Jan 29 2009
2009 is going to be a big year for movies. After a lacklustre 2008 (which saw only a handful of decent films grace the big screen), surely this year will see some more risks being taken and we may get to see some great original content churned out by the Hollywood machine.
Am I aiming too high? I don’t mean to be overly critical of Hollywood, but with the exception of some epic blockbusters (most notably The Dark Knight), they played it safe and threw up far too many crowd pleasing RomComs and the record breaking (but somewhat shameful) Mamma Mia! – the exclamation mark is not my idea.
I’ll acknowledge that there’s a few movies out towards the end of 2008 (vying for the Oscars), such as Milk, Frost/Nixon, Benjamin Button, Vicki Christina Barcelona and others, but seeing as we don’t generally get around to seeing them until January 2009 or later, I’m not including them.
But…looking forward…here’s my list of the potentially good, probably bad and likely to be ugly films we can expect this year. There’s also a few that I’m just hopeful about.
- Nine is a musical in which a middle-aged film director Guido Contini (Daniel Day-Lewis) is trying to complete his next film. His only problem is that he has too many women in his life, including his wife Luisa (Marion Cotillard), his sexy mistress Carla (Penélope Cruz), and his muse and protege Claudia (Nicole Kidman).
- Them – From Edgar Wright of Spaced, Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. Need I say more?
- Fanboys is the story of a group of friends who, anxious for the premiere of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace – and because one of them is suffering from cancer and wishes to see the film before his death – decide to break into Skywalker Ranch and steal an early print of the film. A road trip begins as the friends encounter William Shatner, obsessed Trekkies, and bikers who make them undress for water.
- Surrogates – In the near future, humans live in isolation and only interact through robotic bodies that serve as surrogates. When several surrogates are murdered, a cop (Bruce Willis) investigates the crimes through his own surrogate. The investigation forces the cop to bring his human form out of isolation and unravel a conspiracy behind the crimes. In today’s online world where Second Life and other ‘worlds’ are so popular, this could prove to be an actioner with depth.
- The International may be the most timely high paced thriller out in 2009. Interpol agent Louis Salinger (Clive Owen) and Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Eleanor Whitman (Naomi Watts) are determined to bring to justice one of the world’s most powerful banks, the International Bank of Business and Credit. Uncovering illegal activities including money laundering, arms trading, and the destabilisation of governments, Salinger and Whitman’s investigation takes them from Berlin to Milan to New York City to Istanbul. Finding themselves in a high-stakes chase across the globe, the bank will stop at nothing to stop them.
- The Wolf Man may have made and remade so many times, but going by the publicity shots I’ve seen so far on this version, Benicio del Toro looks set to make the ultimate werewolf movie.
- In Dorian Gray Narnia‘s Ben Barnes doesn’t want to grow old. With support from Colin Firth and Ben Chaplin, this should be interesting.
- Sherlock Holmes – Guy Ritchie brings the master detective to the big screen with Robert Downey Jr. as Holmes and Jude Law as Watson. What could go wrong?
- Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs – the first Ice Age movie was fantastic. If this is a fraction of that, it’ll still be great.
- The Lovely Bones is probably the book I’ve heard most about in recent years without actually reading. It seems, as long as it avoids falling into its own arse, this could be huge. Saoirse Ronan stars.
- The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus has to be good. It just has to be. Gilliam has devoted his life to fixing it since the death of Heath Ledger, the film’s main star, and has enlisted the help of Johnny Depp, Colin Farrell and Jude Law to pick up where Ledger left off.
- Coraline is a stop-motion horror fantasy based on Neil Gaiman’s modern Alice in Wonderland-like tale.
- Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is following 2007’s awesome blockbuster about the robots in disguise. Bigger, faster, louder – possibly better.
- Inglourious Basterds – I have misspelled nothing. Tarantino makes a WWII war movie. No more detail required – this will be epic.
- With Terminator Salvation so much could go wrong, but I’m optimistic.
- Monsters vs. Aliens does exactly what it says on the tin…by Dreamworks Animation. Oh, and it’s voiced by Hugh Laurie, Seth Rogen, Kiefer Sutherland and Reese Witherspoon, among others.
- X-Men Origins: Wolverine – I loved all three X-Men movies and Wolverine has such a brilliant untouched backstory. With Liev Schreiber, the most underated actor of his generation, as Sabretooth, this could be great.
- Watchmen is likely to be one of the biggest films of 2009. Based on the epic comic series, Watchmen will be attacked by fanboys regardless how good or bad it is, so I just say sit back and enjoy.
- Star Trek will be big, regardless if it’s good or not. I’m hopeful. The cast looks good and in the hands of J.J. Abrams it should be safe.
