Alright, once again, we're throwing down the gauntlet. You're looking at 10-15 films for 2010? We've upped our game from last year and covered 81 films in total (our headline is 75-something cause not all of them might arrive in 2010).
Looking at last year's 60+ most anticipated films list and then compare it to 2010's slate. No disrespect to those delivering films in 2010, but it's just not quite as strong. At least not on the surface, but there's still tons of good films arriving including a new Terrence Malick film and new pictures by Christopher Nolan, David O. Russell, Edgar Wright, Sofia Coppola, Darren Aronofsky, and more.
Below, we cover 81 of the films we're still rooting for in full and mention a few others in our small-ish Honorable Mention section. Tomorrow comes out Least Anticipated Films of 2010 and then the day after we'll have our annual Escapist/Entertainment Anticipated pieces, plus probably a few more in the upcoming week.
"Inception" - Warner Bros. - Christopher Nolan
Synopsis: It's a sci-fi actioner within the architecture of the mind.
What You Need To Know: Nolan follows up "The Dark Knight," perhaps one of the most exciting and thrilling mainstream popcorn films of the decade, with an affair much closer in ambiguous spirit to his earlier works, "Memento," "The Prestige" and "The Following." We don't want to spoil too much, but it centers on a corporate CEO (Leonardo DiCaprio) embroiled in a blackmail scandal that involves the ability to enter people's dreams to steal information. The cast is perhaps the best Nolan has put together so far including Ellen Page as DiCaprio's assistant, Marion Cotillard as his wife, a blackmailer (Ken Wantanabe), plus appearances by Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Lukas Haas and Michael Caine. While "Knight" was thrilling, we've always preferred Nolan's explorations of the psyche, but it looks like "Inception" is taking that concept and throwing it into a 'TDK'-like big-budget spectacle of ambition, simply because he has the juice now to pull it off. We have big hopes.
Release Date: July 16, 2010
"The Fighter" – Paramount – Dir. David O. Russell
Synopsis: Based on the true story of "Irish" Mickey Ward, a Boston-area boxer who trains with his ex-con/failed boxer brother to go pro.
What You Need to Know: After starting life as a Darren Aronofsky project with Brad Pitt slated to co-star, the boxing drama has finally come to fruition with Pitt bowing out and Christian Bale stepping into the role of brother and trainer to real-life Lowell, Mass. junior welterweight champion “Irish” Mickey Ward, played by Mark Wahlberg. Sometime Wahlberg collaborator Russell, famed as much for his unusual on-set directing as his hilarious and decidedly non-commercial comedies like "I Heart Huckabees" and "Spanking the Monkey" has taken the reins of this gritty drama. No doubt Wahlberg had a hand in bringing his "Three Kings" and "Huckabees" collaborator on board, and we can't say we blame him — Russell has coaxed two memorable performances out of Wahlberg. After the cautionary tale that became Russell's last comedic attempt — the never-completed "Nailed" — it seems he's looking for something completely different to reinvigorate his career, and that (along with the excellent script) has us more than a little excited.
Release Date: TBD, but it smells like a fall Oscar-season 2010 film to us.
"Somewhere" - Focus Films - Dir. Sofia Coppola
Synopsis: A bad-boy, hard-living Hollywood actor (Stephen Dorff) already going through a personal crisis, re-examines his life when his 11-year-old daughter (Elle Fanning) surprises him with a unexpected visit to his transient L.A. life.
What You Need To Know: Coppola loves her recurring themes and leitmotifs. Like "Lost In Translation," her fourth feature is largely set in a hotel (the notorious rock-star friendly Chateau Marmont in L.A.) and explores father/daughter issues (while there was cool sexuality with Johansson and Murray, there was also a paternal-like affection as well). From what we've gathered (there isn't too much out there), "Somewhere" is (like 'Translation') unsurprisingly low on plot and instead puts a premium on exploring relationships via Coppola's trademark emphasis on mood and atmosphere. The biggest surprise of the film is casting. Instead of relying on familiar faces, she's using Stephen Dorff, who hasn't led or opened a movie in more than a decade (at least) and Elle Fanning, who is talented, but still not a house hold name. We can only assume she knows what she's doing by putting so much faith in Dorff. Rounding out the rest of the cast are Michelle Monaghan who presumably plays the estranged mother; Chris Pontius of "Jackass" fame in a small turn as a bad-boy friend of Dorff's; Benicio del Toro who will make a cameo playing another celebrity while Thomas Mars from Phoenix is writing original music for the film (with The Veronicas and Rooney also rumored to be making musical appearances as well).
Release Date: TBD, presumably late fall 2010, since Focus has announced most of their '10 line-up and this is the only reasonable slot left.
"Tree of Life" – Apparition - Dir. Terrence Malick
Synopsis: The story of a family who must come to terms with a devastating loss. In doing so, they discover life's most important lessons of unselfish love and forgiveness.
What You Need To Know: Malick is back again as writer and director with this long-gestating project of over 30 years (it began as something known as "Q" in the '70s). He has reunited with cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki and legendary Production Designer Jack Fisk, the same team who brought us "The New World" in 2006. The epic picture traces the evolution of an eleven-year-old boy named Jack growing up in the midwest during the 1950's. Sean Penn plays the adult Jack while Brad Pitt, in a role originally intended for Heath Ledger, plays the boy's father. Jessica Chastain (pictured) plays the mother, with Fiona Shaw and Jennifer Sipes also starring. Given Malick's track record of making meditative, naturalistic, and down right stunning films, one can assume that we'll have plenty to admire with this one, at the very least, enjoy 'Benjamin Button' composer Alexandre Desplat's soundtrack. It's been suggested that over three million feet of 35MM film has been shot and the life-expansive film — which also includes an adjunct documentary called, "The Voyage Of Time," that is a sort of panoramic wilderness cum evolution-of-the-universe film — will also feature sequences in a "hereafter" state that might feature Pitt and Penn together, but evidently they have no actual scenes together in the film.
Release Date: The film was scheduled for a December 25, 2009, release, but wasn't ready and is still being worked on by a team of editors. Rumors now peg it for world premiere at Cannes in May and then either a summer or fall release in the U.S., according to the distributors. But we're going to hold out hope for fall, as this is of course Malick — an infamous tinkerer with completion anxiety.
"Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World" - Universal - Dir. Edgar Wright
Synopsis: A Canadian slacker decides to pursue the girl of his dreams, only to find out that in order to win her heart, he must defeat her seven ex-boyfriends in battle.
What You Need To Know: Don't let "Watchmen" sour your opinion of loyal comic book adaptations, this one appears to have been in the right hands every step of the way. From Bryan Lee O'Malley's terrific pop-cauldron source material, to Michael Bacall's equally funny script (that actually is only spiritually faithful), to the ever trustworthy Edgar Wright at the helm, it's win-win-win. Worried about the soundtrack? How about some Beck, Broken Social Scene, synth rockers Metric, Canadian favorites Sloan and from-Future-Japan rocker Cornelius, all under the supervision of Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich. And lastly, say what you will about Michael Cera's range, we have yet to see his prowess in hand-to-hand combat, but uhh, the cast that includes everyone under 30 and hot in Hollywood? Anna Kendrick, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Chris Evans, Kieran Culkin, Brandon Routh, Alison Pill, Jason Schwartzman, Aubrey Plaza, Brie Larson, Marc Webber... the list goes on and on for days.
Release Date: August, 2010. The U.K. date is August 27, so around that time.
"Black Swan" - Fox Searchlight - Dir. Darren Aronofsky
Synopsis: An ambitious young ballerina (Natalie Portman) competes with a mysterious doppelganger (Mila Kunis) for the lead role in Swan Lake.
What You Need To Know: A real left turn for helmer Aronofsky, "Black Swan" is a good old fashioned melodrama (think "The Red Shoes" meets "Whatever Happened To Baby Jane") with a dash of "Mullholland Drive" thrown into the mix. The script's pretty solid, but most excitingly, it provides a real opportunity for Aronofsky to play around the visuals. "The Wrestler" marked something of a creative rebirth for the director, and we can't wait to see what he comes up with here. While a lot of buzz surrounding the film is focusing on a sex scene you might have heard about we're more excited to hear what longtime Aronofsky composer Clint Mansell comes up with for the soundtrack that will apparently be built from elements of Tchaikovsky's "Swan Lake".
Release Date: Fall 2010
"Biutiful" - Focus Features - dir. Alejandro González Iñárritu
Synopsis: A man involved in illegal/shady dealing is confronted by his childhood friend who is now a policeman.
What You Need To Know: Produced by the Cha, Cha, Cha team (Guillermo Del Toro, Alfonso Cuaron and Iñárritu), the Spanish-language film stars Javier Bardem and the Rubén Ochandiano ("Che: Part Two"), but not too much is known otherwise. However, it does mark the first screenplay the director has written without his longtime collaborator Guillermo Arriaga, who felt stiffed of credit and moved on to direct his own multi-tiered narratives. The film is currently shooting in Barcelona, Spain and two-time Academy Award winning composer Gustavo Santaolalla (Iñárritu's "Babel" and "21 Grams") is handling the music chores.
Release Date: TBD
"Greenberg" – Focus Features – dir. Noah Baumbach
Synopsis: An aimless 40-something New Yorker (Ben Stiller) moves to Los Angeles to house sit for his brother and ends up in various romantic entanglements including falling for his sibling's assistant (mumblecore actress Greta Gerwig).
