10 Movies To Get Excited About for the 2nd Half of 2010!

So we are well past the halfway point of 2010, and I can say with all sincerity that I have sadly seen only one truly great movie so far. By leaps and bounds, Niels Arden Oplev’s The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo stands, in my opinion, as the best film of the year thus far (perhaps Catherine Breillat’s Bluebeard was great too, so, ok…two movies) . But we still have five months left and you know those “Oscar-type” films will start creeping into theatres come October, which is always something to look forward to. With the summer lackbuster season headed into its final stretch, I thought I’d highlight ten movies to look forward to for the second half of this year. They are in no particular order — just ten movies to get excited about.

#1. Conviction (dir. Tony Goldwyn)

I caught this trailer in the theatres a couple of weeks ago and it screamed Oscar buzz, especially for its two leading actors – Sam Rockwell and Hilary Swank. Rockwell (Choke, Snow Angels, Moon) may very well be his generation’s most underrated actor and it is high time this man starts getting his due. Here, Swank plays a high school dropout and single mother who spends two decades putting herself through law school in order to overturn her brother’s murder conviction. The rest of the cast ain’t so shabby either — Minnie Driver, Peter Gallagher, Juliette Lewis and the always strong Melissa Leo round out what looks to be one of the highlights of the latter part of the year.

#2. Secretariat (dir. Randall Wallace)

Walt Disney Pictures releases this film which tells the rousing story of Penny Chenery (Diane Lane), whose freak of a horse, Secretariat won the ever-elusive Triple Crown in 1973. Taking over for her ailing father, Chenery enters into the male-dominated world of horse racing and fights against all odds to produce one of the most successful champions of the 20th century. This marks the first film Wallace has helmed since 2002’s We Were Soldiers and looks to be a very heartwarming and inspiring film. John Malkovich, Scott Glenn and James Cromwell co-star in this true story. I was a tremendous fan of the wonderful Seabiscuit and though this is an altogether different tale, I remain hopeful that it is just as good.

#3. Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps (dir. Oliver Stone)

I’m usually not one for sequels, but this one just looks too damned good. The trailer, played to the backdrop of the classic “Sympathy for the Devil,” had me right away and thankfully, Stone, one of America’s most powerful directors, is behind it all. And he could use a rebound after a few clunkers in recent years – fingers crossed, this one looks like the real deal, despite the presence of Shia LaBeouf.  The disgraced Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas, reprising his Oscar-winning performance) is out of prison and back on the stockmarket scene. Considering the state of our nation’s current economy woes, the film couldn’t have better timing. Jacob Moore (LaBeouf) is a young trader who teams up with Gekko to alert the financial world of its impending troubles — and also to seek out the murderer of his mentor. Eli Wallach, Josh Brolin, Carey Mulligan, Susan Sarandon — and yes, Charlie Sheen, round out the cast. Ah, greed….

#4. Megamind (dir. Tom McGrath)

This one, from Dreamworks Animation, sets up the ultra heavyweight match we’ve all been waiting for — Ferrell vs. Pitt, and looks like a lot of fun for moviegoers of all ages. Will Ferrell lends the voice for the title character, a super-evil villain who becomes quite bored after killing his arch enemy. Since there is no one left to fight, he creates a new rival in Titan (Jonah Hill). But things don’t really go Megamind’s way once Titan sets out to destroy the world instead! Brad Pitt is the voice of Metro Man and Tina Fey also provides some vocal work to what looks to be a very humorous satire on what we have come to expect of the superhero genre.

#5. Jack Goes Boating (dir. Philip Seymour Hoffman)

This strikes me as being a sleeper hit of the Fall season. Hoffman makes his directorial debut with this film, based on the Robert Glaudini play that Hoffman starred in and helped develop off-Broadway. John Ortiz and Daphne Rubin-Vega are also back, reprising their stage roles. Set in New York City, Hoffman plays Jack, a socially challenged hermit who spends the better part of a year preparing for a blind date. Based on the trailer, this looks like a wonderfully quirky, charming and romantic film and you can see that Hoffman is ideal for this eccentric role. This looks like the kind of movie I always embrace, and of all the films on this list, this may be the one I am most looking forward to.

#6. The Fighter (dir. David O. Russell)

Darren Aronofsky was slated to direct this one, but got caught up in his fantastic film, The Wrestler. Enter hothead director, David O. Russell (Three Kings, I Heart Huckabees) who is looking to make a comeback. The film stars Christian Bale, Mark Wahlberg (who was brilliant in “Huckabees“), Amy Adams, and Melissa Leo (that’s two on this list and I’m so excited she is getting a lot of work). The film focuses on the boxer “Irish” Micky Ward (Wahlberg) and his rise to the world light welterweight title. His climb to the top is propelled by his half-brother Dicky (Bale), a former boxer turned trainer with a seedy history of crime and drugs. I’m a fan of sports flicks and Wahlberg has shown himself to be a very gifted actor. From the looks of it, there seems to be a Rocky-like feel to it, not just because it is set in the world of boxing, but in its heart and spirit.

