consensus seems to be that 2010 is a shitpiece of a year at the movies.
A generally thin release slate of films has been further dragged down
by unexpected disappointments that dot this weak summer. A few bright
spots here and there of course -we’ve been taken some interesting
places- but I think we can all agree this ain’t one for this history
books. Except, think back to 2007- another year that plodded along with
only the occasional notable flick until the tail end of the year hit,
and hit hard. So is there enough meat on this prestige season’s bones to
ensure 2010 is writ into the Book of Cinema? We’ve generated this list
of (virtually) every film yet to be released this year to provide you a
handy, centralized resource. Scattered throughout are films about which
Uncle Mitch just couldn’t resist tossing out a few words, so follow us
through the list to find out how our fall is lookin’.
NOVEMBER 5TH, 2010
Todd Phillips (director)
Robert Downey Jr, Zach Galafianakis
High-strung father-to-be, Peter Highman, is forced to hitch a ride with aspiring actor Ethan Tremblay on a road trip in order to make it to his child’s birth on time.
Good or Bad: Bad. Todd Phillips returns to his road comedy roots (Road Trip), and doesn’t look to be bringing much new to the table with this latest installment. On paper, it seemingly has some things going for it: Downey, whose career is in cruise mode right now; and Michelle Monaghan, his Kiss Kiss Bang Bang co-star. But the trailer was okay at best (Downey looked bored), with Galifianakis essentially, ripping his own Hangover shtick.
Uncle Mitch Says: “It only took 22 years for a Rain Man remake…”
Tom McGrath (director)
Will Ferrell, Brad Pitt, Tina Fey
After the big skulled super villain Megamind (Will Ferrell) surprisingly manages to kill his arch-nemesis, the prototypical hero Metro Man (Brad Pitt), he soon finds himself bored and purposeless. So he uses his evil technology to create a new hero for him to fight, Titan (Jonah Hill), who ends up becoming an even bigger villain than Megamind ever was. Now it is up to our former villain to save the world.
Good or Bad: Several years ago I once heard someone say that Dreamworks is the Looney Tunes to Pixar’s classic Disney. I killed that person. Lately though, despite a full decade’s worth of anus-gazing, Dreamworks Animation has been making real strides, finally squeezing out legit gems like Kung Fu Panda and How To Train Your Dragon between their usual Shrekie horseshit. Unfortunately, Megamind looks to be more of the horseshit. Exhibit One, it comes from Tom McGrath, who gave us the previous two Madagascar films, both of which in my opinion perfectly represent what sucks about Dreamworks. Exhibit Two, the voice casting is typically Dreamworksy (favoring fame over suitability); didn’t they learn from Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas that Pitt has a lame speaking voice? Exhibit Three, even the lengthy Comic-Con trailer, which is a hundred times better than the theatrical trailer, looks about as funny as the least funny parts of Monsters Vs Aliens.
Uncle Mitch Says: “More like MeGAYmind.”
For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When The Rainbow Is Enuf
Tyler Perry (director)
Thandie Newton, Whoopie Goldberg
A drama based on Ntozake Shange’s play about existence from the perspective of 20 nameless black females.
Good or Bad: I have absolutely zero faith in Tyler Perry to make anything worth a damn, so instinctually I have to call Bad. Which is kinda disappointing, because the premise, on paper, sounds like it could be interesting and something that had more to say than Perry’s usual brand of lowest-common-denominator bullshit. Not to mention the fact that original play was pretty well-received. Oddly enough, other than an IMDB page, there’s no marketing for this whatsoever. No poster, no trailer, no Madea – nothing. What we do know – Perry is directing (boooooo) a script by Nzingha Stewart, who has no other writing credits (but directed a piece about Michael Jackson and the Perry-branded DTV The Marriage Counselor). Curiously, the fact that this is so low key kinda piques my interest, as it goes against Perry’s usual M.O. But, until we get something more tangible to look at, I gotta go with pedigree.
Uncle Mitch Says: “What? Sorry, I was watchin‘ that Burlesque trailer again. Goddaaaamn.”
Danny Boyle (director)
A mountain climber becomes trapped under a boulder while canyoneering alone near Moab, Utah and resorts to desperate measures in order to survive.
