Thursday, February 19, 2009

20 Films I'm Excited for in 2009

I know this is a tad late, especially since one film that definitely would have made the top 10 (Confessions of a Shopaholic) has already opened, but I wanted to share what I'm most looking forward in the coming year. I'm sure half of these films will either be disappointing or just plain bad, but you can't deny how fantastic they look on paper.

20. Ponyo on the Cliff (Hayao Miyazaki)
I've only seen three of Hayao Miyazaki's films, but all of them (Castle in the Sky, My Neighbor Totoro and Spirited Away) are indisputable masterpieces of animation. Normally I wouldn't be excited for any English dub of a foreign film but when your English cast includes Tina Fey and Rose f-ing Nylund, that's totally something to celebrate.

Where the Wild Things Are (Spike Jonze)
I remember this book fondly from my childhood and Spike Jonze has yet to fail me as a director. The troubled production and fights with the studio have me slightly worried (just how much have they stifled Jonze's artistry in order to make money?) but I'm betting it won't matter in the long run.

18. Fighting (Dito Montiel)
Channing Tatum is back, this time as an underground street fighter in Dito Montiel's follow up to A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints. I'm hoping that a lot of sweatiness and shirtlessness ensues to make this film completely worth it.

On a side note, my friend and I came up with the rule where the more Channing takes off his shirt, the better his performance is. It's the same philosophy with Anne Hathaway where the more she shows her breasts in a movie, the better her performance is (although, I will admit that Rachel Getting Married is indeed her best performance and you only see a glimpse of her breasts when she's in the bathtub).

17. Rage (Sally Potter)
I'm not going to lie: the only reason I really care about this movie is because of this fantastic publicity shot of Dame Judi Dench. Doesn't she look absolutely fierce?

16. The Brothers Bloom (Rian Johnson)
I was excited for this movie back in the fall and even though it got pushed back, I still really want to see it. Adrien Brody, Rachel Weisz, Mark Ruffalo, RINKO KIKUCHI PLAYING A CHARACTER NAMED BANG BANG...what more do you want?

15. Brothers (Jim Sheridan)
Wasn't this film supposed to come out last year? Hopefully the delay doesn't mean that this Jake Gyllenhaal/Natalie Portman starring remake of the Susanne Brier 2005 film is a complete stinker.

14. Duplicity (Tony Gilroy)
Clive Owen and Julia Roberts being sexy, charismatic and funny- who is honestly not excited for that?

13. Funny People (Judd Apatow)
Outside of Punch Drunk Love and Happy Gilmore (don't judge me!), I'm not exactly Adam Sandler's biggest fan, but under Apatow's guidance he could be relevant once again. Add in Apatow regulars Seth Rogen and Leslie Mann (along with Eric Bana!) and a completely adorable poster and this has the potential to be great.

12. Whatever Works (Woody Allen)
Woody's back in New York! Hooray!

11. Push: Based on the Novel by Sapphire (Lee Daniels) Michael has been talking about this film ever since Sundance and I have to give him credit for piquing my curiosity. Now that Oprah and Tyler Perry are in talks to distribute this film, I'm even more excited at the possibility that we'll actually see this film (and hopefully get Mo'Nique an Oscar nomination!).

10. 17 Again (Burr Steers)
Can Zac Efron carry a film all by himself? I can't say for certain but he'll definitely be put to the test with this Big/Freaky Friday rip-off.

9. A Single Man (Tom Ford)
Fashion designer Tom Ford has, for one reason or another, decided to move into the film world and, for his first project, has decided to adapt the apparently fantastic novella by Christopher Isherwood and has assembled a cast including Colin Firth, Julianne Moore, Matthew Goode and Nicholas Hoult. I guess if you're going to make a start for yourself, you might as well go all out right at the beginning.

8. The Box (Richard Kelly)
I'm not a huge fan of Kelly's Donnie Darko (I know that's practically sacrilege to admit since that's where my Jakey got his big break) so I'm really more excited by the stars here: a newly rejuvenated James Marsden and the underrated Cameron Diaz (she gets such a bad rap for all of her throwaway movies, but when she's in a good project with a good role- There's Something About Mary, Being John Malkovich, In Her Shoes- very few actresses can touch her).

7. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (Edgar Wright)
Sure, the combination of plot outline, director Edgar Wright and star Michael Cera had me intrigued but I have to admit that as soon as I heard that Anna Kendrick was also in the cast, my interest in the project sky rocketed. Who knows if her role will be any good (can anyone who has read the comic tell me about her character- Stacey Pilgrim); I'm just excited to see her doing her thing.

6. Nailed (David O. Russell)
I've already obsessed about this before, so I'll spare you more swooning. Let me just say this: JAKEY! JAMES! UNITED AT LAST!

5. Jennifer's Body (Karyn Kusama)
Normally, I wouldn't be this excited about a horror movie, but this is Diablo Cody's first film after winning her Oscar for Juno and I would watch anything she writes. The fact that Adam Brody- an actor who is perfectly suited for Cody's quirky dialogue- has a supporting role as a Soviet rock star (!) is merely the rich chocolate frosting on a triple layer chocolate cake.

4. Broken Embraces (Pedro Almódovar)
It's hard to remember, but there was a time when Penélope Cruz was thought of as one of the least interesting actresses in Hollywood. Then came the sublime Volver and, overnight, she became a respected actress, earning an Oscar nomination in the process. One additional Oscar nom later and now Cruz has reunited with Almódovar on his latest film. The plot has been kept hush hush, but any film that brings Cruz and Lola Duenas together has my attention.

3. Shutter Island (Martin Scorsese)
Emily Mortimer as an escaped murderer?! Leonardo DiCaprio and Mark Ruffalo tracking her down? With additional appearances by Patricia Clarkson, Michelle Williams, Max von Sydow, Jackie Earle Haley and Ben Kingsley and all directed by Oscar-winner Martin Scorsese? How can you not be excited for this?

Nine (Rob Marshall)
This film is a wet dream for both the musical lover (Rob Marshall will always get a free pass from me for his perfect execution of Chicago) and actressexual (Nicole Kidman, Marion Cotillard, Dame Judi Dench, Sophia Loren and Penélope Cruz are headliners in this movie!) in me. Will this movie just get here so I don't die from anticipation?

1. 500 Days of Summer (Marc Webb)
Thank you mB for pointing this movie out to me! As soon as I saw the delightful teaser trailer, I was completely hooked on this movie. In what other love story (oops, "story about love") do you have an adorable Joseph Gordon-Levitt in the cutest preppy clothes ever crushing on the entrancing Zooey Deschanel and a big choreographed number with JGL and an animated bird? I hate to get ahead of myself, but if this film is done right, it could mean a whole new era of romantic comedies and I think that that is one genre that could use a good tune up. Thank God I don't have to wait 500 days for this film...I don't know what I'd do with myself!

Here's the trailer to get you in the spirit:

What films are you excited for this year?


J.D. said...

No Taking Woodstock? That surprises me a bit.

Also, Ponyo is way too low.


Dave said...

Well at least I'm not the only one who wants to see Duplicity. I didn't realize I missed Julia until I saw that trailer.


Dame James Henry said...

J.D.: Outside of Brokeback, I'm not really a huge Ang Lee fan. Besides, I am so sick of movies about the 60's counterculture and dirty hippies who need to take a shower. I will definitely see this movie but I'm not pissing my pants in anticipation.

The only way Ponyo would cease to be "too low" is to put it at number one, huh?

Dave: I'm glad there are others out there who are excited about Duplicity and The Box (rabidly so, in your case)

mB said...

Nice list :)

Thanks for the shout-outs!