UPDATE: The list below was written in January of 2009. I suggest checking out our new list, 65 Must See Movies of 2010. Click the image below to see:n
So 2008 is over, come on, it’s time to move on. Here are 50 great reasons to go to the theater this year:
My Bloody Valentine 3-D (Jan 16th)
Synopsis: After surviving a fatal accident that claimed the lives of five of men in a mine shaft, Harry Warden performed a horrific killing spree on Valentines night in the town of Harmony, killing 22 people before he was shot to death.
Why You Should See It: Early screening reports have said there is more sex, limbs, and buckets of blood than one can handle. The 3-D gimmick is the only reason this is on my list. If implemented right it should be a great time at the movies.
Fanboys (Feb 6th)
Synopsis: Star Wars fans travel to Skywalker Ranch to steal an early copy of Episode I: The Phantom Menace.
Why You Should See It: After all the chaos that surrounded this movie with constant delays and plot changes it’s finally coming out (I hope). Early screenings have been mostly positive. With all the cameos and inside jokes it is looking to be one of the funnier films of the year.
Coraline (Feb 16th)
Synopsis: A young girl walks through a secret door in her new home and discovers an alternate version of her life.
Why You Should See It: Directed by Henry Selick (James and The Giant Peach, The Nightmare Before Christmas) this looks like a magical story and utterly creepy. With voice acting from Dakota Fanning and Teri Hatcher I hope this is Selick’s chance to shine.
The International (Feb 16th)
Synopsis: An Interpol agent attempts to expose a high-profile financial institution’s role in an international arms dealing ring.
Why You Should See It: Clive Owen: the smoothest motherfucker on the planet. Add in Naomi Watts and this looks like a good thriller. I’m hoping director Tom Tyker, who proved he has it in Perfume: The Story of a Murderer and Run Lola Run, can hit it big with his first American high-budget film.
Youth in Revolt (Feb 20th)
Synopsis: While his trailer trash parents teeter on the edge of divorce, 14-year-old Nick sets his sights on dream girl Sheeni Saunders, hoping that she’ll be the one to take away his virginity.
Why You Should See It: Starring Michael Cera, Justin Long, Steve Buscemi, Ray Liotta, and Zach Galifianakis this comedy looks pretty generic but I’m banking the stars will elevate it to the next level.
Watchmen (March 6th)
Synopsis: When an ex-superhero is murdered, a vigilante named Rorshach begins an investigation into the murder, which begins to lead to a much more terrifying conclusion.
Why You Should See It: The first blockbuster of the year. Let’s just hope the Fox/Warner Bros rights issue gets resolved and we can enjoy it theaters on March 6th.
Sunshine Cleaning (March 13th)
Synopsis: In order to raise the tuition to send her young son to private school, a mom starts an unusual business — a biohazard removal/crime scene clean-up service — with her unreliable sister.
Why You Should See It: If Amy Adams can channel her performance from Junebug I’m here. It got mixed reviews at Sundance but with Adams, Emily Blunt and Alan Arkin I’m hoping for something special.
A Perfect Getaway (March 13th)
Synopsis: A Hawaiian honeymoon turns dangerous for two lovers (Zahn and Jovovich) when they discover they are being stalked by a pair of killers (Olyphant and Sanchez).
Why You Should See It: Written and directed by David Twohy (The Chronicles of Riddick) this looks like a fun getaway. Steve Zahn, Milla Jovovich, and Timothy Olyphant should help us have a good time.
Duplicity (March 20th)
Synopsis: A pair of corporate spies who share a steamy past hook up to pull off the ultimate con job on their respective bosses.
Why You Should See It: Tony Gilroy, writer and director of the spectacular Michael Clayton, helms what looks to be an entertaining thriller. Add in Clive Owen, Julia Roberts, Paul Giamatti, and Tom Wilkinson you have some real star power.
I Love You, Man (March 20th)
Synopsis: Friendless Peter Klaven (Rudd) goes on a series of man-dates to find a Best Man for his wedding. But when his insta-bond his new B.F.F.(Segel) puts a strain on his relationship with his fiancée (Jones) can the trio learn to live happily ever after?
