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The 25 Most Anticipated Movies of 2009

If you ask anyone in the film industry, the year doesn’t begin until we’ve properly dictated to you our most anticipated movies of the next 12 months. Seriously, ask anyone. They will tell you that anticipation cannot exist without a road map. And said map must be provided by the staff here at FSR. It’s science.
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By  · Published on January 7th, 2009


Over the past few weeks we’ve beaten you to a pulp with lists. We laid down list after list in our 2008 Year in Review and even gave you Ten People to Watch in 2009. And while you might think that’s enough. That you never want to read another list from the staff of FSR again, we must disagree. Because if you ask anyone in the film industry, the year doesn’t begin until we’ve properly dictated to you our most anticipated movies of the next 12 months. Seriously, ask anyone. They will tell you that anticipation cannot exist without a road map. And said map must be provided by the staff here at FSR. It’s science. With that in mind, please feel free to read, enjoy and comment on our list of The 25 Most Anticipated Movies of 2009, in chronological order.

Bitch Slap (January 15)

Talent: Julia Voth, Erin Cummings, America Olivo

Do yourself (and me) a quick favor by checking out the trailer for this red hot mess of a movie. If you do, I won’t even have to write any more. Three gorgeous, busty women spitting out pithy one-liners and kicking ass, shooting off cartoonishly large weapons, and a $200 million revenge plot. You might not recognize any of the talent involved, but from what I’ve seen so far it looks like it could be a fantastic, campy love letter to the Faster, Pussy Cat! Kill! Kill! School of Filmmaking. A film school I wouldn’t mind actually enrolling in. Be warned though – Bitch Slap is rated PG-DD, making it unsuitable for children under 17 and Gloria Steinum. – Cole Abaius

My Bloody Valentine 3D (January 16)

Talent: Patrick Lussier (Director), Tom Atkins

An R-rated slasher film in 3-D? Hell yeah! This remake of the 1981 classic features a sadistic miner on the rampage mowing down twenty-somethings like blades of sexually active grass. Advance word from early screenings is that this is a bloody and awesome experience. 3-D is the new Smell-o-vision, and this is the first film (in a very long time) to take advantage of it for adult audiences. Only about 1/3 of the theater screens will actually be showing this in 3-D though, so check before you go. Be sure to duck if you see vomit heading your way… that may actually be real. – Rob Hunter

Taken (January 30)

Talent: Pierre Morel (Director), Liam Neeson, Maggie Grace

You’ve probably been hearing a lot about this movie recently but more needs to be said. Released internationally a year ago, Taken is an action thriller in the Bourne mold with Neeson kicking ass all over Paris as he searches for his abducted daughter. Stellar fight scenes coupled with an energetic performance from Neeson make this a must see for fans of solid but fun action, hand to hand combat, morally ambiguous torture, car chases, and Schindler’s List. – Rob Hunter

Coraline (February 6)

Talent: Henry Selick (Director), Neil Gaiman (Writer)

What happens when you combine the director who knocked us out of our seats with the brilliant and seemingly timeless The Nightmare Before Christmas with one of the greatest living sci-fi writers of all-time? The story of a little girl in an even littler world who opens a mysterious door and finds an alternate world and alternate family, that’s what. Full of life and brilliant dashes of creativity and uniqueness, Coraline appears to be 2009’s February surprise, a lovable work of stop-motion animation that should catch the attention of child and adult alike. Don’t be surprised if this one makes an impact felt all year long. – Neil Miller

Friday the 13th (February 13)

Talent: Marcus Nispel (Director), Jared Padalecki, Amanda Righetti, Derek Mears

The most recognizable and feared slasher in all of cinema is back in a big way this Valentine’s Day weekend. After a slew of sequels threatened to kill the unkillable, Michael Bay’s Platinum Dunes, with horror ace producers Brad Fuller and Andrew Form, is bringing a touch of realism and a healthy dose of bad-ass back to the franchise. From the team that successfully updated The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, I am thoroughly stoked for this film, which I believe will contain lots of kills, lots of boobs, and gallons of blood supremely spilled. Count me in. – Robert Fure

Watchmen (March 6)

Talent: Zack Snyder (director), Carla Gugino, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Malin Ackerman, Patrick Wilson, Billy Crudup, Jackie Earle Haley

After all the years of waiting, it feels a bit surreal to be anticipating this movie in a tangible way. For too long, fans (including myself) have kept this one on the list of Most Anticipated Movies That No One’s Making. Now it seems like a large amount of the puzzle pieces came together perfectly – an accomplished director who carried the graphic novel around set more than he did the script, a solid cast, and the technology needed to create the visual shock and awe that’s worthy of the source material. Legal troubles aside, this year may finally be the year that superfans can release the tantric-like tension they’ve built up waiting to geek out, and a larger audience might be exposed to a stirring social satire that still has something to tell us about the world around us. – Cole Abaius

