By Ryan Dewerth At the end of every year, you can usually find a good amount of people say how horrible of a year it was for film. They complain that everything that came out wasn't original and that cinema is becoming more and more 'dumbed-down' as each year goes on. Now, as a whole, I agree. I don't believe the 40's and 50's would've had such movies as Disaster Movie, Norbit, Prom Night, or even this atrocity called Twilight. No my friends, cinema used to be about telling a story and being deeply drawn into the characters. It seems like we've come a long way from that. (But that's for another post.) Despite all of this, if you look carefully enough, you can find films each year that will actually get you excited to go to your local theater. With that said, here is a list of my top ten most anticipated upcoming releases. Black Dynamite. I know I just got done saying all that stuff about a great story and comparing films to the 40's, but this just looks like way too much fun. I wonder if I'd feel that way if half of the stuff I've been watching for the past two months have been 70's and 80's exploitation films. Black Dynamite tells the story of 70's legendary action hero who decides it's time to fight The Man and clean up his community. 2. Che. I've been anticipating this one probably more than all of the others. There's just something about violent history that appeals to me. I guess it's knowing that this kind of stuff actually happened and being able to see how it's affected us is...humbling. Anyway, Che is Steven Soderbergh's 4 hour biopic going over the life of Cuban revolutionary leader. Apparently, the film is being split in two; Guerrilla and The Argentine. With the release of the trailer last week, I'm even more excited. 3. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Everyone's talking about it. It's the new project from David Fincher (Fight Club, Se7en, Zodiac) and Brad Pitt. I love both quite a bit so needless to say, I'm fairly interested in this project. It tells the story of a man who is born old and ages backwards. I predict it'll play a lot with the concept of death and the things we do while we're alive. Perhaps similar to Synecdoche, New York? Hopefully. 4. Deadgirl. Basically, this film is about two groups of boys who find a girl (I'm unclear if she's dead or close to being dead.) in an abandoned asylum and decide to keep her for sexual purposes. Necrophilia's cool and all so I'm pretty excited for this. Plus, I like indie horror movies. There's not enough of them. In the meantime, watch All the Boys Love Mandy Lane or Donkey Punch. 5. Gardens of the Night. From my understanding, Gardens of the Night deals with the life of a girl who's been abducted and led to believe that her parents are dead. She grows up and stays close friends with another boy who was abducted by the same people. It seems rather promising. Once again, it's the trailer that does me in. That, and John Malkovich. 6. Gran Torino. I guess somewhere it's some unwritten rule that as you get older, your films get worse. That's not the case for Clint Eastwood. With his second film of the year, he's back as an Oscar contender in what appears to be not just directing, but also acting. Gran Torino deals with an old, racist war veteran who becomes the victim of an attempted theft of his prized car from his Korean neighbor. He's filled with hate but slowly begins to get drawn into the family and their plights. He is soon faced with helping the community get rid of violent street-gangs. 7. JCVD. Being the son of a philistine father, I've sat through many films by Jean-Claude Van Damme and realized that every single one of them is the same. This is different though. JCVD tells the story of the action-star as his daughter gets taken away and he's quickly becoming broke. While visiting a bank, he gets trapped in the middle of a robbery and is mistaken for being the mastermind behind the whole operation. 8. Revolutionary Road. Though a familiar story, Revolutionary Road does look very promising. It's about a couple's relationship and how they go from being young and carefree to homeowners and being the same as everyone else. DiCaprio's past three works (Body of Lies, Blood Diamond, and The Departed) have proven that's he's not just a pretty face but an act as well so I'm convinced that this'll garner him a Best Actor nomination at least. This kind of seems like American Beauty (also by Mendes) meets Little Children (also with Winslet). 9. Slumdog Millionaire. I can always admire a director who tries different genres. Going from druggie-movie (Trainspotting) to horror (28 Days Later) to sci-fi (Sunshine), it seems like Danny Boyle can do anything. His most recent film, Slumdog Millionaire is about a teenager who goes onto the Indian version of Who Wants to Be A Millionaire not for the money, but for love. I have tickets for a promotional screening for this next week so expect a review shortly after. 10. The Wrestler. With only three feature films in his resume, Darren Aronofsky has made quite the name for himself. After a great debut with Pi, he gathered a cult-following with his follow-up, Requiem for a Dream. He then put out the box office flop, The Fountain which was just too all over the place to be enjoyable. The Wrestler, however, seems to redeem himself greatly. Even if Uwe Boll directed this, I still would be able to look past his previous efforts and call him a great filmmaker. I guess I should wait until I see it though to make such bold claims. The Wrestler is a drama that focuses on a has-been professional wrestler, Randy "The Ram" Robinson who just wants his 15 minutes of fame back. If it weren't for Aronofsky, Rourke, and the incredible amount of hype it's getting, I don't think I'd be that interested. But Aronofsky did direct it, Rourke does look great in it, and I've heard nothing but great things. Honourable mentions: Frost / Nixon, Let the Right One In, Martyrs, Milk, Trick 'r Treat, Up, and Waltz with Bashir.