Fantasy and Science Fiction
Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief
On a weekend when most people will be watching actual Olympians in Vancouver, fans of Rick Riordan's book series may be heading to theaters to see Chris Columbus' fantasy adaptation about the teenage son of the Greek god Poseidon who must recover Zeus' stolen lightning bolt in modern-day America. Of course, for a slightly (but only slightly) older-skewing adventure based on Greek mythology, there's always ...
Clash of the Titans
... this remake of the campy 1981 film of the same name. While the original featured Ray Harryhausen's classic stop-motion effects, the new version boasts CGI creatures, a darker tone, and a lot more action. (We'll see if that actually adds up to fun.) The cast includes Sam Worthington as Perseus (played by Harry Hamlin in the original) and Liam Neeson as Zeus, with direction by Louis Leterrier (The Incredible Hulk 61).
No, it's not a remake of Repo Man 75, although the story seems to borrow heavily from the bizarre rock musical Repo! The Genetic Opera 32. This futuristic thriller stars Jude Law as Remy, a repo man charged with taking back artificial body parts when their owners cannot pay their bills. But when Remy receives an artificial heart that he cannot afford, the hunter becomes the hunted (with Forest Whitaker charged with pursuing him).
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
Who doesn't love a good videogame adaptation? If only that weren't an oxymoron. Based on the 2003 game of the same name, this Jerry Bruckheimer production stars Jake Gyllenhaal as an adopted prince who sets out to rescue a time-controlling device from bad guy Ben Kingsley.
The Last Airbender
Writer-director M. Night Shyamalan hopes to halt his losing streak (think The Happening 34 and Lady in the Water 36) by turning to pre-existing source material -- namely, Nickelodeon's animated television series "Avatar: The Last Airbender." (For obvious reasons, the first part of the title was omitted from the film.) The Last Airbender is actually the first in a planned big-budget, live-action trilogy set in a world where the elements earth, air, water and fire can be controlled individually by people known as benders (not to be confused with this one), and collectively by one young boy (the Avatar) who is charged with keeping the world in balance. (It makes more sense if you are 12.)
The Adjustment Bureau
The arrival of a mysterious ballerina (Emily Blunt) impacts the personal and political future of a congressman destined for stardom (Matt Damon) in this adaptation of a Philip K. Dick short story. (Yes, there are some that haven't been filmed before.) Describing the science fiction aspect of the story would spoil a major plot development, but it's certainly something that has been done before -- and more than once. (Here's a big clue.) A fall release is likely.
A $5 million budget for a science fiction film doesn't sound like much, but when you consider that Oren Peli's previous film (Paranormal Activity 68) was made for $15,000, this may as well be Avatar. The film centers on three teenagers who stumble across the government's secret Nevada site rumored to house evidence of alien encounters, and early buzz about the script notes strong similarities to Paranormal.
The Last Word
A dark science-fiction thriller set during a mysterious pandemic (think Children of Men 84, which was also shot in Britain), The Last Word stars Ewan McGregor and Eva Green as a couple living in a world where the rest of the human race is slowly losing all sensory perception.
Never Let Me Go
This thought-provoking sci-fi thriller -- based on the acclaimed novel by Kazuo Ishiguro -- is set in an unusual English boarding school that harbors dark secrets. (We'd tell you, but they are very spoilery.) The script is by Alex Garland -- best known for penning Danny Boyle films like Sunshine 64 and 28 Days Later... 73 -- and the film is just the second feature helmed by heralded music video director Mark Romanek.
Neil Jordan's fairytale about an Irish fisherman who catches a woman -- who may or may not be a sea nymph -- in his nets stars Colin Farrell and received positive notices when it screened at last year's Toronto festival. Expect it to be far more lyrical and bittersweet than, say, Splash.
One of two 2010 films set in Nevada's Area 51, Paul certainly seems like the funnier of the pair. Directed by Greg Mottola (Superbad 76, Adventureland 76), this sci-fi comedy stars Simon Pegg and Nick Frost (the pair also wrote the screenplay) as two British comic book geeks who discover an alien named Paul (voiced by Seth Rogen) while on a road trip through America. Fans of the UK series "Spaced" (which also starred Pegg and Frost) will certainly be interested, as will anyone who appreciates a stellar supporting cast featuring the likes of Jason Bateman, Jeffrey Tambor, Jane Lynch, Sigourney Weaver, Kristen Wiig, and Bill Hader.
This delayed, problem-plagued production -- a remake of 1941's werewolf thriller The Wolf Man -- stars Benicio del Toro and Anthony Hopkins. Joe Johnston -- who helmed such "classics" as Jumanji 39 and Jurassic Park III 42 -- directs.
The inhabitants of a small Midwestern town fall victim to insanity and death after their water supply is contaminated in this remake of George A. Romero's low-budget 1973 chiller. Timothy Olyphant stars, and Breck (son of Michael) Eisner (Sahara 41) directs.
A Nightmare on Elm Street
The horror classic that launched Freddy Krueger as a household name -- like so many other horror classics these days -- gets the remake treatment for no discernable artistic reason. Jackie Earle Haley takes over for Robert Englund as the dream-invading, knife-fingered Freddy.
Saw VII 3D
If there's anything better than watching innocent people being tortured, it's watching innocent people being tortured IN THREE DIMENSIONS. The good news? This film will mark the end of the Saw franchise.
Let Me In
A pointless remake of the acclaimed Swedish horror-drama Let the Right One In 82, Let Me In will feature a lot less Swedish and probably an equal number of vampires. Cloverfield's Matt Reeves directs.
My Soul to Take
The first film both written and directed by Wes Craven in over 15 years, this scarefest centers on a town haunted by a legend of a mysterious, child-murdering serial killer.