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’.
DECEMBER 1ST, 2010
Darren Aronofsky (director)
Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Winona Ryder
A NY production of Swan Lake is looking for a lead ballerina that can fit the dual roles of the graceful white swan, and sensual black swan. Innocent Nina (Natalie Portman) is cast in the role, but finds competition from the mysterious Lily (Mila Kunis). The two become friends, but Nina finds she is treading down a darker and darker path for herself.
Good or Bad? It’s unlikely that there is a more powerful experience to be had in a movie theater this year than whatever Darren Aronofsky has cooked up. The increasingly versatile director always brings grace, beauty, and incredible darkness to the screen like no other director working today. Once again there is a great deal of acclaim surrounding his newest film as it begins its life on the festival circuit. The trailer is stunning, the actresses beautiful and up to the performance demands, and the story is intriguing. This one is almost a sure bet to knock your socks off.
Uncle Mitch says: “Bitch can turn into a bird, whatever, she just better make out plenty with that other chick before she does.”
DECEMBER 3RD, 2010
Sngmoo Lee (director)
Kate Bosworth, Geoffrey Rush, Danny Huston, Tony Cox, Dong-gun Jang
A master swordsman and assassin
(Jang), haunted by his past and toting an infant, arrives in a dusty
frontier town. He wants to forget his past and the souls he’s killed.
But the town’s redhaired beauty (Bosworth) finds herself in a whole heap
of trouble, forcing the swordsman to face his lethal past.
Good or Bad?
The trailer for The Warrior’s Way (once titled The Laundry Warrior) has
been floating around since last fall; the film has been sitting on the
shelf since 2008. The trailer caused a flurry of excitement among
Asian/Western aficionados, but it hasn’t been heard from until now, when
Relativity Media finally agreed to distribute it. It certainly looks
awesome, and if Sukiyaki Western Django and The Good, the Bad, and the
Weird are any indication, Asian directors are really reinventing the
But will it be worth the wait?
It’s hard to say. The cast isn’t any indication. Bosworth is a blank,
and Rush (whom I adore, for the record) and Huston can make Oscar
winners just as easily as they can make crap. The director is a
newcomer, and the delays are troubling. It could be a genre bending
blast, or it could be Asia’s version of Jonah Hex.
Uncle Mitch Says:
“What the hell is this? Where are the goddamn Americans? Hell, if it
ain’t got John Wayne or Clint Eastwood, I ain’t interested.”
I Love You Phillip Morris
Glenn Ficarra, John Requa (director)
Jim Carrey, Ewan McGregor, Leslie Mann
Russell is happily married to Debbie, and a member of the local police
force when a car accident provokes a dramatic reassessment of his life.
Steven realizes he’s gay and decides to live life to the fullest – even
if it means breaking the law. Steven’s new, extravagant lifestyle
involves cons and fraud and, eventually, a stay in the State
Penitentiary where he meets sensitive, soft-spoken Phillip Morris. His
devotion to freeing Phillip from jail and building the perfect life
together prompts Steven to attempt and often succeed at one impossible
con after another.
Good or Bad: Good!
And not just because of its tumultuous past. Glenn Ficarra
and John Requa take up writing and directing duties based on the book by
John McVicker. Ficarra and Requa don’t have the
most dependable resume, but the cast is top notch, the trailer is
glorious and the buzz is really high (Devin gave it an 8 out of 10 at
Sundance). Given what we’ve seen of it so far, I
would probably consider this must-see.
Uncle Mitch Says: “MAAAAN
I don‘t wanna see this…but…that Ewan
MacGregor? I mean, he‘s a good lookin‘
dude, ya know? And when they‘re walkin‘
down the beach with their shirts unbuttoned? What? I
mean…I mean EEEWWWWWW. Yeah.”
–Jeremy G. Butler
Tanya Hamilton (director)
Kerry Washington, Anthony Mackie, Wendell Pierce
1976, complex political and emotional forces are set in motion when a
young man returns to the race-torn Philadelphia neighborhood where he
came of age during the Black Power movement.
