2010 Movies: Part 1

As excited as I am for January to be over, it’s a little alarming to look at the calendar and see that almost 1/12th of the year has elapsed already. There are only 48 weekends left! Only eleven months, and one of them is short!

But with those 48 weekends come dozens of new movies. This year was an interesting one for Hollywood, in that the typical “Oscar movies” seemed few and far between. “Precious” and “The Hurt Locker,” and maybe “Crazy Heart,” seem to be top picks, but that scarcity paved the way for more unlikely but still excellent movies to win some well-deserved bling – “Inglourious Basterds” and “Avatar”* in particular. However, it was an incredible year when it came to animated films – “Up,” “Coraline,” and “Princess and the Frog” were all great, and I heard “Fantastic Mr. Fox” is flat-out one of the best animated movies ever.

(By the way, we saw “Avatar” again this weekend and I have come to the conclusion that it would have been excellent if James Cameron hadn’t written it.)

So what are we looking forward to this year?

Answer: lots. These are organized chronologically because there’s no way I could rank them.

Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief (February 12):
Pros: kids with awesome CGI powers; Sean Bean as Zeus; Pierce Brosnan as Chiron
Cons: an unnecessarily long titles; child actors; some pretty painful dialogue in the trailers

But come on! Sean Bean! Zeus! Kids who can control the ocean! Sean Bean!

Shutter Island/Inception (February 19; July 16): I’m cheating and lumping these together because they’re both sci-fi thrillers directed by brilliant directors, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, but the similarities end there. “Shutter Island” is set at a mental institute in the 1950s, where DiCaprio is searching for a missing inmate, while “Inception”…okay, actually, I have no clue what “Inception” is actually about, but the trailer showed a city being folded in half. It’s directed by Christopher Nolan of “Dark Knight,” “Batman Begins,” and “Memento” fame, and with DiCaprio (and Michael Caine, and Ken Watanabe, and omg Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Marion Cotillard, and Cillian Murphy, and Ellen Page) on board, it’s destined to be amazing. Meanwhile, “Shutter Island” is directed by Martin Scorsese, who cleaned up with DiCaprio in “The Departed.”

Alice in Wonderland (March 5): Originally this only registered a 6 or 7 on my interested-o-meter. Tim Burton is pretty neat if you’re into very depressing hallucinogens, and I just can’t bring myself to fully appreciate “Nightmare Before Christmas.” (I liked “Big Fish,” though, does that count?) But the concept art was intriguing, as was the cast – Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter, Alan Rickman as the caterpillar, Stephen Fry as the Cheshire Cat, and Michael Sheen as the White Rabbit. It all looked, y’know, cool. But then I saw the most recent trailer and saw what he’s done to the plot, and now I am certifiably interested. The deal is, Alice is returning to Wonderland after her original adventure, only to make the same drink-me mistakes and hang out with the same creepy Hatter. But this time, she has to help the White Queen’s (Anne Hathaway) army of chessmen challenge the Red Queen’s (Helena Bonham Carter) evil army of card creatures. Beloved fantasy tales plus epic battles? I’m there.

Clash of the Titans (March 26): Imagine, if you will, a world where Liam Neeson is Zeus (complete with epic beard and armor made of lightning), Ralph Fiennes is Hades, and Sam Worthington is still the tormented hero, only this time wearing a leather skirt. Throw in some giant scorpions, a Kraken that would scare the one from “Pirates of the Caribbean” back to its little cave, and a tribe of creepy desert sorcerers just for good measure, and you have an excellent start to the summer blockbuster season. (Which, I’m noticing, is getting earlier every year.)

Iron Man 2 (May 7): The first “Iron Man” was cheeky and light-hearted, something that was desperately needed in the superhero genre after recent grim entries like “The Dark Knight.” The second flick promises more ladies! more irreverence! and now, double the super-suits! Toss in Crazy Mickey Rourke as the Russian arch-nemesis, and Scarlett Johansson as the secretary who may or may not be a spy, and you got yourselves a good show. (By the way, did anyone see Robert Downey Jr’s acceptance speech at the Golden Globes? <3.)

Coming soon: the rest of 2010! It'll be epic.

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