Films to stalk in 2008: Part two
So you've already read the list of films that Filmstalker recommends that have concrete UK release dates, but what about those that don't have definite release dates? Well you'd be surprised at just how many of those there are, and I've hand picked them all out for you here.
You'll remember that part one of the Films to stalk in 2008 featured a fair list of films, well this brings you even more. The third and final article will look through the films that IMDB list as due for release in 2008 but there's little chance of us seeing them.
All in all, this is the most complete review you'll see of 2008, out of these lists what are making yours?
Before Jon Avnet directs Al Pacino and Robert De Niro together in Righteous Kill he filmed Pacino in this real time thriller where he plays a forensic psychiatrist and college professor who is told that he has eighty eight minutes to live by a serial killer who is on death row awaiting execution from his testimony. Meanwhile a copycat killer is on the loose and he is accused of tampering with the jury. Sounds interesting, although it does hit a familiar chord with other films we've seen before, but adding the real time factor might make it more interesting.
Here's an interesting idea, a woman's body is dead and is lying in the morgue, its fate in the hands of the funeral director. However her spirit is very much alive and realises that there's a way back, except plans are moving forward with the funeral. There's not a lot more known about this as yet, but it does seem a really interesting concept.
Angels & Demons
The superior book, but is it the superior film or will it be another page by page adaptation?
Edgar Wright, of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz fame is set to bring us a superhero to the big screen, and he's chosen Ant-Man of all heroes. Let's hope this is a heavy comedy.
The adaptation of the huge novel from Ayn Rand. Although I haven't read it the scope is large and word is so is the project. Starring Angelina Jolie and from Vadim Perelman, who brought us the amazing House of Sand and Fog, this could be rather interesting.
Baz Luhrmann's epic about the epic country set before World War II. The story sees Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman driving two thousand cattle across Australia to witness the bombing of Darwin by Japanese forces.
This is the remake of the 1999 Thai film Bangkok Dangerouk. Both this remake and the original were directed by Oxide Pang Chun and Danny Pang. I liked the original, but this remake stars the standard and often wooden Nicholas Cage, and there have been a few script changes that I don't think compliment the original of the deaf and dumb assassin. Both directors are also responsible for the original of The Eye where the remake stars Jessica Alba, another film I have high hopes for.
Body of Lies 10/10 (US)
Ridley Scott directs Leonardo DiCaprio, Russell Crowe and Carice van Houten in a story about a CIA operative who finds a lead on an Al Qaeda leader in Jordan, he must trust his boss and the leader of the Jordan intelligence community with the plan and his life in order to capture the suspected terrorist. William Monahan, who wrote The Departed, has written the screenplay and this one looks like it could be another powerful film for all concerned. I'm a huge fan of DiCaprio nowadays, so combined with Scott and Monahan I'm really excited to see this.
Paul Bettany stars in this story from comedian/actor Paul Kaye and horror writer Clive Barker. A couple move into a small village in England and the husband begins modelling a copy of the village in clay, but soon they come to life and begin turning on them. Now that sounds bizarrely strange doesn't it?
Cassandra's Dream (Released throughout the world, except UK, Nov 2007 – April 2008)
Despite the dodgy accents, the latest trailer for this Woody Allen serious thriller looks really strong, capturing a tense feeling throughout it looks like he's chosen a strong casting with Colin Farrell, Ewan McGregor and Tom Wilkinson. The story of two brothers with serious financial worries who turn to a rich family member who offers them a way out, a robbery that goes bad and turns the brothers against each other. If Allen does the same as Match Point, then I'm in.
This is another Chuck Palahniuk adapted for the big screen, his last was Fight Club. This one stars the well overlooked talents of Kelly Macdonald alongside Sam Rockwell and the classic Anjelica Huston. Rockwell plays a sex addicted con man who gets money from people by pretending to choke in restaurants and having people save him. Another strange sounding tale from the author.
Cowboys for Christ
Now if you didn't know this is Robin Hardy's own remake of his classic 1973 film The Wicker Man, and not a bear costumed person punching Nicholas Cage to be seen! This will even star the original creepy lead, Christopher Lee. Filming is expected to start in March and so we might just see this released in 2008.
Peter Jackson's bigger budget version of the classic 1955 film about the true story of Barnes Wallis' bouncing bomb and the squadron who flew the daring raids to destroy dams powering the Nazi war machine. I have both a horrible feeling about the destruction of a classic story and also the making of a modern classic. Which is it going to be?