Good or Bad: Good!
Tanya Hamilton writes and directs her first feature, her name
previously having been attached to a short film called The
Killers. Kerry Washington and Anthony Mackie take up the
leads, both having impressively strong roles and performances sprinkled
throughout their career. The film played this year’s
Sundance and while the buzz isn’t overwhelmingly great, it is
consistently positive. Here’s hoping Hamilton can
make a bigger name for herself.
Uncle Mitch says: “Wasn’t
that dude in the movie with the dude who undid the bombs? You
know, that Locker movie? Shit was BADASS, man. He
needs to do more shit like THAT.”
–Jeremy G. Butler
Julian Schnabel (director)
Willem Dafoe, Vanessa Redgrave, Freida Pinto
The story of a girl raised in an orphanage in Jesusalem formed shortly after the partitioning of Palestine. As she grows up and begins work in a refugee camp, she discovers the harsh realities of her people’s struggle, realities she was sheltered from behind the orphanage walls.
Good or Bad? Director Julian Schnabel is responsible for the brilliant The Diving Bell and The Butterfly, which is filled to the brim with quiet, measured beauty. This film seems to be of a different size and scale (that’s without even mentioning the delicacy of the topic it tackles) but if he can bring that same powerful sense of humanization to Miral that he brought to Bauby, then the film will be a strong one.
Uncle Mitch says: “Sounds boring. If it has any balls a car bomb will detonate 20 minutes in, BOOM, roll credits.”
DECEMBER 10TH, 2010
David O. Russell
Christian Bale, Mark Wahlberg, Amy Adams
on the true story of boxer “Irish” Micky Ward (Mark Wahlberg), the film
tells of Ward’s unlikely Rocky-esque rise in the boxing world
to the light welterweight championship title, and his relationship with
his half-brother Dicky (Christian Bale), a boxer-turned-trainer whose
own career was derailed by drugs and crime.
Good or Bad: Usually
if Darren Aronofsky walks away from a project, film nerds like us will
probably stop giving a shit about said project. A good way to get our
shit giving back in motion is for anger management poster child David O.
Russell to jump into the director’s chair.
Russell’s disastrous and drawn-out Nailed production has
unfortunately left the film world little reason to discuss the guy for
the past few years (outside of his I Heart Huckabess on-set ragedown),
so it is good to have Russell back. The man’s track record is
excellent, so I’d put money on it staying that way.
Uncle Mitch Says: “Fuck yeah. Marky Mark gettin’ punched in the face? Sign me up.”
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
Michael Apted (director)
Ben Barnes, Skandar Keynes, Simon Pegg, Liam Neeson, Tilda Swinton
and Edmund return to Narnia once again, where they meet up with Prince
Caspian for a jaunty sea voyage aboard the “Dawn
Treader.” It is three years since they were last in Narnia and
peace has been established in the land. Now Caspian is on a mission to
find the seven lost Lords of Narnia. Fantasy ensues.
Good or Bad: I
personally have no use for the Narnia films, but objectively this looks
decent enough; solid family entertainment, especially for those already
enjoying the franchise. When the first film came out, several of my
friends who love the Narnia books said they hoped the film series made
it as far as Dawn Treader, as it was the best book series (in their
opinion). So that is promising, I suppose. Disney parted ways with the
franchise after the second film underperformed, but it doesn’t
look like that hurt the film’s budget any. I’d like to give
this a “Whatever,” but that’s not an option.
Uncle Mitch Says: *makes fart noise with mouth*
Julie Taymor (director)
Alfred Molina, Russell Brand, Chris Cooper, Helen Mirren, Alan Cumming, Djimon Hounsou, David Strathairn
Taymor’s adaptation of the Bard’s classic sees
Prospero switcherood from male to the female Prospera (Helen Mirren).
