Ten to finish out ’10

With The Social Network and Let Me In giving movie-goers some anti-summer entertainment to look forward to this weekend, we thought it’d be a good idea to map out what the rest of 2010 will look like at the movies.  Here is our list of the 10 movies we think will matter the rest of the year.

Black Swan (Dec. 1)– Darren Aronofsky follows up The Wrestler with another behind the scenes plunge into the dark depths of competitive sports.  This time it’s Natalie Portman in the lead, playing a ballerina in a a gruelingly competitive production of Swan Lake. When Mila Kunis comes in as a the new kid on the block, the game is on.  That makes it sound like Step Up, but from trailer, which shows Portman sprouting feathers and red eyes, it will be decidedly weirder.  Aronofsky knows his way around pitch black, and has a knack for turning misery into beauty.  Expect nothing less here.

True Grit (Dec. 25)– What better way to celebrate Christmas than with a Coen Brothers movie?  They team up with Jeff Bridges again, this time to remake the western that won John Wayne his Oscar.  However, the brothers list the novel as their main source of inspiration because of its quick dialogue as well as the premise.  A daughter (newcomer Hailee Steinfield) sets out to apprehend her father’s killer with the help of a stubborn marshal (Bridges.)  The movie also features Matt Damon as a ranger accompanying the two and Josh Brolin as the killer.  With a remarkable cast like this, and the success they had adapting No Country for Old Men, it’s hard not to be excited about this one.

Tron: Legacy (Dec. 17)- One of the few blockbusters left this year with any promise, this sequel to the 80’s cult classic will, at the very least, be one of the most visually stunning CG films of the year.  Hopefully the story can keep up, as it seems to in the trailer.  Jeff Bridges also stars in this one, or at least makes a cameo.

127 Hours (Nov. 5)- Danny Boyle follows up his Oscar-winning Slumdog Millionaire with this beautifully-shot film about Aron Ralston (James Franco), an outdoors man who was trapped by a rock and forced to chew through his arm.  From the looks of it, this looks to be more about his life than this grueling endeavor.  If the gorgeous cinematography in the trailer is any indication, it looks to be a wild ride.

Hereafter (Oct. 22)- Matt Damon and Clint Eastwood again pair up to tell this supernatural tale about a psychic and others touched by death.  Eastwood says its his most spiritual movie to date, but I’m just excited to see what he does with a sci-fi movie.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Nov. 19)- Say what you will about the Potter movies, but in lieu of the horrific film adaptations of the Twilight saga, I couldn’t be more excited for the final film adaptations.  This is part one, and it shows Harry, Ron, and Hermione going off on their own to defeat Lord Voldemort in the wake of Dumbledore’s death.  With Ralph Fiennes returning as Voldemort after being noticeably absent from the sixth, the dark energy he brought can finally return to the franchise.

Fair Game (Nov. 5)- Don’t let the Potter movie deter you from paying attention to the other movie opening that weekend.  Starring Naomi Watts and Sean Penn, this political thriller tells the story of outed spy Valerie Plame and the controversy surrounding it.  If not for the cast I wouldn’t be nearly as excited, but Watts and Penn are terrific actors who never settle.

Another Year (Dec. 31)- This one may slip under your radar, but it set the film festival circuit on fire this year.  Director Mike Leigh’s films are almost always different, and almost always well-received.  Happy-Go-Lucky, his previous feature, was about a woman struggling to be optimistic in a pessimistic world.  This one follows a long-married couple (Jim Broadbent and Ruth Sheen) who are dealing with their friends’ various problems as well as their own.  Leigh’s luminous gift for film making combined with his dark sense of irony and humor should serve him well here.

The King’s Speech (Nov. 24)- You don’t really need to see this movie to know that Colin Firth will be a major Best Actor contender this year.  Playing a British king struggling with a speech impediment, it sounds like the kind of role the Academy eats up.  Firth should’ve won Best Actor for A Single Man last year, so he may finally get his due.  What I’m interested in is his chemistry with Helena Bonham Carter.  These two fine, underrated British actors together on screen should be a treat.

The Next Three Days (Nov. 19)- Paul Haggis writes and directs this movie about a man (Russel Crowe) who hatches a plan to bust his wife (Elizabeth Banks) out of prison after she is accused of murder.  It’s an intriguing premise with the right people behind it, and hopefully it comes together to make a thriller for a year without many good ones.

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