January may not have been a stellar month for theatre releases, but it looks as though things will inevitably be picking up over the next few months. Of course, many new favourites will emerge as the year progresses, but based on what I know of them, here are ten films (plus a whole bunch of honourable mentions…yes, I’m cheating) slated for a 2010 release that I’m excited to see. It’s based mainly on actors and directors that I like. Click on the titles to see trailers, where possible.
Release Date: July 16, 2010
Director: Christopher Nolan
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Ellen Page, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ken Watanabe, Marion Cotillard, Cillian Murphy
The strength of the cast is undeniable, and fresh off the massive success of The Dark Knight, there’s no way that Christopher Nolan’s upcoming thriller won’t be a huge hit. The filmmakers are being tight-lipped with plot details, but the tagline (“Your mind is the scene of the crime”) sounds pretty intriguing. I’m just hoping it can live up to expectations.
Release Date: TBA
Director: Sofia Coppola
Starring: Stephen Dorff, Benecio Del Toro, Elle Fanning, Michelle Monaghan
I recently saw Sofia Coppola’s Lost in Translation for the first time, and it blew me away. Her next project, about an actor surprised by a visit from his daughter, has Benecio Del Toro (one of my favourite actors) starring, as well as Elle Fanning, who though I kind of hate to admit it, is a fantastic young actress. And the ten year old girl in me is a little bit excited that, according to the film’s IMDB page, Robert Schwartzman (who I had a huge crush on in The Princess Diaries) will be making his first acting appearance in almost 10 years.
3. The Town
Release Date: September 10, 2010
Director: Ben Affleck
Starring: Ben Affleck, Jon Hamm, Rebecca Hall, Chris Cooper, Blake Lively, Jeremy Renner
I didn’t think that I’d ever be excited by anything to do with Ben Affleck, but after his incredibly impressive directorial effort in 2007, Gone Baby Gone, I’m excited for his follow-up. The film centers on the after effects a bank hold-up, and the feeling that the thief develops for one of the bank managers involved. I’m hoping to see more of the terse, stylish fare that he gave us with Gone Baby Gone. I’d rather see Casey Affleck onscreen than big brother Ben, but with a fabulous supporting cast, it looks very promising.
4. Blue Valentine
Release Date: TBA
Director: Derek Cianfrance
Starring: Ryan Gosling, Michelle Williams
I’m on board with anything that Ryan Gosling’s involved with, and while I didn’t like Wendy and Lucy as much as I wanted to, Michelle Williams was pretty fantastic in it. It got solid reviews at Sundance, and it’s been picked up by The Weinstein Company for distribution. Is it too early to predict that Gosling and Williams will each picking up their second Oscar nominations a year from now?
5. Dinner for Schmucks
Release Date: July 23, 2010
Director: Jay Roach
Starring: Steve Carell, Paul Rudd, Zach Galifianakis, Jermaine Clement, Bruce Greenwood
Though it has a strange concept (men compete for who can bring the lousiest guest to a dinner party), but it sounds like a potentially funny one. The main draw for me is leads Steve Carell, Paul Rudd, and Zach Galifianakis. They might just be the three funniest guys working. Director Roach helmed the Austin Powers and Meet the Parents franchises, and while his films may not be especially subtle, they are pretty funny.
6. The Social Network
Release Date: October 15, 2010
Director: David Fincher
Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Rashida Jones, Justin Timberlake
David Fincher is always innovative, so somehow it’s not terribly surprising that his next project will revolve around the creation of the popular social networking site, Facebook. It has an interesting young cast, but it’s hard to say whether audiences will want to see a movie about something that’s already so present in our everyday lives. Because of its director, I’m more than willing to give it a shot.
Release Date: April 7, 2010 (UK), TBA in North America
Director: Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant
Starring: Ralph Fiennes, Ricky Gervais, Tom Hughes, Christian Cooke, Matthew Goode
When I first heard about this film, I imagined it to be vastly different from what the recently-released trailer showed us. With Ricky Gervais attached, I was expected something more along the lines of Ghost Town or The Invention of Lying, for obvious reasons. And while I enjoyed both of those films reasonably, this coming-of-age tale looks sweet, and far more cinematic. I’m a sucker for these kinds of movies (Stand By Me and Almost Famous are two of my all-times favourite films), and this one looks great.
