After closing out the decade with our 100 favorite films, The Film Stage has come together once again to bring you 65 films that we have hope for in 2010. These range from small, foreign independent films to massive budget blockbusters. There is a reason each of these films is on the list so start checking them out below!
A Prophet (Jacques Audiard, Feb. 12th)
Plot: A young Arab man is sent to a French prison where he becomes a mafia kingpin.
Why You Should See It: Winner of the Grand Jury Prize at Cannes, this is Audiard’s first film since 2005’s The Beat That My Heart Skipped. Thanks to its raw style, sprawling story and perfect performances, this is one of the best foreign films I’ve ever seen. – Jordan R.
Shutter Island (Martin Scorsese, Feb. 19th)
Plot: Set in 1954, U.S. Marshal Teddy Daniels is investigating the disappearance of a murderess who escaped from a hospital for the criminally insane and is presumed to be hiding on the remote Shutter Island.
Why You Should See It: Scorsese dips into the horror/thriller genre with this tale of twists and surprises. After reading Dennis Lehane’s novel, I’m confident Scorsese is the man to bring justice to the eclectic story. Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley, Emily Mortimer, Michelle Williams and Jackie Earle Haley star. – Jordan R.
Alice In Wonderland (Tim Burton, Mar. 5th)
Plot: Nineteen-year-old Alice returns to the magical world from her childhood adventure, reuniting with her old friends and learns of her true destiny: to end the Red Queen’s reign of terror.
Why You Should See It: It’s a Tim Burton film, why wouldn’t you see it? It looks fun and seems to keep Burton’s crazily imaginative shtick. Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Anne Hathaway, Crispin Glover, Alan Rickman and Mia Wasikowska star. – Jack G.
Green Zone (Paul Greengrass, Mar. 12th)
Plot: Discovering covert and faulty intelligence causes a U.S. Army officer to go rogue as he hunts for WMDs in an unstable Iraq.
Why You Should See It: Considering The Bourne Ultimatum was my favorite film of the last decade and Matt Damon is my favorite actor, I am thoroughly pumped for this film. Much happier than what I would feel if this was Bourne 4. Greengrass and Damon work very well together and it’s going to be nice to see what they can pull off with a new storyline. – Merrill B.
Hot Tub Time Machine (Steve Pink, Mar. 19th)
Plot: Four guys travel back to their respective 80s heydays thanks to a time-bending hot tub.
Why You Should See It: Because, with any luck, it could be this year’s The Hangover, only with much dirtier jokes and a much stranger cast. Not convinced? Steve Pink, the director, co-wrote Cusack comic gems High Fidelity and Grosse Pointe Blank. – Dan M.
Greenberg (Noah Baumbach, Mar. 26th)
Plot: A jobless New Yorker moves to Los Angeles in order to figure out his life while he housesits for his brother. He soon sparks with his brother’s assistant, a musician and somewhat of a lost soul herself.
Why You Should See It: The Squid and the Whale was one of my favorite films of the previous decade and I even enjoyed Margot at the Wedding, Baumbach’s previous feature. He has proved he still has it with his writing work on Fantastic Mr. Fox and I can’t wait to see his newest feature, led by Ben Stiller. – Jordan R.
Clash of the Titans (Louis Leterrier, Mar. 26th)
Plot: In a loose adaptation from Greek mythology, Perseus (who was birthed from a god but raised as a man) sets off on an epic mission to combat Hades before he can seize power from Zeus and unleash hell on earth.
Why You Should See It: While the original Clash of the Titans is no classic and extremely outdated, that’s exactly why it’s refreshing to see Louis Letrerrier putting his over-the-top action spin on it. Any film with Liam Neeson yelling, an oversized dragon roaring and plenty of swordplay screams pure entertainment. – Jack G.
Cemetery Junction (Ricky Gervais + Stephen Merchant, Apr. 7th – UK)
Plot: A 1970s-set comedy centered on three upstart professional men working at an insurance company.
