2011 sees anticipated new films, directed by the likes of David Cronenberg, Francis Ford Coppola, Terrence Malick, Steven Spielberg, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Peter Weir and Bruce Robinson just to name a few. If the hyped blockbuster 3D releases of 2011 are not your cup of tea, fear not, 2011 has some stellar releases from some master directors!
The major release of 2011 is the Terrence Malick feature The Tree of Life. Initially this film was to premiere at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival, however the film was still in post-production and has only recently just received a US release date - May 27, 2011.
No word on an Australian theatrical release date just yet, but with a cast headlined by Brat Pitt and Sean Penn, the local distribution rights for this drama, were swiftly picked up by Icon Entertainment in mid 2009.
Another major release for this year is A Dangerous Method from Canadian filmmaker David Cronenberg, who has had an impressive run with his leading man Viggo Mortensen, who starred in A History of Violence and Eastern Promises, for which Mortensen received a well earned Academy Award nomination.
A Dangerous Method is based on the The Talking Cure by British playwright, screenwriter and director Christopher Hampton, who also wrote the screenplay for Cronenberg's film adaptation. A Dangerous Method stars Mortensen (replacing Oscar winner Christoph Waltz) as Sigmund Freud, Michael Fassbender as Carl Jung and Keira Knightly as Sabina Spielrein.
Steven Spielberg is releasing two major film productions in late December 2011. The first feature film to be released is the much anticipated The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn on December 23, 2011 and a few days later War Horse, will be released on December 28, 2011 in the US.
The release of two Spielberg helmed features released in a short amount of time, repeats the release of Jurassic Park and Schindler's List in 1993 in the US and War of the Worlds and Munich in 2005 in the US. Both productions are top-secret, only a few images from The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn have been released via Empire magazine in the UK and War Horse is based on the stage play by Nick Stafford and a book of the same name by Michael Morpurgo.
2011 also sees the return of Cameron Crowe, whose last feature film was Elizabethtown in 2005, which was met with mixed reviews. Crowe's latest feature is titled We Bought a Zoo and stars Matt Damon, Thomas Haden Church, Colin Ford, Scarlett Johansson, Patrick Fugit and Elle Fanning. Based on a memoir by Benjamin Mee, the comedy-drama could repeat Crowe's critical and commercial success of one of his most personal feature films - Almost Famous, back in 2000.
Another director who has been missing in action is Joe Wright, who returns in 2011 with Hanna, starring Saoirse Ronan, Cate Blanchett and Eric Bana. Wright had great success with Atonement in 2007, but his 2009 feature The Soloist was met with mixed reviews.
Jack Kerouac's On The Road has (finally) received a cinematic adaptation, directed by Walter Salles, starring Garrett Hedlund, Sam Riley, Kristen Stewart, Amy Adams, Viggo Mortensen and Kirsten Dunst. Produced by Francis Ford Coppola, this adventure film could become the next cult classic.
Francis Ford Coppola, who has been working steadily in the past few years with Youth Without Youth in 2007 and Tetro in 2009, returns in 2011 with Twixt Now and Sunrise, a horror/thriller starring Val Kilmer in a comeback role and Bruce Dern, Ben Chaplin and Elle Fanning.
Antichrist defined 'art' cinema in 2009; from the outraged festival goers at Cannes, to the international media's outcry and denouncement of director Lars von Trier, but it was still a great film.
Von Trier has moved on to a new project - Melancholia and Charlotte Gainsbourg followed him. Described as a disaster film, it also stars Kirsten Dunst, Kiefer Sutherland, Alexander Skarsgård, Charlotte Rampling and John Hurt.
Johnny Depp has had two feature films attached to his name for a number of years; an adaptation of Hunter S. Thompson's The Rum Diary and an adaptation of Gregory David Robert's Shantaram. Out of the two, for now, it seems only The Rum Diary will receive a 2011 release, unfortunately Shantaram, which was to be directed by Mira Nair (who replaced Peter Weir), remains 'shelved.'
The Rum Diary is directed by Bruce Robinson and stars Depp, Amber Heard, Aaron Eckhart and Giovanni Ribisi.
Speaking of Peter Weir, The Way Back is his latest feature film and it stars Jim Sturgess, Colin Farrell, Ed Harris, Saoirse Ronan and Mark Strong. The WWII ensemble drama is Weir's first film since the release of Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World in 2003.
Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's Biutiful was the star film at the Cannes Film Festival in 2010 - and it will receive wider release in 2011. Academy Award winning actor Javier Bardem's performance in the drama, was widely celebrated at Cannes and he received the Best Actor award.
Biutiful has also been selected as the Mexican entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the upcoming 83rd Academy Awards.
Currently film critics cannot stop praising Natalie Portman in Black Swan, but she has another cult-hit coming out - it is titled Hesher directed by Spencer Susser, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Portman and Rainn Wilson. Portman is also credited as a producer.
Another film sure to make waves in 2011 is Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, the upcoming adaptation of the spy novel by John le Carré.
What's exciting about this cinematic adaptation is the return of Gary Oldman in a leading role, supported by Colin Firth, Ralph Fiennes and Tom Hardy. The film is directed by Tomas Alfredson, director of the Swedish film Let the Right One In.
Finally there is Hugo Cabret, directed by Martin Scorsese, starring Chloe Moretz, Jude Law, Sacha Baron Cohen and Christopher Lee. This feature is supposedly 3D!