Here's my list of my most anticipated films of 2009. This required a bit of research as I'm still consumed with playing catch from 2008's offerings, but there looks to be some interesting things (hopefully) coming out in the next 11 months. I didn't bother considering anything in the previous month (sorry Paul Blart!) Some of the these films releases are very subject to change (especially since my list is covered to detail oriented auteurs known for taking there time. And...here...we...GO!
In alphabetical order:
17 Photos of Isabel (Don Roos)
Stars Lisa Kudrow and Natalie Portman
The latest from Roos (The Opposite of Sex, Happy Endings) details a relationship between a women and her stepson. As a big fan of Roos' past work he is known to give great roles to his leading ladies-- Kudrow is definitely his muse, and Happy Endings featured a superb role for Maggie Gyllenhaal-- so I'll check this one out for expected greatness from Kudrow and Portman, who seems a natural fit for Roos' funny\sad\biting creations.
opens June 2009
500 Days of Summer (Marc Webb)
Stars Joseph Gordon Levitt and Zooey Deschanel
A hit at this years Sundance Film Festival, this looks like it could be a strong little odd love story-like movie. Bring it on!
FOX SEARCHLIGHT PICTURES, open July 24
Adventureland (Greg Mottola)
Stars Jessie Eisenberg (The Squid & the Whale), Martin Starr, Kristen Kiig, Bill Hader, and the Twilight chick.
I love the line in the trailer -- "We do the the work of pathetic, lazy morons," (it really hits home), but here comes a coming of age tale set in an amusement part circa 1987 from the guy who brought us Superbad. I was a bit disappointed with that one, but this looks promising, and I'm all for Eisenberg getting more work, and Wiig making more movies (she's my current favorite on "Saturday Night Live.")
MIRAMAX FILMS, opens March 27
All Good Things (Andrew Jarecki)
Stars Ryan Gosling, Kirsten Dunst, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Frank Langella and Kristen Wiig.
I know next to nothing about this-- it involves some sort of missing persons investigation-- but and greatly anticipating the feature debut of Jarecki who made the amazing documentary Capturing the Friedmans, one of the most captivating family stories ever to told...ever, just thinking about it again gives me the chills. But considering the cast, I'll be there.
THE WEINSTEIN COMPANY, opens July 24
Away We Go (Sam Mendes)
Stars John Krasinski, Maya Rudolph, Catherine O'Hara, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Allison Janney, and several more actors I love.
With Revolutionary Road (which should really have come with a complimentary prescription to Xanax) still fresh in the brain, I'm a bit leery to follow Mendes anywhere for a while, but this one's a comedy-- a road movie in fact, about an expectant couple (Krasinski and Rudolph) travelling the US to find a perfect place to raise there family. Seems like it might be a fresh break from Mendes' typical brand of doom. Plus there's the added benefit of several actors whom I'd travel anywhere with. I'm game!
FOCUS FEATURES, open June 5
Brothers (Jim Sheridan)
Stars Tobey Maguire, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Natalie Portman
This is a remake of the of Suzanne Bier's much acclaimed Danish film about a relationship between a soldier lost in Afghanistan, his brother and his wife. Looks like this one might be a Oscar bait style movie (Sheridan's been there before), but I'm curious for a chance for these three actors to possibly raise there games in a rich drama.
MGM, no release date yet
Funny People (Judd Apatow)
Stars Adam Sandler, Seth Rogen, Leslie Mann, Eric Bana, and Jason Schwartzman.
Apatow directing his third film, enough said, I'm there-- but this one seems to have a bit more heft to it, we shall see. It centers on a comedian discovering a inoperable health problem. Will it work? Curious about the Bana casting, I'm guessing he really digged that Munich reference in Knocked Up.
COLUMBIA PICTURES, opens July 31
Harry Potter & the Half Blood Prince (Peter Yates)
Stars Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Helena Bonham Carter, Ralph Fiennes and Michael Gambon.
As long as it's been to deny it, or shield it, I've become a Potter fan slowly, but fervently. And well director Peter Yates is returning after the sublime and dark Order of the Phoenix. I'll see it immediately.
WARNER BROS., opens July 17
I Love You, Man (John Hamburg)
Stars Paul Rudd and Jason Siegel.
The first film to really concentrate on "bromance." While this one might easily be the most disasterous of this list, I'm already sold on the chemistry between Rudd and Siegel.
DREAMWORKS PICTURES, opens March 20
I Love You Phillip Morris (Glenn Ficarra & John Requa)
Stars Jim Carrey, Ewan McGregor, Rodrigo Santoro, and Leslie Mann.
