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The 49 Films That Will Define 2010

2010 is just around the corner, and though there aren't many big name franchises returning next summer, fear not, there is still plenty to keep your local cinema busy.

With that in mind, we take a look at the biggest and best that 2010 has to offer...

Daybreakers (8 January)

The Talent: The Aussie Spierig brothers direct Willem Defoe, Ethan Hawke and Sam Neill.

The Pitch: In 2019 a virus has transformed nearly everyone into vampires. The vamps strategise to save themselves from starvation, while the dwindling humans plot salvation.

The Hook: The Spierigs gave us the rough but still ace zombie flick Undead – now they have a cast, a bigger budget, and Weta doing the effects. Our calculations point to awesome.

Official site here .

The Book Of Eli (15 January)

The Talent: Directed by the Hughes brothers, starring Denzel Washington and Gary Oldman.

The Pitch: A post-apocalyptic Western, with Washington’s dangerous loner guarding the secret hope of mankind through a radiation-ravaged afterworld.

The Hook: The trailer is all dusty cyberpunk bandits and sudden, lethal action. Set to be an ass-kicker with a desolate atmospheric hook.

Official site here .

Edge Of Darkness (29 January)

The Talent: Bond specialist Martin Campell directs a returning Mel Gibson.

The Pitch: Based on the bleak but brilliant BBC drama from 1985, it features a cop who gets tangled up in radical politics and political conspiracy following the death of his daughter.

The Hook: It looks a disaster – the original was awash with austere, Cold War-era dejection – but not only has Campbell directed the two best Bonds of the last 20 years, he was also behind the TV camera for the '80s version. Might just work - if he can keep Gibson's ego in check.

Official site here .

The Wolfman (12 February)

The Talent: Starring Benicio Del Toro and Anthony Hopkins, special effects by Rick Baker.

The Pitch: Del Toro is Victorian gentleman Lawrence Talbot, reunited with his estranged father following the disappearance of his brother. But there’s something unnatural and dangerous about his bro's vanishing...

The Hook: The film’s release has been shunted backwards for over a year already, but if Baker’s effects are half as effective as his work in An American Werewolf In London , they’ll make up the shortfall on shabby plotting or studio editing.

Official site here .

Shutter Island (19 February)

The Talent: Directed by Martin Scorsese, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Michelle Williams.

The Pitch: DiCaprio's Federal agent investigates the disappearance of a woman at a creepy island asylum and begins to doubt both the authorities and his own sanity.

The Hook: This is Scorsese and DiCaprio's fourth film together, and looks like it has the kind of tight dramatic plotting that could finally see their partnership ignite and win over the DiCaprio doubters.

Next: Black Death, A Couple of Dicks [page-break]

Black Death (26 February)

The Talent: Directed by Chris Smith of Severance fame. Starring Sean Bean.

The Pitch: Bean leads a band of medieval men-on-a-mission as they hunt down a necromancer (yes!) in plague-hit England.

The Hook: You read the pitch, right? Sheffield's finest cine-son is back in leather and chain-mail for the first time since the Rings trilogy, and the plot is a deliciously brooding, dark-ages adventure yarn.

A Couple Of Dicks (26 February)

The Talent: Written by the Cullen brothers, directed by Kevin Smith and starring Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan.

The Pitch: A classic buddy cop comedy, with Willis and Morgan as partners tracking down a stolen collectable baseball card.

The Hook: The script has enjoyed big buzz for years, and Smith (directing someone else’s writing for the first time) describes it as "Dante and Randal as cops". Sold! Also, everything Tracy Morgan does, says or thinks is funny.

I Love You Phillip Morris (February)

The Talent: Glenn Ficarra and John Requa direct, Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor star.

The Pitch: Carrey’s salesman nobody has a life-changing car crash, convincing him to come out as gay and to lead a fraud-filled life which lands him in jail. Where he meets the love of his life…

The Hook: Brave and bizarre, Phillip Morris tackles gay romance with a straight face and no small measure of poignancy. Plus, the last time Carrey mixed dark comedy and hearbreak we got Eternal Sunshine .

Alice In Wonderland (5 March)

The Talent: Directed by Tim Burton, starring Johnny Depp

The Pitch: Remake of the classic Disney animation and children’s book about a little girl who takes a twisted trip into the surreal backwaters of her imagination.

The Hook: Burton is the king of subversive Hollywood fairytale, and Depp always gets the best out of his long-time friend and collaborator/shapeshifter.

Official site here .

Clash Of The Titans (26 March)

The Talent: Hulk and Transporter 2 ’s Louis Leterrier directs Sam Worthington and Ralph Fiennes.

