The best thing about having access to distributors' release schedules is being able to share some of the excitement I feel about upcoming movies.
Think of this as a primer to prep you for the 'blind-date' element of going to see a movie. There will be times when the reality of a film does not meet expectation, and you are left sorely disappointed.
But the 'risk' is worth the reward, when you consider that a film may meet or exceed expectations, sometimes in unimaginable ways.
Here are five of the films I'm most looking forward to in 2010:
(Note: Films have been selected based on their expected release dates in Singapore, which are subject to change at the distributors' discretion.)
1) Never Let Me Go, directed by Mark Romanek (To be confirmed)
Based on a brilliant novel by Kazuo Ishiguro, this film ticks all the boxes for me, not least because it features the 'it' girl of the awards season, An Education's Carey Mulligan. She is joined on a dream cast, to be directed by the respected Romanek, by no less than Keira Knightley, Sally Hawkins and Charlotte Rampling – quite a gathering of top British actresses, indeed. The story revolves around a group of boarding school friends, who reunite to face the dark secrets of their past, and their very existence. Prediction: if Mulligan scoops acting awards, especially an Oscar, expect this film's release date to be announced shortly.
2) Where the Wild Things Are, directed by Spike Jonze (To be confirmed)
Already garnering rave reviews, this adaptation of Maurice Sendak's 1963 children's book is apparently one of those fantastical films that will blow your mind. No surprise, then, that the director is the eccentric Jonze, the man responsible for such horizon-widening films as Being John Malkovich and Adaptation. The plot involves a lonely young boy, with a vivid imagination, entering a fantasy world where fearsome-looking giant monsters known as the wild things roam. With music from Karen O, vocalist of the band Yeah Yeah Yeahs, who play in Singapore in January 2010.
3) A Single Man, directed by Tom Ford (18 Mar 2010)
Some people just love Colin Firth for playing the uptight British gent so well, particularly those with Darcy fantasies. Personally, I just think he's a brilliant actor. In this film, he plays a gay college professor struggling to find the meaning of life in 1960s America. His crisis is brought upon by the death of his longtime companion, and he finds solace in his dearest friend, a middle-aged beauty played by Julianne Moore. Directed by the famed fashion designer Ford, one knows this simply has to be a sumptuous picture, held up by the acting chops of its principal stars.
4) The Lovely Bones, directed by Peter Jackson (18 Mar 2010)
For some, just the mere fact that Jackson is sitting on the director's chair is enough to watch this movie. Throw in the fact that the story was based on Alice Sebold's acclaimed novel of the same name, and the fact that the lead is played by rising star Saoirse Ronan (Atonement), and you have several reasons to watch this film. It is not for the faint-hearted, for the story is viewed partly through the perspective of the 14-year-old protagonist (Ronan), who is in “the in-between” after being raped and murdered. She watches her family cope with her loss, and her father's mission to find her killer.
5) Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows, Part One, directed by David Yates (18 Nov 2010)
I'll admit, I didn't start out as a fan of the Harry Potter books, and the films have actually piqued my interest over the years. This film represents the long goodbye to J.K. Rowling's immensely popular books about a boy wizard faced with an unenviable destiny to confront the evil Lord Voldemort. Based on book seven of the Potter series, this film has Harry and his friends Ron and Hermione leaving Hogwarts to seek out and destroy the Horcruxes that hold the key to Voldemort's power and immortality. While Alfonso Cuaron (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban) and Guillermo del Toro (Hellboy, Pan's Labyrinth) were considered to direct this last part, the underrated Yates is a fine choice to return after capably helming the last two Potter films.
Others to look out for in the coming year (at the risk of cheating even more than Ken!):
Remakes:Clash of the Titans, The Green Hornet (Jay Chou alert!), The A-Team
Sequels: Toy Story 3, Tron Legacy