Now that 2009 is in, and frankly after six days off due to holiday, weekend, and weather, I thought I would peruse the films up and coming.
Outlander (limited opening Jan. 23)
An alien crashes to Earth in medieval Scandanavia, and must forge an alliance with the local Vikings to destroy a large alien predator that he has brought with him. The trailer showed promise: Alien meets Beowulf, sans the half-naked Angelina Jolie. I wonder if the English teachers at school will schedule a last minute field trip.
Fanboys (February 6)
Based loosely (very loosely) on a true story, a group of Star Wars fans travel to California to get a copy of Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace so that their friend can see it before he dies. I can hope it is funny.
Under the Sea 3D (February 13)
A sequel to Disney’s Deep Sea, Jim Carey narrates this nature documentary showing the wildlife in the oceans off of Australia, and the effects of global warming on the oceans.
Watchmen (March 6)
I know nothing about the graphic novel this is based on, but the look seems interesting. The March 6 date was contingent on a lawsuite with the studio, but that looks to be over, and the show is back on. The murder of a costumed hero prompts an investigation by other heroes. In short: a superhero movie very likely unlike any other.
Race to Witch Mountain (March 13)
A brother and sister with out of this world powers are aided by a cab driver and an astrophysicist in their attempt to return to their spacecraft, and to head off an invasion of the Earth. It sounds a little darker than the original films of the 1970s, though I can only think that it balances “the Rock’s” appearance in the film.
Monsters vs. Aliens (March 27)
Not the latest installment in the Ellen Ripley saga, this is an animated pic from Dreamworks. The government has been collecting citizens who have been transformed into monsters. They come in handy when aliens come to Earth and humanity needs someone to defend them. Reese Witherspoon and Stephen Colbert are among the voice talents.
Earth (April 24)
Whittled from the British documentary Planet Earth, James Earl Jones takes over for Patrick Stewart as narrator for this odyssey which follows whales, polar bears, and elephants on their annual migrations.
X-Men Origins: Wolverine (May 1)
Hugh Jackman is back in this prequel to the X-Men franchise that shows the beginnings of the surly, gruff-but-lovable adamantium skeletoned antihero. One of the big developments will be if the film will be as dark as director Galvin Hood wants, or if the studio gets the warm fuzzy PG-13 rating it wants.
Star Trek (May 8)
J.J. Abrams is really throwing out a lot of history to rebuild the mighty franchise. Undoubtedly, there will be longtime fans who will be howling from the rafters, though it might just grow a new generation of fans who (sadly) gave up on the franchise. The trailer has been one the most popular trailers listing at imdb for several months (both the initial teaser, and then both actual trailers). This means that there may be enough people out there ready to jump on board again, or that a few fanboys have been watching them over and over and over again. Either is possible. I hope J.J. hits a home run on this one!
Terminator Salvation (May 22)
The long (25 years) awaited prequel to James Cameron’s seminal work puts none other than The Dark Knight himself (Christian Bale) in the role of humanity’s savior, John Connor, as he leads the rag tag humans in their push to destroy SkyNet (with lots and lots of terminators in the way). The governor will not be in attendance. Anton Yelchin, who will be handling the role of Pavel Chekov in Star Trek slips into the fatigues (but not Linda Hamilton ;-0) of Michael Biehn’s Kyle Reese. The big question will be if the director (McG) can overcome a less than stellar past of directing to bring home a film that could finally end the franchise on a high note.
Land of the Lost (June 5)
Will Ferrell stars in this spoof of an already pretty cheese laden 1970s kid show which will have everything from Chaka and Tyrannosaurs to pylons and sleestaks. Can you spoof something that is already that cheesey?
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (June 29)
I was disappointed when Optimus and co. came to the big screen. Great effects, but I didn’t think much of the story or character development. This time, the Deceptacons are coming to Earth for revenge. Word is: after the success of the first film, Michael Bay secured a much bigger budget which will allow dozens of robot-vehicles to be brought to life (c’mon Dinobots!). I am not convinced I would like this one better, and may wait to see this on disc.
The Wolf Man (November 6)
With all of the tween vampire and werewolf inspired films out there filled with budding romance, modern angles, and kiddy fare, its time to go back to where it started with Lon Chaney’s original turn as the man beast. Oscar winner Benicio Del Toro takes on the role of the doomed nobleman while Anthony Hopkins plays dear old dad. The trailer really seems to emphasize the gothic aspects of the film. Throw in Hugo Weaving and this film appears to be a can’t miss.
The Box (November 6)
Cameron Diaz stars in this film inspired by an episode of the 1986 version of The Twilight Zone written by Richard Matheson. A couple receive a box which allows them to strike it rich, as long as they don’t mind a total stranger dying.