The Pitch: Update of the 1981 sword-and-sandaller about Greek hero Perseus - the fella who killed the snake-haired Medusa and flew on a horse with wings.

The Hook: Less stop-motion, more non-stop classical action. Plus, as Terminator Salvation proved, Sam Worthington is watchable even in average action flicks.

Official site here .

Next: Cemetary Junction, Kick-Ass [page-break]

Cemetery Junction (7 April)

The Talent: Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant direct Emily Watson, Ralph Fiennes and three promising unknowns.

The Pitch: A coming-of-age comedy set in an insurance office in '70s Reading.

The Hook: Gervais himself has described it as "The Office meets Mad Men". We’d watch anything Gervais does at least once, anything he does set in an office twice.

Official site here .

Kick-Ass (16 April)

The Talent: Matthew Vaughn directs, Nicolas Cage, Mark Strong and Aaron Johnson (currently John Lennon in Nowhere Boy) star.

The Pitch: An adaptation of the comic book series – Johnson’s comic-reading high-school nobody decides to become a superhero, despite lacking any superhero powers.

The Hook: He’s a superhero with a MySpace account – Kick-Ass is costumed crusading for the social networking generation. And hopefully funnier than that sounds.

Official site here .

Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps (23 April)

The Talent: Oliver Stone directs, Shia LaBeouf and Michael Douglas star.

The Pitch: Douglas’ Slick ‘greed is good’ supervillain Gordon Gekko turns uncomfortable hero as he partners with LaBeouf’s young Wall Street trader during the stock market crash of 2008.

The Hook: Stone and Douglas lend the film the weight it needs to be more than just a lazy rehash, and we'll be watching closely to see how LaBeouf develops, post- Transformers ...

Iron Man 2 (30 April)

The Talent: Directed by Jon Favreau, starring Robert Downey Jr., Sam Rockwell and Mickey Rourke.

The Pitch: More of the box office gold hammered out by last year’s smart metal man adventure, this time with Rockwell and Rourke also filling out battle suits.

The Hook: The last one was great, and this one will have more money, more bad guys, and more ass-kicking. Expect it to be the blockbuster of the year - particularly in a distinctly blockbuster-light year.

Official site here .

Stone (7 May)

The Talent: Starring Ed Norton and Robert De Niro.

The Pitch: A psychological drama with Norton a convicted arsonist who encourages his wife to have an affair with De Niro’s parole officer.

The Hook: Their stars may have faded a little, and their first pairing in The Score is mostly forgotten, but should Norton and De Niro hit their stride, Stone could be exceptional.

Next: Last Night, Robin Hood [page-break]

Last Night (14 May)

The Talent: Massy Tedjedin directs for the first time, Keira Knightley and Sam Worthington star.

The Pitch: A hot-under-the-collar thriller, with Knightley and Worthington a married couple both facing temptation while he’s away on business.

The Hook: If things go right next year (and with Avatar this year), Worthington could easily become the New Biggest Thing. It all depends on whether or not he can convince in romantic dramas as well as bare his biceps in action flicks.

Robin Hood (14 May)

The Talent: Ridley Scott directs Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchett.

The Pitch: A retelling of the classic folk tale, with Crowe the nobleman’s son returned from the Crusades to find the evil Sheriff of Nottingham oppressing the hell out of England.

The Hook: Scott and Crowe seem to have dropped the original hook – the film was called Nottingham and toyed with the idea of heroism and villainy. Instead, they've simply decided to make the best Robin Hood ever. Sounds good.

Prince Of Persia: The Sands Of Time (28 May)

The Talent: Mike Newell directs, Jake Gyllenhaal and Gemma Arterton star.

The Pitch: Based on the videogame, Gyllenhaal stars as the acrobatic and quick-witted Persian royal dashing around an exotic and lamp-lit Middle East and messing with the very fabric of time itself.

The Hook: We’d be calling the standard videogame ruin if it weren’t for the presence of producer Jerry Bruckheimer - the man who took an even worse premise and turned it into Pirates Of The Caribbean - and Newell, who’s nailed fantasy with Brit-class in Harry Potter .

Official site here .

The Eagle Of The Ninth (5 June)

The Talent: State Of Play’s Kevin MacDonald directs Mark Strong, Jamie Bell and, erm, Channing Tatum.

The Pitch: Based on the Rosemary Sutcliffe page-turner, the film sees Tatum’s Roman soldier investigating the disappearance of his father’s legion, the infamous 'ninth'.

