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part of a small rebellion | by maryann johanson

question of the day: What movies are you most looking forward to in 2009?

New year, new slate of movies to get excited for. What movie are you most looking forward to in 2009?

I usually don’t look too far ahead to see what’s coming up — keeping up with the movies opening now is challenging enough — but when I look at what’s in store for us in 2009, I confess that there’s more than a few movies I can’t wait to see… even if there’s a bit of dread stirred in with the anticipation. State of Play (which I wrote a bit about recently) and The Time Traveler’s Wife prompt that mixed reaction. Ditto the Robert Downey Jr./Guy Ritchie Sherlock Holmes and Watchman. With a movie based on such beloved source material, there’s always that danger that it’s going to be a royal disaster.
(Oh, and if you’re worried about the kerfluffle over the rights to Watchman, I wouldn’t be. There’s no way in hell this movie ain’t gettin’ released.)

I feel more confident about Star Trek — because I trust J.J. Abrams — and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, because that franchise has been so reliable so far, and in fact has gotten better with each new film.

James Cameron’s experimental Avatar, his first narrative film in years, is scheduled for the end of the year. I sorta can’t wait to find out what kind of story he’s been pushing cinematic technology forward in aid of. I suspect it cannot possibly live up to such anticipation, however.

On the arthouse side, I’ve got my eye on Mira Nair’s biopic Amelia, starring Hilary Swank as Amelia Earhart. Movies about adventurous women are always welcome, and it doesn’t hurt that Christopher Eccleston is starring as her copilot, either.

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  • JoshDM

    Got a 10PM Ticket for Friday’s “Paul Blart: Mall Cop”.

    There is absolutely nothing as good as THAT showing at that time anywhere.

  • JoshDM

    MAJ, being the geek that you are, you’ve READ “Watchmen” already, right?

    Please tell me you’ve read “Watchmen” before you go see this movie.

  • Rob

    It’s odd that the James Cameron film is named “Avatar,” when M. Night Shymalan’s “Avatar: The Last Airbender” is also currently in production. When I first read your post, I actually thought for a moment you were speaking of the latter, which I’m sure you heard has been generating a great deal of controversy due to his casting all-white actors to play Inuit and Asian characters. I’d think that Cameron would probably want to alter the title as it gets closer to release to avoid unnecessary confusion.

  • Rob

    Also, if you haven’t read the book, “The Time Traveler’s Wife,” I highly recommend it. I was wondering if your mixed reaction is due to having read the book and being worried about a film version not handling it well, or whether you haven’t read the book and are instead not sure about how you feel about the concept.

  • Rob

    PS again sorry! Or the third option, you read the book and had problems with it.

  • Jim Mann

    I’m looking forward to Star Trek, Watchmen, and Harry Potter, though unlike you I don’t think each film has been better than the last. I think the third was the best, and the last one was flawed (mostly because it was too short, and needed a bit more detail in a few places).


  • drew ryce

    Untitled Eastwood Project – given his previous double look at Iwo Jima I am assuming that this will be an indepth look at the problems of young Hmong gangsters being stalked by a really old fart with an M1

    Inglorious Basterds – Hey, it’s Tarrantino. I’m looking forward to it. It’s a habit.

    The Wolfman – At last, a role that Benecio DelToro can really sink his teeth into.

    The One That Nobody Sees Coming – The Big Surprise. The Cinema Paradiso, the Slumdog that just shows up out of nowhere and knocks me over. That’s the one I am really looking forward to.

  • Ryan H

    Watchmen. Very much Watchmen. It’s the one that will break my heart if not done right.

    I’m also looking forward to Star Trek. However, the way they mangled the franchise between Enterprise and Nemesis has really drained me of any emotional stake in how it does. If it is good, hooray. If it is bad, well one more bad movie won’t be the end.

  • Chris

    1. Watchmen – Synder appears to really be taking the material to heart
    2. Star Trek – Can JJ do anything wrong?
    3. Funny People – It’s been too long Mr. Apatow
    4. Up – Though this isnt as high for me in advance as WALLE and Ratatouille were I still expect great things
    5. Where The Wild Things are – Again it seems like Spike takes the material to heart
    6. Avatar – Cameron feels like he has to impress us every ten years just to remind us he is that good and that ahead of everyone
    7. The Lovely Bones – This really is the year that top notch directors are finally returning to the screen
    8.Ashecliffe – Finally I get to see the words “From the Academy Award Winning Director”
    9. Harry Potter – This is only here since I’m a fan of the book but truthfully I havent really enjoyed any of the films outside the the third and fourth acts
    10. Sherlock Holmes – Robert Downey can do no wrong, but Guy Ritchie can.

