Thursday, August 19, 2010

After a bit of a mid-summer slump, August churned out some notable movies, and now the year in movies really kicks into gear for the beginning of Oscar season. And even though some have been calling 2010 a lackluster year for movies so far, they need to hold their tongues before looking at what's to come. With that, listed below are the top 10 films I'm most looking forward to go see between now and December.

10. Love and Other Drugs

Director Edward Zwick, who's used to directing big Oscar bait flicks like "Defiance," "Blood Diamond" and "The Last Samurai," tones it down a notch with this down-to-earth romantic comedy starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway. Although the plot seems pretty familiar of the genre, what gets me excited about it is Gyllenhaal and Hathaway working together for the first time since "Brokeback Mountain." Both are gifted actors and seeing their playful side together could be frivolous good fun, and who knows, maybe even something a little more.

9. It's Kind of a Funny Story

Here's another comedy, this time in the vain of those low-key indie comedies like "Little Miss Sunshine" and "Juno." This will most likely be this year's rendition with the breakout star Zach Galifianakis of "The Hangover" taking on a still silly yet also slightly more serious role. I'm less excited about this movie than I am anxious just to see how it turns out. The young actors, Emma Roberts and Keir Gilchrist, look promising, but my worry is this: could we be looking at Galifianakis overkill? Either he'll shine here or just be too much.

8. Hereafter

It's another Clint Eastwood film, this one starring Matt Damon and another one meditating on the possibility and consequence of death. So, it's basically Eastwood back in his usual directing form after his little break with "Invictus," which did not meditate on death. Not much has been released about it aside from a brief synopsis telling of three people who are connected through some form of brush with death. Gloomy stuff, but it could also be powerful stuff à la "Million Dollar Baby."

7. Machete

You read that right. "Machete," the fake trailer from Robert Rodriguez which premiered in "Grindhouse" is now blown up into a feature length movie from Rodriguez himself. It stars Danny Trejo, Jessica Alba, Robert De Niro, Steven Seagal, Michelle Rodriguez and, yes, Lindsay Lohan before she got hauled off to jail. If "Planet Terror" is any taste of what this is going to be, I'm totally there for all the uproariously bloody, absurd and hilarious action.

6. True Grit

The only thing I know about this latest from Joel and Ethan Coen is that it is a western remake of a 1969 original of the same name. We've learned from "No Country for Old Men" that the Coen brothers have excellent control of the western genre, so I'm definitely looking forward to this one. It stars Jeff Bridges and Josh Brolin.

5. Another Year

What can I say? Mike Leigh cannot go wrong, and every review coming out of Cannes for this one was a rave. I have no idea what it's even about, but according to the trailer that just got released, it looks to be simply about people and relationships and, well, life in general. In other words, what Leigh does best. And it stars Jim Broadbent who I love.

4. Somewhere

After "Lost in Translation," my love for writer/director Sofia Coppola officially began. That movie still ranks among my top favorites of all time. This woman could pretty much direct a commercial about laundry detergent, and I'd be more than thrilled to see it. In any case, her newest film seems to be very similar in style to "Lost in Translation" with a focus on the relationship between two people, this time one between a man and his young daughter. It's going to have some great music from Phoenix, too.

3. The Social Network

The first trailer for David Fincher's new movie was a wondrous tease. Now that the second trailer is up, we can see some of the acting chops this movie has to offer, especially from Jesse Eisenberg most notable from movies ending in the word "land"--also known as "Adventureland" and "Zombieland." The movie boasts a timely and intriguing premise, too, about the founding of Facebook. The hype for this one is running high, and I'm sure Fincher will deliver.

2. Black Swan

Like Coppola, anything directed by Darren Aronofsky I'm going to be excited to check out. "Requiem for a Dream" is a classic and 2008's "The Wrestler" was an absolute knockout. And so, upon hearing that his latest movie would be about a ballet dancer, I was immediately fascinated. Then came that startling photo of Natalie Portman with a porcelain-white face and black makeup. Finally came the trailer which was astonishing and breathtaking. It absolutely solidified in my mind that this was one of the most anticipated movies of the fall for me.

1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1

Well, it's Harry Potter and it is, without a doubt, the movie I am most looking forward to seeing. And it's not just because I'm some sort of Harry Potter junkie or crazy fan. This isn't "Twilight" we're dealing with here. These are legitimately great movies, each and every one of them, and I don't see how this one could be any different. "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" even made it into my top films list for last year. It was that good. And since this first part of the franchise's finale is coming from the same filmmaking team, we're more than likely looking forward to something just as good. Besides, we gotta see how this whole thing ends.

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