One Blogger's Most Anticipated Films of 2010

12/28/2009 Posted by Admin

By our guest blogger, Matt Jussim

Around this time of year, critics and movie fans tend to make lists of their favorite films of the past year. While I am a big fan of those lists, this time around I’m going to look forward to next year’s releases, rather than look back on this year.

Most of these movies you may have heard of, some you night not have, but they all have interest to me and they're what I'm looking forward to most in 2010.

The Remake:

"The A-Team"
Director: Joe Carnahan
Starring: Bradley Cooper, Liam Neeson, Sharlto Copley, Quinton Jackson

When it comes to remakes, sometimes the biggest question is whether the filmmakers should keep the original setting or update it for contemporary times. Director Joe Carnahan chose the latter, and thus gives the classic '80s television series an updated look. The film finds a group of Iraq War veterans who go on the run as they look to clear their name with the U.S. military, who suspect the four men of committing a crime for which they were framed.

Liam Neeson, Bradley Cooper, Sharlto Copley, Quinton Jackson and Jessica Biel star in what appears  to be one of the most fun releases of 2010. The casting is near perfect, especially with Cooper and Copley. The two actors gave some of the best performances in summer ’09 (“The Hangover” and “District 9”) and hope to capitalize on that success in  summer 2010. “The A-Team” arrives in theaters on June 11, 2010.

The Comedies:

"Hot Tub Time Machine"
Director: Steve Pink
Starring: John Cusack, Rob Corddry and Craig Robinson

Just hearing the title alone makes me want to see the movie, but after finding out that the cast includes John Cusack, Rob Corddry and Craig Robinson, that seals it--this movie is definitely a must-see in 2010.  The plot:  After a crazy night of drinking in a ski resort hot tub, four best friends who've become bored with their adult lives wake up in the year 1986. This is their chance to change their futures for the better, and in one character's case to ensure his existence. While the title and concept are ridiculous, I think this has the potential to be the sleeper comedy hit of the year.

Both of the trailers have been very funny and the '80s mockery seems to work very well. A good sign is that director Steve Pink was the screenwriter for "Grosse Pointe Blank" and "High Fidelity," each of which starred Cusack. Here’s hoping that the studio will opt for an “R” rating, which could give the film free reign to be as hilarious as it should be. Look for “Hot Tub Time Machine” on March 19, 2010.

"Due Date"
Director: Todd Phillips
Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Jamie Foxx, Zach Galifianakis, Michelle Monaghan, RZA

This is one film that I absolutely cannot wait to see. “The Hangover” director Todd Phillips re-teams with breakout star Zach Galifianakis for a road trip comedy that also stars Robert Downey Jr., Michelle Monaghan and Jamie Foxx. Downey plays an expectant father who finds himself on a road trip with a mismatched partner (Galifianakis) as he races to get to his wife before she gives birth to his first child.

The script was written by Alan R. Cohen and Alan Freedland, who also made the acclaimed “Blacklist." A great sign for the film is that Phillips has said that Galifianakis' character and style of humor is completely different than his performance in “The Hangover,” which should be fun to see. I think Downey and Galifianakis will have great chemistry while Phillips tries to follow “The Hangover” with another hit. “Due Date” hits the road November 5, 2010.

The ?:

Director: Christopher Nolan
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Ken Watanabe, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Marion Cotillard.

"Inception" easily is one of the most anticipated movies of 2010, but it’s also the year’s biggest question mark. From director Christopher Nolan (“The Prestige,” “The Dark Knight”), this mysterious film follows the story of a CEO-type executive (Leonardo DiCaprio) who finds himself becoming involved in a blackmailing scandal. The story is said to explore the architecture of the human mind.

Additional story details for Nolan's film--his first since "The Dark Knight"--are pretty much impossible to come by. Shot in various places around the world, it's astonishing how little has been revealed about the movie--aside from only some basic cast descriptions. The teaser trailer and trailer add to the confusion, with each showing a corporate action-drama with a sci-fi hook, all of which is book-ended by two guys in business suits fighting in a hallway while gravity shifts. A tagline that notes "Your mind is the scene of the crime" also had fans asking questions. But I think all this mystery is a great thing for the project, which also stars Ken Watanabe, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Oscar-winner Marion Cotillard. “Inception” will be released July 16, 2010.

The Indies:

Director: Noah Baumbach
Starring: Ben Stiller, Greta Gerwig, Rhys Ifans, Mark Duplass, Brie Larson

For serious film fans, the name Noah Baumbach is pretty much a household name.  For the casual fan, not so much. I think Baumbach easily is one of the best filmmakers in the business today. His feature debut, “Kicking and Screaming,” was a truthful, witty and intelligent take on life after college.  His critically acclaimed “The Squid and the Whale” was one of the best films of the past decade.