This Side of Truth (March 20)

Talent: Ricky Gervais (Director), Ricky Gervais, Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Rob Lowe

Imagine a world without lies. A world where the very thought of telling a lie has never even occurred to anyone. A world where movies are simply footage of “actors” reading historical non-fiction to the camera. Now drop Gervais into the mix as an actor who decides to make up a story… to lie… and imagine the potential hilarity that follows as he exploits his newfound celebrity as the best actor in the world. Gervais is hilarious, and if you didn’t see his recent Ghost Town you’re a fool. Go rent it now. Or at least before March 20th. – Rob Hunter

Monsters v. Aliens (March 27)

Talent: Rob Letterman, Conrad Vernon (Co-Directors), Seth Rogen, Reese Witherspoon, Keifer Sutherland

Remember when Disney had a Microsoft-esque monopoly on animated films? How the times have changed. DreamWorks Animation is looking to knock Pixar Studios down a peg, and it appears they may have a hit with this blob-led battle royale. Not only is Seth Rogen officially taking over the animated comedy world, but the film features the talent of Rainn Wilson, Stephen Colbert and the underrated Paul Rudd. Forget werewolves and vampires, Monsters vs. Aliens is the real duel we want to see. And we’re betting it will be superior to Alien vs. Predator. Bonus! – Adam Sweeney

X-Men Origins: Wolverine (May 1)

Talent: Gavin Hood (Director), Hugh Jackman, Ryan Reynolds, Liev Schreiber, Taylor Kitsch

If you’ve ever been in a comic book shop, you’d know Wolverine is everywhere and now the big screen is no exception. Hugh Jackman returns as the cigar-chompin, bad-dude-slicin’ mutant with a healing factor as we take a look at his humble, ass-whuppin origins. Promising to deliver on the action, how can you not be excited for a whole slew of mutant cameos, including fan favorite Gambit and the expertly cast merc-with-a-mouth Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds)? We were amped for this movie before the official trailer. Honestly, Wolverine, you had us at “I’m going to cut your God damn head off.” – Robert Fure

Star Trek (May 8)

Talent: J. J. Abrams (director), Robert Orci (writer), Alex Kurtzman (writer), Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana

I know that this franchise is about as ubiquitous as oxygen, so there’s a huge fanbase aching to return to The Enterprise, but I’ll admit that I have never seen a single episode or movie. So why am I anticipating this installment? I was lucky enough to see some advanced footage, and as a sci-fi fan and as an action fan, I’ve been converted to the brilliant potential that Star Trek has. If you’re a Trekker, you don’t need any more prodding, and if you’re not, I offer this as proof to watch out for this movie: In a time where everyone is complaining about franchise reboots, no one is complaining about another Star Trek being made. – Cole Abaius

The Brothers Bloom (May 15)

Talent: Rian Johnson (Director), Mark Ruffalo, Adrien Brody, Rachel Weisz

In his sophomore effort, Brick director Rian Johnson has set out to make another crime caper, though with a funnier twist. Where his previous work was this generations homage to noir, The Brothers Bloom appears to be a tip of the hat to films such as Ocean’s Eleven and The Italian Job (the originals). With a rock-solid cast and the waves he’s already made with his previous work, Johnson certainly has our attention. And with the buzz that this film has acquired in its run through multiple 2008 film festivals, I wouldn’t be surprised if it catches your attention soon as well. – Neil Miller

Terminator Salvation (May 22)

Talent: McG (Director), Christian Bale, Sam Worthington, Bryce Dallas Howard

If you’re like us, you’d watch Christian Bale paint a fence, so it should be no surprise that if you exchange his paintbrush for an M4 Assault Rifle and the fence for robots from the future and paint with bullets, we’re so excited that we’re coming up with weird metaphors about how we’d watch Bale do anything. But seriously folks, McG was not the first choice of fanboys until we got a glimpse of the trailer, which gave us robots of all sizes and Bale being a badass. Add to that Bale’s demands for a great script before even signing on and the guarantee of sequels and epic action, this might just be the best movie ever, according to my checklist: Robots. Guns. Bale. Babes. Violence. – Robert Fure

Pixar’s Up (May 29)

Talent: Pete Docter, Bob Peterson (Co-Directors), Edward Asner, Christopher Plummer, John Ratzenberger