Why You Should See It: Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant co-created two of the most inventive comedies – The Office (UK) and Extras – modern television’s had to offer. Now they’re going for a more seriocomic look, in film form, at office life. Young professionals (unknowns Christian Cooke, Tom Hughes and Jack Doolan) toil away at an insurance company in 1970s working-class England. – Mark M.
Kick-Ass (Matthew Vaughn, Apr. 16th)
Plot: Despite the fact that he has zero superpowers, teenage fanboy Dave Lizewski looks to reincarnate himself as a crime-fighting superhero named Kick-Ass, a decision that will inspire a subculture of copy cats, put his life in danger, and unite him with a similarly minded father-daughter duo.
Why You Should See It: The green band trailer had me giddy with excitement and the red band made me go “who… what… how… this… is… awesome.” I can’t wait to see some good old Nic Cage overacting and teenagers, well, kicking ass. – Merrill B.
Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps (Oliver Stone, Apr. 23rd)
Plot: As the global economy teeters on the brink of disaster, a young Wall Street trader partners with disgraced former Wall Street corporate raider Gordon Gekko on a two-tiered mission: To alert the financial community to the coming doom, and to find out who was responsible for the death of the young trader’s mentor.
Why You Should See It: Oliver Stone returns to day trading. Michael Douglas reprises his role as the sleazy and greedy Gordon Gekko. Taking place in June ’08 he tries to warn share holders of an upcoming market crash, though with trouble due to his recent release from prison. – Hash A.
Iron Man 2 (Jon Favreau, May 7th)
Plot: With the world now aware of his dual life as the armored superhero Iron Man, billionaire inventor Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) faces pressure from the government, the press, and the public to share his technology with the military.
Why You Should See It: How will Downey’s Stark deal with the many trials, both literally and figuratively, as the government demands he hand over the suit while he’s pitted against corporate rival Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell) and heavily armored Whiplash (Mickey Rourke). – Dan G.
Stone (John Curran, May 7th)
Plot: A convicted arsonist looks to manipulate a parole officer into a plan to secure his parole by placing his beautiful wife in the lawman’s path.
Why You Should See It: Complete with a creative premise (via Junebug scribe Angus MacLachlan) and a trio of risk-taking, accomplished leads in Robert De Niro, Milla Jokovich and Edward Norton, this looks like a character drama with equal amounts of both character and drama. – Dan M.
Robin Hood (Ridley Scott, May 14th)
Plot: The story of an archer in the army of Richard Coeur de Lion who fights against the Norman invaders and becomes the legendary hero known as Robin Hood.
Why You Should See It: Despite the painfully generic trailers, it’s difficult not get excited for Robin Hood. It’s a Ridley Scott film with Russell Crowe leading a group of ragtag warriors. That turned out pretty well last time. – Jack G.
Prince of Persia (Mike Newell, May 28th)
Plot: Set in medieval Persia, a rogue prince (Gyllenhaal) joins a mysterious princess (Arterton) in an effort to prevent a dark force from obtaining an ancient dagger that allows its handler to rule the world.
Why You Should See It: The video game film genre is constantly bogged down by the liking of people like Uwe Boll, so it’s no wonder why films based off video games have never quite worked. But for this one, a big name (Jerry Bruckheimer) is backing it and I don’t think he wants to let us down. I am a huge fan of the Prince of Persia games and the lush trailer promises a sign of things to come. – Merrill B.
The A-Team (Joe Carnahan, June 11th)
Plot: A group of Iraq War veterans looks to clear their name with the U.S. military, who suspect the four men of committing a crime for which they were framed.
Why You Should See It: A contemporary look at the classic television show, a group of ex US Special Ops members during the First Gulf War now work as mercenaries. This features an all-star cast including Liam Neeson, Bradley Cooper, and District 9‘s Sharlto Copley. Sure, it’s pure entertainment, but as long as it does its job it should be a good time at the movies.- Hash A.
Get Him To The Greek (Nicholas Stoller, June 11th)
Plot: A record company intern (Hill) is hired to accompany out-of-control British rock star Aldous Snow (Brand) to a concert at L.A.’s Greek Theater.
