Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Top 10 Anticipated Films for the Rest of 2009

Thanks to Kris Tapley from In Contention for the two line post that got me thinking about was I was most looking forward to for the remainder of the year.

Honorable Mentions:

A Serious Man
Something about this film just screams, “Why should I care?” I don’t know why I should care. The Coen brothers have had a nice little resurgence, but this just gives me a bad feeling. Maybe I’m wrong

The trailer was interesting, if not a little goofy. I’m not going to start doubting James Cameron, but it looks more like sci-fi box-office over quality. Maybe Star Trek-lite.

Leaves of Grass
I have been excited about this film for some time, but I have heard absolutely zero buzz coming closer to its Toronto premiere. I love Tim Blake Nelson, Edward Norton and Keri Russell, but I’m getting more worried as the days go on.

The Tree of Life

I will never go against Daniel Day-Lewis, but I certainly don’t trust Rob Marshall. I’m excited to see Penelope Cruz in corsets with no legs, but it’s a musical. I’ve never been big on musicals.

On to the Top 10…

10. Invictus
Morgan Freeman, Matt Damon, in a Clint Eastwood joint. It’s still a little meh, not to mention the fact that Eastwood is all over the map. He could be dissappointing (Changeling), unexpectantly brilliant (Mystic River), or somewhere in the middle (Flags of our Fathers). Morgan Freeman as Nelson Mandela might be the best and easiest casting ever, but something about it just feels off. By the way, Damon seems poised for the possible double Oscar nomination (see #3).

9. The Lovely Bones
Another one that feels a little off. Maybe it’s because Mark Wahlberg replaced the much more comforting Ryan Gosling when filming started. Maybe it’s because Peter Jackson has been a little bit of a let down since The Lord of the Rings. Maybe I’m just imagining things. I’ve seen plenty of people with Saorise Ronan predicitions for Best Actress, but I have my doubts. The Oscar nomination in ‘07 seemed a little undeserved (it was horribly weak Supporting Actress year) and I’m not sure she can carry a film. I feel better about the nomination prospects of long-time supporting actor Stanley Tucci as a creepy murderer with an awesome comb-over and John Waters mustache.

8. The Men Who Stare at Goats
I had almost forgot about this one until the great trailer came out a few days ago. I’ve always thought that George Clooney plays footloose crazy best, especially if it’s a comedy. Jeff Bridges as a hippie military man just makes it all the more better. This one is directed by Grant Heslov, better known as the spy that wasn’t Scwartzenegger or Tom Arnold in True Lies. You know, the cameraman who shot those five guys? Badass, right? I expect this to be a blast.

7. The Road
I had lost hope when this one was pushed back from last year’s Oscar race, but things seem to be looking up. Director John Hillcoat (The Proposition) seems well-equipped for the task at hand and Viggo Mortenson is well on his way to more acolades. That being said, Mortenson seems to do his best in films that are misunderstood or viewed as overrated. This seems right up his alley. Look for the breakout kid star to show up in the form of young Kodi Smit-McPhee in this one.

6. Up in the Air
Talk about a movie that has come out of nowhere completely on buzz. It sure has a lot going for it. Director Jason Reitman is batting 1.000 (Juno and Thank You for Smoking), Clooney is always a plus, and the film has an interesting premise (A guy who specializes in firing people is about to reach his 1,000,000th frequent flier mile and meets the woman of his dreams while traveling). The most interesting thing is the fact that this is the film that caused Paramount to bump Scorcese’s Shutter Island to 2010. Intriguing.

5. An Education
Talk about a movie with buzz. I have heard nothing but good things from this one. From star Carey Mulligan’s inevitable Best Actress nomination (and win, for that matter) to the resurgence of female directors, this one has a snowball’s momentum. I’m a big fan of the cast, from the always reliable Alfred Molina and Peter Sarsgaard, down to a personal favorite of mine, Rosamund Pike. The trailer looks pretty good, with Emma Thompson doing her look-how-awesome-I-can-be, in-this-movie-for-three-minutes thing. Always a plus.

4. The Invention of Lying
I almost forgot this one. Ricky Gervais is quickly becoming the funniest man in the world. He predicted how Kate Winslet will win an Oscar on Extras, he created the best television shows I’ve ever seen, and his first film was the grossly underrated Ghost Town. He wrote, directed and starred in this one. Oh, and he is the first person to lie in a world with none. Tina Fey, Louis CK, Jennifer Garner and Rob Lowe join in the fun. Check out the fantastic trailer for more proof.

3. The Informant!
What aspect of this great trailer turns you away from this film? Matt Damon is as goofy as can be imagined, and it looks like he’s having a great time doing it. It’s also nice to know that Scott Bakula and Thomas F. Wilson (Biff from Back to the Future) are still getting work. Damon reportedly gained a bunch of weight, and for a comedic role no less. When director Steven Soderbergh is good, he’s really good. On top of all of that, we barely have to wait. This one comes out in just over two weeks.

2. Precious
The film that prompted me to write this article in the first place. This is another film that has had nothing but positive buzz from everyone who has seen it. Supposedly, comedy veteran Mo’Nique is destined for an Oscar win in the Best Supporting Actress category, newcommer Gabourny Sidibe is poised for a breakout year and director Lee Daniels (of straight-to-DVD’s Shadowboxer) looks like he is ready to get into the mainstream of great filmmakers. I’m not exactly the film’s target audience, but this looks like it could get the Tyler Perry/Oprah bump into huge mainstream success, despite the very adult themes of child abuse and rape.

1. Where the Wild Things Are
Sorry, Precious…nothing will be able to unseat the film version of Maurice Sendak’s classic book. It’s always a good sign when a trailer gives me goosebumps and almost makes me cry with the memories of my childhood with the book. I can imagine no one better for this adaptation than Spike Jonze, another director with a perfect track record (Being John Malkovich, Adaptation.). To say I’m excited would be somewhat of an understatement. If Jonze can get this right, I would not be surprised if a Best Picture nomination would be on the way.

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