As 2008 winds down, the Grouches are busy watching the Oscar contenders, not writing posts (I’m sure Brian and Adam are just timing their posts to coincide with the Pulitzer committee) and waiting for the nominations to be announced (I don’t want to jinx anything, but I’m guessing the Academy won’t surprise and force me to watch a Paul Haggis movie this time around.).    But we have also begun looking forward to 2009.  We’ve already started compiling a list of movies likely to be released next year we think look interesting for one reason or another.  So here’s a first look at some of the movies we’ll be watching next year:

The Lodger

Release Date: January 23
Notable Actors: Rachael Leigh Cook, Simon Baker, Shane West, Alfred Molina, Hope Davis, Donal Logue, Philip Baker Hall, Rebecca Pidgeon
Synopsis: Based on the same book as the Hitchcock movie, a serial killer is emulating Jack the Ripper, and a woman (Hope Davis) thinks it just might be her lodger (Simon Baker)
Why It Made The List: Maybe the world doesn’t necessarily need a Hitchcock remake, but we could certainly do with more intellectual thrillers. Plus, while The Mentalist isn’t anything to write home about, we think Simon Baker could knock a creepy Hitchcockian lead out of the park.
Trailer:

Taken

Release Date: January 30
Notable Actors: Liam Neeson, Famke Janssen, Maggie Grace
Synopsis: Bad guys, take note.  When you kidnap a beautiful girl, make sure her dad isn’t a former secret agent.
Why It Made The List: We heart Luc Besson, who wrote the script along with frequent writing partner Robert Mark Kamen.  And while the concept might not be the freshest in the world, the movie (which has already opened most other places in the world)  is pulling a 7.9 on imdb with 21,00 votes, and has made almost $70 million at the box office.  Plus, it is about time Liam Neeson started being a badass again.
Trailer:

Fanboys

Release Date: February 6
Notable Actors: Dan Fogler, Jay Baruchel, Kristen Bell, Chris Marquette
Synopsis: In 1998, a group of fanboys road trip to Skywalker Ranch to steal a copy of the upcoming Phantom Menace, so their dying friend gets a chance to see it.
Why It Made The List: Yeah, the studio has yanked it around something awful, messing with release dates, switching directors both from and then back to Kyle Newman, and complained about storylines.  But all reports indicate the movie is a pretty funny look at the Star Wars phenomenon, and it has loads of cameos.  Plus, Star Wars really does need some sort of answer to Trekkies.  We’re not the biggest Dan Fogler fans, but Jay Baruchel rocks, we’re hoping this movie will signal the emergence of Chris Marquette, the final alum of The Girl Next Door waiting to strike it big.  Also, Kristen Bell.  Princess Leia Bikini.
Trailer:

Watchmen

Release Date: March 6
Notable Actors: Carla Gugino, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Malin Akerman, Patrick Wilson, Billy Crudup, Jackie Earle Haley
Synopsis: Honestly, we’ve no clue, as we’ve never read the legendary graphic novel.  We gather it is set in an alternative 1985 where superheroes roam freely, and everything is much bleaker.
Why It Made The List: There’s tons of buzz surrounding the movie, Zack Snyder (300) should make it visually interesting, and that’s a pretty cool cast, even if I’m convinced Jeffrey Dean Morgan is Javier Bardem‘s clone.  Also, Fox’s recent lawsuit win is making things pretty interesting, and who knows if the movie will be able to go off as planned.
Trailer:

Sunshine Cleaning

Release Date: March 13
Notable Actors: Amy Adams, Emily Blunt, Alan Arkin, Steve Zahn
Synopsis: Two sisters set up a business cleaning crime scenes.
Why It Made The List: It is from the producers of Little Miss Sunshine, which alone probably makes it worth a look (even though the fact that both movies have “Sunshine” in the title is hindering this movie from gaining traction, which is kind of amusing).  But that’s a fun cast, and the film was written and directed by females, so that’s something.  Plus, hopefully it heralds the return of Emily Blunt!  Emily Blunt!  Emily Blunt!
Trailer:

