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20 Must-See Films in ’10, Part II

by on January 11, 2010
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2009 is in the can (thank God), and 2010 resets the annual movie hype season (which keeps perpetually chugging along).

So let’s get started now: what are going to be the biggest, most-talked-about flicks of the new decade? Will ‘10 be another year of lackluster summer blockbusters, or will we return to the stellar form of 2008?

A Nightmare on Elm Street (April 30)

Jackie Earle Haley (“Watchmen”) pulls on the fedora, striped sweater and razor glove, taking over for Robert Englund as Freddy Krueger in this remake. Rumor has it the film is a CW-infused copy of the original, which is, depending on who you’re talking to, a good or a bad thing. Reaction to remakes of slasher franchises (“Halloween,” “Friday the 13th”) are very personal things for genre fans, and “Nightmare” promises to be no different. 

Black Swan (TBA) 

Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis (“Forgetting Sarah Marshall”) star in this dark tale of the relationship between rival ballet dancers in this thriller from Darren Aronofsky (“The Wrestler”). There’s allegedly a steamy lesbian romp planned between Portman and Kunis, which certainly has the attention of this moviegoer, but with this talent attached this film’s appeal is hardly limited to its more prurient aspects.

Due Date (Nov. 5)

Todd Phillips’ follow-up to “The Hangover” sees him (already) reunited with Zack Galifianakis, adding Robert Downey Jr. to the mix as a high-strung expectant father who accepts a ride with a man of dubious character (Galifianakis)  to get to his child’s birth.  Expect crazy shenanigans and co-stars like Jamie Foxx, Phillips fave Juliette Lewis and Alan Arkin.

Inception (July 16)

 Director Christopher Nolan follows up the second-highest-grossing film of all time (“The Dark Knight”) with this thriller starring Leonardo DiCaprio, which promises to be a high-concept, crazy Matrix-esque leap into the mind that has something to do with stealing ideas. Nolan is keeping mum on the exact plot, but the film also stars Ken Watanabe (“Batman Begins”), Ellen Page, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard, Michael Caine, and…wait for it…Tom Berenger.

Shutter Island (Feb. 19) 

Scorsese’s latest was moved from Oscar season to Hollywood wasteland season (February), sparking concerns that it’s a subpar effort. Still, Scorsese is Scorsese, and what is lackluster for him may still be pretty darn good in the grand scheme of things, and his previous three efforts with Leonardo DiCaprio (“Gangs of New York,” “The Aviator,” “The Departed”) all turned out okay, right? Why not this mindbending mental hospital period thriller?

The Expendables (Aug. 13)


A legendary convergence of action stars will occur in “The Expendables,” even if some of them are borderline geriatric when it actually happens. Sylvester Stallone directs, stars in, and co-wrote the screenplay about a team of mercenaries hired to take down a South American dictator. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Mickey Rourke, Steve Austin, Eric Roberts, Randy Couture, and Danny Trejo all star. ‘Nuff said.

Clash of the Titans (March 26)

The Greek Gods play their games with humanity, and only Perseus (Sam Worthington) can stop them in this updating of the classic 80s film. Ray Harryhausen’s famed stop-motion effects will be replaced by more contemporary CG (which means bigger, bigger, bigger), and Worthington’s high-and-tight pate can’t hope to compete with Harry Hamiln’s feathery locks, but he’ll yet again head a big-budget flick. This should prove to be the year’s first big-budget action hit and has the pedigree to go far.  

Jonah Hex (June 18)

Josh Brolin (“No Country for Old Men”) is the scarred wild west-era bounty hunter in this comic book adaptation. The baddie certainly is interesting: a voodooist looking to reanimate dead Confederate soldiers to liberate the South. The cast is eclectic and fun, with John Malkovich, Will Arnett, Megan Fox, and Michael Shannon, fresh off of his “Revolutionary Road” Oscar nom, co-starring.

Fair Game (TBA)


The story of Valerie Plame (Naomi Watts), outed by the Bush Administration as an undercover CIA agent. Sean Penn reunites with his “21 Grams” co-star as Plame’s husband, and Doug Liman (“The Bourne Identity”) is a superior director of thrillers and action films, so expect a hard-hitting political thriller.

Predators (July 7)

 Produced by Robert Rodriguez and directed by Nimrod Antal (“Armored”), this entry in the alien hunter franchise is to be what “Aliens” was to the Alien saga, which is an all-out action epic. Already onboard for the cast is Adrien Brody (“King Kong”) and Topher Grace (“Spider-Man 3”), and the promise of hordes of Predators vs. humans is enticing, and with Rodriguez in charge hopefully will produce better results than the “AvP” films.