As frigid temperatures and frozen banks of filthy snow have taken hold outside the MTV News offices in Times Square, we’ve been warming ourselves with thoughts of what’s to come at the multiplex in 2011, where heavy doses of buttered popcorn and Sno-caps will keep us content all year round.
In the months to come, we’ll take in a series of films featuring highly anticipated twosomes, some romantic and others platonic, some heavy on explosive laughs, and others featuring heavy explosions. Here are our picks for the big-screen pairings we’re most looking forward to checking out this year:
Robert Pattinson & Reese Witherspoon in “Water for Elephants”
Sure, RPattz will once again share the screen opposite Kristen Stewart in 2011, but he’s been mining the same limited “Twilight” material for a while now, and we’re keen to see how he manages when his character has more emotional motivation than simply protecting his beloved.
While we enjoyed his turn in last year’s romantic drama “Remember Me,” a performance opposite the Oscar-winning Witherspoon in “Elephants” will mark Pattinson’s biggest opportunity yet to establish himself as a formidable talent.
The first trailer mostly showcased RPattz in smoldering default mode. Can the 24-year-old Brit step it up? Can his chemistry with Witherspoon begin to compare, in fan’s eyes, with the Bella-Edward-Jacob love triangle? Answers will arrive with the film’s release in April.
Brad Pitt & Jonah Hill in “Moneyball”
At first glance, we’ll admit, this seems like an odd match. But consider: Hill is just beginning to scratch the surface of his acting range, as his deeply strange and strangely affecting turn in “Cyrus” made clear. Pitt, meanwhile, is a proven comedic talent.
The two play fast-talking, ego-heavy execs for the Oakland A’s. With a dramatic, real-life story line about the hard-scrabble, small-market ball club and a script that got a makeover from dialogue whiz Aaron Sorkin, “Moneyball” has the perfect framework for a memorable dynamic between Pitt and Hill.
Shia LaBeouf & Rosie Huntington-Whiteley in “Transformers: Dark of the Moon”
One can hardly call what LaBeouf and Megan Fox shared onscreen in two “Transformers” flicks “magical,” so LaBeouf and Huntington-Whiteley’s pairing in “Dark of the Moon” won’t be a case of recapturing cinematic gold. Yet the comparisons will be inevitable, even if Michael Bay’s directing for his leading “Transformers” ladies seems to begin and end with, “Look hot!”
We look forward to seeing how LaBeouf and Huntington-Whiteley play off each other, one a savvy vet of Spielberg and Stone movies, the other a Victoria’s Secret model making her big-screen debut.
Johnny Depp & Penelope Cruz in “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides”
Jack Sparrow’s adventures on the high seas have usually taken precedence over his adventures in the bedroom. “On Stranger Tides” could well change all that.
With Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley out of the picture, the head-butting between Depp’s Captain Jack and Cruz’s swashbuckling beauty will take center stage. Are we ready to see the softer side of the dreadlocked pirate?
Simon Pegg & Nick Frost in “Paul”
Has it really been almost four years since these comedic pals were onscreen together in “Hot Fuzz”? Any time the British funnymen get together, we’ll be first in line for a ticket. This year will bring them back for a third cinematic turn, following “Fuzz” and 2004′s “Shaun of the Dead.”
“Paul” is a sci-fi comedy in which Pegg and Frost play conspiracy-minded friends on a road trip to a purported alien-landing sight, where — much to their surprise — they actually discover an alien. Frost and Pegg excel when challenging themselves with such high-concept comedic obstacles, and if the film’s trailers are any indication, they’ve got another winner on their hands.
Daniel Craig & Rooney Mara in “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”
The role of troubled hacker Lisbeth Salander was one of the most coveted in Hollywood last year until Mara, a relative unknown, won the part. She’ll star opposite Craig, who plays journalist (and Salander’s love interest) Mikael Blomkvist.
The “Tattoo” stars have a lot to live up to: The book on which the film is based was a best-seller across the globe, and the Swedish adaptation has garnered plaudits from critics and audiences alike. But we’ve got high hopes: David Fincher is in the director’s chair, and the story line sizzles with emotional stakes and high-tension plot twists.
Which onscreen pairing are you most looking forward to in 2011? Tell us your pick in the comments below!
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