Why You Should See It: Since the early days of Freaks and Geeks, Apatow Production comedy has been the most consistent and reliable comedy outlet in the film industry. Constantly pushing the envelope and creating ridiculous new stories, betting on an Apatow film is definitely a safe bet. Apatow regulars, Jonah Hill and Russel Brand will be returning in what is sure to be a hilarious summer hit. – Addam H.
Jonah Hex (Jimmy Hayward, June 18th)
Plot: The U.S. military gives bounty hunter Jonah Hex (Josh Brolin) and offer he cannot refuse: in exchange for his freedom from the warrants on his head, he’s to take down a terrorist (John Malkovich) who is gathering an army and preparing to unleash Hell on Earth.
Why You Should See It: Jonah Hex is something of a lovable, if dark hero and with Brolin playing him, it will surely be quite a bit of fun. While it’ll most likely be played safe with a PG-13 rating (the firing of Neveldine/Taylor as the writing team also disconcerting), it will be interesting to see how they handle this not-so-generic comic book hero. – Jack G.
Toy Story 3 (Lee Unkrich, June 18th)
Plot: Woody (Hanks), Buzz (Allen), and the rest of their toy-box friends are dumped in a day-care center after their owner, Andy, departs for college.
Why You Should See It: Pixar is headed back to the start of what defined their early success with the 3rd entry into the Toy Story saga. As I’m just leaving college I can’t help but relate to Andy as he heads into the next part of his life. Visiting Woody and Buzz again is one my most anticipated experiences this year. – Jordan R.
The Last Airbender (M. Night Shyamalan, July 2nd)
Plot: Aang, a young successor to a long line of Avatars, learns that he possesses the power to engage the Fire Nation and hopefully end their century-long war against the Water, Earth, and Air nations.
Why You Should See It: Shyamalan’s chance to redeem himself with a match made in heaven. In a world where elements can be controlled, a boy is chosen as the physical incarnation of the planet and given all abilities and knowledge of the previous incarnations with the task of preventing a war. Based on the animated show Avatar. – Hash A.
Knight and Day (James Mangold, July 2nd)
Plot: An action-comedy centered on a fugitive couple on a globe-spanning adventure where, amid shifting alliances and unexpected betrayals, nothing and no one are what they seem.
Why You Should See It: An adventure that follows the paths of a fugitive couple, spy Tom Cruise and the cute innocent Cameron Diaz. Their race for survival across the globe teaches them a lot about the battle of Truth vs. Trust as they deal with many shifting alliances and unexpected betrayals. Directed by James Mangold, the man behind 3:10 To Yuma and Walk The Line. – Dan G.
Predators (Nimrod Antal, July 7th)
Plot: A group of elite warriors are hunted by members of a merciless alien race.
Why You Should See It: Nimrod Antal, a fanboy’s dream cast, and plenty of hard-R kills will turn this into a return to form for the Predator franchise. It’s been about twenty-three years since a film that dealt with Predators was cool, that wait will soon be over. – Jack G.
Inception (Christopher Nolan, July 16th)
Plot: A sci-fi/thriller set within the “architecture of the mind”.
Why You Should See It: Ten years ago Christopher Nolan started off the decade with a psychological thriller meant to take the audience on a journey through the depths of the main character’s mind. Well, now we actually get to enter that mind. Inception has all the makings of the ultimate psychological thriller. DiCaprio has proved himself this past decade as a real actor and not just some pretty boy who was nothing more than a one hit wonder. I can’t wait to see what Nolan has in store for us. – Merrill B.
The Other Guys (Adam McKay, Aug. 6th)
Plot: Two mismatched New York City detectives seize an opportunity to step up like the city’s top cops whom they idolize — only things don’t quite go as planned.