In Baumbach's newest film, Ben Stiller plays Roger Greenberg, a man at a crossroads in his life who ends up housesitting at his brother's home in Los Angeles. There, he strikes up an unlikely friendship with his brother's assistant, which leads to an uncertain and wonderfully vulnerable courtship. This film probably won’t score at the box office, but based on his previous body of work, this looks to be right up Baumbach’s alley and could be a great film. “Greenberg” opens March 12, 2010.

"It's Kind of a Funny Story"
Director: Ryan Fleck
Starring: Keir Gilchrist, Zach Galifianakis, Emma Roberts, Viola Davis, and Lauren Graham

After seeing “Half Nelson” in 2006, I knew that any project that filmmakers Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden were involved in would be a must-see for me. Written by the duo and directed by Fleck, “It’s Kind of a Funny Story” is an adaptation of Ned Vizzini’s novel.  It follows 16-year-old Craig (Keir Gilchrist), who is so stressed out from the demands of being a teenager, he checks himself into a mental health clinic where a fellow patient soon becomes both Craig’s mentor and protégé.  Meanwhile, Craig is romantically drawn to another 16-year-old.

Also starring Zach Galifianakis, Emma Roberts, Viola Davis and Lauren Graham, the film has serious potential as an awards contender. Boden and Fleck’s last film was “Sugar," a realistic portrayal of the struggles of a Dominican baseball player trying to make it to the big leagues.  It was fantastic, and this new film also seems perfect for the duo. “It’s Kind of a Funny Story” hits theaters in November 2010.

"Black Swan"
Director: Darren Aronofsky
Starring: Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Vincent Cassel, Winona Ryder

When it comes to Darren Aronofsky’s films, nothing is conventional. “Requiem For A Dream” was one of the most creative and haunting films I ever have seen, and last year’s “The Wrestler” showed off Aronofsky’s restless mind and his unique talent as a director. His newest project, which stars Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis, is shrouded in mystery. The film’s storyline finds a veteran ballerina (Portman) locked in a competitive situation with a rival dancer (Kunis), with the stakes increasing as the dancers approach a big performance. What's unclear here is whether the rival is a ghost or whether the ballerina herself is delusional.

While the storyline may sound fairly ordinary, Aronofsky has shown he can take that type of material and put a new, interesting perspective on it. I’m anxious to see what he has in store, and also to see if Portman can continue her current streak of great performances, such as the terrific turn she gave in 2009’s “Brothers.” “Black Swan” opens in Fall 2010.

The Sleeper:

"Love Ranch"
Director: Taylor Hackford
Starring: Joe Pesci, Helen Mirren, and Gina Gershon

I hadn’t heard anything about this film until just recently, but what really caught my eye was that Joe Pesci was starring in it. The actor has been out of the industry for a while, and this marks his first lead role in 12 years. The film is a drama that centers on a couple who opened the first legal brothel in Nevada and the violence that resulted when their relationship was tested by infidelity.

Over the recent holidays, I was watching “Casino” on HBO, and Pesci is just ridiculous in that movie. Hopefully, a return to the Nevada desert will help resurrect his career. Taylor Hackford (“Ray,” “Devil’s Advocate”) directs the film, which also stars his wife, Helen Mirren, as well as Gina Gershon. The film has yet to pick up a distributor, but hopefully “Love Ranch” will be out by Fall 2010.

The Contender:

"The Fighter"
Director: David O. Russell
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Melissa Leo, Jack McGee

Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale star in this biographical drama about boxer Irish Mickey Ward and his unlikely path to become the world lightweight champion. Bale is Ward's half-brother, a talented fighter turned criminal who turns his life around by helping his underperforming brother (Wahlberg) on the road to the world championship.

This project originally was in the hands of Darren Aronofsky, who was slated to direct Mark Wahlberg and Matt Damon (who was later replaced with Brad Pitt), until the writer’s strike pretty much put a hold on the project. Aronofsky turned to "The Wrestler" instead, while Pitt left the project, opening the door for Bale. In April 2009, Bale and director David O. Russell Russell ("I Heart Huckabees," "Three Kings") joined the production.  Given the talent and the premise, I wouldn’t be surprised if this is one of next year’s biggest award contenders. With a supporting cast of Academy Award nominees Amy Adams and Melissa Leo, here is a film to keep an eye on. “The Fighter” will open sometime in Fall 2010.

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