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Blockbusters of 2010: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

By Justin Key,
As we finish off with 2009, 2010 is looking like the year of the remake.

When I look at 2010, I see a year full of the past. And most likely a mangled past, at that. Don't get me wrong, I love a remake when it's done right, but I also think that significant time should pass since the original. At least 30 years, I'd say. Some of the ones you'll find in this list are still fresh in our minds. It just seems...wrong. Either way, it'll get people moving to the theaters. And, who knows, maybe some of them will be as refreshing as Batman Begins.

And, of course, there are the sequels. At the end of the day, movie-making is a business. Yes, we have things like the Academy Awards to celebrate those who really excel at the art and make something worthwhile, but Hollywood needs those Blockbuster's to keep it running. Six out of the top 10 for all-time box office earnings are sequels, and all but two are part of a franchise. Even crappy sequels will make a splash at the box office if the first was good, partly because of die-hard fans and partly for the hope that it'll be a rare exception to the sequel-curse.

There are some breaths of fresh air on the horizon, though (and some adaptations, too). There's no doubt that the sequels and remakes will make 2010 big, but there will be some unique gems scattered across the year as well. Let's get to it.

The Sequels:

Wall Street 2 'Money Never Sleeps': Directed by Oliver Stone, this sequel to the 1987 Academy Award-winning film Wall Street will star original Michael Douglas and additions Shia LaBeouf and Josh Brolin. It takes place 20 years after the original and centers on the 2008 stock market crash. Expect it April 23. Movie Page

Iron Man 2: After the first being a very solid crowd-pleaser, expect Iron Man 2 to hit the theaters in a big way. It's a shame to see Terrence Howard go, but at least the capable Don Cheadle will be taking over his role as Rhodey. Another positive: Samuel L. Jackson will get more screen time as Nick Fury. New additions are Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow and Mickey Rourke as Whiplash. May 7. Toy Preview

Shrek Forever After: The first and second: instant classics. The third? Instant money-maker...and nothing else. DreamWorks is trying again and while there's no doubt they'll take this one to the bank, let's hope they can bring back the integrity. The full cast is returning, so that's a start. Expect it to hit the states May 21. Movie Page

Sex and the City 2: Not much is known about this one, other than a May 28th release date. If they make it an hour shorter than the original, more like a movie, and less like a season finale three-part episode, it may be worth watching. Movie Page

Toy Story 3: Already putting my money on this being one of the top three movies of the year. If I were a little more risky, I'd call it as #1. Pixar already pumped up hype for it by re-releasing the original in theaters this past summer, reaching a whole new generation. The third installment will bring back Tom Hanks and Tim Allen with Joan Cusack on board as well. It's currently projected for June 18, right when the kiddies get out of school. And it's in 3-D. Theatrical Trailer

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse What is there to say, really? There are four books, so of course there will be at least four movies. Same cast, same screenwriter, same source material, only different director (Chris Weitz was still in post-production for New Moon when Eclipse began shooting). It'll be big. Will it be good? Come June 30th, the answer to that one will probably largely depend on who you are. Movie Page

Predators: Why hunt your prey when you can just bring it to your house and plop it on the stove at your leisure? Robert Rodriguez produces this sequel to the 1987 classic in which the predators abduct a group of humans and place them on their home world. Its rumored that Arnold Schwarzenegger will have a cameo as an older Dutch. Expect it July 7. Movie Page

Little Fockers: The first two were funny as hell, but something tells me that this one is going to bomb. But, thankfully, Jessica Alba is on as the 'villain' to save the day! ....Pass. July 30 Movie Page

Step Up 3D: No comment. August 6. Behind the Scenes Battle.

