A film geek’s look at 2010

The great thing about 2009 in movies is that, for the most part, there always seemed to be a movie out there that interested me.

And my tastes run all over the map — but usually end up somewhere near geeky/sci-fi/comic book/comedy.

Sometimes it was a huge event film, like Star Trek, Up or The Hangover. Sometimes it was low-key, like Zombieland. Sometimes it was foreign — I thought Red Cliff was really well done. Sometimes it was a surprising choice — one of my favorite movies of the entire decade was this year’s Anvil!: The Story of Anvil. (Right now, Up In The Air is on my list, and I imagine The Book Of Eli soon will be.)

It looks like 2010 will have the same menu of quality.

Mind you, in this year and next, there will be dross — Transformers, 2012, Alvin and the Chipmunks (The Squeakquel) all went right past me, and there are some crummy films on the calendar in ’10 as well.

Quite a few sites have already posted their picks for what might be big hits in 2010, and the titles they pick aren’t too surprising: Iron Man 2, Eclipse, The A-Team, Alice In Wonderland. Sequels and remakes are usually good bets.

(Couple of things here: 1. If you have the time, check out Dark Horizon’s multi-part look at next year’s movies. Garth Franklin has done an exhaustive study of everything that might come out in 2010 — it’s going to be in 11 separate posts! 2. The New York Times wrote an interesting piece on how quite a few films set for early 2010 were filmed in 2008 or earlier, including Michael Cera’s Youth In Revolt and Ethan Hawke’s Daybreakers.)

Here are a few films — some big, some obscure, even two relatively foreign ones (British) — that I’m looking forward to this coming year:

— Iron Man 2: Let’s start with an easy one. The original was a superhero movie done right — the choice of Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man was brilliant. He, director Jon Favreau and most of the key players are back for the sequel, and Don Cheadle pinch-hitting for Terrance Howard as James Rhodes/War Machine seems to make the cast better. Plus, there’s Mickey Rourke handling electric whips and Scarlett Johansson in a leather bodysuit. What’s not to like here?

— Inception: You may have seen the trailers already and not understood exactly what was happening — All you know is that Leonardo DiCaprio’s in it, it’s really wild-looking and it was directed by Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight, Memento). So, what’s the problem?

— Black Hole: This isn’t a remake of the 1979 Disney sci-fi borefest. Instead, this is David Fincher’s adaptation of an outstanding graphic novel by Charles Burns which deals with a particularly troublesome STD called “The Bug”. (Actually, this one may or may not arrive this year — Fincher’s attached, but hasn’t started filming yet.)

— Kick-Ass: My first of two comic-book adaptations I’m more excited about than Iron Man 2. Kick-Ass is the story of a teenager who has no superpowers, yet decides to go into the superhero business anyway, joining up with like-minded folks. Based on a ground-breaking comic by Mark Millar, this could be a huge film.

— Jonah Hex: And this is the other. Based on the DC comic-book, this film stars Josh Brolin as the horribly scarred bounty hunter pursuing a dangerous ex-Confederate officer (John Malkovich) trying to restart the Civil War. Also stars Megan Fox as a barmaid with an impossibly thin waist.

— Rum Diary: Johnny Depp in his second Hunter S. Thompson project. Last time, he played Thompson on a lot of drugs in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Now he’s Paul Kemp trying to figure out life in Puerto Rico. Can’t wait.

— Date Night: Steve Carell and Tina Fey star as a couple trying to have a normal date when their night goes sideways as they’re mistaken for a dangerous pair. I’m hopeful due to the cast, which also includes Mark Wahlberg and James Franco.

— 44-Inch Chest: I’m a big fan of the British movie Sexy Beast, which starred Ray Winstone going head to head with a vicious Ben Kingsley, who has some of the nastiest, most brutal dialogue ever. Unfortunately, Kingsley’s not around for this movie — but Winstone and the writers of Sexy Beast are, along with Ian McShane and Tom Wilkinson, two other gents I’d see in almost any movie. It doesn’t hurt that the plot is pretty close to the heart of the Beast, as Winstone’s character tries to reassert his manhood by kidnapping his wife’s lover.

— Get Me To The Gig: This film revives the character of Aldous Snow, an obnoxious rock star played by Russell Brand who pretty much stole Forgetting Sarah Marshall out from under Jason Segel and Kristen Bell. This one’s all Snow, with the help of Jonah Hill, playing a record company intern who’s trying to … well… get Snow to the gig.

— Paul: The pairing of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost guarantees my presence in line for tickets. In this one, the lads play British sci-fi fans who happen upon Area 51 and a wayward alien. Unfortunately, Edgar Wright — who directed Pegg and Frost in Shawn of the Dead and Hot Fuzz — isn’t along this time. But Greg Mottola — who directed Superbad and the underrated Adventureland — is.

One that you’d think you want to see, but I’m thinking you’ll want to avoid is a vampire film called Let Me In. This is an American adaptation of the Swedish picture Let The Right One In, about a young teen and the relationship he starts with a teen vampire. The original is mind-blowingly great, and I don’t see any reason why there should be any remakes. But you know how studios are with do-overs.

Finally (speaking of do-overs), Coed Magazine’s Web site has hopes for Arrested Development The Movie seeing the light of day in 2010. If it does, and everyone in that cast is in on it, sign me up. But I’m not holding my breath.

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