Filmstalker's Most Anticipated of 2010
I've been sitting on the list of upcoming films for the year for some time now, I did complete it but I never managed to publish it, until now. Here's the list of films that Filmstalker (that's me) recommends that you should watch this year, and it's a bumper of a list. It's not complete either, but it's everything that has a UK or US release date, with a few that are still waiting for a date.
All in all it's a pretty comprehensive list, so sit back, scroll through it, and enjoy. Frankly I'm glad it's over, there's a hell of a lot of work gone into it.
Have I missed anything? Any films you think need to be on here?
6th January UK
8th January US
Now this is what vampires are about, they're bad and they've also taken on a bunch of bad traits from their human origins - corruption, secrecy, a governing body hiding the truth from the people, and of course there's the fact they can't go out during the day, they drink human blood, and are pretty nasty. To hell with those neutered bunch of vampires. Anyway, this film looks pretty exciting and has an inventive story - humans are in short supply, the vampires are farming them, and the underground humans have discovered a way to turn the vampires back to human, it's just convincing them that's the hard part.
8th January UK
Adapted from a novel I considered to be dull to read both in printed style and in story, at least it does what it's expected to, make you feel more and more depressed, and that's what the film delivers too. Bleakness with more bleakness. Mind you on the way there we have plenty of strong actors, director and good looking cinema. I'm not that excited for it, and I think the bleakness may harm its popularity, but many will adore it as they did the book.
Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll
8th January UK
Andy Serkis really is showing that he's a great charactor actor, not just a creature actor. Now that's something that those who have seen roles of his that aren't in the most popular films of all time would know, he really is one of this countries best actors. What's good about this film is it will give that side of him much more exposure, that and it's a biographical film of another great British figure, Ian Dury, the legendary musician who had such a great affect on musica as a whole.
8th January UK (Limited)
Limited it may be, but I'm going to try my hardest to get into a screening of it. Exam is a film from Stuart Hazeldine that I missed at the EIFF last year and sounded so good. A group of people arrive for an interview and are locked in a room with just one guard. They have a time limit to complete an exam, except they don't know what the exam is. Intriguing, and the kind of thriller I like, something that evolves as you watch it and reveals itself to you as it does to the characters.
8th January UK
Much as the story sounds a little twee, the trailer reveals two superb actors playing off of each other with some very sharp and well delivered dialogue, and in a great situation, Alec Baldwin and Meryl Streep, I'm dying to see them acting together, whatever the story.
15th January UK
To be honest I'd heard nothing about this film until I was looking through the release list for the coming year. Crude is a documentary looking at oil exploration and production in South America and the damage caused to the people and the country.
The Book of Eli
15th January UK/US
Another well cast film has me drooling with interest, Denzel Washington going head to head with Gary Oldman in a post apocalyptic society sounds exciting indeed, and when you see the action that Washington is doing you might be surprised. Of course there has to be a story there, and I'm wondering if this turns out to be all action and not enough story. Is it merely that Washington is trying to carry the last surviving bible to the other side of the country while a man and his gang try to steal it from him? Will it turn out to be a heavy religious overtoned film or is it fighting and action?
Up in the Air (Filmstalker review)
15th January UK
I've just watched this the other night, and probably don't have the review posted by the time that this goes live, so let me say this, it's wonderful. Everything about the film is effortless, and I don't mean that as a negative. It's almost pitch perfect, great performances, very well written, and hugely imaginative. What I also like about it is that it isn't predictable and avoids most of the Hollywood turns you would expect. Oh, and George Clooney is superb in it and I think he could get a few awards for his performance, as should Jason Reitman.
44 Inch Chest
15th January UK
A British gangster film without Guy Ritchie involved would spark some interest, but then to hear the cast list has me drooling, not least because Ray Winstone is taking the lead, but also that John Hurt, Ian McShane, Tom Wilkinson, Steven Berkoff and Joanne Whalley who I haven't seen in ages. The trailers are intriguing, the aging hard men taking down the young lover of the wife of one of their old team and taking him to a place where the husband will decide whether or not to kill him. Superb cast and a superb looking film, although I've heard it's a little bit of a let down although still worth seeing.
22nd January UK
The Wachowski Brothers are back with a film about Ninjas, and that means plenty of action, innovative and stylish fight sequences, and I hope plenty of heart. It certainly seems to offer that from the clips and blurbs I've read, that and plenty of flailing limbs. I'm in.
22nd January UK
Nimród Antal directed a film I think was quite surprising considering the blurb and the cast, giving the excellent Kate Beckinsale a real and meaty role and delivering a great thriller. This is the next thriller from the director, and indeed the next film, and with a strong cast including Laurence Fishburne, Matt Dillon, Jean Reno, Amaury Nolasco, Milo Ventimiglia, Fred Ward, Skeet Ulrich and Columbus Short. The trailers look exciting, showing an inside job at an Armoured security company where one of the team has second thoughts and tries to steal back the money and do the right thing.
22nd January UK
The original Brothers, called Brødre, is a really good and powerful film, although I did feel it was lacking in a few places. Now Hollywood has the chance to fix that with their remake, but the marketing has been delivering some mixed messages and I'm uncertain of the film. Featuring Natalie Portman, Jake Gyllenhaal, and ex-Spider-Man Tobey Maguire, it does seem like it could do a great job and the intensity from the original doesn't seem to have been lightened any, in fact it seems even darker and more serious.
22nd January UK
12th February US
The lead of A Prophet, or Un prophète, is up for a BAFTA. Tahar Rahim is nominated for the Orange Rising Star BAFTA Award for this year, and he and the film have been receiving praise in a number of other awards ceremonies across the world, including a Golden Globe no less. The story reminds me a little of the Mesrine films, as we watch a young Arab man sent to a French prison where he ends up becoming the head of the Mafia.
Edge of Darkness
29th January UK/US
Mel Gibson leads the adaptation of the British television mini-series that was very successful when it was shown in the UK. He's backed by a number of stars, and from our very own talent pool comes Ray Winstone. The film is a political thriller with some action thrown in and plenty of vengeance. It gives me the feeling of a more complex and deeper written Payback. Let's hope it stands up to the travel away from the UK shores and carries the quality and strength across with it.
