Thursday, February 18, 2010

50 Most Anticipated Films of 2010 Part IV

20. Greenberg
Directed By: Noah Baumbach.
Starring: Ben Stiller, Rhys Ifans, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Greta Gerwig.
Why? When writer/director Noah Baumbach is not helping Wes Anderson with his screenplays, he makes remarkably funny, insightful movies in his own right. His The Squid and the Whale is one of the best movies ever about divorce, and his Margot at the Wedding is very much underrated. His latest, with Ben Stiller as a middle aged slacker, may be a little too hipster to me, but I have to admit the preview makes me laugh every single time – and I have faith that Baumbach will make something truly intelligent.

19. Biutiful
Directed By: Alejandro Gonzalez Innaritu.
Starring: Javier Bardem, Bianca Portillo, Martina Garcia, Ruben Ochandiano
Why? Director Alejandro Gonzalez Innaritu has three solid films behind him – Amores Perros, 21 Grams and Babel, the first two I think are genuinely great. Here, he returns to his original language – Spanish – and casts one of the best actors in the world in Javier Bardem. The story is being kept under wraps, but with these two, it has to rank high on my list.

18. Never Let Me Go
Directed By: Mark Romanek.
Starring: Keira Knightley, Carey Mulligan, Andrew Garfield, Charlotte Rampling, Sally Hawkins.
Why? I have heard about Kazuo Ishigiro’s novel for years (and it is next on my list of books to read), so I am looking forward to what sounds like an interesting mixture of English boarding school drama, and sci-fi dystopia. With Knightley and Mulligan heading the cast (and a great supporting cast to boot) and Romanek (One Hour Photo) at the helm, this looks like it could fill the void of intelligent sci-fi.

17. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo/The Girl Who Played With Fire
Directed By: Niels Arden Oplev & Daniel Aflredson.
Starring: Michael Nyqvist, Noomi Rapace, Lena Endre, Peter Haber
Why? The first movie, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, already has a release date scheduled, and if it’s successful, I expect the second film (and perhaps even the third) to hit theaters this year as well. Based on Stieg Larsen’s excellent Millennium books (the third of which will be published in North America in May), these dark novels were amazing, and the reviews for the films in its native Sweden have been as well. Certainly two of the literary adaptations I am looking forward to most this year.

16. London Boulevard
Directed By: William Mongahan.
Starring: Colin Farrell, Keira Knightley, Ray Winstone, David Thewlis, Anna Friel, Stephen Graham.
Why? The screenwriter of The Departed, William Mongahan, makes his feature directing debut with this adaptation of the Ken Bruen novel, which appears to be a British spin on Billy Wilder’s Sunset Blvd, with Farrell as an ex-con hiding out in the home of a fading movie star. But it is really the cast – Farrell who is underrated, Knightley who is radiant, Winstone who is merciless, Thewlis who can be great, and Friel who is adorable and Stephen Graham that makes me anxiously await this thriller.

15. The Ghost Writer
Directed By: Roman Polanski.
Starring: Pierce Brosnan, Ewan McGregor, Kim Cattrall, Olivia Williams, Tom Wilkinson.
Why? Roman Polanski may be a creepy pervert and rapist, but the man is still a genius at directing. This movie is based on a fine thriller by Robert Harris in which a ghost writer (Ewan McGregor) is hired to help an ex British PM (Pierce Brosnan), obviously based on Tony Blair, write his memoirs – particularly on the subject of the Iraq war. But things get more and more complicated as they move along. The movie is apparently already ready, so I guess Polanski’s incarceration didn’t slow him down.

14. The Tempest
Directed By: Julie Taymor.
Starring: Helen Mirren, Djimon Hounsou, Russell Brand, Alfred Molia, Chris Cooper.
Why? Director Taymor has only made three films before – but all three of those films were visual stunners (Titus, Frieda and Across the Universe). Here she returns to Shakespeare, and has assembled a marvelous cast. Like with Titus, don’t expect a classical adaptation here – hell she switched the gender of the main character already! This is one of Shakespeare’s greatest plays, yet few have ever tried to turn it into a movie. If anyone can do, Taymor can.

13. You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger
Directed By: Woody Allen.
Starring: Josh Brolin, Anthony Hopkins, Naomi Watts, Antonio Banderas, Frieda Pinto.
Why? Every year Woody Allen makes a movie, and every year I put it on this list, even though his output has been erratic in recent years. However, with the exception of the horrid Scoop (perhaps the worst film of Allen’s career), I have quite enjoyed all of his recent films – Match Point, Cassandra’s Dream, Vicky Cristina Barcelona and Whatever Works. This one is set in London again, and features one hell of a cast. Comedy? Drama? Thriller? Science Fiction epic? I have no idea (okay, that last one seems unlikely) as per usual, Allen isn’t telling. And as per usual, I will be there opening weekend.

12. Alice in Wonderland
Directed By: Tim Burton.
Starring: Mia Wasikowska, Johnny Depp, Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter.
Why? Tim Burton can always be counted on to deliver something different, and visually interesting, and I love with when Johnny Depp goes off the deep end. The previews look great, and the rest of the cast, especially Helena Bonham Carter who looks by a riot as the evil queen is solid. I can’t wait to see what Burton does with this kids movie.

11. Somewhere
Directed By: Sofia Coppola.
Starring: Stephen Dorff, Elle Fanning, Benicio Del Toro.
Why? Sofia Coppola’s first two films – The Virgin Suicides and Lost in Translation – were great. Her third film, Marie Antoinette was not great, but was very much underrated. I am interested in seeing what she does this time out – casting Stephen Dorff (a good actor specializing in making terrible movies), as a bad boy actor who confronts his demons when his daughter (Fanning) shows up. I hope this film gets Coppola back on track.

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