Why You Should See It: Paul Rudd + Jason Segel. Early screening impressions have been very positive. Expect to laugh, a lot.
Knowing (March 20th)
Synopsis: A teacher (Cage) opens a time capsule that has been dug up at his son’s elementary school; in it are some chilling predictions — some that have already occurred and others that are about to — that lead him to believe his family plays a role in the events that are about to unfold.
Why You Should See It: Alex Proyas (I, Robot, Dark City) directing Nicholas Cage. Proyas has proved he can make a good film, but Cage has had a string of awful films. I’m hoping this turns it around. If nothing else this will be a decent blockbuster.
Monsters Vs. Aliens (March 27th)
Synopsis: When a meteorite from outer space hits a young girl and turns her into a giant monster, she is taken to a secret government compound where she meets a ragtag group of monsters also rounded up over the years.
Why You Should See It: Another DreamWorks Animation and test of 3-D technology. Voice acting by Seth Rogen, Paul Rudd, Reese Witherspoon, Hugh Laurie, Kiefer Sutherland, Rainn Wilson, Will Arnet, and Stephen Colbert should make this a pretty fun time.
Adventureland (March 27th)
Synopsis: A comedy set in the summer of 1987 and centered around a recent college grad (Eisenberg) who takes a nowhere job at his local amusement park, only to find it’s the perfect course to get him prepared for the real world.
Why You Should See It: Greg Mottola, director of Superbad, is behind the camera and pen for this comedy. Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart, Bill Hader, and Ryan Reynolds star in what looks like to be one of the funniest films of the year.
Observe and Report (April 10th)
Synopsis: Bi-polar mall security guard Ronnie Barnhardt is called into action to stop a flasher from turning shopper’s paradise into his personal peep show. But when Barnhardt can’t bring the culprit to justice, a surly police detective, is recruited to close the case.
Why You Should See It: Jody Hill: writer, director, producer of last year’s Foot Fist Way and this year’s HBO series East Bound and Down, is the brains behind this comedy starring Seth Rogen, Anna Faris, and Ray Liotta. I love his style of comedy so I can’t wait for this film.
Crank 2: High Voltage (April 17th)
Synopsis: Chelios faces a Chinese mobster who has stolen his nearly indestructible heart and replaced it with a battery-powered ticker that requires regular jolts of electricity to keep working.
Why You Should See It: It’s Crank. 2. High Voltage.
State Of Play (April 17th)
Synopsis: Based on the BBC mini-series of the same title, a team of investigative reporters work alongside a police detective to try to solve the murder of a congressman’s mistress.
Why You Should See It: Kevin Macdonald (The Last King of Scotland) directs Rachel McAdams, Ben Affleck, Russell Crowe, Jason Bateman, Helen Mirren, Viola Davis, and Jeff Daniels in what looks to be a solid political thriller. I thought the direction in The Last King of Scotlan was superb, so I’m looking forward to this.
The Soloist (April 24th)
Synopsis: A Los Angeles Journalist befriends a homeless Julliard trained musician, while looking for a new article for the paper.
Why You Should See It: After getting pushed back from the ’08 Oscar season, this drama starring Robert Downey Jr. and Jamie Foxx looks like it still has some promise. Joe Wright (Atonement) is an astonishing director so I have a lot of faith.
Fighting (April 24th)
Synopsis: A young ticket scalper is introduced to the world of underground street fighting.
Why You Should See It: Dito Montiel. He directed one of my favorite films in 2006, A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints. He got a good performance out of Channing Tatum then, and I hope he does the same with this film. Adding Terrence Howard to the mix should make a good time.
X-Men Origins: Wolverine (May 1st)
Synopsis: Wolverine lives a mutant life, seeks revenge against Victor Creed (who will later become Sabertooth) for the death of his girlfriend, and ultimately ends up going through the mutant Weapon X program.
Why You Should See It: Another part of the summer blockbuster line-up. Hugh Jackman should be entertaining as always. Ryan Reynolds, Liev Schreiber, and Dominic Monaghan should all prove to be worthy adversaries.
Star Trek (May 8th)
Synopsis: A chronicle of the early days of James T. Kirk and his fellow USS Enterprise crew members.
