2010 Preview – Movies to Watch For in 2010, Part 1 of 6

January 31, 2010

If there’s anything I learned from my original 2009 predictions, it’s that, 75% of the time, the movies you anticipate the most end up disappointing you the most and the movies you never expected to stand out much end up surprising you completely. So while the next six articles on the subject are devoted to previewing the upcoming year in film and predicting the good and the bad, things will most likely not go as planned. And when do they? Well, yeah, when a project comes up with Martin Scorsese directing a modern Boston mob drama starring Leo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Robert De Niro, and Mark Wahlberg, it’s kinda destined to be a brilliant piece of awesomeness. But generally, movies sound a lot better during production than they end up playing out on the big screen on release night.


  • Section A — If a movie sounds too good to be true, then it will be nowhere near as good as you expect. (True exactly 91.4% of the time. Negated if the film is directed by either Christopher Nolan or David Fincher, at which point you can rest assured it will be amazing.)
  • Section B — If the plot of a movie seems to make absolutely no sense and sounds as if it would be the most boring concept ever, it’ll win an Oscar. Probably more than one. (True exactly 87.5% of the time. Unless, of course, it sounds like a film you might even possibly enjoy. Then, all bets are off on the whole winning an Oscar thing. In fact, the Academy will probably ignore it completely at that point.)
  • Section C — If a movie sounds like complete crap, give it a chance. If you expect nothing, you have the best odds of being surprised. And it’s these films that tend to surprise the most.

This preview is more of an attempt to make readers more aware of upcoming projects than it is a valid source of predictions. In fact, I hope that not all 42 movies that I’ll be anticpitating my anticipation for in this article are half as deserving of my anticipation as I’m anticipating. Because if all 42 were great, how much harder would it be for me to decide on a top 10 list in 12 months? Yeah, that’s right. I’m the guy who hopes to be disappointed by at least 32 films this year just so it’s that much easier to populate my top ten list at the end of the year. That’s a lazy “critic” thinking ahead for ya. I know, I know… I’m brilliant. Please. Save your praise for the comments.

But I digress. Bottom line… Don’t let my predictions sway your opinions about the quality of these films before you see them. Or at least until you see the trailer. UNLESS, of course, I really sound like I know what I’m talking about. At which point, I probably actually know the least about what I’m saying, but in some ironic twist of fate, I’ll end up being completely right. Trust me. I’ve seen it happen far too many times to give up on the theory now.

Anyway, let’s get on with it all… before you realize how much I’m actually discouraging you to read the rest of this potentially useless article. Read on for part 1 of 6 in this preview. Expect subsequent parts in the near future.

42. The Edge of Darkness – Directed by Martin Campbell (Casino Royale). Written by William Monahan (Body of Lies, The Departed). Starring Mel Gibson, Ray Winstone.

As homicide detective Thomas Craven investigates the death of his activist daughter, he uncovers not only her secret life, but a corporate cover-up and government collusion that attracts an agent tasked with cleaning up the evidence. (Release: Jan. 29, 2010)

  • VERDICT: Had I not noticed that the director of Casino Royale and the writer of The Departed were at the head of this crew, I would have scoffed and never have even considered this thriller. Mel Gibson seems to be well past his prime (not that there was really ever much there, anyway) and this seemed far too much like Taken and other recent revenge thrillers to really be taken seriously. But hey, mention the guys who were integral parts of modern masterpieces like Casino Royale and The Departed and I’ll watch a video of paint drying as long as their names are attached. This is how far reputation and name recognition will get you in Hollywood, folks. And so the past experience of 2 crew members is the sole reason I will see this one. Who knows, maybe Mel Gibson and the storyline will surprise me?

41. The Other Guys – Directed, Written, and Produced by Adam McKay (Talladega Nights, Step Brothers, Anchorman). Starring Dwayne Johnson, Mark Wahlberg, Will Ferrell, Samuel L. Jackson, Eva Mendes, Michael Keaton.

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. (Release: Aug. 6, 2010)
  • VERDICT: The Adam McKay / Will Ferrell combination seems to always be an overrated one, in my opinion. While I found Talladega Nights and Anchorman funny, I never enjoyed them nearly as much as most people seemed to. Will Ferrell has done his best work without McKay in the director position. Unfortunately, this project looks just as pointless as the rest. Throw in Mark Wahlberg and Samuel L. Jackson and you might see an interesting twist on things. On one hand- and I’m just throwing out hopeful speculation here- I feel like maybe Ferrell won’t be quite as much of an idiot in this one since he doesn’t have John C. Reilly, John Heder, or any of the other genre typicals to egg him on. But again, perhaps that’s just wishful thinking. Anyway, the public will probably rave about this just as much as any of McKay’s other films and it’ll probably be just as mediocre and semi-funny. I’ll see it for Wahlberg, but I really wish he would do something of quality to make up for his recent slump.

40. Cop Out – Directed by Kevin Smith (Clerks, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back). Written by Mark and Robb Cullen. Starring Bruce Willis, Tracy Morgan, Ana de la Reguera, Rashida Jones, Michelle Trachtenberg, Seann William Scott, Jason Lee, Kevin Pollak.

