Saturday, November 15, 2008

Top Movies for 2009 top 25

25: Hannah Montana (May)

Dolly Parton, Tyra Banks, Heather Locklear and of course Billy Ray Cyrus help Destiny 'Miley' Cyrus bring the massively popular tween pop character comes to the big screen. In the wake of the vast box office for High School Musical 3, Hannah Montana looks like a safe bet for the big cinema smash of the Easter school break.

24: Dorian Gray (November)

The classic Oscar Wilde fable retold by an impressive collection of British thespian eye-candy including Colin Firth and Emilia Fox. Ben Barnes, little known outside the Narnia cognoscenti or the few remaining fans of doomed boyband Hyrise, plays the dissipated fop with the magical portrait. Read the book online

23: Sherlock Holmes (November)

Some extraordinary casting distinguishes the umpteenth Holmes movie with Robert Downey Jr. as a tough, sword-flourishing Holmes and Jude Law as an even tougher, no-nonsense Watson in Guy Ritchie’s ‘reimagining’ of the ultimate sleuth. Based on Lionel Wigram’s comic book about the consulting detective rather than directly upon Conan Doyle’s books, the film also features Rachel McAdams as Irene Adler, the captivating femme fatale introduced in an 1891 Holmes story A Scandal in Bohemia.

22: Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs (July)

Playing fast and loose with the accepted chronology of the age of the dinosaurs this third instalment of the CGI school holiday favourite has the primitive mammal heroes of the first two films somehow getting mixed up with a ‘lost world’ of surviving dinosaurs trapped beneath a glacier. John Leguizamo, Queen Latifah, and Denis Leary provide voices for the computer created critters. Certain to both entertain undemanding under-fives and infuriate palaeontologists in equal measure, this has the air of being the last film in the series.

21: Nottingham (November)

Russell Crowe plays dual roles in this revision of the Robin Hood legend. If you can trust anyone, it’s a bone fide cinema genius like director Ridley Scott but Hood and Nottingham with the same face sounds like a recipe for chuckles rather than thrills.

20: Bride Wars (January)

Bride Wars is evidence that blockbuster movies aren’t always for the boys. With a near-unbeatable chick flick cast (Kate Hudson, Anne Hathaway, Candice Bergen), it’s an implausible tale of best friends clashing over a wedding day scheduling conflict. With the release date close enough to Valentine’s Day to warrant inclusion on the schedule of a fair percentage of early February dinner dates, it stands a reasonable chance of a strong mid-table performance on the box-office charts for the year.

19: 2012 (July)

Master of disaster Roland Emmerich (The Day after Tomorrow, Godzilla, Independence Day) assembles an impressive cast including John Cusack, Thandie Newton, Woody Harrelson and Danny Glover for an apocalyptic epic based on a 7th Century Mayan prophecy. Never one to do things by halves, Emmerich will apparently open the film with the end of the world as we know it and let things escalate from there.

18: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (December)

Brad Pitt leads the cast of this fable taken from an F.Scott Fitzgerald story about a man who is born in his seventies and ages in reverse. Cate Blanchett and Tilda Swinton feature in a story that spans a lifetime.

17: The Lovely Bones (March)

Saoirse Ronan narrates from beyond the grave in this brave adaptation of Alice Sebold’s practically unfilmable novel. A fine cast (not only Rachel Weisz and Susan Sarandon but also Stanley Tucci, former Soprano and now Life on Mars star Michael Imperioli and winner of the ‘most unpredictable career choices’ award Mark Wahlberg) added to Lord of the Rings (and more importantly Heavenly Creatures) director Peter Jackson’s formidable talent promise a thoughtful, thought-provoking gem.