5th February UK
I'm just about to receive a screener of this film, a different look at a serial killer who is keeping things very close to home. I don't really know what to expect, although the trailer suggests a very dark and insular tale that's going to creep and unnerve, and that to me sounds superb. A great British thriller/horror is promised, I hope that's what's delivered.
Invictus (Filmstalker review)
5th February UK
This is an instant award winner, I mean consider the facts - Clint Eastwood directing a film about Nelson Mandella pulling the nation together through the South African Rugby World Cup and with Morgan Freeman playing Mandella himself? That just sounds like it has awards written all over it doesn't it? Matt Damon also looks like he could be at the top of his game, and the story will be powerful and uplifting and no doubt not without a few teary moments too. I love Clint Eastwood's directing, and I', convinced this will just be another show of his quiet power.
5th February UK
Daft? Perhaps, but James Purefoy, Pete Postlethwaite, Max von Sydow, Alice Krige and Jason Flemyng are just some of the interesting names behind this adaptation of the Robert E. Howard novel about a seventeenth century Puritan who owes his soul to the devil and is trying to redeem himself by fighting evil wherever he meets it. Well that's the IMDB blurb, but the trailer suggests that he has to stay away from fighting or he will lose his soul, but when evil presents itself around him and innocents are threatened, he has to step up to the plate. Big evil creatures, lots of hand combat, and plenty of darkness, it all looks like a lot of fun to me.
The Princess and the Frog
5th February UK
Disney interest me - that's a bad Scottish joke for you there, but I just can't help it every time I hear Disney (Disnae) it pops in my head! The Princess and the Frog might be a return to Disney hand drawn animation and traditional tales, but there's something that just strikes me as a little contrived and forced about this reworking. Not that I'm against the changes, it just seems rather odd from Disney and such a repeatedly told story. Mind you, what I do like seeing is the twist of the main story and the fact that it was drawn. However I wonder what the audience will think of it and if it will be a success.
Youth in Revolt
5th February UK
8th January US
A fascinating looking story which sees Michael Cera playing a boy whose parents are set for divorce and whose life is looking uninspiring, fall for a gorgeous girl who seems way out of his league and dreams up an alternate persona for himself who is much more dangerous, exciting and altogether more attractive, and that's when the two personalities clash and pretty soon the exciting one is out of control.
Malice in Wonderland
8th February UK
A modern adaptation of the classic Alice in Wonderland story set in modern England where Alice is knocked over by a black cab and awakes with amnesia. That's where the fairytale is totally transformed into the real world. I like that aspect of the film where it's real, no crazy CGI creatures walking around, all real characters, and to boot it's a British film. It's well worth watching. Maggie Grace, Danny Dyer and Nathaniel Parker are a few of the recognisable names in the cast.
10th February Argentina
To me the master of Shakespearean adaptations has been Kenneth Branagh, and I love his work, I think his Hamlet is just stunning, and that's not a euphemism! However I think Julie Taymor is trying to steal his crown this year with her adaptation of Shakespeare's The Tempest starring Helen Mirren, in the sex changed lead, Ben Whishaw, Alan Cumming, Russell Brand, Chris Cooper, David Strathairn, Djimon Hounsou, Alfred Molina, Felicity Jones, Tom Conti, and more. Sounds just like a Branagh casting that's for sure.
A Single Man
12th February UK
Colin Firth is not just a romantic character actor, and I think one of his greatest performances has been Trauma, a role that allowed the man to actually act. Now it looks like he's found another one of those roles and from all accounts and the mentions in reviews and at award ceremonies, it's one that might get him a lot more notice for real acting. Mind you, then he comes out with St. Trinian's nonsense. For me the attraction in this film is Firth, as well as some of the supporting cast of Julianne Moore, Nicholas Hoult and Matthew Goode.
12th February UK
I've heard a lot about this film but really know very little about the core of it, the guts if you will. The documentary looks at the state of America's corporate and highly industrial food business. Apparently, after we watch this we'll never look at dinner the same way again. I'm keen for that.
Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief
12th February UK/US
I wasn't a fan of Harry Potter when it began, but as the characters have grown up and wrestled with a bit more of a mature and darker storyline I have started to enjoy it. Of course I'm crying out for more, but it's definitely in a good place right now. For me that place would seem to be where Percy Jackson is starting out from, the characters are teenagers already and it does look like the film is going to be more dangerous and darker than one might think. It also looks pretty epic in scope, and not just by some of the actors involved, Uma Thurman, Pierce Brosnan, Rosario Dawson, Sean Bean, Kevin McKidd, Catherine Keener, Joe Pantoliano and Melina Kanakaredes, all directed by Chris Columbus. It already has me hooked.
12th February UK/US
If you've been following The Wolfman production of late you'll have been hearing a lot about the reshoots, effects work, and all sorts that most of the media would have us believe are terrible signs of the impending doom of the world and the film, while the production are keen to let us know that all these things are here to make it better and bigger. Indeed all the material we've seen to date makes it look like the production people are right, it is looking better and looks far from a disaster that the media would want us to believe. Perhaps there's something of a halfway house here, who knows. What is clear is that it's a big production from script to actors, and it looks like it's filled with style. It's a must see either way.
The Lovely Bones (Filmstalker review)
19th February UK
15th January US
An intriguing story that promises an even more intriguing film, mainly for the fact that Peter Jackson is the man behind it, but also because the lead character is going to be dead, hanging around in limbo, and trying to interact with the living and help solve her own murder. Saoirse Ronan has already been receiving some praise for her performance and she's backed by a great cast too, Rachel Weisz, Stanley Tucci, Susan Sarandon, and I guess Mark Wahlberg who can be rather good sometimes. Let's face it though, Peter Jackson and the story are the headliners here, and that's no bad thing.
19th February UK/US
These days mentioning Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio together in a film means it's a film you have to see, there's no getting away from that. Would you contest that statement? Well then there's the very strong cast behind him with some really big names, the Dennis Lehane novel provides a strong story with some visually rich ideas and locations, and the trailers look superb, exciting, thrilling, and even these short moments have you sucked into right the tension and suspense. It does look utterly superb and a big film for the year.