Dog Soliders: Fresh Meat
I really don't see this standing up to the original, although Neil Marshall has said he's had a little hand in it. Rob Green is directing, and he also directed a horror called The Bunker which wasn't that bad. Still, I don't see this being as good as Dog Soldiers.
Neil Marshall's latest film which takes a step away from horror and towards science fiction. The future sees Scotland quarantined and a team of commandos head into the country to try and find the cure for a terrible plague. I love Neil Marshall's work to date, Dog Soldiers and Descent were superb, great dialogue and well written characters.
Maria Bello stars as the unhappy wife who hires a hitman over the internet to kill her, but strangely the two fall in love. Sounds terribly twee, but Bello is great and she's joined by Jason Patric and Rufus Sewell.
The continuing saga of the United States as seen through the eyes of Michael Moore. Compelling stuff, however much you subscribe to his beliefs.
Uwe Boll's next videogame adaptation which sees a man stranded on an island trying to find a way out as he is attacked by mercenaries. However there are other things attacking him, such as his own body.
Ron Howard directs the adaptation of Peter Morgan's stage play from the screenplay Morgan also wrote, and Michael Sheen and Frank Langella reprise their roles from the stage play. Kevin Bacon, Sam Rockwell, Oliver Platt and Toby Jones are just some of the great names on board for the rest of the film that looks at the famous David Frost interview of Richard Nixon where he breaks down and apologises to the American people.
Gone Baby Gone
With still no UK release date in sight I'm wondering when all war films will be pulled from our screens for fear that we are upset by all the soldiers being killed in battle. I think this was a terrible choice to remove this from the cinema and actually suggests that the audience cannot separate real life from the cinema, which intelligent, grounded people obviously can. It's a shame as well as this film is being praised for Ben Affleck's direction as well as the script and performances.
The adaptation of the comic story about Cassie Hack who travels to small towns across the US taking down killers and slashers. Megan Fox is reported to be leading.
Hellraiser ??/09 (US)
Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury who directed À l'intérieur (Inside) with Bustillo writing, are tackling a remake of Clive Barker's Hellraiser, from a new screenplay he co-wrote with them. This will be interesting to see what they can produce, and tackling such unhallowed ground as Hellraiser. Still they have shown that they have bags of style and talent with À l'intérieur, and Barker himself is very impressed.
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
Can Harrison Ford really pull it off one more time?
L' Instinct de mort (Death Instinct)
L' Ennemi public n° 1 (Public Enemy No.1)
Jean-François Richet directs the adaptation of the novel by Jacques Mesrine about himself, the famed public enemy number one in France during the 1970's in two films which look at the man's life. They star Vincent Cassel alongside some strong French actors including Gérard Depardieu. He was scheduled to star next to his own father, a huge name in French cinema, Jean-Pierre Cassel who tragically died before filming. Vincent continues his great name and reputation in acting.
Sam Worthington, Simon Baker and Martin Henderson star in this film about a five man Australian special forces team stuck behind enemy lines in the last days of the Vietnam war. It's directed by Fred Schepisi who also directed Six Degrees of Separation, the best Will Smith performance before I Am Legend or Ali, and the very strong The Russia House.
I just came across this as I waded through the coming films. Kenneth Lonergan, who wrote Gangs of New York and Analyze This, wrote and directed this film about a woman who witnesses a bus accident and is caught up in the horrific aftermath. She believes that inadvertently she played a role in causing the accident and the film follows how it affects her and her family. It stars Anna Paquin, Matt Damon, Mark Ruffalo, Matthew Broderick, Jean Reno and Allison Janney.
Midnight Meat Train
Another Clive Barker film is hitting the screens and this one comes from the director of Versus, I know it's a long way back in Ryuhei Kitamura's career, but it is a very cool film. Bradley Cooper, Vinnie Jones, Brooke Shields and Leslie Bibb star in a film about a photographer who attempts to hunt down a serial killer who is terrorising the subway system.
Amongst all the Nanking films this one stands as a dramatisation of events whereas the others we're likely to see are documentaries and retellings. They are all going to be hard to take though, but definitely required viewing.
