02 January 2009

Upcoming Movies, Wish List #9

I've not made one of these lists in a while; I thought it was about time. There are some great-looking/sounding films right around the corner (or just out in NZ), and one of two that are a way off but hugely anticipated (Watchmen, Watchmen, Watchmen!!!) (ed: 07 Mar - just saw the Watchmen; pretty darn awesome!).

In no order of preference:
Last updated: 05 March 2010 (Completed!)

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button [imdb] (seen it; loved it!)
Director: David Fincher; Starring: Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett
Comment: Tells the story of Benjamin Button, a man who starts aging backwards with bizarre consequences. Great actors (in my opinion), and hello?! David Fincher (director of Se7en, Fight Club, The Game, and Panic Room.. ha, I notice a couple of other Pitt movies here; both are awesome flicks, so Fincher and Pitt seem like a winning team to me).

The Tale of Despereaux [imdb]
Voices by: Dustin Hoffman, Matthew Broderick, Emma Watson, Kevin Kline
Comment: The tale of three unlikely heroes - a misfit mouse who prefers reading books to eating them, an unhappy rat who schemes to leave the darkness of the dungeon, and a bumbling servant girl with cauliflower ears - whose fates are intertwined with that of the castle's princess. I think the story sounds cute, and the visuals look spectacular.

The Spirit[imdb]
Director: Frank Miller; Starring: Gabriel Macht, Samuel L. Jackson, Scarlett Johansson, Eva Mendes
Comment: Rookie cop Denny Colt returns from the beyond as The Spirit, a hero whose mission is to fight against the bad forces in Central City. This looks awesome - full of cheesey dialogue and action; come on, its Frank Miller! (writer/director of Sin City, writer of 300).

Doubt [imdb]
Starring: Amy Adams, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Meryl Streep,
Comment: Set in 1964, Doubt centers on a nun who confronts a priest after suspecting him abusing a black student. He denies the charges, and much of the play's quick-fire dialogue tackles themes of religion, morality and authority. Power-house cast based on successful play. Nominated for 5 Golden Globes.

Inkheart [imdb]
Director: Iain Softley; Starring: Brendan Fraser, Andy Serkis, Eliza Bennett
Comment: A little girl (Bennett) rallies her friends -- both real and imaginary -- to rescue her father (Fraser), a bookbinder who can bring characters to life by reading aloud, from the clutches of an evil-doer (Serkis). Hmm.. comparions to Spiderwick Chronicles and Bridge to Terabithia (Inkheart is also based on a bestselling series of books). Still, Andy Serkis as the bad guy will be cool. The director was responsible for Hackers (yay), Backbeat, K-Pax (never saw it), and The Skeleton Key (oooh dear).

Underworld: Rise of the Lycans [imdb]
Director: Patrick Tatopoulos; Starring: Rhona Mitra, Michael Sheen, Bill Nighy
Comment: A look at how the werewolf named Lucian (Sheen) led an uprising against an aristocratic vampire sect -- a revolt that will mark the beginning of a centuries-old war between the two races. Well, what can I say. I was a fan of the first film. I saw the second one. Now there is a third, which I will go see, but with low, LOW expectations. It was shot in Auckland though, which is one point in its favour. Underworld 3 makes it to this list because of my curiousity.

Killshot [imdb]
Director: John Madden; Starring: Thomas Jane, Diane Lane, Mickey Rourke, Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
Comment: Husband and Wife (Lane and Jane) are placed in the Federal Witness Protection program after witnessing an "incident". Thinking they are at last safe, they are targeted by an experienced hit man (Rourke) and a psychopathic young upstart killer (Gordon-Levitt). Sounds like a paint by numbers formula, but it is based on a Elmore Leonard novel (Get Shorty etc). I am a big fan of Joseph Gordon-Levitt after his role in Brick.