The Last Station
19th February UK
The main draw for this isn't the historical drama or the story of Tolstoy struggling with his fame and fortune that goes against what he believes, it's the superb Christopher Plummer who I avsolutely love on screen. Of course there's a great cast to back him up including Helen Mirren and actors such as James McAvoy and Paul Giamatti. Definitely a film to watch out for, as I imagine there are going to be some great performances to be seen here.
The Ghost Writer
19th February US (Limited)
February through August European release
Roman Polanski isn't in the news for this film unfortunately, but judging from the cast and the trailers I hope it's not tarnished with his personal life. Pierce Brosnan plays the ex-British Prime Minister who has hired a second Ghost Writer to tackle his biography after the first mysteriously died. Ewan McGregor plays the new writer who starts to uncover secrets about the past that he shouldn't, secrets that soon put him in danger. Kim Cattrall, Olivia Williams, Timothy Hutton, Eli Wallach, Tom Wilkinson and James Belushi star.
The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call - New Orleans
I'm not convinced by this film, and the fact that Nicolas Cage is leading just compounds the possibilities that it's rubbish. Still, it could work out well, it could. Still not convinced by what people are saying about the film already, trying to convince us it's something off the wall and rather entertaining.
26th February UK
A bizarre sounding film about a man who's life is ruined by a stray bullet, teams up with an unlikely bunch to track down those who made the bullet and make them pay. Jean-Pierre Jeunet co-wrote and directed and you'll remember him from A Very Long Engagement, Amélie, Alien: Resurrection, The City of Lost Children, and Delicatessen. With that list you're already in the mindset of what to expect.
Capitalism: A Love Story
26th February UK
I do wonder if the latest documentary from Michael Moore is going to tell the right story here or pick on some easy targets. I also wonder how relevant it will be for a worldwide audience, or if it will seem a little disconnected to us abroad. Regardless, I'm sure most of us would like to see his unique viewpoint on the financial crisis. Here, I suspect, there's a lot more room for criticism to be turned back on the man should he get things wrong. However it turns out, I think it's a film that will have to be seen.
26th February UK/US
The next Kevin Smith sure is dividing people before it's even been seen. The change of name suggested a crackdown on the usual Smith style, and that upset a lot of fans, especially when they saw the tame trailer. I'm not excited by the plot, but with Bruce Willis on board and Kevin Smith directing, you have to go and see it.
26th February UK
This is actually showing at the Glasgow Film Festival, and as soon as my press pass comes through I'm going for a ticket. A British horror starring Jim Sturgess and Noel Clarke that sees a man with a strange birthmark start believing that the gangsters and criminals around him are demons. Seems an interesting concept, but there's been too little to see for sure so far.
26th February UK/US
Another film being shown at the Glasgow Film Festival this year, The Crazies is the remake of the George A. Romero film that sees a village struck down with a strange affliction. Slowly, the residents become infected with something that makes them murderous towards their fellow humans, a genetically engineered virus has been let loose and the town is under quarantine while the residents turn on each other. Not all of them though, some have to try and surive, and Timothy Olyphant and Radha Mitchell are amongst them, and the trailers make the film look high tension and scare a minute. Of course there's another trailer that doesn't look so good, it's going to be a close call which way this goes, it has the potential to be good or bad.
1st March UK/US
Joshua Newton wrote and directed the film which has one main attraction, it's the last film that Roy Scheider made before he died. It follows his character of a New York police officer who is in Germany to reconcile with his son when he believes that a former SS Commander is living upstairs and is the man responsible for killing his family. Together, father and son set about revenge and vengeance.
Alice in Wonderland
5th March UK/US
This is Tim Burton's own version of the Alice in Wonderland tale, with all the usual style aspects and actors. Unsurprisingly Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter star in the film, and the style of the costumes, make-up and effects all scream Burton. I do hope that the film is going to be something more than what we'd expect from Burton, and although there's a huge and interesting cast, the trailers so far haven't really blown me away, just showed me more of that Burton look and feel. Let's hope for something more.
5th March US
Antoine Fuqua delivers a film about cops in Brooklyn who are all on different paths in their career, but all meet up at the same deadly point. Doesn't sound hugely inspiring, but there's Richard Gere, who might be playing the antitheses of the uniformed cop he's played a few times before, Don Cheadle, Ethan Hawke and Wesley Snipes. Yes, he's back, and I'm really keen to see how he does, for if he stands up well with these guys he could be right back in the fore.
5th March UK
1st January US
I was hugely disappointed with Christian Alvart's Pandorum (Filmstalker review) as I was expecting something really strong after seeing his debut, Antikörper (Antibodies) (Filmstalker review), however that wasn't actually his second film, it was Case 39, and that's been on the back burner with the studio for some time. What's interesting is that Renée Zellweger was taking the lead, someone I thought was a really bad choice but then I saw some of the footage and wondered if it was actually a really clever one. Ian McShane and Bradley Cooper also star, and with the trailer we've seen it does give us a lot of hope for the film. Maybe the second one was the winner after all.
From Paris With Love
5th March UK
5th February US
John Travolta playing a psycho cop operating on the edge? I'm in. What else do you want? Pierre Morel directing, Jonathan Rhys Meyers co-starring, and so far some action packed and great fun looking trailers. This has to be a lot of fun, doesn't it?
5th March UK
22nd January US
I'm not so convinced that this story is anything new or anything exciting, and that it's going to fall on some clichés. Still, there's a good cast, Paul Bettany, Dennis Quaid, Charles S. Dutton, Kevin Durand, Tyrese Gibson and Lucas Black, and we're talking the end of times with angels arriving on Earth to wipe out humanity, a nice touch. It does feel slightly Stephen King-ish and it looks rather stylish too. Could this turn out to be an exciting film?
12th March UK/US
Paul Greengrass and Matt Damon get together again, and probably never to be working together on a Bourne film again. Here we go into the Green Zone in the Iraq and follow a solider who goes solo and breaks rank and orders to find weapons of mass destruction. I guess that the film isn't going to be that successful then!
