Updates on FC’s Top Ten Most Anticipated 2010 Flix: Part 2

Here’s the second part of my earlier post. Two of the last five have ‘fallen out’ of my anticipated list, but I might still check ’em out on DVD.

6. Rum Diary (TBD, 2010)

Photo courtesy of http://www.thebadandugly.com

Wow, this movie still has yet to find a distributor, despite having Johnny Depp and Aaron Eckhart as the lead actors. As I said in my previous post back in July with the on-set pics in Puerto Rico, the movie is based on a novel by Hunter S. Thompson with the same name, Depp plays an American journalist named Paul Kemp, which is loosely based on the author’s own life journey.

According to CinemaBlend, “…the rumor is that the movie may show up at Cannes or barring that, the movie’s producer may show up at Cannes looking for someone to distribute [it].” Well, I hope we get to see it this year yet.

7. Robin Hood (May 14th, 2010)
Two of my favorite Aussie actors Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchett in a movie that echoes one of my beloved movie Gladiator. What’s not to love? This is one of the few critics-proof movie for me this year. The second trailer wets my appetite even more!


8. The TownSeptember 10th, 2010

I think Ben Affleck is probably a better director than he is an actor, as proven by his excellent effort in Gone Baby Gone. He’s going to do both in this crime thriller set in his hometown of Boston. The plot: As he plans his next job, a longtime thief tries to balance his feelings for a bank manager connected to one of his earlier heists, as well as the FBI agent looking to bring him and his crew down. Based on the novel Prince of Thieves by Chuck Hogan, NOT to be confused with the Kevin Costner’s Robin Hood flick 🙂

The movie’s got two hot TV stars: Jon Hamm (Mad Men) as the FBI agent and Blake Lively (Gossip Girl) as Affleck’s troubled ex-girlfriend, who happens to be Jeremy Renner’s sister (fresh out of his Oscar nom for The Hurt Locker). Chris Cooper will play Affleck’s father and Rebecca Hall as the bank manager. Great cast, though I’m primarily curious to see how Affleck’s direction on this one will pan out.

9. The Next Three DaysNovember 19th (replacing Leaves of Grass – I was stoked when I first heard about this almost a year ago, but as soon as I saw the trailer let’s just say I lost interest, double Ed Norton notwithstanding)

Per SlashFilm, this crime drama is a remake of a French film, about a husband (Russell Crowe) looking to break his wrongly imprisoned wife (Elizabeth Banks) out of jail. At least, she says she’s wrongly imprisoned.

The film also stars Liam Neeson, Olivia Wilde, Jonathan Tucker, Brian Dennehy, and RZA. Paul Haggis (Crash, Million Dollar Baby) pens the script AND directs the film, which is now listed to be in post-production. I hope this is more Casino Royale than Quantum of Solace, which were both written by Haggis, but I’m always up for seeing two great thespians (Crowe + Neeson) square off on-screen!

10. The A-Team June 11 (replacing Mel Gibson’s Edge of Darkness)
Suffice it to say the second trailer won me over. “They’re the best and they specialize in the ridiculous!” Jessica Biel’s FBI agent quips. Yeah, BRING IT ON! It’s the quintessential summer popcorn flick and this one looks darn entertaining! Love the part when BA whistles the A-Team tune before he blew off the skyscraper window. I find myself humming that tune every so often now 🙂

….

Honorable mentions:

  • The Expendables (August 20)
    I know I’m going to get flak for putting this on the honorable mentions, but I was kind of meh about the trailer (which I said to Marc in the comment section of his post). I still might see this in the theater, I’m just not as psyched about it as when I first heard about it.
  • Knight & Day (July 2)
    I’m not a huge Tom Cruise fan by any means, but the trailer of the action-comedy looks like fun. Plus, director James Mangold did Walk the Line and 3:10 to Yuma, so how bad can it be, right?
  • Paul (TBD)
    Simon Pegg/Nick Frost team up again in this sci-fi comedy about two British comic-book geeks traveling across the U.S. encounter an alien outside Area 51. As a fan of Shaun of the Dead & Hot Fuzz, naturally I’m intrigued by this one. I’ll spotlight this project sometime soon.

Happy Belated Birthday, Russell Crowe!

