It’s mid-February, 2010, and I’m only just getting the year right on checks (I’m one of those jerks who spends the first six months of any year writing the last one on everything). Some of my most anticipated movie releases have already passed, and unfortunately none of them were mind-blowingly great. The Lovely Bones didn’t live up to expectations and Legion was dumb. The Wolfman was gorgeously shot and satisfactory despite a few problems. Martin Scorsese’s Shutter Island is my next hotly anticipated release; stay tuned for the review, which will go up this coming Saturday.
This year’s release list is chock-full of remakes, literary and comic adaptations, and sequels: apparently Hollywood’s run out of new ideas. Nonetheless, here are seven of the movies I’m pumped for in 2010 (beware, I’m about to reveal my true geekiness).
Alice in Wonderland (March 5, 2010):
Proponents of Lewis Carroll’s fantastic, bizarre novels are grumbling about pro daydreamer Tim Burton’s adaptation of Carroll’s beloved book. Frankly, though, Burton’s weird sensibility, preference for hypnotic patterns, and predilection toward Danny Elfman’s scores have always worked for me. His adaptation of Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory left something to be desired (I prefer the rather creepy 1971 Willy Wonka with Gene Wilder), but for the most part I think Burton can take on the weirdest of material and make it utterly watchable. His frequent collaborations with professional wacko Johnny Depp and Burton’s partner Helena Bonham Carter always leave me smiling–so color me excited for this adaptation. I just hope it lives up to expectations. Official Site.
A Nightmare on Elm Street (April 30, 2010):
I was blown away by Jackie Earle Haley as Rorschach in 2009’s Watchmen and in 2006’s Little Children. Robert Englund will forever be Freddy Krueger to me, but if someone else can play the monstrous little man with knives for fingers, Haley’s it. Wes Craven may have turned into a bit of a hack in the last ten years, but his original Nightmare on Elm Street features one of the most compelling, frightening storylines ever to be brought to the screen. The idea of a monster who can kill you in your dreams is, well, downright terrifying. Hollywood seems totally unable to come up with new and interesting screenplays these days, and the necessity of a remake is debatable–if it’s not broken, why fix it?–but all in all, I’m curious and pumped for this one. Official Site.
Iron Man 2 (May 7, 2010):
Robert Downey, Jr. has proven a bit of a phoenix. He seemed to drop off the edge of the acting world in a haze of public drug busts and rehab stints, but totally revitalized his career in the last few years, starting in earnest with Iron Man in 2008. Thanks to director Jon Favreau, and Downey, Jr.’s wry humor and ability to humanize even the most deplorable characters, that movie was Summer 2008’s most thrilling and enjoyable. The sequel boasts an incredible cast: Mickey Rourke (another phoenix of sorts) as Whiplash, Sam Jackson as Nick Fury (whose cameo after the final credits of the first movie got geeks round the world squirming), and perpetual pinup Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow. The only shakeup is Don Cheadle replacing Terrence Howard as Rhodey due to some professional disagreements (rumor has it Favreau and Howard had some personal issues). My favorites of the last decade’s superhero flicks are the sequels (Spider-man 2, X-Men 2), and if Iron Man 2 lives up to the original, it’s bound to be another awesome ride. Official Site.
Inception (July 16, 2010):
The world first got word of Christopher Nolan’s non-Batman related project shortly after The Dark Knight released in 2008. Two trailers later and I still have no idea what this movie is about. I do know that I trust Nolan (damned if The Dark Knight doesn’t top almost all other comic movies), that DiCaprio has proven himself a pretty decent actor following that whole Titanic debacle, and that Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Ellen Page are both supremely likeable and extremely talented. Inception‘s trailers make me cock my head in confusion, but they also make me want more. On a personal note, I love it when movies open on my birthday, and this one should be a great gift. Official Site.
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (August 13, 2010):
I haven’t read graphic novels on which Edgar Wright’s latest movie is based (comics and/or graphic novels seem to be a theme for 2010, but I’m a nerd and proud of it), but I plan on it. Wright is the genius behind romzomcom Shaun of the Dead and buddy-cop comedy Hot Fuzz, which are some of my favorites of the last decade. Scott Pilgrim‘s premise seems a mite ridiculous: to win over the girl of his dreams, slacker Scott must beat her seven evil exes, who are out to murder him. The cast includes some really fantastic up-and-comers (Michael Cera, Anna Kendrick, Brandon Routh, Mary Elizabeth Winstead), and with Wright behind the camera, it has the potential to be both utterly ridiculous and a hell of a lot of fun. Wright’s vlogs on the Official Site are worth a watch.
Let Me In (October 1, 2010):
Before I claim excitement for this one, let me relay my suspicions. American remakes of foreign movies in the last few years have been totally lacking (in particular, our re-imaginings of J-horror have been pretty terrible…and we apparently have a remake of Oldboy to look forward to in 2012, blegh). 2008’s Swedish vampire movie Let the Right One In (Låt den rätte komma in) left me wide-eyed and horrified–in an awesome way. The film, set in a frigid Sweden suburb, is one of the coldest, most unrelentingly realistic and horrible portrayals of childhood, and the novel by John Ajvide Lindqvist is even more bizarre and haunting. To be fair, child actors Kodi Smit-McPhee (The Road) and Chloe Moretz (500 Days of Summer) seem capable of bringing Oskar and Eli to believable life. But we so often dumb down horror for American audiences, this could be a cringeworthy adaptation. Please, please, don’t let it be rated PG-13. No official site or poster for this one yet. IMDb.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part I (November 19, 2010):
Yes, I’m an avid Harry Potter reader. I have waited in two-hour lines for the midnight releases of each movie since Prisoner of Azkaban. I had issues with both the fifth (Order of the Phoenix) and sixth (Order of the Phoenix) movies, but David Yates seems the most capable director to finish off the series. His decision to divide the seventh book into two films (which Jo Rowling likely insisted upon) makes me feel like cheering. The movies have often missed important info and scenes to which readers are very attached, and the seventh novel is simply too big for one film. The first few movies in the series were released around the holidays, and their recent switch to summer releases felt inherently wrong to me; I’m thrilled to see Warner placing Part I at Thanksgiving, the way the series started. It feels like a good omen. No official site or poster for this one yet, either. IMDb.
Secondarily psyched for:
Faithful CLR readers, what movies are you excited for this year?
(All photos copyright their original owners.)