January 15, 2010

On the Horizon: Movies in 2010 (January - June)

I don't know about you, but I had many more disappointments than pleasant surprises at the movie theater in 2009. Instead of looking back on all that could and should have been, I'll look ahead at all that could and should be. If last decade went out with a fizzle, let's hope this decade starts out with a bang. Then again, by the looks of things this year's movies include about a dozen 1980's remakes, so it's really one step forward, two steps back.

These are some notable wide releases for 2010 (not documentaries, foreign, or independent) that I've culled together from IMDb and ComingSoon.net. In other words, these are the movies that everyone will see that will overshadow all of the movies that everyone really should see. 

Release months are probably only 90% accurate, but this is what we have to go on at this time. Also, Garth Franklin at Dark Horizons has an insanely well researched forecast as well. Probably the best movies of the year will be from his bunch (I can only hope based on what I see below), but in the interest of time you can scan through my list instead, and then spend the rest of the year over there - it's so extensive it might take you that long.

Here's Part 1 - the first half of the year:

JANUARY: Big stars, big movies, little interest

The Book of Eli: Denzel Washington and The Hughes Brothers (From Hell, Dead Presidents) team up for a post-apocalyptic tale about some mysterious book. The trailers remind me of a particular section of Terminator Salvation, and anything that reminds me of Terminator Salvation already has a major strike against it. 

Edge of Darkness: I enjoyed Mel Gibson in Ransom, but I think I only need to see him as a vengeful father once. Director Martin Cambell has been awesome (GoldenEye, Casino Royale) and awful (Beyond Borders), so who knows what to expect. The real question will be whether anyone can stand Gibson's Boston accent for 30 seconds, let alone 108 minutes.

FEBRUARY: Dumping grounds for the pushed back releases

The Wolfman: Benicio del Toro in the remake of the 1941 classic horror film. I haven't seen that and I have yet to find a reason to need to see this. Universal knows this and they've delayed the release already once, but they're going to have to do some hard work to get me on board in time. 

Valentine's Day: Possibly the worst title of the year, this ensemble romantic comedy is, obviously about the big love day. About a million people star, most of whom I have little tolerance for (Julia Roberts, Ashton Kutcher, Anne Hathaway, Bradley Cooper, Topher Grace). Still interested? How about Taylor Lautner and Joe Jonas? Turn in your tween girl card, please.

Shutter Island: The blogosphere was aflutter when this Scorsese-directed, DiCaprio-starring thriller was moved from last October to this February, essentially throwing in the towel on any kind of Oscar chances. What that says about how good or bad it is, I don't know, but I hope this is more like the duo's work in Gangs of New York and The Aviator than their work in The Departed. That's right, I said it.

MARCH: Tim Burton and Johnny Depp - yet again

Alice in Wonderland: Truth be told I'm a little tired of this combination, too, but I can't deny I'll see what's sure to be a massive hit. Fingers crossed it's also shown in 2D, because that blasted 3D still throws me off every time. Also, watch for Depp to score another ridiculous Best Actor nomination.

Green Zone: Now this is what I'm talking about, Damon and Paul Greengrass together again. How the synopsis of "discovering covert and faulty intelligence causes a U.S. Army officer to go rogue" does not qualify this as another Bourne movie, I can't say. But it should be fantastic nonetheless.

Greenberg: I absolutely loathed Noah Baumbach's last movie, Margot at the Wedding, so my hopes are incredibly low for this. Then again, it does star Ben Stiller in the kind of role that I love him in. And I've also liked Chris Messina in everything I've seen him in since Vicky Cristina Barcelona. Eh, maybe if the buzz is good and I have some downtime.

Hot Tub Time Machine: Remember what I said about 2010 being all about the 80's? Here's where it begins. Written by Steve Pink, who wrote High Fidelity and Grosse Pointe Blank, it stars John Cusack (obviously) and others (Craig Robinson, Crispin Glover?!) as a group of guys whose hot tub mysteriously sends them back in time. Why a hot tub, you ask? Because DeLoreans aren't back in style...yet.

Clash of the Titans: Titans will clash in this remake of a 1980's movie (get used to that phrase).

I Love You Phillip Morris: Reportedly based on a true story, this stars Jim Carrey as an obsessive con artist who falls in love with his cell mate in prison, Ewan McGregor. Sounds a little Cable Guy-ish to me, which could be hilarious. Or it could just be a bizarre dud.

APRIL: Summer's close enough, let's get to the mindless stuff

Date Night: The cast for this terribly-named comedy looks phenomenal, but you have some odd choices behind the camera here. It was written by the same guy who wrote the last and new Shrek installment, and is directed by Night at the Museum franchise-helmer Shawn Levy. Not going to hold out too much hope for this one.