I Love You Phillip Morris
17th March UK
26th March US
Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor are playing some really interesting roles in this film about a happily married man who has a car accident, takes a knock on the head, and suddenly realises he's gay, and becomes one of the most amazing con men who even manages to con himself out of prison and into a huge salary in a major corporation. Some of the trailers look fantastic as well, and as long as Carrey keeps it restrained them it looks something different and exciting.
19th March US
I was sceptical about this film when I heard the plot, and like others I thought it was a rip off of Repo! The Genetic Opera, now I've seen the trailer that thought is far from my mind. It sounds a great premise, that one of the best repossession men who work for an organ transplant corporation has a transplant himself and has to keep paying the company to keep the high payments or lose the organ. With Forest Whitaker and Jude Law playing the leads, the one time partners set against each other. Liev Schreiber, Alice Braga and Carice van Houten also star.
Season of the Witch
19th March UK/US
Dominic Sena directed Swordfish and Whiteout, I'm ignoring Gone in Sixty Seconds, so there's a not bad track record there, but then there's Nicolas Cage in the lead, and to be honest he hasn't been in a good role for a long time, he's always just Nicolas Cage to me, and that usually means cheese. Still, Ulrich Thomsen, Ron Perlman and Christopher Lee back him up, and the story seems quite interesting. Some monks believe that a witch is the source of a plague outbreak during the fourteenth century, and so a group of knights transport her to the monastery so that they can find out if she is the cause. On the way her powers begin to strip the knights off one by one.
Clash of the Titans
26th March UK/US
The modern day remake of the film with a bigger budget, much bigger effects, and Sam Worthington. It looks spectacular so far and Louis Leterrier directing would suggest action galore. Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Gemma Arterton, Nicholas Hoult, Jason Flemyng, Danny Huston, Mads Mikkelsen, Pete Postlethwaite, and more. It's another big cast, and it looks like this could be a great remake.
How to Train Your Dragon
31st March UK
26th March US
DreamWorks are back with a film that looks rather endearing and full of morality according to the trailer. Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler, America Ferrera, Craig Ferguson, Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Kristen Wiig, and T.J. Miller. It looks a lot of fun, as DreamWorks always deliver.
It's a Wonderful Afterlife
2nd April UK
Gurinder Chadha brought us Bend it Like Beckham and Bride & Prejudice and this film has the most bizarre blurb, a comedy film about an Indian mother who has an obsession with marriage that she takes just a little bit too far, turning it into serial murder. Now that's a film you haven't seen before.
2nd April UK
16th April US
I think this is one of the high points of the year, Matthew Vaughn, Jane Goldman, Mark Millar, the three are proving to be great talents for various works and coming together for Kick-Ass could deliver something very special. The trailers have been delivering some fantastic scenes and overall looks fantastic. One of the strengths of Vaughn is that he doesn't do Hollywood, here it shows more than ever, and I think it's going to pay off the best.
8th April Argentina
John Cameron Mitchell follows directing Shortbus and Hedwig and the Angry Inch with Rabbit Hole, a story from David Lindsay-Abaire, the writer of Inkheart and Robots, about a couple whose lives are upturned when their young son is killed in an accident. Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart star as the couple.
7th April UK
The latest film from Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, and it's another comedy. This one takes us back to the 1970's and follows three men who work in an insurance company, and there are some big names in the cast as you would expect. Ralph Fiennes, Emily Watson, Matthew Goode to name a couple and the two writers/directors are starring as well. Could they have taken on a little too much?
9th April UK/US
Shawn Levy and the usual comedy crowd should be enough to turn me off, but it's actually the blurb and the diversity of the actors has me hooked. The story is about a couple who try and have a romantic evening out but after a case of mistaken identity they're evening becomes much more dangerous and exciting. Amongst Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Tina Fey, but then there's Ray Liotta, Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis, James Franco, Taraji P. Henson, Mark Ruffalo, Mark Ruffalo, and Common. Seems a fair mixed bag doesn't it, and another big ensemble cast film, there's quite a few this year.
9th April UK
4th June US
I started reading this comic book series as soon as I heard it was going to be made into a film, and it's a really good story. There are some disappointing moments where, like too many other comic book series, it gets too big and becomes a little bit daft, however the rest of it, the core of it is superb. I always thought that this, treated properly, could be an excellent film and a better reality based A-Team than any A-Team film could deliver. Now it might just happen, however there's one thing in the way, despite starting off with Peter Berg directing, it's slowly worked it's way down the list, McG passed by and now we have Sylvain White, not a good sign. However the cast of Zoe Saldana, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Chris Evans, Idris Elba, Jason Patric and Columbus Short, a great crew for the film, let's hope White doesn't mess this up.
City of Life and Death (Nanjing! Nanjing!)
16th April UK
Another film showing at the Glasgow Film Festival that I might try and see. This is the story of the Japanese invasion of the Chinese capital during 1937 and the systematic human torture and abuse that the people were subjected to. It's a true and harrowing story that is horrifyingly graphic, but the documentary tones down the story somewhat for more general consumption. Some say that the film is a bit too lenient on the Japanese, however if the story touches people and expands their knowledge, it's a start surely.
The Bounty Hunter
16th April UK
19th March US
You know I thought this sounded pretty naff to be honest, but then I saw the trailer and realised that there was a lot more to offer. It looks like Hollywood is remaking a film that hasn't even finished post production yet, but they might just find success with this. Gerard Butler and Jennifer Aniston lead a film where the Butler is a bounty hunter sent to bring back his ex-wife, Aniston, however when he does he discovers she's being targeted by a conspiracy, and despite their hatred for each other they have to work together. Looks like a lot of fun.
Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps
23rd April UK/US
The sequel to Wall Street, and with Oliver Stone directing, Michael Douglas and Charlie Sheen returning, with some great new faces, Shia LaBeouf as the young hotshot, Susan Sarandon, Josh Brolin, Frank Langella, and a few others. Can he really produce something as strong as the first or is he going to be bogged down in messages of how the financial industry is evil, forgetting like everyone else, that there are hundreds of thousands of people working in that industry. Anyway, I think he might get bogged down in a preaching message rather than delivering a great sequel.