Why You Should See It: Hell Yes. I’m no Star Trek fan by any means but after Cloverfield, Lost, and Mission Impossible 3 I have 100 percent faith in J.J. Abrams. The film is supposedly going to set Star Trek in a plausible futuristic world so I can’t wait.
Bruno (May 15th)
Synopsis: Flamboyant Austrian fashionista Brüno takes his show to America.
Why You Should See It: Sacha Baron Cohen returns after the massively successful and hilarious Borat. How can you not be excited?
The Brothers Bloom (May 15th)
Synopsis: The Brothers Bloom are the best con men in the world, swindling millionaires with complex scenarios of lust and intrigue. Now they’ve decided to take on one last job – showing a beautiful and eccentric heiress the time of her life with a romantic adventure that takes them around the world.
Why You Should See It: After getting pushed back from this Oscar season Rian Johnson’s (Brick) indie comedy-drama featuring Rachel Weisz, Adrien Brody and Mark Ruffalo is finally arriving. I loved Brick so I can’t wait to see this.
Terminator Salvation (May 22nd)
Synopsis: After Skynet has destroyed much of humanity in a nuclear holocaust, a group of survivors led by John Connor (Bale) struggles to keep the machines from finishing the job.
Why You Should See It: I hope McG (We Are Marshall, Charlie’s Angels) gets it right with this new addition to the Terminator franchise. Christian Bale should be more than enough reason to see the movie.
Night at the Museum 2 (May 22nd)
Synopsis: Security guard Larry Daley (Stiller) infiltrates the Smithsonian Institute in order to rescue Jedediah (Wilson) and Octavius (Coogan), who have been shipped to the museum by mistake.
Why You Should See It: Two weeks ago this wouldn’t have been on my list, but after the surprisingly hilarious trailer I look forward to the film. Amy Adams, Steve Coogan, Bill Hader, and Christopher Guest join Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Robin Williams, and Ricky Gervais for this ‘Night’.
Up (May 29th)
Synopsis: By tying thousands of balloon to his home, 78-year-old Carl Fredricksen sets out to fulfill his lifelong dream to see the wilds of South America. Right after lifting off, however, he learns he isn’t alone on his journey, since Russell, a wilderness explorer 70 years his junior, has inadvertently become a stowaway on the trip.
Why You Should See It: It’s Pixar. Let’s see if they have another classic after Wall-E. All signs point to yes.
Land of the Lost (June 5th)
Synopsis: Three adults inadvertently stumble into a mysterious land populated by dinosaurs and other creatures, including the mysterious and dangerous race of Sleestak.
Why You Should See It: Will Ferrell and Danny McBride. Brad Silberling also proved he can direct a comedy-adventure with Lemony Snicket. I’m glad Will Ferrell has stopped making the same movie and is venturing into slightly different territory.
The Hangover (June 12th)
Synopsis: A Las Vegas-set comedy centered around three groomsmen who lose their about-to-be-wed buddy during their drunken misadventures, then must retrace their steps in order to find him.
Why You Should See It: Todd Phillips (Old School) directs Bradley Cooper, Heather Graham, Jeffrey Tambor and Zach Galifianakis in what should be a decent comedy.
The Year One (June 19th)
Synopsis: When a couple of lazy hunter-gatherers (Black and Cera) are banished from their primitive village, they set off on an epic journey through the ancient world.
Why You Should See It: Harold Ramis (Caddyshack, Groundhog Day, Vacation) is back with Michael Cera, Jack Black, and David Cross. This is looking to be one of the funniest movies of the year, I can’t wait.
Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen (June 26th)
Synopsis: Decepticon forces return to Earth on a mission to take Sam Witwicky prisoner, after the young hero learns the truth about the ancient origins of the Transformers. Joining the mission to protect humankind is Optimus Prime, who forms an alliance with international armies for a second epic battle.
Why You Should See It: Michael Bay returns and I’m guessing there will be bigger explosions, additional transformers, and more army helicopters.
Public Enemies (July 1st)
Synopsis: The Feds try to take down notorious American gangsters John Dillinger, Baby Face Nelson and Pretty Boy Floyd during a booming crime wave in the 1930s.
