X-Men Origins: Wolverine
Release Date: May 1
Director: Gavin Hood
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Liev Schreiber, Ryan Reynolds
Besides Ian McKellen (as Magneto) and Patrick Stewart (as Charles Xavier), Hugh Jackman was the only actor to truly embody his character in the X-Men trilogy. Since Brett Ratner ran the series into the ground with X-Men: The Last Stand, we are getting a Wolverine origins movie instead of X-Men 4. That in itself is not a bad thing. In the hands of the capable Gavin Hood (Tsotsi, Rendition), Origins will explain how Wolverine came to be and sprinkle in new X-Men along the way (Gambit! Deadpool! The Blob! Gambit!). Casting the consistently creepy actor Danny Huston as William Stryker was a good call. Origins looks solid, if a bit uninspired, but if it's a hit expect a Magneto movie to follow.
I Love You, Man
Release Date: March 20
Director: John Hamburg
Starring: Paul Rudd, Jason Segel, Rashida Jones
God bless Paul Rudd. Role Models was a surprise hit with critics and audiences, which means he's finally graduated to leading man status. Judging by the funny trailer for I Love You, Man, that is very good news indeed. Rudd plays a guy about to marry Rashida Jones who has no close male friends. (Probably because he loves The Devil Wears Prada.) So he embarks on a quest to find a new best friend (i.e. best man), who turns out to be Jason Segel. With such talents as Rudd, Segel, Jones, Andy Samberg and Juno's J.K. Simmons, the film should easily be one of the standout comedies in this first half of the new year.
Release Date: Feb. 13
Director: James Gray
Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Gwyneth Paltrow, Vinessa Shaw
With Joaquin Phoenix sticking to his announcement of retirement, Two Lovers will be his last film. If that it is indeed the case, what a shame. Phoenix gave some great performances (Walk the Line, natch), but none of them came from any of his collaborations with James Gray (We Own the Night, The Yards and this film). This trailer struggles to achieve any sort of tone, suggesting drama at first, hinting a romantic comedy by the end. It does not help that there's no chemistry or heat between Phoenix and Gwyneth Paltrow, either.
Release Date: July 24
Director: Hoyt Yeatman
Starring: Will Arnett, Bill Nighy, Zach Galifianakis
Well, let's start with the good: G-Force stars Will Arnet and Zach Galifianakis, and features the voices of Tracy Morgan, Steve Buscemi, Nicolas Cage and Penélope Cruz. Talented people, all. That's where the good stops. Disney is killing audiences with its terrible live-action features (Bedtime Stories is supposedly awful). G-Force looks like a hybrid of Bolt and Cats & Dogs. Who would want to see that?! (Millions of little kids, that's who.)
All About Steve
Release Date: March 6
Director: Phil Traill
Starring: Sandra Bullock, Thomas Haden Church, Bradley Cooper
Sandra Bullock finally created a rapport with critics after solid back-to-back performances in Crash and Infamous. Since? The critically lambasted thriller Premonition and lots and lots of time off. Now she's returning to the safe zone of romantic comedy. The problem All About Steve seems to have is that Bullock looks to be uber-annoying in the movie. Bullock has made it this far in career by playing likeable characters people relate to. Here, she just looks desperate and obnoxious.