Russell Ira Crowe turned 46 this past Wednesday. I guess I have a penchant for rugged men with a gravelly voice. Before Gerard Butler captured my attention, the New Zealand-born Aussie thespian blew me away as general Maximus Decimus Meridius in Gladiator (2000). There’s not a lot of actors who consistently turn one impressive performance after another, but Crowe is definitely one of those. With the exception of Master and Commander, Body of Lies and the little seen indie Tenderness (due out on dvd April 13th), I’ve seen all of Crowe’s movies in the last decade, and I must say he hasn’t disappointed me. I’m not saying all his movies were excellent, but even in less-than-stellar movie like Proof of Life, Crowe’s performance is still the best thing about it and perhaps even make it more ‘watchable’ than if someone else had been in it.

He obviously can carry an epic-scale flick and gives it plenty of heart, but Crowe’s just as adept in playing a regular joe in extraordinary circumstances, most notably in The Insider. Though he was robbed of an Oscar in that movie, I consider it his finest performance – a gem even amongst his pretty golden resume. He transformed himself by gaining 35 pounds and wearing a white wig to play real guy Jeffrey Wigand, a research chemist comes under personal and professional attack when he decides to appear in a “60 Minutes” expose on Big Tobacco.

His fiery temper and no-nonsense attitude might turn off a lot of people, but I respect a guy who doesn’t play by Hollywood rules and that he couldn’t care less about schmoozing or hobnobbing with the power players. In fact, this blatant dislike of the town is pretty apparent in this quote, “I’d move to Los Angeles if Australia and New Zealand were swallowed up by a huge tidal wave, if there was a bubonic plague in Europe, and if the continent of Africa disappeared from some Martian attack.” Ha! That makes me like him more. I also dig that he’s got the cojones to stand up to big studio execs who demanded for a sex scene in Gladiator: “I’m sorry boys, but it doesn’t suit the character. We can’t be avenging the death of the wife and child, and stop for a bit of nookie along the way. I’m sorry, it’s not gonna happen.” You call that complacent? I’d say he’s got integrity, a rare virtue indeed in that business.

Crowe is also a talented musician, I actually bought his rock album of his band 30 Odd Foot of Grunts, which is actually quite good. He might not have the best voice, but his music is soulful and that it’s something he can really channel his creativity and passion. According to IMDb, he even wrote a song to his good friend Jodie Foster called “Other Ways of Speaking”. He’s now formed a new band with another quirky name The Ordinary Fear of God.

With his next epic project Robin Hood (read my review), Crowe – and his frequent collaborator Ridley Scott – looks to be returning to the story of a hero who faces terrible odds. As told to Empire in the Icons of the Decade issue (I actually searched for the one with Maximus on the cover), both of them are aware of the inevitable comparison and neither of them mind it. Crowe was quoting Scott when he said, “… if you’re going to doff your cap to an influence, it’s okay if it’s your own. It’s been ten years. Other people have tried to do it and not come anywhere near, so I don’t have a problem with us doffing that cap.”

I was going to post my Top Five Favorite Russell Crowe’s roles to commemorate his birthday, but I think that deserves its own post – and more time to write it. So again, happy birthday, Mr. Crowe, here’s to a long lasting and even more fruitful Hollywood career!

On-set news of upcoming 2010 flicks

TGIF, folks!

  • A Team Cast
    Click to see a larger version

    Thanks to ComingSoon.net, here’s a first look of the main cast of the A-Team movie filming in Vancouver. From left, it’s Quinton “Rampage” Jackson as Sgt. “B.A.” Baracus, Liam Neeson as John “Hannibal” Smith, Sharlto Copley as Capt. “Howling Mad” Murdock, and Bradley Cooper as Lt. Templeton “Faceman” Peck. Jessica Biel and Patrick Wilson have also been added to the cast. At first glance, my fave newbie Sharlto kind of resembles Dirk Benedict here, who’s the original “Face” on the TV show. The movie is set to open next June.

