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The 30 Most Anticipated Movies of 2010

By  · Published on January 14th, 2010

With the debates still raging on about the quality of last year’s films, I’d like to take a look ahead to the future. In fact, considering the year we just had, I’ve been looking ahead to 2010 ever since January of 2009. Don’t get me wrong. The movies were great, but it was really tough for me to keep up with movie news while I was out panhandling on I-35. Not to mention dangerous.

Hopefully our country’s fair citizens will have to panhandle no more forever, but instead of rambling off into tangents about the state of our economy, let’s escape a little bit into the future. A peaceful place where everyone gets a puppy, a flying car, and these movies:

30. The Green Hornet

Release Date: December 10

The Who: Directed by Michel Gondry; Starring Seth Rogen, Cameron Diaz, and Cristoph Waltz

The Pitch: After being hammered to death with news from this project – most of it involving how many times Stephen Chow would drop out (4) – I still have a lot of hope for this flick. It’s refreshing to see Rogen change things up, although there’s the possibility that he’ll just turn Britt Reid into Seth Reid, but it’s a beloved series hitting the big screen in a big way.

29. A Nightmare on Elm Street

Release Date: April 30

The Who: Directed by Samuel Bayer; Starring Jackie Earle Haley

The Pitch: Horror fans are on claws and needles here, seeing a music video director handle the fragile, delicate nostalgia of their upbringing, but seeing Freddy on screen is enough to make me climb up the wall. And drag myself across the ceiling. Fingers crossed that it’s more Dream Warriors than Freddy’s Dead.

28. Paul

Release Date: TBA

The Who: Directed by Greg Motolla; Written by Simon Pegg and Nick Frost; Starring them, Seth Rogen, and a cast of thousands.

The Pitch: I might as well continue the cast list in this section, because with talent like Jane Lynch, Jeffrey Tambor, Bill Hader, David Koechner, and Kristen Wiig at Greg Motolla’s disposal there’s a lot of promise for this strange story about comic book geeks who meet an (animated) alien on their way to Comic Con.

27. Machete

Release Date: April 16

The Who: Directed by Ethan Maniquis and Robert Rodriguez; Starring Danny Trejo and Rose McGowan

The Pitch: What you thought was only a fake trailer turned out to be an entire movie. That’s what Rodriguez does. Who the hell couldn’t go for an hour and a half of the dude from Spy Kids slashing his way through a jungle of human flesh and revenge?

26. Robin Hood

Release Date: May 14

The Who: Directed by Ridley Scott; Written by Brian Helgeland; Starring Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchett

The Pitch: One of the most classic characters, an icon that has appeared in a half dozen films already, it’ll be fascinating to see Scott’s take on it. Especially with Gladiator collaborator Russell Crowe by his side spouting out dialog written by the man who brought us L.A. Confidential and Payback.

25. The Conspirator

Release Date: TBA

The Who: Directed by Robert Redford; Starring Robin Wright Penn and James McAvoy

The Pitch: Redford is an incredibly talented, serious director who might have the best eye to peer into a forbidden section of American history on the night Lincoln died. Wright Penn plays Mary Surratt, the only female conspirator tried in court, in what promises to be a gripping historical and legal drama.

24. Date Night

Release Date: July 14

The Who: Directed by Shawn Levy; Starring Steve Carell and Tina Fey

The Pitch: If you read “Steve Carell and Tina Fey” and didn’t get excited, then you haven’t paid attention to comedy television over the past 3 years. Granted, the name Shawn Levy doesn’t inspire much confidence, but there’s a ton of comedic force at work here for a pretty basic story about a married couple attempting romance, mistaken identities, and thrilling adventure in New York City.

