Instead of splitting the year into two halves, like most sites do, I think it’s more appropriate to divide the film year into three trimesters. The first trimester, taking place from January through April is usually the dump zone, where studios release a few crowd pleasers that won’t make much money, or they don’t anticipate will receive many awards. Usually some really great films sneak in to this time and go on to be ignored come awards season (Zodiac, Breach, In Bruges).
Here are my most anticipated films of the first trimester of 2009:
10) Killshot – January 23rd
Director John Madden tries his hand at the action genre directing a cast of Mickey Rourke, Diane Lane, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. One genre you can usually count on this time of year for some mindless excitement is action-thrillers and this one looks like it may actually be decent.
9) Monsters vs. Aliens – March 27th
The new and improved Dreamworks Animation coming off two better-than-usual animated releases last year (Kung Fu Panda and Bolt) releases an early in the year comedy that’s sure to be good for at least a few laughs.
8) The International – February 13th
One of two Clive Owen continent spanning espionage thrillers being released this year. This one co-stars Naomi Watts and by the looks of the trailer it promises some quick camera movements and some good ol’ fun gun fights. Perhaps the next Inside Man?
7) Coraline – February 6th
Director Henry Selick (the actual director of The Nightmare Before Christmas) steps out of Tim Burton’s shadow with a creepy stop-motion animation film about a young girl exploring an unusual world. Sure to be imaginitive and fun for fans of this type of thing.
6) The Soloist – April 24th
The pushed back release date for this raises some major questions, but the book was fascinating and I imaging Director Joe Wright will command some good performances out of Jamie Foxx and Robert Downey, Jr.
5) Gomorrah – February 13th
This highly acclaimed Italian film has been receiving high praise and accolades all over Europe for some time now and now we finally get to see it in the U.S. There’s always a foreign film that receives acclaim the year before that gets released around this time and it usually is fantastic.
4) State of Play -April 17th
Solid cast under up and coming director Kevin MacDonald in this political thriller that should be a nice addition to the genre.
3) Sunshine Cleaning – March 13th
This wonderful black comedy starring the bubbly Amy Adams and Emily Blunt looks too great to pass up. Add in Alan Arkin as the grumpy old father and you got a film that I’m dying to see.
2) Watchmen – March 6th
Any self-respecting movie geek has to be looking forward to this adaptation. I have so many reservations, from the director who tends to overdo things to the point of campy-ness (like with 300) to the generally inexperienced screenwriters. However, I’ll still probably be at the midnight showing.
1) Duplicity – March 20th
The other Clive Owen thriller-comedy, but this time under the direction of Tony Gilroy and with co-stars Julia Roberts (a Closer reunion), Tom Wilkinson, and Paul Giamatti (a Shoot ’em Up reunion). It should be full of action and comedy and hopefully it won’t seem like a Mr. and Mrs. Smith rehash.
Any films that you are anticipating that didn’t make this list?