I Love You, Man

Release Date: March 20
Notable Actors: Paul Rudd, Jason Segel, Rashida Jones, Andy Samberg
Synopsis: Bromantic comedy alert!  Paul Rudd’s wedding is soon, but he has no best man!  So he has to go on some man-dates to find that special guy.
Why It Made The List: We love Paul Rudd.  We love Jason Segel.  Our hearts burn for Rashida Jones (in case anyone still hasn’t seen it, since I’ve just played it for the 100th time, here’s Jones and Natalie Portman on the economic crisis).  And it seems like great roles for all three.  The film comes from writer-director Paul Hamburg, who wrote Meet the Parents, Meet the Parents, Along Came Polly, and Zoolander.  He also directed a few episodes of Stella and Undeclared.
Trailer:

Adventureland

Release Date: March 27
Notable Actors: Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart, Martin Starr, Bill Hader, Kristen Wiig, Ryan Reynolds
Synopsis: A college grad gets a crappy job at a local theme park for a summer.
Why It Made The List: The film was written and directed by Greg Mottola, the guy who directed Superbad, a Grouches fave.  We loved Eisenberg in The Squid and the Whale, so if he’s starring again in a quirky movie as someone with potential but no clue where to go in life, sign us up.  Plus, the supporting cast is pretty stellar  (Bill Hader with a huge fake moustache!).
Trailer:

Monsters Vs. Aliens

Release Date: March 27
Notable Actors: Seth Rogen, Reese Witherspoon, Hugh Laurie, Paul Rudd, Kiefer Sutherland, Rainn Wilson, Will Arnett, Stephen Colbert
Synopsis: Apparently, there are monsters living among us, and the government has secretly been gathering them.  Good thing, because we’ll need their help in this animated flick about aliens trying to take over the planet.
Why It Made The List: The Grouches love us some animated movie.
Trailer:

Sugar

Release Date: April 3
Notable Actors:
Synopsis: A Dominican baseball player dreams of playing in the American minors.
Why It Made The List: Granted, “from the people who brought you Half Nelson” isn’t a phrase which revvs our engines.  But we are suckers for baseball movies.  And looking at the sport through the eyes of a Dominican players with dreams is a pretty fresh take on the subject.

Observe and Report

Release Date: April 10
Notable Actors: Seth Rogen, Anna Faris, Ray Liotta, Jesse Plemons
Synopsis: Paul Blart: Mall Cop.  But, you know, funny.
Why It Made The List: Seth Rogen is hilarious and is rather evenly matched with Anna Faris, a Grouch fav.  And then you through Ray Liotta into the mix?  That’s comic gold.  Plus, any movie co-starring Landry from Friday Night Lights is pretty much guaranteed to be amazing.

Crank 2: High Voltage

Release Date: April 17
Notable Actors: Jason Statham, Amy Smart, Corey Haim, Bai Ling
Synopsis: Jason Statham goes after a Chinese mobster, presumably Statham’s heart is messed with again.
Why It Made The List: OK, bear with me here.  I realize I’m alone here (save for my brother), but I’m not entirely sure Crank should be left out of conversations of greatest movie ever.  The movie was completely over the top, of course, but its frenetic pace and sense of humor were absolutely riveting.  Plus, the Chinatown scene was just tremendous.  A bold and successful take on action, here’s hoping Crank 2 is in the same ballpark.

State of Play

Release Date: April 17
Notable Actors: Russell Crowe, Rachel McAdams, Ben Affleck, Jason Bateman, Robin Wright Penn, Helen Mirren, Viola Davis, Jeff Daniels, Ben’s Chili Bowl
Synopsis: A Congresman’s mistress is murdered, so clearly there’s a conspiracy.  The police and journalists race to uncover what really went down.
Why It Made The List: Mostly for the Ben’s Chili Bowl love.  It could be an OK political thriller, we suppose.  We’ve had the original BBC miniseries on our queue (James McAvoy is in it!  And the original Sam Tyler!) for a bit, we’ll have to make sure to watch before the movie comes out.
Trailer:

On the off chance anyone has made it this far, thanks!  If you are a glutton for punishment, we’ve got two more of these suckers coming.  The next one will get the rest of movies with a set release date and the last one will mention the movies without a release date, but which we think might premiere in 2009.

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