Friday the 13th, Part 2: Jason. Blood. Guts. Random nudity. Expect it Friday, August 13. IGN Interview

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader: The plan is to make all seven movies and the third one is set for December 10. I don't know how I feel about this one. it could go either way. The first one was memorable. The second--not so much. Movie Page

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1: As millions around the world read the seventh and last book in the Harry Potter series, one question reigned supreme: how the hell are they going to fit all of that in to one movie? Well, the simple answer is they aren't. Part one will be blessing movie screens November 19 and then Part II the following July. Steve Kloves, who wrote all but the fifth installment, will be doing the screenplay for both with Order of the Phoenix and Half-Blood Prince director David Yates behind the camera. Fans should rejoice for this splitting, as it allows for the filmmakers to be truer to the book than previous movies. Newly Released Teaser Trailer

Tron Legacy: A sequel to the Walt Disney 1982 science fiction film with Jeff Bridges, Tron Legacy follows Kevin Flynn's son as he investigates his father's disappearance. The latest and greatest in 3D and CGI technologies will be used for an undoubtably stunning debut on IMAX screens December 17. Theatrical Trailer

Hairspray 2: Currently it's 'in the works' and not even writer John Waters knows when it will hit. No official word on whether Travolta will be back, but considering the tragedy with his son, not likely. Movie Page

The Remakes

The Wolfman: Please, something come and save the werewolf-image that has been tarnished and shat upon by New Moon. Can this 19th century gothic horror be that savior? With Benicio Del Toro as Wolf Man and Anthony Hopkins as his estranged father, this remake of the 1941 classic has potential. See it on February 21. Theatrical Trailer

Alice in Wonderland:Think of the perfect actor to play a weird, off-the-wall role in a fantasy world. Yep, I was thinking Johnny Depp, too. He's teaming up with Tim Burton yet again in a remake of the Walk Disney classic. Available in both Disney Digital 3-D and IMAX 3-D, the movie will use both motion captioning and live action. I think anything Depp touches is golden, so this is definitely high on the list. March 5. Theatrical Trailer

Nightmare on Elm Street: Jason did it, so why not Freddy? First-time movie director Samuel Bayer has been taken in by producer Michael Bay with actor Jackie Earl Haye to reprise the classic villain who does his hunting in dreamland. I'd personally like to see Johnny Depp involved in some way, considering his roots in the franchise, but hey, beggars can't be choosers. April 20.Teaser Trailer

Robin Hood: Liked Gladiator and American Gangster? Well, on May 14, 2010 director Ridley Scott and actor Russell Crowe are teaming up again for their take on the famous outlaw who steals from the rich and gives to the poor. Cate Blanchett (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) will be his love interest. On the Set

The Karate Kid: When I read about this, I could almost hear my heart groan its disapproval. The original 80s film is a classic. Besides, it wasn't like King Kong or The Little Shop of Horrors where the advancements in movie-making technology can make for true expansions. Plus, I don't know if I'm ready to accept Rush Hour star Jackie Chan as Mr. Miagi. I have no opinion about Will Smith's son playing Daniel, so don't ask. June 11. Movie Page

Footloose: Paramount Pictures helms the remake of the 1984 musical. Expect it June 18. Movie Page

Red Dawn: The 1984 original was a Soviet invasion of the United States. This modern-day remake hitting theaters November 24 switches it up with the Chinese as the bad guys. Dan Bradley directing with Chris Hemsworth and Josh Peck starring. Movie Page

Gulliver's Travels: This may be less of a remake and more of a re-imagining (think Charlie and the Chocolate Factory), based on the original Jonathan Swift classic. Starring none other than Jack Black, this one has potential and should be making it to screens December 22. Movie Page

Total Recall: Now this is a remake that could benefit from special effects, but I still smell disaster. The negotiations were finalized back in February but not much else is known.

The Adaptations:

Kick Ass: Despite financial woes (or maybe because of them), Nicolas Cage is working hard in 2010! This is your average superhero movie...minus that whole 'super' aspect. Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson) is your run-of-the-mill unnoticed high school kid who all of a sudden decides to be a superhero. See it April 16. Theatrical Trailer

Shutter Island: Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese both take a step out of their comfort zones with this psycho-thriller surrounding the haunting mystery of a missing patient at a mental hospital. Looks promising. February 19. Theatrical Trailer

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time: There have been a lot of bad video-game movies out there (Mario Brothers and Street Fighter take the cake), but there have been a few good ones as well. With Jake Gyllenhaal swinging the sword and Mike Newell directing and a whole lot of hype, this one may be heading in the right direction. May 28 Theatrical Trailer

The A Team: Writer Michael Brandt is trying to make this adaptation of the popular 1980s TV-series worthy of being mentioned with the likes of Die Hard, The Bourne Identity, and Casino Royale. The original creator, Stephen J. Cannell, is involved and there will be a shift from Vietnam to the Middle East. June 11 release date. More Movie Info