What You Need To Know: The director of excellent indie films, "Squid And The Whale" and "Margot At The Wedding," was all set to make perhaps his masterpiece with two of the most perfectly suited actors to his work, Mark Ruffalo and Amy Adams, but after the lead actor's brother died, he dropped out of the project and this chased away Adams as well. Now we're stuck with Ben Stiller, whose mugging, hammy comedy seems extremely ill-suited to Baumbach's sensibilities, yet the trailer arrived in late 2009 and he, and it, looked surprisingly aces. The film also co-stars Rhys Ifans, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Brie Larson, Juno Temple, Chris Messina and Mark Duplass. Electro-rockers LCD Soundsystem are writing original music for the film.
Release Date: March 12, 2010
"Your Highness" - Universal - dir. David Gordon Green
Synopsis: In medieval times, a slovenly knight (Danny McBride) must try to save his father's kingdom and a princess (Zooey Deschanel) while also kicking a pot smoking habit. Luckily he has a brother (James Franco) and a warrior princess (Natalie Portman) to abet his quest.
What You Need To Know: Some may not have been fans of "The Foot Fist Way," but the makers of that film have permeated the culture quite a bit with "Eastbound & Down", and 'Foot' co-writers Danny McBride and Ben Best scripting this medieval comedy for "Pineapple Express" director Green seems like it could be interesting, considering it's essentially a send-up of '80s fantasy/sci-fi films like "Krull." McBride is in the lead, and he's promised cheap, but amusing" Ray Harryhausen 'Clash of the Titans' effects." So another genre experiment, and another pot comedy for Green. The one problem? The script is juvenile beyond belief and reads as if it was written by a 15-year-old teenager completely amused with himself. Let's hope there is lots of improvisation off-book.
Release Date: October 1, 2010
"Paul" - Universal - dir. Greg Mottola
Synopsis: Two British sci-fi nerds attending a comic convention in America get sidetracked when they befriend an alien in the New Mexico desert.
What You Need To Know: Peanut-butter-and-jelly combo Simon Pegg and Nick Frost star as the nerds, with Frost taking the alpha male role this time, switching up a pretty familiar dynamic. Also changing things will be the American Mottola, director of "Superbad" and 2008's "Adventureland," who seems to be branching out with what looks like sci-fi comedy with traces of "E.T." and "Back To The Future." Normally movies about sci-fi and comic nerds seem shallow and desperate ("Free Enterprise" comes to mind), but no one distilled the notion of being a proud nerd quite like Pegg did in co-creating the British sitcom "Spaced," so we're willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.
Release Date: Likely Summer 2010
"The Adjustment Bureau" - Universal - Dir. George Nolfi
Synopsis: A promising young senator (Matt Damon) crosses paths with a ballerina (Emily Blunt), and then discovers a shadowy organization is trying to keep them apart... potentially for the future of the planet.
What You Need To Know: The success rate of Philip K Dick adaptations is very much a mixed bag: "Blade Runner" near the top clearly, but the likes of "Paycheck" and "Screamers" right at the bottom. "The Adjustment Bureau," adapted from Dick's short story "The Adjustment Team" by writer-director George Nolfi ("The Bourne Ultimatum"), looks like it could be one of the better ones. The cast's full of interesting actors like John Slattery ("Mad Men") and Anthony Mackie ("The Hurt Locker"), and the script is original and moving. It remains to be seen if Nolfi has any directing chops, but a lot will rely on the chemistry between Blunt and Damon, but we're hopeful.
Release Date: TBD but the fall looks pretty promising.
"Due Date" - Warner Brothers - Dir. Todd Phillips
Synopsis: An uptight, expectant father must team up with a slacker on a road trip in order to reach his wife before she gives birth.
What You Need to Know: One of the more surprising elements of the massive success of Phillips' "The Hangover" is the potential for scene stealer Zach Galifianakis to be the next big comic star. Again teaming up with the director, Galifianakis will star as the slacker alongside Robert Downey, Jr. as the high-strung father-to-be. Though it sounds like a retread of "Planes, Trains and Automobiles," remember that "Hangover" sounded like a retread of "Bachelor Party" and "Dude, Where's My Car?" While we’re fans of all involved, we wonder if Galifianakis has his heart in this comic star thing—interviews with him suggest he’d rather be doing his idiosyncratic stand-up and tending to his North Carolina farm than yucking it up with A-listers. But if he really felt that way, couldn’t he just say "no", right? Look for Michelle Monahan to make an appearance as Downey's wife.
Release Date: November 5, 2010
“The American” - Focus Features - dir. Anton Corbijn
Synopsis: An assassin escapes to a rural village in southern Italy where he poses as a quiet artist who paints miniatures of butterflies and has traveled to the area to capture a unique native specimen. With just one more assignment to carry out though, romantic entanglements and local friendships complicate the assassin in completing his task.
What You Need To Know: Based on a creepy psychological suspense novel by Martin Booth ("A Very Private Gentleman" which was the original title of the film), the film stars George Clooney and is helmed by Corbijn, the director of 2008’s biopic of Joy Division’s Ian Curtis, “Control.” Corbijn follows a long line of music-video-directors-turned-film-directors having made videos for such bands as Nirvana, Coldplay, Metallica, Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds. Filming began in rural Italy during late September, with Thekla Reuten — who appeared "In Bruges" as the pregnant, Belgian hotel owner caught in the middle of a gunfight — playing the love interest and a supporting cast of character actors or European names: Bruce Altman, Paolo Bonacelli and Violante Placido.
Release Date: September 3, 2010
"Knockout" - Lionsgate - dir. Steven Soderbergh
Synopsis: A woman with exceptional mixed martial arts skills is hired by the government who want to utilize her talents.
What You Need To Know: The latest studio film from Soderbergh, following a helluva 2009 that saw "Che," "The Girlfriend Experience," and "The Informant!," promises another iconoclastic work from one of America's most fascinating directors. Teaming for a third time with contentious screenwriter Lem Dobbs - who wrote "Kafka" and "The Limey" - the tentatively titled "Knockout" stars real life champion and first time actress Gina Carano, however, name actors will bolster the supporting cast roles, and DJ David Holmes, who worked with Soderbergh on the "Ocean's" films and "Out Of Sight" is back to work on the score. It should be noted that Soderbergh's deal will give him no upfront pay but will give him full ownership of the film. Wow. This is one of three films Soderbergh has planned to shoot in 2010 ("Liberace" and "Cleo"), but please, someone make him reconsider retiring at the age 50 (that's in three years!). The director also has his Spalding Gray documentary, "And Everything Is Going Fine" hitting Slamdance in January.
Release Date: TBD
“The Social Network” - Columbia – Dir. David Fincher
Synopsis: A trial drama revolving around the founders of the social-networking website, Facebook.
What You Need to Know: We're not head over heels about the script the way some people were, but with some heavy drafting, and the hope that Fincher can take this in an interesting direction visually, this could be a captivating ride. At the very least, we'd love to see if Jessie Eisenberg can drop the adorable for a second and creep us out as the infamous Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Slated to cast alongside Eisenberg are Justin Timberlake, Rashida Jones, Andrew Garfield, Max Minghella, Rooney Mara, and Dakota Johnson.
Release Date: October 15, 2010
“The Rum Diary” – Warner Bros. – Dir. Bruce Robinson
Synopsis: Paul Kemp is a freelance journalist who finds himself, at a critical turning point in his life, drawn to the Caribbean. Self reflection and destruction ensue.
What You Need to Know: Anyone who's a fan of Johnny Depp in "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" (is anyone not?) should be looking forward to his long awaited second role as a Hunter S. Thompson surrogate. Cult director Bruce Robinson ("How To Get Ahead In Advertising") — who hasn't helmed a feature length film since "Jennifer Eight" in 1992 — is directing, and he's also a name you may recognize as the mind behind the wonderfully acidic English black comedy, "Withnail and I" – one of Depp's all-time favorite films. Aaron Eckhart, Giovanni Ribisi, and the easy-to-look-at Amber Heard co-star.
Release Date: TBD
"Shutter Island" – Columbia/Paramount - Dir. Martin Scorsese
Synopsis: Set in the 1950s, a U.S. Marshal investigates the disappearance of an escaped mental hospital murderess who is presumed to be hiding on the remote island.
What You Need To Know: Based on a 2003 Dennis Lehane novel (he also wrote the novels on which "Mystic River" and "Gone Baby Gone" were based), "Shutter Island" is a psychological thriller that boasts a remarkable cast that includes Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley, Emily Mortimer, Michelle Williams, the great Max von Sydow, and Jackie Earle Haley in Scorsese's first feature-length non-documentary film since "The Departed." However, as we know by having read the script, this is a glorified B-Movie (think "Jacob's Ladder") with a great cast and never had chances for Oscar despite what many people assumed.
Release Date: It was scheduled for October 6, 2009, but was infamously (for no reason, see above), bumped to February 19, 2009.
"Hereafter" - Dreamworks SKG - Dir. Clint Eastwood
Synopsis: Dubbed a "supernatural thriller," what's on the page is more akin to a sturdy, quiet drama about three people faced with near-death or death experiences trying to figure out what, if anything, exists after death and how their lives eventually intercede.
What You Need To Know: Clint Eastwood teams up with his new "Invictus" BFF Matt Damon, along with Bryce Dallas Howard, French actors Cecile de France, Thierry Neuvic and Mylene Jampanoi for his next film that, by the time you read this, is probably already in the can. The film is a three-part story and every character (Damon, de France and the little boy Frankie McLaren, who loses his twin) gets equal screentime. It's also interesting to note that the film, written by Peter Morgan ("The Queen," "Frost/Nixon" and the upcoming 23rd Bond film) is practically shooting worldwide, with sets in Paris, London, Hawaii and San Francisco. Given the subject matter and Eastwood's advancing age (he will be 80 in 2010), we wonder if this will be Eastwood's most personal, poignant film to date. That is if it's not like "Invictus" - workman-like to the point of being dry and dull. If the suits at Dreamworks give it a fall release date, expect yet another Oscar run for Clint, but his great-to-average ratio is quickly falling in the negative category. We're either very hopeful here or very naive.
