By that point, he was off to the movies, but even there, he was more of a franchise caretaker: he made a strong Mission: Impossible III (although audiences, perhaps still smarting from Woo's Mission: Impossible II or maybe just figuring they could get similar spy action on an Abrams TV show, stayed further away this time), and he rescued Star Trek from irrelevance (or at least unprofitability) by cannily youthifying and Star Warsing it up. That's not a knock; I loved his Star Trek movie. And I'm excited for Super 8, his first technically-original movie as a writer-director. But even this project does look primarily like, nay, is designed specifically as… a fannish homage to blockbuster entertainments of the late 70s and early 80s, albeit one actually produced by Steven Spielberg himself.
The Trip: Man, Michael Winterbottom used to make movies all the time. He was like the poor, English man's Steven Soderbergh! Back in the aughts, he was doing grim sci-fi and he was doing real-life political dramas and he was doing combination porn-concert movies! I guess his directorial average has yet to dip to less than a movie per year but 2010's The Killer Inside Me was on the post-festival shelf for a bit, and The Trip, a reunion with Tristram Shandy star Steve Coogan, is really just a feature version of a bunch of TV episodes they made together. Fortunately (and perhaps only semi-factually), IMDB reports three Winterbottom movies on the docket for 2012. That's more like it! Now if they're horror, musical, and docudrama, we'll really be cooking! In the meantime, The Trip looks funny. Coogan is often hilarious and Tristram Shandy was a pretty strong use of his prickly talents.
Judy Moody and the NOT Bummer Summer: I don't know anything about this movie except that it's obviously based on some manner of junior-YA series; the poster looks, specifically, like something you'd get from a Scholastic book order in 1992; and Heather Graham is now old enough to play the Cool Aunt. Does Judy Moody know about her past as Rollergirl?!
TrollHunter: Here's the bar for this faux-verite indie-genre import: suck less than Monsters. Boy, I wish Monsters didn't kind of suck, but it did! Now I'm hungering for a funnier and/or scarier scrappy horror-thriller-monster-whatever. Although: I can tell you that if TrollHunter doesn't do the trick, Attack the Block will. More on that when ScreenGems sets a release date.