2009: The year in film: Part Three
While we race on with 2009, Filmstalker's selection of films coming up in 2009 continues with the third part in the 2009 release review covering July to September.
There are some big releases, a much anticipated sequel, a definitely not needed remake, and some smaller more interesting films too. Of course this isn't the complete list of releases for I don't believe there's a real need for me to copy and paste that. This list isn't every film released in every country, nor is it just the films I'd recommend, it's a mixture of what I recommend, want to see, and what you'll be clamouring to get tickets for.
Also to remember is that release schedules change like mad, and this is a list made in January for July to September. So let's get stuck in.
[FR]Michael Mann directing Christian Bale and Johnny Depp, but the excellent cast doesn't end there. Billy Crudup, Giovanni Ribisi, Marion Cotillard and Stephen Dorff to name but a few, sounds great doesn't it? Well add in the fact that the story is set in the 1930's as Federal Agents try to bring down the gangsters John Dillinger, Baby Face Nelson and Pretty Boy Floyd. This promises to be something special, mainly because it's Mann and some fantastic character actors. Definitely worth watching.
The Day After Tomorrow that the Earth Stood Still For, or some such rubbish. The teaser trailer came out with a huge wave pouring over the top of a high mountain range hitting a monastery and killing a poor monk ringing his bell. What? A wave was that high? It's just The Day After Tomorrow all over again. Disaster film take four hundred and fifteen. Seen it, done it, but you know the effects are going to be pretty amazing and maybe, just maybe, there's going to be a little more to it than the end of the world and huge moralistic messages from people sitting in their petrol filled, waste producing, ivory towers….and breathe Richard.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
[FR]There's been some speculation that this series will end prematurely, but if they're making drivel like Twilight then this series will continue regardless. Remember there's a proven audience out there with a track record of buying the novels and going to the cinema, and with just a few films left, which have been getting better and better, Warner Bros. are going to be wanting to hold onto their tent pole franchise. I predict another solid outing for Harry.
Land of the Lost
Will Ferrell, Anna Friel and Danny R. McBride star in this adventure comedy which personally I'm not really holding out a lot of hope for, but I think it will do pretty well. The film sees three adults stumble upon a hidden land that is populated with dinosaurs and other strange creatures and a dangerous race.
The Year One
Harold Ramis, oh yes that Harold Ramis, is directing Jack Black and Michael Cera in the story of two cavemen who are the laziest hunter-gatherers that anyone in their primitive village has ever seen, and soon they find themselves banished and taking on the greatest adventure of their lives taking them on a journey across their ancient and epic land. Well the talent is there, and Ramis is co-writing and directing, so there's a lot of hope for the film.
Now I'm not a fan of Adam Sandler I'll tell you that, and the Judd Apatow school of comedy can be very hit and miss for me, but I know that Funny People will go down well with audiences and there's some drama to be had here too. Sandler plays a professional comedian who is told that he has a terminal condition, and so he takes on a performer that's new to the profession in order to pass on his knowledge and make a genuine friendship with someone. I do hope there's more drama than comedy.
The Taking Of Pelham 1 2 3
[FR]Tony Scott is directing this remake, yes he's doing a remake, but that doesn't mean that it's going to be rubbish, it tells us that it's going to be visually engaging and very exciting. What's more Denzel Washington and John Travolta, and I really do hope he's still making the film, star along with John Turturro and James Gandolfini. The film has already been remade before for television, but the original starred Walter Matthau, Robert Shaw and Martin Balsam. It tells the story of a subway hijack and hostage taking. Sounds like Scott could do wonders with this.
G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra
As I've said before, some of these titles are just being put in here because I know there will be a large demand to see them, and this will attract a certain age group of Americans to the cinema without a doubt. Will it work so well outside America? Perhaps as your standard actioner with little else. Still, there's an interesting line up of actors, but a franchise? Personally I'll avoid it like an Adam Sandler film, i.e. the plague.
District 9 (U.S.)
[FR]When the news came that Neill Blomkamp wasn't directing Halo there was some sadness, although we weren't convinced about his ability to direct such an epic, Peter Jackson was. That died though and then there was this film, the story of Aliens living on Earth and sharing cities with humans, however they all have to live together and there are strict rules and regulations. Little is really known about it, but reading some of the viral sites about it (see previous Filmstalker article) you get the feeling there's more to it than the Alien Nation sounding blurb.