- Public Enemies is a prohibition era ganster movie with a solid cast. Michael Mann directs Johnny Depp, Christian Bale, Marion Cotilliard, Billy Crudup and a huge bunch more. I smell Oscars.
- Toy Story in 3-D – Ok, so it’s just a re-release in a new format. Tell me you’re not excited though…
- Orphan is a basic horror movie about a husband and wife who adopt a creepy kid. So far, so average. But when I heard Peter Sarsgaard was in it, I thought it worth keeping an eye on.
- G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra – GI Joe? Really? Don’t get me wrong, I loved my little action man when I was young. But a movie? With Dennis Quaid? Still, Christopher Eccleston might make a decent bad guy.
- Red Sonja is Conan the Barbarian’s female counterpart. Even Robert Rodriguez and Rose McGowan can’t make this work. Can they?
- Night at the Museum 2: Battle of the Smithsonian – Did you see the first one? You did? Then you know why this is in the Bad section.
- Fast & Furious, the seventh or eight follow up to 2001’s The Fast and the Furious, reunites the original’s Vin Diesel and Paul Walker in an effort to reignite both their flailing careers.
- The Proposal is just one of the many awful RomComs due out in 2009. I single out this one because it has the once cool Ryan Reynolds and the never-cool-but-gaining-some-credibility-in-recent-years Sandra Bullock. I guess they meet and don’t like each other and things happen and they have a big crisis moment and they fall in love and everyone laughs heartily at the end. Actually, now that I read a bit more about it, it seems to be a remake of Green Card. Still belongs on the Bad pile.
- The Birds was Hitchcock’s strangest horror and one of the best movies I’ve ever seen. As with Psycho, this does not need to be remade. Why can’t they just give the original a re-release in the cinemas? Why? Naomi Watts stars, seemingly.
- S. Darko – when I first heard they were making a sequel to Donnie Darko I laughed it off. What a ridiculous notion. Then, in the distance, I heard the faint ringing of Hollywood’s cash register and it all began to make sense. Oh, Daveigh Chase, the freaky girl from The Ring, plays Samantha, the ‘S’ of the title.
- Nottingham, another Robin Hood movie with the awful Russell Crowe playing both Robin Hood and The Sherrif of Nottingham – presumably one character wouldn’t be able to contain his massive ego.
- In The Informant the U.S. government decides to go after an agri-business giant with a price-fixing accusation, based on the evidence submitted by their star witness, vice president turned informant Mark Whitacre. Sound like an intriguing courtroom drama? Nope – it’s a Matt Damon comedy. I’m very sceptical.
- Avatar is James Cameron‘s newest obsession after finally getting over his Titanic fetish. Frankly, I expect the sci-fi epic to fall down under the weight of it’s own sense of self-importance.
- Angels & Demons is the sequel prequel followup thing to The DaVinci Code. The plus side – Tom Hanks has got a haircut. Here, check out this truly terrible trailer:
The Ugly (I could add more but I might be ill)
The Ones I Am Hopeful About
- Friday the 13th – it’s a remake of the classic horror. It’ll probably be awful, but I’m interested.
- The Box reads like a horror version of Jumanji and has so much going against it – mainly its cast of James Marsden and Cameron Diaz. But this is the latest film from Donnie Darko creator Richard Kelly. There is promise.
- Underworld: Rise of the Lycans – I was a huge fan of the first underworld with Kate Beckinsale (luvly!) and the sequel was decent too. This film harks back to the origins of the tale and has no Beckinsale, but does have Rhona Mitra, who looks an awful lot like Beckinsale in the posters. Michael Sheen is reprising his role though and that could make for something interesting.
- 2012 is another ‘world is going to end’ type films. It follows the survivors post-apocalypse. It is written and directed by Roland Emmerich of Independence Day and the slightly preachy Day After Tomorrow and I am hopeful about it because, despite the premise, it has drawn an amazing cast in John Cusack, Thandie Newton, Danny Glover, Oliver Platt, Woody Harrelson and others.
- The Spirit – This may be a 2008 movie, I’m not sure, but I have yet to see it. It’s received a number of scathing reviews, but I am still keeping my fingers crossed because it looks so damn cool.
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is the latest edition of the Neverending Story. I think maybe I’ve just gotten too old and tired to be excited about a new Harry Potter movie and I suspect much of the films cast are the same. I’ll undoubtedly go see it and I hope for good things. We’ll see.
And this is surely going to be shit but I can’t wait to see it:
- Final Destination: Death Trip 3D Horror – Loads and loads of imaginative death scenes……in 3D. Oh yes!
Needless to say, there are hundreds of more movies due out this year. This is my first glance across the list with higher budgets. I haven’t had a look at any Indie’s yet or delved too deeply into IMDb’s 8,937 titles released in 2009. Give me time…
So, are there any movies you lot are looking forward to, or is there anything you’d change on my list?