The Hook: The supporting cast of Strong and Bell is excellent, and MacDonald is a director too intelligent to let Tatum suck in the lead. Right?

Jonah Hex (18 June)

The Talent: Directed by Jimmy Hayward, starring Josh Brolin and Megan Fox.

The Pitch: Brolin is disfigured Western anti-hero Hex in this adaptation of the grim graphic novels. He's a bounty hunter on the trail of villainous John Malkovich.

The Hook: If we could choose to watch anyone in the world being a surly cowboy, it’d be Josh Brolin. And if we could choose to just watch anyone in the world, it’d be Megan Fox.

Next: Predators, Inception [page-break]

Predators (9 July)

The Talent: Nimród Antal directs, Topher Grace, Adrien Brody and (yeah!) Danny Trejo star.

The Pitch: Another group of hard men – this time dangerous multinational criminals – battle the off-world hunters in a direct sequel to the 1987 action classic.

The Hook: Producer Robert Rodriguez has cleverly stated that the title is a reference to James Cameron’s Aliens , and that’s the kind of follow-up he’d like to make: a mean, explosive escalation. We’re in.

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (9 July)

The Talent: Directed by David Slade (vamp vet with 30 Days Of Night ), starring Kristen Stewart and (swoon/eye-roll!) Robert Pattinson.

The Pitch: The continuing romantic adventures of Bella and Edward, now with added input from hot werewolf dude Jacob.

The Hook: Well, the hook is that millions of teenage girls will descend upon this movie whether or not the rest of us care. There’s gotta be something to all those fluttering hearts and hot flushes?

Inception (16 July)

The Talent: Directed by Christopher Nolan, starring Leonardo DiCaprio.

The Pitch: We have barely an idea. DiCaprio is an exec caught in a blackmail scandal. Then people start floating around the place...

The Hook: Nolan hasn’t made a bad film, and has delivered at least three genuine masterpieces. If The Prestige was his The Conversation (perfect magic made in between franchise giants) could this be his Apocalypse Now ?

Official site here .

Toy Story 3 (23 July)

The Talent: Lee Unkrich directs, Tim Allen and Tom Hanks star.

The Pitch: Woody, Buzz and the rest of the Toy Story gang are left in a daycare centre when Andy leaves for college.

The Hook: It doesn’t really need much more than being the next instalment of the greatest animated series of all time. We just hope that Pixar don't go heavy on 3D gimmickery, light on plot/script.

Official site here .

The A-Team (30 July)

The Talent: Directed by Joe Carnahan, starring Liam Neeson and Rampage Jackson.

The Pitch: "In 1972 a crack commando unit was sent to prison for a crime they..." Come on, you know the rest. Remake of the classic '80s TV series.

The Hook: Neeson brings both actual acting and, as he showed in Taken , not insignificant ass-kicking. Jackson brings extra ass-kicking, just in case. Should be dumb but fun.

Next: The Expendables, Salt [page-break]

Cats & Dogs: The Revenge Of Kitty Galore (4 August)

The Talent: Chris O’Donnell is the only name on a quiet list.

The Pitch: Sequel to the hugely underrated 2001 summer hit in which the war between cats and dogs was reimagined as a tech-filled Bond-style espionage actioner. All-new characters this time.

The Hook: The plot’s still a blank slate, but the first film was so good (except for when humans were on-screen) that this has to be worth keeping beady, bird-watchful eye on.

The Expendables (20 August)

The Talent: Directed by Sylvester Stallone, and starring every bicep in Hollywood.

The Pitch: Sylvester Stallone directs the ultimate ‘80s action flick 20 years too late: a crew of mean mercenaries head to South America to chew bubblegum, kick ass and overthrow a government.

The Hook: It’s a who’s-who of Hollywood hardmen: Stallone, Statham, Lundgren... Even Schwarzenegger and Willis. Expect muscle, fire, and brainless brilliance.

Salt (20 August)

The Talent: Phillip Noyce directs, Angelina Jolie and Chewitel Ejiofor star.

The Pitch: Espionage thriller with Jolie’s CIA agent on the run after she’s wrongly identified as a Russian spy.

The Hook: It looks a whole lot like a female Bourne Identity . We're there - but here's hoping Noyce has seen The Long Kiss Goodnight...

Official site here .

Columbus Circle (27 August)

The Talent: Directed by George Gallow with an ensemble including Jason Lee, Selma Blair and Giovanni Ribisi.

The Pitch: Manhattan-set thriller with Blair’s locked-away heiress forced to come out of her shell when Ribisi’s detective investigates a murder in the apartment next to hers.