Good or Bad: Good. James Franco is more than capable of carrying a film virtually by himself, and the arm chopping scene has already made for some seat squirming in screenings. Early reviews have been very favorable and Danny Boyle described the movie as an action film where the hero doesn’t move. A couple of folks who did move were the two people who had medical emergencies at the screening in Telluride. One person was faint and another had panic attacks. Plus, it’s a Danny Boyle flick. That alone will get asses in seats.
Uncle Mitch Says: “I can sympathize. I once woke up with my arm pinned under a fat chick…”
Doug Liman (director)
Sean Penn, Naomi Watts, Sam Shepard
The true story of spy Valerie Plame, the CIA covert officer whose cover was blown by then president George W. Bush, allegedly to discredit her husband, Joseph Wilson after he claimed they had manipulated intelligence about WMDs.
Good or Bad: Fair Game is already stirring up controversy on the heated message boards all over our great Internet – leftist propaganda! Sean Penn is a known commie! – and will undoubtedly attract a few pithy comments from Fox News, Glenn Beck, and Sarah Palin. That makes for good publicity, but will it make for a good movie?
The cast is good. Watts is always dependable, if not the most exciting actress, and Penn seems to be playing it cool. The story is compelling. But the trailer is problematic. The corny voiceover mixed with intense close-ups and agonized expressions says it might be tonally all over the place, a mess of poker faced political intrigue and popcorn explosives. Considering Doug Liman’s previous credits include The Bourne Identity, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, and Jumper, one might ask whether he has the gravitas necessary to tackle a serious spy story. Fair Game has the potential to be very good … but I’m concerned it might be The International.
Uncle Mitch says: “I’ve got something for Naomi Watts to investigate … in my pants. Wait, wait, I got another one. I’ve got a case she can handle … in my pants. You like that? I’ve got contacts for her … in my pants. Baby, I’ve got your weapon of mass destruction right here … in my pants. Oh yeah, I could do this all day.”
Jake Scott (director)
James Gandolfini, Kristen Stewart
A domestically suffocating man takes a business trip to New Orleans, where he runs across a 16 year old stripper with a heart of gold. Deciding to take care of her, he is soon joined by his damaged wife who sees her own dead 15 year old daughter in the girl.
Good or Bad: Since Sundance the film has garnered high praise, aimed directly at what seems to be a batch of very strong performances. Gandolfini is always a sure bet, and Stewart has consistently impressed when not Twilighting about. Can yet another save-the-hooker story be worthwhile and fascinating? Odds are admittedly pretty good on this one.
Uncle Mitch says… “Whoah, Soprano ain’t fuckin’ that 16 year old is he? Even for me that’d be a bit… eh, who am I fucking kidding?
NOVEMBER 12TH, 2010
Roger Mitchell (director)
Harrison Ford, Diane Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Jeff Goldblum, Patrick Wilson
Becky Fuller (McAdams) a hungry young television producer is hired to resurrect a flagging morning show program. She brings on cranky newsman Mike Pomeroy (Ford), who promptly begins sparring with the perky morning anchor, Colleen Peck (Keaton). He also insults Fuller’s bangs. He’s mean. But after Fuller stomps her heels and lectures him, he comes around, and the show begins to soar. But will her personal life suffer because of it?
Good or Bad: I fear that if you’ve seen the trailer, you’ve seen the movie. (Clearly, secrecy lovin’ Abrams didn’t control the marketing on this one.) While the film undoubtedly has many, many scenes of sparring between Keaton and Ford, it seems disingenuous to broadcast the big heart-to-heart between Ford and McAdams. (“I had nothing … until you came along.”) On the other hand, it’s produced by Abrams, so that suggests it could have something special the mawkish trailer doesn’t reveal.
The hook is the cast. McAdams is adorable, Wilson is a talented actor just waiting for audiences to remember him, and it’s been too long since we saw Jeff Goldblum. But its Ford that could be the film’s greatest asset, or its biggest handicap. It’s good to see Ford finally embracing his cranky old man persona, and stretching his dusty comedic chops. The man had a dry and sexy wit once, and I’d love to see that again. You know you do too.
