Monday, January 12, 2009

Anticipate This: 2009

Posting that Franklyn trailer got me thinking, what other films are showing promise this year? Here's a few to look forward to, beginning with Spike Jonze's long-awaited adaptation of Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are ....

1. Where the Wild Things Are - Director Spike Jonze has already spent a few years making sure this movie is believable and just right. With a Dave Eggers penned screenplay and starring relative newcomer Max Records as, well, Max, the early stills are impressive and if we can trust anyone with this whimsical material, it's Jonze. No bluescreens. Real trees.

2. Terminator: Salvation - Sure, T3 sucked. But we have learned: trust Christian Bale. If he deems the script worthy enough for multiple sequels, he knows something we don't. Salvation indeed.

3. Public Enemies - Johnny Depp plays Dillinger. Christian Bale returns to the Windy City. And there was much rejoicing.

4. Watchmen - Haven't I already proclaimed my too-high expectations enough?

5. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince - The sixth film was delayed a good six months. If it was sloppy before, hopefully its been polished so much it shines like a snazzy new snitch.

6. Up - Pixar leaves robots and cars and fish behind and takes on a 78-year old curmudgeon who ties thousands of balloons to his house and takes off on a great adventure...with a stowaway.

7. Star Trek - As a childhood pseudo-trekkie and someone who hasn't watched a Trek in about a decade, i'm already a turncoat to general geekdom. That's why it's safe to say that while i may be upset if JJ Abrams botches it terribly, i'm still pretty excited about a shiny new reworking of the original series.

8. Inglourious Basterds - Spelled just like that, yes. Quentin Tarantino's WWII movie with a cast lead by Bradley Pitt. The Basterds are a ragtag group striking fear into Nazi brutally scalping and killing them of course.

9. X-Men Origins: Wolverine - I'm still not completely sold on this film, which, if the title didn't clue you in, is an origin story for X-Men fave Wolverine (still played by Hugh Jackman). Gambit and Sabretooth finally show up, though.

10. Nine - Director Rob Marshall's (Chicago) screen version of the stage musical version of the non-musical classic art house Federico Fellini film 8 1/2 (one of my faves). Daniel Day-Lewis plays a director struggling with his next film and dealing with the overabundance of women in his life. The ladies, it should be said, are played by a knock-out cast including Penelope Cruz, Nicole Kidman, Sophia Loren, Dame bad-ass Judi Dench, and...Fergie as Saraghina. Craazy.

11. Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus - Heath Ledger's actual last picture and another production nightmare for plagued auteur Terry Gilliam. Ledger's role was filled in by three actors: Johnny Depp, Jude Law, and Colin Farrell. It promises (like all Gilliam films) to be a sight to be seen.

12. Sherlock Holmes - Guy Ritchie takes on a classic and puts Robert Downey Jr. in the lead role and Jude Law as Dr. Watson. While the film's production has had its issues (and is now rumored to be cursed) i'm sold on a turn from Ritchie's usual. Particularly with RDJ in tow.

13. Fantastic Mr. Fox - The fantastic Mr. Wes Anderson's next film is a stop-motion adaptation of Roald Dahl's children's book with Blanchett & Clooney as voices (plus Bill Murray and Jason Schwartzman, of course). No stills have surfaced yet, but there's no reason to suspect Anderson's first foray into animation will be anything other than...fantastic?

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