2008 has finally been scraped off the bottom of our collective filmgoing shoe, and we are now ready to plunge into a whole new year. It is time to put down your head and take our hand as we crash through the barrier of those future film endeavors awaiting us over the next twelve months. Some are sure to excite. And some are sure to disappoint. But one thing's for certain: A masterpiece of imagination certainly awaits us somewhere down the line. Will it be Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince that truly blows our minds? Or could Paul Blart: Mall Cop be the comedy that shocks and amazes us all? Heck, in 20009, anything is possible. Here's what we have to look forward to:
January: Word of mouth is strong, and early critical praise indicates that My Bloody Valentine 3-D will be the first surprise hit of the New Year. Starring Supernatural's Jensen Ackles, this remake of the 1981 slasher flick has properly reimagined the pickax wielding miner's mythos with an amazing array of 3-D gore affects. And the outcome is nothing short of audience Valhalla. It should prove to be a solid hit amongst teenagers hunger for R rated visceral thrills. Two other scary movies will also be making there way towards us in early 2009. David Goyer's long awaited ghost story The Unborn is sure to cause anxiety amongst the sexually active youngsters out there seeking their Friday night entertainment. The film is choke-full of truly frightening monsters and it offers copious amounts of gratuitous panty shots. Dreamworks is offering up The Uninvited, a harrowing remake of Ji-woon Kim's A Tale of Two Sisters starring the lovely and talented trio of Elizabeth Banks, Arielle Kebbel, and Emily Browning as a step-mother and her two-step daughters terrorized by an abusive spirit. If spooky tales of the supernatural aren't your thing, not to worry! Kevin James will be reliving John Candy's Armed and Dangerous glory days with the Steve Carr security comedy Paul Blart: Mall Cop. If nothing else, it will fully prepare you for your local mall Olympics. Those upset by Marley & Me's final scene will be happy to know that Hotel for Dogs is a cutesy family comedy that offers not one euthanasia and grieving montage. Whoop-doo! Also hitting the family circuit this month is Inkheart, based on Cornelia Funke's children's' novel about a father (played by the always dependable Brendan Fraser) and daughter that can leap in and out of books at will. Those seeking a superior chick flick don't have far to look. Kate Hudson and Anne Hathway will provide all the girly nourishment you need with their fists-out bridal disaster comedy Bride Wars. And if that doesn't provide enough estrogen for the month, you also have Renee Zellweger's New in Town to look forward to. Biggie Smalls finally gets his own biopic with Notorious. And if werewolves and vampires are your thing, then your in luck, as Underworld 3: The Rise of The Lycans will finally be getting a proper release.
February: The most anticipated comedy of the last five years is finally going to make its big screen debut in February of 2009. That's right, folks. Kyle Newman's geekarific Star Wars odyssey Fanboys is finally going to see the light of day. Will it be worth the wait? Only time will tell. If this George Lucas-themed comedy isn't quite your style, not to worry. There will be plenty of laughs had during this second month of the year. Steve Martin returns with a sequel to his 2006 remake The Pink Panther simply titled The Pink Panther 2. And two high school football heroes don short skirts and letterman's sweaters to become cheerleaders in the ferocious laughfest Fired Up. The Wayans Brothers are getting into the dance craze with their hectic spoof Dance Flick, and for those that like a little romance with their comedy, there's always He's Just Not That Into You, which stars Ben Affleck, Jennifer Aniston, and Drew Barrymore as a bunch of lovelorn workabouts in search of the perfect date. Confessions of a Shopaholic finds Isla Fisher standing front and center in this P.J. Hogan adaptation of Sophie Kinsella's Shopaholic books. And Tyler Perry makes his first cinematic pit stop of 2009 with an adaptation of his own hit stage play Tyler Perry's Madea Goes to Jail. If your looking for freights on Valentine night, look no further than Jason Voorhees' own resurrection in the daunting Platinum Dunes remake Friday the 13th. Coraline offers a family freight fest dressed up in Henry Selick's famed stop-motion animation. And Push promises to tide over those superhero deprived dorks hungry for their comic book fix. Clive Owen will be flexing his prowess in the espionage thriller The International. And a gang load of young upstart actors have put most of their energy into New York, I Love You, the first anthology flick of the year. Video game aficionados will definitely want to check out Street Fighter: Legend of Chun-Li. But the biggest release of February 2009 by far will be Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience. Buy those opening weekend tickets now. This one is guaranteed to sell out.
