We’re well into January and have an entire year of movies to look forward to. 2008 gave us several great movies and 2009 will have to work hard to beat last year in terms of quality releases. If you’re not sure what movies to check out this year, we’ve compiled a list of what is sure to be the best movies to catch… and while we didn’t list every great movie coming out, we hope that this list gives you a good idea of what to watch when you hit the movie theatre this year.
Opens: Already in limited release. No word on wide release.
Really Basic Plotline: An Indian teen is one question away from winning the Hindi version of “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” when they break for the night. Afterwards, he’s arrested on suspicion of cheating. Hoping to prove his innocence, he tells his life story about growing up in the slum, the adventures he’s encounted and all about the girl he loved and lost. Throughout his story we learn how he knew the answers to the shows questions. Eventually we find out if he knows the final answer.
Why We’re Excited: Have you seen Sunshine? Trainspotting? Shallow Grave? Genre-hopping director Danny Boyle is capital A Awesome. He’s done some incredible films and, if he follow suit, this one will continue to follow that trend.
Our Only Concern: It’s an odd storyline and, admittedly, doesn’t really pique my interest. However, like I said earlier, it’s Danny Boyle… so it’s bound to be decent, at the very least.
Opens: Already in limited release. No word on wide release… or if it will even happen.
Really Basic Plotline: A retired wrestler makes a comeback and works his way through the independent wrestling circuit in hopes of having one final showdown with his arch rival.
Why We’re Excited: Mickey Rourke as Randy “The Ram” Robinson, a retired yet still badass wrestler. Need I say more? Also, it’s already #60(and rising) on the top-rated films on IMDB.com. Pretty impressive.
Our Only Concern: Some may disagree with me here, but I think director Darren Aronofsky makes some super pretentious/horribly self-serving/unbelievably depressing films. Did you see The Fountain? What about Requiem for a Dream? I hate his movies. I hope this one changes my mind.
Opens: January 30th
Really Basic Plotline: When a former spy’s daughter is kidnapped by sex traffickers in Paris, he must use his spy/ass-whooping skills to get her back.
Why We’re Excited: Liam Neeson plays a badass out to save his daughter and kick some bad guy butt. Liam Neeson rules! Plus, Luc Besson, the guy behind The Professional, scripted the films. Bonus!
Our Only Concern: None have surfaced so far.
Opens: February 6th
Really Basic Plotline: Adapted from the Neil Gaiman’s Hugo Award-winning book, this 3D, stop-motion film helmed by Henry Selick(The Nightmare Before Christmas) follows a young girl who finds a secret door that leads her to an alternate world attached to her own. This world, on the surface at least, seems to be a much happier place… that is, until things take a turn for the worse.
Why We’re Excited: I haven’t even seen the film and I’m going to call it a “New Classic.” Seriously, it looks to be that good.
Our Only Concern: None whatsoever.
Friday the 13th
Opens: February 13th
Really Basic Plotline: If you’re a real horror film fan, you’d know that the first Friday the 13th wasn’t about Jason Voorhees the killer, it was about his mom. It wasn’t until the subsequent movies that the hockey-masked Jason Voorhees became the protagonist. This go-round, however, Jason will be the killer. Basically, a group of kids discover Camp Crystal Lake, boarded up and abandoned. As you’d expect, they’ll meet Jason and he’ll kill a bunch of them… even though he can’t run and is amazingly slow.
Why We’re Excited: It’s Friday the 13th, dude… plus it’s coming out on Valentines Day weekend. I know where I’m taking my wife that night. Not terribly romantic, but it’ll make for a fun date.
Our Only Concern: It’s always worrisome when someone tries to “Re-invent” a film series… especially when they don’t stay true to the original.
Opens: March 6th… maybe? Probably not, though.
Really Basic Plotline: When an ex-superhero is murdered, a vigilante named Rorshach begins an investigation into the murder, which begins to lead to a much more terrifying conclusion.
Why We’re Excited: Admittedly, I’m not a big comic book/graphic novel fan. However, I tend to love the movies. From everything I’ve heard or read, Watchmen is one of the best graphic novel’s EVAR and it looks like that greatness has been captured in this film. Also, Zack Snyder directed the movie and we all know how sweet 300 was.
Our Only Concern: Will it even come out? With Fox suing Warner Bros claiming to own the rights to the movie, the release could be delayed inevitably.
Lesbian Vampire Killers
Opens: March 20th
Really Basic Plotline: Two Welsh dudes are sent as a sacrifice to a bunch of, well, lesbian vampires in hopes of saving the local women folk. Eventually, the two guys become, as the title suggests, lesbian vampire killers.
Why We’re Excited: Seems to have a similiar feel to Shaun of the Dead… and that’s not a bad thing.
Our Only Concern: It just may rip off Shaun of the Dead a little too much… which would not be cool.
Monsters vs. Aliens
Opens: March 27th
Really Basic Plotline: The title is pretty self explanatory… and, no, it’s not another P-O-S Alien vs. Predator movie. Simply put, it’s an animated film in which monsters battle aliens. Also, hilarity is likely to ensue.