Why You Should See It: Michael Mann (Heat, Collateral) + Johnny Depp + Christian Bale pretty much guarantee a spectacular movie.
Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince (July 17th)
Synopsis: As Harry Potter begins his 6th year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, he discovers an old book marked mysteriously “This book is the property of the Half-Blood Prince” and begins to learn more about Lord Voldemort’s dark past.
Why You Should See It: I didn’t like David Yate’s last HP film (Order of the Phoenix) but since everyone else is going to be talking about this movie you might want to see it.
The Taking of Pelham 123 (July 24th)
Synopsis: Armed men hijack a New York subway train in demand of a hefty ransom. As the authorities try to negotiate with the hostage takers they wonder how the hijackers plan to get away.
Why You Should See It: Tony Scott (Déjà Vu, Man on Fire) usually delivers a solid action thriller. Denzel Washington always banks and John Travolta should be a decent addition to the film
Funny People (July 31st)
Synopsis: When seasoned comedian George Simmons learns of his terminal, inoperable health condition, his desire to form a genuine friendship cause him to take a relatively green performer under his wing as his opening act.
Why You Should See It: It’s the new Judd Apatow movie. Knocked Up and 40-Year-Old Virgin are comedy classics. Even though the last Adam Sandler movies have been dud’s, with Apatow behind the camera I have no worries. Seth Rogen, Eric Bana and Leslie Mann also star.
Final Destination 4: Death Trip 3-D (Aug 21st)
Synopsis: After a teen’s premonition of a deadly race-car crash helps saves the lives of his peers, Death sets out to collect those who evaded their end.
Why You Should See It: Like this year’s My Bloody Valentine 3-D this is bound to be fun. Director David R. Ellis proves he knows what audiences want with Snakes on a Plane.
Inglorious Basterds (Aug 28th)
Synopsis: In Nazi-occupied France during World War II, a group of Jewish-American soldiers known as “The Basterds” are chosen specifically to spread fear throughout the Third Reich by scalping and brutally killing Nazis. The Basterds soon cross paths with a French-Jewish teenage girl who runs a movie theater in Paris which is targeted by the soldiers.
Why You Should See It: Quentin Tarantino is back after the disappointing Death Proof . This WWII film stars Brad Pitt and is looking to be one of the better films this year.
Gamer (Sept 4th)
Synopsis: Set in a future-world where humans can control other humans in mass-scale, multi-player online gaming environments
Why You Should See It: From the guys that brought you Crank and Crank 2: High Voltage comes a futuristic thriller starring Michael C. Hall (Dexter), Gerard Butler, and John Leguizamo.
Daybreakers (Sept 11th)
Synopsis: In the year 2017, a plague has transformed most every human into vampires. Faced with a dwindling blood supply, the fractured dominant race plots their survival; meanwhile, a researcher works with a covert band of vamps on a way to save humankind.
Why You Should See It: Ethan Hawke and William Dafoe in a vampire flick? I’m not expecting Let The Right One, but this is bound to be better than the follow-up to Twilight; New Moon.
The Informant (Sept 18th)
Synopsis: The U.S. government decides to go after an agri-business giant with a price-fixing accusation, based on the evidence submitted by their star witness, vice president turned informant Mark Whitacre.
Why You Should See It: Matt Damon stars in a Steven Soderbergh (Che, Ocean’s Thirteen) political drama. The combo sounds like a good match, can’t wait to see it.
Surrogates (Sept 25th)
Synopsis: Set in a futuristic world where humans live in isolation and interact through surrogate robots, a cop (Willis) is forced to leave his home for the first time in years in order to investigate the murders of others’ surrogates.
Why You Should See It: Director Jonathan Mostow (U-571, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines) directs Bruce Willis in this futuristic thriller that looks pretty fun.
Toy Story 3-D (Oct 2nd)
Synopsis: Let’s hope you know already.
Why You Should See It: The Pixar classic is now in 3-D. Toy Story 2 3-D comes next year, leading up to Toy Story 3 3-D in 2010. I’m excited to relive my favorite childhood film in 3-D. What else is there to say?
