Spring is in the air! Well, almost. Certainly can’t hurt to pretend, at least for the sake of my Spring Preview. March and April tend to pack the first decent big commercial releases of the year. Truthfully, ever since 300 had a huge opening weekend in March of 2007, everyone’s been trying to find a way to make a buck in March.
Here are the films that will vie to be the standout film of the first quarter of 2010 (if Shutter Island hasn’t already taken it). These are the first five of my Top 10, the rest will be posted on Wednesday.
10. Repo Men (Mar. 19)
The Word: Jude Law and Forest Whitaker sound like a pretty original duo for a futuristic action movie about two men who repossess property for a major medical company when people don’t pay up. The catch is that this property is artificial body organs and these guys have to literally cut them out of people. The film was adapted by Matchstick Men novelist Eric Garcia from his book The Repossession Mambo. It is being released a pretty long time after it was completed. I’m pretty sure it’s been screened for test audiences for over a year now.
My Thoughts: This film could easily be moved four or five films up the list, but I’ve held it back here at No. 10 because it might just be too chaotic. The trailer is all over the place, but the sci-fi concept gives me hope (in addition to two reliable leading talents). Based on Garcia’s Matchstick Men, I’m sure there’s a good twist to be had in this film and I suspect it could fare well at the box office against romantic comedy The Bounty Hunter and kid flick Diary of a Wimpy Kid. (View Trailer)
9. The Losers (Apr. 23)
The Word: Smart move by Warner Bros to move this film out of its originally scheduled early June spot. Why? So that it wouldn’t compete with The A-Team, which is kind of important, because if you’ve seen or read anything about this film, it basically is The A-Team, only less popular as it comes from a graphic novel. The characters are part of an elite black ops team that is out to seek vengeance on the man who betrayed them and wants them dead. Hancock director Peter Berg and future Spider-Man reboot writer James Vanderbilt collaborated on the script, which is a solid duo.
My Thoughts: It’s This film would’ve been out of theaters in two weeks if it tried to go up against The A-Team. Instead it will duel the new Wall Street sequel. This could be a solid film that will have to fight its glaring lack or originality in terms of premise in order to win over critics. Unreasonably sexy Avatar star Zoe Saldana’s involvement would be my favorite thing about this movie in trailer alone. Therefore, I’m hoping it can rise above your average guns and chicks in bikinis flick and be an entertaining ride for those wary of Gordon Gekko’s return. (View Trailer)
8. Date Night (Apr. 9)
The Word: Are there two more multi-generational hip comedians working today than Tina Fey and Steve Carrell? What a duo for Fox to lock down for a comedy. Regardless of the reviews, Date Night will be a sure hit. Nobody else has even bothered scheduling a film to compete with it that weekend (except possibly the expansion The Runaways staring Kristen Stewart and Dakota Fanning) and there are five films releasing on April 23. The film looks to be very cameo-happy as well, which will trick numerous people into the theaters. The concept is that a couple with a lackluster love life decide to go out to a nice restaurant without the kids for once only they don’t make a reservation. Impatient, they pretend to be another couple to get seated only this couple is wanted by some thugs. Ridiculousness ensues.
My Thoughts: I can see the reviews now: “Fey and Carrell’s talents are the only thing keeping this flat and cliche romantic comedy gone wrong afloat.” This film only lands on my Top 10 because of their superb talents — which come through in the trailer enough to give me a good vibe about the film overall. Shawn Levy of the Night at the Museum films directs and costars range from Mila Kunis and Kristen Wiig to Mark Wahlberg and Ray Liotta (View Trailer)
7. Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (Apr. 23)
The Word: More than 20 years later and Gordon Gekko is out of jail. How strange. Oliver Stone directs once again from a script by Allan Loeb (Vegas thriller 21). The cast is stacked outside of even Douglas returning to one of his most notorious roles. Oscar nominee Carey Mulligan plays his daughter who is being wooed by his newest protege, Shia LaBeouf (the two actors are now in fact dating). Josh Brolin, Susan Sarandon, Martin Sheen and Frank Langella also appear – talk about veterans that put shivers down your spine.
My Thoughts: I kinda just scratched my head when it was announced that Oliver Stone was getting this project fast-tracked. I suppose anything to do with stock in this economy makes for a timely excuse, but I didn’t love the 1987 original enough to get really juiced up about this film. I’m certainly impressed by the talent, however — how can you not be. Some early reviews have my attention as well, so I’m buzzing on the slightly nostalgic thriller. (View Trailer)
6. I Love You, Phillip Morris (Apr. 30 – limited)
The Word: Deja vu, anyone? It was just two months ago that this film was No. 6 on my Winter Preview. Well, Freestyle Releasing decided Valentine’s Day was too risky (and right they were) so they pushed the film back to the calm before the storm that will be Iron Man 2. Jim Carrey stars in a film made by the minds behind Bad Santa. He plays Steven Russell, a happily married normal guy who after a nasty car accident has two epiphanies: one, that he can con money by injuring himself on private property and two, that he’s gay. In prison, he meets Phillip (Ewan McGregor) and a gay love story unfolds, albeit an off-kilter one.
My Thoughts: If that premise plus Carrey doesn’t have you interested, you’re probably either far left or far right and you hated Carrey in the ‘90s. I wasn’t a big fan of Bad Santa, but festival reviews for the film have been pretty good and the dynamite cast (plus Leslie Mann) have me legitimately looking forward to this one … even nearly three months behind schedule. (View Trailer)
Check back for Part 2 on Wednesday, in addition to some spring films you should be wary of that I’ll post tomorrow.