in on expecting parents Edward and Bella, whose unborn child poses different threats to the wolf pack and vampire coven.
CHUD Prognosis: It’ll make an assload of money. It’ll be hated, ridiculed and spoofed. It’ll pick up all of the MTV movie Awards. It’ll bring Robert Pattinson one step closer to being free to pursue more circus movies. As for me, I can’t even see the damn thing for shits and giggles if I wanted to because I haven’t yet availed myself of the other fine films in the series, and I have two of them on my DVR (it was a free preview weekend on Cinemax). I just haven’t been drunk enough to do it yet. And considering a certain notorious CHUD article concerning this movie, I may actually have to freebase the first three flicks to see if the insanity from the book comes to fruition.
CHUD Pull quote: Fuck This Face IV…
Film: Happy Feet 2
Director: George Miller
Humans: Elijah Wood, Robin Williams, Pink, Elizabeth Daily, Sofía Vergara, Brad Pitt, Hank Azaria
Synopsis: Mumble the dancing penguin (Wood) has a problem: his son Erik (Daily), who is reluctant to dance, encounters The Mighty Sven (Azaria), a penguin who can fly. Things get even more complicated for Mumble when the world is shaken by powerful forces, forcing him to bring together the penguin nations and their allies to set things right.
CHUD Prognosis: Look, we all wish George Miller would make more adult action movies. But this wish shouldn’t cause anyone to dismiss the weird, outside the box work he’s been doing in children’s cinema. Babe: Pig in the City is a sadly too-often overlooked gem, and I feel no embarrassment whatsoever saying I like Happy Feet (aside from Robin Williams voicing two different ethnicities, neither of which are white). I want those new Mad Max movies, but as long as Miller keeps making good movies of any genre, I’m happy.
CHUD Pull quote: “Sorry. No Mad Max yet, folks.”
Film: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Director: Thomas Alfredson
Humans: Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Tom Hardy, John Hurt, Toby Jones, Mark Strong, Benedict Cumberbatch, Ciarán Hinds
+++++ November 23rd, 2011 +++++
Film: Hugo (formerly the Invention of Hugo Cabret)
Humans: Chloe Moretz, Jude Law, Emily Mortimer, Sacha Baron Cohen, Michael Pitt, Christopher Lee, Ray Winstone, Ben Kingsey, Michael Stuhlbarg
Director: James Bobin
Felt/Humans: Kermit, Ms. Piggy, Gonzo, Fozzie, Animal, Sam Eagle, Rizzo, Mila Kunis, Amy Adams, Jason Segal, Selena Gomez, Emily Blunt, Rashida Jones, Neil Patrick Harris, Jack Black, John Krasinski, Danny Trejo, Katy Perry, Ricky Gervais, Whoopi Goldberg, Chris Cooper, Billy Crystal, Sarah Silverman, Donald Glover, Alan Arkin, Mickey Rooney, Liza Minnelli, Wanda Sykes, Kathy Griffin, David Grohl, Rachel Ray
Director: John Gulager
Humans: Christopher Lloyd, Katrina Bowden, Danielle Panabaker, Ving Rhames, Chris Zylka, Gary Busey, David Koechner, David Hasselhoff, Jean-Luc Bilodeau, Paul Scheer, Matt Bush, Clu Gulager, Meagan Tandy”Synopsis: A year after the lake Victoria attack, the voracious prehistoric piranha start making their way into people’s homes and a newly opened water park called big wet. Body parts and huge boobs in three dimensions ensue.
CHUD Prognosis: Last year’s Piranha was a gas, filled with plenty of good wet carnage, luscious boobage, a solid sense of from whence it came and what was expected..and Jerry O’Connell’s severed and regurgitated dick. John Gulager has horror comedy experience, so that shouldn’t be a concern. What is the concern here is the 3D female body parts. If those aren’t up to par, kiss this sequel bye bye. So on that note, leave us take a look at the potential: Katrina Bowden, Danielle Panabaker, Meagan Tandy, Sierra Fisk, Sierra Holmes, Kathy Sue Holtorf. One other concern, that the severed and regurgitated dick quotient will be filled by The Hoff. Hope I don’t see that. 25 years ago, sure, but not now. That thing’s old.
CHUD Pull quote: Is that fish you smell in the water?
Film: The Descendants
Director: Alexander Payne
Humans: George Clooney, Judy Greer, Matthew Lillard.
Synopsis: A land baron tries to re-connect with his two daughters after his wife suffers a boating accident.
CHUD Prognosis: If it were anybody else helming or leading I don’t think any of us would hesitate to try and write this off, but Clooney’s almost always good for the good and Payne is far from a slouch, so I think we’ll be in for a treat. Several critics already confirm it, actually. The trailer looks a touch LCD but George is a nice presence, even if he does look fuck-old.
CHUD Pull quote: “Come for the Clooney stay for the Payne!”
—Jeremy G. Butler
Film: The Artist
Director: Michel Hazanavicius
Humans: Jean Dujardin, Missi Pyle, John Goodman
Synopsis: Hollywood, 1927: As silent movie star George Valentin wonders if the arrival of talking pictures will cause him to fade into oblivion, he sparks with Peppy Miller, a young dancer set for a big break.
CHUD Prognosis: It‘s certainly a cliché story (she‘s on her way up while he‘s on his way down) but there’s something about it that feels like that’s going to be one of the reasons why it ends up being great. As much a love letter to old Hollywood as it is an old-Hollywood love story, it’s not gonna make a dime but we’re all going to end up adoring it.
CHUD Pull quote: “John Goodman should always be in black and white!”
—Jeremy G. Butler
Humans: James McAvoy, Bill Nighy, Hugh Laurie, Jim Broadbent, Imelda Staunton
Thanks for reading, and be sure to spread this around as much as you can! Lot of effort goes into compiling this.