23. The Social Network

Release Date: October 15

The Who: Directed by David Fincher; Written by Aaron Sorkin; Starring Jesse Eisenberg, Rashida Jones, and Sexy Back

The Pitch: Considering that David Fincher is my favorite living director and Aaron Sorkin is one of my favorite writers, you should thank me for not annoyingly placing this much higher on the list. I’ll expect those thank you’s in my inbox by tomorrow morning. For better or worse, Facebook has become a potent cultural force, so it seems only fitting that its birth gets told in film form. I’m looking forward to it, genuinely, but not looking forward to the inevitable, ubiquitous Facebook ads for it.

22. Black Swan

Release Date: TBA

The Who: Directed by Darren Aronofsky; Starring Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis

The Pitch: If Aronofsky does anything right, it’s tight, intimate character work, and by everything I’ve heard, this thriller sounds fantastic. For your prurient side, there’s Portman and Kunis promising a lesbian sex scene, and for your academic side, there’s Portman and Kunis promising a Sapphic encounter.

21. Frozen

Release Date: TBA

The Who: Directed by Adam Green; Starring Emma Bell, Kevin Zegers, and Shawn Ashmore

The Pitch: Green blew me away with his slasher film Hatchet, and this film garnered a lot of positive praise coming out of Butt-Numb-a-Thon. Frozen tells the story of two snowboarders and a skier who are trapped on a ski-lift facing hypothermia and…some surprising choices that bring them face to face with death.

20. Toy Story 3

Release Date: June 18

The Who: Directed by Lee Unkrich; Written by Michael Arndt; Starring Tim Allen and Tom Hanks

The Pitch: Fans everywhere probably consider this sequel long overdue, especially considering the strength of the second film, the track record of the studio, and the endurance of the characters in our culture. There’s a new generation of kids (and older kids have just gained a few years), so I can only imagine another exciting, laughter-inducing ride as we look at what happens when we grow too old for our toys. And the 3D glasses should hide any tears that come my way.

19. The American

Release Date: December 17

The Who: Directed by Anton Corbijn; Starring George Clooney

The Pitch: Another music video director on the list, Anton Corbijn also directed the brilliant film Control, which looked at the life of lead singer for Joy Division Ian Curtis. Him collaborating with Clooney (and in drama about a hired killer) has the potential to be a palpable combination.

18. Edge of Darkness

Release Date: January 29

The Who: Directed by Martin Campbell; Written by William Monahan and Andrew Bovell; Starring Mel Gibson

The Pitch: For American-born Mel Gibson’s return to acting, this should be highly anticipated enough, but if you liked little films like The Departed or Casino Royale or Payback (the director’s cut) then you should be all over this one. Even with the…questionable Bostonian accents.

17. Tomorrow, When the War Began

Release Date: TBA

The Who: Directed by Stuart Beattie; Starring Rachel Hurd-Wood, Phoebe Tonkin, and Lincoln Lewis

The Pitch: I fully realize that there’s a remake of Red Dawn coming out this year, but Tomorrow, When the War Began (if the novel is any indication) will be a bit grittier and more realistic when it comes to the Rag-Tag-Band-of-Teenagers-Banding-Together-to-Band-Against-Foreign-Military-Invaders genre. Plus, we’ll get to see the directorial debut of the screenwriter behind 30 Days of Night and the Pirates of the Caribbean films.

16. The Losers

Release Date: April 9

The Who: Directed by Sylvain White; Written by Peter Berg; Starring Zoe Saldana, Idris Elba, Chris Evans, and Jeffrey Dean Morgan

The Pitch: If you’re a comic book fan, then you’re a fan of Andy Diggle and Jock. You’re also most likely a fan of their lovable Losers who happen to have their names on a C.I.A. Death List. God, this is such a cool comic book. In fact, you should go buy it right now and read it to increase your anticipation of this film. If Sylvain White can do these characters justice, we might have one of the hippest comic adaptations of the decade.

15. The Expendables

Release Date: August 13

The Who: Directed by Sylvester Stallone; Starring Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Eric Roberts, Bruce Willis, and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger

The Pitch: This movie features every bad ass of the past 40 years except Jean Claude Van Damme. If they get JCVD for the sequel, it will be that much cooler, but for now, we’re going to have to deal with the explosive awesomeness and what promises to be an innumerable amount of asses kicked.

