Sunday, January 03, 2010
Instead of making resolutions I'm pretty sure I'm not going to keep, I like looking at the entertainment I have to look forward to when a new year begins. Movies come most readily to mind because there's lots of fanfare with big budget films, and sci-fi/fantasy films generally have huge budgets--hence big advertising. This year appears to be big for my favorite genre. So big that I need a separate list for my must see/must reads of 2010. This is my movie wish list for the upcoming year-- I say "wish" list because it's doubtful I'll get to see them all in the theater. But here's hoping. 2010 looks like it might be the year that monsters, real monsters (not angsty teenage vampires) are going to make a comeback. Unless I'm falling prey to unrealistically high hopes, the grown-ups might show "Twilight" fans a thing or two about vampires and werewolves this year. Add to that a few action flicks, a dreamy fantasy or two, and a comic-book sequel that's sure to be good and I'm a happy camper. Let's hope they live up to my lofty (ha) expectations. Daybreakers has me moderately excited. It looks like the return of the good, old-fashioned scary vampire. (January 8th) (Starring Willem Dafoe, Ethan Hawke, Sam Neill) In 2019, a major viral outburst transforms a majority of the world's population into vampires. With only a handful of humans left to provide blood for the starving population of vampires, extinction is a very real risk for the new dominant species of humanity. The vampires are depicted as being immortal, and possessing similar physical (including chemical makeup) appearances as regular humans; therefore, they are not easily distinguishable as traditional myths portray. It is impossible to discern vampires from regular humans, unless blood samples have been extracted. In response to the dwindling blood supply, the vampires seek to hunt and farm the remaining humans for their blood and to find a blood substitute to prolong their existence. If a vampire doesn't drink blood, then they will transform from having a recognizable human form into a violent, uncontrollable bat-like creature of the night. A secret team of once-human researchers try and uncover a way that would rescue the human race. At the same time, small factions of surviving humans wish to repopulate the species, often using violent means to retain their humanity. The Wolfman is the next in line to offer hope that monsters, this time werewolves, might return to their roots in horror and leave the emo, black-clad-crowd behind. (February 12, 2010) Set in the late 1880s, the film keeps the plotline of the original, with Lawrence Talbot (Benicio del Toro) reuniting with his estranged father (Anthony Hopkins) following the disappearance of his brother. Lawrence Talbot's childhood ended the night his mother died. After he left the sleepy Victorian hamlet of Blackmoore, he spent decades recovering and trying to forget. But when his brother's fiancée, Gwen Conliffe (Emily Blunt), tracks him down to help find her missing love, Talbot returns home to join the search. He learns that something with brute strength and insatiable blood lust has been killing the villagers, and that a suspicious Scotland Yard inspector named Aberline (Hugo Weaving) has come to investigate. As he pieces together the gory puzzle, he hears of an ancient curse that turns the afflicted into werewolves when the moon is full. Now, if he has any chance at ending the slaughter and protecting the woman he has grown to love, Talbot must destroy the vicious creature in the woods surrounding Blackmoore. But as he hunts for the nightmarish beast, a simple man with a tortured past will uncover a primal side to himself... one he never imagined existed. While Alice in Wonderland has never been my favorite fairy tale (or Disney movie for that matter), Tim Burton's take on it is just loopy enough to pique my interest. Johnny Depp doesn't hurt either. (March 19, 2010) A sequel to Lewis Carroll's original stories, the movie has Alice Kingsley, now 19, attending a party at a Victorian estate, only to find she is about to be proposed to by a rich suitor in front of hundreds of snooty society types. She runs off, following a white rabbit into a hole and ending up in Wonderland, a place she visited many years before, though she doesn't remember it. The White Rabbit claims to have come back for Alice because she is the only one who can slay the Jabberwock, the beast who guards the Red Queen's empire. Alice remains completely unaware of why she is in