Sunday, February 03, 2008

2008 Films I'm Looking Forward To

Last year I saw only a handful of films in theater, but of the 7 films I started out the year looking forward to, I've seen 6, though half of those were on DVD. Nevertheless, while being a parent keeps me from seeing films when they're released, I remain an avid movie fan. And I'm excited about some of what this year has to offer in film. Given what passes for good film according to the Academy, I apparently like slumming it, as I have seen none of the films up for the major awards, and with the exception of Sweeney Todd, am in no hurry to see any of them.

My 2008 "movies I wanna see" list:

1. The Orphanage - Guillermo Del Toro produced it, and the trailer gives me shivers. To quote Bill Cosby, "Come on, scare me to death, I'm ready..."
2. The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian - I couldn't give a rat's ass what Lewis purists said about the first film - I liked it, and I love the series of books. Go rent the BBC live-action adaptations if you want pure. You'll get an animatronic lion who isn't very animatronic in the bargain.
3. The Dark Knight - with Heath Ledger's untimely passing the trailer has taken on a more sinister note; making a psychotic villain your final legacy as an actor wouldn't be anyone's intention, but Ledger looks to have given a final brilliant performance by all appearances. If it even just matches the first film, it'll be stellar.
4. Hancock - I love Will Smith. I love superheroes. I love the idea of Will Smith as a homeless, apathetic superhero. 'Nuff said.
5. Iron Man - undoubtedly my fave trailer of the past few months. And who better to play alcoholic multi-billionaire Tony Stark than the recovering alcoholic Robert Downey Jr.? Besides, the armor is the shit, and an updated version of Sabbath's eponymous tune can't be a bad thing.
6. Cloverfield - Godzilla meets Lovecraft's monsters meets the uncanny via You-tube style mise-en-scene. I'm in.
7. The Incredible Hulk - This time I can only hope Hulk gets ANG-RY instead of Ang Lee.
8. Hellboy II: The Golden Army - Guillermo Del Toro is one of my top 5 directors of all time. I love the way he thinks, and he did an outstanding job with the first film in this franchise. The tone of the visuals echoes Pan's Labyrinth, but with the volume turned up to 11.
9. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - Do I Really Need to Say Why I'm Looking Forward to Another Harry Potter Film? And joy! It's a Christmas release!
10. James Bond 22 - Sean Who? Roger Less, not Moore! Remington Brosnan? I'm all about Daniel Craig as the most authentic Bond yet. It's not to say I don't love the rest for what they were and what they brought to the franchise, but Bond needed to get into the 21st century, and Casino Royale pulled that off in spades. Here's a raised glass (Shaken not Stirred) in the hope that Bond 22 is as superb.
11. Star Trek - I'm hoping this film adopts the reboot ethos of Battlestar Galactica, and does an amazing job of reinventing the Star Trek universe (which has been in need of an overhaul since "Deep Space Nine". If it does, maybe George Lucas would consider letting someone else do the same with Star Wars.
12. Fanboys - In lieu of a reboot of Star Wars, I'll take this comedy about some nerds who go on a road trip to steal a copy of Ep 1 for their dying friend.
13. Comanche Moon - it's a direct to video western adapting Larry McMurtry's prequel to his brilliant "Lonesome Dove". None of the other adaptations have stood up to the original television miniseries starring Robert Duvall and Tommy Lee Jones, but with Steve Zahn playing a younger Gus McCrae and Karl Urban playing Woodrow Call, this one will be worth checking out.


  1. If you need someone to go see Cloverfield with, give m a call. I know you busy with the new baby soon, but whenever.

  2. I'm seeing Cloverfield tomorrow night.

    Of the Oscar nominated films, many have passed me by but I will stand up and say that No Country For Old Men was BRILLIANT. It's raw, savage, well-acted, and lacks any of the usual Hollywood conventions like convenient heart-tugging or drawn-out confrontational set-ups. Things just happen, suddenly, without warning or fuss, as they would in real life. Violence is disturbing and feral and then over as quickly as it started. The performances across the board are spot on. And there is no tidy tying up of stories at the end. It just... ends. Like that.

    Sweeney Todd is GORGEOUS. All that murky shadowy atmosphere... Johnny Depp's brilliance... Helena's spark... the blood, the gorgeous dark red oozing blood everywhere...

    And I'll cop to not loving The Golden Age but loving both Cate Blanchett's performance and the costumes. It was a bland over-wrought story, however, and I just wanted more.

    Of the upcoming films you're dying to see... well... hehehe... I daresay this is why Facebook probably lists us as terribly incompatible in terms of movie tastes. But I don't care... everybody deserves to like their own thing. I'm not an elitist. My taste isn't the only one out there. I will say, however, that you might like the sheer in-your-face gritty realism of No Country For Old Men. Though I doubt your wife would (or should) join you on the viewing. :)

  3. P.S. I do want to see The Orphanage, however. That does look very excellent. And I admit to being slightly seduced by the idea of Robert Downey Jr. onscreen again.

    I'm waiting for Choke, if you must know. By the same author as Fight Club, Choke stars Sam Rockwell, Kelly Macdonald, and my favorite, Anjelica Huston.

  4. i was actually a little bit disappointed with comanche moon. but it wasn't that bad. cloverfield was very good....

    But i just have to make a comment on gabrielle's comment about No Country for Old - that was probably one of the more intense movies that i've seen in a while. the violence was definitely more intense and to the point than most movies i've didn't occur to me until about half way through that there was NO MUSIC in the movie whatsoever. in retrospec, i think that that's probably why everything was more intense...there was no hollywood music glam to prepare was real. crazy.

    i like your list mike. we're going to have to catch a couple of those when i'm living in e-town this summer.

  5. As a follow-up to my own comment, I hated Cloverfield. JJ Abrams can lick me. He and his painful overdone hype that doesn't deliver can just lick me. Cloverfield had it's moments but they were few and scattered beneath an unwieldy and gimmicky premise that just made me long for the nonsensical and pointless horses and polar bears of Lost. This movie didn't scare or entertain me when it was called The Blair Witch Project and it didn't scare or entertain me this time out either. At least Blair Witch had a plot.

    I know you'll all disagree with me and that's fine. You Abrams fans are welcome to him. I won't dispute your right to love his work so long as you don't dispute my right to hate it. I just wonder what crazy device he'll use for the new Trek installment. Communicator-cam? Empathic filming? "It was all just a holodeck sequence"? The possibilities boggle the mind.