  • Kathy A

    Definitely looking forward to Time Traveler’s Wife and HP6, as well as hoping that The Road with Viggo is released sometime this year (it was the movie from last November that I was hoping to see along with HP6, but both of them got pushed to 2009, damnit!).

    Star Trek and that Sherlock Holmes film have possibilities, and that Amelia film does sound like it could be good–thanks for alerting me to it!

  • JasonJ

    Star Trek. I am hoping it is the “Batman Begins” of the trek franchise. Watchmen looks cool, and I freely admit to having not read the source material. I don’t really follow the whole comic/illustrated novel industry so movies that came out like Constantine and Hellboy, I didn’t know about them prior to the movies. I didn’t know about Amelia, though now it is on my list, being an aviation junkie, I must see that.

  • Chris


    The great thing about Watchmen is that it’s one book unlike Constantine and Hellboy. You can pick it up without knowing anything about comics and not have to pick up another comic after you’re finished reading.

  • Nathan

    I assume that John Hillcoat’s adaptation of The Road will be released this year. I wonder if there really were problems with the movie or if the studio/distribution people were just horrified by its bleakness.

    And Terrence Malick’s fifth film, Tree of Life, is supposedly due out in Fall/Winter ’09, though I wouldn’t bet the farm on it.

    I’m also looking forward to Wolverine and Spike Jonze’s Where The Wild Things Are

  • MaryAnn

    Yes, I’ve read *Watchman* and *Time Traveler’s Wife,* and loved them both, and hope that they will be fairly translated to the screen. Not in a literal way, because that hardly ever works, but in a way that captures the spirit of them.

  • eric-jon rössel waugh

    Anything I haven’t heard of, mostly. It’s rare that movies huge enough for me to be aware of them months ahead of time are exactly my thing. There are exceptions, Synecdoche and Dark Knight being two from last year. Right now… nothing. Yet I’m sure splendid things will throw themselves at my feet while my life strolls on by. Which is as it should be.

  • Bill

    *Outlander* – I don’t know much about this one, but I think it has something to do with vikings battling aliens…? So, yeah, it’s probably gonna be terrible, but it could also be the coolest thing ever.

    *Red Sonja* – Robert Rodriguez directs. Not a huge RR fan, but I’ve got my fingers crossed.

    *Blessed is the Match*
    *The Wolfman*

  • Chris

    Thanks for the tip on the Christopher Eccleston film. I would watch him read the phone book!!

    Did his movie “New Orleans, Mon Amour” ever get released?


  • MaryAnn

    *New Orleans Mon Amour* is still doing the festival circuit, but I’ve got a screener and hope to review it soon.

  • Chris

    OK, cool. I feel like I’ve been hearing about it for years – wondered if it got shelved or sent straight to DVD.

  • blake

    Star Trek

  • chiclit

    I would like to be first in line to borrow the screener of New Orleans Mon Amour

  • Jennie

    The Last Station (Helen Mirren, James McAvoy)
    The Soloist (Jamie Fox, Robert Downey Jr.)
    State of Play (although I am almost dreading this one as well…)

  • Bill


    This is some combination of Russel Crowe, Ridley Scott, and the Robin Hood tale.

  • The Road

    The Lovely Bones

    The Tempest (with Helen Mirren as Prospera!)

    Star Trek

    Harry Potter

    (And it looks like The Time Travelers Wife is going to tank big time. The test screening was generally disliked by the people who read the book and was misunderstood by people who hadn’t read the book. Casting Erik Bana was miscasting of epic proportions. It’s a shame, as I really loved the book.)

  • MaryAnn

    *Nottingham* hasn’t even started shooting yet. The production is, as they say, troubled.

  • Bill

    “*Nottingham* hasn’t even started shooting yet.”

    Bummer. I must have been reading an old article. It had the release date listed as Nov 09. It looks like “Red Sonja” might be a 2010 release, as well.

    “Serbis” looks interesting.

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