  • In the Sept. issue of Total Film, Russell Crowe took some time out from watching the tennis match at Wimbledon to talk about his Robin Hood movie. Ridley Scott and the gang are currently shooting at Shepperton Studios and on location in Welsh beaches and Surrey woods. After undergoing a plethora of plot changes, the story as it stands now is this: Robin iCroweRobins an expert archer in the army of King Richard the Lionheart, who takes up the plight of the oppressed people of Nottingham against the scheming Sheriff (Matthew Macfayden is now confirmed in the role) and the dastardly Sir Godfrey (the character actor du jour Mark Strong). Crowe revealed to TF what Robin does in his spare time with Maid Marion (played by fellow Aussie Cate Blanchett), “So far we’ve ridden horses together, seen off bad gus, got naked (partially), wallowed chin-deep in mud, danced by firelight and kissed.” As for those rumors of scuffles with the the director? Crowe pooh-poohed the idea, saying that they’ve basically ‘agreed to disagree,’ and added, “There’s no yelling, no diva bullsh!t. We’re just trying to do something special every day.” » See some on-set pics over at TotalFilm site.
  • Leo & Marion on set
    Leo DiCaprio & Marion Cotillard on the set of Inception

    Yesterday I posted about Christopher Nolan’s auctioning an on-set visit to Inception. A while ago, a bunch of hi-res on-set pictures emerged online, you can see them in Comingsoon.net. Then yesterday, ScreenRant posted three leaked footage from the set. The actual plot is still shrouded in secrecy — which is typical of Nolan films — and the footage didn’t reveal much either. I actually like the fact that despite all the stuff being leaked, it’s still unclear what the movie is really about. All the cryptic teaser revealed was that it’s a contemporary sci-fi thriller set within the architecture of the mind. I hope they keep it a mystery until its release, which makes the theater experience a whole lot more fulfilling than if you already know all the spoilers. Now, I just wish it were released much sooner than July 16!

Flixchatter’s Top 10 Most Anticipated Movies of 2010

Please note I’ve already revised this list in October, check it out here.

Flixchatter's Most Anticipated Movies of 2010
Flixchatter's Most Anticipated Movies of 2010

IMDB’s Acura Power of Film listed their top 10 most anticipated films of 2010 a while ago, which seemed too early at the time to start thinking about next year. They’ve since replaced the page with something else so I don’t have the link. But here’s their picks:

10. The Book of Eli
9. Remember Me
8. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
7. The Green Hornet
6. The Expendables
5. A Nightmare on Elm Street
4. The Last Airbender
3. Iron Man 2
2. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I
1. Alice in Wonderland

Heh, I only agree with one of them on that list. Now that there’s only four months left until 2010, I think it’s quite timely to release my own. Here’s Flixchatter’s Most Anticipated Films in 2010 (in no particular order):

1. Clash of the Titans (March 26th, 2010)
As a fan of swords/sandals flicks, this one looks like it’s going to kick lots of @$$! Haven’t seen the original but hope this is more  in the vein of Gladiator and Sam Worthington’ll be the hottest Aussie import since Russell Crowe.

2. War of Gods (July 16th, 2010)
Two people involved in this movie got me excited: Tarsem Singh who did the marvelous The Fall, and Henry Cavill, who finally got the lead role after failing to bag Bond/Superman/Batman roles all in the last 5 years!! Under Singh direction, it’d be visually breathtaking for sure, and methink Tinseltown could use a brand new leading man, so I sure hope Cavill delivers!

3. Inception (July 16th, 2010)
Christopher Nolan is probably the only director whose movies I’ll always watch. Ever since the groundbreaking Memento, he’s consistently done great work. Even his so-so flick like The Prestige was still far better than most. Inception is promised to be a contemporary sci-fi thriller about a CEO involved in a blackmailing scandal — and the rather bizarre & mysterious teaser trailer gets me even more fired up about it.

4. Toy Story 3 (June 18th, 2010)
Woody, Buzz and the toy gang were hugely entertaining in the first two, and judging from its trailer, they’d be just as fun in their third outing. Michael Keaton joins the cast as the voice of Ken, Barbie’s boyfriend. John Lasseter passed the directing torch to Lee Unkrich this time, who was the co-director for Finding Nemo and Monsters, Inc., so we should expect the same quality craftmanship.

5. Iron Man 2 (May 7th, 2010)
This movie actually surpassed my expectation, as I was snickering (in a bad way) when I first saw the trailer. It’s now become one of my top 10 favorite super hero flicks and mostly because of Robert Downey Jr.’s performance. Mickey Rourke is scorching hot right now after The Wrestler, so I’m curious to see how he’s milking his comeback.