When in Rome
23rd April UK
29th January US
I'm not a fan of this kind of romantic comedy that's all just too comic, but there looks to be something a little different here and it's not just that it's led by the gorgeous and entrancing Kirsten Bell, there's Josh Duhamel, Anjelica Huston, and Will Arnett, interesting line-up and the film looks like it could be a lot of fun. Bell plays a woman who is always unlucky in love, and while in Rome she steals three coins from a fountain, and magically the hearts of the men who threw them, and now they're pursuing her.
23rd April UK
I'm so hopeful that Neil Marshall can come back from Doomsday and deliver a strong film, and Centurion sounds like it could be, a dramatisation of the story of the last Roman soldiers to enter Scotland before leaving the country of barbarians. The story is they were never seen again, although the were either massacred or defected to the Pictish armies. There's a great cast as well including Michael Fassbender, Dominic West, Noel Clarke, David Morrissey, Ulrich Thomsen, Olga Kurylenko, and more. I'm hopeful.
Iron Man 2
30th April UK
7th May US
There's a nice twist in Iron Man 2, the fact that the superhero has no secret identity, he has revealed himself to everyone around him. Nice twist indeed, but now I'm concerned about Iron Man 2's cast, are we destined to see too many main characters? Is it pushing towards the Spider-Man 3 area where there were just too many bad guys to allow any depth in any of them? I'm hoping not, and perhaps Mickey Rourke's bad guy will steal the show and the addition of Scarlett Johansson, Sam Rockwell and Don Cheadle, Olivia Munn and the return of Samuel L. Jackson won't over crowd the film. Mind you, that's even more to deal with than Spider-Man 3 had to.
A Nightmare on Elm Street
7th May UK
30th April US
The remake. While part of me thinks that a harder, modern version of the story would be great, I do think that all the recent attempts to do this with other horrors have failed. They've turned to violence and gore forgetting the true core of the stories. Mind you we have a great looking Krueger.
14th May UK/US
It seems almost inconceivable that a new Robin Hood would work in the hands of Ridley Scott with Russell Crowe in the lead, but again it carries a strong cast, and if Scott can hold off on the experimental camera work and concentrate on the story. I think he will, and we'll get to see a Robin Hood much closer to the actual tale. Cate Blanchett and Mark Strong both co-star along with the ensemble, two actors I love watching.
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
28th May UK/US
Ach, there's got to be some excitement and adventure on screen hasn't there? Prince of Persia is certainly going to deliver that, but I don't think I'll be expecting anything too complex or intelligent, all out action and big huge effects sequences.
28th May UK
Christopher Smith is making a name for himself with British horror, Creep, Severance, Triangle, and now Black Death. On the strength of the previous films you should be interested, but we're talking Sean Bean and Carice van Houten, and that's a couple of big added bonuses. The story is interesting too, set during the first outbreak of the plague in Britain, a monk is sent to investigate claims that those who have died of the plague in this small village have come back to life.
28th May Italy
Sofia Coppola has written and directed this film about a hard living Hollywood actor who's eleven year old daughter arrives in his life. Benicio Del Toro is the hard living actor, and Elle Fanning is the daughter – yes, it is her. There's also Michelle Monaghan and Stephen Dorff in the cast, although no names to match up to the surprise of Bill Murray in Lost in Translation. Let's hope this is better than Marie Antoinette.
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
28th May UK/US
Big cast, big story, big effects, big set pieces, and it looks a lot of fun.
Sex and the City 2
28th May UK/US
You know I haven't watched the first, and really there's no interest. It seemed to me the first was just more of the same from the television show. In fact it took the story back into the previous series and carried on from there, giving us a few more episodes. Now this film looks set to break new ground, thankfully.
Death at a Funeral
4th June UK
16th April US
One of the many remakes we're set to be sold, and I'm really not wanting to give this one any money, after all they've remade a British film from Frank Oz that was good enough already. Why would we need an exact retelling of it set in America with the whole cast of characters transplanted to another country and culture? Well maybe that's the answer, maybe that's what's going to make it work.
4th June US
The trailer for Robert Luketic's film surprised me, coming out of seemingly nowhere and looking like a load of fun, Ashton Kutcher and Katherine Heigl play well on screen together in a film that really does look like the prequel to Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Fun and action and Tom Selleck.
10th June Russia
You'd think that this film might be coming from Darren Oronofsky, and that he was tackling something similar to his previous film, The Wrestler, but it's not. David O. Russell is directing Christian Bale, Mark Wahlberg, Amy Adams and Melissa Leo in the story of the famous Irish bozer Micky Ward and his fascinating life. It's filled with all great moments, some monolithic fights, a halted career that kicks back up after three years retirement, being trained by his brother, and the battling of drugs. It sounds a monumental story. Let's hope Wahlberg brings his best acting to the table.
18th June US
The story of Jonah Hex is an interesting one that works well in a comic book, but will it translate well to the screen, and despite the big names involved, are the rumours of a troubled production going to mean that this will end up a mess or will it turn out to be something rather interesting?
The Tree of Life
24th June Argentina
Terrence Malick. Is there anything else to say? Well it's being billed as a science fiction/fantasy drama and leads with Brad Pitt and Sean Penn. What else is there to know? Surely that's enough? The story has been discussed time and time again, and we're still waiting to find the whole thing out, but it seems to follow an eleven year old boy in the American Midwest during the fifties who begins to discover what life is all about at the expense of his innocence.
The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud
25th June UK
11th June US
Now here's an interesting story, Charlie has a brother has just died, but he has a special bond with him and made a promise with him that he intends to keep. He takes a job at the cemetery as a caretaker and at night he sees his brother again and together they play catch and talk. However he meets a girl, falls in love with her, and has to choose between his promise to his dead brother and his girlfriend.
Knight and Day
2nd July UK/US
Some people see the name Tom Cruise and just turn off instantly, I don't, I see a really great actor whose personal life is brought to the fore far too often when the focus is the film he's acting in. So that means, as an actor, I'm a big fan and I'm really looking forward to seeing him together with Cameron Diaz in this action/comedy from James Mangold, think 3:10 to Yuma, Walk the Line, Identity, Girl, Interrupted and Cop Land. The trailer looks lot's of fun. How could you not want to see this?
Shrek Forever After
9th July UK
21st May US
I am a little jaded over the Shrek franchise, and I don't see this outing giving us a lot more. It seems to reset things back to the start with a strange plot twist to get us there, and revisit a lot of ground that the first two films have already covered.
