We’re continuing out look at some of 2009’s most intriguing movies.  Here’s the first part.  Below are movies with a scheduled released date after April.

Star Trek

Release Date: May 8
Notable Actors: Chris Pine, Zach Quinto, Simon Pegg, Zoe Saldana, Eric Bana, John Cho, Winona Ryder, Anton Yelchin
Synopsis: The Star Trek origins movie.  Sadly, it would appear that Tribbles won’t be making their triumphant return.
Why It Made The List: Star Trek was a great show.  Sure, we respect its pioneering role in the world of scifi.  But while the episodes were always ridiculous, they hold up, and the morality plays still ring true.  Pretty much anything can happen with J.J. Abrams at the helm, but we’re looking forward to being along for the ride.
Trailer:

Bruno

Release Date: May 15
Notable Actors: Sacha Baron Cohen
Synopsis: The Borat star returns, this time in his character of Bruno, the gay Austrian fashion/celebrity reporter.
Why It Made The List: Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan was a very funny film, and we’re looking forward to seeing if Cohen’s shtick continues to hold up, even if we’re worried Bruno the character won’t connect as broadly as Borat did.

Night at the Museum 2: Battle of the Smithsonian

Release Date: May 22
Notable Actors: Amy Adams, Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Robin Williams, Bill Hader, Steve Coogan, Ricky Gervais, Hank Azaria, Christopher Guest, Dick Van Dyke, Eugene Levy
Synopsis: We imagine it’ll sorta be like walking through the Smithsonian museums while on acid.
Why It Made The List: This movie is dividing the Grouches.  One of us couldn’t stand the first one, one of us has some close ties to the Smithsonian and is looking forward to seeing it on the big screen, and one of us wonders why they didn’t just focus the film around the Postal Museum.  The fourth refused to take part in this joke.  We’re a bigger fans of other branches of The State (along with the first movie, writers Robert Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon wrote the scripts for: Taxi, The Pacifier, Herbie Fully Loaded, Let’s Go to Prison, Balls of Fury, and co-created Reno 911!), but we still respect them.  Plus, directed Shawn Levy directed some episodes of The Secret World of Alex Mack, the film boasts a rather impressive cast, and the first one hauled in a nice chunk of change.
Trailer:

The Brothers Bloom

Release Date: May 29
Notable Actors: Rachael Weisz, Mark Ruffalo, Adrien Brody, Rinku Kikuchi, Nora Zehetner
Synopsis: A fantastical con movie.
Why It Made The List: The Grouches are also a bit divided on this one, some of us concerned that the constantly shifting release date portends bad things.  Some of us are nincompoops.  Writer-director Rian Johnson’s first feature film, Brick, a film noir set in high school, really is an absolute must-see, even if it isn’t a great movie.  So we are looking forward to seeing what he does with grownups, especially because Brick showed he’s more than comfortable around a con.  Plus, we love the casting.
Trailer:

Up

Release Date: May 29
Notable Actors: Christopher Plummer, John Ratzenberger, Ed Asner, Delroy Lindo
Synopsis: An old guy ties a bunch of balloons to his chair to do a little sight-seeing by himself, alone he’s not quite as alone as he thought.
Why It Made The List: Pixar.  ‘Nuff said.  Plus, Ed Asner went to a very fine college.
Trailer:

The Year One

Release Date: June 19
Notable Actors: Jack Black, Michael Cera, Olivia Wilde, David Cross, Oliver Platt, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Hank Azaria
Synopsis: A prehistoric comedy, where Black and Cera traverse the world in ancient times.
Why It Made The List: Judd Apatow and his clan continue their attack.  Well, really, there’s probably no Judd Apatow with Harold Ramis.  And since Ramis directed this film and wrote it (along with two scribes from The Office, Gene Stupnitsky and Lee Eisenberg), we could say that Ramis and his followers continue their attack.  In any case, the real winners will hopefully be us, because the film’s pedigree suggest it should be quite funny.

Inglourious Basterds

Release Date: June 2009
Notable Actors: Brad Pitt, Diane Kruger, Samm Levine, B.J. Novak, Samuel L.  Jackson, Mike Myers, Cloris Leachman
Synopsis: Like there’s any way to succinctly describe a Tarantino WWII movie about a bunch of Jewish-American soldiers trained to go crazy on the Nazis.
Why It Made The List: Because Tarantino films are always worth at least one viewing.  And because this movie has the chance to be off the charts ridiculous.  And Brad Pitt, Samm Levine, and B.J. Novak in a Tarantino seems too absurd to be real.

Public Enemies

Release Date: July 1
Notable Actors: Christian Bale, Johnny Depp, Channing Tatum, Billy Crudup, Leelee Sobieski, Giovanni Ribisi, Emile de Ravin, Marion Cotillard
Synopsis: The story of the government’s battle with John Dillinger and other 1930s gangsters.
Why It Made The List: If there’s anyone in the world who could prevent a gangster movie starring Christian Bale and Johnny Depp from being the coolest movie ever, it’d probably be director Michael Mann and his glacial pace.  Seriously, if Mann were filming the Olympics, Usain Bolt would have taken twenty minutes to win the 100 meter dash.  Still, it is a neat concept with a great cast.  And the Grouches have a special place in our hearts for Leelee Sobieski.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Release Date: July 17
Notable Actors: The Harry Potter crew.
Synopsis: This may be the one where Harry Potter joins forces with Criss Angel.
Why It Made The List: Another movie splitting the Grouches.  We’re sure Harry Potter fans will be so happy to finally get their fix that the quality of the film will be nearly irrelevant.  We’ll also neither confirm nor deny reports that one Grouch has been angrily writing letters to the Harry Potter producers demanding they replace Emma Watson, now that she’s celebrated her 18th birthday.
Trailer:

