Fall movie preview: 10 movies we're sure will rule, and 10 that might surprise usS

It's been a mostly underwhelming movie summer. But fear not, moviegoers! There are still 10 movies left in 2010 that look set to rock your worlds, including Monsters, Skyline and Tron. And there are 10 more that, well...could surprise us.

Here's our guide to the remaining films of 2010, in chronological order:

Fall movie preview: 10 movies we're sure will rule, and 10 that might surprise usS


The Last Exorcism (August 27):

We've already seen this film, so we have no scruples about saying it rocks our world. In a nutshell, it's about a slick preacher from Baton Rouge, LA, who no longer really believes in the "exorcisms" and other theatrics that he's been doing since he was a little kid. He brings a film crew along to do one. last. exorcism, to prove it's all hooey. But... since this is a horror film, you already have a sense where this is going. The good news is, The Last Exorcism will surprise you, both with its vivid, complex characters and with its suspenseful plot. It's far from being the Paranormal Activity rip-off you'd expect it to be.
Prognosis: It does rule.

Fall movie preview: 10 movies we're sure will rule, and 10 that might surprise usS


Resident Evil: Afterlife (September 10):

We saw big chunks of this film at Wondercon and San Diego Comic Con, and it looks like a hella fun ride, featuring more versions of Alice (Milla Jovovich) than you can shake a stick at, plus a crazy action sequence involving an elevator shaft. It probably won't be terribly thought-provoking, or Bergmanesque, or whatever, but we're pretty sure this will be a pulling-out-all-the-stops fun actioner, with Jovovich and Ali Larter getting to kill tons of zombies and battle the evil Umbrella Corp. Plus it was actually shot in 3-D, rather than being post-processed, so it should look pretty great.
Prognosis: It should rule.

Fall movie preview: 10 movies we're sure will rule, and 10 that might surprise usS

Never Let Me Go (Sept. 15):

The film adaptation of Kazuo Ishiguro's classic literary novel, with a science fiction twist that we're loathe to give away. A group of teenagers grow up in isolation, but they appear destined for a dire fate — and only falling in love can forestall their doom for a little while. The trailer is absolutely gripping and heartbreaking, so we've got high hopes for this one.
Prognosis: It should rule.

Fall movie preview: 10 movies we're sure will rule, and 10 that might surprise us


Devil (September 17):

This is the "strangers trapped in an elevator with the Devil" movie that has been irreparably damaged by having M. Night Shyamalan's name so prominently on the trailer. It's actually directed by the Dowdle Bros., best known until now for directing Quarantine, the U.S. remake of [Rec]. If you can see past the Shyamalan name and the goofy premise, then... uh... well, you're a better person, I guess. As for me, I'm still giggling at the commenter over at EW who predicted that the big twist in this film will be that the Earth itself is the Devil, and "the elevator is one of its balls."
Prognosis: Maybe it'll surprise us.

Fall movie preview: 10 movies we're sure will rule, and 10 that might surprise usS


Legend of the Guardians (September 24):

Director Zack "Watchmen, 300" Snyder takes a total change of pace with this animated owl movie, based on the popular kids' book series, Guardians of Ga'Hoole. The visual effects, by Happy Feet makers Animal Logic, looks utterly gorgeous, and the film seems like a throwaway piece of cuteness. I've seen the trailer a few hundred times, because it's shown before every other kids' movie, and yet it remains a bit forgettable.
Prognosis: Maybe it'll surprise us.

Fall movie preview: 10 movies we're sure will rule, and 10 that might surprise usS


Let Me In (October 1):

We were among the biggest doubters of this U.S. remake of the Swedish classic Let The Right One In. The risk of having a dumbed-down version of the ambiguous, creepy original seemed too great. But after seeing a ton of footage at Comic Con and interviewing director Matthew Reeves, we've been converted into boosters. The acting from Kick-Ass' Chloe Moretz and the moody, atmospheric direction are working for us, and we're excited to hear that Reeves is looking to the original novel for inspiration, as well as the Swedish movie adaptation. If this lives up to our expectations, it could be one of the year's great movies.
Prognosis: It should rule.

