From Paris with Love
John Travolta plays an American agent trying to stop a terrorist attack in Paris in this comedic action film from director Pierre Morel and co-writer Luc Besson, the team behind last year's Taken 50. Jonathan Rhys Meyers also stars.
Based on the comic book about an average teenage boy who is inspired by comic books to become a real-life superhero, this violent but darkly comedic action film stars Nicolas Cage and is directed by Matthew Vaughn, best known for 2005's Layer Cake 73.
Well, at least it's not a Manimal movie. This adaptation of the iconic 1980s television series stars Liam Neeson as Hannibal, Bradley Cooper as Face, mixed martial arts star Quinton "Rampage" Jackson as B.A. Baracus (the role made famous by Mr. T), and District 9's Sharlto Copley as Murdock. Quick: Name a good movie based on a TV series that doesn't begin with the words "Star Trek" or "Mission Impossible." (That should keep you busy for a while.)
The Karate Kid
And speaking of the 1980s... Not an exact remake of the Ralph Macchio drama from the cruel summer of 1984 (for one thing, the setting has been moved to China), The Karate Kid nevertheless borrows heavily from the plot of the original. Will Smith's son Jaden Smith stars as the unlikely youth who learns kung-fu (not karate) from an eccentric master played by Jackie Chan. Never heard of director Harald Zwart? Perhaps you're familiar with his masterpiece, Agent Cody Banks 41. Wax off, indeed.
The "hex" part may be accurate. The subject of plenty of behind-the-camera intrigue -- including a director switch, radical rewrites, and last-minute reshoots -- this DC Comics adaptation is still the recipient of a lot of negative buzz, which doesn't bode well for a Western (never a popular genre these days) scheduled to debut near the peak of the summer movie season. Josh Brolin, John Malkovich, and Megan Fox star.
The rare summer action film to feature a female lead, Salt stars Angelina Jolie (in a role originally intended for Tom Cruise) as a CIA agent who goes on the lam after she is accused of being a Russian spy. Phillip Noyce (The Quiet American 84) directs, and the cast includes Liev Schreiber and Chiwetel Ejiofor.
A team of mercenaries attempts to overthrow a South American dictator in an $80 million, 1980s-style action film starring Sylvester Stallone (who also directs), Jason Statham, Jet Li, Eric Roberts, Dolph Lundgren, Mickey Rourke, and Steve Austin, with cameos from Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis.
An adaptation of Warren Ellis' 2003-04 graphic novel series, Red stars Bruce Willis as a retired secret agent who returns to active duty when he becomes the target of a high-tech assassination plot. The top-notch cast includes Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, Mary-Louise Parker, and John Malkovich, while the not-so-top-notch crew includes screenwriters Jon and Erich Hoeber (Whiteout 28) and director Robert Schwentke (Flightplan 53).
And then there's this trainwreck. (Don't worry -- we're being literal, we think.) Denzel Washington stars as an engineer who must race against the clock to stop his runaway train -- which happens to be carrying both deadly poison and explosives -- from crashing. Tony Scott, who last teamed with Washington for yet another train story (The Taking of Pelham 123 55), directs
Did we mention there were a lot of 1980s remakes this year? In this reimagining of the 1984 cult classic, a group of small-town American high school students must repel an invading army (the Soviets in the original, the Chinese now). The film features both a no-name cast and a no-name director, and we expect audiences to have no interest.
Jack Black stars in this comedic live-action adventure (based on the Jonathan Swift story) as a Jack Black-sized man who washes ashore on a secret island inhabited by tiny people. Emily Blunt and Jason Segel also star.
Edge of Darkness
This Mel Gibson thriller about a cop who stumbles onto a conspiracy when investigating the killing of his own daughter will attempt to capture action-seeking audiences in January much the same way Taken did in 2009. Based on a well-received 1985 British miniseries, Darkness is directed by Martin Campbell (Casino Royale 81). Gibson hasn't starred on screen since 2002's Signs 59.
A likely Oscar nominee, this French crime drama from director Jacques Audiard (The Beat That My Heart Skipped 75) won top honors at last year's Cannes Film Festival and has scored stellar reviews around the world. Set in a prison, A Prophet centers on a lonely French Arab convict who falls under the influence of a Corsican gang, who send him on increasingly challenging missions.
Antoine Fuqua (Training Day 70, Shooter 53) directs Richard Gere, Ethan Hawke and Don Cheadle in a gritty, low-budget cop drama that has been partially re-shot since it debuted at Sundance in 2009 to mildly positive response.
The first non-music film for acclaimed photographer and music video director Anton Corbijn (his debut feature was the Joy Division biopic Control 78), The American stars George Clooney as an assassin looking to complete one final job, in Italy. The thriller is based on the 1990 novel "A Very Private Gentleman" by late British author Martin Booth.
Centering on a group of bank robbers (and the female bank manager who falls for one of them) on the run from the FBI, the second directorial effort for Ben Affleck (Gone Baby Gone 72) is based on Chuck Hogan's novel "Prince of Thieves." Affleck, Jon Hamm and Rebecca Hall star.
Director Darren Aronofsky's next project after The Wrestler 81 is a ballet drama that slowly evolves into a psychological (and possibly supernatural) thriller. The film follows a ballerina (Natalie Portman) trying to win the lead role in Swan Lake, only to notice a mysterious doppelganger (Mila Kunis) who may or may not be competing for the part. (Trust us -- it gets weirder.) A rumored sex scene between Portman and Kunis may help attract male audiences who normally might avoid the ballet-themed subject matter. A fall release is likely.
One of director Atom Egoyan's more accessible works, this erotic thriller stars Julianne Moore as a doctor who tests her husband's fidelity by hiring a young woman (Amanda Seyfried) to seduce him. (Hint: she succeeds.)
A remake of the 2007 Israeli film of the same name, this thriller follows three Mossad agents who track down and supposedly kill a Nazi war criminal two decades after the end of WWII. When that same Nazi somehow resurfaces in the 1990s, one of the surviving agents must seek out the truth. Sam Worthington and Helen Mirren star, while John Madden (Shakespeare in Love 87) directs.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Based on the first book in Stieg Larsson's best-selling Millenium Trilogy of crime novels, this Swedish adaptation has been a hit in Europe. The thriller, which involves a business executive who hires a convicted journalist and a young computer hacker to investigate the mysterious disappearance of his niece 40 years earlier, may also be remade in the near future as an English-language movie.
The Killer Inside Me
Sundance audiences will get an early taste of this noirish drama that unites an adventurous director (Michael Winterbottom, 24 Hour Party People 85, Tristram Shandy 8, 9 Songs 43) with intriguing source material (the novel of the same name by pulp fiction writer Jim Thompson). Casey Affleck, Kate Hudson, Jessica Alba, and Bill Pullman star in this tale of a small-town Texas sheriff who moonlights as a sociopathic killer.
Academy Award-winning screenwriter William Monahan (The Departed 86) makes his directorial debut with his own adaptation of the Ken Bruen gangster novel. Colin Farrell plays a criminal recently released from prison who takes a job working for a reclusive movie star (Keira Knightley), until his past catches up with him.