I’m tired of hearing the term old school. Finally we have an animated film that can live up to the phrase. Is there any character Pixar can’t make lovable? It doesn’t look like it, as they have now reached into the retirement home to create Carl Fredricksen, a 78-year-old man who decides to fulfill his dream of seeing South America, only to find out he’s not alone on the adventure. So pour a little Metamucil on the block and give it up for Ed Asner, a senior citizen so cool he did voice work on The Boondocks. And we never get tired of John Ratzenberger hamming it up in Pixar films. It’s a win-win for everybody. – Adam Sweeney

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (June 26)

Talent: Michael Bay (Director), Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox, Optimus Prime

Michael Bay is bringing giant f**king robots back to the big screen with the promise that even bigger and even better. They’ve added new robots, turned up the action and as we can only expect, blown more shit up. As a fan of the first film, I can’t see too many other films in ’09 that will be bigger event movies than the second Transformers. If the first film proved anything, it is that the experience will be filled with big robots, big set pieces, long shots of Megan Fox’s abdomen and Shia LaBeouf laying down as many “No’s” as possible. Should be fun, at the very least. – Neil Miller

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (July 17)

Talent: David Yates (Director), Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Alan Rickman

Tom Riddle me this, is there anyone that won’t be seeing this film? I certainly will. I know, I know. This film should have been released last November instead of the pseudo-shimmering vampire wonder that was Twilight. Count to three, breathe and tell yourself that Christmas comes in July with the sixth installment of the Harry Potter franchise. David Yates has brought the best out of our favorite wizards and Harry’s world is only set to get darker with the film setting its sights on the past of Lord Voldemort. Mix in the always dazzling character acting of Alan Rickman and Helena Bonham Carter, and we have plenty of reason to stop brewing and take another sip from J.K. Rowling’s goblet. – Adam Sweeney

Funny People (July 31)

Talent: Judd Apatow (Writer/Director), Adam Sandler, Seth Rogen, Leslie Mann

What could be funnier than a man with a terminal, inoperable condition guaranteed to end his life? Well shit, I would guess lots of stuff. But then again, when you take Hollywood hotshot Judd Apatow and pair him with comedy’s highest paid actor (Sandler) and comedy’s next big thing (Rogen), you’ve got a project worth paying attention to. The film will follow the sickly Sandler as a stand-up comedian who takes the struggling up and comer Rogen under his wing. With Apatow attached, no doubt this movie will be too long for a comedy and have cameos from recognizable faces (Jonah Hill) and faces we’d rather forget (Andy Dick), but hey, laughs is laughs. – Robert Fure

Inglorious Basterds (August 21)

Talent: Quentin Tarantino( Director), Brad Pitt, Diane Kruger, Samuel L. Jackson

Has there been a project more wrapped in uncertainty than Inglourious Basterds? Up until this week we weren’t even certain Tarantino would be releasing the film this year. Now it appears that the basterds will be invading theaters in August, as curious a release date as the case of Benjamin Button. We know we will see blood and carnage, as Tarantino proved that he can bring the pain in the Kill Bill series. But what makes Inglourious Basterds worth watching is the chance to see if Tarantino can mix his usual flash with some substance. And who doesn’t want to see Brad Pitt scalp a few Nazis? – Adam Sweeney

9 (September 9)

Talent: Shane Ackers (Creator), Elijah Wood, Jennifer Connelly, CGI Ragdolls

One look at the recent trailer and you are instantly hooked… not bad for a movie that almost no one had heard of beforehand. Based on his own award-winning short, Acker’s 9 is a post-apocalyptic tale of living ragdolls, mechanical beasts, and a quest to save all of humanity. It’s also one of the most amazing and beautiful-looking CGI films yet, even if it is substantially darker than the usual CGI kiddie films. – Rob Hunter

Shutter Island (October 2)

Talent: Martin Scorsese (director), Dennis Lehane (source author), Leonardo DiCaprio, Emily Mortimer, Mark Ruffalo, Sir Ben Kingsley

If you’ve read Shutter Island, you already know how gripping it is. Even if you haven’t read Lehane’s work, you already know that two of his books – Gone, Baby, Gone and Mystic River – have already been adapted into Academy Award nominated and winning films. Now, fans of his work will get to see his story about two U.S. Marshals hunting an escaped murderess during a cataclysmic storm handled by the iconic talent of Martin Scorsese and the strength of a stellar cast. In an interview, Lehane claimed that Shutter Island was his attempt at blending the work of the Bronte sisters and Invasion of the Body Snatchers. If that’s the case, expect a blend of Jane Eyre darkness with Cold War Era levels of paranoia. – Cole Abaius

Where the Wild Things Are (October 16)

Talent: Spike Jonze (director/writer), Catherine O’Hara, Forest Whitaker, Catherine Keener, Paul Dano

