Shutter Island (February 19) - the Scorsese-DiCaprio tandem is going for four straight films where I continue to be amazed at how Martin continues to be a filmmaker on the top of his game, and how Leonardo has come from being teenage heart-throb who was on top of the world, to one of our generation's most gifted actors. This time, the duo are taking us on a psychological mind-bender as two US federal marshals are assigned to investigate the disappearance of a woman from a mental asylum. The trailer looks like a bare-bones horror film (a first for Scorsese), ready to school the audience on what a horror film should be. With a world-class director who's firing on all cylinders at the helm, this will be an exciting and terrifying lecture.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I (November 19) - If you thought Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron (Rupert Grint), and Hermione (Emma Watson) would go out in one huge bang this year, then you don't know jack about Hollywood. The Potter franchise is the highest-grossing film series in history, so they're gonna milk it for what it's worth and split J.K. Rowling's epic finale into two parts. From what we're told, Part I will be a road movie, with the trio of wizards hunting down the remaining bits of Lord Voldemort's (Ralph Finnes) soul, while avoiding capture from his followers, the Death Eaters. David Yates will finish off the series, and from what I hear about Part I, the more excited I become for the two-part finale.
Toy Story 3 (June 18) - after more than a decade, Woody and Buzz are back for the third installment to the Toy Story franchise. What new adventures will Andy's toy's embark on this time? I have no idea, the wizards at Pixar Animation Studios always keep us guessing in their trailers. What we do know is that these guys have the world's best batting percentage when it comes to their movies (see: Toy Story, Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Ratatouille, Wall-E, and Up), and they have no intention of slowing down.
Iron-Man 2 (May 7) - The shot of pure adrenaline that will kick-start the summer movie season. Why do I say this? Look at the trailer with a menacing Mickey Rouke as Whiplash, the last few seconds of Iron Man and War Machine in combat, and a sexy Scarlet Johannson as a brunette, and then tell me you're not excited.
Inception (July 16) - If Iron Man 2 is the muscle of the summer season at the theaters, the Christopher Nolan's mind-bender of a sci-fi drama is its brain. Alternate realities will be made, bent, and shattered entirely, as ones mind can change the entire course of the future...at least that's Nolan's idea with this movie. Trippy? Bizarre? Yes, on both counts. Is it meant to make the audience think and solve the brain games Nolan will no-doubt inflict? Most likely. I am so there.
Ridley Scott's remake of Robin Hood has him again teaming up with Russell Crowe, sans green tights, and focused on medical history rather than romanticized myth. Sweet. (May 14)
Tim Burton and Johnny Depp are reunited (again), this time to go through the looking glass with his zany, bizarre and amazing update of Alice in Wonderland that could freak out young ones and fry the brains of hallucinogenic users. But Burton hasn't done me wrong, and his movies are always one hell of twisty ride, and this looks to continue the trend. (March 26)
A remake of John Wayne's classic True Grit!? What the fuck is Hollywood thinking?? Wait, Joel and Ethan Coen are directing? I'm in (December 25).
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (June 30) - The battle lines will be drawn this summer - Are you with Team Edward, the handsome, Emo vampire who sparkles in the sunlight, or Team Jacob, the werewolf who'll break out in hives if wears a shirt for more than five minutes onscreen. Sign me up for Team I don't give a fuck. The next installment of this teeny-bopper series will have fathers and boyfriends begging their daughters and/or girlfriends to drag them to another viewing of Sex and the City 2, than watch Bella (Kristen Stewart), choose between her vampire boyfriend (Robert Pattinson) that wants to suck her dry, and her pussy-whipped, wolf-boy friend (Taylor Lautner), all while the audience endures 2+ hours of lame posing and posturing, wooden characters and dialogue, and mediocre F/X wizardry. You want a real and exciting fantasy flick? Wait a few months for The Deathly Hallows Part I.