Shutter Island (Oct 2nd)
Synopsis: Drama is set in 1954, U.S. Marshal Teddy Daniels is investigating the disappearance of a murderess who escaped from a hospital for the criminally insane and is presumed to be hiding on the remote Shutter Island.
Why You Should See It: Martin Scorsese (The Departed, Goodfellas) directing Leonardo Dicaprio, Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley, Emily Mortimer, and Michelle Williams adapted from a Dennis Lehane (Gone Baby Gone, Mystic River) novel. This is Best Picture quality material.
Where The Wild Things Are (Oct 16th)
Synopsis: An adaptation of Maurice Sendak’s classic children’s story, where Max, a disobedient little boy sent to bed without his supper, creates his own world–a forest inhabited by ferocious wild creatures that crown Max as their ruler.
Why You Should See It: After some delays Spike Jonze’s adaptation of the classic story is finally coming. It is supposed to deal with the strange time when one realizes they are leaving childhood and becoming an adult. I can’t wait.
The Wolf Man (Nov 6th)
Synopsis: Upon his return to his ancestral homeland, an American man (Del Toro) is bitten, and subsequently cursed by, a werewolf.
Why You Should See It: In what might be the most perfect casting of the year, Benecio Del Toro plays a hairy creature. Let the fun ensue.
The Box (Nov 6th)
Synopsis: A small wooden box arrives on the doorstep of a married couple, who open it and become instantly wealthy. Little do they realize that opening the box also kills someone they do not know.
Why You Should See It: It’s Richard Kelley (Donnie Darko, Southland Tales) and the premise sounds very intriguing. One of my favorite bands, Arcade Fire, is doing the whole score as well.
Fantastic Mr. Fox (Nov 6th)
Synopsis: Angry farmers, tired of sharing their chickens with a sly fox, look to get rid of their opponent and his family.
Why You Should See It: I’d like to see Wes Anderson’s take on animation, especially of a Roald Dahl novel. Cate Blanchett, George Clooney, Bill Murray, Anjelica Houston, and Jason Schwartzman provide the voices.
A Christmas Carol (Nov 6th)
Synopsis: An animated retelling of Charles Dickens classic novel about a Victorian-era miser taken on a journey of self-redemption, courtesy of several mysterious Christmas apparitions.
Why You Should See It: In Robert Zemeckis next CGI fest Jim Carrey is the star. The recently leaked photo of him looks surprisingly good. With Gary Oldman and Colin Firth this should be a good Christmas movie.
Sherlock Holmes (Nov 20th)
Synopsis: Detective Sherlock Holmes (Downey Jr.) and his stalwart partner Watson (Law) engage in a battle of wits and brawn with a nemesis whose plot is a threat to all of England.
Why You Should See It: Snatch is one of my all-time favs and RocknRolla was a good return to form. Its looking like Guy Ritchie will continue his success directing Robert Downey Jr. as Holmes. Rachel McAdams and Jude Law co-star.
The Lovely Bones (Dec 11th)
Synopsis: Centers on a young girl who has been murdered and watches over her family – and her killer – from heaven. She must weigh her desire for vengeance against her desire for her family to heal.
Why You Should See It: Peter Jackson is doing something different, a drama/horror/thriller. I’m confident Mark Wahlberg will do a good job after his previous four horrendous films. Rachel Weisz, Stanley Tucci, and Susan Sarandon co-star.
Nine (Dec 11th)
Synopsis: Famous film director Guido Contini struggles to find harmony in his professional and personal lives, as he engages in dramatic relationships with his wife, his mistress, his muse, his agent, and his mother.
Why You Should See It: Daniel Day-Lewis, Marion Cotillard, Nicole Kidman, Penelope Cruz and Judi Dench in a film directed by Rob Marshall (Chicago). I can almost smell the Oscars now.
Avatar (Dec 18th)
Synopsis: A band of humans are pitted in a battle against a distant planet’s indigenous population.
Why You Should See It: James Cameron’s epic immersive 3-D sci-fi experience. This is looking to be the perfect end to a hopefully great year of movies.
Whew. Looks like 2009 will be great. Are you looking forward to these films or any others?