16: The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (no release date announced)

A Terry Gilliam film is always something of a curiosity: ploughing his own off-kilter furrow away from the calcified strictures of Hollywood cliché, he has made films that, while differing wildly in subject matter (Brazil, The Fisher King, Baron Munchausen), share a distinctively baroque surrealism. The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus is a curiosity even among Gilliam films, containing as it does the final performance of Heath Ledger. Because Ledger did not survive to complete the movie, Gilliam has enlisted Johnny Depp, Colin Farrell and Jude Law to share the lead role with the departed star. Adding an extra surreal twist to the Faustian fantasy, this is sure to be one of the most talked-about films of 2009.

15: Coraline (March)

Cult author Neil Gaiman’s dark fairytale gets a faithful adaptation which will entrance anyone who enjoyed Tim Burton’s Nightmare Before Christmas or, indeed, anyone who has ever escaped through a secret door in their bedroom that leads to a mysterious parallel version of their own home.

14: They Came from Upstairs (July)

Ashley Tisdale, the delightfully pushy blonde Sharpay from High School Musical, leads a group of teens fighting an alien invasion in this light-hearted family adventure. Closer to Gremlins or Critters than War of the Worlds, They Came from Upstairs will be one of those guilty movie gems films you might take a young relative along to, but secretly quite enjoy.

13: Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (June)

The inevitable sequel to last year’s surprise hit features more action, more laughs, and more shape-shifting robots. Michael Bay and Shia LeBoef return as director and star respectively with the astoundingly attractive Megan Fox as Shia’s love interest, a more international battleground and the eagerly anticipated introduction of fan favourite Soundwave.

12: The Taking of Pelham 123 (August)

If there’s a unifying trend to 2009 it’s the classic remake, and The Taking of Pelham 123 is nothing if not a classic. A major influence on new genre filmmakers like Quentin Tarantino (note the colour-coded names for the main characters) the 1970s original doesn’t seem in much need of an update. Nevertheless director Tony Scott, who’s been a little quiet for the last few years, has recruited old pal Denzel Washington as well as John Travolta and James Gandolfini to revisit the brilliantly improbable tube train hijack caper. Purists who are wincing at the thought should probably know now that Scott plans to start work on a retread of The Warriors next.

11: The Informant (September)

Matt Damon and Scott Bakula star in Steven Soderbergh’s promising black comedy based on a true story about the ostensibly dull world of agribusiness price fixing. If you enjoyed The Insider and would like to see much the same film again, but this time laced with some mordant humour and featuring a bipolar hero, this might be just the movie for you.

10: Inglourious Basterds (June)

Quentin Tarantino returns with an eclectic cast (Brad Pitt, Mike Myers and star of Hitcock's The Birds Rod Taylor) and another one of his playful reinventions of 1970s genre cinema. This time he moves from the American underworld to World War 2, with a team of Jewish-American special forces operating behind German lines, terminating Nazi commanders with extreme prejudice. Anyone who likes Tarantino war movies in the vein of The Dirty Dozen, or Nazis getting their comeuppance will undoubtedly love this movie. Fans of correct spelling may be less thrilled.

9: Terminator Salvation (June)

The long-awaited ‘future war’ segment of the Terminator saga, previously only hinted at in the first three movies, dominates proceedings in Charlie’s Angels director McG’s bold reawakening of the killer robot franchise. Christian Bale, fresh from his spectacular triumph as one fanboy hero in Dark Knight essays another - John Connor, charismatic leader of the anti-Skynet forces who the Terminators have been trying to eliminate for the last three films. Roland Kickinger will be the principal Terminator this because Arnold Schwarzenegger is said to be too busy running California to appear as the iconic cyborg killing machine and Anton Yelchin, Sam Worthington and Helena Bonham-Carter are along for the ride.

8: Monsters vs. Aliens (April)

A CGI mock-B-movie with a distinctly eclectic cast list - Kiefer Sutherland, Hugh Laurie, and Stephen Colbert lend their voices., Monsters v Aliens will go some of the way towards sating the enormous demand for a second Incredibles movie. Reese Witherspoon provides the voice of a young Californian woman who grows to gigantic size, after a freak meteorite encounter, and is recruited into a secret agency of super-freaks who are sent to battle a gigantic alien robot.