14. Clash of the Titans

Release Date: March 26

The Who: Directed by Louis Letterier; Starring Sam Worthington, Gemma Arterton, and Liam Neeson

The Pitch: The ancient mythical tale of the son of Zeus fighting Medusa, riding around on a horse with wings and generally pissing off the Pantheon of Gods. While I’m heartbroken that they’re updating the stop-motion genius of Ray Harryhausen, I have to admit that the previews and trailers for this flick make the film look like it will grind audiences into the dust with action.

13. The Wolfman

Release Date: February 12

The Who: Directed by Joe Johnston; Written by Andrew Kevin Walker; Starring Benecio del Toro, Emily Blunt, and Anthony Hopkins

The Pitch: Another re-imagining of a classic tale, I think del Toro has the creepy charisma to bring a character like this to life. It’s a perversion of man, a look into the dark soul of someone forced to be violent, and it promises to have an intense amount of gnashing teeth. Plus, can you really go wrong with Rick Baker involved?

12. The Last Airbender

Release Date: July 2

The Who: Directed by M. Night Shyamalan; Starring Dev Patel and Jackson Rathbone

The Pitch: I’ve never seen the Anime, but I was blown away by the trailer when it came out. A child doing amazingly acrobatic martial arts as the camera pulls out and away from the mouth of a cave where a giant armada knifes through a choppy sea on the cusp of attack. Beyond a cool fighting film, it’ll be interesting to see what Shyamalan can do with source material and without foliage as the main villain.

11. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

Release Date: TBA

The Who: Directed by Edgar Wright; Starring Michael Cera, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Anna Kendrick

The Pitch: When my friend Sara first introduced me to Scott Pilgrim, I fully admit to geeking out. The story about a slacker with no real job, no real place to live, and no shortage of ambition for his shitty local band hit home for some reason. That combined with some crazy, video-game style action (and puns) and the elusive girl everyone wants to be with, Ramona Flowers, make it a great pleasure that’s distilled into each book. Edgar Wright has shown incredible comedic chops (even pranking Cera during the press tour for Superbad), and it’s that sense of humor that’s right to see Scott Pilgrim take on all of Ramona’s evil exes.

10. Piranha 3-D

Release Date: April 16

The Who: Directed by Alexander Aja; Starring a bunch of CGI, 3-D fish

The Pitch: What a terrible, wonderful concept. Bringing back an ancient B-movie and remaking it as a B-movie in 3-D is demented enough to be genius. The trailers already make this thing look like a cheaper version of Jaws. Or a cheaper version of the original (which was one of Joe Dante’s first films). I’m gearing up to buy a giant tub of popcorn and rock through that thing as a million tiny teeth try to chew at me through the screen.

9. The Adjustment Bureau

Release Date: TBA

The Who: Directed by George Nolfi; Based on the short story by Phillip K. Dick; Starring Matt Damon and Emily Blunt

The Pitch: Phillip K. Dick’s short story about a man in a changing reality is brilliant and includes some very cool imagery that would translate well to film. I have no idea if it’s been translated with this adaptation, but George Nolfi (in his first stint as director) is a great writer, and Matt Damon is one of the best working actors today. Pair him with Emily Blunt, toss in Terence Stamp and Anthony Mackie with a heavy dose of science fiction, and I have no idea why you wouldn’t get excited.

8. Alice in Wonderland

Release Date: March 5

The Who: Directed by Tim Burton; Starring Johnny Depp, Anne Hathaway, Mia Wasikowska, and Helena Bonham Carter

The Pitch: Whenever Tim Burton discovers primary colors, good things happen. This, to my knowledge, only happened once (with Big Fish), but it looks like it might be happening again. There’s an obviousness to Burton directing a film like this, but it’s obvious for a reason. His style is remarkable and built for the strange and the happily twisted.