Release Date: December 2010, according to IMDB.
"The Conspirator" - American Film Co. - Dir. Robert Redford
Synopsis: When the entire nation turns against the lone female (Robin Wright Penn) charged as a co-conspirator in the assassination trial of Abraham Lincoln, she is forced to rely on her reluctant lawyer (James McAvoy) to uncover the truth and save her life.
What You Need To Know: For his eighth directorial effort Robert Redford seemingly goes for broke, pulling out all the stops and hiring an all-star, character-heavy cast that includes, Justin Long, Evan Rachel Wood, Alexis Beldel, Danny Huston, Kevin Kline, Tom Wilkinson, Johnny Simmons, Stephen Root and Toby Kebbell. Seemingly set as one of the 2010 Oscar-bait frontrunners, "The Conspirator" script plays out like an injustice, post 9/11 fear-mongering cautionary tale, which should mean it still resonates with contemporary audiences. There's a lot of typical, court-room drama grandstanding and electioneering, but if executed with a deft hand, it could easily be one of the year's strongest films.
Release Date: TBD, but fall 2010 seems more than apt considering the Oscar-baity-ness of the project.
"Restless" - Sony - Dir. Gus Van Sant
Synopsis: Officially, it's a "tale of a two young people who share a preoccupation with mortality." But it's also the story of a a 16-year-old-girl (Mia Wasikowska) who has been diagnosed with a terminal illness and falls in love with an off-beat boy (Henry Hopper) who likes to attend funerals and is suffering from the death of his family — which somehow produces the ghost of a young, Japanese kamikaze pilot from WWII (Ryo Kase), no really.
What You Need To Know: Think "Terms of Endearment" meets "Harold & Maude for the emo generation. Jason Lew's script for "Restless" is funny, sad, weird, and in many ways all over the map with lots of interesting tones and tenors. Gus Van Sant will have his work cut out for him, but surely he'll find a way to balance all the disparateness. It's odd, it's unique, and therefore it's one of our most anticipated films of 2010 for sure. In lesser hands however, this thing truly could be a disaster. The lead is actually Dennis Hopper's son in his first starring role and Sissy Spacek's daughter Schuyler Fisk also has a significant part as Wasikowska's older sister.
Release Date: TBD. Filming wrapped December 18. A fall 2010 release seems apropos.
“Untitled Aron Ralston Project” - Fox Searchlight – Dir. Danny Boyle
Synopsis: The true story of Aron Ralston's necessary decision to amputate part of his arm with a dull knife, after it is pinned under a boulder in a hiking accident.
What You Need To Know: The world's been waiting for Danny Boyle's next move after 'Slumdog,' and he finally settled on this difficult, hard-to-film tale (Boyle's always up for a challenge). An excruciating story about human compromise, with one of the best actors working today (Ryan Gosling might play the lead), and a talented director with free reign. Aside from that we don't know much, but it's enough to look forward to. Of particular interest is how the fast paced, ensemble-heavy director will handle a story with little to no dialogue, at least for certain long lengths of screen time. Take a look at the inspiration for this project in the mean time.
Release Date: TBD, but filming is reportedly scheduled for March 2010, so end of year?
“It’s Kind Of A Funny Story” - Focus Features – dir. Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden
Synopsis: A 15-year-old boy (relative newcomer Keir Gilchrist) checks himself into a psychiatric hospital after battling depression only to find himself admitted into the adult ward. Inside, the boy develops a series of colorful and dramatic relationships with a group of adults and even a girl of his own age (Zoe Kravitz).
What You Need To Know: Fleck and Boden followed their great debut “Half Nelson” with the hearty “Sugar.” The duo are now looking to repeat the adult-child relationship formula -- a dynamic that worked wonders with Ryan Gosling and Shareeka Epps in “Half Nelson” -- with a more comedic, but ostensibly no less touching tale based on a novel by Ned Vizzini. The rest of the cast is stellar and includes Zach Galifinakis (one of the adult mental patients who befriends the boy), Lauren Graham, Emma Roberts, Viola Davis (a therapist), Jim Gaffigan and Asif Mandvi ("The Daily Show")
Release Date: November, 2010
"Untitled James L. Brooks Project" - Sony - James L. Brooks
Synopsis: A sports-centric rom-com which centers on a love triangle between a white collar executive (Paul Rudd) and a professional baseball player (Owen Wilson) who are both vying for the affections of a woman (Reese Witherspoon) who comes from a sports-loving family and is just recovering from a major break-up.
What You Need To Know: The film was originally titled, "How Do You Know?," but then shrunk back to an "Untitled" midway through the year ($10 bucks says the title comes back). Bill Murray was originally pegged to play one of the father figures, but then the elusive actor just disappeared (as he is wont to do) and Brooks was forced to reach out to Jack Nicholson instead. Written, directed and produced by Brooks, the screenplay is a massive 160-plus page tome that we had to eventually put down because it was so thick and gigantic. Brooks comedies are generally two-hours plus and with that script length we expect no different.
Release Date: December 17, 2010
"Green Zone" – Universal - Dir. Paul Greengrass
Synopsis: A pair of CIA agents uncover faulty intelligence which causes a U.S. Army officer (Matt Damon) to go rogue as he hunts for Weapons of Mass Destruction in an unstable region
What You Need To Know: This upcoming thriller which also stars Amy Ryan, Greg Kinnear, and Brendan Gleeson was based on the 2006 non-fiction book Imperial Life in the Emerald City by Rajiv Chandrasekaren, a reporter for The Washington Post. Plagued with delays as Greengrass continued to tinker and reshoot throughout 2008 and '09, the film was eventually bumped out of this year's Oscar season by Universal and slotted in the much less prestigious March slot, which doesn't bode well. Plus, any film that gestates for too long can become culturally irrelevant and this WMD-centric film might fall on deaf ears, as it is being released two years after the fact. Consider us still intrigued only because of the principal players involved.
Release Date: March 16, 2010
"Never Let Me Go" - TBD - Dir. Mark Romanek
Synopsis: It's marketed as a "alternate history film" about a woman who discovers (Keira Knightley) her past and therefore dark secrets, but that's hiding the obvious — the film is based on Kazuo Ishiguro's best-selling book of the same name — and it's no major spoiler to say this is a melancholy dystopian tale of a group of young friends who grow up and realize they came of age at a special school for clones.
What You Need To Know: Scripted by Danny Boyle writer Alex Garland, "Never Let Me Go" is dolorous, and while a little dry on paper, should easily be off-set by the excellent British cast of Keira Knightley, Carey Mulligan, Andrew Garfield, Sally Hawkins, Charlotte Rampling and Andrea Riseborough. Interest will be piqued by geek-heads, but this is more a low-key, emotional British boarding-school drama that happens to have a sci-fi-ish bent, rather than being a full-blown science fiction tale. A friend of ours saw it in mid 2009 and called it gorgeous and visually accomplished. The film also marks the long-awaited return to the big screen for music video director Mark Romanek who is stepping out for the first time since 2002's "One Hour Photo," after he bailed on "The Wolf Man" at the last minute.
Release Date: TBD. Fall would be perfect, but we could also see it hit as a counter-programming move in the summer depending on what's available. This won't be a film that starts out in wide release.
"Serge Gainsbourg: A Life Heroic" - Universal France/Seville Pictures - dir. Joann Sfar
Synopsis: A cradle-to-grave biopic of the French musical icon and dark prince of sleaze, Serge Gainsbourg.
What You Need To Know: The films boasts a great French cast, but not necessarily an all-star one known outside France. Unknown actor Eric Elmosnino plays Serge, former supermodel Laetitia Casta inhabits the comely body of Brigitte Bardot, the late Lucy Gordon (RIP) takes on the role of Jane Birkin (the mother of Charlotte Gainsbourg), Anna Mouglalis ("Coco Chanel & Stravinsky") is playing elegant chanson singer Juliette Gréco, actress Sara Forestier ("Perfume: The Story of a Murderer") will play mousy, French yé-yé singer France Gall and French/Chinese actress Mylène Jampanoï takes on Gainsbourg's late-life muse, Bambou. Our major concern is that Sfar promised an unconventional biopic that even contained animation by the guys who worked on "Pan's Labyrinth," but the trailer, so far, suggests something far more traditional and reports from the already-screened film in France don't contradict this sentiment. Still, we're immensly curious and this musical iconoclast is still vastly underappreciated and deserves his own cinematic due.
Release Date: TBD (opens in Quebec on March 12, 2010 in limited release)
"London Boulevard" - GK Films - dir. William Monahan
Synopsis: A recently freed ex-con (Colin Farrell), trying to stay on the straight and narrow, takes a job with a faded movie star (Keira Knightley).
What You Need To Know: The directorial debut of Oscar winning writer Monahan ("The Departed"), this is a gangster drama with an outstanding British cast (aside from the leads, it also features Ray Winstone, Eddie Marsan, Anna Friel, David Thewlis and Stephen Graham.) The screenplay's pretty great — it brushes against Guy Ritchie style-cliche, but for the most part is a sadder and a more original take on the genre, with all the richness and breadth of the best of Monahan's work. Farrell's on the strongest form he's ever been in, and Knightley, while a little young for the part as written, is otherwise perfect for a very good role. The great Howard Shore is composing the score.