He's Just Not That Into You [imdb]
Starring: Ginnifer Goodwin, Jennifer Aniston, Jennifer Connelly, Scarlett Johansson, Drew Barrymore
Comment: Romantic woes affect an interconnected group of Baltimore singles and marrieds. We've all read the book. This is packed with some great actors and actresses, and 90s nostalgia. I think it will be a hoot!

Coraline (3D) [imdb]
Director: Henry Selick; Starring: Dakota Fanning, Teri Hatcher, John Hodgman
Comment: A young girl (Fanning) walks through a secret door in her new home and discovers an alternate version of her life. Suitably creepy (based on a book by Neil Gaiman!), I think this film will be fab. FYI: Selick was the one actually responsible for Tim Burton's A Nightmare Before Christmas (Burton didn't direct it!), and the cool underwater claymation scenes from The Life Aquatic!

Fanboys [imdb]
Director: Kyle Newman; Starring: Dan Fogler, Jay Baruchel, Kristen Bell
Comment: Four guys and their galpal plan a cross-country trip in order to steal a print of Star Wars: Episode I -- The Phantom Menace from Skywalker Ranch so their dying friend can see it before its world premiere. I think will be hilarious; I've been readingh about this for a while in Empire mag, and its high up on my list of films I will definitely be going to see this year! (Plus, its got Veronica Mars actress Kristen Bell in it, which is awesome!)

Confessions of a Shopaholic[imdb]
Director: P.J. Hogan; Starring: Isla Fisher, Hugh Dancy
Comment: Charming Manhattanite Rebecca Bloomwood (Fisher) is an out-of-control spender/fashionista, so it's a bit ironic when she lands a job as an advice columnist for a financial magazine, and she becomes an instant celebrity -- complete with access to all the fabulous things she so desires. But will her compulsive habits ruin her career, and her new-found romance? I've read all the books (by Sophie Kinsella) and love the characters. I have high hopes for this film (fingers-crossed). I really think Isla Fisher can pull off the character of Becky.

The International [imdb]
Director: Tom Tykwer; Starring: Clive Owen, Naomi Watts
Comment: Interpol Agent Louis Salinger (Clive Owen) and Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Eleanor Whitman (Naomi Watts) pool their resources in an attempt to break up an international arms dealing ring financed by a high-profile bank. This is the first Hollywood film from Tykwer (he is responsible for the terrific German film Run Lola, Run). We may get a taste of what Owen would've been like as 007.

Watchmen [imdb]
Director: Zack Snyder; Starring: Jackie Earle Haley, Patrick Wilson, Carla Gugino
Comment: Set in an alternate vision of the year 1985, the murder of an ex-superhero causes a vigilante named Rorshach (Haley) to look into the matter, an investigation that reunites him with his surviving old colleagues -- all of them former superheroes themselves -- and gradually unveils a conspiracy with links to their shared past and catastrophic consequences for the future. The first preview blew my mind. I'm a late comer to the comic (also blowing my mind). This is at the TOP of my list for a list of reasons too long to put here (including Zack Snyder of 300 awesomeness, the cast, the source material, the soundtrack...)

Sunshine Cleaning [imdb]
Director: Christine Jeffs; Starring: Amy Adams, Emily Blunt, Alan Arkin, Steve Zahn
The Plot: Industrious single mother Rose Lorkowski (Adams) starts an unusual business in order to send her son to a private school; alongside her unreliable sister (Blunt), the two women enter the world of biohazard removal and crime scene clean-ups. I am loving Amy Adams - I loved Enchanted, Miss Pettigrew, Junebug, I love her in everything I have seen. I think the cast and unusal concept of this film will be a winning formula (can't wait to see Adams in Doubt as well - see above).

And a little further down the track...

Duplicity [imdb]
Director: Tony Gilroy; Starring: Julia Roberts, Clive Owen, Tom Wilkinson
The Plot: A pair of corporate spies (Owen and Roberts) who share a steamy past hook up to pull off the ultimate con job on their respective

Knowing [imdb]
Director: Alex Proyas; Starring: Nicolas Cage, Rose Byrne
The Plot: When Ted Myles (Cage) begins to suspect that his son has discovered an artifact that accurately predicts natural disasters and other catastrophes, he goes on to believe his family plays a role in the events that are about to unfold.

