Before posting my top 5 films of 2008, I thought we should take a small segue way and take a look at some of the upcoming films of 2009. Specifically some of the really hyped pictures that I am looking forward to. This is by no means a complete listing of every great movie that is coming out, just sort of a run down on projects that have caught my interest and the big time tent pole releases that everyone looks forward to watching.
I am going to pick out 10 films that I think everyone (not necessarily just me) are looking forward to coming out, and maybe a few honorable mentions to go along with them. I have also included movie posters to everything though many of them are still in the teaser state and haven't officially had the final poster art released yet. Still, a little bit is better than nothing yes?
The latest from comedy savant Sasha Baron Cohen, he returns to the last character from his hit HBO show that hasn't seen the big screen treatment. Cohen met limited success with Ali G Indahouse, but exploded with the hit Borat. Bruno is his last character, the flamboyantly gay Austrian fashonista who will seek to undermine American sensibilities on homosexuality. If form holds true, this film with push the envelope on gay standards in America and be wickedly subversive and funny.
9- G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra
The 1980's toy and cartoon staple gets the big screen treatment courtesy of director Stephen Sommers (yeah the guy that made The Mummy and Van Helsing.) G.I. Joe is about a group of military operatives formed to combat the terrorist organization of Cobra. It stars Dennis Quaid, Sierra Miller, Marlon Wayans, and Ray Park (Darth Maul of Episode 1 fame) as Snake Eyes. To be honest, I am not sure that this is going to be a good film. Sommers isn't known for making substantial films in terms of plot or acting, usually sticking with big budget effects and spectacle to hide loose story elements. Still the nostalgia factor will be high and the formula worked with Transformers in 2007 so this could be a breakout hit.
Director James Cameron is back behind the camera with his first new film since Titanic. Starring up and comer Sam Worthington, Michelle Rodriguez, and Sigourney Weaver, it is about a group of humans who discover a new planet, Pandora, and seek to exploit the world of its vast riches. It's then a wounded ex-marine must battle for the sake of not only the new world of Pandora, but for Earth as well. To be honest not a whole lot is out there on this film. It's been in pre-production for so long I will believe it is released when it actually gets released. Tentatively its scheduled to come out in December of 2009. I still have to say that Cameron is known for his ground breaking special effects work, so the bar has been set pretty high here. The only reason I didn't rank the expectation on this film in the top five is that I am not sure it will make its release window. I mean the poster alone has it debiting this summer in 200, but current release charts have it marked in December.
7- Star Trek
J.J. Abrams reboots the classic franchise by going back to the roots of the series. Starring a young Kirk and Spock, the film centers on the first mission of the Enterprise and the bonds that form as the crew come together battling the Romulan Nero. Abrams has been gold lately with hits like Lost, Fringe and Cloverfield, so Star Trek is his next test. So far the trailers for the film look incredible and the casting top notch, with Christopher Pine, Zachary Quinto, Eric Bana, and Simon Pegg he has really looked for actors to emulate the feel of teh classics while remaining respectful to the original series. He even got Leonard Nemoy back on board. Abrams hasn't failed us yet, he may be just the man to take Star Trek boldly to where no man has gone before, (okay at least in a long time) the top of the box office.
6- X-Men Origins: Wolverine
Marvel Comics most popular mutant strikes out on his own in a prequel to the X-Men franchises, this time focusing on the origins of Wolverine and the Weapon X program that gave him his metal bones. Expect Wolverine paired against a younger William Stryker (the villain from X-Men 2) and fights against Sabertooth as both characters develop their powers. Hugh Jackman is back as well and he is bringing a host of Marvel Comic characters with him. Expect cameo appearances from the ever popular, Gambit, Deadpool, Agent Zero, and the Blob. Wolverine is Marvel's most popular character and the most popular X-Men, I expect big things from this film.
