Thursday, January 7, 2010

Movies of 2010 – Part 1

Not all of them, just the ones that caught my eye so far

I’ve ended up breaking this list into two parts – one for today and one for tomorrow. The first part includes movies I’m pretty sure I want to see based on various factors. These factors usually include things like the description of the movie, but may also include factors like a trailer, promotional stills and photos, the cast, the director, or the franchise. The second part features movies that I’m on the fence about – they caught my eye in some fashion, but I either have some reason to doubt them or I just don’t know enough about them to be sure. Still, even the maybes rank above the final list, which I’m not posting, wherein are enumerated the movies that I already know I have no interest in. If I were so inclined, I might have broken the lists down as “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.” Cue Ennio Morricone’s “Ecstasy of Gold.”

One final note – there are four movies that I’m extremely excited about. They’re marked with an asterisk (*), and have already been covered in my 2010 look-ahead column from January 4th. Wherever possible, I’ve put a link to the film’s trailer or official website in the title of the movie.

This year’s movies I want to see:
o    *Daybreakers (Jan 8th)
o    The Book of Eli (Jan 15th) – this film very nearly made my 2010 “top picks.” In fact, based on some behind-the-scenes footage I saw yesterday, it most probably would be if I were to write that article now. In this post-apocalyptic film, Denzel Washington is a wandering warrior who carries with him, and protects, a mysterious book. He runs afoul of a small-town despot who wants the book for himself. Every preview I’ve seen looks totally fantastic. Also stars Gary Oldman, Mila Kunis and Jennifer Beals.
o    Percy Jackson & the Olympians: the Lightning Thief (Feb 12th) – hailed as “the next Harry Potter,” this movie is likewise based on the first in a series of young-adult novels. The premise is that the star is the son of Poseidon, Greek god of the seas. His friends are likewise demigods – mortal children of the Olympians. When the lightning is stolen from Zeus, king of the Greek gods, the young heroes must retrieve it before war is declared on all of mankind. Stars Pierce Brosnan, Uma Thurman, Sean Bean, and Rosario Dawson.
o    The Wolfman (Feb 12th) – werewolves! Woo hoo! And it stars Benicio Del Toro, Anthony Hopkins and Hugo Weaving, so I repeat, Woo Hoo! Maybe. The trailer I saw a few months ago made me wonder if the movie had enough wolfman in it or if it was all just talk, but the one currently on the film’s official site suggests there may be more action.
o    Clash of the Titans (Mar 26th) – a  remake of the 80s classic of Greek mythology starring Sam Worthington (Avatar) as Perseus, Liam Neeson as Zeus, and Ralph Fiennes as Hades. The trailer on the official site is absolutely amazing and again this one is high on my list to the point that it’s very nearly a top pick. It looks like they’ve messed with the story a bit, I suspect replacing Thetis with Hades for a bit of a bigger bang (I mean, who the hell is Thetis, anyway?), but all of the key scenes from the original are clearly there in the trailer. This movie promises to make March a winning month for 2010.
o    *Iron Man 2 (May 7th)
o    Robin Hood (May 14th) – if you thought Kevin Costner’s lack of a British accent, Morgan Freeman’s misplaced Moor or Alan Rickman’s bad puns detracted from the 1991 version, perhaps a more militant-looking version would suit you. The Gladiator team is back – this time pitting Director Ridley Scott and lead actor Russell Crowe against the forces of medieval England’s vilest despots. It doesn’t have a cool song by Bryan Adams, but it looks like a worthy addition to a film legacy that stretches back to the days of Errol Flynn and Basil Rathbone.
o    Shrek Forever After (May 21st) – I admit that I’m not as enthusiastic about this series as I originally was. The first was absolutely classic, the second was pretty good, but I thought the third was just OK. As such, I’m not sure about the fourth, but I’m willing to give it a shot based on the track record of the first two. The full original cast returns for what’s being billed as the absolutely final installment of the Shrek series.
o    Jonah Hex (Jun 18th) [Sorry, no trailer yet] - Josh Brolin plays a bounty hunter who defeats death itself to return as an ultimate Old West badass. It’s based on a comic book and what I’ve seen of it so far looks interesting at least. If nothing else, it’s got Meghan Fox in it, so it’s got a fighting chance to do as well as the ridiculously successful Transformers 2.
o    Salt (Jul 23rd) – Holy crap, it’s Angelina Jolie, action hero. The preview for this film looks awesome. Jolie plays a government agent who, at the start of the film, is interrogating a Russian defector. He tells her that a Russian agent is going to kill the US President, then advises Jolie that the name of the agent is… her! Jolie insists that she’s not a double-agent, but is she running so she can clear her name or is it just a ploy to stay free and complete her traitorous mission? We’ll have to wait until July to find out.
o    The Expendables (Aug 13th) – Oh please, please, please don’t suck. That’s what I think when I look at the cast of this movie, then watch the initial trailer. Written and directed by Sylvester Stallone, The Expendables tells the story of a grizzled team of mercenaries hired to take down a dictator. Check out the stars: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Mickey Rourke, Bruce Willis, Dolph Lungdren, Forest Whitaker, Ben Kingsley, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger! As I said above, pleasepleaseplease don’t let this suck. It really ought to be one of the most incredible action films ever, but if so why does the trailer look so bland? I’m worried, but hopeful that somehow this movie will live up to its potential.
o    *Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (Nov 19th)
o    *Tron Legacy (Dec 17th)

So those are my "must see" movies for the year. Most of them will be on DVD, but I definitely plan to see them all. Check back tomorrow for the one's I'm not quite as sure about, featuring no fewer than three (three! three??) new movies staring Nicholas Cage, Hollywood's latest guarantee of spectacular failure.

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