Ewan McGregor, Dan Fogler, Ben Kingsley and Emily Mortimer star in this thriller that takes place on the set of Hitchcock's lost and unfinished film, Number 13. The director himself gets caught up in a love triangle with two crew members and then the lead turns up dead and the editor thinks that Hitchcock is responsible. A Hitchcockian dilemma on the set of a Hitchcock film with Hitchcock at the centre. This could be a complete disaster or something rather special.
Although the blurb is brief - A grief counsellor works with a plane crash survivor to get through his denial of the event – there are three names that have me interested in this - David Morse, Patrick Wilson and Anne Hathaway, in that order. This could be a powerful emotional drama with some very strong acting.
Oliver Stone returns to Vietnam to bring a story of the My Lai Massacre, which saw US troops massacre several hundred Vietnamese civilians and a small group of soldiers trying to save them. Bruce Willis, Channing Tatum, Woody Harrelson, Jason Behr, Michael Pitt, John Ortiz, Michael Peña and Toby Jones star in the film which could well battle those currently being made about events in Iraq.
Red Cliff 24/10 (Finland) 04/12 (Netherlands)
John Woo's epic is slated for this year, although I'm not entirely confident what with all the setbacks it has suffered with casting changes. The film is based on the events of the Battle of Red Cliff in ancient China during the Three Kingdoms period. Epic is not the word for this huge Asian production.
Scott Anderson writes, directs and stars as the lead in Richard III, an adaptation of the classic Shakespearean story. It stars David Carradine and a few other recognisable names such as Sung Hi Lee...ahem. Still, it looks interesting and I think it appears to have been updated to modern Hollywood.
The Al Pacino and Robert De Niro starrer where they continually play alongside each other as New York Detectives on the hunt for a vigilante that might be a police officer himself. It also stars Carla Gugino, John Leguizamo, Donnie Wahlberg, 50 Cent (50 Pence to us UK'ers) and Brian Dennehy.
Repo! The Genetic Opera!
Darren Lynn Bousman, of Saw fame, directs this horror musical starring such names as Anthony Head, Paul Sorvino, Paris Hilton, Sarah Brightman and Joan Jett. From the short clips we've seen it looks intriguing and very dark, but the odd cast list does make me wonder how well it will gell.
RocknRolla ??/10 (US only)
Guy Ritchie has another stab at British gangster stories with another strong cast. Will this one have more longevity and something new to offer? In this story a Russian mobster's land deal puts millions of dollars up for grabs and London's criminal underworld sits up and starts to take notice. It stars Gerard Butler, Tom Wilkinson, Jeremy Piven, Mark Strong, Idris Elba, Thandie Newton and Gemma Arterton (possible Bond girl). I don't hold out much hope and I'm really waiting to see his Gamekeeper comic book come to the big screen.
This one just popped up into view the other day so it's making a late arrival here. From the novel by Stewart O'Nan the film stars Sam Rockwell, Kate Beckinsale and Michael Angarano in what looks to be a powerful and emotional drama, and one which looks set to stretch Beckinsale and Rockwell, something that they aren't always doing despite their acting abilities.
State of Play
Are we really going to get to see this in 2008? I'm not so sure with the cast changes that have been going on and the production delay. Although the cast isn't as strong as it was, the Matthew Michael Carnahan and Billy Ray script adapted from the BBC mini-series directed by Kevin Macdonald sounds strong. Edward Norton, Jason Bateman, Russell Crowe, Robin Wright Penn, Helen Mirren and Rachel McAdams all star...so far anyway.
Stone of Destiny
The true story of Ian Hamilton who, together with some friends, stole the Stone of Destiny back from the English museum in which it rested and returned it to Scotland in the 1950's. Billy Boyd is set to star in this cracking story that could really be a strong Scottish tale.
I'm not sure about this, but the cast of Kevin Costner, Dennis Hopper, Kelsey Grammer and Stanley Tucci have me swinging towards it. It's a story about how an un-rigged Presidential election comes to rest on the vote of one man, and it seems he's just not interested. Could this be a good film from Costner? It doesn't sound like a great plot.
Synecdoche, New York
Charlie Kaufman has written and directed this tale of a theatre director who creates a life size replica of New York inside a warehouse for his new play. It stars such talents as Philip Seymour Hoffman, Catherine Keener, Michelle Williams, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Emily Watson and Samantha Morton.
