The American Film Market: 10 Mindblowing, Modestly Budgeted Movies to Watch

Perusing the trade papers during the yearly American Film Market, when thousands of buyers from all of the world descend upon Santa Monica to pick over a buffet of independent, straight-to-video, and international movie fare, is a real treat, as both Variety and The Hollywood Reporter are glutted with ads for low-budgeted curiosities propped up by recognizable talent that you may one day stumble across at the multiplex, or, much more likely, in the deepest, darkest corners of your Netflix recommendations pages. (There was a time we would've said "on the shelves of your local Blockbuster, but, uh, yeah.) To save you the time of thumbing through the trades yourself to pan for obscure cinematic gold, Movieline has assembled the best of this year's AFM ads so far, leaving you with nothing to do but pray that each finds the completion financing or distribution it needs to one day land in your mailbox in a red envelope. After the jump, get ready for cameos from Winona Ryder, Sly Stallone, Val Kilmer, and a host of other household and once-household names that will make your movieparts tingle with delight.

The Big One:


2008's surprisingly excellent Rambo (and by "surprisingly excellent," we mean "so incredibly ultramegaviolent that the entire theater whooped with delight each time an evil Burmese soldier was sheared in half by machine-gun fire") left many unanswered questions: How will our mom-jeans-wearing hero readjust to life in an ass-hugging, boot-cut world? Can Stallone improve upon his frenetic 2.59 kills-per-minutes pace? Will a back-to-basics Rambo abandon high-powered weaponry in favor of eviscerating each foe with his bare hands, jamming his meaty, battle-hardened paws into the soft bellies of his enemies and withdrawing steaming handfuls of wriggling, soupy guts? We may finally get those answers, and sooner rather than later. (More on the actual plot here, for those who aren't content to let their imaginations run wild.)

The Crowd-Pleaser


Two words: Billy Zane. Three more words: Doing murder magic.

That poor rabbit never saw him coming.

The Reboot-On-A-Budget


The message is clear: "Look, Arnold's not coming back. He's a little too old, too expensive, and too busy reveling in the lamentations of the Californians. But there's some money left in this barbarian thing, and we're gonna shake that loincloth until every last piece of gold falls out. " Our budget-conscious casting suggestion: this guy.

Bonus: From the director of two other totally pointless remakes of beloved genre classics!

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  • Kyle Buchanan says:

    Val Kilmer second-billed after Kevin Sorbo? I hope for his sake that they just happened to be shooting that down the street from his house.

  • it came from the tar pits says:

    Silent Venom? As opposed to the noisy kind?

  • Fred says:

    Mmmm, ok feature, but if you would have called it 'the 10 films First Showing will be psyched about in 2010,' then we'd be on the same page.

  • stolidog says:

    Um, Bai Ling is in Magic Man, so it has to be good, and, how did they get Reese Witherspoon's chin to do a cameo in Haunting at the Bacon?

  • Did you know that Long Flat Balls The Army is based off Long Flat Balls The Army Board Game? Is Ridley Scott involved?

  • HwoodHills says:

    Silent Venom should've been called, Noisy Side-Burns.

  • Dimo says:

    I have to see Silent Venom. My best buddy gets killed by a snake in it.

  • Looks like that "Christmas Clause" one-sheet is going for a record for the most glimmer points, including one on Kringle's glasses. This means it's an extra special story -- that they stole.

  • Monica Dickey says:

    Wow Kevin Sorbo and Val Kilmer... That's like a must check out on a future bad movie night hahah. Great list, thank you.

  • Duder says:

    Tom Berenger is one hell of an actor... This saddens me.
    Also, Don Johnson... WTF?

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