Who: Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Ricky Gervais, Ty Burrell and Tina Fey
What: While on a grand world tour, The Muppets find themselves wrapped up in a European jewel-heist caper headed by a Kermit lookalike and his dastardly sidekick.
When: March 21st
Why: Part of what made the last Muppets movie so great was the inclusion of a human co-lead, so it’ll be interesting to see how writer/director James Bobin makes up for Jason Segel’s absence in this sequel. Though Ricky Gervais and Ty Burrell both have supporting roles in the film, it’s unclear as to how large of a part they both play in the story. At the very least, it’s good to see that Walter has become a permanent fixture in the group, otherwise, that would have made the 2011 movie seem even more redundant. It’s also encouraging to see that the core creative team (like co-writer Nicholas Stoller and music supervisor Bret McKenzie) is back, and with a list of cameos that includes Tina Fey, Tom Hiddleston, Christoph Waltz, Salma Hayek, Ray Liotta, Stanley Tucci, Sean Combs, Usher, Jemaine Clement and Celine freaking Dion, it’s clear that Muppets fever is still alive and well in Hollywood.
Who: Charlotte Gainsbourg, Stellan Skarsgård, Stacy Martin and Shia LaBeouf
What: A self-diagnosed nymphomaniac recounts her erotic experiences to the man who saved her after a beating.
When: March 21st
Why: I’m not really a fan of Lars von Trier’s work, but the director’s latest project (split into two volumes for its U.S. release) has definitely piqued my interest, thanks in part to a really clever marketing campaign (you can check out the hilarious series of orgasm posters here) and some solid buzz coming out of the Berlin Film Festival. Though Shia LaBeouf’s recent antics have only earned the movie even more publicity, it wouldn’t be surprising to discover that von Trier was behind the whole stunt. After all, the Danish-born director is no stranger to controversy, having been effectively banned from Cannes in 2011 for his Nazi-related remarks. The film is already garnering plenty of controversy on its own with its rumored penetrative onscreen sex, but it’s exactly the taboo nature of the movie that makes it so appealing, especially when there are so few filmmakers around with the audacity to even attempt it.
Who: Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Logan Lerman, Emma Watson and Ray Winstone
What: The Biblical Noah suffers visions of an apocalyptic deluge and takes measures to protect his family from the coming flood.
When: March 28th
Why: “Noah” represents the kind of gamble that most studios simply don’t take anymore (“Gravity” was rare, but it paid off), and that’s both exciting and frightening. Though Darren Aronofsky’s latest film doesn’t excite me as much as some of the projects he’s departed over the past few years, it’s encouraging to see a director of his quality being given the money required to do a big movie like this the right way, especially after the disaster of “The Fountain.” Whether “Noah” turns out to be a “Passion of the Christ”-sized hit or another flop for Aronofsky remains to be seen, but films don’t get much more epic than this. If he can get the Christian audience behind the movie – though that may be harder said than done after some negative reactions at early test screenings – this could be the year’s first genuine hit.
Who: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sam Worthington, Terrence Howard and Olivia Williams
What: Members of an elite DEA task force find themselves being taken down one by one after they rob a drug cartel safe house.
When: March 28th
Why: Keeping in mind the age-old adage, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” Arnold Schwarzenegger’s return from retirement gets a little more interesting with this modern-day twist on Agatha Christie’s “Ten Little Indians” – a premise that was also used for one of the actor’s biggest hits, “Predator.” Directed by David Ayer, who’s pretty much become Hollywood’s go-to guy for gritty cop movies, “Sabotage” boasts one hell of an ensemble cast for a seemingly generic action thriller. In addition to the abovementioned talent, the film also stars Mireille Enos, Joe Manganiello, Josh Holloway and Max Martini, although the trailer sadly ruins at least one of their characters’ deaths. Spoilers be damned, anyone familiar with Christie’s story knows that not everyone is going to make it out alive, and for as gratuitous as the movie may seem (the red-band trailer ensures this is going to be a hard R), it looks like an absolute blast.