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse
9th July UK
30th June US
More of the Twilight films, and I must give them a go at some point, but from what I've heard the change of director has given the series a bit of a breath of life. I wonder if I could get turned around to this series? Could I become a Twilf?
16th July US
Now this is a film that everyone's talking about, Christopher Nolan's next film is almost completely secret, and that just adds to the interest. The teaser we've seen so far looks amazing, and seems completely twisted. Perfect fodder for Christopher Nolan.
The Karate Kid
16th July UK
11th June US
Oh dear me. Another remake, another one that seems totally unnecessary. However after I saw the trailer I was surprised that it caught me, just a little, but it caught me. Funny, a bit more serious, and Jackie Chan to boot. Maybe, just maybe, it'll all work out.
Toy Story 3
23rd July UK
18th June US
Mmmm...Toy Story 3, in 3D. Again it feels like another franchise that has a new episode out this year that maybe just should have stayed down. So far the teasers haven't really been about the film, except for one, and that started to show some promise and beef up the original idea, an idea that sounded much like the original tale. Perhaps the story will evolve well for a third film, but the toys are getting old and unwanted, and even a polish of 3D might not save them. Maybe we should just remember them as our favourite toys?
30th July US
I think Harrison Ford has had his day as an action hero, even as the whip cracking one, but as a normal guy perhaps he hasn't. This concept of a morning show with an older male and female host battling it out behind, and in front of, the camera does seem to have some mileage. It's a cool idea, and Ford could play it well, especially with Diane Keaton next to him, but the film seems to concentrate on the producer, played by Rachel McAdams, that has to keep them in check and save the show. Still, could be good.
30th July UK
11th June US
To be honest I thought this was going to be a dud, even with Joe Carnahan set to direct. Then we heard the cast with Liam Neeson as Hannibal, Bradley Cooper as Face, Sharlto Copley as Mad Murdoch and Quinton 'Rampage' Jackson as B.A. Baracus, and that got my interest up. Then came the trailer and it captured the feelings I had when I watched the series on a Saturday afternoon. Could this modernise the story and deliver the same excitement?
The Adjustment Bureau
30th July US
Not The Assassination Bureau that I wanted to see, but the George Nolfi adapted and directed Philip K. Dick story that sees an affair between a politician and a ballerina affected by strange events which keep them apart. Starring Matt Damon and Emily Blunt in the leads and the Philip K. Dick story sounds really interesting in itself. I wonder if it will adapt well to the film for there seems to be a gulf between the two. Still, the main idea is there, that events are “adjusted” around us to make things right.
The Last Airbender
13th August UK
2nd July US
I'm not familiar with the story and haven't seen anything of the cartoon series, but I am familiar with M. Night Shyamalan, and I like to view his work as every other film rather than comparing it to his first and complaining when there's not twist in it as shattering as The Sixth Sense had. Now I'm a fan of Shyamalan, and I've liked all his films up until The Happening (Filmstalker review), so what's in store for us with this epic story? I think he might just turn things around and even the minds of those who hate his work for the reasons I've already mentioned. A children’s story brought to life on the big screen, and an epic one filled with fantasy effects at that. I think it might work, and work well.
Eat, Pray, Love
13th August US
I'm not entirely convinced by this film, and there's part of me that's thinking we just might see the same old Julia Roberts romantic twinge film. However there's an actress in there, and a potential for a story from this drama. There's a few other stars too, James Franco, Billy Crudup, Javier Bardem, Richard Jenkins and Viola Davis.
Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World
13th August US
Edgar Wright's next film, without the usual crew, is the story of Scott Pilgrim who must defeat the evil ex-boyfriends of the woman he wants before he can get a chance to go out with her. There's an interesting cast too, and I wonder how Wright will fare and if this will deliver as many laughs as his previous films staffed with the usual suspects?
The Sorcerer's Apprentice
13th August UK
16th July US
Can Nicolas Cage deliver a good performance? That's the question that's on my lips for this film, or rather the main question. The Disney remake of the Sorcerer's Apprentice is turning out nothing like the original, bar the title, and that's a good thing. A huge magical good versus evil story across the city with plenty of effects and magic. Winning formula? With
Jon Turteltaub it may well be, but come on, make Cage act.
20th August UK
23rd July US
Angelina Jolie doing Bourne might sound more like an adult film than anything, but actually it's just that, a female Bourne type story with Angelina Jolie in the lead, and the trailer looks pretty full on and lot's of exciting action. I'm in. Lose the shaky-cam please.
20th August US
This seems to be a pretty standard story, a group of bank robbers who are trying to steal a huge haul get interrupted by a tough detective. Doesn't sound that special, then there's the cast, Zoe Saldana, who is getting better and better roles, Hayden Christensen, Paul Walker, Matt Dillon, Idris Elba, Jay Hernandez, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, and a ton more. The cast alone are making it sound interesting.
27th August UK/US
I'm not interested in the gimmick 3D, and the bootlegged trailer for this that we've already seen shows things being thrown right at the camera for no good reason, distracting people from the story and everything else the film is supposed to be about. No real surprise since the story is just about a school of oversized, over-active, killer piranha's. Woo. Yeah so Alexandre Aja wrote and directed, and Elisabeth Shue, Richard Dreyfuss, Christopher Lloyd, Ving Rhames, Dina Meyer, and Kelly Brook are all in the film, so there's got to be something hasn't there? Something more than the daft 3D?
American: The Bill Hicks Story
1st September UK
I'll get a chance to see this at the Glasgow Film Festival, indeed my ticket is already booked. I'm a Bill Hicks fan, although I've actually seen little of his comedy, he was a very clever and insightful as well as funny man, and he had a lot to say about America, politics and the human condition, and while he made you laugh, he'd make you think. It's an interesting style of film too, a photo animated documentary which is narrated by the ten people who knew the man the best.
1st September US
Anton Corbijn directs this Martin Booth novel adapted by Rowan Joffe with the lead of George Clooney playing a master assassin whose last job shocked him into the realisation that he's had enough. He tells his handler he's done and the next job will be his last, while he awaits the job he heads into the Italian countryside and gets a little too comfortable, making friends with a local priest and a woman, revealing himself to the outside world a little too much. Sounds like a serious Grosse Pointe Blank.