500 Days of Summer

Release Date: July 24
Notable Actors: Zooey Deschanel, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Clark Gregg, Minka Kelly
Synopsis: Billed as an “offbeat romantic comedy” or “post-modern love story”, you’ve got a guy who believes in true love and, fittingly, writes greeting cards.  Naturally, he falls for a girl who doesn’t believe in love and who breaks his heart.  The movie is apparently him flitting across their 500 days, wondering what happened.
Why It Made The List: If you know a certain Grouch at all, you’ll know this movie is pretty much exactly geared toward him.  It is basically even money this movie ends up on his top five list, since it is one of his ideal setups, has the right buzz words, has friggin’ Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt as the leads (two of his ideal candidates for romcom leads), a great That Guy in Clark Gregg (his best role, obviously, being The Stranger in the final two Sports Night episodes), and Minka Kelly (who, we trust, won’t be asked to do anything beyond the two faces she makes in Friday Night Lights).

The Taking of Pelham 123

Release Date: July 24
Notable Actors: Denzel Washington, John Travolta, Luis Guzman, John Turturro, James Gandolfini
Synopsis: A remake of the 1974 film, it is a heist movie in the Inside Man sense; a group of criminals hijack a New York subway train and demand a ransom, but no one can figure how they plan to escape.
Why It Made The List: Fittingly, one Grouch watched the original last night and thought to himself how great a remake could be, when he remembered that it was, in fact, being remade.  Directed by Tony Scott and scripted by Brian Helgeland (who wrote L.A. Confidential, among other things), we believe Denzel Washington will take over the Walter Matthau good guy role and Travolta the Robert Shaw bad guy.  Hopefully John Turturro will have Jerry Stiller’s role, because that’d be inspired casting.  We think this movie has a shot to be our favorite summer blockbuster, but are prepared to be disappointed, because so much has to be done so well for a movie like this to be successful.  Here’s hoping.

Funny People

Release Date: July 31
Notable Actors: Adam Sandler, Seth Rogen, Leslie Mann, Eric Bana, Jonah Hill, Jason Schwartzman, RZA
Synopsis: A comedian learns he will die soon and realizes he has no friends, so he decides to take someone under his wing.  Hilarity ensues, obviously.
Why It Made The List: Written and directed by Judd Apatow and stars, well, funny people, plus it apparently has a bunch of cameos.  Until Apatow convinces us otherwise, we’ll look forward to all his movies.

Shorts

Release Date: August 7
Notable Actors: Kat Dennings, Leslie Mann, James Spader, William H. Macy, Jon Cryer
Synopsis: A kid finds a magic rock and soon everyone in town wants it.
Why It Made The List: There are three answers here, feel free to choose your favorite.  Shorts is a kids movie written and directed by Robert Rodriguez, and everyone seemed to like his Spy Kids franchise.  We heart William H. Macy, and are intrigued/bewildered by the casting of two stars of wildly successful  (and boring) TV shows along with him, plus Leslie Mann.  We figured if this movie doesn’t cure us of our crush on Kat Dennings, nothing will.

Julie and Julia

Release Date: August 7
Notable Actors: Amy Adams, Meryl Streep, Jane Lynch
Synopsis: Based on Julia Child’s memoir “My Life in France”.
Why It Made The List: We figure this movie, written and directed by Nora Ephron, should score huge browie points with Mom.  Plus, Meryl Streep as Julia Child?  That has to be fantastic.

The Box

Release Date: November 6
Notable Actors: Cameron Diaz, James Marsden, Frank Langella
Synopsis: A married couple gets use of an ordinary-looking box for 24 hours.  If they open the box, they get a million dollars.  Yay!  Each time they open the box, someone they don’t know dies.  Boo!
Why It Made The List: One of the Grouches has already penciled this movie into his preseason top five, thus granting it the kiss of death.  Written and directed by Richard Kelly (Donnie Darkie and, um, Southland tales), the film was based on a short story by Richard Matheson, who has had a hand in most of the good scifi/suspense enterprises since The Twilight Zone.  In fact, among other episodes (including the more famous William Shatner on an airplane one), he wrote the William Shatner episode with similarities to this story, involving a machine at a diner.  Also, some of the Arcade Fire people have scored the film.

The Wolf Man

Release Date: November 6
Notable Actors: Benicio Del Toro, Anthony Hopkins, Emily Blunt, Hugo Weaving
Synopsis: Blah blah blah Victorian era blah blah blah Benicio Del Toro as a werewolf.
Why It Made The List: If Benicio Del Toro as a werewolf, with Anthony Hopkins as his dad doesn’t get you at least a little bit excited and frightened, well, I feel sorry for you.  If it helps, the movie was directed by Joe Johnston, who did Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, and Jumaji.  And it was written by Andrew Kevin Walker (Se7en) and David Self (Road to Perdition).

Sherlock Holmes

Release Date: November 20
Notable Actors: Robert Downey, Jr., Rachael McAdams, Jude Law, Mark Strong, Eddie Marsan
Synopsis: Based on the Arthur Conan Doyle stories via a Lionel Wigram novel, we gather Holmes will be able to wreck you both physically and mentally now.
Why It Made The List: We don’t know whether to fear, dread, or embrace this movie.  Guy Ritchie has had an uneven career, and taking on Holmes is no small feat.  We happen to think the casting is rather inspired, as we love the idea of Robert Downey, Jr. as Sherlock (even if Jeremy Brett will always be in our hearts), and think Jude Law as Watson could probably work.

Whew!  You know, 2009 might have some potential.  We’ll be back soon with the final part of our 2009 preview: 15 movies without a release date set.

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