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Ten Films I Want to See Before the End of the Year

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This film season has largely been a “hot or cold” experience. Hopefully the remaining U.S. film releases will evenly heat up the cinemas to a warm, stable blend. Here is my top 10 list of films I definitely want to see before the end of 2010. All release dates are subject to change.

The Company Men (October 22) – Ben Affleck, Tommy Lee Jones, Kevin Costner, and Chris Cooper star in an important – but tough sell at the box office – business gone south. A company must make hard decisions to “stay lean” in this drama that expands beyond the boardroom into characters’ homes. This amazing quartet can do wonders portraying tough situations with realism and honor.

127 Hours (November 5 – limited release) – Director Danny Boyle reteams with screenwriter Simon Beaufoy for an intense cinematic experience, based on the true story of mountain climber Aron Ralston. Recent Oscar® winning Boyle helms this drama about an extraordinary ordeal. James Franco has a likely star making performance here while a masterful writer like Beaufoy can definitely hold an audience. Kata Mara, Amber Tamblyn, and Clemence Poesy also star as key characters.

Morning Glory (Nov. 12) – Harrison Ford and Diane Keaton team up to help a morning show called “Daybreak” while working with their producer, played by Rachel McAdams. Roger Michell also directs Jeff Goldblum and Patrick Wilson who plays McAdams’ love interest. Her multitasking, referee style role plays well to her talents and keeps her at the focal point to create an unlikely success show. The hip-hop cameos help keep the comedy fracas going with mainstays Ford and Keaton.

Skyline (Nov. 12) – Set in Los Angeles, this high concept sci-fi epic centers on alien events that threaten humanity, including characters played by a recognizable cast, with some potentially star making opportunities here. The filmmakers spin the familiar space invader genre with a people picking preference instead of mass destruction. The mass chaos remains as Donald Faison, Eric Balfour, Scottie Thompson, and Brittany Daniel play characters who must endure the invasion and the ensuing, mysterious “moth to the flame” temptations.

Today’s Special (Nov. 19 – limited) – A Tandoori restaurant’s success depends on chef Samir who takes over for his estranged father. Aasif Mandv (Spider-Man 2) stars as aspiring chef Samir who works to improve with the help of Akbar, played by Naseeruddin Shah. Inspired by Mandvi’s Obie Award winning play “Sakina’s Restaurant,” this film might have the right mix of comedy and family drama to satisfy any palette. Hopefully the release will not be too limited.

The King’s Speech (Nov. 26) – A speech may not seem like much of a climax for the mainstream moviegoer, but Colin Firth’s performance as Queen Elizabeth II’s dad, King George VI is already creating raves for this uplifting biopic drama. George VI works to overcome his speech impediment thanks to a specialist named Lionel Logue, played by Geoffrey Rush who is also getting some deserved acting notice along with co-star Helena Bonham Carter.

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (December 10) – Fox takes over for the Mouse House in the continuing fantasy film series based on the classic C.S. Lewis novels. Michael Apted directs this sea voyage where the older Pevensie kids and their cousin Eustace, played by rising star Will Poulter, sail with Prince Caspian on an epic adventure. Tilda Swinton and Liam Neeson also return as The White Witch and the voice of Aslan the lion respectively.

Country Strong (December 22) – Gwyneth Paltrow mastered the British dialect, so southern country music should not be too hard. Paltrow gets a showcasing role as struggling former star Kelly Canter, must contend with various relationships and her manager as she tries to restart her career. Tim McGraw, Garrett Hedlund, and Leighton Meester also star.

Tron: Legacy (December 17) – Jeff Bridges headlines this high profile sequel to Disney’s 1982’s sci-fi epic. Garrett Hedlund, Olivia Wilde, Michael Sheen, Beau Garrett, and Bruce Boxleitner are also on board this fast paced cyber universe showing in Disney Digital 3D™ and IMAX® 3D. Daft Punk also provides the music.

The Warrior’s Way (December 3) – East meets the America West as an Asian assassin seeks refuge in a remote town. These well-established genres get a promising cast blend featuring rising Korean star Dong-gun Jang, Geoffrey Rush, Danny Huston, Kate Bosworth, and Tony Cox. A new director, Sngmoo Lee, could put a nice visual delivery on this action fantasy.

 

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