Seth Rogen fatigue is setting in, so we left The Green Hornet off the list. Ditto to the inevitable Nightmare on Elm Street remake, even though it landed Jackie Earle Haley to play Freddy Krueger. Remakes of Clash of the Titans and Death at a Funeral and the possible Ben Stiller/Tom Cruise comedy The Hardy Men might be good, but there were too many other interesting movies to pick from.
So what does that leave? Well, it’s an accepted fact that Hollywood has run out of ideas and is just coasting on remakes and sequels, so while putting together this list, we tried to come up with as many totally original movies as we could. In the end, we’ve got four sequels, three of which are based on books; four additional non-sequels based on books; three movies based on TV shows; and one based on a well-known legend.
That left only six original movies. Oh well. Despite that, we think we put together a damn good list.
20. Black Hole
Plot: Teenagers who spread “the Bug,” a fictional, incurable STD that causes the sexually-active to develop horrific physical deformities, as well as those who didn’t catch it but reacted to the plague.
Director: David Fincher
Cast and Crew: None released
COED’s Take: A kind of safe-sex PSA wrapped in the body of a sci-fi thriller, “Black Hole” is based on a graphic novel by Charles Burns (not a remake of the 1979 film) about a sexually transmitted disease that’s rapidly spreading among teenagers. The story follows two such teens, Keith and Chris, as they get infected with the ‘the bug,’ which causes them and the story to devolve into a dreamy, hallucinogenic wasteland – a perfect fit for director David Fincher (Se7en, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button). Sounds pretty awesome – but not as awesome as Fincher’s other upcoming project, Heavy Metal. (Unfortunately, we have no idea when that one’s coming out.)
19. The A-Team
Plot Outline: A group of Iraq War veterans looks to clear their name with the U.S. military, who suspect the four men of committing a crime for which they were framed. more
Director: Joe Carnahan
Cast and Crew: Bradley Cooper, Bruce Willis, Common, Woody Harrelson
COED’s Take: When we heard that they’re making a feature-length version of “The A-Team”, the first thing we thought of is, of course, Mr. T, badass (but cheesy) action and a sweet van. And we’re hoping they stick to that formula as closely as possible. Unfortunately, they’re already starting off with a deficit, as Mr. T will be replaced by someone not nearly as cool (Common? Seriously?). But with A-class actors, like Liam Neeson, Bruce Willis and Woody Harrelson all rumored to be on-board, that still leaves some room for hope. And if director Joe Carnahan can pull this one off, it will be a huge hit. Otherwise, I pity the fool… (Sorry, I couldn’t resist.)
18. The Expendables
Plot Outline: A team of mercenaries head to South America on a mission to overthrow a dictator.
Director: Sylvester Stallone
Cast and Crew: Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mickey Rourke, Jason Statham, Sylvester Stallone, Brittany Murphy, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren
COED’s Take: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mickey Rourke, Jason Statham, Sylvester Stallone, Jet Li, Ivan Drago Dolph Lundgren, Steve Austin and Randy Couture are a team of mercenaries headed to South America on a mission to overthrow a dictator. How F’ing awesome is that?! As soon as I hear “written and directed by Sylvester Stallone” my ears perked up. Throw in the action movie hall of fame cast and you’ve got a winning formula. Sure this movie probably won’t win an Oscar, but the body count will be ridiculously high and your balls might explode from a surge of testosterone.
Plot outline: Lucy and Edmund return to Narnia with their cousin Eustace and join up with Prince Caspian on the Dawn Treader, a ship headed for the edge of the world.
Director: Michael Apted
Cast: Ben Barnes, Georgie Henley, Skandar Keynes, Will Poulter, Eddie Izzard
COED’s Take: This one almost didn’t happen — after The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian had a disappointing box office run in the U.S., Disney dropped the franchise altogether. Luckily, Fox picked it up and moved the release date from early summer back to Christmas. The twelve-year-olds inside of us loved the first two Narnia movies, and the gaping hole left by The Lord of the Rings is still almost too much for us to bear, so we’re looking forward to another big-budget epic fantasy fix.
Plot outline: A brand new comedy based on the original exploits of Larry, Curly, and Moe, the Columbia Pictures comedy team from the 1930s and ’40s.
Director: Bobby and Peter Farrelly
Cast: Jim Carrey, Sean Penn, Benicio Del Toro
COED’s take: Let’s get this straight: it’s not a biopic. It’s not a remake of any particular Three Stooges short. Instead, writer/directors the Farrelly brothers are basically making a new Three Stooges adventure — just with Jim Carrey, Sean Penn, and Benicio Del Toro stepping into the roles created by Larry Fine, Curly Howard, and Moe Howard, respectively. Will that work? We have no idea; we’re still baffled at the thought of Jim Carrey gaining weight and Sean Penn doing physical comedy.
Plot outline: Bella Swan must choose between vampire Edward Cullen and werewolf Jacob Black; meanwhile, Victoria, the leftover evil vampire from the first movie, comes back for revenge.
