Julie and Julia (August 7th): Meryl Streep sinks her thespian teeth into the role of real-life chef Julia Child. Amy Adams goes along for the ride, as a modern-day woman who decides to cook every recipe in Child’s classic cookbook, “Mastering the Art of French Cooking,” in one year’s time.
Taking Woodstock (August 14th): Ang Lee’s latest film follows Elliot Tibor (comedian Demetri Martin), the man who set in motion the chain of events that led to the infamous outdoor concert, Woodstock. This has a promising cast and, with the exception of “Hulk,” Ang Lee has proven himself to be a pretty capable director. Seriously, take a look at the cast: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1127896/ Well, I think the cast is exciting.
Inglourious Basterds (August 21st): Not even Brad Pitt will be able to ruin this film, Quentin Tarantino’s latest. It is guaranteed to be a violent, bloody, vulgar, roller coaster of WWII, Nazi-huntin’ fun.
Nine (December): Oscar darling Daniel Day Lewis is almost guaranteed a nom for this, an adaptation of the stage musical. I love musicals, and this one also has a terrific cast, including Day Lewis and a bevy of great women (Penelope Cruz, Sophia Loren, Dame Judi Dench, Marion Cotillard and Nicole Kidman). While none of them (with the exception, perhaps, of “Moulin Rouge” star Kidman) scream “musical star,” director Rob Marshall was able to coax great song-and-dance performances out of Catherine Zeta-Jones and Renee Zellweger in “Chicago,” so no worries.
Dorian Gray (November): This adaptation of the classic novel is about a vain man who makes some drastic decisions to preserve his youth. It has a fairly impressive cast of Brits, including Colin Firth and the very handsome newcomer, Ben Barnes (Prince Caspian of “Prince Caspian”).
Sherlock Holmes (November): Newly divorced (paroled?) Guy Madonna Ritchie directs this tale of the classic character, portrayed by Robert Downey Jr. Co-stars Rachel McAdams and Jude Law (as Dr. “Elementary My Dear” Watson) are big draws as well, and Ritchie’s style intrigues me. Reports are that the relationship between Watson and Holmes is an – interesting – one, to say the least. Also very intriguing.
The Lovely Bones (December 11th): “Lord of the Rings” director Peter Jackson’s latest project looks more promising than his last outing (the disappointing “King Kong” remake). Though I’ve never read the book, the premise is interesting enough (a young girl is murdered, then watches from heaven as her family deals with the aftermath). Word on the street is that a few cast-members could be shoo-ins come awards season, including Stanley Tucci, Susan Sarandon, Rachel Weisz, and the young Saoirse Ronan (who already has an Oscar nom under her belt for “Atonement).
The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus: This was the film that the late Heath Ledger was working on when he died. Director Terry Gilliam had to do some quick thinking to deal with the loss of his star, thus leading to Jude Law, Johnny Depp, and Colin Farrell stepping in to help out. Little is known about the plot, other than that it involves a kooky traveling theatre company, but it should be a wild ride, albeit a bittersweet one, seeing Ledger in something new one last time.
Avatar (December 18th): “Titanic” and “Terminator” director James Cameron has had this film in the pipeline for quite some time. Doing double-duty as writer and director, it is rumored that he has also managed to pull off some amazing technical feats. “Time” magazine recently saw some footage, and reports were that they couldn’t tell what was real and what was computer generated. With the additional wonders of IMAX and 3D, this sci-fi yarn will most likely be jaw dropping.
Where the Wild Things Are (October 19th): Another 2009 film penned by literary giant Dave Eggers, this movie is in fact based on the Maurice Sendak children’s book. The story of Max, an ill-behaved child who enters a fantasy land filled with “wild things,” it looks to be a bit scary (giant, waddling fuzzy monsters with grotesque visages) but stunning just the same.
The Fantastic Mr. Fox (November 6th): Wes Anderson journeys into the world of animation in this adaptation of the classic Roald Dahl work. With the voices of Anderson regulars Bill Murray, Anjelica Huston, and Jason Schwartzman, as well as new additions George Clooney and Cate Blanchett, as Mr. and Mrs. Fox, respectively. Should give “Wild Things” a run for its money for the crown of “quirky children’s book-to-film adaptation of 2009.”
Jennifer’s Body (September 18th): This is the latest from Diablo Cody, Oscar-winning screenwriter of “Juno.” Starring Megan Fox and Amanda Seyfried, it’s a girl-power flick about a possessed girl who has to feed on boys to remain powerful. Probably not a date flick, but I’ve read the script, and it should be some strange, darkly humorous fun.
Shutter Island/Ashecliffe (October 2nd): No one is completely sure what the real name of this, Martin Scorsese’s latest, is, but it’s one of those two. Set in the ’50s, it’s about a U.S. Marshal who tries to track down a female murderer who has escaped from the local mental institution and is hiding out on Shutter Island. Starring Scorsese’s new muse, Leonardo DiCaprio, as well as Mark Ruffalo, Sir Ben Kingsley, Emily Mortimer, and Michelle Williams.
Amelia (October 23rd): This biopic has what I like to call “perfect casting.” Hilary Swank plays Amelia Earhart. Oscar-winner Swank will probably do a stand-up job of portraying the infamous pilot.
The Princess and the Frog (December 25th): Disney, who hasn’t had much success in the CGI animation department (outside of Pixar films, that is), finally returns to form with this 2D fairy tale. AND, it features their first black “princess.” I’m anticipating feeling like I’m 7 again when I see this film, and that’s not a bad thing.
I Love You Phillip Morris (Summer): Jim Carrey stars in this film (based on a true story!) as Russell, a closeted gay man who goes to prison and finds the love of his life there, in the form of Phillip Morris (Ewan McGregor). Also featuring the ever-hysterical Leslie Mann (a.k.a. Mrs. Judd Apatow) as Russell’s wife, pre-prison.
The Road: The highly anticipated film adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s post-apocalyptic road trip yarn. Featuring Viggo Mortensen as the father of a young boy, with whom he travels the country, dodging gangs of cannibals and scrounging for food. Certain to be very, very haunting.
The Young Victoria: The always wonderful Emily Blunt plays the iconic British queen. The film focuses mostly on her romance with husband Prince Albert. I’m a sucker for period films, so I’ll be there.
The Edge of Love: A WWII-era romantic film loosely based on the life of Irish poet Dylan Thomas. Starring Keira Knightley, from a script penned by her own mother.