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On average, there are seven new movies released in cinemas every week that’s roughly 400 a year and clearly nobody has the time (or money) to watch them all. As 2011 dawns and a whole bunch of new cinematic endeavours vie for your attention, we’ve whittled down the list to the real essentials for your viewing pleasure…

127 Hours
A director who has rarely steered us wrong throughout his illustrious career, Danny Boyle follows up the Oscar-baiting Slumdog Millionaire with this based-on-true-life tale. James Franco stars as Aron Ralston, an extreme sports nut who, in 2003, fell into a canyon in the Utah desert and found himself trapped under a boulder for the titular time period. Quite literally caught between a rock and a hard place, he was forced to choose between a slow death or hacking his own arm off. With a helmer and a star both at the top of their game and a compelling premise like this, we can’t think of a better way to kick off the cinematic year… Released January 7.

While fans of Shaun Of The Dead and Hot Fuzz wait for Edgar Wright to get his act together for the final part in the Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy, we can kill some time with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost’s latest outing. The two real-life best buddies play equally tight on-screen BFFs who embark on an American road trip but get sidetracked when they pick up an extraterrestrial hitchhiker voiced by Seth Rogen. Expect much spliff-smoking, kick-in-the-nuts, out-of-this-world alien hilarity… Released February 18.

Sucker Punch
Fresh from his animated owl epic, Legend Of The Guardians, and before he gets cracking on the new Superman movie, Man Of Steel, director Zack Snyder is keeping himself busy with this imaginative tale. Using the stylistic elements of his previous flicks, such as 300 and Watchmen, while upping the sexy factor with a cast of gorgeous young things, Snyder’s latest tells the tale of a girl (Emily Browning) who is institutionalised by her wicked stepfather and retreats to an alternative reality as a coping strategy while coming up with a plan to escape. Imagine something between One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest and Burlesque (with added dragons) and you’ll understand why we’re excited about this… Released April 1.

Green Lantern

As Marvel continue to roll their comic book heroes out onto the big screen at an alarming pace, DC are finally starting to play catch-up. Having seen success with the Batman and Superman flicks (not so much with Jonah Hex), the comic-book titan will be hoping to catch audience imaginations with this tale about a test pilot (Ryan Reynolds) who is gifted a cosmic ring from a dying alien and finds himself recruited into an intergalactic police corps. Traditionally seen as a rather po-faced comic book character, the big-screen incarnation should be altogether more fun if the hugely charismatic Reynolds and experienced director Martin Campbell (Casino Royale, Goldeneye) have anything to do with it… Released June 17.

Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part II

And so it finally comes to an end… say what you will about the big-screen adventures of the boy wizard but you can’t deny they’ve always been consistently entertaining, and this final chapter (which we’ve building up to for SEVEN films now) should contain all the whizzbang effects and emotional clout that the previous efforts have never quite managed to completely pull off. Deathly Hallows Part 1 ended with Harry, Ron and Hermione on a quest to find the remaining horcruxes (little bits of Lord Voldemort’s soul) and destroy them, and anyone who’s read the final book will know there’s some spectacular (and heartbreaking) moments still to come… Released July 15.


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