#7. You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger (dir. Woody Allen)

OK, if you’re a reader of the Magic Lantern Film Blog, you know that this is a pro-Woody site. Deal with it — I love Woody Allen, despite the fact that his recent films (Match Point, Cassandra’s Dream, Whatever Works) have been pretty good at best. But with the approach of each new Allen project, I remain ever-hopeful that this will be his “comeback film.” The movie had its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival and stars Anthony Hopkins (in the surrogate Woody character), Naomi Watts, Antonio Banderas, Lucy Punch, and Josh Brolin. Set in London, the word is that this is a romantic farce where Hopkins plays an old crumudgeon who tries to cheat death by leaving his wife and falling for a much younger prostitute (Punch). Watts plays Hopkins’ daughter who is unhappily married (it’s a Woody film, remember?) and has a crush on her boss (Banderas). I’m just glad that I don’t have to sit and watch Nicole Kidman, who was originally slated to play the part played by Punch. I’m sure all of the themes that Allen loves to explore will be prominently displayed here — I’m just hoping for a funny and smart film that can hopefully rank among the better works of this legendary filmmaker.

#8. The Tree of Life (dir. Terrence Malick)

Maverick director Terrence Malick brings this period piece to life, examining the lives of a family with three boys set in the 1950’s. It tells the tale of one boy in particular and his journey from childhood innocence to his disillusionment as an adult, struggling as a “lost soul in the modern world.” He sets out on a search to to find the true meaning of life. Knowing Malick’s work, this promises to be a visually stunning film with great characters and rich, lavish designs. After taking twenty years to come out with The Thin Red Line (1998), it’s great to see Malick coming out with this one only five years after his under-appreciated The New World. Details have been a bit hard to find on this one (no surprise), but the movie stars Sean Penn and Brad Pitt, so that’s a pretty good start and reason enough to be excited.

#9. Hereafter (dir. Clint Eastwood)

It’s Clint – what the hell more do you want?! This time, he takes on a supernatural element from a script written by Peter Morgan (The Queen) that focuses on three people from different parts of the world who are touched by death in very different ways. Like most Eastwood projects, there isn’t very much information being released on this thriller, but the man’s resume the past few years is simply indisputable. Matt Damon plays George, a soft-spoken factory worker who has the ability to talk to the dead, but chooses not to. His story, along with two others intersect as the characters search for answers about what lies in store for us after we are gone. Bryce Dallas Howard, Cecile De France, and Richard Kind co-star in what could be another very busy awards season for Mr. Eastwood.

#10. True Grit (dir. The Coen Brothers)

I know that movie purists and John Wayne enthusiasts are ‘gritting’ their teeth at the fact that this classic 1969 film has been remade. I’m not a fan of remakes at all and there are very few that have ever been any good, but three words give me tremendous hope that this will stand out among the others — the Coen Brothers. That’s really all I need to hear and with their ever-impressive body of work since 1984, I fully trust that they would never have set out to make this film if they didn’t think it was going to be terrific. In my opinion, they’ve made one bad film (Intolerable Cruelty) among an abundance of brilliant works that include Miller’s Crossing, Barton Fink, A Serious Man, Fargo and The Big Lebowski. Their other remake (The Ladykillers) wasn’t such a great movie at all, which gives me some pause, but just look at who is playing Marshal Cogburn, the role that won Wayne his “Best Actor” Oscar — the Dude himself, Jeff Bridges! That’s reason for excitement in itself. 14-year old Mattie Ross looks to hire the toughest marshal she can find to help her seek out the man who murdered her father and she ends up with Reuben J. “Rooster” Cogburn. I can’t wait to see Bridges in that eye-patch in this ever-slothful, no-good role. Comes out on Christmas Day — a real present for movie lovers, one and all!


27 Responses to 10 Movies To Get Excited About for the 2nd Half of 2010!

  1. Pingback: Everybody’s Talkin’ 7 – 23 (Chatter From Other Bloggers) | The Matinee : : Cinematic Passion & Perspective | The Matinee : : Cinematic Passion & Perspective

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  3. Aaron Weiss says:

    I try not to get too anticipation for films prior to their release. I also hate trailers. I usually end up being more disappointed. Instead, I take it as it comes. I do look forward to True Grit. But what’s great about the Coen Bros is that they always throw you for a loop and never dissapoint (IMO).

    Only the Arrested Development movie could get me to count down the days to a release.

    • Oh, I love trailers – especially ones that are well edited and don’t give too much away. I think it’s a great sneak peek. I never got into the show, so I may have to skip AD. I only heard good things about it, but I seriously only watch 2 shows on TV for the past few years and nothing else.

  4. Castor says:

    The Tree of Life is by far my most anticipated movie of the year, even ahead of Inception. I don’t really have much excitement left for anything else. I will add The Expendables, Scott Pilgrim, Morning Glory, and The Town.

