Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Movies I’m Most Anticipating in 2010

Cinema was far from its best in 2009. With the exception of at most a meager two dozen or so, there were mostly disappointments pouring out of all the film studios. Will 2010 follow suit, or can we expect a year of luminous filmmaking? Many big guns are entering the field with their products in 2010 and you can look forward to the likes of Ridley Scott, Martin Scorsese, Christopher Nolan, David Fincher etc. when you talk about cinema in the first year of the next decade. Here are the 20 films I’m booking my tickets for.

1.    Inception – Christopher Nolan
Christopher Nolan. The man could direct a mint commercial and I would anticipate its release. But what can you say when he goes back to cerebral films after the cult classic Memento? And then when he casts Leonardo Dicaprio, Marion Cotillard, Ellen Page, Joseph Gordon Levitt and Ken Watanabe, can you even speak through the saliva accumulating in your mouth? For those that want more, “your mind is the scene of the crime”.

2.    Robin Hood – Ridley Scott
Ridley Scott and Russel Crowe in a period epic the world loves; takers anyone? Will the Gladiator duo be able to recreate the magic of that now legendary film? After a fantastic first trailer, you can bet I’m dying to find out.

3.    Clash of the Titans – Louis Leterrier
Liam Neeson has a busy and big year. After this film, he has The A Team to look forward to. Playing Zeus here with the Avatar wonderboy Sam Worthington as Perseus, this has gore, Gods and entertainment galore, and is definitely a film to watch out for.

4.    The Expendables – Sylvester Stallone
2010 has a slew of super-violent films coming out, all with promise. Who knows more about violent films than Sly Stallone? Leading a band of mercenaries including the wrestler himself, Micky Rourke, Stallone has written and directed The Expendables, and could well be on his way to another Rambo like experience. I’m in for the ride.

5.    Iron Man 2 – John Favreau
Nobody expected much from Iron Man until the stir at Comic Con. Everybody wrote off wild child Robert Downey Jr. until he redefined cool. Now with Iron Man 2, this is the franchise that the world is most excited to watch, especially since the Batman series remains dead until further notice. With Scarlett Johannson stepping into a role originally envisioned for Emily Blunt and Don Cheadle and Mickey Rourke adding thrills, this may be the blockbuster of the coming year.

6.    Shutter Island – Martin Scorsese
This film has confused many. Originally thought of as a chance at the 2010 Oscars, its release was pushed back until March, making many speculate that it isn’t much more than popcorn cinema. Yet, with another brilliant director actor duo in Dicaprio and Sorsese, and an all star cast joining in, there is bound to be curiosity about the first film Scorsese is headlining since his Oscar with The Departed. I, and scores of other fans, will definitely be lining up at the box office to follow Ruffalo and Dicaprio through their adventures on Shutter Island.

7.    Buried – Rodrigo Cortés
Premiering at Sundance this year, Buried could be anything from a fantastic character study to a breakthrough for the clearly talented but under achieving Ryan Reynolds to possible a cold turkey. However, there is no questioning the fact that the story of an Iraq veteran finding himself buried alive in a coffin is intriguing to say the least. For the sake of experimental cinema, one can only hope that this film is a taut thriller and a breakout for the indie circuit in the coming year.

8.    Toy Story 3 – Lee Unkrich
Who amongst us can say Pixar and not think Toy Story. In a year when Shrek comes back with the closing chapter, the story of the toys and their future in a college headed kids life is still the most exciting animated feature of 2010. Revolutionizing animated filmmaking and placing Pixar on the map, it will be interesting to see how this follow up feature can stack up to the expectations.

9.    Black Swan – Darren Aronofsky
Aronofsky is amongst the most inventive of contemporary filmmakers. Whether it be the obsession of Pi, the decadence of Requiem for a Dream, the complexity of The Fountain, or the intensity of The Wrestler, he’s proven to be more than up to the task in all his previous features. Now working with the enchanting Natalie Portman and smokin’ Mila Kunis in a complicated story of ballerinas and jealousy, Black Swan, sight unseen, is already thought to be exciting enough to add credence to his auteur status.

10.    Green Zone – Paul Greengrass
This list is littered with films of repeat director actor combos. The last time Paul Greengrass and Matt Damon worked together in a film, it was the incredible 2008 thriller The Bourne Ultimatum. Even though the fate of that franchise is hanging in the balance, these two have re-united to tell the tale of an Iraq veteran who takes on the world to prove his point and stay alive. Heck, if they did it with the Bourne films, they could do it again.

11.    Date Night – Shawn Levy
Tina Fey, Steve Carrel, Mila Kunis, James Franco, Marc Wahlberg all star in this caper film that may be cheesy and campy but for sure will be funny. Even in the worst case scenario, we’re looking at the sheer genius of physical comedy that Fey and Carrel are, and that should be enough to sit through the film. I’ve read an early draft of this film’s screenplay, and whilst not particularly genius, it is nonetheless not without potential, and with rewrites and improvisation, could make for a great comedy in the ilk of The Pineapple Express.

12.    From Paris With Love – Pierre Morel
I know nothing of this film’s story, except that it stars Jonathan Rhys Myers and Colin Farrell. Neither of them are the reason I’m excited to watch this film though. After THOROUGHLY enjoying Morel’s last feature Taken with Liam Neeson, I cannot wait to see what he churns out this time around.