The Hook: Writer/director Gallow has written some of the snappiest action flicks of the last 25 years ( Bad Boys, Midnight Run ), and the cast looks sharp and smart.

Official Site here .

The Town (10 September)

The Talent: Ben Affleck writes, directs and stars.

The Pitch: Based on Chuck Hogan’s novel Prince Of Thieves, Affleck’s career crim gets reflective as he falls for the manager of a bank he’s robbed.

The Hook: Affleck the director is a new man, and after his tough, lean Gone Baby Gone , this should seal his reinvention as the go-to guy for edgy, adult thrillers.

Next: The Ward, Priest [page-break]

The Ward (24 September)

The Talent: Directed by John Carpenter, starring Amber Heard.

The Pitch: Pretty amnesiac Kirsten (Heard) wakes up on a psychiatric ward with no memory of how she got there. As she struggles to piece events together, the other women on the ward begin to disappear...

The Hook: It’s Carpenter doing horror. We’d watch it from the grave.

Official John Carpenter site here .

Priest (1 October)

The Talent: Scott Stewart directs, Paul Bettany, Maggie Q and Karl Urban star.

The Pitch: Post-apocalyptic western. A Priest whose niece is kidnapped by vampires defies the orders of his church superiors and goes to rescue her.

The Hook: Paul Bettany as a vamp-stomping Priest on a mission of revenge and rescue? Yes, please. And it'll be refreshing to see vampires de- Twilight -ified and made grown-up and grotesque again, Salem's Lot -style...

Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part I (19 November)

The Talent: David Yates returns to direct, the ever-improving kids return.

The Pitch: The final stretch of the Potter epic sees Harry and friends hunting the remaining horcruxes that preserve the soul of nasty Voldemort.

The Hook: The stars have never been better, and since taking over two Harries ago director Yates has made the series a) much better and b) very much his own. This’ll be the best one yet. Until Part 2...

Rapunzel (24 November)

The Talent: Produced by John Lasseter, starring Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi.

The Pitch: A computer animated Disney retelling of the classic Grimm fairytale.

The Hook: Under Lasseter’s watchful eye, the cheap modern twist has been ditched (originally Rapunzel was to be replaced by a present-day girl and - Jesus! - turned into a squirrel). The kick-off film for Lasseter's much-touted return to traditional animation, this has the credentials to reinvent a fading genre.

Official site here .

Oobermind (3 December)

The Talent: Madagascar main man Tom McGrath directs, Will Ferrell, Brad Pitt and Tina Fey do voices.

The Pitch: Ferrell’s supervillain defeats his nemesis (Pitt’s Metroman) but finds life empty. So he makes a new superhero - but his creation turns evil, forcing him to save the world.

The Hook: Dreamworks have found their animation groove with smart revisionist takes on established formats, and this idea looks like it’s got legs. And if it doesn’t, it still has an awesome voice cast.

Next: Tron Legacy, The Green Hornet [page-break]

Tron Legacy (17 December)

The Talent: Jeff Bridges. Enough said.

The Pitch: The son of Bridge’s arcade ace Kevin Flynn investigates his disappearance and is swallowed into an updated and more dangerous version of the computer world.

The Hook: It’s Tron . With better graphics. Daft Punk do the music. It’s in 3D. It should look and sound like the future squared.

Official site here .

The Green Hornet (22 December)

The Talent: Directed by Michael Gondry, starring Seth Rogen.

The Pitch: The classic masked crimefighter TV series remade with slacker hero Rogen in the main role.

The Hook: With dreamweaver Gondry directing and Rogen scripting and starring, this will be anything but another tired Hollywood hero-yawn. Question/worry: can Rogen break free of the adolescent-angsty Apatow stable and evolve into a movie-star in his own right?

Hereafter (December 2010)

The Talent: Directed by Clint Eastwood, starring Matt Damon, written by Peter Morgan.

The Pitch: A supernatural thriller with Damon as a medium who can talk to the dead but, according to Morgan, prefers not to.

The Hook: Anything Eastwood, Damon or Morgan do individually is worth seeing, this three times so. Plus it’ll be interesting to see how Morgan (who wrote The Queen, The Damned United and Frost/Nixon ) contends with fantasy rather than history.

The Company Men (TBA 2010)

The Talent: ER vet John Wells directs Ben Affleck and Kevin Costner.

The Pitch: Impactful drama focusing on three employees of a major corporation and how their lives are affected by job losses and downsizing.

The Hook: I t’s heavyweight Oscar fodder – familiar territory for Costner and co-star Tommy Lee Jones. But it’ll be good to see how the still-rebounding Affleck performs.