Uncle Mitch says: “I’m older now, but I still wake up with a morning glory. Heck, I got one right now just watching the trailer where that McAdams girl strips to her underwear.”
Strause Brothers (directors)
Eric Balfour, Scottie Thompson
Strange lights descend on the city of Los Angeles, drawing people outside like moths to a flame where an extraterrestrial force threatens to swallow the entire human population off the face of the Earth.
Good or Bad: As much as I wanna be an optimist here, my gut says bad. Strauses Colin and Greg are taking up directing duties here, and while this isn’t their first rodeo, it’s damn sure their biggest. What they DO have, however, is a VERY extensive visual effects resume on a number of very high-profile films. It’s a background that you can see briefly in the trailer. But there is certainly a big difference in making the pretty pictures someone else tells you to make and knowing what to do with them. Another concern is that writers Liam O’Donnell and Joshua Cordes also have very similar VFX backgrounds and no other writing credits to their name (except for O’Donnell, who also wrote Offline, which is slated for release next year). Mix in a cast of perpetual B-Listers and it just doesn’t bode well for the final product.
Uncle Mitch Says: “D‘you see all them bodies flyin‘ around in that alien laser thing? BADAAAASSSSSS.”
Tony Scott (director)
Denzel Washington, Chris Pine
A train carrying a load of toxic chemicals has gone all runaway. Now it is up to an engineer and a conductor (Denzel Washington and Chris Pine) to chase the runaway train in a separate locomotive and bring it under control before it derails and fucks shit up.
Good or Bad: Watching the trailer for Unstoppable it is almost hard to believe it is a real movie. It is so riddled with by-the-numbers cheesy action-thriller dialogue delivered with by-the-numbers cheesy action-thriller gusto – “We’re talking about a missile the size of the Chrysler Building!” –I kept waiting for Scott Pilgrim’s Lucas Lee to jump out and nail a one-liner.
Uncle Mitch Says: *singing* “’’I can go where no one else can go, I know what no one else knows, here I am just drownin’ in the rain, with a ticket for a runaway train!’…Yo, remember that song?”
NOVEMBER 19TH, 2010
David Yates (director)
Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Ralph Fiennes
All of the shit has hit every fan. The Death Eaters have effectively seized control of the wizarding world, paralyzing the ministry and making it even more difficult for the Order of the Phoenix to operate. Amidst this turmoil Harry, Ron, and Hermione set out to destroy the remaining Horcrux artifacts, in which Voldemort has stowed away portions of his soul. Hoping to eliminate them all in an effort to bring the Dark Lord back to mortality, they will have to survive being hunted while traversing the darker corners (and history) of the wizarding world.
Good or Bad: It better be good. Like a certain heavily bearded gentleman before me, I have no problem playing enthusiast for J.K. Rowling’s magic fantasy novels. That said, I’ve found myself satisfied by only two of the films in the franchise. David Yates is, fortunately, responsible for one of them, having helmed the most recent Potter film, the Half-Blood Prince. I also believe Yates is responsible for constructing the most exhilarating moment of the cinematic Potter mythology yet put to film with Dumbledore and Voldemort’s duel in the marble halls of the Ministry of Magic.
My fear is that under Yates’ watch we’ve seen the Harry Potter story streamlined, which in and of itself is not a bad thing, but it’s been done to such a degree that there are far too many essential emotional and characters beats not yet touched than the final two films could ever hope to retroactively cover.
What I’m ultimately saying here is Alan Rickman’s screentime needs to increase like whoah.
Uncle Mitch says… “Number seven, Christ. Couldn’t they have just crossed-over these Potter flicks with them Saw movies at number two and been done with it?”
The Next Three Days
Paul Haggis (director)
Olivia Wilde, Liam Neeson, Russell Crowe
When the a professor’s wife is accused of murder, he must devise a desperate plan to break her out of prison.
Good or Bad: Good. Looks like a pretty solid actioner. Crowe is almost never not bankable, even if the film he’s in isn’t; and he takes a departure from the scumbags and spine rippers he’s played lately to get back to the more sensitive type ala Cinderella Man. Haggis has already proven on many an occasion that he can both script and direct good drama (going more with In The Valley of Elah than Crash here). Banks is always good and Liam Neeson could sleep walk through this role, but I doubt he will. And hey, Brian Dennehy.
