It’s tough to say goodbye to something you love. 2008 was definitely a good year for movie fans. The bar is set pretty high for 2009. How can it possibly compare, right?
Well, what if I was to tell you that 2009 has an EVEN BIGGER AND BETTER line up of flicks than 2008? You’d probably call me a liar. Just take a look at these 25 films, and then think about what you said. Yeah, you feel pretty bad now, huh?
From 25 to 1, here are the biggest and (hopefully) best films of 2009. Starting with:
I know what you’re thinking. Chev Chelios was pancaked on the pavement at the end of Crank 1. Little room for a sequel right? Wrong! The Chinese Mafia have stolen his indestructible heart and replaced it with a battery-powered one instead. Chelios goes on the hunt for his old heart, all the while giving his own jolts of electricity to keep it running. So, business as usual then?
Spike Jonze‘s seemingly cursed adaptation of Maurice Sendak’s classic children’s novel was supposed to be out by now. The film was repeatedly delayed amidst rumours the film was too scary for kids / the CGI looked too fake / the kid playing Max was too annoying. But it’s hard not to be excited about seeing this great book on the big screen. (Fun Fact: The screenplay was written by McSweeney’s founder Dave Eggers).
Ellen Page stars as Bliss Cavendar, a teenage girl who runs away from her Beauty Pageant loving mother to join a roller derby team. Whip It is the directorial debut of Drew Barrymore, and also stars Kristen Wiig, Zoe Bell and Alia Shawkat. Now, could my schoolboy crush on Ellen Page be making me more excited for this film than I should be? No! How dare you suggest such a thing!
Michael Mann directs Johnny Depp and Christian Bale in this true crime story set during the Great Depression. Bale stars as FBI agent Melvin Purvis, while Depp takes on the role of notorious mobster John Dillinger. Although his last film was the over-serious Miami Vice, Mann could have ‘Heat circa-1930’s’ on his hands. And that’s something to be excited about.
Seth Rogen and Elizabeth Banks star in Kevin Smith’s latest raunchfest. Plot synopsis: See title. Sadly, it didn’t make many waves in the U.S upon release, but positive reviews mean this could make an otherwise empty February enjoyable.
Champion of the people Tom Cruise (Admit it; deep down you all love him too! Admit it!) stars as a proud Colonel in World War 2 Germany, who decides to join the resistance and attempt to assassinate Hitler. Spoiler alert: they don’t pull it off. But bless ’em for trying.
Peter Jackson personally purchased the rights to the classic Alice Sebold novel The Lovely Bones. I guess he had some extra coin lying around once the returns of Lord of the Rings came in. A young girl finds herself in heaven after being raped and murdered. She watches over her family as they deal with their grief, and her killer as he prepares to kill again. It’ll be great to see Jackson tackle a smaller, more personal film. Chalk it up for Oscars 2010.
Having pried the franchise out of Brett Ratner‘s failure-stained hands, Fox has divvied up the X-Men for their own Origin films. First up – our very own Adamantium Australian, Wolverine. The trailer looks great, and with The Last Stand as the bench mark to beat, I think we have a pretty safe winner.
Robert Downey Jr reached semi-messianic levels of adoration in 2008, so it was kind of a surprising to see him sign up to Guy Ritchie‘s new Sherlock Holmes flick. But, as the picture above implies, this is not your grandfather’s detective. Downey Jr has had a flawless filmography since 2005, so I’m on board! As for Ritchie, well, everyone deserves a second chance.
Benicio Del Toro dons the fake teeth and claws for Joe Johnston‘s Wolfman flick. Also starring Anthony Hopkins, Emily Blunt and Hugo Weaving, with makeup by legendary Rick Baker. If the bootleg trailer from Comic Con is anything to go by, this is going to be a scary, bloody, and very fun flick. Considering Johnston was given the directing job on Captain America based on his work here, it feels like a sure fire hit.
Steven Soderbergh emerges from his largely ignored 4-hour Che Guevara saga with a traditional crime drama. Matt Damon stars as Mark Whitacre, a real-life mole who wore an FBI wire for 2 years to uncover a major corporate scam. I thought Soderbergh would never make another film along the lines of Traffic or Out of Sight, but here we are. Don’t worry though – I’m sure he’ll be back to his experimental indie flops in no time.
Seth Rogen (another year, another 10 Seth Rogen films) stars as a crazed mall security guard who wages war on the cops. Written and directed by Jody Hill (whose debut film The Foot Fist Way remains unreleased in Australia), Observe and Report is a darker departure from Rogen’s usual fare. Look out for some seriously un-PC laughs. (FYI – Paul Blart: Mall Cop starring Kevin James is also being released in ’09. Do not see it.)
