Sunday, August 2, 2009

M's Most Anticipated: The Exciting End of 2009

Never fear! Although the movie scene has slowed a bit this summer, the rest of the year and into 2010 promises to pack a punch with a multitude of new work from classic directors. Here’s what I can’t wait to see.

(July 31st 2009)
Soaked in blood and religious imagery, the latest vampire offering from Oldboy’s Park Chan-wook, will no doubt spark a great debate over which is the best vampire movie of late, it or Let the Right One In. Please release this somewhere in the Midwest! (Dir. Chan-wook Park. Stars Kang-ho Song, Ok-vin Kim, Hae-sook Kim).

Ponyo (August 14th, 2009)
“The Little Mermaid,” Miyazaki style, looks as enchanting and beautiful as his other work, again showing us the little eccentricities and surrealism that can take a familiar story and make it entirely new. (Dir. Hayao Miyazaki. English voice stars include Cate Blanchett, Matt Damon, Tina Fey, Cloris Leachman, Liam Neeson, Lily Tomlin, Betty White).

Splice (September 18th, 2009)
A modern science/horror movie along the lines of Frankenstein and the Island of Dr. Moreau, the released stills look elegant and beautiful. Hopefully after all this time, the film will learn from its influences and produce something haunting instead of cheesy. (Dir. Vincenzo Natali. Stars Adrien Brody, Sarah Polley).

Surrogates (September 25th, 2009)

The classic graphic novel gets what appears to be an excellent screen update with the ever gruff yet engaging Bruce Willis. (Dir. Jonathan Mostow. Stars Bruce Willis, Rosamund Pike, and Radha Mitchell).

Shutter Island (October 2nd, 2009)
I can’t really stand Leonardo DiCaprio, especially when he’s doing his Scorsese period piece accent, but for some unknowable reason, I always come out of those movies really impressed despite myself. With its lush, surreal graphics and frightening setting, I can’t wait to see the Scorsese /Leo bromance play out against a late 50’s insane asylum backdrop. (Dir. Martin Scorsese. Stars Leonardo Dicaprio, Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley, Emily Mortimer).

The Princess and the Frog (December 11th, 2009)
We’ve been without a solid animated Disney movie for a long time, and finally they’ve resurfaced with one that sounds intriguing. It not only has the first African-American lead but also takes place in one of America’s richest cities in terms of history and mystery, New Orleans. By turning the typical tale of the Princess and the Frog on its head, it seems like it will make for another classic, barring the racial sensitivity issues surrounding the film that even forced it into reshoots. Here's hoping Disney will figure it out! (Stars voice talents of Terrence Howard, Keith David, John Goodman, Oprah, and Anika Noni Rose).

Avatar (December 18th, 2009)
Who isn’t anticipating this movie? I think James Cameron may disappoint me again, but who knows. He did give us Terminator and Dark Angel and no one can doubt the beauty and scale of Titantic. (Dir. James Cameron. Stars Sam Worthington, Sigourney Weaver, Michelle Rodriguez, Zoe Saldana, Giovanni Ribisi).

Sherlock Holmes (December 25th, 2009)
As a history major that studied mostly British history in college and has a soft spot for both the time period between 1892-1930 and stylized movie takes on said time period, I’m rather interested to see this. Throw in Guy Ritchie, Robert Downey Jr., and stories based on the antics of some of the best characters in literature, and I’ll be waiting in line at midnight. (Dir. Guy Ritchie. Stars Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law, Rachel McAdams).

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
(December 25th, 2009)
Heath Ledger’s last film. Johnny Depp among others chosen to replace some of his scenes with a mind trip straight from the cursed genius of Terry Gilliam. Starring Georg Von Trapp himself. Enough said. (Dir. Terry Gilliam. Stars Heath Ledger, Johnny Depp, Jude Law, Tom Waits, Colin Farrell, Christopher Plummer).


Legion (January 22nd, 2010)
This “road trip apocalypse” film stars Paul Bettany as the Angel Gabriel sent to Earth during the apocalypse to kill off humanity. Angel that he is, he bonds with a group of humans trying to survive at a road stop and becomes their champion. Sounds like a great mix of the comic book “Preacher” and the best parts of movies like “The Mist,” “Near Dark,” and even “Constantine.” (Dir. Scott Stewart. Stars Dennis Quaid, Paul Bettany, Kevin Durand, Kate Walsh, Tyrese Gibson).

Robin Hood
(May 14th, 2010)

One can argue that we’ve never really had a quality modern Robin Hood movie other than the Disney version or “Men in Tights,” which despite my love, leave me a bit lacking in my old age. Leave it to Russel Crowe and the incredible Ridley Scott to deliver a well-acted, promisingly beautiful version. (Dir. Ridley Scott. Stars Russell Crow, Cate Blanchett, Matthew Macfadyen).

(May 20th, 2011)

Despite my love of comic books and ancient mythology, I’ve never been into the concept of Thor as a modern superhero or a film. But the more I hear about Kenneth Branaugh’s new film version, the more excited I get. It will be incredibly interesting to see what the oft-Shakespearean director does with it. If anyone can pull it off, I think he can. (Dir. Kenneth Branaugh. Stars Natalie Portman, Samuel L. Jackson, Chris Hemsworth.)

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