A gay prision love story from the makers of Bad Santa...I'm there in a heartbeat. Reaction at Sundance (where the film premiered) was mixed, but just from reading about it, I totally see cult potential here. Nice to see Carrey go a little darker, after a couple of years of staleness. McGregor and Mann are welcome additions to any cast, so I'm pretty much sold.
No distributor and release date yet, but I'm hopeful this one will make it out this year.
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (Terry Gilliam)
Stars Heath Ledger, Jude Law, Colin Farrell, Johnny Depp and Christopher Plummer.
Really more of a curiosity piece than anything else, but I have to be there for the last celluloid imagery of Heath Ledger.
LIONS GATE FILMS, no release date yet
Inglourious Basterds (Quentin Tarantino)
This one says it'll be out in August (according to IMDb), but I'm not convinced it be there then, what with Tarantino at the helm. But for obvious reasons, I'll be checking this one out...when Tarantino has anything new, I'm there. With a cast that's totally gonzo-- Brad Pitt, Diane Kruger, Samm Levine, Daniel Bruhl, Cloris Leachman, Mike Myers, and it goes on and on-- I already convinced this will be the most interesting and hotly discussing and disected movie of the year.
UNIVERSAL PICTURES/THE WEINSTEIN COMPANY, opens August 21
Public Enemies (Michael Mann)
Stars Johnny Depp, Christian Bale, Channing Tatum, Marion Cotillard and Billy Crudup.
So the greatest crime drama director is tackling one of the greatest crime drama stories in history, John Dillinger, played by Depp. For the eye candy of the period, the ferocity Mann is renowned for, and a cast to salivate for, this one could be gold. The only problem I see is that this one seems like a fall movie, not a summer movie-- hopefully it won't get lost the brain freeze July typically offers.
UNIVERSAL PICTURES, opens July 1
Shutter Island (Martin Scorsese)
Stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley, Michelle Williams and Patricia Clarkson.
Set in the 1950s this is a crime drama based on a novel by Dennis Lehane (Mystic River) with a stellar cast and Scorsese at the helm-- of course I want it. Hopefully his Departed mojo is still kicking.
PARAMOUNT PICTURES, opens October 9
Sunshine Cleaning (Christina Jeffs)
Stars Amy Adams, Emily Blunt and Alan Arkin.
Debuted at last year's Sundance Film Festival, this one looks very Little Miss Sunshine-inspired, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Sisters Adams and Blunt upstart a company cleaning up after dead people. Looks affable and cute, but hopefully a smaller scaled project will bring out the best in Adams (seriously in need of a Junebug reburst) and Blunt, sadly largely ignored since delighting in The Devil Wears Prada.
OVERTURE PICTURES, opens March 13
Taking Woodstock (Ang Lee)
Stars Demetri Martin, Emile Hirsch, Imelda Staunton, Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Paul Dano.
While the subject of Woodstock has been movie fodder before, I will remain true to Ang Lee forever (even in wake of Lust, Caution) and the unexpected turns of one of the most gifted directors working today.
FOCUS FEATURES, opens August 14
The Tree of Life (Terrence Malick)
Stars Brad Pitt and Sean Penn.
Centering on a family in the 1950s, the plot is almost irrelevant as it's by Malick, the maker of only 4 previous films (Badlands, Days of Heaven, The Thin Red Line and The New World) is one of the best American auteurs ever. Such visual poetry, such incredible, indelible portraits of American life...I can't wait. I can't wait. I know next to nothing about this particular one, but I don't care...I need my Malick fix. NOW!
NO DISTRIBUTOR YET, release date pending... Malick takes his time.
Watchmen (Zach Synder)
Stars Billy Crudup, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Malin Ackerman and Patrick Wilson.
Well, this is actually the strangest one on my list-- I'm not the comic book geek obsessed (SORRY!), and I wasn't drawn to the first trailer (properly placed in front of The Dark Knight), but the second trailer kind of the got to me a little bit. The opening orchestration instantly made me think of The Godfather for some reason, and perhaps in the wake of the greatest superhero movie ever (think!), I'm hopeful the wave continues with this intriguing one.
WARNER BROS., opens March 9
Where the Wild Things Are (Spike Jonze)
Stars Catherine Keener and Max Records
One of my favorite childhood books comes to life in auteur Jonze's tricked out, allegedly troubled, live action-hybrid adaptation. I can't wait-- even if it's an outright disaster.
COLUMBIA PICTURES, opens October 16
Up (Peter Docter & Bob Petersen)
voices of the Edward Asner, Delroy Lindo, John Ratzenberger and Christopher Plummer.
This is Pixar's next film, where ever they go, I'm there, 'nuff said.