Nick is listing out the 15 mainstream movies that are most exciting for
2010, and he’s asked me to do a supplemental list for the smaller
movies that should be on your radar. The problem is that 15 is such a
small number! So I’ve decided to do 30, and to split it between 15
smaller and indie American films and 15 foreign films (and yes, I’m
including British movies as foreign).

hardest part of this kind of a list is that I have no idea what is
actually coming; the joy of smaller and indie films is that they often
surprise you – the best movie of 2010 might be something nobody has
heard of  that will debut at Cannes or Toronto. With that
caveat, I’ve done a lot of research (some of which was greatly enabled
by Garth Franklin’s monstrous Notable Films of 2010) and I think this list will be filled with movies worth paying attention to in 2010.

Day Five

You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger
Directed by Woody Allen
Starring Naomi Watts, Anthony Hopkins, Josh Brolin, Antonio Banderas, Lucy Punch
Written by Woody Allen

The Gist
I’m not sure! Woody Allen movies have really tight security – or at least nobody bothers to go hunting for spoilers on them. What we do know is that Anthony Hopkins plays a man who has an affair with a much younger woman who takes him for all his money. Naomi Watts plays his daughter and Lucy Punch is the woman.

Participants to Watch
Lucy Punch may not be a name you know right now, but she’s taking on a role that was intended for Nicole Kidman, so I imagine it’s fairly juicy.

Anthony Hopkins has entered the ‘let’s have a goddamned blast’ stage of his career, and he’s described this film as a ton of fun to make. I hope it shows onscreen.

Josh Brolin because he’s Josh Brolin. I don’t know what kind of role he plays, but it’s Josh Brolin.

The Buzz
I don’t think I’ve heard anything about this movie yet. There’s no trailer, very few production stills, and I’m not even certain what the title itself means.

Best Case
We get a good late period Woody Allen film. Woody’s still churning them out once a year, and they’re pretty hit or miss – but the reality is that even his hits are less than his previous work. Much less. You have to walk into a Woody Allen film with managed expectations these days, but he can still deliver a good – but rarely great – film.

Worst Case
A stinker. When Woody is off, he’s really off. Last year’s Whatever Works was a script that he had in a drawer somewhere since the 70s and it really felt like it. A bad Woody Allen movie is like death, and he can drag great talent down with him.

CHUD’s Prognosis
I’m going in with hope. But I’m also ready to take a hit. With Woody you just can’t tell anymore, but the guy’s too much of a genius to not at least give him a shot.

Useful Links
Here’s young Woody Allen talking to the CBC in 1967.

I don’t know if the movie is about fortune telling, but you can buy a Zoltar machine at this link.


Un Prophete

Directed by Jacques Audiard
Starring Tahar Rahim, Niels Arestrup
Written by Thomas Bidegain & Jacques Audiard and Abdel Raouf Dafri & Nicolas Peufailit
The Gist
A dumb young kid ends up in a French prison. He’s Muslim but he has no affiliation and no friends on the inside. He slowly falls in with the Corsican Mafia and learns the ins and outs of the criminal world, amassing his own empire behind bars.

Participants to Watch
Tahar Rahim is AMAZING in this movie. He undergoes a change so radical and so physical that it defies belief, completely transforming from a sallow kid into a seasoned kingpin. Right before our eyes. It’s the kind of change and character arc that makes you feel like you’ve just watched five seasons of an incredible TV show.

The Buzz
The film is brilliant. It’s up for a Best Foreign Language Oscar and it has a good shot at winning this weekend. At this point the question isn’t whether or not this is one of the best movies you’ll see in 2010, it’s whether or not this is one of the best crime films of this young century.

Best Case
Un Prophete wins the Oscar this Sunday and people begin flocking to theaters (it’s already playing in select release) and get this film enough momentum to go wider. The best possible case scenario is that you revisit this film in ten years and realize it’s a bona fide classic of crime cinema.

Worst Case
It loses on Sunday and the film slinks off to be a cult movie. It’s just as good, but fewer people know about it.

CHUD’s Prognosis
Un Prophete is a sprawling, dense film – and it’s in French. This could keep some audiences out. But we live in an era when complex serialized TV shows have trained our brains to accept slow building story arcs like the one Audiard delivers here. I think this is a movie that CHUD readers are going to be talking about for years to come.

Useful Links
My review

The trailer