Here Prospera is the wife of the Duke of Milan. When the duke is
murdered, his brother Antonio (Chris Cooper) accuses her of killing him
with witchcraft. Prospera and her daughter are banished to the sea,
eventually coming to an island, where Prosepera will eventually conjure
up a storm, the eponymous tempest, for Shakespearean vengeance.
Good or Bad:
There’s not a lot to go on yet with this one.
Taymor’s filmography remains a mixed bag, but the obvious
comparison here is her previous Shakespeare adaptation, Titus. If we
assume this film will be comparable, then it could be a good time. The
film has a great cast (Russell Brand notwithstanding), and vaulting
Mirren to the lead should provide some moments of juicy bravura. If
nothing else, with Taymor you at least know there will be interesting
art direction. I’m gonna go optimistic here and say
Uncle Mitch Says: “I’ll say it. For an old broad that Helen is a piece. I’d do ‘er.”
Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck (director)
Johnny Depp, Angelina Jolie, Paul Bettany
revolves around Frank, an American tourist visiting Italy to mend a
broken heart. Elise is an extraordinary woman who deliberately crosses
Good or Bad:
I’m gonna call good on this one. Directed by
Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck (who wrote and directed the really
great The Lives of Others) and written by Julian Fellowes, Christopher
McQuarrie, Jeffrey Nachmanoff (who, between them, have a handful of
really solid credits) it looks to be an above average romance/drama
piece. Plus it’s always good to see Johnny Depp
acting something that doesn’t involve pirates or Tim
Burton. There isn’t any marketing yet (that I could
find anyway), but even without a trailer, I’m on board with
Uncle Mitch says: “Is
he gonna do those little ponytails in his beard? I think he
should do that in all his movies. Shit makes me
–Jeremy G. Butler
DECEMBER 17TH, 2010
Joseph Kosinski (director)
Jeff Bridges, Olivia Wilde, Michael Sheen, Garrett Hedlund
Attempting to track down his long-missing father, Sam Flynn finds himself trapped in a digital world unlike anything he’s ever seen. The world that inhabits the system has grown exponentially since we last viewed it, and is filled with a whole new generation of programs; good, evil, and all the shades in-between.
Good or Bad: By now Tron is one of the most well-covered upcoming films of the last few years. It’s made waves at Comic Con for several years running, and has kept an all-out marketing blitz going for nearly all of 2010. With all of this hype there was bound to be a pin that burst the bubble, and several sets of reshoots, rewrites, and re-edits have done just that, generating buzz that is less than stellar. Ultimately the buzz and rumors are bullshit though, because who knows what kind of film has taken shape and will blast into your eyeballs in 3 digital dimensions in December. I’ve personally come to terms with the fact that Tron isn’t likely to be the transcendent blockbuster experience I’d like it to be, but there are still a number of successful forms the film could take, be it a great, good, or even decent movie.
Uncle Mitch says: “Got no use for a computer that ain’t showin’ me titties. Much less one filled with glowing gays. The old one’s boring as shit anyway.”
James L. Brooks (director)
Reese Witherspoon, Jack Nicholson, Paul Rudd, Owen Wilson
Feeling a bit past her prime at 27, former athlete Lisa Jorgenson finds herself in the middle of a love triangle, as a corporate guy in crisis competes with Lisa’s current, baseball-playing beau.
Good or Bad: Good! Or, decent, anyway. Not bad, I guess. There’s no denying Brooks’ star, even if it has faded a bit in recent years. Paul Rudd does his lovable schmuck thing reall well and, as of yet, it hasn’t really grown tiresome and Owen Wilson looks like he’s having fun with his shallow jerk off role. Witherspoon is a bit harder to read, but she can turn in some good work and Jack Nicholson’s almost always good for quality. The trailer is cute enough (though seeing the “THIS CHRISTMAS” card kinda made roll my eyes – for some reason that always says “BULLSHIT HOLIDAY FEELGOOD MOVIE” to me, but I digress…) and even though I doubt it will out and out suck, I don’t expect much more from it than a cute, slightly-smarter-than-the-others romantic comedy…unfortunate title aside.