7. Tron Legacy

Release Date: December 17

The Who: Directed by Joseph Kosinski; Starring Olivia Wilde, Michael Sheen, Garrett Hedlund, and Jeff Bridges

The Pitch: We’re getting geeky now. I didn’t see Tron until this year, and while I don’t have the nostalgia for it, the buzz for the sequel has been swelling since Disney teased the project a couple of years ago. They then followed up at Comic Con by leading everyone on a scavenger hunt to find Flynn’s Arcade. Also, it’s a chance to see Tron Guy walk the red carpet. Please, Disney?

6. Shutter Island

Release Date: February 16

The Who: Directed by Martin Scorsese; Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo and Ben Kingsley

The Pitch: So you’ve heard some negative things about it? I don’t care. It’s Martin Scorsese directing a flick based on a Dennis Lehane mystery novel. I’m sold. The cast looks phenomenal – including Emily Mortimer, Michelle Williams, Jackie Earle Haley, and Max von Sydow (von Sydow!) beyond the principals. Dark and sweaty, the whole thing just looks like it will be tense and satisfying.

5. Predators

Release Date: July 7

The Who: Directed by Nimrod Antal; Starring Topher Grace, Adrien Brody, and Predators

The Pitch: Where to begin? I’m basing my interest in this solely on one thing – the prospect of seeing the most lethal hunter in the universe back on screen. The results haven’t always been thrilling, but getting to see the home world of the laser-beaming bastards (like Chef Predator and Nanny Predator and Accountant Predator) sounds down right dangerous.

4. Kick-Ass

Release Date: April 16

The Who: Directed by Matthew Vaughn; Starring Aaron Johnson, Nicolas Cage, and Chloe Moretz

The Pitch: If I was honest, I wouldn’t have put this film on this list a few months ago, but as more trailers (the red band is stunning, the green band…not so much) have come out, huge praise has been lauded, and crazy-eyes Nicolas Cage has invaded our world, it’s tough to get away from this film. And I don’t want to. I’ve never read the comic book, but Mark Millar is great at making cool-as-hell characters with just a slight loser side. Plus, this looks like the perfect antidote to the onslaught of comic book movies in the last decade.

3. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1

Release Date: November 19

The Who: Directed by David Yates; Written by Steve Kloves; Starring Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, and every major British actor

The Pitch: For me, November 19th can’t come fast enough. The quality of this series has not only been sustained – it’s increased with every film. David Yates has proven himself as a great helmer for these stories, and with the freedom of a two-parter, the epic conclusion to the most recognizable wizard in the world has the potential to be awe-inspiring. The only downside is having to wait half a year for the conclusion to the conclusion.

2. Inception

Release Date: July 16

The Who: Directed by Christopher Nolan; Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Ken Watanabe, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Marion Cotilliard

The Pitch: Christopher Nolan hasn’t ever made a bad movie. He also just said that Inception is going to be bigger than The Dark Knight and that it draws from the spy traditions of James Bond. Are you excited yet? Thought so. If you’re not, damn it man, what’s wrong with you? Somehow, we have no idea what it’s about, but every piece of this puzzle spells out that it will be one of the best event movies of the year…

1. Iron Man 2

Release Date: May 7

The Who: Directed by Jon Favreau; Written by Justin Theroux; Starring Robert Downey Jr, Don Cheadle, Mickey Rourke, Sam Rockwell and Scarlett Johansson

The Pitch: …but Inception won’t even be the biggest event movie of the summer, because the whole party gets kicked off by Tony Stark himself. Whereas Iron Man was the dark horse back in 2008, it is now the full-fledged, undeniable front-runner, promising to make a disgusting amount of money at the box office and please fans who fell in love two summers ago.

Movie stuff at VanityFair, Thrillist, IndieWire, Film School Rejects, and The Broken Projector Podcast@brokenprojector | Writing short stories at Adventitious.