After Max chases his dog around with a fork, he’s sent to his room without supper. But that room soon transforms into a jungle paradise of Wild Things. Other than an animated short from the 70s, fans of Maurice Sendak’s beautifully illustrated children’s book haven’t had much satisfaction in other mediums outside of opera, ballet and commemorative stamps. Luckily, the story will be brought to the screen by a director known for visionary work. Plus, literary giant Dave Eggers is taking his shot at screenwriting with this project, and if anyone can turn ten sentences into an entire film, it’s him. It’s been a long wait, which will make it all the sweeter when we all finally get to stare into a mythical world of mischievous eyes without blinking once. – Cole Abaius

The Fantastic Mr. Fox (November 6)

Talent: Wes Anderson (director), Cate Blanchett, George Clooney, Bill Murray, Anjelica Huston, Jason Schwartzman

It’s a great year for Hollywood to reach out to the child inside all of us, and Wes Anderson is joining us on the playground by adapting Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Mr. Fox. It’ll be his first animated feature, but he’s bringing along the usual suspects that seem contractually obligated to appear in every project he does. The story is simple – three farmers square off against a clever fox who steals their poultry every night to feed his family. It may not be the most well-known Dahl book, but I’m looking forward to seeing what Anderson and company can do with stop motion animation and a light-hearted children’s story. – Cole Abaius

Sherlock Holmes (November 20)

Talent: Guy Ritchie (Director), Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law, Mark Strong

After his all-over-the-map performances of 2008, all of which beloved, Robert Downey Jr. is eyeing 2009 as his year to bring back the detective’s cap. He’s shedding the armor of Iron Man (for now, at least) and the ridiculous hilarity of Kirk Lazarus and heading back to the late-nineteenth century to sword fight, box, solve mysteries and undoubtedly get the girl. Better yet, he’s teaming up with Guy Ritchie, who should be able to mix some period piece details with his high-energy style to make for one wild ride. That, and Mark Strong as a bad guy is becoming a welcomed hot trend (see RocknRolla for proof). – Neil Miller

The Lovely Bones (December 11)

Talent: Peter Jackson (Director), Rachel Weisz, Mark Wahlberg, Susan Sarandon, Saoirse Ronan, Stanley Tucci

Peter Jackson is best known for his spectacular directing of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, a special effects wonder. But Jackson is no stranger to strictly dramatic affairs, Heavenly Creatures proves that. Like Kate Winslet’s turn in the aforementioned film, the adaptation of Alice Sebold’s best-selling novel offers a chance at a breakthrough performance for Saoirse Ronan. Jackson penned the screenplay about this tale of murder and the balance between revenge and forgiveness, one of my favorite stories of the past decade. As if the chance to see Rachel Weisz on-screen wasn’t reason enough to see it, we will all get our chance to forgive Mark Wahlberg for his performance in The Happening. Don’t be surprised if this film and the term Oscar-worthy become synonymous in 2009. – Adam Sweeney

Avatar (December 18)

Talent: James Frickin Cameron (Director), Sam Worthington

James Cameron is finally returning to feature film twelve years after Titanic, and that’s all that really matters. The man has yet to make a bad movie (including Pirahna 2: The Spawning… it had flying fish and it rocked!!) and Avatar looks to be the biggest film of the year. Mankind finds an inhabited planet and sends a soldier named Jake (Worthington) to plant the seeds of a peaceful conquest. Jake has other plans though and soon he’s leading the resistance against the invading humans. Epic, hardcore, sci-fi action guaranteed. – Rob Hunter

Ninja Assassin (TBA 2009)

Talent: James McTeigue (Director), J. Michael Straczynski (Writer), Rain, Naomie Harris, Rick Yune

The movie is called Ninja Assassin, do I even have to say why we’re excited about this film? Hell, the film’s star is so badass his name is just Rain. Like Madonna, but if she were a ninja. And a dude. And Korean. But seriously, this film follows a super bad ass assassin out for revenge against those who trained him, but then made the mistake of killing his best friend. The stunt work and fights are coming to you courtesy of 87 Eleven, the same guys who did 300, The Bourne Films, and The Matrix. Expect this movie to have the most slice-and-dice sword action of the year as well as be a strong contender for a Best Fight nod at the end of the year, even against a lot of stiff competition. Sharpen your blades and hone your shuriken, because this is going to be bloody awesome. – Robert Fure

Honorable Mentions: Other films that caught our attention, but just missed the list include Richard Kelly’s sci-fi horror flick The Box (November 6), Johnny Depp as John Dillinger in Public Enemies (July 1), the Twilight sequel New Moon (November 20), Megan Fox’s nudeness in Jennifer’s Body (September 18), and Harold Ramis’ directorial team-up with the Apatow clan with Year One (June 19).

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