Uncle Mitch says: “What the hell happened to Legally Blonde? She looks old. Man did you see her in that devil movie with the Billy Madison kid? Talk about horny, amirite?”
–Jeremy G. Butler
Eric Brevig (director)
Dan Aykroyd, Justin Timberlake
Some shit happens that makes Yogi Bear have to do stuff to save something with the help of things.
Good or Bad? Bad. Jesus Dan, did you learn nothing from your buddy Bill Murray’s Garfield mistake? I can’t blame you, I suppose, enjoy the check. At least Murray got a good “I thought it was Ethan Coen’s script” line out of that whole thing. Justin Timberlake is probably pretty pissed this is coming after The Social Network.
Uncle Mitch says: “The big bear is fuckin’ the little one. I’m not the only one seein’ that, right? Say he’s coming in ‘em right there on the poster. Jesus, kids flicks these days…”
All Good Things
Andrew Jarecki (director)
Ryan Gosling, Kirsten Dunst, Kristen Wiig, Frank Langella
Inspired by the true story of New York real estate mogul Robert Durst – whose wife, neighbor, and business partner all turned up dead. Durst was only charged with one murder, and was later acquitted.
All Good Things thinly retells Durst’s story. David Marks (Gosling) and Katie McCarthy (Dunst) marry, and all seems well, until Katie begins to suspect all is not exactly well with her wealthy husband.
Good or Bad? All Good Things hasn’t been seen by a single soul thanks to the Weinstein Company shelving it last year. It’s finally been picked up for distribution by Magnolia, and we’ll finally know if the wait was worth it. The international trailer was certainly promising – dark, forbidding, with another top notch performance by Gosling. But Dunst is often a weak point, and it’s possible we won’t care what peril she’s in.
Uncle Mitch: “What’s this? No trailer for me to watch. I’ve got nothing. You want something? Fine: Dunst ruined Spider-Man and I hated The Notebook. There, ya happy?”
DECEMBER 22TH, 2010
Rob Letterman (director)
Jack Black, Emily Blunt, Jason Segel, Amanda Peet, Billy Connolly
Slacker and Star Wars aficionado Lemuel Gulliver fakes his way into a travel writing job to impress a girl. His first assignment sends him to the Bermuda Triangle. It’s magical magnetism sends him to the tiny world of Lilliput. It bears a slight resemblance to Jonathan Swift’s classic work of satire, Gulliver’s Travels.
Good or Bad? It may be the worst thing to happen to Swift and his life’s work since illness and dementia caused him to became physically and mentally incapacitated, and his servants charged money for curious visitors to come and stare at him. If you find it funny, know that Swift loathes you.
Uncle Mitch Says: “Fat guys doing shit with Star Wars toys is always funny! Tiny people are hilarious. What’s not to like?”
Paul Weitz (director)
Robert DeNiro, Ben Stiller, Dustin Hoffman, Owen Wilson, Harvey Keitel, Barbra Streisand, Teri Polo, Laura Dern, Jessica Alba, and probably thirty unbilled celebrity cameos
The third part of the compelling Meet the Parents trilogy. While the IMDB synopsis says that the Fockers and Byrnes prepare for the arrival of a baby, the trailer shows there’s already two little Fockers. So, it’s like Meet the Parents, but with two kids involved.
Good or Bad? Meet the Parents was funny. Meet the Fockers wasn’t that funny. Little Fockers doesn’t look funny at all. It looks like what it is – an exhausted concept that’s being cashed in for an unnecessary sequel. Dustin Hoffman didn’t even want to be in it after the reading the script, and realizing it had lost Jay Roach. After his arm was twisted, he agreed to film six scenes. When the star of Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium is worried about the script, the audience should be too. Take a moment, and weep for DeNiro again. No tears are enough.