7: Avatar (December)

James Cameron’s long-awaited high-technology blockbuster shares some basic ideas with The Surrogates (Humans use humanoid remote drones, in this case to explore an alien planet) and some with Planet 51 (we are the invaders). In terms of technological ambition and cinematic reach though, this movie should be without equal. Sigourney Weaver, who combined so well for Cameron in the past reunites with her Aliens director As long as Cameron doesn’t allow the story to become too cerebral for mainstream audiences Avatar stands a fair chance of being the biggest movie of the year.

6: Angels & Demons (May)

In the wake of the Da Vinci Code, another recklessly improbable Dan Brown adventure gets the Tom Hanks treatment. Ewan McGregor comes on board this time for a breakneck chase around Vatican City in search of some antimatter, the Illuminati and a decent haircut. The critics will snigger, and Dan Brown fans (of whom there are many) will ignore them and make May one of the busiest months at the box office.

5: X-Men Origins: Wolverine (May)

Hugh Jackman’s back for an X-Men prequel set 17 years before the action of the first movie.The film traces the early career of Logan, the indestructible mutant who will one day be X-Man Wolverine. Cameos from future X-Men and the chance to see how Logan acquired his deadly claws and curious hairdo give the film a geek power that will set the internet buzzing ahead of the premiere. It will be interesting to see how this performs after the third X-Men movie was seen by many to be something of a mis-step in the X-franchise.

4: Watchmen (March)

Alan Moore’s superlative comic book finally, against the author’s will, reaches the big screen. There’s little doubt for anyone who’s read the original comic that this movie will be a huge triumph. We know the ending has been amended but very scene that’s been seen so far is slavishly faithful to Dave Gibbons’s original drawings, with just a few costume tweaks to make Nite Owl look a little less ridiculous and Silk Spectre a little bit sexier. How Watchmen will play to audiences who haven’t already been seduced by Moore’s vision of a parallel universe Cold War showdown between the members of a disbanded hero team remains to be seen. You can be sure, however, that every comic geek in the western world will see this film, and either rave about it or rail against it on the internet for evermore.

3: Star Trek (May)

J.J. Abrams attempts to reinvigorate the slightly tired Star Trek franchise with a story set immediately before the action of the first TV series. Winona Ryder looks set for a return to the big leagues as Amanda Grayson – Spock’s mum. British geek god Simon Pegg turns up as Scotty, and Zachary Quinto the dark presence at the heart of TV’s Heroes certainly looks the part as a young Spock. Expect tricksy time travel shenanigans, freak transporter accidents and a clever, ubiquitous and ultimately slightly annoying viral marketing campaign.

2: Public Enemies (July)

Creator of Miami Vice Michael Mann guides the apparently tireless Christian Bale (who appears to be in every movie of any note these days) and Johnny Depp in a period gangster romp about the FBI’s search for John Dillinger, Baby Face Nelson and Pretty Boy Floyd that is perfectly timed to chime with the new Great Depression.

and of couse, who would not be excited on the next Harry Potter Series...

1: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (July)

Harry Potter fans will already have a fairly good idea of what happens in this, the sixth film in the hugely popular boy wizard film adapted from JK Rowling’s all-conquering books. It was an early script draft of this film that prompted Rowling to ‘out’ Dumbledore while promoting the final Potter book.




Jo said...

Re #21, Nottingham, Scott has explained that it is NOT a dual role nor is the Sheriff going to find himself face to face with Mr. Hood. The Sheriff, through untoward circumstances, is forced to BECOME Mr. Hood...a different ballgame altogether and not a comedy in the least.

Michael Wong 38 said...

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I was supposed to get back to you after I linked to your blog so you could link back.

I linked to your blog already. When you have some time, please link back ok?

cheers, michael wong at: