Reason's for New Year's Cheer

Sooner or later, most of these movies will be shown in San Antonio in 2011. The list is much bigger, but these are the ones I don’t want to miss, even though a couple of them — I suspect — will bomb. Guess which ones.

(January 28, dir. Alejandro González Iñárritu, starring Javier Bardem

Finally! González Iñárritu (minus screenwriter Guillermo Arriaga) immerses Bardem into the Mexican director’s usual world of never-ending calamities and cultural clashes. But I’m ready to watch Bardem anytime, and, as a Spanish critic aptly put it, “González Iñárritu has the ability to make shit look beautiful.”

The Other Woman
(February 4, dir. Don Roos, starring Natalie Portman)

Poor Natalie. Her bones healed after Black Swan, but she now has to deal with baby-loss issues and stealing Lisa Kudrow’s husband, all while putting up with a precocious stepson who is a little bit of a prick.

(February 11, dir. Pablo Trapero, starring Ricardo Darín)

After starring in The Secret in Their Eyes, 2009’s Academy Award winner for Best Foreign Language Film, Darín wants another one. This accident-insurance-scam-related thriller is the official Argentinian entry for this year’s Academy Awards, but it shouldn’t be nominated: I watched it and, despite great acting, a romance full of clichés ruined a potential killer of a movie.

The Tree of Life
(May 27, Dir. Terrence Malick, starring Brad Pitt and Sean Penn)

I’m tired of hearing about Malick’s supposed “self-indulgence” and how “he hasn’t been able to match Badlands and Days of Heaven.” As far as I’m concerned, he’s the greatest director alive, and that includes The Thin Red Line. If your jaw doesn’t drop after watching the trailer for his latest opus, go see
Shyamalan and suck a mango.

Green Lantern
(June 17, Dir. Martin Campbell, starring Ryan Reynolds)

Ryan Reynolds! Blake Lively! Peter Sarsgaard! As you all know, the children of Mr. Reynolds, Mr. Lively and Mr. Sarsgaard are a helluva cast to honor my all-time favorite superhero. The direction of Campbell (Casino Royale) should prove once and for all that Superman and Batman are no match for Green Lantern. That’s obvious.

Straw Dogs
(September 16, dir. Rod Lurie, starring James Marsden)

How can you improve on Sam Peckinpah’s disturbingly perfect 1971 original (which was based on Gordon Williams’ The Siege of Trencher’s Farm)? Use coonhound vomit instead of boiling water? If Lurie can match the tension he achieved with The Contender and skillfully navigate the Deep South setting, I’m in.