Summer 2010 proved to be extremely disappointing from a motion picture perspective. Outside of the brilliant Inception, there was little to rave about. In fact, Christopher Nolan’s science fiction film surrounding the world of dreams is likely the only film from this past summer that will be remembered five years from now. Will the winter season redeem the year? What is coming up for potential blockbusters and/or future award winners? Here is a list of the five upcoming films that I am excited about:
The Town – Ben Affleck is a better director than he is actor (where he is constantly improving), as evidenced by Gone Baby Gone. This film is also set in the Boston area and also stars Jon Hamm, Chris Cooper, and Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker) – sign me up right there. Early reviews are drawing comparisons to Heat, a personal favorite, so that is another plus.
Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps – This will be a surprising pick if you knew two things about me: 1) I didn’t like the first Wall Street. 2) I am not a fan of Shia Lebouf. My complaint about the first Wall Street is that the movie dragged every time Gordon Gecko was off screen. My complaint about Shia Lebouf is that he always plays the same arrogant punk kid. In this case, the movie features Gecko extensively, and an arrogant punk kid makes for good Gecko foil. I have always respected Oliver Stone as a filmmaker, but often his politics get in the way of a good story. He’s already made his point on Wall Street, so I am interested in seeing where he can take this story.
Stone – Was it really a decade ago that Robert DeNiro and Edward Norton hooked up in the underrated The Score? Instead of a heist film, this is billed a thriller with DeNiro playing a law enforcement officer looking into the case Norton’s paroled arsonist. Not much to go off from that plot outline, but DeNiro and Norton are two of the best in the business. It would hard to believe that they would both sign off on a lesser script. My belief in this film is my faith in its leads.
Red – This looks like The Expendables for a more intelligent audience. Stallone had the chance for a fun farce with a bunch of former 80s icons, but lost it in an overabundance of explosions in a script that took itself too seriously. In Red, Bruce Willis plays a former CIA agent who is framed for an assassination and needs the help of former allies – played by Helen Mirren, Morgan Freeman, and the incomparable John Malkovich. In the preview, Malkovich looks like he could have a field day in this role. I am on board.
Hereafter – Starring Matt Damon and directed by Clint Eastwood, need I go on? Eastwood has been on a directing roll for about a decade now. Even his recent misses (i.e. The Changeling) were pretty watchable. When he hits (Mystic River or Gran Torino) it is pure gold. Here Eastwood takes on a genre outside of his comfort zone – science fiction. Damon plays a Sixth Sense type character with connections to the other side. Plot details are being kept close to the vest, but it should be a lot of fun.