13.    The Tree of Life – Terrence Malick
Another film I know little about, I’m trying to stay ignorant of the film’s plot, and waiting to experience it when I finally get to watch it. Earlier anticipating a 2009 release, this film should see the light of day sometime next year, and with the potent combination of Terrence Malick, Brad Pitt and Sean Penn, it should definitely make the conversation when it comes to award season. Until then, it finds a place on my list of most anticipated films next year.

14.    The Fighter – David O Russell
Christian Bale is an incredibly physical actor, dedicated to his craft, to say the least. Mark Wahlberg has potential, and has paid his dues. Together in a film about a boxer and his brother and coach, these two have the acting chops to make this film an enjoyable experience. Do they have a script to back them up? Difficult to tell, but should be interesting to find out.

15.    The Social Network – David Fincher
In my opinion, the worst film made by David Fincher is the multiple Academy award nominated The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. That’s how much I enjoy his films. When working off a script written by one of my favourite screenwriters Aaron Sorkin, involving courtroom drama and college life, with a promising performer in Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network is one to watch out for. It will definitely be a rabble rouser, given the incredible popularity of its source matter, the networking site Facebook, and the script by Sorkin has landed the second place on the famous Black List of scripts to watch out for.

16.    Hesher – Spencer Susser
Another Sundance entrant, Hesher stars Joseph Gordon Levitt in the title role, of a loner weirdo. Natalie Portman co-stars and that’s about all I need to know to look forward to the time this film lands. It looks relatively dark, and that doesn’t bode well in terms of finding distribution, but if Precious could find its way to cinemas, who’s to say this film won’t? It should be interesting to find out whether it is any good though, and Portman, doubling up as producer as well, should be hoping for good notices at Sundance to further this film.

17.    The Town – Ben Affleck
Ben Affleck had a fantastic first outing as a director with the (IMHO) brilliant Gone Baby Gone. It was intense, engaging, well written, directed and acted. In his sophomore effort behind the camera, Affleck is back in Boston with a bank robbery tale. With Rebecca Hall, Jon Hamm and Affleck himself starring, this could be a lighter film than Gone Baby Gone, but not necessarily less appealing.

18.    Arrested Development – Mitchell Hurwitz
This has been an anticipated movie for years now, and may not even find a release in 2010. And yet, as a loyal fan (one amongst many vocal millions), I steadfastly hold this in my most anticipated films, until it finally sees the light of day. It doesn’t matter what the story is, as long as the film comes out, with the original cast of the TV series, and Mitchell Hurwitz steering the ship.

19.    Rajneeti – Prakash Jha
The only Hindi film I’m looking forward to in the coming year, Rajneeti is very exciting for Indian cinema. Being helmed by Prakash Jha, the maker of the thoroughly entertaining, yet topical and socially relevant Apaharan and Gangajal, this film once again unites Ajay Devgan with the director, along with the fresh faced Ranbir Kapoor and Katrina Kaif. Both Ranbir and Katrina are coming off hot streaks at the box office, and it’ll be interesting to see if they can get the cash registers ringing on this film as well.

20.    Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 – David Yates
There is no reason for this film to be here, not because it doesn’t deserve it, but because its existence precludes its anticipation. The sixth film of the franchise grossed over $900 million and we’re all waiting to see if the final movie (or even just the first part of the final movie), much like the final book, can exceed all expectations. My bet is on yes, because even though the movie franchise cannot match the books, David Yates did a fine job in the Half Blood Prince, making it the most tolerable of the Potter films, thus far. Entrusted with the final film, he knows that the world’s eyes are on him, at least until the final Twilight film, that is.
Are yours the same? Do you think I’m putting too much stock in any film? Sound off below.


  1. Interesting list, very much so. I must say that I am surprised that you seem to follow only the big studio franchise films though. I am looking forward to a lot of these films too.

    One question: how do you (and "they") decide award eligibility even before the films are out? What are these estimations based on? Past performance, anticipated performance, star power? It is hard to lay much credence in predictions of this sort, no?

  2. It isn't that I'm only following big studio films, it's just that being in a country not very exposed to the smaller movies coming from the rest of the world, my knowledge of their existence isn't until very late. Today, had I compiled this list after Sundance ended, I'd add Blue Valentine and The Kids are Alright and maybe even Howl to the list. And these are the indies coming out just at the start of the year. So I guess it's more a limitation of mine that my information pool and time constraints keep me from a wider horizon in terms of world cinema, especially upcoming films. Oh, after having read Kick Ass only recently, I think I'd add that as well. But that's a studio property, so besides the point.

    Oh, estimations are based on buzz. Often it's planted buzz as well, but in the case of 'Tree of Life' (the only film I think I've mentioned the award thing), it's the pedigree of the people involved. Brad Pitt has gone from blockbuster to quality cinema mainstay, Sean Penn is obvious, and every Terence Malick movie since the '80s has gotten a major award nomination..Plus, the title 'The Tree of Life' is clear award fodder..Not that I propound the concept of early award anticipation myself (often leads to disasters like Amelia), but it is always a selling point when you market a film no?