6. Valentine’s Day (February 12th, 2010)
There doesn’t seem to be a lot of romantic flicks out next year, which is fine by me as I usually reserve those for DVD viewing anyway. But I’m intrigued about this one set on Valentine’s day and it’s got an all-star cast which is naturally pretty fun to watch.

7. Robin Hood (May 14th, 2010)
Russell Crowe teams up again with Riddley Scott, which always brings back memory of the glorious Gladiator. I wish they had stuck with the original idea of making the Sheriff of Nottingham as the main character (see my previous post) but I’m still curious to see how this pan out. Plus, I love Cate Blanchett so I’m glad she’d be Maid Marian instead of Sienna Miller.

8. The Town (September 10th, 2010)
Ben Affleck is back in the director’s chair again in his second feature film since the excellent Gone Baby Gone. The crime thriller is set in Boston (Affleck’s hometown) which centers in a love triangle between a female bank manager, a longtime thief who stole more than her heart, and an equally smitten FBI agent trying to bust the crook and his gang before they can pull another big job. Affleck plays the thief opposite Mad Men‘s Jon Hamm as the agent. The plot sounds ok but I’d love to see these two hunky leading men square off on screen. Oh, and did I mention Chris Cooper is in it, too? Great character actor I haven’t seen in a while.

9. Leaves of Grass (TBD, 2010)
I blogged about this back in July when it was announced it’d premiere at TIFF. Edward Norton playing two very different characters is enough to get me interested, but according to IMDB, he was ‘so desperate to star in this movie that he took a pay cut, stating in an interview that he “actually got paid half what I usually make”‘ Hmmm, what is it about this role that is worth half his pay? I’m eager to find out!

10. Edge of Darkness (January 29th, 2010)
Mel Gibson’s been absent from the acting business ever since the unexpected blockbuster The Passion of the Christ. I quite like him as an actor so I welcome his comeback. In this dark thriller, he plays homicide detective Thomas Craven who investigates the death of his activist daughter. He uncovers not only her secret life, but a corporate cover-up and government collusion that attracts an agent tasked with cleaning up the evidence. Martin Campbell who successfully revived the Bond series with the hugely entertaining Casino Royale is at the helm. I never tire of a smart, solid thriller, and this one just might fit into that category.

So readers, what movie are you looking forward to next year?

Yet ANOTHER Robin Hood film in the works?

Yup, the well of creativity has definitely run dry in Tinsel town.

The most frequently adapted medieval English folklore is still as popular today as ever. Just as the Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood version with Russell Crowe is undergoing production, yet another one is apparently in the works. According to RiskyBusinessBlog, the untitled version is getting a futuristic makeover courtesy of the producers of  The Dark Knight and 300, as well as Warner Bros. [there’s been an update on the project, per Cinema Blend about who’ll write and direct the movie]

So instead of bows and arrow, our favorite man in tights will be gunslinging in dystopian London and the story will focus on a band of thieves whose activities restore hope to the city’s embattled population. The producers bill it as a ‘futuristic action adventure’ that’ll both be inspired by and pay homage to Robin Hood. Ok, I’ll give ’em some credit for taking a different spin instead of just a straight remake.

Jason Hall, the screenwriter of the upcoming Ashton Kutcher dramedy Spread, will write the screenplay. Not sure what other stuff he’s got under his belt that’ll make me think he’s the right guy for this, but I can tell you right now I’m not too crazy about the Spread trailer. It’s basically a great vehicle to ogle Ashton Kutcher, if he rocks your boat that is.

In any case, now I kind of wish sir Ridley would have stuck with the original idea of making the Sheriff of Nottingham as the good guy opposite less-noble Robin of Sherwood—I mean it could very well be the case anyway depending on where you look at it—so it’d be a novelty take of the centuries-old tale. When I first heard of it, it was called Nottinghamand immediately I thought, why didn’t someone think of that? They’ve got enough adaptations of Robin as the hero anyway, and we know Russell can play any ambiguously moral character worth rooting for.

