Friday, February 19, 2010

50 Most Anticipated Films of 2010: Part V

10. The Killer Inside Me
Directed By: Michael Winterbottom.
Starring: Casey Affleck, Kate Hudson, Jessica Alba.
Why? Jim Thompson’s novel of the same name is one of the darkest, most violent, most twisted looks at the mind of a psychopath that I have ever read. Casey Affleck is perfect for the role of a mild mannered Southern Sheriff in the 1950s who hides behind his outwardly dopey appearance a truly remorseless killer. Kate Hudson and Jessica Alba have not impressed me much so far in their careers – or at least not in a while – but I never miss a Winterbottom film – as he always makes such interesting diverse films.

9. Green Zone
Directed By: Paul Greengrass.
Starring: Matt Damon, Greg Kinnears, Jason Issacs, Brendan Gleeson, Amy Ryan.
Why? Greengrass, the director of the second and third Bourne movies, along with United 93 and Bloody Sunday, is among the best action filmmakers in the world right now. His latest film, set in Iraq where a weapons inspector (Matt Damon) becomes increasingly curious as to why he isn’t finding any weapons, looks to be another intense, edge of your seat thriller. I cannot wait.

8. Rabbit Hole
Directed By: John Cameron Mitchell.
Starring: Nicole Kidman, Aaron Eckhart, Sandra Oh, Dianne Wiest.
Why? John Cameron Mitchell is a complete original behind the camera. His first film, Hedwig and the Angry Inch was one of the great rock musicals of all time. His follow-up film, Shortbus, took the conventions of porn and turned them on its ear, making something playful and erotic, but not dirty – almost impossible to do when your actor are actually having sex. The film is based on the recent Pulitzer Prize winning play, and although it sounds more conventional, and certainly more star driven, than Mitchell’s previous work, I have faith that this one of kind director will make something great.

7. Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps
Directed By: Oliver Stone.
Starring: Michael Douglas, Shia Labeouf, Josh Brolin, Carey Mulligan, Frank Langella.
Why? Oliver Stone is one of my favorite directors of all time, and the original Wall Street was part of his great 10 year run from 1986 to 1995. Michael Douglas’ Gordon Gekko is one of the most iconic characters of the 1980s, and he is still more than relevant today, given the current state of the economy, and Wall Street’s hand on bringing us there. With Brolin, Mulligan and Langella also on board, this is a great cast, and I cannot wait to see what Stone does this time out.

6. The Social Network
Directed By: David Fincher.
Starring: Jessie Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Justin Timberlake, Rashida Jones, Max Minghella.
Why? Normally a movie about the founding of Facebook starring Justin Timberlake would be nowhere near a list like this. But it ranks this high for one reason: director David Fincher. His Zodiac was one of the very best films of the decade, and his last film The Curious Case of Benjamin Button was a dark stunner, that I felt was misunderstood by too many. I have complete faith that Fincher will make one of the more interesting films of the year with this one (the fact the Aaron Sorkin wrote it, also fills me with joy).

5. True Grit
Directed By: Joel & Ethan Coen.
Starring: Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, Josh Brolin.
Why? I will admit to not being a huge fan of the Henry Hathaway original, which won John Wayne his only Oscar. It’s a solid Western, but nothing special. But this is the Coen’s after all, and it has been said that they will stick closer to Charles Portis’ well regarded novel – which is said to have a quirky, offbeat sense of humor – rather than remaking the original film. I have been accused of being a Coen Brothers fan boy, a charge that is hard to refute since I do generally love the brothers. This time, reteaming with Jeff Bridges (who will take over for John Wayne) and Josh Brolin (who will be the bad guy), and throwing in Matt Damon I cannot wait to see what happens. Still no word on who is playing Mattie, the little girl at the heart of the movie though.

4. Shutter Island
Directed By: Martin Scorsese.
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffallo, Ben Kingsley, Michelle Williams, Max von Sydow, Jackie Earle Hayley.
Why? It’s frickin’ Martin Scorsese! It has now been four years since The Departed, and I have been anxiously awaiting the new feature by my favorite director of all time. I am not worried about the fact that the film was pushed back from the fall – as from what I understand it was a business decision and not an artistic one (the film apparently had great test screenings). Based on a atmospheric Dennis Lehane novel (Mystic River, Gone Baby Gone), this looks like it could be Scorsese returning to Cape Fear territory. I do hope it’s better than that film, but I do think that Cape Fear is an underrated thriller. A solid cast helps makes this one of my must sees from the first part of the year.

3. The Tree of Life
Directed By: Terence Malick.
Starring: Brad Pitt, Sean Penn, Jessica Chastin, Fiona Shaw.
Why? Since ending his self imposed 20 year exile for moviemaking, director Malick has made two masterpieces – The Thin Red Line and The New World. His films are slow and methodical, and usually shrouded in secrecy (the only plot description I can find for this movie is rather cryptic. Penn has worked with Malick before, and Pitt delivered his best performance in Andrew Dominik’s The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, which felt like a Malick movie, so I have no doubt both will be great. Every time Malick steps behind the camera, it is a major cinematic event.

2. Black Swan
Directed By: Darren Aronofsky.
Starring: Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Vincent Cassel, Winona Ryder
Why? Normally a psychological thriller about a ballerina, who’s rival may or may not be in her head, would not rank this high on my list – even with the presence of Natalie Portman, one of my favorite actresses, along with the solid supporting cast of Kunis, Cassell and Ryder. But considering this is by Darren Aronofsky, who I thought hit new heights with his last film, The Wrestler, this moved up the list quickly. He is always an ambitious, and brilliant filmmaker, so I cannot wait for this one.

Directed By: Christopher Nolan.
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Ellen Page, Ken Watanabe, Joseph Gordon Levitt, Marion Cottilard.
Why? I have no idea what this movie is about, but I hardly care. Christopher Nolan has made nothing but wonderful films – Following, Memento, Insomnia, Batman Begins, The Prestige and The Dark Knight. That cast is amazing, and Nolan has proved himself to be an interesting filmmaker every time out. Shrouded in secrecy, this is about a CEO who gets involved in some sort of blackmail scandal – but that’s only the beginning of the film. I have no idea if this is going to be the best film of the year, but right now, it is the one I am most anxiously awaiting.

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