20 Most Anticipated Movies Of 2010

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The unemployment rate steadily increases!  Powerful earthquakes ravage the planet on a semi-weekly basis!  Carlos Mencia continues to find work!  Our world seems to be on the brink of crumbling into oblivion... but at least we have our movies!  Hollywood looks to provide us all with some much-needed distraction from our perpetual hardships this year, so strap yourself in and get a preview of upcoming releases with this film enthusiast's personal 20 Most Anticipated Movies Of 2010!

[Author's Note: This list includes releases set for March 2010 through the remainder of the year.]

20. Alice In Wonderland

Release Date: March 5
Director: Tim Burton
Screenwriter: Linda Woolverton
Starring: Mia Wasikowska, Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Anne Hathaway, Alan Rickman, Crispin Glover, Stephen Fry and Christopher Lee

I'm not nearly as excited about this "re-imagining" of the classic 1865 novel as the rest of the moviegoers of the world seem to be.  First off, the story has been done to death, having been remade dozens of times as films, made-for-TV movies, stage plays, video games and even comic books.  Since the 1903 silent film version of Alice In Wonderland, a new incarnation of the tale has seeped its way into our theaters, televisions and bookstores every ten years or so.  Plus, this marks Tim Burton and Johnny Depp's seventh movie together in the last twenty years.  Isn't it time they started seeing other people?  All of these quibbles aside, Burton is extremely talented and his visual style runs unparalleled to any other mainstream director today, so I'm fairly interested in seeing how he attempts to breath new life into this legendary fantasy.  Let's just hope it's better than 2005's Charlie And the Chocolate Factory.


19. The Green Hornet

Release Date: December 22
Director: Michel Gondry
Screenwriters: Evan Goldberg & Seth Rogen
Starring: Seth Rogen, Cameron Diaz, Jay Chou, Edward James Olmos, Tom Wilkinson, Edward Furlong, David Harbour and Christoph Waltz

Combining the mystifying originality of French director Michel Gondry (the man behind Eternal Sunshine Of the Spotless Mind, The Science Of Sleep and Be Kind Rewind) and winsome antics of screenwriter and star Seth Rogen, The Green Hornet could end up being the perfect way to close out the year.  The film is based on the 1930s radio program about a wily newspaper publisher who transforms into a masked superhero at night to do battle against evildoers, and with Rogen having shed thirty pounds to play the titular character, I'm eager to see how Hollywood's most functional stoner tackles a much more physical role than any of his previous big-screen outings.  With nearly sixty years of material in the form of film serials, television series and comic books to work with, Gondry and Rogen might become cinema's newest odd couple come time for the movie's release this Christmas.


18. The A-Team

Release Date: June 11
Director: Joe Carnahan
Screenwriters: Brian Bloom, Michael Brandt, Joe Carnahan, Derek Haas & Skip Woods
Starring: Liam Neeson, Bradley Cooper, Sharlto Copley, Quinton "Rampage" Jackson, Patrick Wilson, Dirk Benedict, Dwight Schultz and Jessica Biel

It seems like nearly every movie that comes out nowadays is either an unnecessary remake of a previous film or an adaptation of a successful comic book or video game, but in recent years, Hollywood has started to tap into another resource ripe with the potential to rake in even more cash -- forgotten television programs from generations lost.  The A-Team looks to break the latest tradition of nearly-unwatchable TV-to-movie revamps (i.e. Bewitched, The Dukes Of Hazzard, and Wild Wild West, just to name a few) by using its story's roots -- a rugged band of war veterans framed for a "crime they didn't commit" go underground to become guns-for-hire -- as the starting point for an off-the-wall, non-stop action extravaganza.  Liam Neeson leads the group as Col. John "Hannibal" Smith, Bradley Cooper stars as Lt. Templeton "Faceman" Peck, Sharlto Copley is pilot Capt. H.M. "Howling Mad" Murdoch, and former Ultimate Fighting Champion Quinton "Rampage" Jackson takes on the role of Sgt. B.A. "Bad Attitude" Baracus.


