So at long last, we arrive at my top ten most anticipated films of the year. All but three are by directors who have had a film on my top ten list at least once in the last ten years - the three that don't are made by Pixar, are based on the best graphic novel of all time or star Daniel Day Lewis. Nothing would make me happier than these ten being the ten best films of the year - but they probably won't be.
10. Lincoln (Steven Spielberg)
Starring: Liam Neesom.
Why? It’s Spielberg doing what he does best – serious, history based filmmaking, which I am sure he’ll do with intelligence and humanity. This would actually be much higher on my list if I actually left Spielberg could get it done in the timeframe he thinks he can. As it stands, I’m not sure if we’ll see this film this year or not.
9. Up (Pete Doctor)
Starring: Ed Asner, Delory Lindo, Christopher Plummer, John Ratzenburger.
Why? 3 of the last 4 Pixar movies have ended up on my top ten lists, so its seems silly not to have this on my anticipated film list. Plus the trailer looks great. Pixar always delivers the goods.
8. Watchmen (Zack Snyder)
Starring: Billy Crudup, Jackie Earle Haley, Patrick Wilson, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Carla Gugino, Malin Akerman, Matthew Goode.
Why? I may have hated 300, but I did love Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead. The graphic novel is one of the best works of fiction of the late 20th century, no matter what medium, and if done right could be one of the year’s best. I am just hoping it’s not one of the year’s worst.
7. The Tree of Life (Terence Malick)
Starring: Brad Pitt, Sean Penn, Fiona Shaw, Pell James.
Why? Malick has only made four films in his almost 40 year career, but all of them have been visually stunning and brilliant. No clue really what is about, but with Malick you know it will be one of a kind.
6. Inglorious Bastards (Quentin Tarantino)
Starring: Brad Pitt, Diane Kruger, Mike Myers, Michael Fassbender.
Why? I may have grown up a little since I thought that Tarantino was the best director in the world, but that doesn’t mean I still don’t enjoy the hell out of every film the guys makes. This maybe crap, but somehow I think it will end up being fun.
5. Nine (Robert Marshall)
Starring: Daniel Day-Lewis, Nicole Kidman, Marion Cotillard, Penelope Cruz, Sophia Loren, Judi Dench, Stacy Ferguson, Kate Hudson.
Why? I have grown to love musicals in the past few years, and have come to think of Daniel Day Lewis as the best actor in the world. The thought of those two elements together, combined with the fact that this is a musical version of Fellini’s masterpiece 8 ½ has me watering at the mouth to get a peak at this one.
4. A Serious Man (Joel & Ethan Coen)
Starring: Adam Arkin, Richard Kind, Michael Sthualbarg.
Why? The Coens can do no wrong with me, whether they make a manic comedy or serious drama, so despite the fact that this has a no name cast, I have faith that they have made another great movie.
3. Shutter Island (Martin Scorsese)
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley, Emily Mortimer, Michelle Williams, Max von Sydow, Jackie Earle Haley.
Why? Scorsese’s films usually occupy my number one spot on anticipated lists, as he is my favorite director of all time. But, I merely liked, did not love, the Dennis Lehane novel on which the movie is based. I have faith that Scorsese will make a great movie, as he always does, but my enthusiasm is just a shade less than normal.
2. The Road (John Hillcoat)
Starring: Viggo Mortenson, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Charlize Theron, Robert Duvall, Guy Pearce, Garret Dillahunt, Molly Parker.
Why? Cormac McCarthy is one of my favorite authors, and this is my favorite of his books. The material is perfect for Hillcoat, and he has a great cast, headed by Viggo Mortenson. This ranked high last year, and the fact that it got delayed hasn’t deterred me from looking forward to it. I can’t wait until they announce a release date.
1. Public Enemies (Michael Mann)
Starring: Johnny Depp, Christian Bale, Channing Tatum, Billy Crudup, Marion Cotillard, Leelee Sobieski, Giovanni Ribisi, Emile de Ravin, Stephen Dorff.
Why? I’m about half way through Bryan Burrough’s fabulous book about the birth of the FBI in 1933-34, where they hunted John Dillinger, Bonnie & Clyde, the Barker Gang, Pretty Boy Floyd and Baby Face Nelson, and I can tell it’s going to make a great movie. The film seems to concentrate on Dillinger, played by Johnny Depp, which makes sense because the whole thing would be too much. Michael Mann is one of the best directors in the world, and this movie is right up his alley. I cannot wait for this one.