Richard Armitage as Guy of Gisbourne
Richard Armitage as Guy of Gisbourne

Now, they haven’t cast the role of Robin in the futuristic version, but my mind keeps going back to British actor Richard Armitage. He’s practically unknown to US audiences but you might’ve noticed him in BBC miniseries North & South and the Robin Hood series that just ended recently. He played Robin’s nemesis, the dark and brooding Guy of Gisborne, and stole hearts everywhere. Seriously, when they cast someone who looks like THAT as the villain, who’s going to pay attention to the hero??

Richard also has a recurrent role in the BBC spy drama Spooks (a.k.a MI-5) that’s been airing on PBS, as agent Lucas North. So he’s definitely got the looks, charisma, acting chops, delicious British accent, plus that deep, throaty voice. What more could you ask for? Plus he’s already got that kick-@$$ black shiny leather suit that’ll look awesome as a futuristic Robin.

Just take a look at the clip from the BBC series below (between Guy and his boss, the Sheriff of Nottingham). If only I were his agent, I’d march him to audition for the role pronto!

Ok, now that I’ve got my casting fantasy out of the way, it’d be interesting to see what’s to become of this. It was tough enough to even get the Ridley’s version off the ground (that’s also produced by Warner Bros.), with even the weather + leaf colors being a factor in the delay of its release. Who knows whether they’d end up putting the kibosh on this one.

What do you think folks? Are you at all interested to see a futuristic Robin Hood film?

Russell Crowe in Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood Flix

Russell Crowe as Robin Hood
Russell Crowe as Robin Hood

Russell Crowe, arguably the most talented actor working today is hoping reclaim the magic that was last seen in Gladiator. This time he’ll be playing Robin Hood in his fifth collaboration with Ridley Scott.

Originally titled Nottingham, Crowe was going to play dual roles as both the Sheriff of Nottingham and Robin Hood, in which Robin isn’t as noble as we thought, and the sheriff isn’t as bad as he’s been previously portrayed. But now it looks like that script has been scrapped, and the flix was ‘nameless’ for awhile. There was even rumor of a love triangle story between the two men and Maid Marion, but last I heard, Scott has decided to just do a straight Robin Hood remake. In any case, this can’t possible be worse with the Kevin Costner version (he can’t even do a decent British accent, for cryin’ out loud!).

The flix has been plagued with numerous production/casting issues that delay the flix from being released this November. There were reports of a feud between Scott and Crowe, which Crowe brushed off as being exaggerated by the press, saying that they both have always had a fiery relationship. Then there were casting problems, the biggest casting hiccup being replacing Sienna Miller with Cate Blanchett (yay!) as Maid Marion. The real reason as to why Miller was ousted remains unclear, alegedly she was deemed too youthful & petite compared to the older & burly Crowe, or it could be that her affair with married man Balthazar Ghetty has cost her this high-profile role. Either way, I’m psyched to see fellow Oscar-winner Blanchett opposite Crowe, she’s in a far higher league acting-wise, which will elevate the quality of any flix she is involved in. Both Aussie thespians are supported by an excellent cast of Mark Strong, Danny Houston and William Hurt playing Sir Guy of Gisbourne, King Richard and William Marshall respectively. Oh, I read that before Crowe was going to tackle the dual roles, Christian Bale (his co-star in 3:10 to Yuma) was ‘penciled in’ to play Robin opposite Crowe as the sheriff. Hmmm, I wouldn’t mind seeing these two fine actors battling each other again. 

Several on-set photos have surfaced, including one where an actor was injured in the battle scene (reported by UK’s DailyMail). As for the costume, it’s less ‘men in tights’ but more medieval looking (see on-set pics here), with Crowe sporting a Maximus-like crop. Fitting I suppose, as Crowe has revealed this is going to be a gritty and ferocious portrayal of Robin Hood (what do you expect from the maker of Gladiator?). Looks like Crowe also pulls a ‘Chris Bale’ move with his yo-yoing body weight. His diet of muffins and burgers to bulk up for his role in Body of Lies (also directed by Ridley) has been replaced by peanuts and porridge to get him into the svelte hero of Sherwood. He’s also been put into a cycling regiment to help speed up the slim-down process.

Currently shooting in Wales, the big-budget flix ($170 million) is now set to open in May 2010. Can’t wait!