Director: David Slade
Cast: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner
COED’s Take: Why include the third Twilight movie to come out in less than two years? Two reasons. One, because it’s literally highly anticipated: right now there are a couple million 14-year-old Twilight fanatics searching the Web for articles that mention it. And two, because the new director, David Slade, might actually bring a spark to this franchise. He did 2005’s Hard Candy — the most disturbing movie to feature a teenage girl cutting a grown man’s testicles off since, well, ever — and 2007’s 30 Days of Night. So, at least he knows his way around vampires.
14. Grown Ups
Plot outline: thirty years after their high school graduation, five friends reunite for a Fourth of July weekend.
Director: Dennis Dugan
Cast: Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock, David Spade, Rob Schneider, Salma Hayek, Maya Rudolph, Maria Bello
COED’s Take: Which Adam Sandler are we getting here? The upcoming Funny People Adam Sandler or the You Don’t Mess with the Zohan Adam Sandler? The presence of Rob Schneider would seem to suggest the latter, but this one is an ensemble movie — a rarity for Sandler — and Schneider aside, it would be really hard for this good of an all-star cast to screw up. Plus, we just kind of like high school reunion stories.
Plot: No plot released
Director: Darren Aronofsky
Cast and Crew: None attached
COED’s Take: Disguised as a vigilante shoot-em-up, the original 1987 Robocop, directed by Paul Verhoeven, is actually a smart piece of social-commentary filmmaking, which rips both Capitalism and human nature a new one with over-the-top violence and a vicious sense of humor. And if you ask us, it doesn’t need to be remade and certainly can’t be improved upon. That said, director Darren Aronofsky (The Wrestler, Requiem for a Dream) is signed on to the project – an odd union, but at least this “reimagining” is in the hands of someone with an actual imagination. So while we’re excited about this one, we’re mostly just hoping nobody f**ks it up.
Plot outline: Based on the animated series Avatar: The Last Airbender, the story takes place in a world divided into the Fire, Water, Earth, and Air Nations. A young “airbender” named Aang must stop the Fire Nation from taking over.
Director: M. Night Shyamalan
Cast: Noah Ringer, Dev Patel, Cliff Curtis, Jackson Rathbone, Shaun Toub, Aasif Mandvi
COED’s Take: This will either be a really cool movie or an epic failure to end all epic failures. M. Night Shyamalan finally branches beyond his patented thrillers, which is nice since The Happening and Lady in the Water sucked. But is he up for this kind of big-budget fantasy? Few people have heard of the source material, which means box office is pretty shaky unless the ad campaign wows a lot of people. But it will be cool to see Slumdog Millionaire‘s Dev Patel try to make a name for himself beyond last year’s Best Picture winner.
Plot outline: Tim Burton and Johnny Depp (as the Mad Hatter) take on Lewis Carroll’s classic.
Director: Tim Burton
Cast: Johnny Depp, Mia Wasikowska, Michael Sheen, Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter, Alan Rickman, Crispin Glover, Christopher Lee
COED’s Take: Who better to take on Carroll’s cracked-out, drug-influenced Alice in Wonderland than Burton and Depp? Plus, the six of you who saw the first season of HBO’s In Treatment already know that Mia Wasikowska will give a terrific, star-making performance as Alice. The only red flag? An odd March release date. We thought the combination of Depp and a big budget made for an automatic summer debut.
Plot outline: A comedy about two cops who try to locate a stolen baseball card and rescue a kidnapped woman.
Director: Kevin Smith
Cast: Bruce Willis, Tracy Morgan, Seann William Scott, Adam Brody, Kevin Pollak
COED’s Take: So it’s a cop movie starring a white guy and a black guy. Sounds like the most generic thing possible, right? Well, the script was good enough to attract director Kevin Smith — who has never, ever directed a movie he hasn’t written before. And everybody believed in the project enough to take a pay cut as a deal to keep the movie’s R rating. Might this be another The Hangover-style project — something that sounds like it’ll just come and go but then turns out to be hilarious?
9. Robin Hood
Plot outline: a re-telling of the Robin Hood legend from the Gladiator team of Ridley Scott and Russell Crowe.
Director: Ridley Scott
Cast: Russell Crowe, Cate Blanchett, Mark Strong, Kevin Durand, William Hurt, Vanessa Redgrave, Scott Grimes
COED’s Take: This would’ve been even higher on our list had they kept their first idea: originally, the movie was going to be called Nottingham and star Crowe as a sympathetic Sheriff of Nottingham squaring off against a not-so-pure-hearted Robin Hood. At one point, Crowe was even planning on playing both roles. Eventually, though, they decided to make a more straightforward version of the legend with a focus on historical accuracy, and Crowe settled on Robin. Knowing director Ridley Scott, expect some spectacular battle scenes. Blanchett as Maid Marian isn’t too bad, either.
Plot outline: A man fights his way across post-apocalyptic America in order to protect a book that holds the secret to saving humankind.
