Last year was a bit disappointing for me as a cinephile, though it was a pretty green one for the box office
. Hollywood was worried about selling tickets without any big franchise installments, but movie-goers still showed up in droves.
2009 looks promising, and pretty fun too. Here’s what I’m looking forward to.
Here’s an equation: Henry Selick + Neil Gaiman = Awesome. The previews haven’t done much for me, I’ll admit. But Gaiman’s book is a classic, and Selick knows how to create a haunting, beautiful world with stop-motion magic. I’m hoping this film does better than previous attempts at adapting Gaiman’s words to the big screen (MirrorMask, Beowulf, Stardust).
Just listen to this synopsis and try not to be intrigued:
“Split between the parallel realities of contemporary London and the futuristic metropolis of Meanwhile City, Franklyn follows the tales of four characters. Jonathan Preest (Ryan Phillippe) is a masked vigilante who won’t rest until he finds his nemesis, Meanwhile City’s dangerous leader. Emilia (Eva Green) is a troubled young art student whose rebellion may turn out to be deadly. Milo (Sam Riley) is a heartbroken twentysomething yearning for the purity of first love. Peter (Bernard Hill) is a man steeped in religion, searching desperately for his missing son amongst London’s homeless. The film traces the intertwined fates of four lost souls as they move toward a cataclysmic collision of two worlds.”
(No, that isn’t from the 2009 film, but it showed up in Google Images and I couldn’t resist.)
This franchise reboot has two things working for it. One, I’m an obsessive fan of JJ Abrams and his writer/producer friends Damon Lindeloff, Roberto Orci, and Alex Kurtzman. Two, I was raised by a professional astronomer who had a veritable library of Trek on VHS (Thanks, Dad!).
Pixar hasn’t made a bad movie yet. Well, Cars was pretty pedestrian, but I’m willing to forgive them. Up follows an elderly man and a chubby Boy Scout on a globe-trotting adventure.
I’m biased. This wasn’t just filmed in Chicago, a scene was filmed in the lobby of my grad school. Add Johnny Depp, Christian Bale, Marion Cotillard, Billy Crudup, Emilie de Ravin, and director Michael Mann, and I’m on board. It’s based on Bryan Burrough’s book Public Enemies: America’s Greatest Crime Wave and the Birth of the FBI, 1933–34.
September 9th (9.9.09)
A young CG animator named Shane Acker won Best In Show for his 11-minute short film 9
, an honor usually reserved for Pixar. Then he was nominated for an Academy Award. Then Tim Burton and Timur Bekmambetov funded a full-length adaptation. It’s about a team of sapient rag dolls who attempt to “protect the legacy of humanity” in a post-apocalyptic world. Sounds weird enough to work.
Voice talents include Elijah Wood, Jennifer Connelly, Christopher Plummer, Martin Landau, John C. Reilly, and even Crispin Glover.
I like atmospheric period pieces with great casts that don’t take themselves too seriously. Especially when they’re based on pulp classics like Conan Doyle. How’s this for an all-star cast: Robert Downey, Jr. as Sherlock, Jude Law as Watson, and Rachel McAdams as a mysterious femme fatale. Sounds perfect. Let’s hope Guy Ritchie remembers how to make a good movie.
James Cameron’s been working on this 3D sci-fi epic for over a decade, and if you believe the hype, it’s going to change the way we watch movies. It’s got something to do with an interplanetary miner sticking his consciousness into a biological alien “avatar” and falling in love with a ten-foot blue-skinned Zoe Saldana. I haven’t seen a classic, epic sci-fi film in a long time, so I’ve got my fingers crossed for this one.
I’m still looking forward to these flicks, but they have a higher probability of disappointment.
Liam Neeson beats a lot of people up.
To be announced…not good
One of my favorite books, and one of my favorite actresses, in the hands of an unknown writer and director. Fingers crossed.
I don’t care much for Bryan Singer’s X-Men franchise, but I do love Hugh Jackman, Liev Schribner, Ryan Reynolds, and Danny Huston.
Not really a Terminator
) fan, but Paul Haggis and Jonathan Nolan helped with the script, and I’ll watch Christian Bale in just about anything.
Will Ferrell can be funny or painful, depending on the vehicle. But this fantastical remake has the potential to be a new classic. Plus, Pushing Daisies’ adorable Anna Friel co-stars.
Tony Scott remakes a 1970’s thriller about a hijacked subway train with Denzel Washington, John Travolta, and James Gandolfini. Could be fun.
The first one was a lot of fun, albeit shallow.
I despise the novels, but the last three movies have been well-crafted.
The details on this one are fuzzy. It has something to do with aliens landing in Africa and becoming enslaved by a entity called Multi-National United. The official site
is, well, interesting, and there’s a lot of cool viral stuff online