Wonderland, and is confused about the fact that she had once visited Wonderland years before. She then embarks — assuming both large and small sizes — on an adventure of self discovery and to save Wonderland from the Red Queen's reign of terror with the help of her Wonderland friends. Clash of the Titans is a purely nostalgic pick since I watched it so many times as a kid. It could be a total cheese-fest, or a CGI nightmare. It does star Liam Neeson-- so that's a point in its favor. (March 26, 2010) Born of a god but raised as a man, Perseus (Sam Worthington) is helpless to save his family from Hades (Ralph Fiennes), vengeful god of the underworld. With nothing left to lose, Perseus volunteers to lead a dangerous mission to defeat Hades before he can seize power from Zeus (Liam Neeson) and unleash hell on earth. Leading a daring band of warriors, Perseus sets off on a perilous journey deep into forbidden worlds. Battling unholy demons and fearsome beasts, he will only survive if he can accept his power as a god, defy his fate and create his own destiny. Iron Man 2-- this needs no explanation. With the world now aware of his dual life as the armored superhero Iron Man, billionaire inventor Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) faces pressure from the government, the press, and the public to share his technology with the military. Unwilling to let go of his invention, Stark, along with Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), and James "Rhodey" Rhodes (Don Cheadle) at his side, must forge new alliances -- and confront powerful enemies. Repo Men, starring Jude Law, Liev Schrieber and Forrest Whitaker, looks a little bloody for my taste, but has a concept and cast that could make this a good one. (April 2, 2010) In the futuristic action-thriller Repo Men, humans have extended and improved our lives through highly sophisticated and expensive mechanical organs created by a company called The Union. The dark side of these medical breakthroughs is that if you don’t pay your bill, The Union sends its highly skilled repo men to take back its property...with no concern for your comfort or survival. Jude Law plays Remy, one of the best organ repo men in the business. But when he suffers a cardiac failure on the job, he awakens to find himself fitted with the company’s top-of-the-line heart-replacement...as well as a hefty debt. But a side effect of the procedure is that his heart’s no longer in the job. When he can’t make the payments, The Union sends its toughest enforcer, Remy’s former partner Jake (Academy Award winner Forest Whitaker), to track him down. Now that the hunter has become the hunted, Remy joins Beth (Alice Braga), another debtor who teaches him how to vanish from the system. And as he and Jake embark on a chase across a landscape populated by maniacal friends and foes, one man will become a reluctant champion for thousands on the run. Because it's based on a video game, I tend to be slightly skeptical of Prince of Persia: Sands of Time, but then, I liked "Resident Evil," so there's hope. (May 26, 2010) Dastan (Jake Gyllenhaal) is a street urchin in 6th century Persia. After showing valor in battle, he is adopted by the king as his heir, so the king's two sons will not fight over the throne. He teams up with Princess Tamina (Gemma Arterton) to rescue the Sands of Time, a gift from the gods that controls time, from the hands of the villainous nobleman, Nizam (Ben Kingsley). We saw the trailer to How to Train Your Dragon when we took our kids to see the latest "Alvin and the Chipmunks" movie (which was truly awful-- an hour and half of my life forever wasted) and it looks awfully cute. (March 26, 2010) The film is set in a mythical world of vikings and dragons. The story centers around a viking teenager named Hiccup (Jay Baruchel), who lives on the island of Berk, where fighting dragons is a way of life. The teen’s smarts and offbeat sense of humor is disliked by his tribe and its chief, Hiccup’s father. However, when Hiccup is included in Dragon Training with the other viking teens, he sees his chance to prove he has what it takes to be a fighter. After he entangles a dragon with a bolas-shooting cannon, Hiccup releases and ends up befriending the dragon. This relationship flips his world upside down as he strives to convince his tribe that they do not need to be dragon-slayers. I'm letting my geek flag fly and openly admitting that I'm looking forward to seeing The A-Team. There isn't an official site for the movie yet, but judging by the movie