OK. So it’s not “official” official yet, but surely this film is coming. Maybe 2009 is a bit optimistic. Damn it, I can dream, can’t I? But look, I’m a reasonable man. In the words of Tobias Funke, “even if it means taking a chubby, I will suck it up.” Wise words.
The directorial debut of Ricky Gervais might have the best cast of 2009: Tina Fey, Jonah Hill, Christopher Guest, Jennifer Garner, Jason Batemen, Jeffrey Tambor, Rob Lowe and even a cameo from Karl Pilkington! Gervais stars in a fictional parallel universe in which he is the first man to ever tell a lie, and becomes insanely successful in the film industry as a result. Co-directed by newcomer Matt Robinson, this could make Gervais a genuine-movie star. Finally.
Leonardo DiCaprio reteams with Marty Scorsese for Shutter Island (previously titled Ashecliffe). DiCaprio and Mark Ruffalo star as two U.S. marshals hunting a murderess who has escaped from a hospital for the criminally insane. An inmate riot and hurricane make life harder for the marshals. Sounds like a very interesting project for Scorsese, and with Emily Mortimer as the escaped patient, I’m sold.
Avatar would be number 1 on this list if a trailer, or poster, or image or anything were available to devour. It’s James Cameron‘s first film in 12 years, peeps! And for the Titanic haters out there (I’m not one FYI), this is the guy who made True Lies, Terminator 1 and 2, The Abyss and Aliens! No other director has a handle on action sequences quite like Cameron. The plot synopsis for Avatar is too confusing to summarise here, but take my word for it – it will change your life. Fact.
People are divided over this one, but it’s hard not to be excited for a new installment in the Terminator series. The studio seems to have faith – they’ve already greenlit a sequel. Maybe director McG can deliver a solid action movie without having to rely on Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore and Lucy Liu flirting with the camera!
Judd Apatow has another big year in 2009; he’s producing the Paul Rudd comedy I Love You, Man and directing a semi-autobiographical dramedy called Funny People. However, I’m most excited for this Apatow produced, Harold Ramis directed, Monty Python-inspired, biblical comedy starring Jack Black and Michael Cera. No trailer or official pics yet, but trust me – I’m keeping my eye out!
Is Star Trek still Star Trek if it has explosions and sex and bras and sex and explosions? Because the majority of the trailer seems to imply J.J. Abrams reboot has more action (bedroom and otherwise) than the entire Star Trek series combined. We’ll have to wait and see if it holds onto the spirit of Trek, but as a sci-fi flick, it looks like a corker.
The ever-excitable Quentin Tarantino has promised his gory World War 2 flick Inglourious Basterds will debut at Cannes, May 2009. Considering filming started October 2008, that is insanely impressive. I think this is exactly the kind of departure Tarantino needs after Death Proof (which was good, but a bit same-old). Basterds will be divided into five chapters. Chapter five is called “Revenge of the Giant Face”. Tell me you don’t want to see what happens in that!
Somehow, there are people in the world who do NOT know who Sacha Baron Cohen is, or why he is asking bizarre questions and dancing provocatively in his underwear. Some people (seriously, who are these people?!) haven’t cottoned on to his manic exploits. THANK GOD! His flamboyant Austrian fashion expert Bruno scored an interview with an unwitting Ben Affleck this time around. I’ve got to see that.
If Warner Bros had kept their original release date, we would have all seen Harry Potter 6 by now (it was originally going to land late November 2008). But since The Dark Knight earnt them a bajillion dollars, they decided to keep their other money-printing franchise until the next financial year. The strange thing is, all the fans already know what happens. But damn it, we need to see the film NOW!!!
Pixar‘s latest tells the story of a crotchety old man who decides to travel around the world to all the places his late wife never saw. All in the comfort of his balloon-lifted home. It will be Pixar’s first film in 3D (as if you needed another reason to see it). Early reports have been fanatical, and if WALL-E can’t get a Best Picture nomination this year, expect Up to get there in 2010.
After some recent legal woes, we’re not even sure if Watchmen will come out in 2009 AT ALL! Regardless, I personally could not be more excited for any other film. Those who haven’t read Alan Moore’s brilliant graphic novel better catch up before March (fingers crossed)! I don’t want to build expectations too high, but I believe after Watchmen is released, people will throw their Dark Knight DVD’s away, set fire to their Iron Man toy collection, and routinely hunt and beat people who claim to prefer Spiderman 2. Just a hunch.
Did we miss anything? What are YOU looking forward to in 2009?