Fall movie preview: 10 movies we're sure will rule, and 10 that might surprise usS

The Social Network (October 1):

This isn't strictly a science fiction film, but it looks like one and feels like one — it's the work of genre legend David Fincher, and it approaches the world of social media with the same science-fictional eye that William Gibson brings to books like Spook Country. As a look at how technology transforms people's lives and identities, it's riveting, but it's also like the origin story of a new type of supervillain, the corporate privacy-destroyer.
Prognosis: It should rule.

Fall movie preview: 10 movies we're sure will rule, and 10 that might surprise usS

Red (October 15):

We hesitated to include this action comedy, since unlike The Social Network, it's not about technology and society. It's just a standard spy movie, although the synopsis does say that the movie's retired CIA black-ops agents are being hunted by a "high-tech assassin." And it is based on a much-loved graphic novel by Warren Ellis. The main reason to be excited about this one is the presence of Helen Mirren in a gown, shooting a machine gun. Apart from that, it has all the hallmarks of a campy/silly action movie, with very little resemblance to the source material.
Prognosis: Maybe it'll surprise us.

Fall movie preview: 10 movies we're sure will rule, and 10 that might surprise usS

Paranormal Activity 2 (Oct. 22):

Did anybody really need a second Paranormal Activity movie? Original director Oren Peli is off doing his next project, Area 51, so Todd Williams is stepping in to direct this money grab sequel. Katie Featherston and Micah Sloat are back, but details of the plot are being kept under wraps. So far, the only buzz about this film has been the (most likely manufactured) hype about the trailer being pulled from theaters in Texas before screenings of Twilight: Eclipse because it was "too frightening."
Prognosis: Maybe it'll surprise us.

Fall movie preview: 10 movies we're sure will rule, and 10 that might surprise usS

The big Halloween trifecta of crap (October 29):

There are three crappy movies coming out for Halloween this year. You got your Saw 3-D, about which the less said the better. You've got The Howling: Reborn, which is like a reboot or prequel to the long-running werewolf series that began with Joe Dante's 1981 classic. And then Wes Craven is back, writing and directing My Soul To Take, in which a notorious serial killer comes back to kill seven children who were born on the night he supposedly died, but is the serial killer a ghost or an evil demon possessing a teenager, or aklhsdq. Sorry, my face fell onto the keyboard.
Prognosis: Maybe one of these three films will manage to surprise us.

Fall movie preview: 10 movies we're sure will rule, and 10 that might surprise usS

Monsters (October 29):

This film, from Gareth Edwards, has invited comparisons to District 9, but early reports say it's actually something quite unique and fascinating. It's been six years since a NASA probe crashed over Central America, carrying samples of an alien life form. Soon after that, new life forms started to appear, and half of Mexico was quarantined as an "infected zone." A U.S. journalist agrees to escort a terrified American tourist across the "infected zone" to the U.S. border. Unlike the three cookie-cutter horror movies coming out for Halloween, this one might actually be scary and memorable. Says Edwards, "If most monster movies are 9/11, this movie is Afghanistan, where it's just become a state of attrition."
Prognosis: It should rule.

Fall movie preview: 10 movies we're sure will rule, and 10 that might surprise usS

MegaMind (November 5):

This animated movie has a terrific premise: what if Lex Luthor managed to kill Superman? What would he do then? And so far, the footage we've seen has been cute. The main question mark hanging over it is whether you're willing to sit through a couple hours of Will Ferrell as a manic blue supervillain. Tina Fey, as the gutsy animated version of Lois Lane, sounds like a sure winner, though.
Prognosis: It should rule.

Fall movie preview: 10 movies we're sure will rule, and 10 that might surprise us

Skyline (November 12):

We were excited by this film's freaky-ass trailer, showing an alien abduction that lifts tons people into the air and then seemingly evaporates their bodies. It was one of the scarier alien invasion moments we'd seen in ages. On the other hand, this film's directors, the Strause brothers, are best known for the eyeball-bleeding Aliens Vs. Predator: Requiem, whose name probably comes from the fact that it nearly killed both the Alien and Predator series. (Although to be fair, they've also directed music videos by Linkin Park and 50 Cent.) So for now, let's put this one down as...
Prognosis: Maybe it'll surprise us.