The Last Airbender: NickToon to big screen? Written, directed, and produced by M. Night Shyamalan, hopefully this live-action film adaptation will critically redeem the horror writer from his slump of a movie entitled The Happening. We'll see on July 2. Theatrical Trailer

The Sorcerer's Apprentice: Remember Fantasia? If you do, you're probably thinking of that memorable scene where Mickey Mouse the wizard takes on an army of miniature brooms (wonderfully spoofed on The Simpsons' Itchy & Scratchy). Nicolas Cage and director Jon Tureltaub are teaming up for a live-action wizard story inspired by that segment. With modern-day New York as the setting and Monica Bellucci co-starring, expect a July 16 release. Theatrical Trailer

The Green Hornet: Notice how next year is lacking a big component of the last 10 years worth of movies? New comic book movies! Well, Seth Rogen's adventure is here to fill in that void. The movie is based on the classic 1930s crime-fighter which owes its beginnings to radio with an eventual home on TV. Expect it December 22. Movie Page

The Originals:

Daybreakers: Gone are the days of traditional vampire movies where the undead come, terrorize, and then leave under the stake of the triumphant humans. Daybreakers takes place in a world where vamps have ultimately won the war and there's only a few regular people left as a dwindling food supply. Ethan Hawke and Sam Neill star - January 8. Theatrical Trailer

The Book of Eli: It's Denzel Washington. It's Denzel Washington in a role that's fairly new to him: post-apocalyptic action hero. Considering how well Washington does in fresh territory (Training Day, American Gangster), this one could be a real jewel. With a January 15 release day, the movie centers around the protection of the Book of Eli, which contains information that could restructure society, from villain Gary Oldman. Theatrical Trailer

Legion: God is mad at the world (again) and this time sets out to destroy it through...angels? And, get this, a fallen angel is Earth's only chance for survival. Give the scared American's guns and the righteously evil angels maces and you have a movie that is sure to stir up some controversy. January 22 Theatrical Trailer

Tooth Fairy: There's been a trend of 'badass' figures of masculinity playing softer movie roles, so, of course, The Rock is the best choice to play the tooth fairy. What next? Snoop Dogg as Jimminy Crickett in a Pinocchio remake? January 22. Theatrical Trailer

Date Night: Steve Carell needs to be in more movies. He was great in 40-Year Old Virgin, so this flick about a married couple trying to spark up their relationship shouldn't be too shabby. I'll be there April 9. Will you? Theatrical Trailer

The Expendables: Directed by Sylvester Stallone, this action-flick includes some of the biggest names in the genre from the 80s and 90s. There are big expectations for this movie, with the Internet-laced hype growing faster than unemployment rates in 2008. And an Arnold Swarzenegger cameo? Getouttatown! April 23. More Movie Info

Grown Ups: Most of Adam Sandler's movies either fall into the very funny or the very lame. With a star-cast of top-tier comedians (including some past Saturday Night Live regulars), my vote is that this one will come out golden. Maria Bello, Garey Busey, Salma Hayek, Kevin James, Norm MacDonald, Tim Meadows, Colin Quinn, Chris Rock, David Spade, and Rob Schneider will all be in this comedy about a group of high-school friends getting together for a 4th of July reunion. See it June 25. Teaser Trailer

Inception: Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight, need I say more??) is trying his hand at science fiction, and taking Leonardo DiCaprio along with him. On July 16, experience this thriller which is 'set within the architecture of the mind.' Theatrical Trailer

Salt: Tom Cruise was originally the top-gun in this 'agent-on-the-run' thriller that features the much-used 'gotta clear my name' premise. Now with Angelina Jolie replacing, it could be fresh. Maybe even good. July 23. Theatrical Trailer

Centurion: Directed by Neil Marshall, this war-time action movie follows a group of Roman soldiers as they struggle to survive behind enemy lines. See it August 27. Movie Page

There you have it. A little something for everybody, and not too shabby of a year so far. With actors experimenting in new roles and blossoming directors getting the chance to prove they aren't one-hit wonders, a year from now the verdict could honestly go either way.

Corrections: A previous version of this article stated Shutter Island and Kick Ass as original films. They are adaptations.

 
 

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