The Notable Films of 2010: Some Additionals

The eleventh and last part (W-Z) of my extensive 2010 preview guide I’m still at work on and should be hitting the site either Tuesday or Wednesday. Before that though it is time to plug a few holes.

With release dates always in flux, there is no true definitive list of films opening this year as the number of titles change day-by-day and many aren’t really locked in yet. As a result, there’s definitely been some guesswork assembling this list, albeit carefully considered and researched to try and fit in what will come out, what’s important enough, and what can be reasonably done.

However, there are always titles that slip through the cracks. Thankfully some ever vigilant readers have been keeping an eye out and sent in some suggestions of key projects I’ve missed. Not everything can be included of course, otherwise this list would take forever, but there are fourteen films that I’m hitting myself over for not previously incorporating.

These entries will be added into the earlier guide sections with the next update, and there’ll be some re-ordering to even out the number of entries per part. To save you having to wade back through all ten previous sections though, below are all the additionals that will be added to the guide. Hope you enjoy:

Tomorrow, When the War Began

Opens: 2010
Cast: Rachel Hurd-Wood, Phoebe Tonkin, Lincoln Lewis, Caitlin Stasey, Matthew Dale
Director: Stuart Beattie

Summary: When their country is invaded and their families are taken, eight unlikely Australian high school teenagers band together to fight.

Analysis: On the surface sounding like “Red Dawn” set in a small Australian town, John Marsden’s seven book ‘coming-of-age in a war zone’ series was sold on the pitch of it being one of the most popular Australian series ever published. As someone who has lived in Sydney almost all my life, I’d never heard even a mention of it until the film announcement – and I read a lot. However the series didn’t start until the late 90’s, after my time at school, so its fanbase is very much the teenagers and early twenty-somethings of today.

Screen Australia and Paramount Vantage are teaming for this purely Aussie production that hopes to be the first in a trilogy and is helped immensely by a big fat tax break for keeping its shoot local. Stuart Beattie, best known for his scripts for the likes of “Australia,” “Collateral” and “G.I. Joe”, is adapting and directing the film which hopes to be the first fully Australian commercial action movie since the “Mad Max” films. Certainly its budget, around $54 million U.S. dollars, is quite considerable for a ‘purely local’ film.

The cast is made up of a few soap stars (Lewis, Stasey) and some young unknowns aside from British actress Rachel Hurd-Wood who worked Down Under before on 2003’s “Peter Pan”. Tone wise don’t expect the seriousness of “Red Dawn”, Beattie saying if ‘Dawn’ is “Striptease”, then ‘Tomorrow’ is more like “The Full Monty” – similar premise, completely different approaches. Shot around the Hunter Region in New South Wales over October and November last year, the film is already in post.

Several questions come up here. First is tone, the books are apparently quite realistic and dark which makes the film’s rating likely to be higher but could alienate the core audience of young teenagers. Second is the enemy troops whose country of origin goes unnamed in the books, an idea that simply doesn’t work on film – how will that be handled? Finally there’s appeal – can a story like this cross over with international audiences. We’ll know more around the end of the year.