The 2010 summer movie season offers such slim pickings, I could only come up with seven movies I'm really looking forward to instead of my usual 10. But I guess seven is better than nothing. In order of release date:
Toy Story 3: Any Pixar movie automatically makes my must-see list, but I'm particularly curious about this one, since the film is the company's first "Part 3," which means the script must be extra-special. Plus, the 3D looks wonderful, and the whole Barbie-meets-Ken subplot looks hilarious in the trailers.
The Killer Inside Me: I'm a hardcore devotee of Jim Thompson's pulpy crime novels, and although this one has been turned into a film before, I really like the inspired casting of Casey Affleck as the small-town sheriff with homicidal tendencies. The film's graphic violence scandalized audiences at Sundance in January, but everyone knows Sundance audiences are a bunch of wusses.
Inception: Not to put too many expectations on director Christopher Nolan, but I am counting on this sci-fi thriller - about a man (Leonardo DiCaprio) with the power to pluck dark secrets from people's dreams - to create a brand-new genre, the way The Matrix did. I believe in you, Nolan. Please don't let me down.
Dinner For Schmucks: Francis Veber's French-language comedy The Dinner Game was hilarious, and the casting of Paul Rudd and Steve Carell in this Hollywood remake - probably my two favorite comic actors working in movies today - inspired great confidence. Plus the presence of director Jay Roach (Meet the Parents, Austin Powers) doesn't hurt, either.
The Expendables: If you grew up in the 1980s, the premise of an all-star throwback to the cheesy action flicks of the era starring Sylvester Stallone, Dolph Lundgren, Jet Li, Jason Statham and Mickey Rourke - plus cameos by Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger - is an offer you can't refuse. If you do, you're a giant girly-man.
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: There's been a gradual backlash building against Michael Cera, unfairly based around the criticism that he's always playing the same character - a socially awkward, hyper-intelligent guy trying to blend into the world around them. But Cera's choice of film projects has been consistently good (Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist and Youth in Revolt deserved bigger audiences) and this comedy in which Cera must do battle with his would-be girlfriend's seven jealous ex-girlfriends in order to win her hand has considerable potential. Another bonus: Director Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz) has yet to make a movie that didn't make me cry from laughing so hard.
Piranha 3D: I dare you to watch this trailer and tell me this movie does not look awesome.