Uncle Mitch Says: “If it was just called Little Fuckers and set in a girl’s boarding school, it’d be my favorite film of the year!”
Sofia Coppola (director)
Elle Fanning, Michelle Monaghan, Benicio Del Toro, Stephen Dorff
A hard-living Hollywood actor re-examines his life after his 11-year-old daughter surprises him with a visit.
Good or Bad? Good. Somewhere’s
already picked up the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival, the
highest award given. Coppola looks to be getting squarely back in her
success zone with this Lost in Tran -L.A.- tion-looking drama. Dorff
can be pretty good when he has solid material with which to work. This
could be the film that puts him over the top so that he never has to
even be on the same continent with Uwe Boll if he wants. Trailer looked
nice and artsy, but still mainstream. COuld definitely pick up some
Oscar buzz. Quentin Tarantino, who headed up the Venice jury, said the
film “grew and grew in our hearts, in our minds, in our affections.”
Good enough for me.
Uncle Mitch Says: “Hey, someone mention feardotcom to Dorff and see if he flinches…”
Shana Feste (director)
Leighton Meester, Gwyneth Paltrow, Garrett Hedlund, Tim McGraw
A scruffy up-and-coming country singer/songwriter (Garrett Hedlund) gets added to the tour of a recently out of rehab country star (Gwyneth Paltrow), intended to resurrect her career.
Good or Bad: Country Strong is inevitably going to draw comparisons with last year’s Crazy Heart. Like Jeff Bridges did, Paltrow plays a fading country star hooked on booze, and she does all her own singing (the film’s title track was released as a single this past summer). Crazy Heart was a fairly generic film elevated by Bridges career-defining performance and some really solid original music. Country Strong looks even more generic and the music sounds like glossy b.s. Maybe Paltrow can save it all with a career-defining performance, but I wouldn’t bet on it.
Uncle Mitch Says: “Why are these kindsa movies always about someone kickin’ booze? What about all the people who don’t drink, then discover how great booze is? Where’s that movie?”
DECEMBER 25TH, 2010
The Coen Brothers (directors)
Matt Damon, Jeff Bridges, Josh Brolin, Barry Pepper
The Coen Bros adaptation of Charles Portis’s novel (previously made into a film starring some dude you probably never heard of) tells the tale of Mattie Ross (newcomer Hailee Steinfeld), a teenage girl, who undertakes a quest to avenge her father’s death at the hands of a drifter (Josh Brolin). Ross persuades an alcoholic, one-eyed marshal, Rooster Cogburn (Jeff Bridges), to help her in tracking down the drifter.
Good or Bad: Aside from the rarest of exceptions (Intolerable Cruelty, for one), even when the Coen Bros are firing at half-speed, their films are always provoking and riddled with fantastic moments. Conceptually this film has all the fixings for a feast: the Coen’s tackling a straight-up western; Bridges tackling Wayne; Carter Burwell’s inevitably awesome score; solid source material. Even if this turns out to be a lesser Coen work it can’t possibly be unworthy of viewing.
Uncle Mitch Says: “I can’t buy a hippie like that Bridges guy in a western. John Wayne was real racist. You ever read that Playboy interview with him? You knew the Duke really wanted to kill those Indians in his movies. Believability people.”
DECEMBER 29TH, 2010
John Madden (director)
Matthew Vaughn, Jane Goldman, Peter Straughan (screenplay)
Helen Mirren, Sam Worthington, Ciaran Hinds, Tom Wilkinson, Jessica Chastain, Martin Csokas
In 1965, Rachel Singer and her fellow Mossad agents were assigned to capture and kill the Surgeon of Birkenau, a notorious Nazi war criminal. They succeeded. But 30 years later, a man claiming to be the Surgeon surfaces. The mature agents must now travel to Eastern Europe and uncover the truth – and face the demons left behind that bloody assignment.
