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2009 Preview

January 8, 2009

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What’s in store for theaters in 09
By Melanie Addington
As published in the Oxford Town

Although the looming actor’s strike promises for less movies in 09-10, the future holds at least a few gems in store for us all. Over 3,000 movies are currently slated for a 2009 release, bearing in mind that half won’t make it or will be pushed back and some will be so awful that they won’t be in theaters long, there is a good chance that 09 will be as promising a year for movie lovers as 08.
Here are the top buzzed films of 2009:

“Gran Torino”
Director: Clint Eastwood
Stars: Clint Eastwood
Rated R for language throughout, and some violence.
Release Date: January 9

A disgruntled (and oddly sounding like Batman) war veteran sets out to reform his Asian neighbor, meanwhile learning his own life lesson.

“He’s Just Not That Into You”
Director: Ken Kwapis
Stars: Jennifer Aniston, Drew Barrymore, Ben Affleck, Justin Long and more…
Rated PG-13 for sexual content and brief strong language.
Release Date: February 6
Based on Greg Behrendt’s book of the same title, the movie is a series of interconnecting stories that involve men and women realizing they speak two very different languages. Girls: Behrendt was the consultant for Sex and the City so that the relationships would seem more realistic – now you can see the source of that dialogue you loved.

“Coraline”
Director: Henry Selick
Stars: Dakota Fanning, Teri Hatcher, John Hodgman
Rated PG for thematic elements, scary images, some language and suggestive humor.
Release Date: February 6
Based on Neil Gaiman’s tween book, a little girl discovers an alternate universe that appears to mimic her own life but as she quickly discovers, there is no place like home. Oh wait, that sounds familiar.

“Watchmen”
Director: Zack Snyder
Stars: Rorschach
Rated R for strong graphic violence, sexuality, nudity and language.
Release Date: March 6

From the 12 issue series in 1986-87, Watchmen comes to life on the big screen after much controversy on whether it would or wouldn’t. Luckily for us, Snyder got the film (oddly enough about controversy and conspiracy) made despite the odds. Sadly it is the 163 minute version, not the 200 minute he intended. But – DVD Director’s Cut will be out at some point!

“X-Men Origins: Wolverine”
Director: Gavin Hood
Stars: Hugh Jackman, Liev Schreiber, Ryan Reynolds, Dominic Monaghan
Not Yet Rated
Release Date May 1

The first of the origin films (the next is Magneto in 2011), those of us who have been waiting patiently through the three X-Men films to find out how Wolverine became what he is will finally be rewarded with lots of Hugh Jackman on screen time. We also get introduced to Taylor Kitsch as Gambit who will later get his own spin off film. Kitsch recently starred in Giancarlo Esposito’s “Gospel Hill” (more on that film in the weeks to come).

“Star Trek”
Director: J.J. Abrams
Stars: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Eric Bana, Simon Pegg, Winona Ryder
Not Yet Rated
Release Date: May 8

The early years of James T. Kirk and U.S.S. Enterprise. I mean come on, Simon Pegg as Scotty! It better be awesome. But then Abrams is following up after “Cloverfield,” and that was a bitter disappointment.

“Night at the Museum 2: Battle of the Smithsonian”
Director: Shawn Levy
Stars: Amy Adams, Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Robin Williams, Steve Coogan, Ricky Gervais, Hank Azaria, Christopher Guest, Eugene Levy
Not Yet Rated
Release Date: May 22

The security guard, played once again by Stiller, must break into the Smithsonian to save Jedidiah and Octavius (the mini delights) after they have been accidentally shipped there. Somehow along the way we meet Al Capone and Amelia Earhart.

“Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince”
Director: David Yates
Stars: The Usual Potter gang and Jim Broadbent
Not Yet Rated
Release Date: July 17 (this time)

The sixth year at Hogwarts finds Potter with a book that helps to uncover Voldemort’s past. Fans have been waiting a long time for this one as “Twilight” bumped it out of its original release date in 2008.

