The first four months of the year are some of the most desolate movie-going months of the year. The studios tend to mostly release their crap films during these winter months. That said, here's a look at what I'm most excited for during the first four months of 2009:
Nothing. No new major releases excite me, with the possible exception of the Bollywood flick CHANDI CHOWK TO CHINA, but I'll probably end up waiting for the DVD. Same with the Liam Neeson actioner TAKEN. If it was rated R I'd check it out in the theater; since it's PG-13 I'll wait till DVD. I will spend the next few weeks catching up with the remaining 2008 releases and turning out my end-of-the-year accolades.
On 2/6, CORALINE, a bizarre looking 3-D claymation flick from Henry Selick (THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS) hits theaters. The trailer is beyond strange. I have some interest. Also on 2/6 is PUSH, which looks like a low-rent X-MEN but in a good way. It might be decent; consider me curious.
On 2/13 arrives THE INTERNATIONAL, a slick-looking political thriller from RUN LOLA RUN and PERFUME director Tom Twyker and starring the eternally cool Clive Owen and Naomi Watts. Definitely interested. Also coming out for Valentines weekend is the romantic drama TWO LOVERS, with Joaquin Phoenix, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Vinessa Shaw, which was written and directed by James Gray (THE YARDS, WE OWN THE NIGHT). Love the trailer and love the players involved; definitely seeing this one.
On 3/6 is the highly anticipated WATCHMEN, from 300 director Zack Snyder. The film looks fucking incredible. I cannot wait to see it. It'll be released in standard format and in IMAX format. It looks like a complete acid trip.
On 3/20 comes three releases that hold some interest for me. DUPLICITY, from writer/director Tony Gilroy (MICHAEL CLAYTON) and starring Clive Owen (busy in '09), Julia Roberts, Tom Wilkinson, and Paul Giamatti, looks like a fizzy romp. I hope it's cool. The Alex Proyas thriller KNOWING with Nic Cage has some potential based on it's freak-out trailer; Proyas directed one of my favorite films of all time -- DARK CITY -- so I'll always be interested in this filmmaker's output. Also released that day is I LOVE YOU, MAN, a new comedy with Paul Rudd and Jason Segel, which sounds like it could bring the funny.
On 3/27 is the CGI 3-D release MONSTERS VS. ALIENS which might be neat. We'll see...
On 3/29 is ADVENTURELAND, from SUPERBAD director Gregg Mottola. The film has a funny trailer and has a large supporting cast. Could be fun.
On 4/3 comes FAST & FURIOUS, the fourth installment of the franchise. I liked the first one, tolerated the sequel, but thought the third entry was crap on wheels. This new one looks pretty solid for what it is but I don't have any major expectations. Still, it might deliver on a visceral action level. Maybe. Also on 4/3 is the R-rated rom-com THE UGLY TRUTH, which stars Katherine Heigel (mmmm) and Gerry Butler. The trailer is actually decent for this sort of disposable entertainment. It might be a surprise.
On 4/10 comes OBSERVE & REPORT, a reportedly extra-raunchy Seth Rogen/Anna Faris comedy directed by THE FIST FOOT WAY's Jody Hill. I have read some amazing test screening reviews for this film. Very anxious to check this one out.
On 4/17 is STATE OF PLAY, a good-looking political thriller with an amazing cast (Russell Crowe, Ben Affleck, Helen Mirren, Rachel McAdams) and a fine filmmaker at the helm (Kevin McDonald, THE LAST KING OF SCOTLAND and TOUCHING THE VOID). Also released that day is the insane looking sequel to CRANK (one of my favorite guilty pleasures), CRANK 2: HIGH VOLTAGE. Yes, it looks like trash, but gloriously offensive trash. I loved the first flick so I'm expecting to really dig this new effort from Neveldine/Taylor and the always watchable Jason Statham.
On 4/22 is the glorious looking documentary EARTH, which brings a tear to my eye every time I see the trailer.
On 4/24 is the long-delayed THE SOLOIST, with Robert Downey Jr. and Jamie Foxx, from ATONEMENT director Joe Wright. I love the trailer. Yes, it looks like a schmaltz fest, but for some reason, I am very interested in it. I am normally resistant to obvious "pull-at-your-heartstrings" movies like this but I love the look and feel of the movie just from the trailers.
So, there's a snapshot of the first four months of 2009. I can easily say that WATCHMEN is the one film I'm most interested in seeing. Happy viewing!