8. Black Swan
Release Date: TBA
Director: Darren Aronofsky
Starring: Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Vincent Cassel, Winona Ryder
Darren Aronofsky’s highly-anticipated follow up to 2008’s The Wrestler has made waves already for its reported girl-on-girl scenes, but while his films are usually provocative, his sense of artistry is like none other. This thriller about competitive ballerinas has an inspired cast (it’ll be interesting to see how Kunis fares in a major dramatic role), and I’m excited to to see where Aronofsky’s going next.
9. Due Date
Release Date: November 5, 2010
Director: Todd Phillips
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Zach Galifianakis, Michelle Monaghan, Jamie Foxx, Juliette Lewis, Alan Arkin
After the massive success of The Hangover last year, director Todd Phillips is already back with a new comedy. IMDB tells me that it’s about “A high-strung father-to-be [who’s] forced to hitch a ride with a college slacker on a road trip in order to make it to his child’s birth on time”. It kind of sounds like The Hangover, except with babies instead of weddings. But with Downey and Galifianakis as the leads (I think you can guess who plays which part) I’m betting it’s going to be pretty funny. Seriously, just look at that picture.
Release Date: February 19, 2010
Director: Martin Scorsese
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley, Michelle Williams, Emily Mortimer
Based on a Dennis Lehane novel (who also penned the source material for Mystic River and Gone Baby Gone), this movie about a U.S. Marshal (DiCaprio) investigating a mental hospital looks genuinely freaky from the trailers. The Scorsese/DiCaprio pairing has worked three times before (Gangs of New York, The Aviator, The Departed), so why mess with it? Plus, it has Mark Ruffalo, which is always a bonus.
Other Films of Interest:
- I’m very interested to see what else actor Sam Riley (Control) can do, and we’ll all get to see when Brighton Rock gets released this fall
- British up-and-comer Aaron Johnson has some big roles coming up, first playing a young John Lennon in Nowhere Boy (which was already released in the UK, and got him a Best Actor British Independent Film Award nom), and leading a cast of unlikely superheroes in Kick-Ass.
- It looks like a good year for comedies. As well as the ones mentioned above, Date Night
(starring Tina Fey and Steve Carell), Greenberg (Ben Stiller), and Cryus (John C. Reilly, Jonah Hill) all look quite promising from their trailers. And David Gordon Green will give us his comedic follow-up to Pineapple Express with another James Franco stoner flick, Your Highness.
- As for the more serious fare, The Fighter, starring Mark Wahlberg, Amy Adams, and Christian Bale, looks like a possible Oscar contender. Rabbit Hole may finally get Aaron Eckhart some of the attention that he deserves as a dramatic actor, with help from co-star Nicole Kidman. And since Up in the Air converted me to a Clooney fan, I’m now excited for The American, which is also Anton Corbijn’s follow-up to his wonderful director debut, Control. Though I don’t know much about it, Terrence Malick’s (The Thin Red Line, The New World) upcoming film, The Tree of Life, sounds very interesting.
- The Killer Inside Me (starring Casey Affleck in his first role since 2007) made waves at Sundance for its brutal depiction of violence against women, but it sounds intriguing. Other promising Sundance films include Jack Goes Boating (Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Ryan), Frozen (the trailer alone has scared me off of chairlifts forever), Buried (Ryan Reynolds), and The Kids Are Alright (featuring one of my favourite teen actors, Josh Hutcherson. And Mark Ruffalo!)
- And what year would be complete without some bona fide blockbusters? Hopefully Iron Man 2 and Toy Story 3 will live up to their predecessors. I’m not as excited for Alice in Wonderland as most seem to be, but it still looks interesting. With a great cast, Oliver Stone’s Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (Shia LaBeouf, Michael Douglas, Josh Brolin, Carey Mulligan) could be pretty good. And since their pairing worked so well for the Bourne series Paul Greengrass and Matt Damon have teamed up for another exciting-looking action picture, Green Zone.