A comedy about two cops whose adventures include locating a stolen baseball card, rescuing a woman, and dealing with gangsters and their laundered money. (Release: Feb. 26, 2010)

  • VERDICT: Bruce Willis is on the decline and Kevin Smith has never directed a film without writing it too. With such a diverse cast, this one will certainly be an experiment. And while it might be very similar in plot to The Other Guys, I believe this one could be the stronger of the two. It won’t be anything spectacular and don’t expect to enjoy it if you didn’t laugh out loud at least once during the trailer, but Tracy Morgan might be the supporting entertainment that keeps it funny. Personally, I don’t think that casting Bruce Willis in anything intended to be more comedic than Die Hard is such a great decision, but the rest of the cast seems strong enough to hold things together to create at least a decent result. And of course, this is all assuming that the writing is good. Kevin Smith approved and hopefully that means it’ll at least be the next best thing to Kevin Smith writing.
39. I Love You Phillip Morris – Directed by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa. Starring Jim Carrey, Ewan McGregor, Leslie Mann, Rodrigo Santoro.
A comedy-drama film based on the real life events of con artist, impostor, and multiple prison escapee Steven Jay Russell. While incarcerated, Russell falls in love with his cell mate, Phillip Morris. After Morris is released from prison, Russell escapes from prison time after time in order to be reunited with Morris. (Release: March 26, 2010)
  • VERDICT: Quite an interesting story for a film and especially a different one for Jim Carrey, it’s hard to really predict what kind of film I Love You Phillip Morris will turn out to be. Surely it will be much more tame and potentially more quirky than most of Carrey’s slapstick comedies, but it’s hard to tell just how that will translate. I can’t help but imagine something between the likeness of Fun with Dick and Jane and The Truman Show, but I’m sure it’s probably something completely of its own. This project has been out and about for a while, debuting at Sundance and also playing at Cannes, both of which it seemed to receive general acclaim at. Many seem to be calling it some kind of mix of Catch Me if You Can and Ocean’s Eleven. But regardless of its similarities, it’s gotten great reviews so far and it could end up being one of the big indie/dramedy sleepers of the year. If anything, it should at least stir up some publicity from controversy the media will undoubtedly prey on.

38. Jonah Hex – Directed by Jimmy Hayward. Written by Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor. Starring Josh Brolin, John Malkovich, Megan Fox, Michael Shannon.

In the Wild West, a scarred bounty hunter tracks a voodoo practitioner bent on liberating the South by raising an army of the undead. (Release: June 18, 2010)

  • VERDICT: Another DC comics film adaptation, but this time with a little bit of a different story line than the usual. The Civil War. The Wild West. Bounty hunters and an army of the undead. Not exactly typical subplots of Batman Begins or anything. Unfortunately, it also doesn’t have the filmmaking crew of Batman Begins either. Director Jimmy Hayward has next to no credits, having only directed one other film (Horton Hears a Who!) and worked on animation for several Pixar movies. And even more unfortunately, writing pair Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor are the two who so graciously gave the world the two horrendous Crank films and the recent summer action flick Gamer. Not exactly a dream resumé for anyone who was hoping to enjoy this. Unless, of course, you were one of the two or three people who liked Crank or Gamer— and if you did, then let’s face it, you were probably related to someone who worked on the films anyway. But if you’re not like me and you hate to judge a film based on it’s crew’s past work, then you could still hold high hopes for Jonah Hex as it does seem to have an intriguing storyline that could be good if done correctly. I’ll see it, but I’m not expecting much.

37. Despicable Me – Directed by Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud. Written by Ken Daurio and Cinco Paul. Starring Steve Carell, Jason Segel, Miranda Cosgrove, Russell Brand, Will Arnett, Julie Andrews, Kristen Wiig, Ken Jeong, Danny McBride, Mindy Kaling, Jack McBrayer.

A trio of orphan girls cause the normally deplorable Gru to rethink his plan to steal the moon. (Release: July 9, 2010)

  • VERDICT: Based on the trailers, this looks like it could be a big summer hit. It has all of the factors of a successful animation: a mid-summer release, a crew who has experience with successful animation, a unique storyline, fantastic animation, and an incredible cast. Seriously, if you want to make me see a comedy or, in this case, even an animation, throw Steve Carell, Jason Segel, Ken Jeong, Danny McBride, and Jack McBrayer together. Essentially, they found a way to somehow grab 5 of the biggest names in modern comedy into one project. While it may not be the same kind of moving subject matter as Up or Wall-E, it certainly sounds entertaining. As long as it doesn’t end up trying too hard to please only the younger crowd, the list of voice actors indicates that it should be a funny film for those of many different ages. If not, then Universal definitely deserves a round of applause for at least duping me into seeing it purely based on such a great cast list. But we can all rest assured, because crappy films never exploit their big-name actors to help market what they already know is crap. Oh, but wait…

36. MacGruber – Directed by Jorma Taccone. Written by Jorma Taccone and John Solomon. Starring Will Forte, Kristen Wiig, Val Kilmer, Ryan Phillippe, Bill Hader, Maya Rudolph, Jason Bateman.

Ex-special operative MacGruber is called back into action to take down his archenemy, Dieter Von Cunth, who’s in possession of a nuclear warhead and bent on destroying Washington, D.C. (Release: April 23, 2010)

  • VERDICT: A movie based on the Saturday Night Live “Macgruber” sketch? Best. Idea. Ever. Even though I know the movie itself will probably be a pretty pathetic piece of filmmaking and will definitely be completely pointless, I get excited just thinking about seeing this one. If the trailer was any kind of indication of how the whole movie will hold up, I’ll be laughing a lot. Most of the cast already has experience acting together on SNL and both writers have been writing for the show for a good while as well, so if you’ve been a fan of the recent seasons, and obviously, of the MacGruber skit itself, you can almost rest assured that the big-screen adaptation will at least keep you entertained. And perhaps the best thing to keep in mind is that the entire sketch plays on the comedy of being as over-the-top as possible, so there’s virtually almost no way for the film to be too over-the-top. There’s no doubt that this will receive its fair share of bad reviews, but to be fair, I think you have to know what you’re getting yourself into when you go to see this one.

*Images and summaries courtesy of IMDB.com


One comment

  1. go d-9

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