stills being released so far, it's staying true to the old TV show. Even the character of B.A. Baracas has Mr. T's old haircut. (June 11, 2010) A group of Iraq War veterans looks to clear their name with the U.S. military, who suspect the four men of committing a crime for which they were framed. As I mentioned in my last full post, Inception is the newest creation of Christopher Nolan. Not much is known yet, but if Nolan is writing and directing, I'm in. (July 16, 2010) Corporations have developed a technology to enter dreams to extract information from certain peoples' heads. A CEO (Leonardo DiCaprio) enters dreams and things begin to escalate, taking a turn for the worst... The Sorcerer's Apprentice, starring Nicholas Cage, is just making the list because it has the potential to be interesting-- but it may just fall on the cheesy side. I'm not sure. (July 16, 2010) Balthazar Blake (Nicolas Cage) is a master sorcerer in modern-day Manhattan trying to defend the city from his arch-nemesis, Maxim Horvath (Alfred Molina). Balthazar can't do it alone, so he recruits Dave Stutler (Jay Baruchel), a seemingly average guy who demonstrates hidden potential, as his reluctant protege. The sorcerer gives his unwilling accomplice a crash course in the art and science of magic, and together, these unlikely partners work to stop the forces of darkness. It'll take all the courage Dave can muster to survive his training, save the city and get the girl as he becomes 'The Sorcerer's Apprentice'. Salt is an espionage thriller starring Angelina Jolie. I'm not afraid to admit that I'm not that deep and just like watching the girl kick some butt. It also stars Liev Schreiber. (July 23, 2010) After CIA officer Evelyn Salt (Angelina Jolie) is accused by a defector of being a Russian sleeper agent planning to assassinate the President of the United States; she goes on the run to try and clear her name while attempting to prove someone else is the traitor and as a covert operative must escape captivity and protect her husband before the world's most powerful forces can erase all traces of her existence Sylvester Stallone directs The Expendables, and while it's not likely to be more than a shoot-'em-up bonanza, sometimes that's all I'm looking for in an action movie. Mostly this gets my attention due to an ensemble cast including Stallone, Mickey Rourke, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren and Eric Roberts. (August 20, 2010) After years of unspeakable corruption that concludes with tragedies such as murder of American hostages and betrayal of foreign policies, and finally recognizing a way out of this terrible mess, the U.S. along with other Nations, equally seeking the end of this catastrophe, secretly put together a squad of its highest trained military personnel to finally over throw the dictator who has caused devastation in South America for over 20 years. The team sets out on its mission to complete the assassination, but with little help from the nations as they try to keep the mission secret. After they realize that there will be no outside help, they rely on their own sources to fight not only the dictator’s army but also the governments that set them up. The Mechanic is on my list for one reason; I have a weak spot for Jason Statham. Very little is known about this one yet. All I can tell you is that it is a remake of the 1972 film starring Charles Bronson. (Dec 15, 2010) Variety is reporting that Donald Sutherland and Ben Foster (Pandorum, X-Men: The Last Stand) are set to co-star with Statham in The Mechanic remake, which is set to be directed by Simon West (Con Air – one of my favorites, FYI ) from a screenplay by Karl Gajdusek. Foster is set to play Statham’s hitman apprentice, Steve McKenna (the original role was played by Jan-Michael Vincent), and Sutherland will play Foster’s father who’s also Statham’s handler. Tron Legacy. This is another nostalgia pick. Too soon to tell if this will be as groundbreaking visually as the original, but it's one to keep an eye on. (December 17, 2010) Sam Flynn (Garrett Hedlund), the tech-savvy 27-year-old son of Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges), looks into his father’s disappearance and finds himself pulled into the same world of fierce programs and gladiatorial games where his father has been living for 25 years. Along with Kevin’s loyal confidante (Olivia Wilde), father and son embark on a life-and-death journey across a visually-stunning cyber universe that has become far more advanced and exceedingly dangerous.