17. Predators

Release Date: July 7
Director: Nimród Antal
Screenwriters: Michael Finch, Alex Litvak & Robert Rodriguez
Starring: Adrien Brody, Laurence Fishburne, Topher Grace, Mahershalalhashbaz Ali, Alice Braga, Walton Goggins, Danny Trejo and Derek Mears

After 2004's Alien vs. Predator and 2007's Alien vs. Predator: Requiem, it looks like the eternal struggle between the two interstellar monsters is being put on hold in favor of this prequel to the original 1987 Predator, the classic action /horror /sci-fi vehicle starring Arnold Schwarzenegger.  This upcoming project probably would not have made my list if it weren't for the great Robert Rodriguez attached as the movie's co-writer and producer as well as name actors like Adrien Brody and Laurence Fishburne.  While the first film centered around a group of commandos hunted by an extra-terrestrial in the jungles of Central America, this origin story will take place on the Predator's native planet where a batch of abducted humans attempt to outsmart and outrun the creature in its own habitat.  Topher Grace joins the cast as a bumbling accountant hiding a dark secret, and this particular film fanatic hopes that he takes a laser cannon blast to the face for his utter flop as Eddie Brock / Venom in Spider-Man 3.

Red Band Trailer

16. Piranha 3D

Release Date: August 27
Director: Alexandre Aja
Screenwriters: Alexandre Aja & Josh Stolberg
Starring: Elisabeth Shue, Ving Rhames, Adam Scott, Dina Meyer, Richard Dreyfuss, Jerry O'Connell, Steven R. McQueen and Christopher Lloyd

The 3D gimmick originated in the early 50s and has made its resurgence in the realm of film in recent years, often used to give a boost to a movie that is lacking in character development, story advancement or any other component that makes a film enjoyable.  While 3D frequently feels like a tacked-on device used to cover up plot holes and poorly-written dialog, in some cases, the effect can add an extra layer of fun to an otherwise mediocre picture.  Piranha 3D is yet another horror remake, set in the fictional location of Lake Victoria, where an earthquake releases a swarm of flesh-eating prehistoric fish from their million-year slumber just in time for the yearly spring break celebration.  As a devoted gorehound of cinema, I personally can't wait to see how director Alexandre Aja (of High Tension and The Hills Have Eyes fame) makes use of the 3D technology to splatter the audience with gallons of blood and guts.


15. Due Date

Release Date: November 5
Director: Todd Phillips
Screenwriters: Alan R. Cohen, Alan Freedland, Todd Phillips & Adam Sztykiel
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Zach Galifianakis, Jamie Foxx, Michelle Monaghan, Juliette Lewis, RZA, Matt Walsh and Alan Arkin

The Hangover quickly became a box-office smash last summer by surpassing all expectations and pulling in $277 million during its theatrical run, solidifying director Todd Phillips and funnyman Zach Galifianakis as a new team to be reckoned with.  Due Date will reunite the pair in this comedy about a jittery father-to-be (Downey Jr.) hitting the open road to catch a front row seat for the birth of his child, but along the way, an aspiring actor (Zach G.) hitches a ride and hilarity ensues.  What sounds like a familiar premise -- think Knocked Up meets Planes, Trains & Automobiles -- could ultimately turn into another home run for Phillips and company as the contrasting styles of the two leading men have the potential to create a bevy of gut-busting laughs.


14. Jackass 3D

Release Date: October 15
Director: Jeff Tremaine
Screenwriter: Preston Lacy
Starring: Johnny Knoxville, Bam Margera, Steve-O, Ryan Dunn, Chris Pontius, Jason "Wee-Man" Acuna, Dave England and Ehren McGhehey

Watching an episode of Jackass requires a certain degree of tolerance for reckless, stomach-churning, and sometimes homoerotic behavior amongst its cast members, an even mix of fearless daredevils and half-witted morons willing to break bones and scar themselves for the sick amusement of their audience.  Any time a bunch of degenerates gather to chow down on fifty hard-boiled eggs (despite projectile vomiting in between bites) or test out an electronic muscle stimulator on parts of the anatomy that I'm positive it wasn't designed for, I'll be spectating the ridiculousness next to the rest of my depraved comrades.  The 3D attraction will only add to the pandemonium, as I'm sure we will be subjected to several crude shots of Preston Lacy's massive gut erupting off of the screen and into the front row... or even worse, Chris Pontius's fuzzy nutsack swinging into our faces.  But if there's one thing life has taught me, it's that sometimes you have to take the bad with the good.


