Each week in The Moviegoer, Nick Olson examines new and upcoming films. 

The Debt (Dir. John Madden)

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iyC4MF9pNdA]

The Debt looks like a compelling spy thriller. You almost can’t go wrong with top actress Hellen Mirren involved. Plus, Tom Wilkinson is hands down my favorite supporting actor in Hollywood right now.


Contagion (Dir. Steven Soderbergh)

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4sYSyuuLk5g]

Damon! Winslet! Law! Cotillard! Fishburne! Paltrow! Never has a “deadly disease movie” been so star-studded. It is like Valentine’s Day meets Outbreak. Except, I suspect that we won’t leave this movie feeling love-sick over celebrity attraction.


Moneyball (Dir. Bennett Miller)

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AiAHlZVgXjk]

People who are familiar with Billy Beane’s attempt to put together a baseball team on the basis of computer-generated analysis are somewhat skeptical as to whether the story will work on the big screen. I remain hopeful, though, that a screenplay from dialogue-king Aaron Sorkin can provide us with an intriguing narrative, particularly with Philip Seymour Hoffman involved.


Another Earth (Dir. Mike Cahill)

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N8hEwMMDtFY]

A Sundance award-winner, Another Earth looks as if it has all kinds of potential to be a powerful film. I suspect that the film may have much to do with the human desire for forgiveness – or, for a new earth where we can be made whole again.


Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (Dir. Tomas Alfredson)

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u5p31OI_AMs]

Of the movies yet to release in 2011, this whodunit story – based on John le Carré’s  best-selling novel – is what I’m most excited for. Featuring some of the best British actors money can buy, this film finally gives Gary Oldman the lead role he deserves.


Hugo (Dir. Martin Scorsese)

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UGTfCw1x98A]

Anyone else half-expecting this orphan tale to unexpectedly morph into a double-crossing gangster drama? Yeah, me neither. With James ‘Whitey’ Bulger successfully captured, it was time for Scorsese to finally give us a “family-friendly” film this holiday season. Should be interesting to see what the famous director has up his sleeve.


The Iron Lady (Dir. Phyllida Lloyd)

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_I7XcqSgnIQ]

The proverbial “0ther-side-of-the-pond-biopic” also arrives this Oscar season. And is there any actress better suited than Meryl Streep to play former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher?


War Horse (Dir. Steven Spielberg)

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=29bquyI4deI]

Spielberg + War + Horse…sounds like Oscar math to me! (for better or worse!).


Movies Nick definitely wants to see in 2011: Dream House (Dir. Jim Sheridan); Machine Gun Preacher (Dir. Marc Forster); J. Edgar (Dir. Clint Eastwood); We Bought a Zoo (Dir. Cameron Crowe); Melancholia (Dir. Lars von Trier); Young Adult (Dir. Jason Reitman); The Whistleblower (Dir. Larysa Kondracki); Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol (Dir. Brad Bird); The Ides of March (Dir. George Clooney).

Other movies to see in 2011: Cowboys & Aliens (Dir. Jon Favreau); 50/50 (Dir. Jonathan Levine);  The Muppets (Dir. James Bobin); The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Dir. David Fincher); The Adventures of Tintin (Dir. Steven Spielberg); Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (Dir. Guy Ritchie); Restless (Dir. Gus Van Sant).



  1. If you get the opportunity, I’d highly recommend Alec Guinness’ late-’70s version of Tinker, Tailor. It’s just beautifully conceived. The sequel, Smiley’s People, is pretty nice too—though maybe not quite as perfect.

    I’ll admit a bit of skepticism with Oldman as Smiley. Can he really ham it down enough to be the spymaster?

  2. Hey Seth – you know, I’ve heard from other people, too, that the late ’70’s version was very well done…I will have to add it to my netflix queue.

    And, to be honest, I’m not sure about Oldman without being familiar with the original. But I can say that I trust Oldman’s acting chops in general. I think he’s one of the best in the biz…

    Thanks for the recommendation!

  3. Have you seen the trailer for “Drive” or “The Artist”? I am very much interested in seeing both of them, they both look like quality films. Also on my “must see” list is: Tinker Tailor, 50/50 (premise resembles funny people slightly?), Sherlock Holmes, Iron Lady, and most of the others you mentioned (MI4, Tin Tin, Muppets, Another Earth, Meloncholia) . Not sure about Rum Diary, Carnage, Ides of March, J Edgar all look good in terms of cast and idea but no trailer yet. I am hesitant on “The Debt” “Contagion” (like you said it looks like another disease movie with more star power, but does that make it good?) and “War Horse” (looks like Secretariat or another Horse movie just with Spielberg’s name slapped on it. And I might skip Hugo in theaters.

  4. Thanks for stopping by, Josh – good to here from you.

    In short, I share the same cautious skepticism as you do when it comes to Contagion and War Horse. I am a bit more confident about Contagion – not really because of the actors involved, although there are some good ones – but because of the direction. I think Soderbergh is a very good director.

    My comment on War Horse was intended to be a bit sarcastic in that I am very skeptical about this movie. Of course, I could be wrong, and it could be very good. Spielberg could go either way, it seems.

Comments are now closed for this article.