Kick-Ass: Truth be told, Stardust was one gem of a movie that got lost in the shuffle in 2007, the Best Year of the Decade. Same writer/director team here adapting a comic book series about a high school loser turned superhero. I wonder what the pull quotes from critics will be for the ads? 

MacGruber: I haven't watched "Saturday Night Live" enough in recent years to completely warm to MacGruber, but I loved the Super Bowl commercial last year. Let's call it a guilty pleasure and move on. 

Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps: I don't know...at least it's starring Michael Douglas again? Oliver Stone's follow up to the 1987 hit is coming out at an odd time of year, and my guess is that it's going to be over-the-top politically biased, probably something like the feature film adaptation of Capitalism: A Love Story.

MAY: Haven't we seen these before?

Iron Man 2: I was positively lukewarm on Iron Man two springs ago and am already tired of the hype around this one. Whatever, it's in that "first summer weekend of the year" slot again and will probably be overrated because of it, just like the first one (and Star Trek). 

Robin Hood: Ooh, boy, if anybody other than Ridley Scott, Russell Crowe, and Cate Blanchett were teaming up on this I'd be a lot more annoyed by it. You see, I'm one of those crazy people who loved Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (or rather, I remember loving it), so a reboot is unnecessary. Then again, I'm one of those crazy people who loved Gladiator too, so I'll check out this presumably more dramatic version for a spin. 

Shrek Forever After: Think it's done after this one? Guess again. 

Sex and the City 2: Jeff Wells infamously (and, I have to admit, amusingly) said this about the first installment: "The film is another Taliban recruitment film -- a grotesque and putrid valentine to the insipid 'me, my lifestyle, my accessories and I' chick culture of the early 21st Century." That about says it for me, but to be fair there are just as many films celebrating the most base elements of contemporary male culture as well.

JUNE: Welcome back to the 80's!

The A-Team: I've gone from excited to curious to angered and back again about this over the last year. I still don't see the point of it, but I'd be lying if I said I'm not pining to hear that theme song blasted in Dolby Digital for the first time. 

Get Him to the Greek: The somewhat good news: writer/director Nicholas Stoller's Forgetting Sarah Marshall was probably better than I gave it credit for, and this stars Jonah Hill. The bad news: Stoller most recently wrote Yes Man, and this also stars P. Diddy.

The Karate Kid: Is the original - a cherished classic - unavailable for viewing in 2010? Seriously, why can't kids just watch that? My gosh, if you're going to remake this at least do it with an experienced writer and a director who didn't just bring us The Pink Panther 2.

Toy Story 3: Blows my mind that it's been over a decade since the last installment in this original Pixar franchise. I don't think I'll try it in 3D, but I'll give it a shot since the last two were terrific and director Lee Unkrich has been there since the beginning. 

Footloose: Really, what needs to be said about this remake? How about the fact that literally the only other screenwriting credit for writer Jon Hartmere is The Seventh Sense: "Kyle is a boy who has the ability to see gay people." But I guess this is about dancing, not dialogue, right? UPDATE (1/20/10): Footloose has been indefinitely shelved.

Grown Ups: Adam Sandler and director Dennis Dugan team up for the third time in the last four years (You Don't Mess With the Zohan, I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry). I'd dismiss it if not for the number of cast members from the glory years of "SNL", including Sandler, Chris Rock, Norm MacDonald, David Spade, Rob Schneider, and Tim Meadows. Plus Maya Rudolph, Kevin James, Gary Busey, Steve Buscemi, Salma Hayek and Maria Bello. Some part of this has to work.

Coming next week - Part 2: July - December


  1. "Kyle is a boy who has the ability to see gay people."

    LOL. Oh, wow...I didn't know that could be the basis for a movie.

    I'm excited for Toy Story 3. I grew up loving the first two movies.

  2. Excuse my pessimism, but overall that is kind of a depressing list...God knows I'll see most of them, but are there any in this group that don't feel like someone is using a cookie cutter in one way or another. Maybe Burton and Scorsese will surprise me.

  3. Yeah, Marcy, well that Sixth Sense spoof was made back in 2001, when things were...different? Anyway, there's no chance I'm seeing Footloose, but I'm as interested in Toy Story 3 as you are.

    Kathie, take my advice above and head over to Dark Horizons for the "real" list of movies to see in 2010. Like you I find this batch, for the most part, stunningly dull.

  4. Well, I'm frankly stunned to see that Steve Pink wrote "Hot Tub Time Machine." Maybe it won't be quite as God-awful-horrible as I expected. When I saw the trailer, I really couldn't believe it - it seemed a whole lot dumber than the movies John Cusack was actually making in the mid-80s. In fact, I just listed this film on my blog as "evidence of the impending apocolypse."

