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50 Must-See Movies of 2009

Written by on January 8, 2009 

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:

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.

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