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The Best for Last?: PopMatters Fall 2010 Movie Preview

The next four months will determine is 2010 is a moviemaking “mystery date”, meaning a possible dream, or a dismal dud.

Part 1: September 2010

Part 2: October 2010

Part 3: November 2010

Part 4: December 2010

By all accounts, 2010 has been a pretty mediocre year for movies… so far. In the eight months that have transpired, we’ve seen the lingering effects of Avatar‘s billion dollar success (translation: more 3D titles than ever before), a surprise vote of confidence for intellectually challenging, cinematically spectacular popcorn fare (read: Inception), and more than a few miscues (Kick-Ass) and misfires (Scott Pilgrim vs. The World). In between, the same filmic flotsam and jetsam ebbed and flowed. The RomCom and CG family genre both underperformed, while action spectacles aimed at the easy to please PG-13 demo keeled over and died. In fact, if the last two-thirds of the calendar have taught us anything, it’s that Hollywood no longer cares about pleasing the masses. While it would be nice, a few micro-managed, focus grouped hits will do just as well.

So where does this leave us? What do we make of the September to December push towards inevitable awards season buzz. Well, for one thing, there’s no real change in the offing. While there are over 40 films scheduled for the next 60 days, many remains question marks of either taste (I Spit on Your Grave Unrated, Jackass 3D?), star power (a shambling Joquain Phoenix, an aged Michael Douglas), or significance (the M. Night Shyamalan produced Devil). By the time Christmas rolls around, another 30 efforts will try to paint the Oscar portrait a little more clearly, and even then, it’s hard to imagine past winners like Danny Boyle or the Coen Brothers succeeding with their suspect works (127 Hours and a True Grit remake, respectively). Of course, there are surprises every season, but looking this list, the only shocker will be if the live action Yogi Bear doesn’t stink up the Cineplex upon release.

Like the age old adage, Tinseltown used to be well known for saving its best and brightest for Top Ten Annual honors calculation. Granted, more than a few of the previous releases work their way into the mix, but by many calculations, the 17-plus weeks that will transpire should be the final word on whether or not 2010 was indeed a mystery date (meaning a dream… or a dud). But be warned, many of the usual suspects (George Clooney, Clint Eastwood, far too much Russell Crowe) are back trying to pawn off their preplanned epics as unexpected entries in the race. There will also be a few sequels (Little Fockers, The Chronicles of Narnia 3) that nobody remembers asking for. So let PopMatters weed through the array of choices and provide a bit of perspective with this Fall preview. In comparison with past collections, this year does look a bit shabby. Let’s hope that the cliche is true, and not just some studio slammed lip service.

—Bill Gibron

Wednesday, September 1 2010

Part Four: December 2010

This is it... the last push towards end-of-year accolades, with Darren Aronofsky, David O. Russell, Julian Schnabel and the Coen Brothers all looking for that elusive critic's choice seal of approval.

Tuesday, August 31 2010

Part Three: November 2010

Things slow down considerably in the rush to Turkey Day, including the latest from Danny Boyle, the House of Mouse, and the always formidable Harry Potter.

Monday, August 30 2010

Part Two: October 2010

By the look of the calendar -- and this list of titles - it looks like Hollywood is out to investigate the horrors of vampires, demon children, alien invasion, and the most evil entity of all -- Facebook!

Sunday, August 29 2010

Part One: September 2010

With over 23 films to choose from, September is a smorgasbord of possibilities -- from intelligent thrillers to unusual chiller, creative kid flicks and the standard Tinseltown tripe.

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