  5. Hehe, ironically, John Cusack's last movie was actually about the apocalypse, if that's any indication about his current roles. I can't make a legitimate excuse for it, but I'll probably end up seeing Hot Tub because I like Craig Robinson and 80's soundtracks.

  6. Our podcast that we recorded the other night was about what's coming in 2010, and I lamented the fact that you don't really get a picture of what's coming in terms of indies, docs and foreigns, because the rest of what's left is truly depressing, and I think my tastes even run a tad more commercial than yours, Daniel.

    Of all of the ones you listed, here are the ones that I'm most interested in seeing (and it's stretching it for some of them):

    The Wolfman - if only for Benicio and Hopkins
    Greenberg - agreed on the "this type of Stiller part." Nice to see him actually acting again in an adult movie.
    Hot Tub - I'm up for some silly nostalgic fun, and Craig Robinson has a hard time not being funny in my book.
    Kick-Ass - yes, a Cage movie I'm looking forward to. Believe it!
    Iron Man 2 - sure. I don't have crazy high hopes or anything, but I'm not near the meh-er that you are on these (and Star Trek).

  7. Well even with our slight different in taste (and you're a lot more indie-friendly than you give yourself credit for), it's a bad sign if neither of us can find much to get excited about.

    In Part 2, though, I will list some smaller films that should be pretty watchable in 2010 - all of them I picked from the Dark Horizons list. I can't recommend enough going over and checking that one out to get a better sense of what's on the way.

    Re: Kick-Ass - I missed the fact that Cage was in it, but I think that only lessens my interest. But speaking of Cage, here's a last call to check out the DH list, because there are at least three films (his next three after Kick-Ass, I see now) also starring him that sound absolutely outrageous. In other words, you might have a lot of ammo to work with this year...

  8. Wow - that DH list(s) is insane. Eleven parts! It'll take me a bit to wade through all of those, though there's definitely much more to chew on in terms of interesting fare coming our way.

    You know I can never get enough Cage. ;) If you somehow haven't yet, you really must watch this red-band trailer for Kick-Ass.

  9. Yes, the Dark Horizons list is where it's at - 280 movies, 70,000 words. Said it took him a month to compile it, so he deserves as much credit as I can give him here. Obviously I don't have that kind of time so this three-part version is the best I can offer. Part Three will include the most appealing films.

    I'm still going to wait a bit on that trailer assuming I see the movie...I have the feeling this is one of those movies where the best parts will be in the trailer.

  10. Well, I saw The Book of Eli - then from there on in it looks like a lot of familiar territory. I'm looking forward to Shutter Island mostly so that I can stop seeing the preview when I go to the movies. I've seen the preview at least ten times. At least! Now that I enjoyed Worthington in Avatar, I'm kind of looking forward to Clash of the Titans - though it's a remake of my least favortie example of Ray Harryhausen stop-motion. Robin Ho-hum-Hood. Why????

  11. I need to read your thoughts on Eli as there's only about a 5% chance I'm seeing that anytime soon. Believe it or not I've avoided the Shutter Island trailer to date, either from deliberately arriving late at the theater or tuning out while in the theater. But there's still a month left - I'm sure I won't be able to completely avoid it for much longer.

    I actually like Worthington in Avatar, too, and I think he has a pretty solid future ahead of him. However, after Terminator Salvation and Avatar, I think I'd rather see him in a non-action film next, maybe a brooding crime thriller that allows him to speak with his native (Australian) accent.

    And Robin Hood, well as I say I'm only excusing it because of who's involved...

  12. Worthington didn't stand out in Terminator Salvation. But I really felt his presence in Avatar. The gimmick that he was a paraplegic suddenly liberated by piloting an avatar was a clever gimmick and you could see his joy - and his disappointment when he had to be in the real world eating scrambled eggs and stuff. His reactions to the thrills of Na'viworld - like jumping off the limb and using big leaves to break his fall - are well done, and his acting really comes through the motion-capture. In a year with not much competition for male performances, I feel his performance in Avatar was one of the best of the year.

  13. You're right, I almost forgot about Worthington entirely in Terminator. Even now I can't remember what he did, but then I'm glad I can't remember much from that movie in general.

    Funny that you mention how his acting comes through when he is an avatar because I felt the exact same way. Zoe Saldana is getting all kinds of talk and Oscar buzz even for her performance, but I think he was just as solid (though I don't know if either wowed me as much as the overall movie did). Of course most people would have the same problem with Worthington that they had with Brad Pitt in Benjamin Button, but hey, fact is that Pitt got a nomination.


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