Why You Should See It: Directed by the humorous and completely outlandish Adam McKay, responsible for such films as Anchorman and Step Brothers, The Other Guys fastens together Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg as two mismatched New York City seizing an opportunity to step up like the city’s top cops whom they idolize — only things don’t quite go as planned. Supporting players include Samuel L. Jackson, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Eva Mendez, Ray Stevenson, Michael Keaton, Anne Heche and Paris Hilton. – Tim F.
The Expendables (Sylvester Stallone, Aug. 13th)
Plot: A team of mercenaries head to South America on a mission to overthrow a dictator.
Why You Should See It: The U.S. assembles a group of mercenaries to overthrow a corrupt dictator in South America. It’s a B-action movie reunion! Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li and Mickey Rourke are a few of the stars in this production. It is also one of Brittany Murphy’s final films before her unexpected death in December 2009. – Dan G.
Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World (Edgar Wright, Aug.)
Plot: Scott Pilgrim must defeat his new girlfriend’s seven evil ex-boyfriends in order to win her heart.
Why You Should See It: Based off the graphic novels by Brian Lee O’Maley, Scott Pilgrim has to defeat seven deadly ex-boyfriends in order to date the girl that has been running through his dreams, literally. With dozens of pop references, video game culture, and leveling up director Edgar Wright tries to show how far one guy will go to be with the girl of his dreams — Ramona Victoria Flowers. – Hash A.
The Eagle of the Ninth (Kevin Macdonald, Fall)
Plot: In Roman-ruled Britain, a young Roman soldier endeavors to honor his father’s memory by finding his lost legion’s golden emblem.
Why You Should See It: Kevin Macdonald has shown his worth in developing tension with State of Play and The Last King of Scotland, and now finds himself marrying that skill for tension with a little more of an action emphasis with the help of the screen presence of up-and-comer Channing Tatum. Touted as an epic in the manner of Gladiator or Braveheart, Eagle of the Ninth will definitely be a mainstream success. – Addam H.
The American (Anton Corbijn, Sept. 1st)
Plot: An assassin hides out in Italy for one last assignment.
Why You Should See It: George Clooney playing the “hitman on his last assignment” – that character practically has his own sub-genre. But with stylish Anton Corbijn (Control) at the helm, this is one to get excited about. Did we mention Clooney plays a hitman? – Dan M.
The Town (Ben Affleck, Sept. 10th)
Plot: As he plans his next job, a longtime thief tries to balance his feelings for a bank manager connected to one of his earlier heists, as well as the FBI agent looking to bring him and his crew down.
Why You Should See It: Ben Affleck created one of the best crime dramas of the decade with Gone Baby Gone. Now he is back with The Hurt Locker‘s Jeremy Renner, Mad Men‘s Jon Hamm and the upcoming Green Lantern leading lady, Blake Lively. I couldn’t be more excited. – Jordan R.
Your Highness (David Gordon Green, Oct. 1st)
Plot: A fantasy movie about an arrogant, lazy prince and his more heroic brother who must complete a quest in order to save their father’s kingdom.
Why You Should See It: David Gordon Green surprised audiences in 2008 when he took a turn from personal indie dramas to bigger budget action comedy with Pineapple Express. He seemed to like the experience and now he returns with the similar cast, trading in Seth Rogen for Natalie Portman and Zooey Deschanel. With a script by Danny McBride, this is one of my most anticipated comedies of the year. – Jordan R.
The Social Network (David Fincher, Oct. 1st)
Plot: A story about the founders of the social-networking website, Facebook.
Why You Should See It: David Fincher tells the story of sex, money, genius and betrayal. Or as we know it, how Facebook was invented. This surprisingly funny drama shows how much backstabbing can happen when stumbling on what will become the biggest online community available. The cast features Jesse Eisenberg and Justin Timberlake in the leading roles. – Hash A.
It’s Kind of a Funny Story (Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, Nov.)
Plot: A clinically depressed teenager gets a new start after he checks himself into an adult psychiatric ward. Based on the young-adult novel by Ned Vizzini.
Why You Should See It: Boden and Fleck haven’t struck a wrong note with their first two films (Half Nelson, Sugar), so there’s no reason to expect them to now. – Dan M.
