Unless you live on a desert island with a Wilson ball for company, it is extremely difficult to get away from being constantly reminded of the Oscar contenders. And although the list hasn’t been finalised yet, three films have already been marked as “worth seeing”: Black Swan, The King’s Speech and 127 Hours. There are also the marketing behemoths Harry Potter 7, Pirates of the Caribbean 4 and The Hangover 2 that everyone’s going to see without my blabbing. So, instead of polluting your minds with their descriptions, I am going to survey the less publicised films that will be coming out next year. The release dates are for UK only.
Part 1. Completed films, with final release dates and trailers.
1. Biutiful. Focus Features.
With: Javier Bardem, Bianca Portillo.
This is a new film from the director of ‘Amores Perros’ and ‘Babel’. Javier Bardem won the Best Actor award at Cannes this year for his portrayal of a single dad-come-underworld dealer in this film. It is said to be a heavy, foreboding story that was well received by film critics. If you don’t like following subtitles and don’t speak Spanish, don’t go see it : )
Dir.: Anh Hung Tran.
With: Rinko Kikuchi, Ken’ichi Matsuyama.
The film is based upon the bestselling novel by Haruki Murakami. It is, in essence, one man’s flashbacks of the events of his youth, triggered by the Beatles song “Norwegian Wood”. It was nominated for a Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival.
Dir.: Aleksei Popogrebsky.
With: Grigoriy Dobrygin, Sergey Puskepalis.
This Russian movie won the Silver Bear for Best Actor at the Berlin Film Festival in 2010. Set in a remote Russian region, it tells the story of two meteorologists who begin to lose touch with reality. It is supposed to be a very good thriller, with a generational conflict at hand.
Part 2. Films whose release dates haven’t been finalised.
1. Shanghai. The Weinstein Company.
Dir.: Mikael Håfström.
With: John Cusack, Gong Li, Chow Yun-fat, Ken Watanabe.
I’ve been dying to see this film, it just looks so good! The crème de la crème of modern Asian cinema seem to have gravitated towards this thriller, set in the 1940s Shanghai.
Dir.: Cary Fukunaga.
With: Mia Wasikowska, Michael Fassbender, Judi Dench.
A new take on the classic. The film looks more gothic and haunting than the famous BBC series from 1983 with Timothy Dalton as Mr Rochester. Michael Fassbender and Mia Wasikowska make a strange pairing but I am still curious to see how it pans out.
3. The Tree of Life.
Dir.: Terrence Malick.
With: Brad Pitt, Sean Penn.
The details of the plot have been well protected and all we know about the story is that it tracks the development of a little boy from childhood to adulthood with his father (Brad Pitt) playing a major role in his formation.
4. The Grandmasters.
Dir.: Wong Kar-Wai.
With: Tony Leung, Zhang Ziyi.
Finally, a new feature from the elusive director of ‘In the Mood for Love’ and ‘2046’. It tells the life of Ip Man, played by Tony Leung, an enigmatic martial arts expert who trained the adolescent Bruce Lee.
5. A Dangerous Method
Dir.: David Cronenberg.
With: Michael Fassbender, Viggo Mortensen, Keira Knightley, Vincent Cassel.
I was only just complaining the other day that there isn’t a film about Sigmund Freud. And then I read about ‘A Dangerous Method’ which stars Viggo Mortensen as Freud and Michael Fassbender as Carl Jung, Freud’s colleague, friend and rival. The film explores their relationship and the birth of psychoanalysis.
Dir.: Ralph Fiennes.
With: Ralph Fiennes, Gerard Butler.
This feature is Ralph Fiennes’s directorial debut. Based on the Shakespearean Roman war play, this piece is set in modern day Serbia. In the play an exiled hero allies with his enemy to take revenge on the city of Rome. It premiers at the Berlin Film Festival in 2011.
Part 3. Films in production or post-production, with final release dates.
Dir.: Chris Miller. W
With: Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek,
A spin-off from Shrek, this animation tells the story of Puss in Boots in his gangland days.
2. Hugo Cabret. Columbia Pictures.
Dir.: Martin Scorsese.
Martin Scorsese’s first children’s film about an orphan who makes an extraordinary discovery in nineteenth-century Paris.
3. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Sony Pictures.
Dir.: David Fincher.
With: Daniel Craig, Rooney Mara, Max von Sydow.
A Hollywood take on the Swedish phenomenon. David Fincher promises to make the dark story even darker. The world’s favourite hacker Lisbeth Salander is played by an unknown actress, Rooney Mara, and the crusading journalist Mikael Blomkvist by Daniel Craig (a strange casting decision, since Mikael comes across as a bit of a softy in the books).