Save a few rare exceptions, 2010 has been one of the worst years in recent cinematic history. Here are a few films that hope to curb that. Clicking the titles links you to the film’s trailer.
The Town: Sept. 17
Directed by Ben Affleck
After exceeding any and all expectations with Gone Baby Gone, Affleck’s Boston-set crime drama is already earning rave reviews. I’ll go in skeptical, but most likely leave surprised.
Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps: Sept. 24
Directed by Oliver Stone
Stone has made it very clear that Michael Douglas reprising his role as Gordon Gekko will be a supporting performance to Shia LaBeouf. Mistake? Maybe. But I’m there.
The Social Network: Oct. 1
Directed by David Fincher
Casting Jesse Eisenberg as your lead, in this case the founder of Facebook, could be disastrous. But Fincher has no idea how to make a mediocre, disinterested film. My favorite film critic, Peter Travers of Rolling Stone, has already called this “the film of the year.” That’s enough for me.
Directed by Daniel Alfredson
If it’s anything like the first two, this final installment to the Swedish trilogy will be supremely badass. Better news: Noomi Repace just hired the same publicist that helped an unknown Marion Cotillard earn the Best Actress Oscar in 2007. Here we go…
Hereafter: Oct. 22
Directed Clint Eastwood
“I like to think of this as a chick flick, but one that men will like too.” That’s about all Eastwood is telling us, but considering that Clint has been on a masterful streak since 2003’s Mystic River, you can expect this one to hit as well.
127 Hours: Nov. 5
Directed by Danny Boyle
Not many directors could pull off a movie in which its main character is pinned down by a rock for most of its running time. The film will rest entirely on star James Franco’s shoulders. If we don’t believe him, then it will flop. Which… I doubt.
Fair Game: Nov. 5
Directed by Doug Liman.
The true story of ousted CIA agent Valerie Plame is to be played by Naomi Watts with Sean Penn as her husband. Count me in.
Black Swan: Dec. 1
Directed by Darren Aronofsky
The man responsible for the best film of 2008 (The Wrestler) will deliver again with this creepy, pseudo sci-fi mystery about two dueling ballerinas.
The Fighter: Dec. 10
Directed by David O. Russell
Easily the film I’m looking forward to most this fall. Mark Walhberg is finally able to bring his years-long passion project, about real-life boxer “Irish” Mickey Ward, to the screen. Christian Bale, who got Machinist thin for his role as Ward’s drug-addicted trainer, could finally score that Oscar nom.
True Grit: Dec. 25
Directed by Joel and Ethan Coan
The Coen brothers take on the same novel, about a drunken U.S. Marshall who helps a girl find her father, that landed John Wayne his only Oscar. The Wayne film isn’t particularly great, but I imagine this will be. Could Jeff Bridges be the first actor since Tom Hanks to land back-to-back Best Actor Oscars?
Biutiful: Dec. 29
Alejandro González Iñárritu's first film since Babel. Sold.
Another Year: Dec. 31
Directed by Mike Leigh
Leigh is one of the very best living filmmakers, and his latest, about an aging married couple, earned raves at the Cannes Film Festival in May. It makes no difference what Leigh’s films are about, as long as they have his unique stamp, I’m there.
Blue Valentine: Dec. 31
Directed by Derek Cianfrance
Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams brought the house down at Sundance for their portrayal of a tumultuous couple who fall in and out of love. Details are mum, which is good. Expect serious awards attention.
And a few more to keep track of:
Never Let Me Go is full of murky plot details, but it’s impressive cast and talented director should make it worth while. Sept. 15
Catfish appears to be a… documentary? Maybe? Who cares. It boasts the best trailer of the year. Sept. 17
You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger is Woody Allen’s annual film (he’s made nearly one a year since 1976), for better or worse. Sept. 22
Buried has exactly at stake what 127 Hours does. Can Ryan Reynolds pull off a solo act of a guy trapped in a coffin with just a lighter and cell phone? I don’t know, but I’m intrigued. Sept. 24
Waiting For “Superman” examines America’s flawed education system. Should be a tearjerker. Sept. 24
Let Me In (Oct. 1) and Paranormal Activity 2 (Oct. 22) won’t be as good as their originals, but I’ll give them a shot.
Conviction is serious Oscar bait for Hilary Swank and Sam Rockwell. Could come off as a bit too melodramatic though. Oct. 15
The Next Three Days looks a little too far fetched. But Paul Haggis’ hands are capable enough I suppose. Nov. 19
The King’s Speech is already generating some serious Oscar buzz for Colin Firth. The Academy is always a sucker for those period British flicks. Nov. 24
Miral is Julian Schnabel’s latest, which means that I have no idea what it’s about, but I’m sure it’ll be great. Dec. 3
Somewhere is Sofia Coppola going all Lost in Translation on us, which is worth (another) shot. Dec. 22