25. Julie & Julia (dir. Nora Ephron)
Yes, okay, Bewitched was a bit of a dud, but she's back into territory that may suit her better. I don't know why I'm not meant to anticipate a "girly" movie. Not everybody only wants to go to the movies for big budget blockbusters, okay?
24. 9 (dir. Shane Acker)
I very much like Shane Acker's Oscar-nominated short so I've been looking forward to this feature adaptation for a while now. The trailer looked impressive (crappy rock soundtrack excluded) and while it's true the film has had to include voice work (the short movie features no dialogue) from the likes of Elijah Wood, John c Reilly, Jennifer Connelly and Crispin Glover I'm not worried. It won't be a big Pixar-sized blockbuster, but I also think it will be better than the low-range crummy animation that get theatrical releases these day (Igor for instance). And it's from Focus, which are generally quite respectable, no?
23. My Year Without Sex (dir. Sarah Watt)
Watt's first feature, Look Both Ways, is one of the finest Australian films of the decade and I very much look forward to seeing if she can replicate the success with her followup. This one stars Sacha Horler and Matt Day. Premieres soon so we'll know whether it can live up to my hype or not.
22. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (dir. David Yates)
Thankfully I quite like this franchise now - Alfonso Cuaron has everything to do with that, thank you very much) and I am shocked at how little I have learned about the final books. I generally still don't know what happens! Go me. I'm happy to see that Helena Bonham Carter returns for this installment as she was so good in Order of the Phoenix and also on board is Jim Broadbent. If nothing else, the team behind these movies deserve casting awards for each installment.
21. Wolverine (dir. Gavin Hood)
To be honest, I'm not sure why people are surprised this movie (alternatively titled X-Men Origins: Wolverine, ugh) has gone into reshoots. I mean, they hired Gavin Hood! What exactly lead them to believe that the director of Tsotsi and Rendition was ideal to direct an X-Men movie? Bizarre. Nevertheless, Hugh Jackman's Wolverine was always the best character (apart from Magneto and Mystique) so let's be thankful we're getting a movie about him and not, heaven forbit, Halle Berry's Storm. Yikes.
20. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (dir. Michael Bay)
I was quite open about how much I liked Transformers so it makes sense for me to be more than excited about the followup. Cars that turn into robots will always make me smile, I guess.
19. Ektopos (dir. Ben Shackleford)
Australia almost never produces anything science fiction (Epsilon, Farscape and Pitch Black are the only ones I can think of) so I am anticipating this title just for the pure rarity of it all.
18. Mary and Max (dir. Adam Elliot)
Oscar-winner Adam Elliot brings his first feature-length claymation movie to the big screen with the vocal help of Philip Seymour Hoffman, Toni Collette, Barry Humphries, Eric Bana, Renee Geyer and Molly Meldrum. Previously discussed a few times around here.
17. Whatever Works (dir. Woody Allen)
Not only is Woody Allen "back" for the tenth time, but he's back in New York City. Here's hoping he's returned to his home town refreshed after his international sojourn in movies like the stunning Match Point (UK) and the very good Vicky Cristina Barcelona (Spain). There is one major cause for concern however, and it is Larry David. As hysterical as I find him on Curb Your Enthusiasm, he seems like he could fall into the trap of being a Woody Allen proxy and that is something we do not need. Nevertheless, it also stars Evan Rachel Wood, Patricia Clarkson and Henry Cavill (who is there purely to be objectified like Scarlett and Penelope in Vicky, I assume).
16. Monsters vs Aliens (dir. Rob Letterman & Conrad Vernon)
I know I was only just extolling my hatred for Dreamworks Animations as recently as two weeks ago, but this looks like so much fun. And whereas I was always skeptical about Kung Fu Panda despite the positive feedback, I have no such reservation about Monsters vs Aliens. Don't ask me why though.
15. Public Enemies (dir. Michael Mann)
Maybe if nobody predicts this for Oscar glory then it might actually get some. Michael Mann, like Ridley Scott, is somebody everybody (myself included) keeps thinking "this'll finally be the movie to win him the Oscar" and then they just... aren't. This one has Christian Bale and Johnny Depp so you know it'll written about all year long, let's just hope it's worth it. Of course, amongst the supporting cast are oddball names like Channing "Fat Neck" Tatum, Leelee "Helen Hunt" Sobiesky and Stephen "Where'd My Career Go?" Dorff so... who knows, really. Thankfully the likes of David Wenham, Lily Taylor and Stephen Lang help erase the stench of Giovanni Ribisi and the others.
14. Terminator: Salvation (dir. McG)
What can I say? The trailer got me hooked.
13. Disgrace (dir. Steve Jacobs)
If you've skipped past all the stuff I have written about this movie then you obviously just do not care and there's nothing I can do to sway you. Needless to say, I've been following it for a reason.
