2010 has come to a close, and 2011 is now upon us. For me, it's a time to look ahead at all the films I want to see or (as is far more likely) will be forced to sit through in the course of my job. So let's peek into the future and see what awaits us in the coming Year In Film.
NOTE: This is not necessarily a list of future Escape to the Movies episodes, and all release dates are subject to change.
Like clockwork, every time the superhero genre gets big, whoever currently holds the rights threatens to make a Green Hornet movie - this time, they actually went and did it.
Elsewhere, Nicolas Cage's medieval-horror piece Season of the Witch finally opens after a two year delay (must be good!), Natalie Portman endangers her Oscar chances by appearing with Ashton Kutcher in No Strings Attached, and Vince Vaughn helps Kevin James try to prove he's more than just Paul Blart in The Dilemma, a movie that's been almost totally overshadowed by the controversy over a single joke.
Also this month: Jason Statham in The Mechanic, a Charles Bronson remake about a taciturn, hyper-competent hitman - for those keeping track, Jason Statham has now made this movie 152,000 times. There's also From Prada to Nada, a film whose very title fills me with such seething hatred I dare not look up what it's about.
The "buzz" movie this month will be Frankie & Alice, in which Halle Berry tries to atone for every single thing she's done since winning an Oscar by tackling the Hallmark-meets-Chapelle's Show role of a woman with multiple-personalities - one of whom is "white" ... and a huge racist. No, really.
Meanwhile, Liam Neeson continues his unexpected mid-life transformation into Irish Bruce Willis in Unknown, James Cameron's diving buddies get stuck underground in Sanctum, Nicolas Cage escapes from Hell (and, here's hoping, the IRS) to save a baby from becoming a cult sacrifice in Drive Angry: 3D, the Farrelly Brothers strain for relevance in Hall Pass, and Martin Lawrence once more wounds the soul of the universe in Big Momma's House 3.
It goes without saying, of course, that this is all irrelevant next to the sheer world-changing magnitude that is February 11th's Justin Bieber: Never Say Never. In 3D.
Can Watchmen adaptor and future Superman helmer Zack Snyder deliver on his own original story? We'll find out in Sucker Punch. The residents of an all-female asylum use their dreams to plot an escape; said dreams involve dragons, Nazis, and robots being fought by super-powered girls in Manga-esque fetish-doll costumes. Yes, please! Think Inception if Christopher Nolan were Travis Touchdown.
Also scheduled: Jodie Foster tries to save Mel Gibson's career in The Beaver, Battle: Los Angeles tries to live up to its trailer, Amanda Seyfried tempts medieval werewolves with her enormous, enticing, um ... let's say "eyes," in Red Riding Hood, and Simon Pegg reteams with Nick Frost for the E.T. parody Paul.
A bumbling stoner (Danny McBride) tags along with his dashing prince brother (James Franco) to rescue a princess (Zooey Deschanel) in a fairytale kingdom. It's called Your Highness and also features Natalie Portman in an armored thong. I do not know the context of that last part, nor do I care.
Scream 4 also drops this month, reuniting Wes Craven, Courtney Cox, Neve Campbell and everyone else whose career hasn't improved since Scream was supposed to have ended. Reese Witherspoon, Christophe Waltz and Robert "don't-call-me-Edward" Pattinson answer the burning question, "what if Titanic were at the circus instead of on a boat?" in Water for Elephants. Steven Soderbergh tries his hand at martial-arts action with female Muay-Thai/MMA star Gina Carano in Haywire.
Car enthusiasts, though, will be eagerly awaiting the fifth The Fast & The Furious movie, Fast Five (yes, they really called it that). It's the only place you'll see Vin Diesel, Paul Walker and The Rock together outside of a support group for Guys Who Were Supposed to Be Bigger Stars By Now. Diesel and Rock will supposedly fight, and if that excites you, something is clearly wrong with the space-time continuum, as you are evidently a 12 year-old living in the year 2001.