Due Date (Todd Phillips, Nov. 5th)
Plot: A high-strung father-to-be is 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.
Why You Should See It: Just when you thought you’d seen enough of hirsute Zach Galifianakis in every TV commercial for a movie, think again. Post-Hangover Todd Phillips is back with a new comedy starring Robert Downey, Jr., a father scurrying across the country to make it to his wife’s birth on time, and Galifianakis, his travel companion. Any allusions to Planes, Trains and Automobiles: completely acceptable. – Mark M.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (David Yates, Nov. 19th)
Plot: Voldemort’s power is growing stronger. He now has control over the Ministry of Magic and Hogwarts. Harry, Ron, and Hermione decide to finish Dumbledore’s work and find the rest of the Horcruxes to defeat the Dark Lord. But little hope remains for them, so everything they do must go as planned.
Why You Should See It: The last installment Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince was the best entry yet. Director David Yates took a major leap forward from Order of the Phoenix to Half Blood Prince, so here’s hoping he continues that trend of improvement. – Jack G.
Love And Other Drugs (Edward Zwick, Nov. 24th)
Plot: A salesman competes in the cutthroat world of pharmaceuticals to hawk a male performance enhancement drug. Based on Jamie Reidy’s memoir “Hard Sell: The Evolution of a Viagra Salesman.”
Why You Should See It: A romantic dramedy based around the sale of Viagara and Ed Zwick’s first comedy since About Last Night… is bound to be a refreshing change of pace. – Dan M.
The Fighter (David O. Russell, Nov. 26th)
Plot: A look at the early years of boxer “Irish” Micky Ward and his brother who helped train him before going pro in the mid 1980s.
Why You Should See It: David O. Russell, love him or hate him, makes challenging and ambitious films with intense performances from his actors. I’m curious to see what two powerhouses like Russell and Christian Bale can come up with. – Dan M.
Hereafter (Clint Eastwood, Dec.)
Plot: A supernatural thriller centered on three people — a blue-collar American, a French journalist and a London school boy — who are touched by death in different ways.
Why You Should See It: While Invictus turned out to be a disappointment, Clint Eastwood is still Clint Eastwood and Matt Damon is still Matt Damon, so here’s hoping the second time’s the charm. – Dan M.
Tron Legacy (Joseph Kosinski, Dec. 17th)
Plot: A virtual-world worker looks to take down the Master Control Program.
Why You Should See It: Tron is back as the Master Control Program has been rebooted. Kevin Flynn’s disappearance causes his son Sam to go hunting for him inside and outside the computer world. This revamp includes both original stars Jeff Bridges and Bruce Boxleitner along with the original director/co-writer as a producer. – Dan G.
The Green Hornet (Michel Gondry, Dec. 22nd)
Plot: By night, debonair newspaper publisher Britt Reid fights crime as a masked superhero known as The Green Hornet. At his side is martial arts expert Kato.
Why You Should See It: A superhero film with Seth Rogen and Michel Gondry is sure to be something different. Considering the influx of comic book adaptations going around, it’s a strange, comforting pair. – Jack G.
True Grit (Coen Brothers, Dec. 25th)
Plot: A tough U.S. Marshal helps a stubborn young woman track down her father’s murderer.
Why You Should See It: The Coens are on a mean hot streak with the masterpieces No Country For Old Men and A Serious Man. They were also able to sneak a little comedy in between with Burn After Reading. Their next project, a remake of the John Wayne classic should be a nice a mix of both, anchored by a stellar cast. – Jordan R.
Black Swan (Darren Aronofsky, Fall TBD)
Plot: A thriller that hones in on the relationship between a veteran ballet dancer and a rival.
Why You Should See It: Darren Aronofsky has yet to disappoint after an amazing decade with Requiem For A Dream, The Wrestler and The Fountain. He kicks off the new decade with a ballet thriller starring Mila Kunis and Natalie Portman. – Jordan R.
