January 19, 2010

On the Horizon: Movies in 2010 (Pt. 2: July - December)

JULY: Star-studded tent poles and Shyamalan's return

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse: I haven't read any of the books or seen either of the first two movies. So... 

Knight & Day: I've admitted my soft spot for Tom Cruise before, so it should come as no surprise that this doesn't look or sound nearly as bad to me as it does to most people. It's also worth mentioning that James Mangold (3:10 to Yuma, Walk the Line) is not your typical summer blockbuster director, so maybe, just maybe, this will be more than meets the eye.

The Last Airbender: M. Night Shyamalan's next movie. Also, the worst movie of 2010.

Inception: I have yet to see any 2010 movie forecast that does not list Inception as the #1 most anticipated movie of the year. Obviously much of this has to do with Christopher Nolan's last film, The Dark Knight (and Batman Begins before it, all three films are IMAX spectacles), but personally I'm hoping it's more along the lines of Memento and The Prestige. The short of it is that Christopher Nolan was probably the best director of the last decade, but I'm excited for this movie for different reasons than most people. 

Predators: Sequel. 1980's movie. Are you getting the picture yet? 

Salt: Ah, Angelina Jolie, peaceful ambassador off screen, half-naked ruthless assassin on screen, and always passing wise a good two decades beyond her years (all 34 of them). No, I don't have any respect for this woman and I don't feel badly about it. Expect her to save the world again and look perfectly put together doing it.

Dinner for Schmucks: If I have this correct, Jay Roach will be directing a Fockers sequel (below) as well as this remake of the 1998 French comedy, and both will be released in July? Whatever the timing, this will earn a lot of hype due to its cast alone: Steve Carell, Paul Rudd, and Zach Galifianakis. 

Little Fockers: I loved Meet the Parents and I absolutely loathed Meet the Fockers, so this one is a bit of a rubber match film. From what I know it will involve pregnancy and or infant care, so potty humor will likely be the foundation. Maybe I'll see Inception again instead.

AUGUST: Take advantage of summer's last month - do outdoor stuff

The Other Guys: Adam McKay's first film as a writer or director was the brilliant Anchorman, so every time I see his name I perk up. Then I remember - he subsequently wrote and directed Will Ferrell in the unfunny Talladega Nights and the unwatchable Step Brothers. Why expect anything different here?

Eat, Pray, Love: Julia Roberts has had a bit of a tough run since her outrageously undeserved Oscar for Erin Brockovich a decade ago. Consider this her official return to the spotlight in the star-studded adaptation (James Franco, Javier Bardem, Richard Jenkins, Billy Crudup, Viola Davis) of Elizabeth Gilbert's bestseller. That I haven't read, and am not all that interested in. 

The Expendables: Nothing like the dog days of August for a Sylvester Stallone-directed (and starring) blockbuster wherein "a team of mercenaries head to South America on a mission to overthrow a dictator." With Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Dolph Lundgren, Jason Statham, Mickey Rourke and "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, you can expect a lot of idiotic one-liners as testosterone literally drips from the screen. 

Ramona & Beezus: Like most voracious young readers, I read and enjoyed all of Beverly Cleary's "Ramona" books as a child a couple of decades ago. I've no idea why a film is only being made now or what it could possibly be about, but despite the fairly well-known cast, I think I'm a little outside of the target market for this one.

SEPTEMBER: Oscar season officially begins, time to get serious

The Town: Ben Affleck directs himself (and Jeremy Renner) in his own adaptation of a crime novel about four Boston bank robbers on the lam. I'm getting a Gone Baby Gone, good-but-not-great feeling about this one, but I guess I trust Affleck in Boston more than most people. So sure, let's check it out. 

The American: George Clooney as an assassin hiding out in Italy before one last assignment. Curiously, it's directed by Anton Corbijn, who has spent two decades making documentaries and feature films about famous rock bands (U2, Metallica, Joy Division, Depeche Mode). At the very least it ought to have a decent soundtrack. 

Red Dawn: Believe it or not, a remake of an 80's movie! Haven't seen the original, but I referenced it here. Also, I find it amusing that our national enemies are the Chinese and Russians. (Note: the release month for this is also listed as November, depending on the source.)

OCTOBER: Remakes, retreads, and a movie about Facebook - really?

