Saturday, January 31, 2009

Top 25 Most Anticipated 2009 Releases: Part One [25-10]

I'm just taking a break from the filmic year of 2008, having been both bemused and nonplussed by most of it, and nearly all of those films we're supposed to love. Therefore, this is a kind of rally of positivity for 2009's lineup, which features Atom Egoyan, Reese Witherspoon and Sarah Polley, and thus should be fabulous. Here is the first part of my most anticipated 2009 films:

25. Untitled James L. Brooks Film
Director: James L. Brooks
Starring: Reese Witherspoon
Release Date: December

Reese Witherspoon doing a Brooks film? My idea of heaven. There's no telling whether this will be a Broadcast News or a Spanglish, but the prospect of La Witherspoon with a good comic role is mouth-watering.


Whatever Works
Director: Woody Allen
Starring: Evan Rachel Wood, Patricia Clarkson
Release Date: TBA

Woody Allen films may have lost their gloss but you've got to think that he has another masterpiece in him somewhere. It'll be interesting to see if his penchant for getting Actresses nominated at Oscar extends to Evan Rachel Wood.


A Woman of No Importance
Director: Bruce Beresford
Starring: Annette Bening, Sienna Miller, Sean Bean
Release Date: TBA
Myriad Pictures

It sounds like I'm counting down 2009's Leading Actress hopefuls. Beresford has similarly got a good record in that regard (3 noms/1 win), and has directed a Best Picture winner, after all. It's a great role for Bening, and the film is an adaptation of an Oscar Wilde play. Done well, it could be great.


22. Agora
Director: Alejandro Amenábar
Starring: Rachel Weisz
Release Date: December

Rachel Weisz as a philosopher in Ancient Egypt who falls in love with a slave. Very intriguing. Amenabar is a very capable Director, but I do wonder how on earth they're going to market it. The costumes should be luscious.


21. All Good Things
Director: Andrew Jarecki
Starring: Ryan Gosling, Kirsten Dunst, Frank Langella
Release Date: July
The Weinstein Co.

A detective begins to unravel a missing-persons case that looks to spell doom -- and quite possibly death -- for the heir to a New York real estate dynasty. Ooooh! Sounds juicy. Good cast too, and Jarecki was oscar-nominated for Capturing the Friedmans.

Certified Copy
Director: Abbas Kiarostami
Starring: Juliette Binoche, William Shimell
Release Date: TBA

Kiarostami's Taste of Cherry is one of my favourite films, and Juliette Binoche could do with a good role. She plays the object of a writer's affection and the film seems like a rather tentative romance.


19. Where the Wild Things Are
Director: Spike Jonze
Starring: Catherine Keener, Benicio Del Toro, Forest Whitaker, Michelle Williams
Release Date: October
Warner Bros

A completely legendary book gets the filmic treatment by a Director that does not work enough. Speaking of which, his ex-wife needs to get to work. We're running out of filmmakers to rely on these days.

Anyway, cute animals, Catherine Keener. Sold.


18. Leaves of Grass
Director: Tim Blake Nelson
Starring: Edward Norton, Susan Sarandon, Richard Dreyfuss
Release Date: TBA

The "leaves of grass" are indeed drugs. Edward Norton plays twins. Richard Dreyfuss is the local drug lord. Tim Blake Nelson's O was incredibly underrated. Crazy fun.


The Road
Director: John Hillcoat
Starring: Viggo Mortensen, Charlize Theron
Release Date: TBA
Dimension, The Weinstein Co.

It's tiresome waiting for this film to finally open, but the anticipation is somehow still there. I think it's those dreamy stills + the supposed pedigree of McCarthy's book.


16. Shutter Island/Ashecliffe
Director: Martin Scorsese
Starring: Leo Di Caprio, Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley, Michelle Williams, Emily Mortimer, Max Von Sydow, Patricia Clarkson, Jackie Earle Haley
Release Date: October

Does anyone know which of these is the actual title? If they're still deciding then surely Shutter Island is the most interesting and dramatic? But whatever. A U.S. marshall (Di Caprio) searching for an insane escaped murderess (Emily Mortimer/Michelle Williams). A packed cast.

15. Forgiveness
Director: Todd Solondz
Starring: Shirley Henderson, Ally Sheedy, Allison Janney, Charlotte Rampling, Paris Hilton (!)
Release Date: TBA

Talk about Welcome to the Doll House. Paris Hilton in a film with Charlotte Rampling. Fabulously mental. I like Solondz.


Public Enemies
Director: Michael Mann
Starring: Johnny Depp, Christian Bale, Marion Cotillard, Billy Crudup
Release: July

Michael Mann and Johnny Depp do gangster. If this wasn't July I'd definitely pencil Depp in for the Oscars. Marion Cotillard trying to prove she's not a one-hit wonder. Christian Bale getting out of that suit. Billy Crudup's still around. Who knew?


13. Shanghai
Director: Mikael Hafstrom
Starring John Cusack, Li Gong, Ken Watanbe, Rinko Kikuchi
Release Date: September
The Weinstein Co.

I didn't like 1408, which teamed Hafstrom and Cusack, but this looks rather gorgeous. A '40s period piece which revolves around an American expat who returns to Shanghai in the months before Pearl Harbour. The asian contingent looks promising.


Inglorious Basterds
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Starring: Brad Pitt, Michael Fassbender, Diane Kruger
Release Date: August

Tarantino can't put a foot wrong in my eyes. Brad Pitt must have been doing something good with that moustache (that isn't a Brangelina sex comment by the way).


11. Jennifer’s Body
Director: Karyn Kusama
Starring: Megan Fox, Amanda Seyfried
Written by Diablo Cody
Release Date: September
20th Century Fox

Diablo Cody's second screenplay and the director of the very good Girlfight in 2000. A newly possessed cheerleader turns into a killer who specializes in offing her male classmates. Sounds quite feminist, and definitely entertaining.

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