The Goods: The Don Ready Story (U.S.)
Don Ready is a used-car liquidator and is hired by an auto dealership that is struggling to try and turn their Fourth of July sale into a huge profitable event. Doesn't sound that great, but the comedy stars Jeremy Piven and Ving Rhames, with Piven taking the lead role. This might be interesting and have something to give, and Piven is always great fun on screen, but is there something more to be had?
[FR]Gerard Butler is directed by the guys who wrote and directed Crank and Crank 2: High Voltage, so already you know what to expect from this film - some innovative filming, and huge action sequences. This film is set in the future where a virtual game allows people to take over other real people and battle out to win. Butler is a big draw these days, and if Crank 2 does well then the writer/directors are two, this could be another strong to add to their bow. Innovative action and science fiction with Gerard Butler at the helm, what could be better?
[FR]In another world a group of ragdolls with self awareness come across another ragdoll who brings the group together to fight the creatures that threaten them. The ragdoll is called 9 and played by Elijah Wood, and the group includes 1, played by Christopher Plummer, a domineering war veteran; 2, played by Martin Landau, an aged inventor; 5, played by John C. Reilly, a stalwart mechanic; 6, played by Crispin Glover, a visionary and artist; and 7, played by Jennifer Connelly, a brave warrior. Once you've seen the trailer you'll be transfixed because it looks something new and highly imaginative.
[FR]Now I know as soon as I say this you'll be put off if you aren't a fan of these things, but I have to try and persuade you to stick with it, if you have to ignore this statement in order to consider the film, then do. Whiteout is an adaptation of a comic book. It's the story of a U.S. Marshall who has to investigate a murder and try and track down the perpetrator. However she's on a tight timescale because if she doesn't solve the murder soon she'll be plunged into darkness for six months as the sun sets for the extremely long night. Add to that the fact that there were strange ice samples taken from around the body and that's just the beginning. The story sounds very intriguing and the early shots I've seen from the film look gorgeous too.
Oh I'm torn about this, I wasn't really sure if I should give this a Filmstalker recommendation or not, watching the trailers and reading about the film it does sound like it might just be nicely set up to tug all the right heart strings, but then there's the fact that the story is based on a very real one where a reporter discovers a Juliard trained musician and befriends him, determined to bring his story to the public and help him regain some of his self-respect and life. Yeah I'm still torn, the good news is that Robert Downey Jr. and Jamie Foxx take the leads and Joe Wright is behind the camera, now that's tipping me to the positive.
Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs
Out of nowhere this film came to me, I was looking through the list of releases and the title caught my eye, rubbish I thought, and then I read further and thought that the concept could be pretty interesting. The animated family film tells the story of a world where hunger is a huge problem and a scientist who is trying to solve it is surprised when food begins to fall from the sky. Now the title was good, but that has really piqued my interest - what's that all about then?
Why we need a remake of Fame I have no idea, but we apparently do, and not only that but it has to be updated to modern day. One good thing is that we have an interesting line up for the teaching staff including Kelsey Grammar, Charles S. Dutton, Megan Mullally, and Bebe Neuwirth including Debbie Allen as the headmistress of the school - oh you'll remember her when you see her, she used to be the dance teacher. It's the usual same stuff in store I'm sure, but bigger, more expensive, but is it going to be better? I'm really not sure, it'll definitely make a lot of money that's for sure.
So that's all we have so far, over the months leading up to July there will be changes and additions galore, so remember that this was published in the second week of January, this is a look ahead, for an accurate view of what's coming out in the coming weeks keep your eyes on the side-bar of Filmstalker, IMDB, or your local cinema listings.
What about that list though? It's certainly not as strong as this time last year, but thankfully there aren't too many remakes and dumb comedies, oh they are being released, but they're not on this list thankfully!
I'm really curious about The Taking Of Pelham 1 2 3, District 9, Game, 9, and Whiteout. All these are films which, if I weren't writing about movies, would want to go and see. They all have a certain quality about their plots that has me intrigued and captured my imagination, and increased my belief that this is going to be a richer year for the cinema audience.
Now it's over to you until next week and the final part of the 2009 review.