10th September US
Ben Affleck the director, who would have thought he would be so blindly good at it? Well he certainly is and I'm really looking forward to the next film from him. He's carrying a great cast in this one too, including himself, and the adaptation of the Chuck Hogan sounds an interesting one. Four men, a thief, his rivals and friends, are being pursued by an FBI Agent and are in danger from a Bank manager from one of the thieves' previous jobs. It sounds a tale right up Affleck's street.
17th September US
It's been three years since Rob Reiner's The Bucket List, but he's back this year with this adaptation of the novel by Wendelin Van Draanen which tells the story of two completely opposite eighth graders who, despite their feelings for each other, begin to find they have feelings for each other. Could this be another big hit for the writer/director?
Let Me In
1st October US
The American remake of the perfectly good Let The Right One In (Filmstalker review). I wonder if Matt Reeves, the director of Cloverfield (Filmstalker review), can transition to the subtle complexities of the novel and the original film, or will Hollywood hack it to death and remake it with a spade rather than a brush?
The Social Network
15th October US
I've thought that this film sounded strange from the opening moment, and the idea that David Fincher is directing just adds to that, for he's not someone I'd associate with a film about Facebook. I think without him at the helm this film would really drop down the desirable list, but there are still good reasons, Aaron Sorkin has adapted the Ben Mezrich novel and there's a good host of younger talent on board. Still, I'm really curious how it's going to work out.
Guardians of Ga'Hoole
15th October UK
24th September US
Zack Snyder's back with the adaptation of the Kathryn Lasky novel and delivers another surprising turn to animation, who would have thought that would be his next film choice? It could easily turn into a franchise as well, an epic fantasy which is all about animals. In this story we follow a young barn owl who joins the Guardians of Ga'Hoole to fight an army of brainwashed owls. It all sounds rather bizarre, but the book series have been doing really well, but will that translate?
22nd October US
Antoine Fuqua is back again with Hugh Jackman reportedly taking the lead in a film about a Boston man – what is it with Boston? Are they not getting fed up with the bad rep they see in the films? - kidnaps the person that he thinks is behind the kidnapping of his daughter and her best friend. So far that's all we know, but with Fuqua behind it I'd expect style, some action when needed, and big moments that will hopefully slap you in the face.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I
19th November UK/US
I was looking forward to this film, after all as the characters have grown up so has the story and who the story is aimed at. It's been a great journey and we all want to see how it ends. It's also superb that they're doing the original source (with this book at least) the justice it deserves and slicing it in two films. What's not so good is that they are making the two parts 3D. I think they've done a miscalculation here. The films are aiming more and more at the grown-ups, maturing with the characters and audience, and while the audience haven't aged greatly, the tone of the films have. I wonder if the audience for these films want 3D? My other concern is if we're quite late in the day now for the first film and if that will be a 3D conversion with the second being filmed entirely in 3D. Either way it's not needed, and what's going to happen to the rest of the series now? Are the studio going to pay to adapt them all into 3D?
19th November US
Clint Eastwood is behind the camera again, and with Peter Morgan delivering the script. I'm hoping that this turns out much stronger than Invictus (Filmstalker review) did. This time we're seeing a supernatural thriller from them both, one which sees a blue-collar worker from America, a French journalist and an English school boy the centre of the film.
24th November US
There's a big cast for this film which is the same old story but this time transplanted to a Burlesque club, it reminds me of Coyote Ugly, but with more dancing. This stars the gorgeous Kristen Bell, very talented Stanley Tucci, Alan Cumming, Cher, Cam Gigandet, Eric Dane, Peter Gallagher, oh and of course, Christina Aguilera. I'm really in two minds about the film, actually I don't hold up a great deal of hope for it if I'm being honest, it's just the star attraction that has me placing it on the list.
3rd December UK
5th November US
DreamWorks and RedHour are delivering a superhero story with a difference, I know the animated comedy has quite a few of these films, but this one does start off very differently. It follows the super-villain who has killed his nemesis, and now finds that he really needed him to be who he is. So he creates a new superhero to take the place of the one he killed, except the new one sees that being a villain is more fun, so he sets out to take over the world, and destroy it. Now Megamind has a decision to make and perhaps become the hero of the hour.
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
10th December UK/US
Michael Apted is the replacement for the next Narnia film, and while news on the continuation of the franchise hasn't been good, there's talk that his film could sink or save the franchise. I'm not entirely convinced as the series is all too morally black and white and the whole Aslan character doesn't sit well with me. However let's not shoot the film down before it arrives, after all, this one takes to the seas.
The Bard: The Story of Robert Burns - Volume I
15th – 17th December US (Seattle, New York, Los Angeles)
17th December UK (Edinburgh)
You know what, I don't know who Travis A. Jackson is, the man behind the story of Robert Burns coming to film, but I love him already. Not only is he tackling Burns where other, bigger projects can't even get started, he has a volume II in development, and a story about Bonnie Prince Charlie. I know nothing about the production, but I do hope that this does the real life character justice and opens the flood gates for the wealth of Scottish stories hitting the cinema. Let's get some of that homecoming money into Scottish film production – note that means production of Scottish films, not lining the pockets of production companies who don't deliver.
17th December US
I think everyone's waiting for Tron Legacy to arrive. It's been such a long wait from the original for a sequel, but the technology is more than ready to do it justice and the excellent leak of the test footage from Comic-Con did it absolute wonders. I have high hopes for this film because they are honouring the original and adding to it. To me it doesn't sound like the poor sequel/prequel/remake ideas that Hollywood are swamped with. This could be superb.
The Green Hornet
22nd December US
I'm troubled by this film, for I really do think it's going to make this too much of a slapstick, American style comedy film and we'll lose what power the original had. Still, without the talents of Stephen Chow, who should clearly have been leading and directing it, we have Christoph Waltz, Seth Rogen, Cameron Diaz, Edward Furlong, Edward James Olmos, Tom Wilkinson and Jay Chou. Hey there's even an actress called Jennifer Glasgow on board, what a cracking name. Still, I fear for what The Green Hornet will become and what will happen to the revered character of Kato. Chow wanted to do Bruce Lee justice with this, and I suspect that's where the problems between he and the people in charge started.