The Death And Life Of Charlie St Cloud (TBA 2010)

The Talent: Directed by Burr Steers, starring Zac Efron.

The Pitch: Two brothers die in a car accident. But one, played by Efron, is resuscitated. Together with his dead brother – who he can still see – the survivor tries to find a woman lost at sea.

The Hook: Effron continues to step smartly away from his too-cute roots into real acting, and this dark, intriguing thriller could be a significant move.

Next: Four Lions, Mute [page-break]

Four Lions (TBA 2010)

The Talent: Directed by Chris Morris. Written by Chris Morris, Jesse Armstrong and Sam Bain

The Pitch: The plot’s still sketchy, but Morris is ‘doing’ terrorism, in a satire following four Muslims in Northern Britain as they become radicalised.

The Hook: The mix of Morris and controversy is invariably incendiary (see the Brass Eye Special - really, see it again, it feels more relevant than ever) and with the Peep Show writing duo of Armstrong and Bain behind the words and the wondrous Kevin Eldon onscreen, this has us extremely excited.

Love And Other Drugs (TBA 2010)

The Talent: Directed by Edward Zwick, starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway.

The Pitch: Based on the autobiography of a Viagra salesman, Gyllenhaal takes the lead as a pharmaceutical pusher who learns to exploit the heavily-monied corporate slog.

The Hook: Jamie Reidy, the man behind the story, was drug giant Pfizer’s top salesman but also a work-dodging smart-alec. Gyllenhaal has the smirk and spark to pull it off.

Mute (TBA 2010)

The Talent: Duncan Jones will direct, Sam Rockwell will cameo.

The Pitch: Still vague – Jones has called it a “city film” and it’ll be a mystery that takes place in a future version of Berlin.

The Hook: Vibe-wise, Jones has pitched his Moon follow-up as a homage to Blade Runner , and revealed that Rockwell will cameo in a direct continuation of Moon ’s stunning ending. Excitement.

Never Let Me Go (TBA 2010)

The Talent: Directed by Mark Romanek, starring Keira Knightley and (sigh) Carey Mulligan.

The Pitch: An unsettling dystopian drama based on the Kazuo Ishiguro novel in which Knightley’s young woman meets with two old school friends.

The Hook: The novel is fractured and devastating, the truth of Ishiguro’s future Britain revealed gradually through inference and suggestion. Romanek has the talent and the cast to haul this faithfully to the screen.

Paul (TBA 2010)

The Talent: Greg Mottola directs, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost write and star.

The Pitch: Pegg and Frost’s comic book geeks are on a road trip across the States when they meet an alien called Paul outside Area 51.

The Hook: Pegg and Frost. Frost and Pegg. It’s the first time the two have been onscreen together since Hot Fuzz , and it’s going to be awesome. Probably.

Official site here .

Next: Scott Pilgrim, Somewhere [page-break]

Scot t Pilgrim Vs The World (TBA 2010)

The Talent: Edgar Wright directs, Michael Cera stars.

The Pitch: Based on the comic book series, the film stars Cera as Pilgrim, a twentysomething slacker who must battle a hot girls league of ex-boyfriends before he gets to date her.

The Hook: The comics are dripping in the kind of nerdy pop-culture references that made Wright’s Brit TV comedy Spaced so joyous, and Cera is seven types of perfect in the central role.

Official site here .

The Social Network (TBA 2010)

The Talent: David Fincher directs, Jesse Eisenberg and Justin Timberlake star.

The Pitch: A drama about the geek geniuses and entrepreneurs behind Facebook.

The Hook: Eisenberg has spoken of his relief at playing such an “insensitive” character, and the film’s story is said to be rife with sex and betrayal. Sweet. And who better than Fincher to make the apparently deathly-boring essential?

Somewhere (TBA 2010)

The Talent: Directed by Sofia Coppola, starring Elle Fanning and Steven Dorff.

The Pitch: Dorff’s Hollywood playboy receives a visit from his 11 year-old daughter which changes his perspective on life.

The Hook: As with her best film, Lost In Translation , Somewhere is inspired by Coppola’s own life and relationships, this time with her father Francis.

The Special Relationship (TBA 2010)

The Talent: Written by Peter Morgan, starring Michael Sheen and Denis Quaid.

The Pitch: Another Blair drama from Morgan, tracking the Prime Minister’s relationships with American Presidents Clinton and Bush.

The Hook: The Deal and The Queen brought recent history alive in an bright, engaging way, and it'll be fun to see Sheen reprise his role as the grinning New Labour messiah.