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.