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Sneak Peeks at 2009's Most Anticipated Movies

Submitted by on January 6, 2009 – 12:52 am11 Comments

Happy New Year! Hope you all enjoyed the holidays and had a chance to see some movies. Now that the new year has begun, there’s a whole new slew of films to look forward to. There’s something for everyone (if it’s underlined, click on it to see the trailer):

THE BIG, FAT EXPENSIVE MOVIES

WatchmenWatchmen (March 6, tentatively)—It has a great cast, looks good, I did voice work on it so it’d better make lots of dough. Make sure you see it several times with large groups of friends!

X-Men Origins: Wolverine (May 1)—It’s all about Hugh Jackman. ‘Nuff said.

Star Trek (May 8)—I’m not a Trek fan but it’s directed by J.J. Abrams so we’ll see. If it’s as good as the best episodes of Alias, I’m there.

terminator4-poster1Terminator: Salvation (May 21)—The last installment was not great but Christian Bale is taking over as John Connor so this could be awesome. I’m ready for a full-time kick-ass Connor, as opposed to the whiny, teenager version we’ve had to tolerate for almost two decades.

Avatar (Dec. 18)—No one knows what the funk it’s about but it supposedly has newfangled, groundbreaking FX and James Cameron’s last movie, Titanic, is still the undefeated box office champ so this one won’t be hurting for an audience.

THE PRESTIGE FILMS OVERSTUFFED WITH TALENT

Duplicity (March 20)—Tony Gilroy follows up Michael Clayton by directing Julia Roberts, Clive Owen, Tom Wilkinson and Paul Giamatti (Gilroy must have a clause in his contract that reads “I only direct huge movie stars”) in a spy movie partly filmed in Rome. The trailer looks slick, sexy and funny. I can’t decide which is prettier, Rome or Owen, and it’ll be nice to Roberts in a starring role again. (Read my review here.)

State of Play (April 17)—Based on a BBC series about reporters working with a police detective to solve the murder of a congressman’s mistress. The presence of Helen Mirren makes the trailer look Prime Suspect-ish. The cast also includes Russell Crowe, Ben Affleck, Rachel McAdams, Robin Wright Penn, Viola Davis and Jeff Daniels. (Click here for my review and comparison with the BBC version.)

p-enemiesPublic Enemies (July 1)—Michael Mann directing Johnny Depp as John Dillinger and Christian Bale as Melvin Purvis, plus Oscar-winner Marion Cotillard and Billy Crudup in supporting roles. This is an embarrassment of talents. Plus, how cool is Depp in this photo?!

Shutter Island (Oct. 2)—Martin Scorsese directing Christian Bale…er, Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo, Michelle Williams, Patricia Clarkson in an adaptation of Dennis Lehane’s thriller (read my review of the book here). I loved the book and this cast is top-notch so if the movie sucks, it would be quite a feat.

robert-downey-jr-sherlock-holmes-06Sherlock Holmes (Dec. 25)Guy Ritchie directing Robert Downey, Jr. as the infamous detective and Jude Law as Dr. Watson (had no idea Dr. Watson was blond and hot). Rachel McAdams (this year’s female Christian Bale) is also along for the ride. I devoured everything Holmesian as a kid and think RDJ is a foolproof actor when it comes to riveting performances (if not necessarily good films) so this had better be good.

The Lovely Bones (Dec. 11)Peter Jackson steering Rachel Weisz, Susan Sarandon, Mark Wahlberg, Stanley Tucci and Saoirse Ronan (as Susie Salmon) in the adaption of Alice Sebold’s bestseller. Must admit I didn’t love the book but this is a great cast and I love Peter Jackson (I even liked The Frighteners) so I’d have to check this out.

this-side-of-the-truthThe Invention of Lying (formerly known as This Side of the Truth, Sept. 25)—This movie, co-written and co-directed by Ricky Gervais, stars Gervais, Christopher Guest, Jennifer Garner, Tina Fey, Patrick Stewart, Jason Bateman, Rob Lowe and Jeffrey Tambor. Do you need any more info than this? I’m just gonna show up and expect to laugh ’til I crack.

FARE FOR THE LADIES

Bride Wars (this Friday, Jan. 9)—Kate Hudson and Anne Hathaway turn into Bridezillas when they both want the same wedding date at the Plaza in New York. Hudson and Hathaway are talented, charismatic actresses but the trailer is shrieky and Kristen Johnston seems to have all the best lines. Think I’ll pass.

New in Town (Jan. 30)—Renee Zellweger as a businesswoman transplanted from Miami to Minnesota who falls in love with Harry Connick, Jr. The leads are very charming performers but this looks like a big-screen version of Men in Trees and the trailer didn’t offer one laugh. Yikes.

Confessions of a Shopaholic (Feb. 13)—Isla Fisher stars as Becky Bloomwood, the heroine in the series of popular books by Sophie Kinsella. It’s odd that Fisher has to speak in a Yank accent when Becky is British and Fisher is Australian, but she’s funny enough to embody Becky and Hugh Dancy is a great choice as Luke. The leads are supported by the likes of Joan Cusack, John Lithgow, Lynn Redgrave and John Goodman so this could be a smart comedy. (Read my review here.)

The Ugly Truth (July 24)—I can’t stand Katherine Heigl and from the trailer, the movie looks cliched and predictable. It’s rude when studio execs make bad films for women and then say they don’t make money so they don’t have to make more. It’s sad to see the magnetic Gerard Butler wasted in dreck like this. (Read my review here.)