March: This exciting month kicks off with the most highly anticipated comic book adaptation of all-time. That's right, if Warner Brothers can get all their legal ducks in a row, we will be seeing Zack Snyder's daft recreation of Dave Gibbons and Alan Moore's heralded graphic novel Watchmen. Lets keep our fingers crossed that it gets to us on time. Almost as anticipated is John Cena's second turn at big screen glory in the action packed 12 Rounds. If fast paced thrillers aren't quite your thing, not to worry. Sandra Bullock will be there with her first romantic comedy of the year All About Steve, which finds the comely actress setting off for points unknown due to her building attraction to a man that she can't quite obtain. Disney will strike with its first massive hit of the year Race to Witch Mountain. This family-themed adventure finds Dwayne Johnson taxiing a couple of supernatural kids back to their UFO. The self-explanatory Monsters Vs. Aliens, the first CGI 3D film from Dreamworks, will also be competing for that much sought after family dollar. If you're looking for more adult fare, Horsemen might remind you of David Fincher's Se7en. It stars Dennis Quaid as an FBI agent in search of a team of killers purporting to be the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Nicolas Cage will star in Knowing, a film about a time capsule that holds the secret to our planet's upcoming demise. And Sunshine Cleaning finds Amy Adams and Emily Blunt scrubbing up after dead people. If its solid R rated laughs that you are looking for, then look no further than I Love You, Man. This John Hamburg directed laugh riot finds Paul Rudd looking for a best man just weeks before his wedding. Ricky Gervais returns to the big screen a second time in This Side of the Truth, which finds him telling the first lie in history. Uma Thurman is at the center of a love triangle in The Accidental Husband. Greg Mottola will follow-up his audience favorite Superbad with Adventureland, a harsh comedy about life as a theme park attendant. And Mischa Barton will be teaming up with Bruce Willis for Assassination of a High School President. But the month's real news comes with Duplicity, which finds on-screen lovers Julia Roberts and Clive Owen teaming up for a romantic thriller.
April: This is the month you've all been waiting for. Why? Because it will finally see Hannah Montana: The Movie into theaters worldwide. Miley Cyrus is bringing her much beloved Disney Channel character to life on the big screen for the first time, and it promises to be a blockbuster. If kiddy pop isn't up your alley, April is also giving us the high octane return of series originals Vin Diesel and Paul Walker in Fast & Furious as well as Jason Statham, Corey Haim, and the musical stylings of one Mr. Mike Patton in the rough sex trade f*ck-em-up Crank 2: High Voltage. These two films, right here, will provide enough thrills and spills to last us the rest of the year. On the comedy side of things, Knocked Up's two leading actors are splitting in different directions for two very different films. First, Katherine Heigl stars in The Ugly Truth, which finds her searching for Mr. Perfect. Observe and Report is the second mall security comedy of the year. It stars Seth Rogen as a security officer who rules his shopping center with an iron fist. For the manga loving kids out there, 20th Century Fox is releasing Dragonball Evolution. And Zac Efron fanatics won't want to miss his ageless high school comedy 17 Again. Russell Crowe and Ben Affleck are teaming up for the blistering congressional thriller State of Play, and Disney will release its first in a series of Disneynature films, Earth, which will look at three different animal families as they make their way across our planet. Robert Downey Jr. returns from his 2008 comeback stint with The Soloist. Swimfan enthusiasts will love Obsessed, which finds a secretary terrorizing the life and family of her handsome employer. And finally, we have The Goods: The Don Ready Story, which features the always welcome and impenetrable David Koechner attempting to sell off a couple thousand used cars over one blistering weekend with his buddy Jeremy Piven.
May: Wow! This could very well be the biggest film month of the year. First, comic book fans that have worn through the dreamlike state of euphoria experienced by March's Watchmen will be happy to finally see the year's second biggest comic book adaptation arriving in May. X-Men Origins: Wolverine will surely please the Hugh Jackman admirers out there that didn't get enough of him in Australia. The film will also give us the first screen incarnation of longtime favorite X-man Gambit. But ol' Wolvy's exploits aren't the only thing heating up the screen in May. J.J. Abram's delayed Star Trek, which is out to reinvent the failing franchise, will finally get dumped into theaters. Will it be everything the hopeful Trekie is wishing for? At this point, evidence to support their anticipation has not yet been pushed forth. Arnie's T-800 is also back making noise in the fourth installment of the doomsday series Terminator Salvation. And judging by its awesome trailer, this little sci-fi kicker might actually be worth its weight in hype. Just don't be too harsh when it comes to the film's just announced toy line, which looks like a mock-up of Santee Alley action figures waxed-out in a sweatshop somewhere. For the intellectual popcorn connoisseur, Ron Howard will be bringing his Tom Hanks sequel Angels & Demons to the screen. And for the family, there's the upcoming Ben Stiller sequel Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian, which promises to be twice as much fun as the original. Pixar is set to unleash its next masterpiece on the world in May, when it will debut Up. A lot of water cooler talk and expected genius has already made this one of the most gawked at films of 2009. For the horror fan in all of us, Sam Raimi returns to his spooky roots with the gruesome Drag Me To Hell. If things go according to plan, this should be a return to form for the director behind the critically acclaimed Evil Dead series. Emma Roberts, daughter of Eric Roberts and niece of Julia Roberts, gets her second chance at fame after the failed tween thriller Nancy Drew with Wild Child, which looks to be another boarding house comedy for young girls and horndog boys alike. The month will be rounded out by two romantic comedies. Both Ghosts of Girlfriends Past and The Brothers Bloom will have their hands out for your girlfriends hard earned coffee house cash. (That's right, buddy! You blew your wad watching FIwRoywwrb3szC||Terminator Salvation three times in one week. Now she gets to pick what you see. Don't cry too loudly, though, I hear both films are quite painless. Oh, and I have just been informed that The Brothers Bloom isn't really romantic or a comedy. So, there you go.)