Uncle Mitch Says: “Any chance of some Chained Heat action with that Banks chick?”
NOVEMBER 26TH, 2010
An ultra-grrrl-power-to-the-rad-max retelling of the classic Rapunzel fairytale, which now finds the longhaired, tower dwelling princess meeting and falling in love with a charming bandit… and having a prehensile ponytail.
Good of Bad: I gave Dreamworks Animation shit, but Dreamworks has been cranking out timeless CG masterworks compared with the Mouse House. Co-director Byron Howard also co-directed Bolt, which was certainly not amazing but was cute and more importantly, it was leaps and bounds beyond pre-Pixar merger dreck like Chicken Little. Honestly, though, Tangled looks like utter garbage. Word on the street is that the trailer focuses so heavily on the slapstick because not enough boys saw The Princess and the Frog. If that is truly the case, and the asinine trailer is not in fact representative of the film, I think all they’re succeeding in doing is making neither boys nor girls want to see the film.
Uncle Mitch Says: “I saw a Rapunzel porno once. This broad had hair down to her ass and she liked to be choked with it while gettin’ drilled. It was called “Racumzel.” It was great. They shoulda made a 3D version of that.”
A small-town girl ventures to Los Angeles and finds her place in a neo-burlesque club run by a former dancer.
Good or Bad: Bad. Your typical “small-town girl makes it big in the big city” movie. Hell, practically every single story beat was given away in the trailer. Cher, who used to be a presence and a name that commanded attention, appears to be sleepwalking through her role as the “legend,” Aguilera does what Aguilera does (sings big and sexes up the joint) but I think she may be passable in her acting debut as the naïve little country mouse. Steve Antin – who has a few mid-to-low profile credits under his belt – is helming (he also pulled double duty as writer) and you can tell he has an eye for the Burlesque aesthetic. More than a few glitzy moments in the trailer had me going “ooooo,” but I’m a sucker for that kind of shit anyway. Overall? Nah.
Uncle Mitch Says: “Yeah, this looks like garba…WOAH THEY‘RE DANCIN‘ AROUND IN THEIR UNDERWEAR!”
George Tillman Jr. (director)
Dwayne Johnson, Billy Bob Thornton, Carla Gugino
An ex-con goes after (and presumably ends) those who betrayed him and his brother during a heist years ago. He’s pursued by a detective and a hitman and does badass things.
Good or Bad: Good. Unless it’s bad. Just because a film purports to deliver good ole fashioned, distilled shoot ‘em down, blow ‘em up action, doesn’t it mean it will be worth a second viewing, much less a shit. This year has delivered us Predators after Expendables after Machete… I mean example after example after example of the fact that posturing old school isn’t the same thing as actually delivering old school. If this manages not to be loaded with a ton of CGI garbage shot poorly and brings the real crashes, booms, and bangs, then it might be actually be as fun as it looks (maybe even more than once!). And ultimately, who wants to root against The Rock when he’s back to murdering many?
All of that said, hardcore action fans seem to be as insular, defensive, and easily pleased as Tyler Perry enthusiasts and Twitards, so who the hell am I prognosticating for?
Uncle Mitch says… “I used to watch this guy on wrastlin’. Sure I’ll watch him unload on a bunch of assholes and Carlo Gugino’s chest.”
Love And Other Drugs
Edward Zwick (director)
Jake Gyllenhaal, Anne Hathaway
Dude who sells pharmaceuticals and has it easy (and often) with women gets caught up in an actual romance right as he become ultra-successful from the release of a new drug called Viagra.
Good or Bad: It’s a romantic comedy directed by Ed Zwick… I can’t imagine it’s going to get a ton of love around these parts. Credit where credit is due though- Hatheway looks adorable as usual, the cinematography looks uncommonly rich for a rom-com, and Gyllenhaal is far more convincing as the dashing womanizer than as a Persian badass. But yeah, boring or something.
Uncle Mitch Says… “That darko kid don’t look anything like the weird bastard that supplies my prick pills… No facial scars, less drool, and his dick seems to be in his pants most of the times it should be.”