Let Me In: Absolutely positively no reason whatsoever to remake one of last year's best movies. Just no excuse for it and no way it can be defended. Just try.

Your Highness: David Gordon Green continues to be one of the most intriguing directors working today, and Danny McBride continues to be hilarious in everything he's done (he was the best part of Green's Pineapple Express). Seems like this medieval spoof is more of a summer movie, but here it is going up against some Oscar bait. 

Secretariat: The good news: this biopic about Secretariat owner Penny Chenery may earn Diane Lane her first Best Actress win, or at least another nomination. The bad news: even though director Mike Wallace only wrote (and not directed) Pearl Harbor, any association at all with Pearl Harbor is disconcerting. 

The Zookeeper: Kind of a quasi-sequel to Paul Blart: Mall Cop, this high concept comedy stars Kevin James as a helpless zookeeper who, with the help of animals voiced by Adam Sandler and others, successfully (I can only assume) makes Rosario Dawson fall for him. I actually like Kevin James, but this just has to be bang-your-head-against-a-wall dumb. 

The Social Network: Unquestionably one of the most fascinating projects of 2010, this David Fincher-helmed dramedy is about Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook. That's all. It's just about Facebook. David Fincher (Benjamin Button, Zodiac, Fight Club, Se7en) making a dramedy about Facebook. I just can't get my head around this idea. Which is why I'll have to see it at first opportunity.

Jackass 3-D: I don't even want to know what is shown in 3D.

NOVEMBER: Yawn. A decade later, Harry Potter's still with us

Due Date: Not a proper sequel to The Hangover (that's on the way in 2011), this Todd Phillips comedy about a "high strung father-to-be" is sure to be vulgar, vile, and not nearly as funny as everyone will tell you. Robert Downey, Jr. should add some interesting flair, though. Watch for a Best Picture nod next January. 

Unstoppable: Tony Scott and Denzel Washington together for the fourth time in the last six years. Doesn't matter what this is about (in case you're wondering, though: "A rail company frantically works to prevent an unmanned, half-mile-long freight train carrying combustible liquids and poisonous gas from wiping out a city."), rest assured it will be bombastic, color-saturated, and another waste of Denzel's talent.

Megamind: Madagascar franchise director Tom McGrath presents an animated spoof of superhero movies, starring the voices of Brad Pitt, Will Ferrell, and Tina Fey. The co-writers have a combined zero screen prior writing credits between them, so who knows what to expect? And is anyone willing to find out?

It's a Kind of Funny Story: Notable primarily because it's Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck's next film. Based on a novel about a clinically depressed teenager, it will be a minimalist yet subtly pretentious drama that I'll predictably be defending in this space at year's end.

Love and Other Drugs: Figure this one out: Edward Zwick (Defiance, Blood Diamond) directs Anne Hathaway and Jake Gyllenhaal in a dramatic true story about a Viagra salesman.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 1: Somebody must like what director David Yates is doing with Harry Potter - he's directed the last two installments, this one and the next one, making him the foremost director in the series. I'll spend Thanksgiving watching football instead anyway, thank you very much.

DECEMBER: Come on, still with the sequels and remakes and comic books?

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader: 49 Up series director Michael Apted takes the reins for the third installment in the fantasy series. The first one was good, the second one was decent as best - let's get the momentum swinging in the other direction here. 

Tron Legacy: Stop me when you've heard this one before: a sequel to a 1980's movie. Starring (thankfully) Jeff Bridges and projected in (obviously) 3D, this will be part of the pre-Christmas blockbuster up against...

Yogi Bear: Yep, a 3D/CGI/live-action movie about the cherished Hanna-Barbera character. Voiced by Dan Aykroyd (didn't he retire?), it also stars Anna Feris and Justin Timberlake, who, between this and the aforementioned Shrek Forever After and The Social Network, will have his most prolific film year since 2006. Personally I'd rather he just focus on delivering another solid album.

The Green Hornet: I've been sick of superhero movies since about 2005, but wouldn't you know they just keep making them curious enough to get me to the theater. Here we have Michel Gondry directing a film written by and starring Seth Rogen. A real wild card of a movie alongside The Social Network.

Untitled James L. Brooks Comedy: The only project Brooks has worked on outside of the Simpsons franchise (including writing and directing the 2007 feature film) in the last decade is Spanglish. Expect something similarly sappy in this holiday-friendly romantic dramedy starring Reese Witherspoon, Jack Nicholson (still playing the old lothario? Ugh.), Owen Wilson and Paul Rudd.