June: There are only two films that will really dominate June. And they are Michael Bay's sequel Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen and Will Farrell's trip to Saturday morning Krofftville in Land of the Lost. Both films will appeal to the ubergeek in all of us, and both films will provide a summertime blast of good ol' nostalgia. At this current moment in time, that's the best ingredient to build your franchise upon. Opening the same day as Land of the Lost will be Harold Ramis' return to the director's chair with Year One. This biblical farce stars Jack Black and Michael Cera as two men wondering the desert during the year immediately following Christ's death. Todd Philips will also be returning in June with his new comedy Hangover, which finds a group of friends looking for their bachelor after a grueling late night Bachelor Party held in Las Vegas. Cameron Diaz will be headlining the drama My Sister's Keeper, which finds her having trouble with her newborn baby. And if you're dying for your remake fix, there's a new take on The Taking of Pelham 1-2-3 heading your way in June. Eddie Murphy has a new family comedy coming up that finds the comedian trapped in the fantastical imagination of his daughter's own make-believe world entitled Nowhereland. Horror fans will have The Haunting in Connecticut to look forward to, but its Sandra Bullock as a pushy executive that must get married out of necessity more than love in The Proposal that might frighten filmgoers the most during this, the hottest of months.
July: The delayed sixth installment of the much beloved Harry Potter franchise will finally see the light of day in mid-July. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince promises to be one of the most exciting cinematic outings of the year, and rests at the cusp of this widening screen journey. There will be death and destruction. There will be magic and love. And there will be a huge box office tally when all tickets are accounted for. Yes, it could very well be the biggest film of not only the summer, but of the year. The only thing that could surely follow behind its behemoth weight is Johnny Depp starring as gangster John Dillinger in Public Enemies. If worldwide destruction and the apocalypse turn you on, you're in luck. Disaster diseur Toby Emmerich is retuning to a Cineplex near you with his Mayan calendar doomsday prophesy flick 2012, which will surely rock out on an epic scale. As a kid friendly alternative, we will also be treated to Dreamworks third installment of their hugely popular CGI animated franchise Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs. It will showcase the first worldly thaw and recovery from planetary catastrophe. If that sorted type of unhealthy madness has you reeling from another dogday afternoon, why not try Judd Apatow's hilarious ode to death and comedians Funny People. At times it may prove to be as depressing as the end of the world, but at least you know that you are guaranteed one solid joke. Maybe. The only true comedy coming out in July is I Love You Beth Cooper, which finds a nerdy genius declaring his love for Hayden Panettiere during his valedictorian speech. And then, for truly brainless fare, Disney is offering up its live action gerbil adventure G-Force, which will find a bunch of rodents saving the world. Natch. Planetary peril is certainly the theme of July.
August: What do you call a year that gives us two monumental blockbusters based on popular 80s toy lines? I'm not sure, but it should prove to be gratingly magical and bombastic. After our eyes and ears have finally recovered from Michael Bay's June action masterpiece Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen, will we will be ready and willing for another stroll through Toys R Us? I'm not sure at this point. August will rip itself open with the highly anticipated action adventure G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra. And when its end credits roll, we might as well call summer closed. As there aren't any other films that will be able to live up to the sheer goofy madness to be found in this Stephen Sommers treat. Coming hot on its heels will be a military adventure of a different sort. August will see the premier of Quentin Tarantino's seventh big screen incarnation Inglourious Basterds, and it should prove to be a rousing showcase for Brad Pitt's talents if nothing else. Two major horror films will also see there way into existence in late August. First up is the New Line sequel Final Destination: Death Trip 3D, which finds a group of Formula One fans dodging death at every turn. And Rob Zombie has agreed to come back onboard for a sequel to his remake of Halloween tentatively titled H2 (which sounds a little too close to Halloween: H20 if you ask me). The drama Post Grad will follow the exploits of a recently graduated Alexis Bledel as she can't seem to get a job and must move back in with her parents. Maxium Magazine will present the only true teen comedy of the summer with Max's Mardi Gras. The plot follows three best friends as they make their way through New Orleans during the biggest party of the year. Finally, the surprise hit of the summer will surely be Meryl Streep in the cooking dramedy Julie & Julia. On an added note, if you attended Comic-Con, you may remember the huge banners for District 9. This sci-fi creeper is about a bunch of deported space aliens, and it should provide a good capper on the summer.