Good or Bad? The Debt has an impeccable pedigree. The cast (apart from the often wooden Worthington) is fantastic, Madden’s no slouch, and it has a good set of screenwriters. If the tight and creepy trailer is any indication, it’s come together into a very promising thriller. There’s only been a trickle of reviews out of TIFF ’10 so far, but they’re universally good, if not raving. It could be a gem of the holiday season.
Uncle Mitch Says: “Redheads doing Krav Maga? That hot as hell Helen Mirren? I’m there!”
Mike Leigh (director)
Jim Broadbent, Lesley Manville
While this apparently very much a Leigh film in that it focuses much more on character interaction than plot, I can at least tell you the film focuses on a blissful married couple, and their series of visitors. The dynamics between the couple and the visitors tells a story about the differences between us and how deeply they are rooted.
Good or Bad? The raves were nearly universal coming out of Cannes, and if you dig Leigh’s aptly named Happy-Go-Lucky, than this should be a film for you. Another Year does apparently tread a more melancholy path than that of Happy-Go-Lucky, but the focus is seemingly just as strongly on character dynamics.
Uncle Mitch says: “Another year, another boring ass brit film I don’t care about.”
Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu (director)
Javier Bardem, Maricel Alvarez, Hanaa Bouchaib
This is a story of a man in free fall. On the road to redemption, darkness lights his way. Connected with the afterlife, Uxbal is a tragic hero and father of two who’s sensing the danger of death. He struggles with a tainted reality and a fate that works against him in order to forgive, for love, and forever.
Good or Bad? Good. Inarritu and Bardem? The pedigree on this movie is already better than a Shi Tzu at Westminster. Bardem has already picked up Best Actor award at Cannes for this. Doubtless Inarritu fans have been having hunger pains for his next flick, his first since 2006’s Babel. Getting two talents like this together in December is pretty safe bet for a few Oscar nods.
Uncle Mitch Says: “Chigurh’s hair is looking better..”
DECEMBER 31ST, 2010
Derek Cianfrance (director)
Michelle Williams, Ryan Gosling, Mike Vogel
The film centers on a contempo married couple, charting their evolution over a span of years by cross-cutting between time periods.
Good or Bad: Good! Derek Cianfrance takes helm and co-writer responsibilities (shared with Joey Curits and Cami Delavigne). The three of them have a handful of not-very-well-known priors but there’s no questioning the strength of both Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams. The flick played at Sundance this year and the little buzz I’ve seen has been very very positive. I haven’t had a chance to see an actual trailer (damn you, Youtube!) but the few clips I HAVE seen have been aces. Fuck good – this may actually turn out GREAT.
Uncle Mitch says: “Dammit, why’s everything gotta get all emotional and shit this time of year? This is why I love summer. Chicks with no clothes on and movies with super heroes and shit that explodes.”
–Jeremy G. Butler
Anthony Hemingway (director)
Bryan Cranston, Terrence Howard, Cuba Gooding Jr.
The story of the Tuskegee Airmen, the first African-American pilots to fly in a combat squadron during World War II.
Good / Bad: TBD. Haven’t seen much on this yet beyond a few set pics. Subject material (The Tuskegee Airmen) is stirring stuff, though. Technical aspects are ILM, so film should look good, despite a budget of only around $35 million. But then of course it’s George Lucas… Terrence Howard is very bankable. Cuba Gooding Jr. ain’t. David Oyelowo is a plus, though. Lucas is gambling by giving the helming and scripting duties to primarily TV artists. Director Anthony Hemingway’s numerous TV gigs have included Treme, ER, CSI: NY, Battlestar Galactica and The Wire; while John Ridley’s (U-Turn, story for Three Kings, Undercover Brother) most recent work has included The Wanda Sykes Show and the Barbershop TV show. I’m hopeful, but it is Lucas…
Uncle Mitch Says: “I heard Lucas is gonna change it up so that we bombed the Japanese first…”