Gulliver's Travels: At least the fourth feature film adaptation of the famous novel, this action comedy stars Jack Black, Emily Blunt, and Jason Segel. Director Rob Letterman's prior notable films are Shark Tale and Monsters vs. Aliens, neither of which I've seen, both for good reason (bad reviews). 

Hereafter: Yes, Clint Eastwood has another movie coming out in another December. Obviously the guy only has Oscar on his mind at this stage of his career, but must he be so obvious about it? Written by Peter Morgan (Frost/Nixon, The Queen), it's a supernatural thriller starring Matt Damon and Bryce Dallas Howard. Aside from a predictably earnest performance by Damon, I'd get your hopes down.

Next- Part 3/3: Dates TBA & Documentaries. In other words, the movies that you should be most excited about in 2010...


  1. Watch the trailer for The Zookeeper at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z75b19HbpL8

  2. Hehe, thanks for visiting Sevendsen, but that is an entirely different zookeeper movie (who knew it was such a rich occupation?). The tagline for The Zookeeper (2001) is: "One man had the courage to do what was right...". The synopsis: "A disillusioned ex-Communist is left behind to take care of the animals in the capital's zoological gardens until a U.N. rescue force arrives."

    Doesn't so much sound like a Kevin James vehicle...

  3. You're absolutely right (from what I can tell) regarding Inception as more of a mind-bender, such as Memento and The Prestige. Obviously the budget and the trailer have shown signs of huge sets and big action pieces, but at his original roots (rather than Batman, which are adapted scripts), Nolan seems to be a writer/director that loves to play with our mind.

  4. Yeah I'm encouraged by the fact that Nolan actually penned this one, and that he's really never drawn a bad performance out of any actor (just think of those performances in the last decade). So DiCaprio should fit the bill nicely, and for the time being I'll ignore the fact that it's set up as an IMAX blockbuster. Of course either way there's no chance I'm watching a trailer at any point beforehand. As of right now I actually have no clue what it's about, and I'm glad the poster doesn't hint at anything. Of course with the amount of buzz it's been receiving since last fall the chances of being still going into it this clueless are unfortunately nil. Too bad - I always prefer it that way.

  5. Harry Potter and Narnia and Gulliver, oh, my! So tired of all those. And then there's more Twilight and Iron Man the Green Hornet. I'm bored!

    And I was hoping for better movies this year, but I'm not pumped. Red Dawn DOES NOT NEED to be remade. The original is a brat-pack classic! - and my favorite Patrick Swayze role. Where is Malick's Tree of Life?? Sort of intrigued by Inception.

    Nothing against you, Daniel, but the list of movies you have researched in your two-part post depresses me.

  6. Patience, dear Hokahey. Part 3 (hopefully up soon) has all of the "real" movies (with unconfirmed dates) that we should be looking forward to in 2010, including The Tree of Life. You're right - anybody putting their stock into the wide releases from these two parts is due for some major disappointments at the theater this year.

  7. Oh, thank God!!! I need part 3!

  8. Hokahey, I feel your pain, but really, part 2 of Daniel's list is far, far, far superior to part one, as I can count at least a half-dozen I'm either moderately or all-out interested in - even the gotta-see-it-to-believe-it Let the Right One In remake.

  9. I watched the first Twilight. Do not bother. Watch Let the Right One In again.

    I hope Inception is along the lines of The Prestige as well.

    the original red dawn is good.

    The CON is interesting. I may read that book one day.

  10. Agreed, Fletch - this part is significantly more encouraging than Part 1. Though I'm not I'll need to see Let Me In to believe it. There will have to be some really strong buzz around that to get me there; I'm just against on principle alone right now.

    Film-Book, though I haven't read The Dawn Treader, I also find the CON series interesting - and much more so than Harry Potter, though I'll admit I haven't read any of those.

  11. This is one of the worst movies ever made. If you think that it will be as good a the original I urge you to never watch this. Heaths over the top ridiculous performance as the joker was not Oscar worthy, but they gave it to him because he died and robbed him in Brokeback Mountain. The use of the Harvey character was pathetic and Christian Bale is one of the wost actors to ever play Batman.


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