I can't remember when I've been so happy for a summer movie season to end. It may have been the hottest summer on record outside the theater, but it was ice cold inside. As in, usually the air conditioning was the best part of the movie.
Ironically, the movies are poised to heat up just as the weather (hopefully) cools down. Some of the most promising movies are teased here, but there are really too many to list.
Also look for Ben Affleck's cops-and-robbers drama "The Town," Diane Lane and an inspiring horse in "Secretariat," Robert DeNiro and Edward Norton playing mindgames in "Stone," Hilary Swank getting a law degree and defending her own brother (Sam Rockwell) in "Conviction," a star-studded cast dealing with recession woes in "The Company Men," Robert Downey, Jr. and Zach Galifianakis road-tripping in "Due Date," the much-anticipated "Paranormal Activity 2," Danny Boyle's "Slumdog Millionaire" follow-up "127 Hours," Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway getting dramatic in "Love and Other Drugs," and Disney's Rapunzel-inspired animated feature "Tangled."
The next few months also provide a healthier diet of horror movies ("The Last Exorcism," "Devil," "My Soul to Take," "Saw 3D"), action pics ("Takers," "Machete," "Resident Evil: Afterlife," "Unstoppable"), romantic dramedies ("Going the Distance," "Life As We Know It," "Morning Glory"), and comedies ("Easy A," "It's Kind of a Funny Story").
Yes, 2010 is definitely going to end better than it began, and let's hope that's true of more than just the movies.
The American (September 1)
The set up: Prior to his last hit, an aging assassin (George Clooney) hides out in Italy, where he becomes entangled with a priest and a mysterious woman (Thekla Reuten).
Why we care: Perfect role for Clooney, but he's surrounded by an outstanding European cast. Look for Reuten ("In Bruges") to steal scenes.
Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps ( September 24)
The set up: Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas) is out of prison and back in the game, this time toying with his daughter's ambitious fiance (Shia LeBeouf) and a market that has legalized the things that sent him to prison.
Why we care: The timing couldn't be any better for Oliver Stone and Douglas to take aim at Wall Street for a second time.
The Social Network (October 1)
The set up: The story of how Mark Zuckerberg created Facebook, became wealthy and made enemies rather than friends.
Why we care: That's the question, really. But David Fincher directs, Aaron Sorkin writes, and Jesse Eisenberg leads a fine cast, so let's friend the movie.
Let Me In (October 1)
The set up: Remake of the Swedish masterpiece "Let the Right One In," which explored the angst of childhood as deeply as its vampire mythology.
Why we care: It's very possible they'll ruin what was the best vampire movies in decades, but the casting is perfect and it appears to be a faithful re-telling. Fingers crossed.
Red (October 15)
The set up: Bruce Willis, Helen Mirren, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich, and Mary-Louise Parker play black-ops agents who come out of retirement to fight CIA corruption.
Why we care: Mirren fires a machine gun while wearing pearls. I want to see that.
Megamind (Novermber 5)
The set up: Super-villain Megamind eliminates all super-heroes, which leaves him no one to battle. Boring! He creates a new nemesis, Titan, but when Titan turns evil, Megamind decides to fight for good for the first time in his life.
Why we care: "Madagascar" helmer Tom McGrath directs Will Ferrell, Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill, and an outstanding animation team. Probably the best animation bet of the season.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1 (November 19)
The set up: The franchise nears its end with this next-to-last installment.
Why we care: Do I really need to explain this?
Black Swan (December 1)
The set up: Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, and Vincent Cassel star in Darren Aronofsky's dark, trippy ballet drama.
Why we care: Easily the best trailer of the season. Promises lots of intrigue, passion, and stunning imagery.