5- Terminator: Salvation
Christian Bale is in another tent pole summer blockbuster as an adult John Conner kicking ass in the future against the armies of Skynet. Sam Worthington (of Avatar fame) is also in this film as the war for humanity rages on. This is supposedly the first film in a new three film franchise of the venerable series for Bale and Worthington. What more do you need to know other than armies Terminators fighting Christian Bale in the future war we have wanted since the first film! Allegedly even the Govinator himself has allowed his likeness and voice to make an appearance.
4- Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen
G.I.Joe isn't the only 1980's toy property hitting theatres this summer. Michael Bay, Shia Lebeouf, and Megan Fox are back in the big budget sequel to the smash hit film Transformers. Expect Optimus Prime, Megatron, Starscream, and a host of new Transformers all brought to life. Megatron is resurrected and with new Decepticon re-enforcements on the way, the Autobots team up with the armies of humanity in what is sure to be a huge battle. Personally I didn't care much for the first film, but I realize I am in the minority with that statement as this film is sure to be one of the biggest of the summer.
The latest from Disney/Pixar, Up is the story of an elderly man who wants to fulfill his life long dream to see the wilds of South America. He ties thousands of balloons to his house and sets loose for adventure, only to find a young stowaway on board for the ride. Pixar's record at the box office is unbeatable and they keep getting better with each year. I have liked each film they make a bit more than the last, and I loved Wall-E. I am confident that this will be the number one animated movie of the year. For the icing on the cake, Pixar is also re-releasing their original hit, Toy Story in 3D.
The magnum opus of comic book movies, hype for this film has been off the charts. I may be rating it a little higher on my depth chart letting personal bias shade me a little, but I am okay with that. Watchmen is a deconstructionist tale of real world superheroes. If superheroes really existed in the world, what would happen? Starting in the 1940's and running into an alternate future in the 1980's where Nixon is still President. Once great hero Rorschach (like the ink blot tests) is investigating the murder of former hero The Comedian. As he digs deeper and investigates his old team mates, you dive into the real world affects of super heroes. Imagine Superman fighting in Vietnam for the U.S., and when someone has that much power and is supposed to watch over you, who watches the Watchmen? Often thought to be next to impossible to film, 300 director Chris Synder has teamed up with original series artist Dave Gibbons to bring this to the screen in one of the hottest films of 2009. While I am scared that they will ruin what many people consider the greatest comic book of all time, deep down I am hopeful that it will be the film I imagine.
1- Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince
While I don't guarantee that Transformers will not out gross this film, I do believe that anticipation on this film is higher. Originally scheduled for a November release in 2008, it was pushed back to a summer release in 2009 with the overwhelming success of The Dark Knight for Warner Bros. I mean why out out this film then when you can pad your profits for next year. It will also reduce wait on the final films in the book adaptations on 2010 and 2011 respectively. By this point you know the story of Harry Potter, a young wizard attending Hogwarts School who is embroiled in a battle with the evil Dark Wizard Voldemorte. This is one of my favorite books in the series and reveals alot of the origins of Potter and Voldemorte, as well as ending with one of the best cliffhangers ever. The books get progressively darker as the series rolls on and this is the darkest of the lot, really pushing Harry in an adult direction. By far the adaption that I was looking forward to the most in the series.
Now I am sure that I probably didn't get the order right, I tried to find a blend of films I want to see and what everyone wants to see. Personally I don't want to watch Transformers 2 and I think that G.I. Joe could potentially be terrible with the directorial pedigree behind it. It was hard to pic 10 movies for the list, several films I really wanted to see missed the cut including Public Enemies with Christian Bale and Johnny Depp (about FBI agents in the 1930's hunting notorious criminals); Inglorious Bastards (the new Quentin Tarentino World War 2 film); Coraline, a stop-motion animated film from the mind of writer Neil Gaiman; Angels and Demons, the prequel to the Da Vinci Code with Tom Hanks; and Funny People, the new Judd Apatow directed comedy with Adam Sandler and Seth Rogan. I am sure there are other great films I haven't even heard about yet, though they will be just as good. I look forward to another year at the movies, I hope you read about a few you are looking forward to.
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