12. Coraline (dir. Henry Sellick)
I have not read the Neil Gaiman books that everybody raves about. No, my excitement for Coraline comes from my love for Henry Sellick's Nightmare Before Christmas. Yes, HENRY SELLICK not Tim Burton. You got it? This claymation movie features the voices of Dakota Fanning (my annoyance at her has diminished since I found out she's a cheerleader in high school. how precious) and Teri Hatcher and looks visually astounding. I am particularly looking forward to seeing what Sellick does with French & Saunders in this universe.
11. Chéri (dir. Stephen Frears)
Do you read the Film Experience? Because Nathaniel is always updating his blog with bits and pieces about this movie. After Michelle Pfeiffer's triumphant 2006 she is back in full on Oscar mode with this period film co-starring Kathy Bates and directed by her Dangerous Liaisons director Stephen Frears. Cross your fingers folks, it could be special!
10. Final Destination: Death Trip 3D (dir. David R Ellis)
I am NOT apologising for putting this title on the list (and so high, too). Anybody who isn't excited about a Final Destination movie IN 3D really has no right to scorn others for being so. I wish all the previous FD movies had been in 3D, okay. These movies BELONG in 3D. It's going to be amazing!
9. Shutter Island (dir. Martin Scorsese)
Now this is a Martin Scorsese movie I can anticipate. A brilliantly cast Dennis Lehane adaptation (Leo DiCaprio, Ben Kingsley, Mark Ruffalo, Michelle Williams, Emily Mortimer, Patricia Clarkson, Max von Sydow) is something that I think will produce more interesting results from Scorsese than his last few films (as great as some of them have been). And, yes, I am still sticking with that crazy-arsed prediction that I made in June of last year.
8. Nine (dir. Rob Marshall)
Let me remind you that if Penelope Cruz wins the Best Supporting Actress Oscar (and that is looking very likely, isn't it? yay) in a few weeks then Rob Marshall's Nine will star SIX Oscar winners (plus another Oscar nominee and a three-time Grammy winner). Daniel Day-Lewis, Nicole Kidman, Judi Dench, Penelope Cruz, Sophia Loren, Marion Cotillard, Kate Hudson and Fergie. That's just mind boggling. I tend to think Rob Marshall is perfectly suited to direct musicals (as opposed to straight forward dramas) and still think Chicago is an amazing achievement. Plus, it's a musical so I'll take it where I can get it.
7. Inglorious Basterds (dir. Quentin Tarantino)
Despite never making a movie that I would rate less than an A- (I'm talking DIRECTING here) QT's movies never top these sort of lists for me because there's always the sneaking suspicion that something will go wrong. Whether it be the Kill Bill films or Death Proof (nee Grindhouse) and Inglorious Basterds is no different. A Tarantino WWII film? Starring Brad Pitt? And so quickly filmed, too? It's apparently going to be ready for Cannes, which I think is a record for Quentin in terms of time taken from start of filming to release.
6. Rage (dir. Sally Potter)
Sally Potter is absolutely one of the most fascinating directors of this generation. Whether it's the black-and-white dance musical of The Tango Lesson or the speaking in verse of Yes or the Tilda Swinton-as-a-man in Orlando, she just continues to make movies out of the unexpected. And now comes Rage, starring Jude Law, Judi Dench, Eddie Izzard, Steve Buscemi, John Leguizamo and Dianne Weist (what a cast!) It will premiere at Berlinale and, just quietly, I'm thinking this movie has a link to the movie-within-the-movie of The Tango Lesson.
5. Where the Wild Things Are (dir. Spike Jonze)
Please, please, please Spoke Jonze do this justice. Everything we've seen so far (including the studio not liking the original cut) says that he knows what he's doing.
4. Up (dir. Pete Docter & Bob Peterson)
It's Pixar, duh! Nothing more else needs to be said.
3. Antichrist (dir. Lars von Trier)
When Lars von Trier decided to dump his Land of Opportunities trilogy (after the bad Manderlay) I had wondered what he would do next. He made an office comedy (the funny The Boss of It All) and now a horror thriller starring Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbough. Anybody who has seen Riget will know this is a cause for celebration.
2. The Tree of Life (dir. Terrence Malick)
Malick's The New World still circulates through my mind and I was shocked to discover he was making a new movie so soon after that. This one stars Brad Pitt and Sean Penn. Most importantly, however, it also has Fiona Shaw. Everyone's favourite crazy mad bitch woman, no? I'm also thinking that we'll finally get another classic Alexandre Desplat score who, as much as I love him, has been doing the same thing for a couple of years now after years of consecutive brilliance. And it's got cinematography by Emmanuel Lubezki so, if nothing else, it'll look and sounds amazing.
1. AVATAR (dir. James Cameron)
I have been waiting ten long years for James Cameron to make another film and I am so glad he decided to make an action movie. He has been the best action director for two decades now and with this all new-fangled 3D technology that Cameron has been going on about for years now I am officially quaking with anticipation. He's also assembled a really great cast that includes Sam Worthington, Sigourney Weaver, Zoe Saldana, Michelle Rodriguez, Stephen Lang, Wes Studi and CCH Pounder. That's some eclectic casting, folks. The film could be a disaster, but so could Titanic.
I just hope it comes out in 2009. :)