Hollywood has never been accused of originality, but sometimes it goes to extremes. Sometimes, you get two movies released in the same year, with essentially the same premise. For example: Volcano and Dante’s Peak; Tombstone and Wyatt Earp; Dr. Strangelove and Fail-Safe; Antz and A Bugs Life; Deep Impact and Armageddon; Mars Attacks and ID4. . . etc.

We’ve got a few of these coming out this year. So, to keep them straight in your head, and to add my own observations on them, I present the Doublemint Twins of 2010.

PREMISE # 1: Rome’s Ninth Legion disappears mysteriously in 117 AD. This is the story of what happened.

The Movies:

CENTURION, directed by Neil Marshall (The Descent, Doomsday), and starring Michael Fassbender, Dominic West and Olga Kurylenko

THE EAGLE OF THE NINTH, directed by Kevin Macdonald (Touching The Void, The Last King Of Scotland), and starring Channing Tatum, Jamie Bell and Donald Sutherland

Differences: Well, chronologically speaking, Centurion is about the events as they happened, and Eagle is set twenty years after the fact, as the son of the Ninth’s leader goes looking for him. Marshall does action movies, and Macdonald does dramas, and I would expect that they would both stick to what they’re good at with these.

Verdict: I like the cast of Centurion better, and I’m guessing that it will just be overall more fun. And the “fun” version, in these types of rivalries, tends to do better at the box office.

PREMISE # 2: The son of a Greek God must embark on a quest, all the while trying to survive both the horrifying monsters in his way, and a fearsome battle between the gods.

The Movies:

CLASH OF THE TITANS, directed by Louis Letterier (Unleashed, The Incredible Hulk), and starring Sam Worthington, Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes

PERCY JACKSON AND THE LIGHTNING THIEF, directed by Chris Columbus (The first two Harry Potter movies, Home Alone, Rent), and starring Pierce Brosnan, Sean Bean and some kids

Differences: Titans is set in the somewhat nebulous “ancient times”, while Percy is set in modern day. Titans is an action movie being marketed to “bros”, while Percy is aimed more for “training bros”.

Verdict: This is a toss up for me; I like both directors, and I don’t think I could ever get sick of movies about the Greek pantheon or giant beasts. Here’s hoping that they’re both good.

PREMISE # 3: During the Black Death, a group of knights is charged by the church to deal with a witch, in an effort to end the plague.

The Movies:

SEASON OF THE WITCH, directed by Domenic Sena (Kalifornia, Swordfish), and starring Nicholas Cage, Ron Perlman and Christopher Lee

BLACK DEATH, directed by Christopher Smith (Triangle, Severance), and starring Sean Bean, Carice van Houten and David Warner

Differences: Um. . . Not many. The witch is Season Of The is definitely evil, whereas the Black Death synopsis left that a bit unclear.

Verdict: I think that Season looks like a lot of fun, but my faith in Christopher Smith is pretty strong. If you’re a horror fan, do yourself a favor and check out those films of his that I listed.

PREMISE # 4: An elite group of soldiers are forced to run from their own government, turning themselves into a rogue variation on the Impossible Missions Force.

The Movies:

THE A-TEAM, directed by Joe Carnahan (Narc, Smokin’ Aces), and starring Liam Neeson, Sharlto Copley and Bradley Cooper

THE LOSERS, directed by Sylvain White (Stomp The Yard), and starring Zoe Saldana, Chris Evans and Idris Elba

Differences: The Losers seems a little harder edged; The government wants to kill them for knowing too much, not just arrest them for a crime they didn’t commit.

Verdict: Joe Carnahan seems to want to make chach movies that I have no real interest in, but the dude knows how to use a camera, which is a good quality when making an action movie. I’m excited about the A-Team mostly out of nostalgia, but I think that The Losers will be the better film. Of the two, Losers has the better trailer and the superior cast. Again, here’s hoping that they’re both good, and lead to fun franchises.

PREMISE # 5: Single woman artificially inseminates herself, then finds the man of her dreams. Hilarity ensues.

The Movies:

THE BASTER, directed by Will Speck and Josh Gordon (Blades Of Glory), and starring Jennifer Aniston, Jason Bateman and Jeff Goldblum

THE BACK-UP PLAN, directed by Alan Poul (various HBO shows), and starring J-Lo and Alex O’Loughlin

Differences: J-Lo gets inseminated, then meets someone new. Aniston finds out that the turkey baster she inseminated herself with years ago was secretly switched out with her best friends sperm.

Verdict: Um. . . They’re both shit?!!

PREMISE # 6: Amanda Seyfried reads postage

The Movies:

DEAR JOHN, directed by Lasse Hallstrom (Chocolat, My Life As A Dog), and starring Channing Tatum, Amanda Seyfried and Henry Thomas

LETTERS TO JULIET, directed by Gary Winick (Tadpole, Bride Wars), and starring Amanda Seyfried, Vanessa Redgrave and Chris Egan

Differences: In John, she’s writing to her far away soldier boy; Clearly, this will not end in tears. In Letters, she finds a mysterious old love letter in Verona, and seeks out the star crossed lovers.

Verdict: Both movies will make lots of money, despite having such unattractive people in the cast and stories that most women would find uninteresting.

PREMISE # 7: CG animated movie with a supervillain as the protagonist.

DESPICABLE ME, directed by Chris Renaud and Pierre Coffin (?), and starring the voices of Steve Carell, Jason Segel and Kristen Wiig

MEGAMIND, directed by Tom McGrath (Madagascar), and starring the voices of Will Ferrell, Brad Pitt and Tina Fey

Differences: Despicable Me has the well worn premise of “comically inept father figure”, while Megamind is about a supervillain so good at his job that he defeats every hero on earth. To end the boredom, he goes about creating a new hero.

Verdict: The teasers for Despicable Me are obnoxious and make me hate life. Here’s hoping that Megamind can do better, though Dreamworks animation doesn’t have the greatest track record. My guess? They both suck, and they both bomb.

PREMISE # 8: The worst cops on the force are called upon to step up their game and save the day.

COP OUT, directed by Kevin Smith (Clerks, Clerks 2), and starring Bruce Willis, Tracy Morgan and Seann William Scott

THE OTHER GUYS, directed by Adam McKay (Anchorman, Step Brothers), and starring Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg and The Rock

Differences: Strangely, Kevin Smith didn’t write Cop Out (Not sure of the logic in just hiring him to direct. It’s like hiring Megan Fox to be a Key Grip.), and it looks to be in the pretty traditional “action/comedy” mold. Given McKay’s track record, I would guess you’d have more comedy than action, though the crash scenes in Talledega Nights were pretty spectacular.

Verdict: Cop Out looks like a nightmare. McKay usually does me right, so I’m looking forward to The Other Guys.

I could do an entire other blog that’s just about movies where a hitman is either on his last job or forced out of retirement, but you’re just gonna have to sort that shit out for yourselves.

Hope this was helpful!