2009, LOOKING FORWARD: The Movies
I fully realize that it’s somewhat hypocritical for me to first note my feelings about the changing of the calendar year and how it doesn’t really feel like an “ending/beginning” to me, then write a series of posts of various things I’m looking forward to in 2009. But hey, I’m writing a freaking blog here, not running for public office.
For a dork such as myself, 2009 has plenty to offer in the realms of movies, music, comics, and MMA…or, as I call them, “The Holy Quadrangle.” We’ll start off our four-part series with the big budget malarkey that’s vying for our $10+ (can you believe it?) at the box office. Comic book adaptations in a legal crisis, Cormac McCarthy, Quentin Tarantino takes on WWII, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Cobra Commander. Should be an interesting year.
Without further adieu…
If it ever gets released, that is. The story now isn’t so much that there’s a “Watchmen” movie finally coming out, but that after its completion and getting a full trailer, Fox has won a court settlement that gave it full distribution rights and subsequently put the old cock-block on the fans and threatened to delay the film’s release until its needs are met. Many are crying foul and prematurely blaming Fox for ruining the film, but I think old speed-ramp Zack Snyder had the potential to do that without all the legal mumbo jumbo. Although some who have seen early cuts of the film are insistent that despite the changes Snyder made to the ending, it’s very faithful to the spirit of the source material. Hopefully we’ll at least get a chance in 2009 to see if they’re right.
X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE
Boy, everybody sure seemed excited when the trailer for this debuted a few weeks ago. I wasn’t one of those people. My concern with this project remains the same as when I first saw the cast list – that they were so eager to include as many characters from the X-Men comics as possible (eg. Gambit and Deadpool) in peripheral appearances that it was going to distract from the main story. My cynicism continued until I saw that, holy shit, Gavin Hood is set to direct. Those of you who haven’t seen “Tsotsi,” you need to do so immediately. My faith in this film is restored, and I’m excited again.
Brendan Fraser is Gung Ho, Joseph Gordon-Levitt is Cobra Commander, and Sienna Miller is The Baroness. I can’t decide if this film has the greatest casting director in history or if they just drew names out of a hat and started dialing numbers. Although Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje – fucking Simone Adebisi himself – as Heavy Duty is undeniably brilliant. This movie adaptation of the 1980s cartoon and Hasbro ty line also has two more great things going for it: the presence of Snake Eyes (see above) and director Stephen Sommers, who judging by his work on “The Mummy” franchise (also featuring Brendan Fraser) knows how to make a silly premise for an action film work.
Johnny Depp is John Dillinger in this dramatization of the FBI’s hunt for Dillinger, Babyface Nelson, and Pretty Boy Floyd in the late 30s based on the best-selling non-fiction book of the same name. I’ve been burning to see a good Depression/bootleg-era gangster film for awhile, and this one has seemingly all the right things going for it. Including the right director, provided Michael Mann can break his seven-year streak of promising disappointments and bloated failures. Really, the whole thing is a fool-proof premise and on paper should work out beautifully. But so’s a movie about Muhammad Ali starring Will Smith, and look what Mann did to THAT. Let’s just hope he can reign himself in and not fall into the trap of getting carried away and taking the project far too seriously.
TRANSFORMERS: REVENGE OF THE FALLEN
People either seemed to really enjoy or hate that Shia LaBeouf vehicle directed by Michael Bay with a passion. What was that movie called again? OH, yeah, “Transformers.” In all seriousness, I’m one of those that really didn’t mind the film all that much, and I went into my viewing of it with a hatred for Michael Bay that could shatter mountains and make the most cold-blooded convicted murderer sob and sniffle. Sure, it was sort of ridiculous how a movie about giant robots that changed into vehicles didn’t really show them much…and when they did, Michael Bay did his patented “shake the camera” trick that made certain we couldn’t see the six million dollars that went into the four minute sequence he was ruining. And yes, Shia LaBeouf is a talentless piece of crap and possesses all the charisma of a damp dishrag. But hey, with all the introductory stuff out of the way, hopefully Bay will put the focus where it belongs – on the robots – and we’ll get more of them. And he can’t shake the camera at them for the ENTIRE two hours…right?
Quentin Tarantino is making a war movie. What more do you need to know? Well, it stars Brad Pitt, is described as “World War II epic meets Spaghetti Western,” tells the story of former convicted criminals that become soldiers to take down a group of Nazis while simultaneously following a Jewish heroine hellbent on taking revenge on those very same Nazis, and is separated into five chapters. In essence, it’s Tarantino’s version of “The Dirty Dozen.” I’ll understand if you roll your eyes at the idea of Tarantino once again touching himself to his favorite auteurs. I personally think that’s when he’s at his best, and this all sounds like a whacky enough mess to work. And yes, that IS how Tarantino’s actually spelling the title, and I’m just as bothered as you are that most people won’t even notice that both words are intentionally mis-spelled until it’s pointed out to them.
Much of the anticipation for this film is owed to the last Cormac McCarthy novel to be adapted for the big-screen, a little film by the name of “No Country for Old Men.” Unfortunately this film doesn’t have the Coens attached to it, but what it does have is a largely unheralded but promising director at the helm (John Hillcoat) and Viggo Mortensen as the nameless lead who must do what he can to ensure the survival of himself and his son in a post-apocalyptic United States. The Road (the underline means we’re talking about the novel!) has been heralded as a masterpiece, with Entertainment Weekly (we also underline the names of periodicals kids – look it up in your MLA format guides!) going so far as to call it the best book of the last twenty-five years. It’s in my queue of books to read, although I have a hard time taking anything from the folks at EW seriously. That doesn’t mean I’m not excited to first read it and then see what this film can do.
James Cameron’s sci-fi epic centers on humans fighting amongst themselves and the indigenous humanoid alien inhabitants of a planet they’re attempting to colonize. Little is known about the film, and yet there’s talk already coming out of production that it’s going to revolutionize the industry. Folks are mum as to why that’s the case, so it might just be empty buzz. But hey, it’s working.
NEXT: The Music