Friday, February 27, 2009

Spring 2009 Movie Preview (Part 1)

With winter’s chill hopefully coming to an end soon, movie studios are starting to ramp up their bigger releases for 2009. The month of March is bookended by potentially huge hits, both seeking different audiences. The following is a brief look at those two, along with other offerings for the month. April’s releases will follow next week.

Starring Malin Akerman, Billy Crudup, Matthew Goode, Carla Gugino, Jackie Earle Haley, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Patrick Wilson
Directed by Zack Snyder

With the court battle over the movie rights between Warner Bros. and 20th Century Fox having been settled, viewers can now turn their attention to whether director Snyder (“300”) can do justice to the widely praised and popular graphic novel. The story centers around a group of retired superheros and the investigation into the murder of one of their former colleagues. With plenty of publicity and a highly visible ad campaign, combined with little competition from other films, box office success would seem to be a given. (March 6)
Official Web site

“Race to Witch Mountain”
Starring Dwayne Johnson, AnnaSophia Robb, Carla Gugino, Cirian Hinds, Alexander Ludwig
Directed by Andy Fickman

Johnson, better known by many as “The Rock,” reunites with Fickman (“The Game Plan”) for a remake of 1975’s “Escape to Witch Mountain.” In the film, Johnson plays a cab driver who takes on the task of protecting a pair of siblings with supernatural powers from a shady organization with nefarious plans. This version looks to be amping up the action and comedy, which should be a good fit for Johnson. (March 13)
Official Web site

“The Last House on the Left”
Starring Garret Dillahunt, Aaron Paul, Sara Paxton, Martha MacIsaac, Tony Goldwyn and Monica Potter
Directed by Dennis Iliadis

Another remake of a ‘70s film, this one has decidedly darker content than “Witch Mountain,” which might be an understatement. Based on the original directed by Wes Craven, “Last House” deals with the revenge that two parents seek to exact on a gang of criminals who previously kidnapped and brutally assaulted their daughter. Expect a drop of blood or two to be shed. Big surprise, I know. (March 13)
Official Web site

Starring Nicolas Cage, Rose Byrne, Chandler Canterbury
Directed by Alex Proyas

An item retrieved from opening a time capsule at his son’s school reveals to a teacher (Cage) that several decades worth of catastrophic events in society have been accurately predicted – with more still coming in the future. But can he stop the impending disasters from happening? A better question may be can the visually gifted director Proyas (“I, Robot”) overcome a rather farfetched premise and make this something worth seeing? (March 20)
Official Web site

“I Love You, Man”
Starring Paul Rudd, Jason Segal, Rashida Jones, Andy Samberg, J.K. Simmons, Jane Curtin, Jon Favreau, Jaime Pressly
Directed by John Hamburg

The quite busy Rudd stars as a newly engaged guy who goes on a series of dates with men to try and find someone to fit the role of best man for his wedding. Segal co-stars as a top prospect who begins putting strain on the engaged couple’s relationship. The film features a strong cast with lots of TV and movie comedy experience, which can only help here. (March 20)
Official Web site

Starring Clive Owen, Julia Roberts, Tom Wilkinson, Paul Giamatti
Directed by Tony Gilroy

After a tremendous first directing effort (“Michael Clayton”), Gilroy has attracted another talented cast to head up this tale about a pair of corporate spies (Owen and Roberts) looking to take down their respective bosses (Wilkinson and Giamatti). Things get a bit complicated when they begin to fall for one another, however. (March 20)
Official Web site

Starring Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart, Martin Starr, Bill Hader, Kristen Wiig and Ryan Reynolds
Directed by Greg Mottola

Set in 1987, “Adventureland” follows the life of a young college graduate (Eisenberg), as he takes a summer job at an amusement park. There he finds some odd fellow employees, along with a possible love interest (Stewart). This marks Mottola’s follow-up to the surprise hit, “Superbad.” (March 27)
Official Web site

“Monsters vs. Aliens”
Starring the voices of Reese Witherspoon, Seth Rogen, Hugh Laurie, Paul Rudd, Kiefer Sutherland, Rainn Wilson, Will Arnett, Stephen Colbert
Directed by Rob Letterman and Conrad Vernon

With a showcase Super Bowl ad slot, this animated film should have no problem with name recognition by the time of its release. And with a stellar cast of vocal talent at its disposal, not to mention its wide appeal potential, anything less than $100 million at the box office would have to be considered a disappointment by DreamWorks, the studio releasing it. (March 27)
Official Web site

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