Release Date: Spring 2010 is the rumored release frame.
"Howl" - TBD - dir. Rob Epstein & Jeffrey Friedman
Synopsis: A drama centered on the obscenity trial following the publication of Allen Ginsburg's "Howl".
What you need to know: Award-winning documentary filmmakers Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Freidman ("The Life And Times Of Harvey Milk," "The Celluloid Closet") direct this feature film about the obscenity trial that followed in the wake of the publication of Allen Ginsburg's landmark work "Howl." James Franco, who has long suffered being cast in dramatic roles in films that are otherwise forgettable, gets the meatiest part, playing Ginsburg. "Mad Men" star Jon Hamm plays Citylights Bookstore owner Jake Erhlich who is brought to court for selling the book, while the rest of the cast is rounded out by Mary-Louise Parker, Jeff Daniels, Bob Balaban and David Strathairn. We wonder if the film will be powerful enough to spur a renewed interest in the works of the Beats for a new generation, but we will be happy enough if "Howl" lives up to its fascinating true-life premise.
Release Date: TBD (Sundance premiere)
"Blue Valentine" - TBD - dir. Derek Cianfrance
Synopsis: An imploding couple (Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams) with a child and on the verge of a break-up retreat to a motel to salvage their marriage. The picture then looks back on their 10-year relationship.
What You Need To Know: Director Derek Cianfrance's "Brother Tied" made quite a splash over a decade ago at Sundance, but he's barely been heard from since (though he has made several portrait docs of musicians like, Mos Def, Run DMC and Jam Master Jay). Nevertheless, the cast of "Blue Valentine" — an awesome, made-for-each-other pairing — has made it one of the top 5 anticipated films at the otherwise mediocre and forgettable Sundance 2010. Psych-pop indie rockers, Grizzly Bear are providing the musical score.
Release Date: TBD (Sundance premiere)
"We Need to Talk About Kevin" – BBC Films – Dir. Lynne Ramsay
Synopsis: A Columbine-like tragedy drama about a smart, educated New York mother (Tilda Swinton) who does her best to raise a difficult, unwanted son – who eventually breaks down her marriage – and then goes on a murderous crossbow-killing rampage at his high school just before his 16th birthday. She then has to deal with the grief and aftermath, questioning if she ever really loved the boy to begin with.
What You Need To Know: Having not directed a film since "Morvern Callar" in 2002, gifted Scottish director Lynne Ramsay then spent two years trying to adapt Alice Sebold's "The Lovely Bones," before it was released and became a best seller. While she never quite said why, she's suggested the popularity of the book steered it away from the dark adaptation she had envisioned (and look how poorly the Peter Jackson version turned out). She then set her eyes on adapting and directing Lionel Shriver's disturbing novel about a school massacre and while it's taken a long time to get off the ground, Swinton finally freed up her schedule long enough to officially join the cast in the fall of 2009, and Luc Roeg's Independent Film Company picked up the international rights.
Release Date: TBD. Filming is set to start in early 2010 so hopefully we'll see a picture before the year's end. Steven Soderbergh is an executive producer.
"The Descendants" - Fox Searchlight - Dir. Alexander Payne
Synopsis: A tragicomedy that centers on the story of an attorney (George Clooney) who finds his life at a crossroads after the death of his wife, and decides to take a trip with his two daughters to find the man she was having an affair with. Essentially it's an unconventional tale about fatherhood.
What You Need To Know: The world has sorely missed Alexander Payne, who hasn't directed a feature length film since 2004's "Sideways" (though he did a short in "Paris Je T'aime"). Payne's had this one set up over at Fox Searchlight since 2007, and seemed to be ready to jump on "Downsizing" instead -- a sci-fi-ish dramedy about a minturization process that helps Earth reverse the effects of global warming and food shortage by shrinking its population and therefore using and consuming less. Budget concerns made Payne go back to the drawing board, where he decided to pick up the already-complete script by Nat Faxon and Jim Rash. No other cast has been secured, but the film is expected to shoot in early 2010, so look for an announcement soon.
Release Date: TBD, but we would imagine this would likely be a Fall 2010 Oscar-bait picture ala "Up In The Air."
“The Beaver” – Summit Entertainment - dir. Jodie Foster
Synopsis: A depressed man finds solace in wearing a beaver hand-puppet which he uses as a tool for communication.
What You Need To Know: The 2008 Black List topper, “The Beaver” was originally set to be tackled by the director-actor team of Jay Roach and Steve Carrell which, quite frankly, seemed on track to be another run-of-the-mill comedy for Carrell to complete during his “The Office” off-season. But with Foster and Mel Gibson now on board, the comedy actually has an actor we’d pay to see portray the, from all accounts, dark and twisted lead. This will only be Gibson’s second role since 2006 with the maligned actor also set to star in Martin Campbell’s “Edge Of Darkness” in 2010.
Release Date: TBD
"Miral" - TBD - dir. Julian Schnabel
Synopsis: 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.
What You Need To Know: Even compared to twin abstract biographies "Before Night Falls" (featuring a sterling turn from Javier Bardem) and "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" (likewise, Mathieu Amalric), painter cum filmmaker Julian Schnabel's latest sounds ambitious and a little crazy. "Miral," the director's first film since his 2008 concert doc "Lou Reed's Berlin," and first narrative since 2007's 'Diving Bell,' boldly attempts to explore the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and was shot on location. The film stars Israel's own Hiam Abbas, who just last year played the lead in Eran Riklis's "Lemon Tree," itself about the frictions between Israeli and Palestinian territories. But while Riklis's film is set in present times, Schnabel's "Miral" takes place in 1948. Other actors involved include Willem Dafoe and "Slumdog Millionaire" actress Freida Pinto.
Release Date: IMDB lists that this is in post-production. Hopefully someone picks this up in time for Oscar season 2010?
"The Grand Master" - TBD - dir. Wong Kar-Wai
Synopsis: It's a biopic of Ip Man, Bruce Lee's mentor, starring Wong Kar-Wai regular, Tony Leung.
What You Need To Know: As a follow-up to 2008's disappointing "My Blueberry Nights" (Wong's visually sumptuous but empty English-language debut) and 2005's overly-ambitious, romantic melodrama/sci-fi pastiche, "2046," Wong's first film of the new decade could either signify a return to the glory of his '90s output (when he didn't release even one mediocre picture), or could confirm the belief some of us have — that his most vibrant and alive filmmaking is behind him. Production on "Master" was delayed for a few months when Leung broke his arm while training for his part. In the interim, more cast members were added (Chang Chen, Zhang Ziyi, Hye-kyo Song), and rumors were started that have yet to be cleared up (is Gong Li in this thing or what? How about Brigitte Lin?), but as of late November, production seems to be back on track.
Release Date/Status: Shooting scheduled to take place between December and April.
"Kaboom" - TBD - dir. Gregg Araki
Synopsis: A sci-fi story centered on the sexual awakening of a group of college students.
What You Need To Know: Queer cinema ringleader Araki returns after the perplexing misfire "Smiley Face" with a film sounding reminiscent of his last real triumph, "Mysterious Skin." Araki's latest, "Kaboom," is described, most intriguingly, as a "hyper-stylized 'Twin Peaks' for the Coachella Generation," and a "sex-drenched horror-comedy thriller." It's also said to have a "sci-fi twist," putting it in the company of "Mysterious Skin," whose characters believe they were abducted by aliens when they were younger. The plot here of course sounds much more zany than the somber, soulful and provocative 'Skin': 18-year-old Smith (Thomas Dekker, of TV's "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles") hangs out with arty friends and hooks up with beautiful, free-spirited women, while trying to unravel a "monstrous conspiracy" and tripping on some "hallucinogenic cookies."
Release Date/Status: Currently in post-production so hopefully we'll have it before the end of year, that is unless it has to wait for Sundance 2011.
"The First Gun" - Sony Pictures Classics - dir. Zhang Yimou
Synopsis: The owner of a Chinese noodle shop's scheme to murder his adulterous wife and her lover goes awry. Aka a remake of the Coen Brothers' "Blood Simple."
What You Need To Know: Pre-"Fargo," pre-"No Country for Old Men," Joel and Ethan Coen's expertly crafted, genre-centric debut, "Blood Simple," has tendency to be overlooked. Not by China's Zhang Yimou, however, who's announced the strangest "remake" in recent memory. Apparently, Zhang's taken "Blood Simple's" plot and filtered it through a lens of absurdist comedy (not usually Zhang's bag) and subbed out the original's small-town Texas milieu for, um, a noodle stand in the Chinese desert. Did we mention it's a period piece and that Zhang wrote a rap song for the film? All this makes us more excited than worried, however, in large part due to his lavish but emotionally vacant 2007 effort, "The Curse of the Golden Flower," that seemed to find Zhang in a state of complacency, adhering stubbornly to a worn-out genre. The slapstick, gaudy special effects of 'First Gun's' trailer look a little too goofy, but the fact that Zhang is trying new things is at least interesting.
Release Date: Sony Pictures Classics has the rights and are aiming for a 2010 release.
"The Tempest" - Miramax - Dir. Julie Taymor
Synopsis: In this gender-bending take on Shakespeare's play, Prospera (Helen Mirren) and her daughter (Felicity Jones) are joined on an isolated isle by the sorceress's enemies.
What You Need To Know: This is director Julie Taymor's second big-screen stab at Shakespeare (after 1999's "Titus"), and she's already directed a stage version of "The Tempest" back in the 1980s. We like Taymor's take on the classic character (and the brilliant casting of the versatile, still sexy Mirren), and if the director's previous work, both good ("Frida") and bad ("Across the Universe"), is any indication, audiences are at least in for a visual treat. Russell Brand, Chris Cooper, Alfred Molina, Djimon Hounsou, Alan Cumming, Ben Whishaw, David Strathairn and Reeve Carney co-star.