The Tree of Life (Terrence Malick, Summer/Fall TBD)
Plot: The story centers around a family with three boys in the 1950s. The eldest son witnesses the loss of innocence.
Why You Should See It: It’s not too often we see a film from Terrence Malick, the man behind two of the most beautiful films ever made: Days of Heaven and Badlands. The film also stars Brad Pitt and Sean Penn. – Jack G.
Paul (Greg Mottola, TBD)
Plot: Two British comic-book geeks traveling across the U.S. encounter an alien outside Area 51.
Why You Should See It: The last time we saw Simon Pegg and Nick Frost together was in Hot Fuzz way back in 2007. How can you turn away the opportunity to see this dynamic duo again? The plot sounds like something in the vain of last year’s Fanboys, this time directed by Greg Mottola (Superbad) and written by Pegg and Frost themselves. The Brit’s know how to do comedy and I can’t wait to see them do it all over the Yanks. – Andrew R.
The Ward (John Carpenter, TBD)
Plot: A thriller centered on an institutionalized young woman who becomes terrorized by a ghost.
Why You Should See It: From the man who visually created the definition of a nightmare, John Carpenter (Halloween), comes a thriller centered on an institutionalized young woman who becomes terrorized by a ghost. As danger edges up, Kristen (Amber Heard) comes to grasp that this ghost might be darker and more ill-lighted than she could have ever imagined. Written by Michael and Shawn Rasmussen. – Tim F.
Columbus Circle (George Gallo, TBD)
Plot: An heiress who’s been shut inside her apartment building for nearly two decades is forced to confront her fears after one of her neighbors is killed and a detective arrives to begin the investigation.
Why You Should See It: Writer/Director George Gallo’s been an under-appreciated staple of both studio scripted Hollywood (the man wrote Midnight Run and the story for Bad Boys) and indie filmmaking (Local Color, this year’s Middle Men) for over two decades. Hopefully this ensemble cast will earn him some recognition. – Dan M.
London Boulevard (William Monahan, TBD)
Plot: In London, an ex-con becomes involved with a reclusive actress.
Why You Should See It: The directorial debut of the writer behind Kingdom of Heaven, The Departed, Body of Lies and Edge of Darkness has a great cast and slick concept. – Jordan R.
Somewhere (Sofia Coppolla, Late 2010)
Plot: A hard-living Hollywood actor re-examines his life after his 11-year-old daughter surprises him with a visit.
Why You Should See It: It’s very possible this could be the third installation of the “veteran actors redeemed through playing characters seeking redemption” series, Stephen Dorff this year’s Mickey Rourke/Jeff Bridges. – Dan M.
You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger (Woody Allen, TBD)
Plot: Josh Brolin plays a writer who has an affair…and that’s all that is known about it at this time.
Why You Should See It: Naomi Watts, Antonio Banderas, Josh Brolin and Anthony Hopkins under the very unique writing voice and skilled direction of Woody Allen? I can’t possibly see how anything could go awry with this project. Anything Allen creates is always a golden addition to the incredible voice that he brings to the world of film, and with a solid cast like this he definitely has the tools to add another great film to his filmography. – Addam H.
The Rum Diary (Bruce Robinson, TBD)
Plot: Paul Kemp is a freelance journalist who finds himself at a critical turning point in his life while writing for a run-down newspaper in the Caribbean. Paul is challenged on many levels as he tries to carve out a more secure niche for himself amidst a group of lost souls all bent on self-destruction.
Why You Should See It: Hunter S. Thompson wrote his first novel at age 22, but it wasn’t published until seven years before his death. Its upcoming film adaptation stars Johnny Depp (Raoul Duke in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas) as an American journalist in Puerto Rico – a fictionalized version of the writer in his saner, pre-Gonzo days. Aaron Eckhart and Richard Jenkins co-star. – Mark M.
Buried (Rodrigo Cortés, TBD)
Plot: Paul is a U.S. contractor working in Iraq. After an attack by a group of Iraqis he wakes to find he is buried alive inside a coffin. With only a lighter and a cell phone it’s a race against time to escape this claustrophobic death trap.