Taken 27/02 (France)
Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen wrote the script that Pierre Morel directs. Liam Neesom plays a father and an ex-spy who hears his daughter kidnapped and discovers that she is heading for the slave trade. He will stop at nothing to save her. The trailer looks tense and exciting, and Neesom is a cracking actor who should tear the screen up with his performance. The gorgeous Famke Janssen, Maggie Grace and Holly Valance also star.
Richard Kelly's next film is horror and comes from a Richard Matheson story. A box is handed to a couple who are told that if they open it they receive a million dollars, but they don't realise that when they do open it the box will kill someone they don't know. James Marsden, Cameron Diaz and Frank Langella. It'll be interesting to see how Kelly does after his Southland Tales.
The Changeling 07/11 (US only)
Clint Eastwood directs a J. Michael Straczynski story, yes he of Babylon 5 fame, which stars Angelina Jolie and John Malkovich. The story is reportedly based on true events where a woman's son is kidnapped and the police find and return him, but soon she begins to believe that the child is not hers and perhaps the police are in on it.
Julie Delpy wrote, directed and stars in this film about the sixteenth century countess who became infamous in folklore for allegedly bathing in the blood of virgins to keep herself young looking. Also starring are William Hurt, Radha Mitchell and Vincent Gallo.
Directed by David Moreau and Xavier Palud, the pair responsible for the excellent Ils (Them), this is the remake of the Pang brothers strong horror by the same name. Of course this has a bigger budget, better effects, and Jessica Alba with Parker Posey, Alessandro Nivola and Rade Serbedzija. Could it be better than the original? Well there is scope as the original had some poor aspects to it.
The Forbidden Kingdom 17/04 (Russia) 18/04 (US)
Jet Li and Jackie Chan together on screen, what else is there to say? Well actually it could be ruined by the convoluted plot addition of an American teenager drawn into an eastern mythological epic story.
The Human Contract
Jada Pinkett Smith, most notably Will Smith's wife, wrote, directed and stars in this film which we should see in 2008. Starring such names as Paz Vega, Idris Elba, Joanna Cassidy and Ted Danson, it tells the story of a successful corporate player who is befriended by a free-spirited stranger and encourages him to ditch his lifestyle and live life in reckless abandon.
The Hurt Locker
Kathryn Bigelow's film about an elite (aren't they all?) US Army disposal squad who are placed in one of the most dangerous cities in Iraq and face a deadly game of cat and mouse with bomb makers. It stars the excellent David Morse along with Ralph Fiennes and Guy Pearce.
Gregor Jordan, who directed the excellent Buffalo Soldiers, is bringing another Bret Easton Ellis novel to the screen along with the cast of names such as Winona Ryder, Billy Bob Thornton, Mickey Rourke, Kim Basinger , and Brandon Routh's first big appearance outside of the costume. The story is in 1983 Los Angeles and features movie executives, rock stars, a vampire and other strange characters from the city.
The List/Untitled Jackman-McGregor sex club film
Ewan McGregor, Hugh Jackman, Michelle Williams, with the stunning Maggie Q and Natasha Henstridge will star in this thriller about a man who is brought into an underworld of sex clubs by his friend, but after a murder and robbery involving this new world, he becomes the prime suspect.
The Mutant Chronicles
Early footage of Simon Hunter's Mutant Chronicles didn't look spectacular, but it did have promise in that it looked dark and tense, and it attempted to be quite epic. The cast looks interesting too with Thomas Jane, Ron Perlman, John Malkovich and Devon Aoki leading.
The Night Watchmen
Another James Ellroy story adapted for the screen by the man himself and Kurt Wimmer and Jamie Moss, directed by David Ayer who previously wrote and directed Harsh Times, and wrote S.W.A.T., Dark Blue, Training Day, The Fast and the Furious and the history bending U-571. Now add in the talent of Keanu Reeves, Hugh Laurie, Chris Evans, Forest Whitaker and Naomie Harris, and there's something special in the making there for sure.
The Oxford Murders 18/01 (Spain) 05/03 (France) 11/04 (Italy)
Álex de la Iglesia's film based on the novel by Guillermo Martinez about an Oxford professor and his graduate student who work together to try and solve a series of murders which are seemingly linked by mathematical symbols. The film stars John Hurt and Elijah Wood, and for those three names alone I'm totally into the film. Now let's see a UK release date.