Release Date: TBA 2010
Untitled Mike Leigh film - Focus Features - dir. Mike Leigh
Synopsis: There isn't one, other than "intimate portrait of people's lives." No one has a clue what this is about. Not that Mike Leigh films are big on "plot."
What You Need To Know: So far, all we know is that it's just another film that uses Leigh's trademark methods of improvisation featured in films like, "Happy Go-Lucky," "Naked," "Secret & Lies" and many, many others. The director's modus operandi is generally this: rehearse with his actors for months and let the story surface from the character's interactions. Then a loose idea forms, a story eventually coalesces and he writes a story based on those improvisations and then shoots it, all with room for more spontaneity. Leigh-mainstays Jim Broadbent ("Topsy Turvy") and Imelda Staunton ("Vera Drake") star alongside Lesley Manville (Leigh's "All or Nothing"), Philip Davis and Karina Fernandez (who played Sally Hawkins' best friend in "Happy Go-Lucky"). That's not a lot to go on, but really, when was the last time Mike Leigh ever made a downright bad film? Never?
Release Date: TBD
"The Kids Are Alright" - Antidote Films - Lisa Cholodenko
Synopsis: A brother and sister (newcomer Josh Hutcherson and Mia Wasikowska) set out to find their same-sex parents' sperm donor (Mark Ruffalo), who totally upsets their family dynamic once he enters their lives.
What You Need To Know: While Lisa Cholodenko may have never directed a perfect picture, considering how many truly interesting ones she's made with their own charms ("High Art," "Laurel Canyon") she's due to eventually hit one out of the park. She's always managed to score great casts, which one must presume is on the strength of her scripts and 'Kids' boasts some strong players on top of Ruffalo and Wasikowska in Julianne Moore and Annette Bening (the same sex parents) so we're expecting her to finally fufill her promise.
Release Date: TBD (Sundance premiere)
"True Grit" - Universal - Ethan & Joel Coen
Synopsis: A stubborn and headstrong teenager hires a drunken, irascible U.S. Marshall (Jeff Bridges) to track down the drifter/hired hand (Josh Brolin) who double crossed and murdered her father. A hard-nosed Texas Ranger (Matt Damon) also on the man's tail for previous crimes soon joins their hunt.
What You Need To Know: A remake of the 1969 Western starring John Wayne, "True Grit" was never that exciting or dynamic of a film, but in the hands of the Coen Brothers as well as inspired casting, this looks to be something special, especially by taking their "No Country For Old Men" star (Brolin) and giving him a smaller supporting role as the ungrateful hired-hand that starts off the whole chain of events when he kills his boss in a drunken argument. A nation-wide search has been put on by the Coen Brothers to fill the key slot of Mattie Ross, the obdurate and brassy teenager whose eyes the story is told from. The Coen Brother script is dry as the Sahara, but their scripts are typically unsentimental and to the point, so we're still expecting something dark, yet comedic, and as always, matter-of-fact.
Release Date: It's shooting March 2010, so late 2010, probably December or late November seems doable if everything goes according to plan.
"Untitled Joaquin Phoenix Documentary" - TBD - Dir. Casey Affleck
Synopsis: A documentary (or mockumentary) about Joaquin Phoenix's departure from acting and his entry into the rap world.
What you need to know: During his press appearances in the run up to the release of James Gray's "Two Lovers," a bearded and disheveled Joaquin Phoenix announced his retirement from acting, made a bizarre appearance on David Letterman and caused speculation that the actor was in a full on meltdown. That was until details emerged that the actor was quitting Hollywood to pursue a rap career, and that Casey Affleck was rolling with the hip hop protege, committing everything to film. And then nothing. "Two Lovers" came and went, unfortunately obscured by Phoenix's behavior, while Affleck returned to work. IMDB says the film is in post-production, but IMDB says a lot of things. Did the project start out intending to be a serious documentary only to have Phoenix actually have a breakdown? Is this just a really ill-conceived mockumentary? Is this even going to see the light of day? Whatever the case, we're definitely trainwreck curious.
Release Date: TBD
"The Runaways" - Apparition - Dir. Floria Sigismondi
Synopsis: A biopic about the punk-rock L.A.'70s girl band The Runaways? Sort of. It also apparently primarily focuses on the lesbian relationship between lead members Joan Jett (Kristen Stewart) and Cherie Currie (Dakota Fanning).
What You Need To Know: This thing has a pretty star-studded teen cast with Stewart, Fanning, Alia Shawkat ("Arrested Development") plus Tatum O'Neal and Michael Shannon as the reptillian band manager/impresario Kim Fowley. All eyes are on music video director Sigismondi as she makes her long-overdue leap into feature-length filmmaking. The number of biopics about female rock bands is currently zero, so this one will be a first either way. Let's just hope it's more successful than its L.A. punk counter-part, "What We Do Is Secret" about the Germs.
Release Date: March 19, 2009 with a Sundance premiere in January.
“The Killer Inside Me” - dir. Michael Winterbottom
Synopsis: A West Texas sheriff goes on a downward spiral from a boring small-town cop into a ruthless, sociopathic murderer continually trying to cement his innocence when evidence may suspiciously suggest otherwise.
What You Need To Know: Based on a novel of the same name by Jim Thompson — who among other achievements, co-wrote Stanley Kubrick’s classic-heist-caper “The Killing” — this 1950’s period film shot in Oklahoma in the summer of ‘09 features Casey Affleck as the protagonist, Simon Baker as the attorney on his tail, Kate Hudson as Affleck’s girlfriend, Jessica Alba as a prostitute and Ned Beatty and Bill Pullman in unknown roles.
Release Date: Summer 2010
"Cedar Rapids" - Fox Searchlight - Dir. Miguel Arteta
Synopsis: A sadsack Midwestern salesman heads to a corporate retreat in the big city to save the jobs of his co-workers and snap out of a mid-life funk.
What You Need To Know: Ed Helms headlines this ensemble comedy-drama, a smart choice given his untested leading man position and association with "The Office." The whole thing sounds decidedly middlebrow (and the presence of co-star John C. Reilly recalls the similarly unambitious "The Promotion") but Arteta, who previously directed critically-accalimed flicks like "The Good Girl" and "Chuck and Buck," is looking for his first shot at the big-time (though that might happen with the upcoming "Youth In Revolt"). The supporting cast is pretty strong too and includes Sigourney Weaver, Alia Shawkat, Anne Heche and Stephen Root.
Release Date: TBD
"The Ghost Writer" - Summit Entertainment - Roman Polanski
Synopsis: A ghostwriter (Ewan McGregor) hired to complete the memoirs of a former British prime minister (Pierce Brosnan) uncovers secrets that put his own life in jeopardy.
What You Need To Know: It's a thinly-veiled screed aimed at Tony Blair, and more importantly, the film has gained major notoriety since it will be Polanski's first completed film since being incarcerated in September 2009 on a 37-year-old unlawful sex case (and parts of it were completed without him). Kim Cattrall, Olivia Williams, Timothy Hutton, Tom Wilkinson and James Belushi co-star.
Release Date: First Quarter 2010 (likely March), with a world premiere at the Berlin Film Festival which starts February 11.
"Rabbit Hole" - Fox Searchlight - Dir. John Cameron Mitchell
Synopsis: A couple struggles to cope with the death of their four-year-old son.
What You Need To Know: Adapted for the screen by David Lindsay-Abaire from his own Pulitzer-Prize winning play, Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart star in the self-described anti-Hollywood production which co-stars Dianne Wiest, Tammy Blanchard and Sandra Oh. Cameron Mitchell draws from his own experiences of losing a four-year-old brother for the film.
Release Date: TBD
"The Town" – Warner Brothers - dir. Ben Affleck
Synopsis: Love and crime intertwine in this story about a bank manager (Rebecca Hall), the career criminal who stole more than just her heart (Ben Affleck) and a dedicated FBI agent (Jon Hamm) trying to catch the criminal and his gang.
What You Need To Know: Based on an award-winning Chuck Hogan novel, Ben Affleck's sophomore directorial effort sees him return to his native Boston for this romantic-crime-thriller. Hamm and Hall star alongside Affleck as the driving romantic love triangle while Jeremy Renner, Blake Lively and Chris Cooper co-star as a member of Affleck's gang, his sister slash Affleck's ex-girlfriend and Affleck's father respectively.
Release Date: September 10, 2010
"Henry's Crime" - TBD - dir. Malcolm Venville
Synopsis: A depressed Buffalo toll both worker (Keanu Reeves) going through an existentialist crisis when he is falsely accused of robbing a bank in Buffalo.
What You Need To Know: It's written by Sacha Gervasi who directed one of 2009's best documentaries, "Anvil! The Story Of Anvil" (he also wrote Spielberg's "The Terminal") and it is directed by Malcolm Venville, the man behind the British gangster drama, "44 Inch Chest." While we did see "44" in London and weren't in love, "Crime" has a strong supporting cast (James Caan and Vera Farmiga) and Gervasi piqued our interest when he described it to us as a, "twisted, romantic comedy, very dark and funny."
Release Date: TBD
"Ceremony" - TBD - dir. Max Winkler
Synopsis: A young man (Michael Angarano) looks to crash the wedding of a thirty-something woman (Uma Thurman) with whom he's infatuated.