    • Morning Glory trailer looked very good, despite my dislike for Harrison Ford. My love for Diane Keaton certainly will prevail there. Can’t wait for Tree of Life — should be a good one!

  5. Good list. Love the pick of the Duke and the Dude!

    I find myself oddly excited about Piranha 3D.

    • Thanks, man! Was waiting for someone to comment on that pic. Thought it was kinda cool. Piranha 3D??? I must say I wasn’t even aware…HA!

      • Everything is coming out in 3D: Zombieland 2, Saw 3D, Step Up?!?, even the new Harry Potter. It’s rediculous. This used ot a gimick to get people into the theatres, now it’s used solely to charge a premiuim on ticket prices. You need to do a blog entry denouncing this distrubing trend!

  6. I know you have never-ending faith in Woody, but I have to say there is nothing about the plot of his upcoming film that strikes me original in any way. Sound like a remake of Husbands and Wives. In fact, all his movies lately seem to be a variation on the same story with a different cast. Eccentric, melancholy, high-society folks who drive expensive cars and all love going to the opera and are stuck in dead-end marriages. I would love to see Woody direct something written (or co-written) by someone else because I think he still has talent as a filmmaker but his ideas are stale.

    A lot of potential with the other films on your list. Looking forward to seeing the Coen’s take on True Grit. I have a feeling they won’t disappoint. The Eastwood movie sounds great too.

    Speaking of “The Dude”, I think Tron:Legacy should be pretty good and I’m looking forward to seeing it.

    Dinner for Schmucks may be funny and even though I KNOW I’m going to get shit for saying this, I’m actually really wanting to see The Expendables!

    • First Woody. I would very much love to argue with you – but I look at his work objectively (see my 1st video rant) and sadly, I can’t say you are off by much at all. He has fallen a bit out of touch and his ideas and characters have run a bit stale. Not many people can relate to his characters. The themes are also the same, as I pointed out. It would be terrific to see him do something new and fresh. I have no interest in Tron really, as you probably know….I’ll read up on it and see if my mind changes on that. Eastwood rarely disappoints and, unlike Woody, he has grown stronger as a filmmaker as he has aged. Dinner for Schmucks I will see but quietly resent it because I love the original French film. I’m not giving you any shit — Expendables may be a good movie!

  7. rtm says:

    I’m up for The Fighter, though I’m no fan of boxing. Hopefully this is the movie where major awards will finally give Bale his dues!

    I just saw Wall Street not too long ago so it’s still fresh in my mind. Yes, Gekko is one of those charming bad dude, no question.

    • Hey Ruth. I know you are not the biggest sports fan, but this one does look good. Though I cannot deny Bale of his talents, I can’t help but just feel a great dislike for the guy. A fine actor, no doubt, but he seems like the biggest idiot off set. Yeah, Wall Street 2 looks like it will be a sequel worthy of the original…

      • rtm says:

        Bale has bad rep ever since that foul rant thing got leaked. I’m not gonna defend the guy but I just think he’s rather misunderstood and he’s not one of those celebs who are comfortable in the spotlight, just my two cents.

  8. Sebastian says:

    Agreed on most of these. I have no interest in SECRETARIAT. Zero. Zip. Absolutely nada! But the rest of them are very interesting looking. I’m especially excited for TRUE GRIT and TREE OF LIFE.

    Question, though. Where’s TRON: LEGACY on this list? Now that INCEPTION has arrived, TRON is my most anticipated.

    • I am really not looking forward to Tron, to be honest – plus, that is probably gonna be a huge blockbuster and I tried to concentrate on movies that were not in that category. True Grit should be great and very interested to see what Malick brings us. Too bad for Secretariat — looks like a feel-good movie, which is always nice to see.

  9. Heather says:

    The Expendables too duh!


    For me I’m interested in Wall Street 2, out of Mike Douglas love, Jake Goes Boating because Mister Philip Seymour Hoffman is in it, and I admit the trailer for Secretarist is pretty gripping. I want to see it.

    A few of these I’d never heard of, thanks Peter.

    • Oh, good. I was hoping that a couple would be new to some people. I tried to stay away from the mega blockbusters that we are all aware of. These few look pretty good. Jake Goes Boating is a terrific story and the trailer looks wonderful.

  10. Corey says:

    I also wasn’t thrilled when I heard the Coen Brothers were doing another remake, but I’ll still be first in line when it opens.

    • I will be the guy standing right behind you. The Coens rarely screw things up. Have faith.

      • Corey says:

        They have yet to make a movie that I didn’t enjoy (that includes Ladykillers and Intolerable Cruelty). So True Grit would have to be #1 on my list of most anticipated movies this year. I’m eager to see the Woody Allen movie as well.

  11. Dan says:

    Last time the Coen’s remade a classic it ended in tears. Not looking forward to that one. Devil looks good though.

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