Monsters vs. Aliens [imdb]
Starring: Reese Witherspoon, Rainn Wilson
The Plot: After being hit by a meteorite on her wedding day, Susan Murphy (Witherspoon) is transformed into a monster named Ginormica and subsequently whisked away to a secret government compound where others like her have been rounded up over the years. When the Earth comes under attack by aliens, however, Ginormica and her new allies are set free to save the planet.

Fast & Furious [imdb]
Starring: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Michelle Rodriguez
Comment: The feud between ex-con Dominic Toretto (Diesel) and agent Brian O'Connor (Walker) is reignited back in Los Angeles, where a crime has pitted the two men against one another yet again. However, when they realize they have a common enemy, they put their past behind them and unite to stick it to their foe. call me a sucker, but I like Fast and the Furious and am looking forward to this comeback.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine [imdb]
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Liev Schreiber, Ryan Reynolds
The Plot: An origins story that follows the early life of James Howlett (Jackman), also known as Logan, and best known as Wolverine. The chronicle of his younger years as a mutant connects to his relationship and eventual falling out with Victor Creed/Sabretooth (Schreiber), and his fateful entry into the Weapons X project, the governmental program that turns willing and unwilling beings into living weapons.

Star Trek [imdb]
Director: J.J. Abrams; Starring: Eric Bana, Simon Pegg, Winona Ryder, Karl Urban
Comment: The origin story of Captain James T. Kirk, Spock and the crew of the USS Enterprise before they had boldly gone where no man had gone before. I've never liked Star Trek... but this movie looks... great!

Angels & Demons [imdb]
Director: Ron Howard; Starring: Tom Hanks, Ayelet Zurer, Ewan McGregor, Stellan Skarsgard
The Plot: Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) finds himself in Rome, where he has to race against time to prevent the Illuminati, a secret society, from putting in motion a terrorist act that could destroy the Vatican. He's aided in his quest by the beautiful Italian scientist Vittoria Vetri (Ayelet Zurer).

Terminator: Salvation [imdb]
Director: McG; Starring: Christian Bale
Comment: John Connor (Bale) is joined in his attempt to defeat Skynet and its army of Terminators by Marcus Wright (Worthington), a man who apparently has been rescued from the past, though Connor wonders if instead he's been sent from the future as a foil to his plan. As Connor and Wright push deep into the heart of Skynet, they get closer and closer to learning the secret behind the organization's mission to wipe humankind off the planet. This movie has the potential to be better than T2!

Drag Me to Hell [imdb]
Director: Sam Raimi; Starring: Alison Lohman, Justin Long
The Plot: A loan officer (Lohman) ordered to evict an old woman from her home finds herself the recipient of a supernatural curse, which subsequently turns her life into a living hell. Desperate, she turns to a seer for help, while evil forces work to push her to a breaking point.

The Year One [imdb]
Starring: Jack Black, Michael Cera, Olivia Wilde
The Plot: When a couple of lazy hunter-gatherers (Black and Cera) are banished from their primitive village, they set off on an epic journey through their ancient world.

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen [imdb]
Director: Michael Bay; Starring: Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox, Josh Duhamel
The Plot: Decepticon forces return to Earth on a mission to take Sam Witwicky prisoner, after the young hero learns the truth about the ancient origins of the Transformers. Joining the mission to protect humankind is Optimus Prime, who forms an alliance with international armies for a second epic battle.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince [imdb]
Director: David Yates; Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint
The Plot: In his sixth year at Hogwarts, Harry Potter discovers even more about the evil Lord Voldemort's past, thanks to his mentor Dumbledore and mysterious textbook marked "This book is the property of the Half-Blood Prince." By the end of the year, nothing will ever be the same.

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