2009 Summer movie preview

500daysAfter browsing the EW summer preview, I’ve compiled the following list of 18 movies I want to see over the next four months. The surprising and refreshing thing about this summer is the variety of interesting (on paper, at least) non-tentpole films coming out. My top three are actually small-budget romances.

You won’t find a traditional summer blockbuster-y film on this list until #6. But there are still a fair number of those I’m really excited to see. So if all goes well this could be the best summer movie season in years. Or a complete dud. That’s why they play the games…

1. (500) Days of Summer (July 17)
This modern romance, starring Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, has potential to be a revelation in the vein of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Or it could be too clever for its own good. I’m dying to find out which.


3. The Time Traveler’s Wife (August 14)
This film has three things going for it: a) it’s based on an excellent book that I found mentally stimulating and emotionally fulfilling, b) Rachel McAdams is perfect for this role — I pictured her when reading the book well before she was cast, and c) time travel, baby! I do love me some time travel.

2. Away We Go (June 5)
Another romance with a lot of potential, and another great pairing — John Krasinski and Maya Rudolph. Supporting turns by Allison Janney and Maggie Gyllenhaal look hilarious, too. The most interesting thing about this film is also the one thing that has me a bit worried — it’s directed by Sam Mendes. This Juno-esque film looks to be a nice departure for Mr. Angst, but at the same time I’ve never been completely satisfied by one of his films. I hope this one breaks the streak.


4. Inglourious Basterds (August 21)
Tarantino returns, which is enough of a sell in my book. This promises to be as ultra-violent and expertly crafted as all of Tarantino’s work. Nice to see Brad Pitt in what will surely be a memorable performance.

5. Up (May 29)
Pixar. Enough said.

6. Star Trek (May 8 )
The ‘typical’ summer film I’m looking forward to the most. J.J. Abrams thrives on this sort of genre material and I like the idea of the Enterprise being hip again. Star Trek has always been sort of the inverse of Battlestar Galactica and both are wonderful in their own way.

7. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (July 17)
It feels weird to anticipate a new Harry Potter film now that the books are all sewn up. But the series has worked splendidly on screen so far and this compelling chapter shouldn’t be an exception. I hope they bring back Alfonso Cuaron to direct the final film(s), though.


8. Terminator Salvation (May 21)
Every film in the Terminator series has been a winner. The mythology surrounding Sarah and John Connor is one of the best the sci-fi world has given us. And here’s the chance to see John all grown up and doing the things we heard about back in 1984. McG as director worries me a bit, though.

9. Public Enemies (July 1)
Michael Mann. Johnny Depp. Christian Bale. Me in the theater.

10. Bruno (July 10)
The shtick might be wearing thin, but Sacha Baron Cohen is a comic genius and I look forward to watching homophobes squirm when faced with his latest character.

11. Funny People (July 31)
Not sure what to make of this one, but Apatow has a strong track record as a writer-director. But no Paul Rudd?!?


12. X-Men Origins: Wolverine (May 1)
I’ve always loved Hugh Jackman as Wolverine and I like the whole idea of these varied superpowers (it’s what made Heroes great in its first season). Also looking forward to Taylor Kitsch outside of his Friday Night Lights comfort zone.

13. I Love You, Beth Cooper (July 10)
A very cute book that read like a screenplay. I was hoping for Michael Cera in the lead.

14. Whatever Works (June 19)
Woody’s latest, starring Larry David and Evan Rachel Wood. I hope not as a couple.

15. Julie & Julia (August 7)
Meryl Streep and Amy Adams… great! Nora Ephron… eh. But the potential is there.


16. The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 (June 12)
Love the idea of Denzel and Travolta facing off, though I hear they share very little screen time.

17. Rudo y Cursi (May 8 )
Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna together again years after Y Tu Mama Tambien. That’s an intriguing thought, but it’s all I know about this one.

18. My Sister’s Keeper (June 26)
Could be overly sentimental crap. But The Notebook could have been overly sentimental crap, too, and Nick Cassavetes made it sublime. I’m glad he changed the book’s ending.

One thought on “2009 Summer movie preview

  1. Amy says:

    When we saw trailers for a few of these films (Away We Go, My Sister’s Keeper, and Public Enemy) the other day, I thought to myself – “this has the chance to be one great year at the movies.” Meanwhile, you haven’t even mentioned the summer film that does star Michael Cera – Year One – which makes me laugh every time I see the preview. Ghosts of Girlfriends Past and The Proposal are two promising romantic comedies with appealing leads (Jennifer Garner & Matthew Mconaughey and Sandra Bullock & Ryan Reynolds, respectively), plus I’m more excited about the new old Star Trek and the new future Terminator than any big Hollywood summer film in years.

    So, yeah, count me in. Out of your list, my top 5 would be – Away We Go, Terminator, Star Trek, Harry Potter, Julie and Julia.

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