2008 may have started with a whimper, but it did end with a
bang, as a number of films proved to be just as good as the hype that preceded
them (Benjamin Button, I’m looking in your direction).  Now that another year has come and gone, it
is time to take a look at what’s coming down the pipeline. 

In any case, by the looks of it, 2009 is shaping up to be a
year for the ages.  While there are still
countless other films that aren’t on the radar just yet, here is a list of some
films that I am waiting impatiently for. 
And for those that question why certain tent pole or event films are
missing, this list is intended to bring attention to pictures that may be
overshadowed by those aforementioned big budget films. 

5. Watchmen

Every geek is anticipating this one, there’s no question
about it.  Zack Snyder’s adaptation of
Alan Moore’s seminal graphic novel will do only one of two things; turn out to
be a great success, or fail miserably.  I’m
hoping for the former. 

I am by no means a diehard fan of the novel, but I did enjoy
the time I invested in entering Moore’s world. 
It is one of the strongest and most profound pieces of literature out
there, but it isn’t without its fair share of faults (as subtle as they may seem).  In any case, what has been shown looks
beautiful and it’s good to see that Snyder hasn’t veered away from what made Watchmen
so interesting in the first place.  Now,
let’s see how the dialogue (taken straight from the graphic novel) translates
to the big screen. 

4. The Wolf Man

The fact that this film has been delayed innumerable times
has made me a tad bit worried, but it’s something that I’m willing to look past
given the talent in front of and behind the camera.  Benicio Del Toro, Anthony Hopkins, Emily
Blunt and Hugo Weaving in a remake of a genre classic written by Andrew Kevin
Walker of Seven fame?  Based on what I’ve
seen and read thus far, it’s going to take a lot to knock this film off my top

Even though The Wolf Man was to be directed by Mark
Romanek, replacement director Joe Johnston is by no means a step down.  He’s proven his worth in genre films and I
think he understands the historic character enough to treat it with the utmost
care and respect it deserves.  Based on
the Comic-Con footage screened last summer, the film will undoubtedly look
beautiful.  Let’s just hope that the
script floating around on-line is an earlier draft, since it isn’t as strong as
many were expecting. 

While the wait will be torturous, moving The Wolf Man from
an April to November release will prove to be a smart decision on the part of
Universal, as it is a film best released during a time in which leaves turn
crisp and an ungodly chill fills the air. 

3. Where The Wild Things Are

A troubled project if there ever was one, Maurice Sendak’s
classic children’s story is one that we are all familiar with, even if you never
read it.  It’s one of those stories that
just latches on to the child inside and triggers memories of a time in which
life wasn’t so complicated.

Spike Jonze is a director whom I truly feel will be regarded
as a genius (even more than he is now) in another twenty years.  With two magnificent feature films and some
of the greatest music videos ever conceived under his belt, Jonze has proven
himself to be one of the most unique voices in Hollywood.  That said, having such a strong creative mind
work alongside the Hollywood mainstream will most certainly result in creative
clashes.  And Jonze’s adaptation of Where
The Wild Things Are
has encountered its fair share of problems. 

Reports of horrible test screenings, children crying and
running scared from the appearance of the Wild Things, studio heads wanting to
go the CGI route, while creative preferred to create a world filled with
practical effects, leapfrogging release dates… the list goes on and on.  Even with all of the negative press, and
after having read the script by Jonze and Dave Eggers, I absolutely cannot wait
to see how Where The Wild Things Are turns out.  Jonze hasn’t steered me wrong yet, so I don’t
think his adaptation of this classic story will taint his perfect record.  Besides, it’s about time we see a children’s
film that talks to the audience,
instead of talking down to them.

2. 9

Produced by Tim Burton and Wanted director Timur
Bekmambetov and based on an Oscar winning animated short film, I predict that 9
will catch moviegoers off guard.  The CG-created
story takes place in a parallel post-apocalyptic world in which a small group
of rag doll-like creatures struggle to survive in their hostile and horrifying
environment, all the while looking for the leader who will save their species
from extinction. 

I almost forgot about this film until I saw the teaser
trailer a number of weeks ago, which truly builds it as something that needs to
be seen on the big screen.  And if the
intriguing story isn’t enough, check out the voice talents on display: Elijah
Wood, Jennifer Connelly, John C. Reilly, Christopher Plummer, Crispin Glover
and Martin Landau. 

Director Shane Acker also wrote and directed the award
winning short that was the basis for this feature, so having him return makes
me even more excited in regards to what he has in store for us.  I have a feeling this one is going to be
big.  Let’s hope audiences are ready for

1. Public Enemies/Thirst

I just couldn’t choose between these pictures, so I decided
to make the top spot a draw.

Michael Mann returns after the lackluster Miami Vice with Public
, the story of Depression era gangster John Dillinger and the many
attempts on the part of the FBI to take him down.  To be honest, all that I needed to hear was “Michael
Mann” and “Gangster” to be sold on the project, but then I noticed the cast:
Johnny Depp (as Dillinger), Christian Bale, Billy Crudup, Channing Tatum,
Leelee Sobieski, Giovanni Ribisi, Stephen Dorff and Marion Cotillard… if that
isn’t epic, I don’t know what is.  Needless
to say, I’ll be there opening day.

On the other end of the spectrum, we have Park Chan-wook’s Thirst.  Park is most notorious in North America for
having made the modern classic Oldboy. 
With Thirst, Park is entering vampire territory with a story about a
priest who, after a failed medical experiment, turns into a vampire. 

Starring South Korea’s leading man Song Kang-ho, Thirst is
a mysterious project, probably because no matter how much you think you know,
you never really know what you’re in for when it comes to a Park Chan-wook
film.  He’s proven himself to be quite a
versatile storyteller and his first venture into vampire lore should be a memorable