Director: Albert Hughes
Cast: Denzel Washington, Gary Oldman, Mila Kunis, Michael Gambon, Tom Waits
COED’s Take: Terminator Salvation disappointed, Doomsday flopped, and The Road got delayed a year and still hasn’t come out yet. So will The Book of Eli swoop in and take the Great Post-Apocalyptic Movie crown? Denzel Washington usually does contemporary thrillers, so it’ll be cool to see him in a sci-fi flick, but who we’re really pumped about is Gary Oldman, in an over-the-top bad guy role that anyone who’s seen The Professional knows he’s ridiculously awesome at playing. Oh, and Mila Kunis is hot.
7. Date Night
Plot outline: A regular date night between a middle-aged married couple becomes much more than they expected.
Director: Shawn Levy
Cast: Steve Carell, Tina Fey, Leighton Meester, Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis, Mark Ruffalo, James Franco, Taraji P. Henson, Common, Kristen Wiig
COED’s Take: All you had to say was that Steve Carell and Tina Fey were teaming up to play a married couple. Talk about a great pairing. But then to add ridiculous star wattage in the form of Wahlberg, Franco, Kunis, Henson, Ruffalo, and the rest makes us think that this is going to be a seriously funny — and seriously huge — movie.
Plot outline: Harry, Ron, and Hermione go on the run from Death Eaters while trying to find the remaining Horcruxes.
Director: David Yates
Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Bonnie Wright, Evanna Lynch, Alan Rickman
COED’s Take: We’re still not thrilled about Warner Bros. splitting up Deathly Hallows into two movies, because c’mon: eight movies will just look weird on our DVD shelves. But Part I promises to be the darkest Potter film yet; not that they’d ever do this in a million years, but it’d be easy to make an R rated cut, given all the torturing and killing that happens. Yep, you heard it here first, parents: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is all about torturing and killing.
5. Jonah Hex
Plot outline: In the late 1800s, a Wild West bounty hunter tracks a voodoo practitioner bent on raising an army of Confederate zombies.
Director: Jimmy Hayward
Cast: Josh Brolin, Megan Fox, John Malkovich, Will Arnett, Michael Shannon
COED’s Take: Okay, first, that’s the coolest synopsis ever. Second, Josh Brolin is the man — after No Country for Old Men and W., who better to take on a cool-as-hell bounty hunter? But then there are two other factors which sweeten the deal, and they both involve Megan Fox.
4. Iron Man 2
Plot outline: Tony Stark, with his buddy Jim Rhodes, squares off against Whiplash and the Black Widow while continuing discussions with Nick Fury about the Avengers Initiative.
Director: Jon Favreau
Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Mickey Rourke, Scarlett Johansson, Sam Rockwell, Samuel L. Jackson
COED’s Take: Emily Blunt was originally going to be the Black Widow but had to drop out because of scheduling, so Johansson took over. Blunt would’ve been way better, but everything else about this film indicates lots and lots of awesomeness. Don Cheadle taking over the role of Jim Rhodes/War Machine from Terrence Howard? He’ll knock it out of the park. Jackson, Rockwell, and Rourke? Yes, please. Jon Favreau back in the director’s chair? If it’s half as good as the first one, it’ll still be one of the better movies of the year.
Plot outline: Self-destructive freelance journalist Paul Kemp tries to make sense of his life while writing for a run-down newspaper in 1950s Puerto Rico in this movie adaptation of the novel by Hunter S. Thompson.
Director: Bruce Robinson
Cast: Johnny Depp, Aaron Eckhart, Amber Heard, Richard Jenkins, Giovanni Ribisi
COED’s Take: Johnny Depp, a big Hunter S. Thompson fan, has been trying to get this movie made for years. He already played Thompson outright in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, which has become a cult classic; seeing what he does in another Thompson role is already making us salivate (as is his co-star Amber Heard).
Plot outline: we got nothing.
Director: Christopher Nolan
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Marion Cotillard, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page, Michael Caine, Cillian Murphy, Ken Watanabe
COED’s Take: This movie could very well be terrible. All anyone knows about the plot is what director Christopher Nolan has chosen to reveal: that it’s “a contemporary sci-fi actioner set within the architecture of the mind.” If you can figure out what that means, let us know. But since this is Nolan’s follow-up project to The Dark Knight, the second-highest grossing movie in the U.S. ever, and since Nolan has also directed Batman Begins, Memento, and The Prestige, and since he’s assembled a terrific cast, we’re willing to follow him anywhere — especially the realm of the unknown.
Plot: No plot released
Director: Mitchell Hurwitz
Cast and Crew: Michael Cera, Jason Bateman, David Cross, Portia de Rossi, Jeffrey Tambor, Will Arnett
COED’s Take: Hands-down the most anticipated movie of 2010, Arrested Development fans have been pining for a big-screen adaptation ever since this ingenious show was kicked off the air (yes, by someone retarded). And after tamping down a slew of rumors about its future, the producers have made it over some hurdles necessary for moving forward, like signing Michael Cera on to the production. But until we start seeing official trailers, we’re just going to assume this one isn’t even coming out, just to stave off the disappointment.
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