The Poughkeepsie Tapes
Hundreds of videotapes are discovered in an abandoned house, on investigation by police they reveal the chronicles of a rampant serial killer showing torture, murder and dismemberment. The film has been receiving very positive reviews and features more hand held video footage and lots of faked reality footage. This is supposed to be pretty damn scary.
The Punisher: War Zone
I'm not really looking forward to this so much, but I'm intrigued to see what Lexi Alexander is going to do with the story. The character is a superb one, but the first film never really captured him I think, will this one?
The Rape of Nanking
Simon West, yes he of Tomb Raider fame, is directing this film which looks through personal accounts based on the Iris Chang book The Rape of Nanking which tells of the terrible Japanese occupation of China's capital during the 1930's and the slaughter of innocent civilians.
The Seventh Python
A documentary looking at the career of Neil Innes, perhaps best known for his song work with the Monty Python team. “How sweet it is to be an idiot” and “Canyons of your mind” are the two songs I know from his career, one with the Pythons and the other with the Bonzo Dog Doh Dah Band. This could be a nice, idiosyncratic film amongst the tide of general releases.
The Six Wives of Henry Lefay
I'm not a huge fan of Tim Allen, but this project does sound rather interesting. A daughter is arranging the funeral of her father while putting up with all his ex-wives personalities and demands. Allen plays the father, Elisha Cuthbert could well be playing the daughter, and Jenna Elfman and Andie MacDowell star amongst the wives and other cast members. It's an interesting concept, and hopefully it has some dark comedy as well as straight up laughs.
After Atonement Joe Wright is directing Jamie Foxx, Robert Downey Jr. and Catherine Keener in this story of a schizophrenic, homeless musician in L.A. who dreams of playing at the Walt Disney Concert Hall, and with the help of a journalist he does just that. Expect a superb performance from Foxx and Downey, and a moving film about the misconceptions we make.
The Stanford Prison Experiment
A film version of the famous experiment where a group of students were split into prisoners and guards and made to replicate a prison. Within a day the effects were noticeable and the interactions between the two groups became increasingly violent. The prisoners then staged a revolt and the experiment was closed. Das Experiment is a powerful portrayal of the experiment and this looks like it could be another, however there's been little word on the production which was set to start shooting in January.
The Time Traveler's Wife
What an interesting idea, Eric Bana will play a man who has a gene that causes him to involuntarily travel through time, and the film seems to look at this from a more personal aspect of how it affects his relationship with his wife. The film also stars Rachel McAdams and Ron Livingston.
From an idea from Steve Martin, yes he who's career is floundering in Pink Panther remakes, this film looks like it might be an interesting one. Guy Pearce, Don Cheadle, Neal McDonough and Jeff Daniels make a great line up in this film which sees a special agent working with a terrorist group become a target by the CIA. I'm dying to see a trailer for this one.
The adaptation of Mark Millar's excellent graphic novel that had such bold ideas has been heavily rewritten for this adaptation from Timur Bekmambetov, the director of the Russian Night Watch and Day Watch films. Starring James McAvoy, Morgan Freeman, Angelina Jolie and Terrance Stamp it does promise a lot.
The lovely Kate Beckinsale stars in this adaptation of a graphic novel which looks like it could be a really good film. She plays a U.S. Marshal who is tracking a killer in Antarctica and she doesn't have long before the sun sets for six months. Dominic Sena directs and he previously directed Kalifornia, Gone in Sixty Seconds and Swordfish.
Valkyrie 03/10 (US only date)
The huge cast story of the assassination attempt on Hitler by officers under his command. Written by Christopher McQuarrie and directed by Bryan Singer, this film looks set to be huge. Unfortunately this is the US release date, there's no UK as yet and the only other right now is the Netherlands on the 9th.
Some of these titles I'm listing are for a bit of a laugh, and the write up for this sounds right up that alley. “Lost soldiers in Afghanistan stumble upon a nest of vampire zombies.” What more do you want? Apparently it's based on a comic book and comes from John Moore, the director of The Omen and Flight of the Phoenix remakes.
Lena Headey, Malcolm McDowell, Joseph Fiennes, Elle Fanning, Carice van Houten, Gérard Depardieu and Jacqueline Bisset are all lined up to star in the biography of the great composer Vivaldi's life.
So that completes the list of 2008 releases that I'd be keeping an eye on both without release dates (as listed above) and with release dates specifically UK dates (previous article). Watch out for the "just won't make it" list, but of the films I've taked about in these two articles, what are you looking forward to?