Why We’re Excited: Not since the first Shrek have I been this amped about an animated feature. Let me give a glimpse of the folks lending their voices to this film: Seth Rogen, Hugh Laurie, Paul Rudd, Keifer Sutherland, Rainn Wilson, Will Arnett and Stephen Colbert. The cast alone should get you excited, not to mention the fact that it’s called Monsters vs. Aliens.
Our Only Concern: Not sure. It looks pretty freaking sweet.
X-Men Origins: Wolverine
Opens: May 1st
Really Basic Plotline: The origin story behind everyone’s favorite X-Man, Wolverine. The story follows Wolverine(pre-claws) as he follows Victor Creed(who will become Sabretooth) seeking revenge for the death of his girlfriend. We’ll eventually learn how he eventually goes through the weapon x program and gets his adamantium armor/claws.
Why We’re Excited: Wolverine, bro! Wolverine!
Our Only Concern: I’m not sure that these origins movies are necesary and they could end up being pretty stupid… but then again, it could be freaking awesome.
Opens: May 8th
Really Basic Plotline: Not much is known about the plot of the film. We do know that it follows the early careers of Captain James Tiberius Kirk and the rest of the U.S.S. Enterprise crew.
Why We’re Excited: Mother of God… It’s a completely re-tooled version of the orignal Star Trek under the command of Captain J.J. Abrams. He’s said that he’s not sticking to the Star Trek canon 100% and is simply trying to make a good sci-fi film… which, frankly, is exactly what the franchise needs. The last several Star Trek films have been box office disappointments that catered too much to the dwindling fan base. Now with the franchise under the skilled direction of Mr. Abrams, the sci-fi franchise has a chance of becoming more popular then ever before. Phasers set to AWESOME!
Our Only Concern: To be honest, I’m a trekker… or is it trekkee? Whichever one is less nerdier is what I am. I’m a little concerned that he’ll deviate too much from the Star Trek universe in an effort to plot his own course. But, to be honest, I’m ready for some fresh air in a stale(almost dead) Star Trek world.
Opens: May 29th
Really Basic Plotline: Sasha Baron Cohen is back… this time he’s playing Bruno, a gay Austrian fashion reporter.
Why We’re Excited: Well, it’s like Borat but with a gay Austrian fashion reporter. C’mon, it’s gonna rule!
Our Only Concern: Borat got a little old after a while and I got a little sick of hearing quotes from the movie. Odds are good that it’ll happen again with Bruno. Nice!
There’s no trailer out, but this clip from Da Ali G show should give you a good idea:
Drag Me to Hell
Opens: May 29th
Really Basic Plotline: A loan officer is forced to evict an elderly woman and ends up getting cursed. This curse pretty much makes her life suck… what with all the demons and all. She turns to a “seer” to save her soul. But is her soul saveable? We gotta watch to find out.
Why We’re Excited: Sam Raimi. Forget all about Spiderman 3 and think back to The Evil Dead films, The Grudge and, of course, the first two Spiderman movies. Raimi can deliver and this movie seems right up his alley.
Our Only Concern: You know how I said to forget about Spiderman 3? I’m having a hard time doing that. I mean, the movie left a really bad taste in my mouth… I’m hoping that he can redeem himself with this horror film.
Opens: June 5th
Really Basic Plotline: The first of a new Terminator trilogy. It’s 2018 and, in a post-apocolyptic world, John Conner(Christian Bale/Batman) is fighting to save mankind from Skynet and it’s army of Terminators.
Why We’re Excited: T3 SUCKED. With what we’re seeing and hearing about Terminator: Salvation, it looks like this film might just be in the running for the best Terminator movie… though it will have to be 100% spectacular to top T2.
Our Only Concern: Director McG(That’s his real name) behind the helm. His best work is reflected in the Charlie’s Angels films. See why we’re concerned?
I Love You, Man
Opens: March 20th
Really Basic Plotline: A recently engaged dude realizes that he doesn’t have any close male friends. So when it comes time to pick a best man, he recruits Peter Segel. Hilarity ensues.
Why We’re Excited: Paul Rudd… the dude rules.
Our Only Concern: Not too sure yet. The plot sounds ok… not great, just ok.
Opens: May 29th
Really Basic Plotline: Pixar’s back with their latest creation, Up. 78-year-old Carl Fredricksen wants to experience the wilderness of South America. To get there, Carl chooses an unconventional means of transportation; a ton of balloons tied to his house.
Why We’re Excited: Have you ever been disappointed with a Pixar movie? It’s bound to be good.
Our Only Concern: We’re not so concerned with the film being good, only that it does as well as it’s predecessors. I’m not sure how the story of a 78-year-old will resonate with kids. Who knows, though. I’m sure it will do well.
Land of the Lost
Opens: June 5th
Really Basic Plotline: A park ranger(Will Ferrell) finds a portal to an alternate world and goes exploring with two others(Anna Friel and Danny McBride)
Why We’re Excited: Will Ferrell’s doing a movie based on the 70’s kids shows of the same name. Plus, Anna Friel rules and Danny McBride will undoubtedly be hilarious as Ferrell’s redneck buddy.
