This is an entirely personal list. I'm not about to suggest these movies are going to be anywhere near the best or most interesting ones we've got coming next year; merely the ones I want to see first day, first screening (if not at previews) and would sooner watch than the Oscar contenders. And although I am still occasionally partial to the serious A-list film, I tend more towards the dumb action, SF, fantasy and horror movies over the intense emotional dramas and bleak meditations on the futility of existence.... So, strictly in the order that I typed them out:
1. BLACK SWAN
The teaser posters that have recently gone up for this are fantastic and if I was the kind to put the artwork on my wall, this is the kind of artwork I'd want. Meanwhile, the film itself seems to have been enthusiastically reviewed so far, and Mark Kermode's comment that the last act is like "Dario Argento on crack" has pretty much sealed it for me. I'm not the world's biggest fan of Darren Aranofsky - I didn't like Pi at all, I admired some of Requiem For A Dream and I was completely bewildered by The Fountain - but I haven't written him off completely like some directors (Peter Greenaway for one).
I loves me a bit of Bava-Argento giallo madness, and I really should have seen this loving genre tribute at the FrightFest in Glasgow early this year, but stayed home for reasons too boring to go into. Then I should have caught it at the London FrightFest, but opted instead for the Video Nasties documentary and the so-so Damned By Dawn, and was therefore pretty much resigned to waiting for the DVD. But it's screening at the ICA in January and (excuse the horrible Americanism) I am so there.
3. THE THING
Because I'm fascinated by what they're going to do with it. Last time I heard, it was a prequel detailing what happened to the Norwegian camp - which not only means we know how it ends (badly) but everyone's either speaking Norwegian or putting on a funny voice. From the IMDb it looks like it's augmented by Americans, which should reduce the language problem, but it still doesn't get them off the fact that we know the very sticky ending going in. And I'm wondering whether they're going to stick with old-fashioned but more effective prosthetics and animatronics, or opt for doing all the monster stuff in boring CGI afterwards. Not to say it's not going to be any good - it might be - but the odds are against it somewhat.
4. THE WARD
Speaking of John Carpenter (which I wasn't), there's a new John Carpenter horror movie coming out next year. What more do we need? This is his first feature since Ghosts Of Mars, which I rather liked in a silly way - it's far from prime Carpenter but generally agreeable. But that was way back in 2001, and we've only had a couple of TV episodes in the interim. It's good to see him back, and we'll hopefully get another Carpenter soundtrack album while we're at it. As for veteran horror auteurs: the latest Wes Craven, My Soul To Take, has disappeared off the release schedules, which is a shame.
5. THE NEXT THREE DAYS
It's a remake of the French film Anything For Her, which was pretty good, and has the frankly variable Russell Crowe as the star, but since he's not having to take a stab at an accent he should be okay. I'm going to bet it's a pretty good thriller that'll make a reasonable start to 2011.
6. DRIVE ANGRY
Yes, I'm looking forward to a Nicolas Cage action movie - in 3D - from the director of My Bloody Valentine. I'm really waiting for the movie that will silence the 3D naysayers: shooting something in 3D rather than 2D is no worse than shooting something in 2.35 rather than the more traditional 1.85 (and converting 2D to 3D is as despicable as shooting in 1.85 then cropping it for "widescreen"). I don't know that this is the movie to make the case for 3D as a valid film-making tool - probably not - but it should be a fair evening's screeching tyres entertainment.
7. HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS: PART II
Being a conversion, the 3D is going to stink the multiplexes out, even the screens that aren't showing HPDH2, so I'm going to make the effort to see the 2D version they'll doubtless release along with the 3D conversion. It was shot in two, I'm going to watch it in two. Hopefully this is the one where it's going to all come together and tie up the whole story and all the characters - and not leave it open to do any more. It's done. Finished. Go do something else.
I don't really give a hoot about comic books. I don't know Marvel from DC and I probably missed a lot of references in Scott Pilgrim, and I'm generally uninterested in superhero movies unless they're fulfilling their main purpose, which is primary-coloured panto for kiddies. So yes, I do think something like Fantastic 4 is probably a better superhero movie than the Batman or Spiderman movies - especially the latter which simply aren't designed for emotional depth and significance - it's Spiderman, for crying out loud. But this one: it's Kenneth Branagh directing Anthony Hopkins! What can possibly go wrong?
9. THE MECHANIC
Yet another remake - this time Jason Statham taking over from Charles Bronson, and I'll say it now: not measuring up. Still, Statham's a good presence on screen, it's got Donald Sutherland in the cast, and at the very least it should be mindless bangbang entertainment, and probably better than the original. Go on, Jason. Do Death Wish next, I dare you.
10. YOU WILL MEET A TALL DARK STRANGER
I'm not completely obsessed with violence, action, horror, sleaze and explosions, and as frankly negligible evidence I offer the new Woody Allen film. Admittedly he's not been great recently - Vicky Cristina Barcelona was amusing but aimless, and Cassandra's Dream was absolutely terrible, but they're still generally civilised entertainment, well played, well put together and well written. Something to look forward to.