Asking what I’d like to see in cinema in 2011 is a no brainer. Much like last year, and the year before that, and the year before that, and the year before that, and the year before that, and the year… I’d like to see more zombies, more films about space aliens and someone to investigate where Rick Moranis is hiding and convince him to make another film. I’m a simple man, I’m easy to please. Most of all though, I’d like to finally see The Beaver. It looks batshit…
But there are things I don’t want to see: I’m sick to death of vampires, especially wimpy ones that listen to Paramore. I’ve had my fill of bad big budget animations, films that make me want to fashion a Buzz Lightyear idol out of Blutack and sacrifice myself to him (or as I like to call him, Pixar). And if I’d like to see a Watchdog investigation of Odeon’s nacho cheese. It’s cold and horrible and I wouldn’t serve it to a fucking pig, frankly.
Here’s a checklist of some more trends I could do without (and a few I’d like to see more of) in 2011. Tell me what you'd like to see more/less of below...
Less pillaging of the 80s
To many who lived through them, the eighties were years of struggle, hardship and bullies throwing my comic books on the school roof. Not that you’d know it from watching movies last year. From The A-Team to The Karate Kid, to the year's best titled film, Hot Tub Time Machine, 2010 contained so much homage to the era, I spent every cinema visit fretting that Stuart Maconie would pop up in the corner of the screen, saying something like, “BLAH BLAH NORMAN TEBBIT BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH”.
This year I’d like Hollywood to celebrate the merits of an era that gave more to popular culture than the twins from Fun House. Like the Black Death, or the Wolverhampton dustbin men strike of 1962.
More films made two dimensionally (NB: this doesn’t mean more M Knight Shyamalan movies)
William Friese Greene invented the first 3D viewing system in 1894 with the intention to “startle and educate” his audience. Last year a film called Piranha 3D featured a scene in which a school of carnivorous CGI fish ate, then burped out a dismembered penis. I’m just taking a stab at this, but chances are Greene would have made a sad face watching the scene.
Most film fans spent the majority of 2010 grumbling about 3D cinema. This year we must do better, unite, climb to the summit of the highest mountain, cup our hands to our mouths, and roar – roar like our lungs are made of copper! – that we’re sick of watching films looking like Roy Orbison. Here are five things I truly despise about 3D movies…
1) Thanks to God hating me, I was born with the eyesight of a perpetually drunk mole. I can’t watch these sorts of movies without wearing two pairs of glasses. Two pairs of glasses = Timmy Mallet. The end.
2) Last year I went to watch The Clash Of The Titans remake, a film that sported 3D as essential as Kasabian's drummer at Kasabian band meetings. Reread this sentence and replace that film title with any 3D film you saw last year. You’re nodding, right?
3) In 2009, many industry analysts pontificated that 3D movie making would protect their films from illegal downloading, save their industry and herald the return of Christ. Last year Avatar was the world's most ‘pirated’ film, with over 16,580,000 downloads. Oh yeah, news just in, Jesus thinks it’s shit too - and he's not crazy on 3D.
4) The Smurfs 3D is released on August 3rd, 2011.
5) Cinema tickets cost between £8 and £10. A box of Anadin Extra costs between £3 and £4. This is far too much money to watch Johnny Depp dick around like the disgraced transgender son of Taggart in Alice In Wonderland. It is 2011 and it is a recession.
Less good actors slumming it
When Adrien Brody won his Academy Award in 2002, starring in Roman Polanski’s critically lauded Holocaust drama The Pianist, it’s unlikely he expected to be having sex with a mutant, in a shed, eight years later. Yet for reasons known only to Brody and his accountant, this he did, in rubbish 2010 body-horror Splice. He joins a roll call of more-than-able thesps who spent the year drowning their talents in piss.
Dev Patel in The Last Airbender. Jackie Earle Haley in the Nightmare On Elm Street reboot. Robert De I’ve-got-so-many-Oscars-I-sell-them-on-eBay-as-posh-garden-gnomes Niro in Little Fockers. It’s bizarre then, that the gifted Nicholas Cage, a man who would sign up the play the sledge in a remake of Citizen Kane if it meant bailiffs would stop taking his medieval castles away, turned up in two of 2010’s best movies: Kick-Ass and Bad Lieutenant.