Why You Should See It: I can’t remember the last time I felt so many different emotion from something I read (let alone a script). Fear, sorrow, relief, and a host of others… Buried is a truly nail biting attention grabber. If the recently released footage from the film tells us anything it’s that this is one film that is not to be missed. – Merrill B.
Biutiful (Alejandro González Iñárritu, TBD)
Plot: A man involved in illegal dealing is confronted by his childhood friend, who is now a policeman.
Why You Should See It: Details for Babel director, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s new film are limited but expectation is not. With Inarritu’s talent behind the scenes and the ever popular Javier Bardem in the leading role, Biutiful will be one to watch out for this year. – Josie M.
The Adjustment Bureau (George Nolfi, TBD)
Plot: The affair between a politician and a ballerina is affected by mysterious forces keeping the lovers apart.
Why You Should See It: I’m anxious to see how much rising star Anthony Mackie will get to shine in the futuristic romance The Adjustment Bureau. He will be in support of Matt Damon and Emily Blunt, both of whom are capable of providing an artistic presence that will allow the hidden talent to really show what he can do. – Eric S.
Knockout (Steven Soderbergh, Fall 2010)
Plot: A tough, troubled young woman is given a chance to use her fighting skills for constructive purposes.
Why You Should See It: Soderbergh can turn a film faster than most, and with a cast like this and a premise that promises multiple fight scenes, Knockout could be that perfect kind of Soderbergh film that feels both artsy and commercial. – Dan M.
Blue Valentine (Derek Cianfrance, TBD)
Plot: The film centers on a contempo married couple, charting their evolution over a span of years by cross-cutting between time periods.
Why You Should See It: Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams, two of the most impressive actors of their generation, play the toiling lovers. Who will out act who? Not to mention a score by NYC’s Grizzly Bear. – Dan M.
The Conspirator (Robert Redford, TBD)
Plot: Mary Surratt is the lone female charged as a co-conspirator in the assassination trial of Abraham Lincoln. As the whole nation turns against her, she is forced to rely on her reluctant lawyer to uncover the truth and save her life.
Why You Should See It: It’s nice to see Redford back and directing after his 2007 misstep Lions for Lambs. And with a political period piece featuring a female lead, played by one of the most capable actresses working today? Yes please. – Dan M.
Never Let Me Go (Mark Romanek, TBD)
Plot: An alternate history story of a woman who, as she reflects on her private school years in the English countryside, reunites with her two friends to face the dark secrets tied to their communal past.
Why You Should See It: Based on the novel by Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go marks the long-awaited return of both Mark Romanek (One Hour Photo) and scribe Alex Garland (Sunshine). Along with Mulligan, Garfield and Knightley, it’ll exciting to see what this team can produce. – Dan M.
The Beaver (Jodie Foster, TBD)
Plot: A guy walks around with a puppet of a beaver on his hand and treats it like a living creature.
Why You Should See It: The synopsis is unusual to say the least. Not much else to say about this intriguing dramedy starring Mel Gibson and Jodie Foster (also directing), but hopefully Jeff Dunham is in no way affiliated.- Mark M.
Miral (Julian Schabel, TBD)
Plot: A chronicle of Hind Husseini’s effort to establish an orphanage in Jerusalem after the 1948 partition of Palestine and the creation of the state of Israel.
Why You Should See It: Oscar nominated director of The Diving Bell and the Butterfly Julian Schabel wrote and will direct Miral starring the Palestinian actress Hiam Abbass (The Visitor, The Syrian Bride). Filmed completely on location in Israel and Palestine, the film is about a real-life Palestinian woman who started an orphanage in Jerusalem following the segregation of Israel and Palestine in the late 1940s. Abbass is an incredible actress that deserves much more exposure in the United States. – Addam H.
How Did You Know (James L. Brooks, TBD)
Plot: Not known, but the film was shot in Philly/D.C. and is in post-production.