Step Up 3D (August 6) - James Cameron's Avatar is changing the way we look at movies, combining gorgeous visual effects in 3D and solid storytelling that is destined to be another Cameron classic. Unfortunately, Cameron has opened the floodgates for movies that don't need to be seen in 3D. Hell, Step Up 3D shouldn't even be seen in regular 2D. Its the same flashy dance moves we've seen before in the first two movies, plus such "hits" as You Got Served and Save The Last Dance. Patrick Swayze, the king of dirty dancing, must be rolling in his grave.
Dear John (February 5) and The Last Song (April 2) - I'm including these two because they're both adaptations of books by Nicholas Sparks, and to plead with the suits in Hollywood: please, cease with the movie adaptations of Sparks' novels! Every last one from The Notebook on down have been nothing but chick flick hell! Stop it.
Why Did I Get Married Too? (April 2) - Tyler Perry bust onto the scene with Diary of a Mad Black Woman in February 2005 as Madea, the howlingly funny aunt with a short temper and a .9 mm handgun in her purse at all times. I had a blast with the Madea series, but after seeing the same overly dramatic shtick over and over again, I've grown tired of it, and for that reason, i'm avoiding Perry's sequel to his most mature work to date, Why Did I Get Married?
I like Mila Jovovich as much as the next guy, but I'm not going to sit through Resident Evil: Afterlife, the fourth chapter in the franchise, to do so. I'll happily watch her in The Fifth Element, thank you very much. Plus, haven't we learned from past flops (Doom, Max Payne, Hitman, the entire Resident Evil series) that movie studios shouldn't give popular video games the Hollywood treatment? (September 10)
Yogi Bear!? Warner Bros. is doing Yogi Bear!?!? And you've got Justin Timberlake playing Boo Boo!?!?!? Damn you, Hollywood! Damn you to hell!!! (December 17)
Another Halloween = another year of the Jigsaw murderer. Here's the twist to Saw VII...all the gruesome, grotesque, torture-porn violence will be in blood-splattering 3D! Gag. (October 22)
The Last Airbender (July 2) - After 2 1/2 abysmal movies (The Happening, Lady in the Water, the last half-hour of The Village) M. Night Shyamalan has gone from Hitchcock's heir to one trick pony who's running out of tricks. His new movie, The Last Airbender, based on the cartoon show, "Avatar: The Last Airbender," looks great, but i'm still skeptical. All I know is that he cannot fuck this up, for his career's sake.
Salt (July 23) - Pros: Angelina Jolie is still the hottest, kick-ass woman working, playing an agent who's been framed as a Russian spy. Cons: It looks like the female version of the Borne series. Good thing that I'd follow Jolie anywhere.
Shrek Forever After (May 21) - Antiono's Banderas's Puss in Boots announces: "Alas, we have come the final chapter, my friends." The cartoon series that turned every children's fable on its head for shits and non-stop laughs is being given one more chance to redeem itself for the sins of the unfunny and overly familiar Shrek the Third, but do the writers and the main cast have what it takes to send Shrek, Fiona, Puss, and Donkey out in a 21 guns comedy salute?
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (May 28) - This is what I was referring to earlier: another popular video game being given the Hollywood treatment. The fact it's being handled by producer Jerry Bruckheimer could give off the impression that it's gonna be a brainless popcorn film, but directing the video game adaptation is Mike Newell, director of the exciting and thrilling Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire in 2005. Although he made one of the better Potter movies in the series, Newell faces a much more challenging climb: making the first good video game turned movie.
Sex and the City 2 (May 28) - Confession: I liked Sex and the City: The Movie. There, I said it. Loved the themes of sisterhood and the bond between friends Carrie, Miranda, Samantha and Charlotte, but hated the unnecessary fashion shows, and the 2 1/2 hour running time. And now with the cameos of teen queen Miley Cyrus and Liza Minnelli added to the mix, I'm even more hesitant to be the only male counterpart in the theater.