G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra
Director: Stephen Sommers
Stars: Brendan Fraser, Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Not Yet Rated
Release Date: August 7

The Pit takes on Cobra. Everyone is wearing black and looks mysterious. Is that what G.I. Joe looked like in cartoon form? Hmm.

“Where the Wild Things Are”
Director: Spike Jonze
Stars: Catherine Keener, Max Records
Not Yet Rated
Release Date: October 16

The adaptation of Maurice Sendak’s famous children’s book, Jonze fought hard to get this one distributed but finally found a home at Warner Brothers.

“Sherlock Holmes”
Director: Guy Ritchie
Stars: Robert Downey. Jr, Jude Law
Not Yet Rated
Release Date: November 20 (but they are still filming, so we shall see if that date holds)

Guy Ritchie promises he will remain true to the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s version of Sherlock Holmes, not the version we have seen romanticized on film for years. No one could suit the true character of Holmes quite like Downey. I haven’t been this excited about a film in years and will be following this one closely.

“The Lovely Bones”
Director: Peter Jackson
Stars: Rachel Weisz, Mark Wahlberg, Stanley Tucci, Susan Sarandon
Not Yet Rated
Release Date: December 11

When I read the book by Alice Sebold I instantly thought what an interesting film it could become. Lord of the Rings Director Peter Jackson took on the story of Alice, a 14-year-old girl that is killed by her neighbor and watches over her family as they search for her body and attempt to carry on with their lives.

“The Avatar”
Director: James Cameron
Stars: Sigourney Weaver, Giovanni Ribisi, Sam Worthington
Not Yet Rated
Release Date: December 19

An ex-marine visits the new world, Pandora (not the music site). A place where humans can survive only if they project themselves into avatars. It’s Cameron’s first feature direction since Titanic. Personally I am more excited about M. Night Shyamalan’s 2010 “Avatar: the Last Airbender” movie, but who knows, this might be good too.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. January 9, 2009 4:22 pm

    For some reason, gravelly voices seem to be all the rage in hollywood anymore. I couldn’t stand Christian Bale’s Batman voice in Dark Knight, and he’s doing the same thing again in the new Terminator movies too. It bugs the hell out of me.

  2. January 8, 2009 11:51 am

    I am being hopeful with Watchmen. But I don’t ever trust any film will make its release anymore until it actually is in the theater. Even then, living in Oxford, MS during tornado season, don’t really know if you will see the whole film before the electricity is knocked out anyway. Eh.

    Clint Eastwood is the perfect old Bruce Wayne. Except with Gran Torino his voice irritates me. Why does he express being grumpy as being gravely?

    I am not holding out hope for GI Joe – but I also thought I would hate Transformers. It didn’t make me want to stab my eyes out, so…maybe..just maybe.

  3. January 8, 2009 11:47 am

    Watchmen’s release date is not at all a definite thing. There’s still a huge lawsuit going on right now between Fox and Warner Brothers over WB’s right to release the film. If Fox has their way, the film may not get released at all. There’s a court date set for January 20th to determine what’s going to happen. I’m thinking that chances are at the very least there’s going to be a delay in the film’s release.

    Otherwise, I’m dying to see Woverine, Coraline, Harry Potter and Star Trek. Go Simon Pegg!!!

    Sadly though, the GI Joe movie is dead to me. I just know it’s going to suck so horribly badly that I’m going to walk out of the film feeling like my childhood has been raped. GI Joe was my favorite thing growing up as a kid, and everything I’ve seen from this movie makes me want to curl into a little ball and cry.

    Lastly, it’s funny that you mentioned how Clint Eastwood in Gran Turino sounds like Batman. My friends and I have been talking about a fantasy casting if Hollywood were to ever make a movie version of the DC Comics series Kingdom Come (in which all of the Heroes are older) and we’re convinced that they would absolutely have to go with Clint Eastwood as an aged Bruce Wayne. He’s just too perfect for the role.

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