Our Only Concern: As of right now, we ain’t got none.
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
Opens: June 26th
Really Basic Plotline: Megatron’s body is stolen and revived by the Decepticon’s. Seeking revenge, Megatron calls on Decepticon reinforcements for help. However, the Autobots, led by Optimus Prime have reinforcements of their own on the way. Robot battles are eminent.
Why We’re Excited: The last Transformers flick was pretty darn fun… despite the numerous slow-mo 360 shots courtesy of Michael Bay. If Transformers 2 lives up to the first, this will be another good summer movie.
Our Only Concern: The same reason we were concerned about the first: Michael Bay. You never know with that guy.
Opens: July 1st
Really Basic Plotline: Christian Bale plays a Federal Agent pursuing legendary gangster John Dillinger and his band of criminals. There’s lot’s of gunfights.
Why We’re Excited: Gunfights and gangsters. We’re also looking forward to seeing Batman fight Edward Scissorhands.
Our Only Concern: Michael Mann. He’s done some great work in the past, but his last film, Miami Vice, was a steaming, cinematic turd. Let’s hope Mann does better with Public Enemies.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Opens: July 17th
Really Basic Plotline: Harry Potter’s sixth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry is colored by two truths: Lord Voldemort is wreaking havoc on much of Britain and teenage hormones are fully raging. In this penultimate story in the saga of the Boy Who Lived, Harry finds a mysterious potions book bearing the inscription, “Property of the Half-Blood Prince.” As he begins to explore its custom-made instructions and spells, he excels at potions but also begins to learn about the ambiguity of most magic. Harry also embarks on private lessons with Professor Dumbledore, who takes him on a journey through memory lane to unravel the mystery of Voldemort’s past, and later, his immortality.
Why We’re Excited: The movie was pushed back 8 months from November ’08. The trailers look incredible and if Half-Blood Prince follows suit, this film will be darker than the previous five and crazy good. Director David Yates, who directed the last HP film, is behind the wheel again of HP6… which bodes well for those of us who really enjoyed the last one.
Our Only Concern: Not one.
Opens: July 31st
Really Basic Plotline: A seasoned comedian finds out he has a terminal blood disorder and is given less than a year to live. Hoping to form a friendship and help someone out, George(Adam Sandler) hires Ira(Seth Rogen), a struggling comedian, to be his assistant and friend.
Why We’re Excited: It’s a Judd Apatow flick usually indicates a quality comedy with a heart. Plus, I’ve got a crush on Leslie Mann.
Our Only Concern: I’ll be honest: I’m a little sick of Seth Rogen. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan, it’s just that after Zack and Miri, I could do with a good long Rogen break.
G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra
Opens: August 7th
Really Basic Plotline: An elite force of military heroes, led by General Hawk(Dennis Quaid) fight to stop COBRA from taking over the world.
Why We’re Excited: G-I-Freaking-Joe!!! Real American heroes. Hopefully they throw in a couple of PSA’s at the end of the movie.
Our Only Concern: Could be really, really, really stupid.
Where the Wild Things Are
Opens: October 16th
Really Basic Plotline: Spike Jonze adapts Maurice Sendak’s classic. The long and short of it: A boy named Max enters a world of monsters who end up crowning him their king.
Why We’re Excited: It’s a darker fantasy film and I’m always a fan of those type movies. Did I mention that Dave Eggers wrote the screenplay?
Our Only Concern: Wasn’t this supposed to come out in late 2008? Why would it be pushed back a full year?
Fantastic Mr. Fox
Opens: November 6th
Really Basic Plotline: Based on Roald Dahl’s children’s book, a bunch of angry farmers try to get rid of a sly fox who is always getting the chickens.
Why We’re Excited: Director Wes Anderson brings back many of his regulars to voice the characters. New to the world of Wes Anderson films is George Clooney as the voice of Mr. Fox.
Our Only Concern: This movie has been in the works for a very long time. Hopefully, that’s indicative of the making of a quality film and not because they were having problems.
The Wolf Man
Opens: November 6th.
Really Basic Plotline: Benicio Del Toro gets bitten by a wolf and becomes… drum roll… The Wolf Man. There’s also something about tracking down his lost brother, blah, blah, blah.
Why We’re Excited: The Wolf Man, baby. The Wolf Man.
Our Only Concern: I have no reason to believe this movie will be good… only hope… and a cool poster of Benicio in full Wolf Man makeup.
Opens: December 18th
Really Basic Plotline: A disabled ex-marine takes on an “avatar” that lets him walk among the aliens on a distant planet. Eventually, several Earthlings find themselves at odds with the aliens and themselves.
Why We’re Excited: A James Cameron film 10 years in the making. He’s been talking up the massive technological breakthroughs in 3D filming and motion capture. Cameron has said that it will be an experience unlike any other movie you’ve been too. If he’s right, then this will be an amazing movie.
Our Only Concern: Like any movie that is in the works for a long, long time, it stands a good chance that it could be way over-produced and over-hyped come release time.