What You Need To Know: The son of Henry Winkler, Max Winkler and his writing pals, Matt Spicer and this kid you may know Jonah Hill, caused a splash in Hollywood earlier this year when their script, "The Adventurer's Handbook," was sold for a king's ransom (seven figures). Winkler and Spicer also have another project, "The Ornate Anatomy of Living Things" that is set up over at Fox Searchlight which Jason Reitman is producing. Not too shabby for guys that are just over 25. Jessie Eisenberg was originally set to star, but left to do the David Fincher Facebook film, giving the underrated Angarano a chance to shine. Lee Pace co-stars as Thurman's fiancee.
Release Date: TBD
"The Way Back" - Scott Rudin Productions - Dir. Peter Weir
Synopsis: A group of soldiers attempt to escape from a Siberian labour camp during World War II.
What You Need To Know: Peter Weir has been absent from our screens for way too long. Three films in the last twenty years is far too infrequent a hit rate for one of our favorite filmmakers, so we're psyched that he's back, for his first film since 2003's "Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World." Based on the memoir by Slavomir Rawicz, "The Way Back" stars Colin Farrell, Ed Harris and Jim Sturgess as the three escaping soldiers, and Saoirse Ronan ("Atonement," "The Lovely Bones") as a Russian girl who aids them. It's a very strong cast, and Weir's yet to make a big movie, so we expect this to be a major awards contender next year.
Release Date: Fall 2010
“Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps” – 20th Century Fox - dir. Oliver Stone
Synopsis: As the economy is on the brink of a meltdown, a young Wall Street trader (Shia Labeouf) teams with Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas) to alert the financial community of the inevitable disaster whilst seeking justice over the suspicious death of his mentor (Frank Langella).
What You Need To Know: More than 20 years after the original, the Allan Loeb-scribed “Wall Street” sequel is appropriately set around the 2008 stock market crash and subsequent federal bailout which is sure to stir some controversy. A host of A-list stars have jumped on board including Labeouf, Langella, Josh Brolin, Susan Sarandon and 2009’s It Girl, Carey Mulligan in her first “Hollywood” role. Douglas will reprise his role as Gekko, who exits jail into a financial world more volatile than what he was faced with years ago.
Release Date: April 23, 2010
"Holy Rollers" - TBD - Dir. Kevin Asch
Synopsis: "Inspired by actual events," this crime drama tells the story of a group of Hasidic Jews who smuggled Ecstasy into New York City.
What You Need To Know: Starring Jesse Eisenberg, Justin Bartha, Q-Tip and a host of unknowns, when we first glanced at the synopsis of the film, about a young kid in '90s Brooklyn dealing drugs, we figured it would be a riff on the same territory ably covered by "The Wackness." However, the film, set to debut at this year's Sundance Film Festival, is a hard look at faith, and the temptations of the secular world that face a religiously raised youth. We like the mix of thematic and genre material, and hope that director Kevin Asch, making his feature film debut, can pull it off.
Release Date: TBD (Sundance premiere)
“Hesher” - Last Picture Company - dir. Spencer Susser
Synopsis: The story of a loser 20-something who invades the life of an awkward 13-year-old living with a pill-popping father and grandmother.
What You Need To Know: Joseph Gordon Levitt as the titular hesher/loser 20-something? That’s worth the price of admission alone but add to that Natalie Portman and Rainn Wilson as the “pill popping father” in this indie-comedy: color us intrigued. This will be the directorial debut of Susser who helmed a Sundance favorite short, “I Love Sarah Jane,” which featured Mia Wasikowska (Tim Burton’s 'Alice'). Devin Brochu stars as the 13-year-old protagonist who can hopefully work well with his great co-stars.
Release Date: TBD (Sundance Premiere)
"Sympathy For Delicious" - TBD - dir. Mark Ruffalo
Synopsis: A paralyzed DJ on the streets of L.A. acquires through faith-healing the ability to cure the sick and crosses paths with a Jesuit priest (played by Ruffalo) who helps him come to terms with his gift, as well as a rock singer (Orlando Bloom) who tries to expolit the suddenly famous healer.
What You Need To Know: Ruffalo's directorial debut was originally set for a 2009 Sundance premiere with release later in the year, but was unexplainably absent on both accounts. Also starring the likes of Juliette Lewis, Laura Linney and John Carrol Lynch, the film will be scored by Montreal indie-rockers The Besnard Lakes as well as featuring music from Shiny Toy Guns and Mars Volta lead singer Cedric Bixler-Zavala, who will act as a musical stand-in for Bloom's singer character - who was seen looking very much like his counterpart in shots from filming. The film is now scheduled to premiere at Sundance 2010.
Release Date: TBD (Sundance Premiere)
"Triple Frontier" - Paramount - dir. Kathryn Bigelow
Synopsis: Referencing the area located between the borders of Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil known as 'la triple frontera,' the film's story is being kept under wraps but is touted as a high stakes ensemble project about organized crime and drug trafficking in the infamously lawless titular location.
What You Need To Know: Written by Bigelow's "The Hurt Locker" collaborator Mark Boal, filming is reportedly set to begin in the summer and will utilize the same raw and visceral visual style. 'Locker''s breakout star Jeremy Renner has also discussed the possibility to re-teaming with Bigelow for 'Frontier' which will make waves aplenty if either can bring home statues during this year's awards season.
Release Date: TBD
"At Swim-Two-Birds" - Parallel Films - dir. Brendan Gleeson
Synopsis: A university student finds the characters of a novel he is writing coming to life and getting mixed up in Gaelic myth and Dublin culture.
What You Need To Know: Based on the Irish novel of the same name by Flann O'Brien, this will be the directorial debut of actor-director Gleeson, who has managed to bring aboard a colorful gang of Irish actors in Colin Farrell, Gabriel Byrne, Jonathan Rhys-Meyer and Cillian Murphy. If that isn't enough to get mouths watering, this adaptation of one of Time Magazine's Top 100 Novels Of All Time will also serve as a reunion for Gleeson and Farrell after Martin McDonaugh's popular "In Bruges."
Release Date: TBD
"Brighton Rock" - Optimum Releasing - dir. Rowan Joffe
Synopsis: An underworld thriller which centers on a young gangster who marries a naive waitress after she stumbles onto evidence linking him to a murder.
What You Need To Know: The film originally attracted our attentions when thesps Sam Riley and Carey Mulligan signed on as the leads. Mulligan unfortunately later exited presumably to join Oliver Stone's "Wall Street" sequel, though was replaced by her talented "Never Let Me Go" co-star Andrea Riseborough. The two were later joined by Pete Postlethwaite and Helen Mirren who will play an older couple trying to save Riseborough's character from her marriage. This will be Joffe's feature film debut after scribing the likes of "28 Weeks Later" and Anton Corbijn's upcoming George Clooney-led "The American."
Release Date: TBD
"Fair Game" - River Road - dir. Doug Liman
Synopsis: The story of CIA Agent Valerie Plame Wilson and what transpired when her husband, Joseph Wilson, wrote a 2003 New York Times op-ed piece saying that the Bush administration had manipulated intelligence about weapons of mass destruction to justify the invasion of Iraq.
What You Need To Know: Starring Naomi Watts and Sean Penn, the film's early screenings have been described as a return to form for Liman after "Jumper" and a "wonderful human drama with political suspense that should interest anybody no matter how they vote" — Liman, of course, helmed "Mr. And Mrs. Smith" and masterminded "The Bourne Identity." Some early murmurs of Oscar talk for Penn was mentioned but it's surely too early to call. The film also co-stars Noah Emmerich, David Andrews and Liraz Charchi and is being backed by Bill Pohlad's River Road which may see it distributed by Apparition.
Release Date: TBD
"Meek's Cutoff" - TBD - dir. Kelly Reichardt
Synopsis: Based on the true story, experienced mountaineer Stephen Meek leads an ill-fated wagon train through a shortcut on the Oregon Trail, turning into a the tale that includes starvation, a legendary lost gold mine and a Native American scout who might or might not be inclined to save the day.
What You Need To Know: Reichardt's no-budget take on a Western and follow-up to "Old Joy" and "Wendy And Lucy" is scribed by Jon Raymond and has somehow managed to draw an impressive cast consisting of the likes of Michelle Williams, Paul Dano, Zoe Kazan, Bruce Greenwood and Shirley Henderson. Incidentally, this entire project somehow slipped underneath everyone's radar and shooting already took place in desolate Harney County in Oregon whose isolation should mirror that of the characters in the film.
Release Date: TBD
"The Eagle of the Ninth"- Focus Features - Dir. Kevin Macdonald
Synopsis: A young Roman soldier goes in search of his father, who disappeared in Scotland along with the rest of the famous Ninth Legion.
What You Need To Know: Anyone who's ever been to a British school will be familiar with Rosemary Sutcliffe's children's novel "The Eagle of the Ninth" — it's been pretty much required reading since its publication in 1954. Now, Kevin Macdonald ("The Last King of Scotland," "State of Play") is making a run at a film version, with an impressive cast, including Channing Tatum, Jamie Bell, the omnipresent Mark Strong and "A Prophet" star Tahar Rahim. Neil Marshall's "Centurion" is the pulpier version of similar subject matter, but this should be the classier take, although we're concerned that it may fall between two stools, in terms of being aimed both at adults and children.
Release Date: Fall 2010
“What’s Wrong With Virginia?” - TBD - dir. Dustin Lance Black
Synopsis: A charming but psychologically disturbed mother holds a secret 20 year affair with a sheriff now running for state senate. Their relationship is tested, however, when the mother's 16 year old son begins a relationship with the sheriff's daughter.
