Saturday, January 15, 2011

Most Anticipated Films Of 2011: Gabe's #1

1. Contagion/Haywire

Steven Soderbergh has confirmed the worst possible news: the versatile auteur behind some of the most pleasurable and unpredictable cinematic experiences of the last twenty years is retiring. He claims he has two more films left in him, which means 2012's "Liberace" with Michael Douglas and Matt Damon, and "The Man From U.N.C.L.E." an adaptation of the sixties television show with George Clooney.

Fortunately, that means he's doubled up on 2011. In springtime, we can look forward to "Haywire," which he shot (and extensively reshot) with a script by his collaborator on "The Limey," Lem Dobbs. It's exciting enough that Soderbergh is continuing to work with the man who helped him bring forth "The Limey," a super slick, funny crime noir from '99 that I must have seen eighty times by now. This is also supposed to be sort of a low budget actioner from the filmmaker, dealing with an kickboxing undercover CIA agent who finds out she's been targeted. Sodberbergh cast MMA fighter Gina Carano in the lead, suggesting the fisticuffs will be as believable as possible.

"Haywire" is also notable for a star-studded cast that includes Michael Douglas, Ewan McGregor, Antonio Banderas, Michael Fassbender, Bill Paxton and Channing Tatum. Also with a collection of superstars is "Contagion," Soderbergh's winter release. This is a bit bigger in scale, a globe-hopping suspense thriller about a killer virus that reportedly resembles "Outbreak" as filtered through the lens of "Traffic."

Matt Damon, Marion Cotillard, Gwenyth Paltrow, Jude Law, Kate Winslet, Lawrence Fishburne and Sanaa Lathan are among those getting the virus treatment, and rumors persist that this currently-shooting project is a 3D movie (though I've heard it's not). It's the end of our of our great directors, and one hopes he goes out in style.

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