10 big films to watch out for in 2010

Ron picks the ten films that you really don't want to miss in the year ahead...

When it comes to the slate of movies to be released in 2010, there’s going to be a lot more of the same. More sequels, more adaptations of familiar and unfamiliar comic books, and more famous names taking on vanity projects by cashing in clout.

However, for once, I’d like to look toward the positive and pick the ten most eagerly-awaited movies of 2010, in no particular order. Here’s hoping we don’t doom the lot by having unreasonable expectations.

The Expendables

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The ultimate all-star action movie. Pretty much every genre mainstay that could make the filming is actually in the film. How could you not be excited by Sylvester “Rambo” Stallone, Arnold “Terminator” Schwarzenegger, and Bruce “Die Hard” Willis all in the same movie at the same time? Consider it an official passing of the action movie torch from the old guard to the new generation, led by Jason “Transporter/Crank” Statham and Jet “Danny the Dog/Black Mask/a ton of kung-fu movies” Li. Dolph “Punisher/Universal Soldier” Lungdren describes the movie as “an old-school, kick-ass action movie where people are fighting with knives and shooting at each other.” Even the sub players like Eric “Best of the Best” Roberts have action movie pedigrees that are hard to question. If it’s half as good as Rambo was once the killing started, I’m sold. All you need is the Cannon Films logo in the beginning to make it complete.

Machete

Apparently, this movie was written long prior to when the trailer debuted before the experimental Grindhouse double feature. Robert Rodriguez was so struck by the presence of veteran character actor and tattooed badass Danny Trejo that he vowed to make him a Mexican action hero. If’ you’ve seen the fake trailer for Machete, you may as well have seen the real trailer. Danny Trejo as Machete, along with Cheech Marin as Fr. Benicio Del Toro and Jeff Fahey as Benz all return from the original teaser. Add in Robert DeNiro, Michelle Rodriguez, Don Johnson, Steven Seagal (!), Jessica Alba, and Lindsay Lohan, and you’ve got yourself one weird, awesome B movie.

Inception

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How could we not be excited about Christopher Nolan’s first non-Batman movie since 2006? When you add in a slate of brilliant actors from Leonardo DiCaprio and Ken Watanabe to Ellen Page, Cillian Murphy, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, this high-concept sci-fi action-thriller hyphenate has Den Of Geek staff salivating. When you consider it’s Nolan’s first all-original work since Following, the interest level rises. Time to see what’s been brewing in the man’s mind in between blockbusters, no?

Iron Man 2

Robert Downey Jr. was the perfect person to play Tony Stark. Now he and Jon Favreau are back again, with the addition of DoG favorites Mickey Rourke as Whiplash and Sam Rockwell as Justin Hammer. If Downey and Favreau were that good doing Iron Man without a completed script, imagine what they can accomplish with a finished script from Tropic Thunder scribe Justin Theroux. I’m not crazy on Don Cheadle taking over as Rhodes, or Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow, but considering how hot Downey has been, he can carry this picture.

Tron Legacy

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The cult classic is back, with a staggering new look, scoring from electronic music geniuses Daft Punk, and even more CGI than the original. Plus, it’s in 3-D, which is just icing on the cake. While most movies try to make computer graphics look real, this is a movie that makes its computer graphics into a videogame. That’s what’s going to help Tron Legacy avoid comparisons to much more expensive pictures like Avatar. Tron has its own look and feel, and the Tron Legacy trailer feels just right.

Kick-Ass

Who doesn’t dream of donning a cool costume and taking to the streets to fight crime? Kick-Ass is every teenage boy’s fantasy come to life. Add in over-the-top violence, a legitimately earned R rating, and Nicolas Cage finally getting to put on a costume in a comic book adaptation. If the movie is half as much fun as the Hit Girl red-band trailer, this is going to be the feel-good movie of the season for comic book geeks.

Jonah Hex

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Some actors just seem to be a perfect fit for a specific genre. In the case of Josh Brolin, that’s probably the Western. He was incredible in the Coen Brothers pseudo-Western No Country For Old Men, and now he’s taking on the role of weird west bounty hunter Jonah Hex. Doubly exciting is the script is coming from Neveldine/Taylor, the madmen behind Crank and Gamer. If anything, you know it’s going to be action-packed.

Toy Story 3

Pixar has been pumping out a lot of movies since Toy Story first put them on the map in 1994, and since then they’ve learned a lot about how to make a movie, both from a technical standpoint and from an actual emotional standpoint. While the dreaded curse of the threequel is always a risk here (look at what happened to sure-fire films like Shrek 3 and Spider-Man 3), if there’s a company that can reinvent one of their core franchises from a mere movie into a stunning emotional event, it’s Pixar. Toy Story was a great, entertaining movie, but Up was heart-wrenchingly beautiful. This may be the first third movie in a series to be better than the first two (depending on how you feel about Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade). Just the look on Buzz Lightyear’s face from the trailer makes my chest tighten.

Robin Hood

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Think medieval Gladiator. Ridley Scott reunited with Russell Crowe for yet another version of the Robin Hood story. We’re all familiar with the details, but given that the script is in the hands of Oscar and Razzie award winner Brian Helgeland, who knows what the actual movie is going to be like in the end? Hopefully, we’ll get the good Helgeland and not the bad one.

Alice In Wonderland

One of Disney’s best scribes, Linda Woolverton, teams up with madcap director Tim Burton. Despite being burned by Burton’s last few films, it’s hard not to be taken in by the chance that this sequel to Alice In Wonderland recaptures the laudanum dreamscape of Burton’s classic films. Still, it’s Johnny Depp as The Mad Hatter, and that’s enough to get me through the line at the cinemas on opening day.

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse

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Like Spinal Tap’s amps, this list actually goes to 11. I may be the only non Twi-hard to look forward to Eclipse, if only because I really do enjoy shredding the Twilight Saga every chance I get, in every way possible. The movies are terrible, and will continue to be terrible, but I have ever so much fun reviewing them that I can’t help but look forward to the next chapter in the weepy supernatural teen romance cycle.

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