13. The Expendables

Release Date: August 13
Director: Sylvester Stallone
Screenwriters: David Callaham & Sylvester Stallone
Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Mickey Rourke, Jet Li, Terry Crews, Randy Couture, Dolph Lundgren and Steve Austin

I'll go on record by saying that 2008's Rambo was one of the most hilariously violent movies that I've ever seen.  If an Oscar existed to reward a film for gratuitous, over-the-top bloodshed, Sylvester Stallone would have earned his first Academy Award nomination since Rocky.  Believe it or not, Stallone is preparing to bring Rambo back next year for one more war in the tentatively-titled Rambo V: The Savage Hunt, but until then, we will have to settle for his next film starring one of the most extraordinary casts ever assembled in a single action movie.  Not only is Sly writing and directing this opus teeming with whizzing bullets and thunderous explosions, but he's also diving headfirst into the on-screen action alongside fellow badasses Jason Statham, Mickey Rourke and Jet Li.  Throw in UFC superstar Randy Couture and WWE Hall of Famer "Stone Cold" Steve Austin for good measure and the plot itself becomes expendable (something about mercenaries attempting to overthrow a South American dictator).


12. Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World

Release Date: August 13
Director: Edgar Wright
Screenwriters: Michael Bacall & Edgar Wright
Starring: Michael Cera, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Jason Schwartzman, Chris Evans, Anna Kendrick, Kieran Culkin, Alison Pill and Brandon Routh

British director Edgar Wright has already managed to achieve a fairly substantial amount of success in his short career. After masterminding the zombie romantic comedy (or "zom-rom-com") Shaun of the Dead and the uproarious buddy cop outing Hot Fuzz, Wright is ready to tackle the comic book world with Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, a film adaptation of the series created by Bryan Lee O'Malley.  The movie stars the unassuming Michael Cera as the titular character, the bassist of a rock band called Sex Bob-omb (anything that includes Super Mario Bros. references automatically warrants my attention).  Scott falls for a girl named Ramona Flowers, played by the beautiful Mary Elizabeth Winstead, but before he can seal the deal with his new sweetheart, he must do battle with a brigade of deranged lunatics that all have one thing in common -- they're all ex-boyfriends of Ramona's and prepared to eliminate Scott from the picture.  Wright breathes life into this fantasy world this summer in what could be one of the biggest surprise hits of the year.


11. Clash Of the Titans

Release Date: April 2
Director: Louis Leterrier
Screenwriters: Travis Beacham, Phil Hay & Matt Manfredi
Starring: Sam Worthington, Liam Neeson, Danny Huston, Izabella Miko, Alexa Davalos, Tamer Hassan, Natalia Vodianova and Ralph Fiennes

Hollywood's incessant compulsion to remake every movie released in the last century, but if you have ever seen the 1981 version of Clash Of the Titans, it's difficult to argue with the notion that the film could use an overhaul.  The original is perhaps best known for its usage of stop-motion to bring the various creatures from the world of Greek mythology to life, and while this technique probably blew theater patrons out of their seats thirty years ago, the primitive animation looks hokey in an age where nearly every movie made features some measure of CGI.  From the looks of the trailer, director Louis Leterrier (helmer of The Incredible Hulk, Transporter 2, and the vastly-underrated Unleashed) spared no expense fleshing out this classic tale for a new generation.  Sam Worthington slashes through ancient beasties as brawny hero Perseus, Liam Neeson offers guidance from the heavens as Zeus, and Ralph Fiennes leads the forces of evil into battle as Hades.


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