2009_julie_and_julia_001Julie and Julia (Aug. 7)—Meryl Streep stars as Julia Child and Amy Adams is a woman who tries to use all the recipes from one of Child’s cookbooks. Streep is on fire and Adams hasn’t made a false move yet so this could be entertaining. (UPDATE: See my review of this movie here.)

ENTRIES FOR THE KIDDIES

Monsters vs. Aliens (Mar. 27)—From Dreamworks Animation, this is about a woman who gets hit by a meteor and turned into a giant. She then joins other mutants to fight aliens when they attack Earth. I’m hoping the great voice cast—Reese Witherspoon, Hugh Laurie, Paul Rudd, Kiefer Sutherland and Stephen Colbert as President of the United States—will make it more enjoyable than the so-so trailer.

Hannah Montana: The Movie (Apr. 10)—I’ll just say there are worse things impressionable young girls could be obsessed about.

Up (May 29)—Pixar’s latest entry about a curmudgeon who flies off in his house by attaching it to a bunch of balloons. Doesn’t really matter what it’s about; Pixar’s never made a bad film so I’ll line up for this.

2009_where_the_wild_things_are_0031Where the Wild Things Are (Oct. 16)—Spike Jonze is adapting Maurice Sendak’s classic so it’s gotta be trippy. It’s taken a while to come out but the movie stills look more textured and sophisticated than usual kiddie fare so I think it’ll be worth the wait.

FILMS POSTPONED FROM LAST YEAR

He’s Just Not That Into You (Feb. 6)—This has been much delayed plus the entire movie stemmed from one line in a Sex and the City episode so I dunno. The line was funny when originally uttered by Ron Livingston to Cynthia Nixon but now it’s so dated. But the cast is chock full of huge names like Drew Barrymore, Jennifer Connelly, Jennifer Aniston, Ben Affleck, and Scarlett Johansson so there must be some merit in the script, right? Right?

The Soloist (April 24)—My man RDJ and Jamie Foxx in a film based on a true story about an L.A. Times writer who befriends a Julliard-trained but schizophrenic musician living on the streets. It was directed by Joe Wright who’s two for two in my book with Pride and Prejudice and Atonement so I’d watch him go for three.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (July 15)—This has the big death so it promises to be the series’ first tearjerker. David Yates is back as director so I’m excited. Prisoner of Azkaban and Order of the Phoenix are the best so far and since we can’t have Alfonso Cuaron back, I’m happy with Yates.

2008_the_road_003The Road (October 16)—Looks depressing as hell but Mortensen always does compelling work and Charlize Theron, Robert Duvall and Guy Pearce also star so it should be interesting.

What are you looking forward most to seeing? Which sounds like a rental or definite pass altogether? Something not on the list that you’re madly anticipating? Leave a comment and discuss!

(UPDATE: Check out my fall 2009 movie guide here.)

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11 Comments »

  • Mark says:

    It’s got to be the return of Cameron hasn’t it? Avatar is easily the most anticipated movie of the year, if not the decade.

  • Gina says:

    You know… you need to realize that these actors PICK the parts that they are going to play in. They are presented with a script and it’s up to them if they want to take part in it.

    So, griping about studio execs writing bad scripts for women…these women don’t have to take the scripts. Personally, I get tired of hearing Heigle griping about playing roles that are degrading…then quit picking them!

    Gerard Butler is presented with these scripts too…why don’t you wait until the movie comes out before you criticize it?

    • popculturenerd says:

      Hi Gina,

      I mentioned I was judging The Ugly Truth strictly from its trailer, which I think is fair, since the studios are putting it out there to represent the film. Rarely have I seen a bad trailer for a film that’s actually really good. I agree I’d have to see the movie before writing a full review of it.

      As for actors choosing better scripts, if good material isn’t available to them, they have to pick something because they need to make a living. When people you know complain about their jobs, you can’t tell them all to just quit because maybe those jobs are the only ones available to them.

      I’m not defending Heigl because plenty of actors accept sub-par work to pay their bills and don’t publicly gripe about it. My point is the studios provide actors with very few stellar scripts (I know because I used to work at the studios and read a LOT of scripts) and the best usually go to Cate Blanchett or Brad Pitt. The non-superstar actors don’t get that many great options and can’t turn down everything they’re offered if they want to keep working.

  • AReadBear says:

    Thanks for the insights. I spent more than a few hours poring over each trailer. My only complaint is that it didn’t come with popcorn.

  • FFBUFF8 says:

    I have to say that I agreed with all your comments. God, I wish you would give a hand to some of the idiots running EW! They think BENJAMIN BUTTON is going to win the Best Picture Oscar! I will stop going to the movies if this happens.

  • ARB Ent says:

    Why didn’t you do this with all the holiday movies? I was alone and wasted soooo much money hanging out in theatres.

  • sassafras says:

    I’m sooooo looking forward to TWO LOVERS with Gwyneth and Joaquin. I’ve seen the trailer and it looks like one of the best! Check it out!

    • popculturenerd says:

      sassafras,

      Ooh, Two Lovers does look good—thanks for the mention! It’s supposedly Joaquin Phoenix’s last film so that should attract some interest.

      For those who haven’t seen the trailer, click here.

  • popculturenerd says:

    ARB Ent,

    Sorry to hear you wasted so much money over the holidays! Will try to do this with the holiday movies this year.

  • Heretic says:

    I read “The Road” by Cormac McCarthy after reading his book “No Country For Old Men”. It was devastating. If they manage to capture even a small portion of the feel from book and put it on film, it will be as harsh and unrelenting for any man who has a child as “The Passion of the Christ” was for Christians.

    Without a doubt, this one is at the top of my “must see” list.

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