September: Stolid thriller is the name of the game in September. Crank 2: High Voltage auteurs Neveldine and Taylor will finally unleash there Gerard Butler action extravaganza Game, which finds our titular hero stuck reenacting the moves from some kid's lofty video game. Kate Beckinsale's long shelved mountaintop adventure Whiteout will finally get its turn at the box office. Daybreakers throws Ethan Hawke into a world dominated by vampires. The human race is dying, and he may have the cure. Diablo Cody finally gets to follow-up her first screenwriting adventure Juno with the teen-age horror comedy Jennifer's Body. It should prove to not only be super scary, but also super funny. And it might just very well be the breakout hit of September. A remake of both the dance hit Fame and George A. Romero's horror classic The Crazies are currently being prepped for a fall release. As is Bruce Willis' Blade Runner -like sci-fi thriller The Surrogates. IF you don't feel like you've gotten your fill of action packed thrillers, Matt Dillon will also becoming around with his heist flick Armored. And for the kids? The animated, all-star voiced Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs will be making its debut as well.
October: You may notice that these last few months of the year are starting to get pretty lean. That's because a lot of the scheduling hasn't been finalized yet. And some of the following films may not even come out anywhere near this date. The biggest news in October is that Martin Scorsese will finally release his follow-up to the Oscar winning narrative film The Departed entitled Shutter Island (he made the Rolling Stones concert film Shine a Light in the interim). This new thriller stars Leonardo DiCaprio (yet again) and Mark Ruffalo as two detectives trapped on an island full of lunatics. We will also finally see Spike Jonze long awaited Where the Wild Things Are, which has been delayed due to extensive reshoots. Woody Harrelson is currently filming Zombieland for a Halloween release. Other horror films expected to hit near the trick-or-treating holiday include a remake of The Stepfather starring Prom Night's own Jonathan Schaech and that late October torture procedural staple Saw VI. Not to worry, animation fans! The film gods have not forgotten the kiddies, either, as the highly anticipated CGI big screen adaptation of Osamu Tezuka's Astro Boy will finally be hitting theaters nationwide.
November: Two high profile thrillers are making their way towards us in November, even though they would have fit in nicely closer to Halloween. Joe Johnston's update of The Wolf Man starring Benicio Del Toro will be making its scary way towards us. As will Donnie Darko director Richard Kelly's The Box, which is based on a Richard Matheson short story originally presented on The Twilight Zone. The vampires and werewolves of Twilight will experience quick sequel turn around as the second book in Stephanie Meyer's beloved series, New Moon, will be ready in less than a year's time. Dwayne Johnson, donning tights this time out, will drop his second family comedy of the year with Tooth Fairy. The highly anticipated comedy Old Dogs, starring Robin Williams and John Travolta, will arrive just in time for Thanksgiving. As will Robert Zemeckis and Jim Carrey's all motion-capture animated film Disney's a Christmas Carol. This new take on the Ebenezer mythos finds Carrey playing every single character in the age worn plot. Wes Anderson returns to the director's chair for the first time since 2007's The Darjeeling Limited with his first foray into the world of animation entitled The Fantastic Mr. Fox. Based on Roald Dahl's adored children's novel, this big screen adaptation will be voiced by the likes of George Clooney, Cate Blanchett, Bill Murray, and a whole host of Anderson regulars. Finally, sci fi fans can expect a pretty good time from Jorge Blanco and Javier Abad's CGI animated Planet 51, which turns New Mexico's Area 51 into its own planet full of unusual creatures afraid of an impending alien attack.
December: At this time, there are only two films scheduled to arrive in December. And one of them just might not make it. John Cameron's long gestating stop-motion 3D science fiction extravaganza Avatar may or may not arrive by the holidays. You all remember what happened with Titanic. Cameron likes to take his time and get it right. So it should be worth the wait. One thing's for certain, though. We will definitely be seeing Disney's hand-drawn animated neo-classic The Princess and the Frog right before Christmas. And it should end 2009 on a pretty good note.
So, folks, those are the films you have to look forward to this year. Will they be good? Will they be bad? Will you laugh? Will you cry? Heck, who knows? But at some point, without fault or failure, you will definitely be kissing 14 bucks good-bye. Happy movie going, and enjoy this New Year!