What You Need To Know: The mainstream directorial debut of Oscar-winning scribe Dustin Lance Black (“Milk”) of course has Gus Van Sant on board as an executive producer but also scored Jennifer Connelly and Liam Neeson as the leading adults as well as Ed Harris and Emma Roberts. Other than a few early lo-fi sexuality-fueled works, Black has also worked as a writer/producer on HBO’s “Big Love” so expect something in that vein.
Release Date: TBD
"Cyrus" - Fox Searchlight – Dir. Duplass Brothers
Synopsis: A recent divorcee (John C. Reilly) gets a second chance at love when he begins an affair with a free spirited woman (Marisa Tomei) only to realize that her close knit relationship with her son (Jonah Hill) is getting in the way.
What You Need To Know: Mark and Jay Duplass, best known for "The Puffy Chair" (probably the most watchable movie to come out of the mumblecore movement) are finally getting a budget, and some big names as well. And what names at that. The wonderful Marissa Tomei is never in enough movies, and reliable comedic forces John C. Reilly and Jonah Hill might be, but are welcome anyway. With big personalities like these duking it out creatively with the Duplass's, this could potentially be equal parts funny and compelling.
Release Date: TBD
"The Baster" - Miramax - dir. Will Speck and Josh Gordon
Synopsis: An unmarried 40-year-old woman (Jennifer Aniston) turns to a turkey baster in order to become pregnant. Seven years later, she reunites with her best friend (Jason Bateman), who has been living with a secret: he replaced her preferred sperm sample with his own.
What You Need To Know: Yes, it sounds like it could be a conventional, wacky-type rom com, the Baster is actually based on a story by celebrated author Jeffrey Eugenides ("The Virgin Suicides," "Middlesex") and the script, written by Allan Loeb ("Things We Lost in the Fire," "Wall Street 2"), was one of the most favored 2008 Blacklist screenplays. Aniston does a lot of average work, but when faced with strong material (think "Office Space" or the "The Good Girl"), she can be exemplary. Patrick Wilson, Juliette Lewis, and Jeff Goldblum co-star. Our main concern is Speck and Gordon are the directing duo that brought us the Will Ferrell dud, "Blades Of Glory." Let's hope they don't round off the edges of a smart script.
Release Date: August 20, 2010
"The Other Guys" (formerly "The B-Team") - Sony - Dir. Adam McKay
Synopsis: Two New York City Police detectives attempt to fill the shoes of their “super-cop” predecessors.
What You Need to Know: While, in our opinion, the Will Ferrell/Adam McKay films have been slightly inferior with each outing since the brilliant insanity of "Anchorman", the duo still manage to provide unparalleled moments of absurd hilarity, and that’s reason enough to look forward to this film. As popular as he may be, Ferrell could use a hit after 2009’s disastrous "Land of the Lost." We're fans and all, but it seems a backlash is overdue at this point, so let’s hope the all-star cast including Mark Wahlberg (as Ferrell's partner), Dwayne Johnson, Michael Keaton, Samuel L. Jackson and Steve Coogan can bring some new energy to the McKay/Ferrell formula and keep the funny train rollin'. The duo have revealed trained thespians like John C. Reilly and Richard Jenkins for the comic geniuses they are, so we look forward to seeing what they can do with the likes of Wahlberg and co. It's worth noting that "Eastbound & Down" producer Chris Henchy served as co-writer with McKay this time around, in place of Ferrell (who we assume was busy making bad movies).
Release Date: August 6, 2010
"The Last Word" - TBD - dir. David Mackenzie
Synopsis: The last two people on earth try to keep it together. A
romantic thriller set in a to-be apocalyptic world where people are evidently slowly losing their sensory perception.
What You Need To Know: Ewan McGregor and Eva Green play the two leads and this is an interesting premise, but is it as textured and rich an end-is-nigh film as Don Mckellar's sharp, "Last Days"? As always McGregor has to prove whether he stil possess any chops because in the last few years he's been terrible. Connie Nielsen, Ewen Bremner (one of McGregor's "Trainspotting" pals) and Denis Lawson co-star (Lawson being McGregor's uncle known for playing Wedge in the original "Star Wars" series).
Release Date: TBD
"Savage Innocent" (aka "Wild Child") - TBD - dir. Larry Clark
Synopsis: SHOCKER: it's a teenage disaffected youth film; a teenage boy in LA who runs out on an abusive family.
What You Need To Know: Degenerate sleazebag American filmmaker Clark hasn't directed a film since 2005's shockingly innocent, "Wassup Rockers" and this time he co-scripted the screenplay with Evan Wiener, the guy who co-wrote the documentary, "Murderball." The film was supposed to start lensing in the fall of 2009, but apparently was delayed and is still in pre-production. IMDB says 29-year-old British actor Paul Rawson will play Brent Holmes, who we kinda presume is too old to play the main boy. A remake of the romantic gangster film, "Mona Lisa," possibly with Mickey Rourke in the lead is on tap as well, but that probably won't get off the ground until 2011 and after 'Savage' finally shoots.
Release Date: TBD
"Perrier's Bounty" - dir. Ian Fitzgibbon
Synopsis: A dark comedy about a gangster named Perrier (Brendan Gleeson) looking to exact revenge on a trio of fugitives (Cillian Murphy, Jim Broadbent, Jodie Whittaker) responsible for the accidental death of one of his cronies.
What You Need To Know: The film screened at TIFF 2009 to strong plaudits (we unfortunately missed it), but it still hasn't been picked up for distribution. However, that's no slight on a film these days in this difficult film climate. Fellow Irishman, DJ David Holmes (the musician behind the exotic hip scores to the "Ocean's" films) composed the score.
Release Date: It screened at TIFF 2009 so presumably will hit sometime this year when some indie company finally steps up to the plate.
"The Company" - dir. John Wells
Synopsis: Three men trying to survive a round of corporate downsizing at a major company - and how that affects them, their families, and their communities.
What Your Need To Know: A stellar cast rounds out this film that could be the socio-economic "Up In The Air" without the smarm. Ben Affleck plays a hot-shot sales executive who suddenly has the rug pulled out from under him when he is downsized. The director is well-known for his writer-directing gigs on "ER" and "The West Wing," but this is his feature-length debut. An excellent supporting cast rounds this one out including, Tommy Lee Jones, Kevin Costner, Chris Cooper, Maria Bello, Craig T Nelson, and Rosemarie DeWitt who plays Affleck's wife.
Release Date: TBD (Sundance premiere)
"Animal Kingdom" - TBD - dir. David Michôd
Synopsis: The story of 17-year-old boy who must navigate his survival between an explosive criminal family and a cop who thinks he can save him.
What You Need To Know: Starring the underrated duo of Guy Pearce and Joel Edgerton alongside Ben Mendelsohn, Luke Ford and Jacki Weaver, 'Kingdom' is the feature film directorial debut of Michôd which will center on the underworld of Melbourne, Australia. Much will fall on the shoulders of said protagonist played by inexperienced newcomer James Frecheville. Michôd burst onto the festival scene with his short films "Netherland Dwarf" and also wrote fellow Australian Spencer Susser's breakout short "I Love Sarah Jane" and directorial debut "Hesher."
Release Date: TBD
"Get Him To the Greek" – Universal - Dir. Nicholas Stoller
Synopsis: An underqualified but ambitious record company intern must escort a sex and drug addicted rock star from London to L.A.'s Greek Theater for the first-stop on a $100 million tour.
What You Need to Know: The sideways-sequel to 2008’s Judd Apatow-produced "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" features British comic Russell Brand re-teaming with director Stoller to reprise his role as rock star and “notorious lothario” Aldous Snow. Screenwriter/co-star Jonah Hill (not reprising his role from 'Marshall') will play the record company intern put in charge of delivering the now off-the-wagon Infant Sorrow frontman to LA's Greek Theater for a concert. We unabashedly loved 'Sarah Marshall' and although a little Hill goes a long way ("Superbad" is fantastic, but his performance begins to grate on subsequent viewings), we’re anxious to see if his screenwriting measures up to the talents of his buddies Jason Segal and Seth Rogen. If Hill can make good, we’re thinking screenwriting mentor/producer Apatow should become the new Robert McKee. Also starring Rose Byrne as a “Fergie-like” pop star (who also happens to be Brand’s character’s ex) with songs by Segel (who wrote the songs for 'Sarah Marshall') and Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker. There's also a working title of "Get Me to the Gig" which is 10 times safer and sucks. Hopefully they don't go that way.
Release Date: June 11, 2010
“You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger” – Mediapro – dir. Woody Allen
Synopsis: A dramatic comedy set in London that revolves around the romantic intrigues, sexual desires and ambitions of a group of people.
What You Need To Know: Featuring a stellar cast consisting of Josh Brolin, Naomi Watts, Antonio Banderas, Anthony Hopkins, Lucy Punch, Freida Pinto and Bollywood star Anupam Kher , this project is the second of a reported three European based films backed by Mediapro for Allen – the first being “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” with the third to be set in Paris and shot in 2010. Nicole Kidman was on board but dropped out for unknown reasons just before shooting commenced last summer.
Release Date: TBD
Anticipated With Minor or Major Reservations (i.e., if they end up sucking we reserve the right to instantly disavow them; they've been delayed for far too long which has us worried).
"Peacock" - Mandate - dir. Michael Lander
Synopsis: A quiet bank clerk (Cillian Murphy) with multiple personalities finds his life in disarray when a train crashes into his backyard, revealing his secret to the public. He must then fool the town into believing his two alter egos are man and wife.