Fall movie preview: 10 movies we're sure will rule, and 10 that might surprise usS

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1 (November 19):

The footage at Comic Con looked as good as this series ever has, with its dazzling fight sequences. Of course, since they split the final book into two movies, this first movie is going to be just the depressing stuff from the first half, including the trio in the woods and Harry's big falling out with Ron. And CAPS LOCK HARRY. And so on. But you know what? We're still looking forward to this. David Yates has proved to be a reliably awesome Potter director, and it's our second-to-last chance to see our favorite Hogwarts stories in action. Or in brooding. Either way, it'll be great.
Prognosis: It should rule.

Fall movie preview: 10 movies we're sure will rule, and 10 that might surprise usS

Red Dawn (November 24):

China invades the United States in this remake of the 1980s classic — except that it's not the quasi-capitalist China of today, but a weirdly 1960s-style Maoist China, which plasters the U.S. with Communist propaganda posters that says China is "rebuilding your economy." Is it a paranoid near-future scenario? An alternate universe? We don't know. The Awl got hold of the movie's script, and one thing's for sure — it sounds like a mountain of xenophobic poop. This film may or may not come out on schedule, since it's one of two MGM films that are in the can but may be held up by the company's bankruptcy. The main reason to hope Red Dawn comes out after all? It would be a good sign for the other finished-but-hostaged MGM film, Drew Goddard and Joss Whedon's Cabin In The Woods, due out in February.
Prognosis: Maybe it'll surprise us.

Fall movie preview: 10 movies we're sure will rule, and 10 that might surprise usS

The Chronicles Of Narnia: Voyage Of The Dawn Treader (December 10):

We somehow thought this series was dead in the water, but turns out it's back. The third Narnia film got rescued from the brink of cancellation, with a new director (Michael Apted) and a new studio (Fox). With a budget crunch and tons of creative personnel rotating in and out (three different actors have been signed up to voice Reepicheep at various points) it's best not to get your hopes up. But the producers have insisted that they "made some mistakes" with the last Narnia film and they made sure not to repeat them with this one.
Prognosis: Maybe it'll surprise us.

Fall movie preview: 10 movies we're sure will rule, and 10 that might surprise usS

Tempest (December 10):

Director Julie Taymor's Spider-Man musical sounds like the biggest disaster in the wall-crawler's career, even worse than the Clone Saga. But somehow, in between bankrupting Broadway producers, she's found time to direct this new film adaptation of Shakespeare's fantasy outing, and we're kind of pumped for it. Mostly because of Helen Mirren playing "Prospera," a female version of Prospero. But also, Taymor's Titus was one of the greatest Shakespeare adaptations of all time, so we have high hopes for this.
Prognosis: It should rule.

Fall movie preview: 10 movies we're sure will rule, and 10 that might surprise usS

Tron Legacy (December 17):

And then there's this — the big science fiction movie of the fall. After three years' worth of previews at San Diego Comic Con, we couldn't be more primed for this film. Jeff Bridges plays a much older Kevin Flynn, but thanks to Benjamin Button-style digital trickery, he also plays a younger, immortal computerized version of himself, Clu 2.0. Caught in between these two images of his lost father is Sam Flynn (Garrett Hedlund) who's on a tormented quest in the cyber world. Judging from everything we've seen so far, Disney has done a fantastic job of paying tribute to the unique look of the original, while still making it look cutting edge. Whether or not it winds up being a satisfying story, this will compete with Inception to be the thrill ride of the year.
Prognosis: It should rule.

Gulliver's Travels (December 22):

According to my almanac, the first official day of winter is December 21, which means I don't have to include this Jack Black-and-tiny-people movie. That means I win!

Thanks to Amanda Lebow for reminding us of Never Let Me Go.