Why You Should See It: The influence of James L. Brooks has been nearly as evident in modern dramedies as that of Billy Wilder. He was a mentor to both Cameron Crowe and Judd Apatow and it’s exciting to see the master return from a six-year absence. Plus, Paul Rudd in the lead role? Inspired. – Ethan V.
The Tempest (Julie Taymour, TBD)
Plot: In Shakespeare’s fantastical thriller the magician Prospero orchestrates spirits, monsters, a grief-stricken king, a wise old councillor, two treacherous brothers and a storm at sea into a conspiracy bringing banishment, sorcery and shipwreck into the lives of two hapless lovers to stir and seal their fate. Here Prospero takes female form as Prospera, giving her journey of vengeance and self-discovery a wholly new resonance.
Why You Should See It: Taymour’s always been the resident “high class, super strange classics adaptation” filmmaker, so at the very least we can expect an inspired misfire (Across the Universe), at the most a masterpiece starring some of the best actors around. (Helen Mirren, Chris Cooper, David Strathairn, etc.) – Dan M.
The Killer Inside Me (Michael Winterbottom, TBD)
Plot: A West Texas deputy sheriff is slowly unmasked as a psychotic killer.
Why You Should See It: Director Michael Winterbottom creates a dark and twisted film noir adaptation of the classic novel The Killer Inside Me by renowned pulp writer Jim Thompson with the help of Casey Affleck and Kate Hudson. After his surprising performance in Gone Baby Gone, it will definitely be interesting to see if Affleck can continue to prove himself as a skilled leading role actor. – Addam H.
Cedar Rapids (Miguel Arteta, TBD)
Plot: A naive Midwesterner insurance salesman travels to a big-city convention in an effort to save the jobs of his co-workers.
Why You Should See It: Phil Johnston’s screenplay about a middle aged insurance salesman has been touted as one of the best unproduced screenplays on the 2009 edition of The Black List. With Miguel Arteta (The Good Girl, Youth in Revolt) directing, Ed Helms (The Hangover) in the lead and Sigourney Weaver as his former teacher/love interest, this film should be an effective indie comedy. – John L.
Henry’s Crime (Malcom Venville, TBD)
Plot: An aimless man is sent to prison for a crime he did not commit.
Why You Should See It: The main reason the film is on this list is Buffalo pride (the film takes place and partially shot here). The script is from Sacha Gervasi, who directed last year’s incredible Anvil documentary. Keanu Reeves, Vera Farmiga, and James Caan star. – Jordan R.
The Way Back (Peter Weir, TBD)
Plot: A fact-based story centered on soldiers who escaped from a Siberian gulag in 1940.
Why You Should See It: Peter Weir is one of the best directors without an Academy Award. Can this World War II tale get him one? Yes or no, he’s guaranteed to deliver another meticulous, smart, powerful and visually stunning epic. Just see Gallipoli and Master and Commander for proof. – Ethan V.
The Descendants (Alexander Payne, TBD)
Plot: The story of a newly widowed father, also one of the richest men in Oahu, Hawaii, as he takes off with his two rebellious daughters to track down his dead wife’s ex-lover on the island of Kauai.
Why You Should See It: Directed by Alexander Payne, and based on the novel by Kaui Hart Hemmings, this film follows the story of a wealthy land baron who takes his two daughters set out on a trip to find his wife’s lover in the hope of keeping their family together. George Clooney will likely play the baron but as yet the rest of the cast remains a mystery. – Josie M.
127 Hours (Danny Boyle, Late 2010)
Plot:The story of Aron Ralston, the mountain climber who had to amputate his own arm with a dull knife after a 2003 hiking accident.
Why You Should See It: Oscar winner Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire) directs James Franco (James Dean, Spiderman) as he stars as a mountain climber who becomes trapped while mountaineering alone near Moab, Utah and resorts to desperate measures in order to survive. 127 Hour is based on the true story of Aron Ralston, the mountain climber who amputated his own arm to free himself from being trapped by a boulder. – Tim F.
What films do you want to see most this year? What are we missing from the list?