This year I’d like to see more good actors take the lead from Nick and be a bit more disconcerting in their roles. What? You’ve seen Season Of The Witch? Oh.
More new talent
As last gasp homage to a terminally ill genre, 2010’s The Expendables was moderately entertaining. In documenting which faded stars need to be melted down for glue in 2011, it was more impressive than a group hug at a Planet Hollywood opening. Here's five new talents to take their place this year (not in The Expendables 2 though, that’d just be silly).
1) 30-year-old Ryan Gosling is the thinking person's leading man. Born in Canada, the former Mouseketeer has replaced dicking around with Britney and Christina with dicking around with neo-Nazis (The Believer, 2001), blow-up dolls (Lars and the Real Girl, 2007) and ukuleles (Blue Valentine, 2010). Pluto’s loss is intelligent cinema's gain.
2) Despite featuring zombies, Woody Harrelson and Bill Murray, 22-year-old Emma Stone somehow managed to be the best thing about Zombieland in 2009. Probably because she’s funny, unique and giggles like an otter with hiccups. Here is my favourite Emma Stone fact: aged 14, she gave a PowerPoint presentation to her parents, set to Madonna’s ‘Hollywood’, to convince them to let her study acting.
3) Born in Heidelberg, Germany, 33-year-old Michael Fassbender will spend 2011 appearing in Jane Eyre, David Cronenberg’s A Dangerous Method, as well as taking the role of Magneto in the X-Men reboot. If he pulls all that off, I promise never to mention Jonah Hex… HA HA HA HA… no, sorry… HA HA… sorry, Jonah Hex ever again.
4) Few actresses have visually articulated a character as perfectly as 31-year-old Noomi Rapace did Lisbeth Salander in the original adaptations of Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy - so much so that it was distressing to see Rooney Mara cast in the same role for David Fincher's forthcoming English language remake. Still, the Swede wins at ‘having the best name’. Just.
5) Unless you’re Toby Maguire, chances are you were thrilled to hear Andrew Garfield had signed on for the soon-to-be rebooted Spider-Man franchise last July. The 27-year-old stole the show in The Social Network last year, making him my third favourite Garfield, after the cat and P.C. Garfield from The Bill.
A rebirth of smart horror
I’m a fan of disemboweling as much as the next man, but I was happy to bid farewell to the Saw franchise in 2010. Call me old fashioned, but there’s only so many times you can see someone’s head crushed in a vice before you long for scares subtler and more psychological. Wanna play a game? Oooh, yes please! Twister?
2011 promises to be scaretacular, which is a made up word that doesn’t look nearly as clever on page as it did in my head. Kevin Smith’s Red State looks broody. The Cabin In The Woods promises to be Whedontastic. ‘Found footage’ film The Bay looks like the first great movie ever to be made about alien woodlice, whilst Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark sees Guillermo Del Toro co-writing/producing a remake of the ace 1973 TV movie, and whose one existing still made me call my mum asking her to ‘tell me something nice’.
Less Leonardo DiCaprio
It was getting to the stage before Christmas that every time I turned on the television I saw Take That shouting at me. It became such a problem for me that I began to open each one of the twenty-five days of my advent calendar with trepidation, half expecting Robbie Williams to jump out and powergurn in my face. I had a similar problem in 2010 with Leonardo DiCaprio.
A glance at Wikipedia tells me Leonardo made just three films last year - one of which he narrated and so wasn’t even onscreen (Hubble which was in 3D, which is probably why I’ve never heard of it). Nevertheless, by appearing in the two most critically lauded movies of the year, Shutter Island and Inception, it felt like Leo was everywhere, more omnipresent gas than human, appearing to me in visions, dreams and, in one distressing scene in Boots, like he’d replaced John Malkovich in a reimagining of Being….
That’s not to say I don’t appreciate the manboy's talents, I think he’s more than adequate at resembling the flesh and blood imagining of the shocked emoticon. But this year I’d like Leo to take a break, go skiing, windsurfing, giraffe hunting, whatever it is that famous people do. Another glance at Wikipedia tells me that he’s taken the year off. Hooray! It’s going to be a good year, I can just feel it…