What You Need To Know: Despite the comedic synopsis, this Hitchcocknian psychologically thriller — described by the film's star Murphy as "what would happen if Norman Bates had basically stayed alive and married himself" — may prove to be quite the dark, character study. However, despite completing shooting in 2008, the film still has yet to find it's way to the public eye, even with the impressive cast of Ellen Page, Josh Lucas, Bill Pullman and Susan Sarandon. That's normally the sign of a future stinker but we're still holding out for what sounds potentially very interesting.
Release Date: TBD
"All Good Things" - The Weinstein Company - Andrew Jarecki
Synopsis: A detective begins to unravel a missing-persons case that looks to spell doom -- and quite possibly death -- for the heir to a New York real estate dynasty.
What You Need To Know: There are multiple reasons to be interested: This is Jarecki's narrative, feature-length debut and you should already know his work from the amazing 2003 documentary, "Capturing The Friedmans." Any film including Ryan Gosling is one to keep an eye on as far as we're concerned, but the rest of the cast is stellar, too and includes Kirsten Dunst, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Frank Langella, Kristen Wiig, Philip Baker Hall and Diane Venora.
Release Date/There Are multiple reasons why this might suck: This one has been delayed and shuffled around like an unwanted step-child, who knows when it will be released. Sometime in 2o10 seems feasible because it's been long-completed (TWC just needs to find some extra cash lying around in a pillow) but, tepid test screening results have indicated that the studio is sitting on a turd that they will eventually just dump onto DVD or a very limited release, ala "The Road."
Probably Not Even Coming in 2010... But We're Looking Forward To Them Anyhow...
"Butter" - TBD - dir. Craig Gillespie
Synopsis: A girl learns of her uncanny ability to carve butter and finds herself in the thick of a butter-sculpting contest in her Midwestern hometown.
What You Need To Know: Jennifer Garner is attached to produce and star in the film which currently has helmer Gillespie loosely attached. Gillespie has seemingly been busy of late with the Diablo Cody scribed "United States Of Tara" on Showtime and still has the Ryan Gosling led "The Dallas Buyer's Club" about a man who experiments with underground drugs after contracting HIV in the 1980's on his plate. 'Butter' placed third on 2008's Black List and was written by first timer Jason Micallef who was inspired after breaking into a refrigeration room housing butter sculptures after his car broke down on a road trip through Iowa in August one year.
Release Date: TBD
"Source Code" - Vendome Pictures- dir. Duncan Jones
Synopsis: An amnesiac soldier wakes up aboard a train and finds himself reliving a bombing in order to solve it.
What You Need to Know: Director Jones proved himself an able hand at the thoughtful reimagining of the sci-fi genre with his debut, 2009’s "Moon," and for his follow up he’s staying within the futuristic, sci-fi realm, but adding some action to the mix. Jake Gyllenhaal stars in what sounds like a mashup of "The Matrix," the "Bourne" films, and "Groundhog Day." Our review of the script by Ben Ripley shows it to be a fresh twist on its influences, with a killer plot. In the deft hands of Jones, who clearly understands the ins and outs of the genre, it's sure to be one of the most exciting films of 2010/11.
Release Date: 2011/TBD
“The Tourist” - Columbia – Dir. Alfonso Cuaron
Synopsis: An American tourist is used by an Interpol agent in an attempt to flush out a criminal with whom she once had an affair.
What You Need To Know: The cast and director have changed enough times to make this worrisome, but the mere fact that Florian von Donnersmarck ("The Lives of Others") was attached to direct at one point has us pretty pumped none-the-less. It's true, action flicks with Angelina Jolie in them have been a superbly consistent snoozefest ("Mr. and Mrs Smith," "Tomb Raider," "Wanted," the upcoming computer-program-generated-action-flick "movies.," etc.) but who could replace Donnersmarck and keep us afloat with anticipation if not the equally amazing Alfonso Cuaron at the helm and Johnny Depp in front of the camera? With a script we liked, an intriguing cast, and a director you can't not trust, we're keeping our eyes out for this one.
Release Date: TBD, but shooting could start as early as February.
"Hanna" - Focus Features - dir. Joe Wright
Synopsis: A 14-year-old Eastern European girl suffers through the pangs of adolescence and then eventually discovers that her father raised her to be a killing machine in a CIA prison camp and must fight her way to a free life.
What You Need To Know: Uhhh...doesn't a teenage assassin film and the guy who directed "Pride & Prejudice" and "Atonement" sound like they fit like a glove? Maybe that's exactly why it could be interesting. Much like Soderbergh's "Knockout" it's a film said to mix "La Femme Nikita" and the 'Bourne' action adventure sensibilites together, only with a teenage girl. Who the hell are they going to cast for this? It will be clutch. The project was hot over the summer of 2009 and Danny Boyle and Alfonso Cuaron were both circling it at one point, which probably means a pretty decent script. And to think, before this, Wright almost directed another period piece, "Indian Summer" — a romance drama about a British Lord who has to oversee the handover of power to India in 1947.
Release Date: We might be overzealous here as there's a good chance this won't hit until 2011. And as it stands, it appears Wright is not 100% locked-in to helm.
"Mute"- Liberty Films - dir. Duncan Jones
Synopsis - In a futuristic city, a silent bartender searches for his missing partner.
What You Need To Know: "Moon" is certainly one of the best debut films of the year (although some here at The Playlist thought it to be overrated), and we're excited to see whatever Jones comes up with next. That next project is "Mute," a sci-fi thriller that nods heavily to Blade Runner. Details are thin on the project at the moment (we've been delayed reading the script), other than Sam Rockwell is written in the screenplay to cameo as his character from "Moon," and that the villains are a "comedy double act." Shooting doesn't kick off until early next year, so it may not be out til 2011, but we can't wait to see it nevertheless.
Release Date TBD
"The Cross" - dir. Andrew Niccol
Synopsis: A man in the near future tries to be the first person to cross a mysterious border while a guard will go to any lengths to stop him.
What You Need To Know: What will Niccol deliver next? The "Gattaca" director followed up by scribing "The Truman Show" for Peter Weir before slumping with "Simon3" and "Lord Of War." Perhaps a return to sci-fi might spark something in him? With a cast consisting of Orlando Bloom, Olga Kurylenko, Vincent Cassel and John Goodman, the project seems intriguing enough, but whether Niccol can recapture what he had going remains to be seen. Filming was reportedly ready to begin in Australia in September of 2009, but apparently the production was saddled with money issues. We might have to wait til 2011...
Release Date: TBD
"Satisfaction" - Film 4 - Dir. Miranda July
Synopsis: A young couple's relationship is put to the test when one of them embarks on an ecological mission and the other starts a dangerous flirtation with an older man.
What You Need To Know: The multifaceted artist July boldly followed her breakout film "Me and You and Everyone We Know" (2005) with an Off-Broadway performance, "Things We Don't Understand and Definitely are Not Going To Talk About," and most notably a collection of mediocre short stories titled "No One Belongs Here More Than You." Apparently some of these stories have helped shape her forthcoming sophomore film, "Satisfaction," a triangular love story about the elusive quest for satisfaction, which she will again write, star and direct. Hopes are high for July to deliver something as refreshing and unique as her Cannes' Camera d'Or-winning debut, but we read the script and were a little disappointed. No additional casting was ever announced, and shooting was supposed to commence in August '08, but that production was definitely delayed. Not a millimeter of film has been shot yet, but it sounds like funding for the project might come in 2010.
Release Date: TBD 2010 if someone actually finances and it's shot this year.
"Deep Tiki" - Universal - Dir. Cameron Crowe
Synopsis: A successful, but incredibly unhappy military contractor (Ben Stiller) has a near death experience and then is sent to Hawaii for a covert and illegal satellite launch where he finds the ex-love-of his-life and an annoying, but beautiful army liaison (Reese Witherspoon).
What You Need To Know: "Jerry Maguire" simply set in Hawaii? Maybe a little bit. Crowe definitely charts familiar comedy and soulful love crisis territory in 'Tiki,' but it still feels inventive and fresh. Plus there's a whole mystical, spiritual element in the Hawaiian gods and legends that he's obviously never tackled before. Music is integral too, but it was announced in late 2008 that the project was postponed for unspecified reasons.
Release Date: TBD. Shooting was supposed to start in January 2009 and was then canceled. Don't be surprised if Crowe has to start over with his recasting unless one of the lead-t0-be-actors really wants to pursue this. We haven't heard a peep on this in almost a year and it's very conceivable it might be yet another year off
Carey Mulligan in the Sundance 2009 hit, "The Greatest" featuring Susan Surandon and Pierce Brosnan sounds interesting; "Glorious 39"; the Russia-Georgia journo conflict film, "Georgia," starring Val Kilmer, Andy Garcia, Rupert Friend, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Johnathon Schaech is a cast list that piques our interest, the downside being it's directed by Renny Harlin, the Aaron Schneider TIFF film "Get Low," starring Robert Duvall, Bill Murray and Lucas Black also sound promising. Brian Koppelman and David Levien's (The "Oceans 13" "Rounders" & Girlfriend Experience" writers) "Solitary Man" starring Michael Douglas, Susan Sarandon, Jesse Eisenberg and Jenna Fischer is something we're hoping for good things from (Clint Mansell & Michael Penn are working on the score). We could probably keep going on and on, but this thing is pretty mammoth as it is, no?
Feel like something's missing? We'll have our Potentially Entertaining/Escapist Cinema of 2010 feature coming and yet probably another anticipated film rounding up some smaller films we just didn't have time for (or we're a bit on the fence about). Plus this thing was getting too long.
- Stephen Belden, Simon Dang, Kevin Jagernauth, Oliver Lyttelton, Gabe Toro, Katie Walsh, Alish Erman & Rodrigo Perez