Okay, I admit it. I'm starting to feel a little guilty with all these lists I've done lately but when the biggest news of the day is Bride Wars tracking stronger than Marley and Me in the box office, I'd much rather think about the good movies to come than sulk over the current movie rut. I guess last year we had Cloverfield at this time...that movie was awesome.
10. My Bloody Valentine 3-D
"Nothing says Date Movie like a 3D ride to hell", with a tagline like that this movie knows it will fall squarely in the guilty pleasure category. Like most of Lion's Gate's back catalog I am absolutely positive that this film will be roasted by the critics, and for good reason too. This film will likely have very little suspense and consist mostly of gimmicky thrills and projectiles thrown at the camera, however that is the exact reason I want to see this movie. Unlike similar gimmick films like Journey to the Center of the Earth in 3D where thrills are delivered by the way of a T-Rex drooling on the camera this is the first 3D slasher film in a VERY long time like at least since that horrible Friday the 13th Part III: 3D...and I'm positive Jason X would have been quite awesome had it been released in 3D.
Yeah, that's right, I just put the film 9 as my number 9 most anticipated film of 2009. Opportunity aside, this film is shaping up to look quite awesome as anyone who's seen the original short film (available on The Animation Show Vol. 1 and you can easily find it on video sharing sites like YouTube) this is a top tier high concept film on a very small budget. This is also the first 3D animated feature where I can't imagine any of the characters showing up in a Happy Meal, while this film will likely be safe for families very few 3D feature films have been this artistic (notable exception being 2008's WALL-E). Also, with Tim Burton and the director of Wanted backing the piece as producers I'm pretty sure this will turn out quite well.
8. Funny People
This is the first Judd Apatow directed film since the fantastic Knocked Up and The 40-Year-Old Virgin. While this man has built a comedy empire for himself as a producer on great comedies such as Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Superbad as well as the horribly mediocre Drillbit Taylor, this is his first time in the director's chair in a couple of years. With his longtime talent Seth Rogen and his friend Adam Sandler on board this will likely do well in the box office (Sandler could star in the most braindead comedies in the world and still reach #1) but this also seems like Apatow's most serious piece in his entire canon being more of a look inside the world behind stand-up comedy as opposed to a straight-up dramedy.
7. Monsters vs. Aliens
Coming straight off the heels of the surprisingly good Kung-Fu Panda and the unsurprisingly awful Shrek The Third, Dreamworks is slowly building up its reputation from just "the guys who did Shrek" to its own breed to 3D animated comedy. Despite coming from the director of the abysmal Shark Tale this one's actually shaping up to look like an incredibly fun movie, 3D or not.
6. Star Trek
I've never been a big fan of Star Trek there is just too much back story and fandom behind it for me ever to grasp its Forbidden Planet inspired universe. That is until now, J.J. Abrams the creator of Lost and the producer of last year's low budget monster hit Cloverfield will tackle the next to impossible task of relaunching Star Trek to a modern audience which will eventually lead into a new TV series. There's a lot of pressure behind this title but if the first trailer is any indication, I'm actually pretty excited. Plus, I get to see Zachary "Sylar" Quinto as Spock and as a Heroes fanboy, that's worth the price of admission alone.
5. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
I have a weird love-hate relationship with the Transformers franchise. When I saw it in theaters I knew it was the typical Michael Bay trashy film but between all the shaking seats, lame jokes, overacting and explosions I was able to see it as the ultimate "guy" movie with a solid 90 minutes of giant robots smashing things in the tail-end of the film and a good 20 minutes of the camera solely ogling over Megan Fox. Yet on DVD I can't sit through the movie at all, maybe its because all the novelty of its visual tour-de-force is lost on the 42 inch and it makes all the dialogue and characters (which the movie lacked) come out more. With all the exposition of the first movie out of the way, I'm certain Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen will deliver two and a half hours of robots crushing things except this time its in IMAX 3D so any additional headache from the mindlessness of the film will be multiplied by the fact that your watching the entire thing with 3D glasses on a two story screen. Yeah, and that's a good thing
I have to be honest, I know absolutely nothing about this film apart from the fact that its from James Cameron. With a resume as versatile as Terminator 2, Aliens and the Titanic the chances are that this will be a pretty awesome film. Cameron also claims that this will be the first 3D animated motion captured film that will bridge the gap of the uncanny valley. A bold claim but at the same time I never noticed the 3D animation used for the second half of Harvey Dent's face in The Dark Knight and I thought the first hour of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button was produced using very elaborate make-up. I've been fooled before and this one will fool me with a pair of 3D glasses, which is always a plus.
With so many 3D animated movies on the list its great to see a stop-motion animated film come out that looks every bit as promising as its 3D counterparts. This film pairs together Henry Selick (Nightmare Before Christmas, James and the Giant Peach among others) and popular sci-fi fantasy writer Neil Gaiman together for a horror comedy romp that at the very least will wind up on hoodies sold at Hot Topic in a couple of years. This movie will also be released for 3D glasses (notice a trend?) but its the first animated one that is actually shot in 3D. If you've read the book you'd know what kind of eccentricity is in store and the visuals that the plot would entail.
I'd have to disagree with Mark on this one, I'm confident that Warner Bros. has enough lawyers behind this one that it will certainly reach its 2009 release date. Either that or they'd pay Fox some royalties and get this out, this movie is too big to hold off for a year and with Harry Potter being the only other major Warner Bros. release of the year they definitely need a few other heavy hitters because none of their films will ever be as big as The Dark Knight in a very long time. Watchmen looks like it has everything that 300 and Sin City had in terms of style but it also has a great plot to top it off too. Despite the trailer using a song made for Batman and Robin, this will be pretty amazing.
Not to sound like a Pixar fanboy but this senior citizen action adventure film looks like one of the most solid releases of the year. Like several others on this list, this one will be released in 3D but this is the only 3D film on the list that I wouldn't mind to watch on a screen in 2D, the visuals and plot look strong enough to hold their own. Pete Doctor's last film, Monster's Inc. was the funniest of all the Pixar movies and his localization of Howl's Moving Castle was better than watching the film with subtitles. I'll be the first in line.
I REALLY want this one to be good and I'm sure it will deliver but it just doesn't look as much as a surefire hit as the other animated movies its up against. I'm a huge fan of Tezuka's manga though and the film Metropolis prooves that his work is as good for film adaptation as anything else.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
2008 called, it wants its movie back.