Focus Features decided to basically do all the work of trade news people for them by info dumping all of the relevant information about the films they have slated for a 2011 release so far. So, below you’ll find all of that fun information about plots and actors and directors and such. It seems rather inefficient to just retype half of this with snarky comments interspersed, so I’ve decided to color code it instead. Red text is bad news. Blue text is good news. Black text indicates indifference. If you see other colored text, your drugs are better than mine. (Note: the fact that the ad software renders a bunch of the text in green is patently hilarious. Please assert your own interpretation for that color)
The Eagle of the Ninth
The Eagle of the Ninth will open nationwide on Friday, February 25th, 2011. The Roman epic adventure, currently in post-production, is directed by Academy Award winner Kevin Macdonald and produced by Academy Award and Golden Globe Award nominee Duncan Kenworthy. Jeremy Brock, BAFTA Award-winning screenwriter of Mr. Macdonald’s 2006 film The Last King of Scotland, has adapted the screenplay from Rosemary Sutcliff’s classic novel of the same name. The Eagle of the Ninth is set in the dangerous world of second-century Britain. In 140 AD, twenty years after the unexplained disappearance of the entire Ninth Legion in the mountains of Scotland, young centurion Marcus Aquila (played by Channing Tatum) arrives from Rome to solve the mystery and restore the reputation of his father, the commander of the Ninth. Accompanied only by his British slave Esca (Jamie Bell), Marcus sets out across Hadrian’s Wall into the uncharted highlands of Caledonia - to confront its savage tribes, make peace with his father’s memory, and retrieve the lost legion’s golden emblem, the Eagle of the Ninth. The movie also stars Donald Sutherland, Mark Strong, and Tahar Rahim.
Verdict: Mostly looks good, even though I don’t know why anyone makes movies about Romans that don’t have Vorenus and Pullo. Channing Tatum just isn’t fit to hold their togas. And I am probably going to constantly mix this film up with Gladiators vs. Werewolves.
Jane Eyre will begin its platform release in selected cities on Friday, March 11th, 2011. The film based on Charlotte Brontë’s classic novel just wrapped principal photography and is directed by Cary Fukunaga, whose debut feature was Focus’ award-winning Sin Nombre. Mia Wasikowska, Michael Fassbender, Jamie Bell, Judi Dench, Sally Hawkins, Tamzin Merchant, and Imogen Poots star in the romantic drama. In the story, Jane Eyre (Ms. Wasikowska) flees Thornfield House, where she works as a governess for wealthy Edward Rochester (Mr. Fassbender). The isolated and imposing residence - and Mr. Rochester’s coldness - have sorely tested the young woman’s resilience, forged years earlier when she was orphaned. As Jane reflects upon her past and recovers her natural curiosity, she will return to Mr. Rochester - and the terrible secret that he is hiding…The screenplay adaptation is by Moira Buffini; Ruby Films’ Alison Owen, an Academy Award nominee for Elizabeth, and Paul Trijbits are producing Jane Eyre. Christine Langan, Creative Director of BBC Films, is executive-producing for the BBC.
Verdict: Yeah … the color coding seemed clever until I hit the mountain of indifference on this one. But Judi Dench is awesome, Tamzin Merchant is gorgeous, and Imogen Poots has the best last name since Butkus. Oh and BBC was in there. The bad side was “romantic drama.” That’s got some serious uphill work against my prejudices.
Hanna will open nationwide on Friday, April 8th, 2011, and wraps production next month on location in Europe. BAFTA Award winner Joe Wright, whose films include Focus’ Atonement and Pride & Prejudice, is directing the movie. Hanna stars Academy Award nominee Saoirse Ronan, Academy Award winner Cate Blanchett, and Eric Bana. Hanna (Ms. Ronan) is a teenage girl. Uniquely, she has the strength, the stamina, and the smarts of a solider; these come from being raised by her father (Mr. Bana), an ex-CIA man, in the wilds of Finland. Living a life unlike any other teenager, her upbringing and training have been one and the same, all geared to making her the perfect assassin. The turning point in her adolescence is a sharp one; sent into the world by her father on a mission, Hanna journeys stealthily across Europe while eluding agents dispatched after her by a ruthless intelligence operative with secrets of her own (Ms. Blanchett). As she nears her ultimate target, Hanna faces startling revelations about her existence and unexpected questions about her humanity. Hanna also stars Jason Flemyng, Tom Hollander, Olivia Williams, and Martin Wuttke. Seth Lochhead wrote the initial screenplay and has written subsequent drafts, as have David Farr, Joe Penhall, and Mr. Wright. Academy Award nominee Leslie Holleran (Chocolat) is producing Hanna with the team of Marty Adelstein and Scott Nemes.
Verdict: I think this movie sounds awesome. Mostly because I’m mentally only twelve. The pluses are great actors and a secret agent assassin spy plot. The downside is all the script rewriting.
One Day will open in the third quarter of 2011, and will star Academy Award nominee Anne Hathaway. Production on the movie will commence in July, under the direction of Lone Scherfig, who most recently helmed the Best Picture Academy Award nominee An Education. David Nicholls has completed adapting the screenplay, based on his acclaimed novel of the same name. Emma (Ms. Hathaway) and Dexter meet on the night of their graduation - July 15th, 1988. She is a working-class girl of principle and ambition who dreams of making the world a better place. He is a wealthy charmer who dreams that the world will be his playground. But where will they be on this day next year, and the year after that? Over 20 years, we check in on Emma and Dexter every July 15th, and watch as their friendship ebbs and flows with the passing of the years. Through love and loss, heartbreak and success, hopes fulfilled and dreams shattered, these two souls experience the sometimes wonderful, sometimes tragic, often hysterical but always moving, grandeur of life. Somewhere along their journey, they realize that sometimes what you are looking for has been right there in front of you all along.
Verdict: On the plus side, it’s coming from the director of An Education. On the negative side, there’s the entire description of the movie.