25th December US
The Coen Brothers are remaking the classic western starring John Wayne, and they've chosen who I would think is a superb choice to replace him, Jeff Bridges. Matt Damon and Josh Brolin are also up to star. Part of me is wishing this would never happen, but another part is excited about the mix of talent.
Darren Aronofsky's film has attracted a lot of attention for the wrong reasons, seeing Mila Kunis and Natalie Portman in a sex scene together may be a great thing, but it's one of the lowest reasons on the list to see this film. The director, the two actresses and Vincent Cassel are the big reasons, and the fact that it sounds like it harks back to an older film and sounds rather spooky to boot. The film is about a veteran ballet dancer and her new rival, and one of the character's may well be in the dancer's head. It's all irrelevant isn't it? It's Darren Aronofsky.
While Edgar Wright is off doing his thing, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost are off doing theirs, writing and starring in the Greg Mottola directed film Paul. They play two comic book geeks who are off to a science fiction convention and on the way there pick up someone who turns out to be an Alien from Area 51, now that's got to have tons of in jokes and laughs.
Ellen Page, Susan Sarandon, Josh Lucas, Bill Pullman and Keith Carradine star in this film that sees the lead, Cillian Murphy, harbouring a secret that is revealed one day to the small town he lives in after a train accident. The film sounds an intriguing idea, and the cast is strong, and I'm fascinated to see how this thriller works, especially knowing the secret.
This is Robert Redford's film that looks into the story of Mary Surratt, the woman that was accused of harbouring and aiding John Wilkes Booth after his assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. The film is focussed on her trial and carries some interesting cast members. The beautiful Robin Wright Penn is the lead, and am I excited to be seeing her lead more films after the excellent The Private Lives of Pippa Lee (Filmstalker review) She's joined by James McAvoy, Danny Huston, Kevin Kline, Tom Wilkinson, Evan Rachel Wood, Justin Long, and Toby Kebbell as Booth. With Redford directing I'm really excited for this film.
William Monahan wrote Kingdom of Heaven, The Departed (Filmstalker review), Body of Lies and Edge of Darkness, in that order and without a film in between. Now though he's taken to going behind the camera with this story which he's also written the screenplay for. Keira Knightley, Colin Farrell, Ray Winstone, Eddie Marsan, David Thewlis, Ben Chaplin, and Anna Friel star. Despite all those names, it's the writer/director that has me filled with hope for the film.
Never Let Me Go
Mark Romanek directing the Alex Garland adapted Kazuo Ishiguro novel, already there's a mix in there that must have piqued your interest. At first glance it seems to be a story told all too often, grown up friends meeting up again and reflecting on their past together, but add in the cast of Carey Mulligan, Keira Knightley, Andrew Garfield, Sally Hawkins and Charlotte Rampling, and there's even more interest for me anyway, it's not just the behind the scenes mix that sounds interesting.
We Need to Talk About Kevin
Tilda Swinton is a great actress and she's starring as the mother of a teenager who went on a murderous rampage at his high school. She tries to cope with the feelings of guilt at what her son has done. Lynne Ramsay adapted the story from the Lionel Shriver novel, and she's directing. A strong British film to look out for.
The Killer Inside Me
Michael Winterbottom is filming the John Curran adapted Jim Thompson novel, and although I find it hard to picture the cast in the roles of the novel, I'm willing to go along with it. Casey Affleck takes the lead with Jessica Alba, Kate Hudson, Simon Baker, Elias Koteas, Bill Pullman, and Ned Beatty. Some of the cast would seem to match, but others just feel slightly out of the characters that I've read in the book. Still, it's an interesting novel.
From the director of 44 Inch Chest comes back with this film and a cast of Vera Farmiga, Keanu Reeves, James Caan and Peter Stormare, now that sounds good doesn't it? Yet it's a comedy, who would have expected that after 44 Inch Chest?
Rowan Joffe directs the remake of Brighton Rock, or rather the adaptation of the Graham Greene novel to rival the 1947 film with Richard Attenborough leading. This stars Carey Mulligan, Helen Mirren, John Hurt and Sam Riley. I'm not sure of the remake, for it is bringing it forward some time, but the rest of the story shouldn't be changing the core of the story too much.
This is Doug Liman's film about the true story of the female CIA agent outed by Washington political scumbags who were trying to discredit her husband who had written a piece for the New York Times about the Bush administration lying to go to war over WMD's.
The Eagle of the Ninth
This is Kevin Macdonald's version about the story of the last Roman Legion who were massacred in Scotland before the Roman's pulled out of Britain. There's a strong cast in this one too, Channing Tatum, Mark Strong, Donald Sutherland and Jamie Bell. The Ninth Legion disappeared in Scotland, and the son of the Commander of the Legion heads over to Britain to find out what happened and clear the shame against his father's name.
What’s Wrong With Virginia?
Jennifer Connelly on her own would make me want to see a film, and not just because she has this incredible air of sexuality about her, but that she's an incredible actress, so add in Ed Harris as the second lead and you have to keep your eye on the film. It's got a strong story too, one that promises to deliver more of Connelly's great emotional performance.
The Last Word
The director of Hallam Foe and Spread has another interesting film on his list, a love story set in a city where everyone is losing their sensory perception. Ewan McGregor, Eva Green, Connie Nielsen, Stephen Dillane and Denis Lawson star. Interesting story line, David Mackenzie really is taking huge leaps forward without pampering to Hollywood.
Bernard Rose is directing the story of Howard Marks, and so I'm really not sure how this will turn out. Candyman, Immortal Beloved, Snuff-Movie (Filmstalker review) and The Kreutzer Sonata (Filmstalker review). A real mixed bag, but then this is the story of Howard Marks, the British drug smuggler who, through his dealing, pushed into famous circles and made a name for himself, even writing his autobiographies. It also stars Chloë Sevigny, Rhys Ifans, David Thewlis, Jack Huston, Omid Djalili and a number of others. It's a mixed bag for sure, but the story itself is really one worth seeing, even if Marks shouldn't get the money.