With the 2008 movie season winding down, as a public service announcement, here's my preview list of the movies to see, to skip, and to make your own judgment on in 2009:
Watchmen (March 6) - At the top of my list of must-see movies of 2009 is Zack Snyder's Watchmen, based on the celebrated graphic novel by Alan Moore. I absolutely adored the comic book and the complex psychological profiles on Rorschach, The Comedian, and Dr. Manhattan, and I can't wait to see if Snyder can do the book justice. Smart money's that he probably can't, but there are a few things going for him: a.) the trailer looks fantastic and b.) Snyder made the insanely cool 300, what strange and marvelous fun this could be to watch him try.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (July 19) - As fans of the phenomenon that is the Harry Potter books and movies, I was disappointed that our favorite boy wizard was put on hiatus until July of next year, but that doesn't mean i'm less than excited to see what dark magic will be brought to the table. Keep your eye on young Hero-Finnes Tiffin, the nephew of Ralph Finnes, who plays the young Tom Riddle, who gives me the creeps after watching the trailer of him as a younger Voldemort. And Alan Rickman will finally get his due in this movie as Snape. If you've read book Six, you'll understand why.
Ashecliffe (October 2) - Fresh off his 2006 long-overdue Directing Oscar for The Departed, Martin Scorsese reunites with Leonardo DiCaprio on an adaptation of the 2003 novel "Shutter Island" by Dennis Lehane. Don't know much about the movie or the book, and frankly, I don't care. It's frickin' Scorsese. Expect nothing less than fucking magic from him.
Worth mentioning: Oscar-winning director Peter Jackson returns to the director's chair in The Lovely Bones (October 9), a film adaptation of a novel of the same name by Alice Sebold; Spike Jonze's long-awaited adaptation of the beloved children's story, Where The Wild Things Are (October 16); and Wes Anderson's first entry into both an animation and a family movie, Fantastic Mr. Fox (November 6).
Angels and Demons (May 15) - One one hand, I enjoyed Ron Howard's adaptation of Dan Brown's worldwide hit novel, The DaVinci Code and it didn't fully deserve a lot of the negative criticism it received. On the other hand, do I really sit through another two-and-a-half-hour rehash of Indiana Jones meets long-winded religious psychobabble as part of my summer at the movies?
G.I. Joe Rise of Cobra (August 7) - I what you're thinking: this has 'fucking horrible' written all over it. The man behind the director's chair is Steven Sommers, the man behind the awful Van Helsing, and it's based off another popular toy franchise. Yet the casting choices says otherwise. Joseph Gordon-Levitt (an underrated talent) who was stellar in last year's The Lookout and the always reliable Dennis Quaid give me reason to believe this won't be a horrible piece of shit.
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (June 26) - I loved the first Transformers movie. Coincidentally, it's one of the few things hack director Michael Bay hasn't managed to completely fuck up (previous semi-watchable Bay affairs include The Rock, Bad Boys, and the first half of The Island). Somehow, I don't think Bay's gonna continue his streak of producing a decent, watchable movie. That, and he's already dipped his feet into sequel territory and failed miserably (Bad Boys 2, anyone?).
More Unknowns: The fourth entry in the Terminator franchise, Terminator: Salvation (May 22). Sure Christian Bale's playing John Connor, but McG's (The awful Charlie's Angels and its piss-poor sequel, Full Throttle) directing it; Fast And Furious (June 12) - Do we really need another one of these movies? Sad thing is that i'll probably shill money to this latest installment becasue I love fast cars and sexy women driving them. Damn, this franchise knows it's audience down to a 'T'; A Christmas Carrol (November 6) - Jim Carrey as Mr. Scrooge?! Either this will bomb, or this will be a return of Carrey's golden days as a comedic actor.
Hanna Montana: The Movie (April 10) - No, i'm not joking. They're actually going to make a full-length motion picture based off the rubbish TV series. So if you have a daughter that is in love with Miley Cyrus, be prepared to mark down April 10 as the day you enter the gates of teeny-bopper hell.
Dragonball (April 4) - When I heard that 20th Century Fox was planning to make a film version of the popular anime series, I damn-near wet myself. Then, they released the production pics, then the trailer. The people who made this suck-fest, and the actors who decided to partake in it, should be ashamed of themselves.
Friday the 13th (February 13) - Haven't we seen enough of this crap already? Look, I love Jason Voorchees as much as the next person, but the American Horror movie's track record since the mid 90's just plain sucks. I'm willing to bet this updated version of the mass murderer from Camp Crystal Lake will suck like the rest.
The Pink Panther 2 (February 6) - Can someone please explain to me just what the hell happened to Steve Martin that he's stuck insulting the great Peter Sellers' iconic role as the clueless French inspector Jacques Clouseau for a paycheck?