Every day between now and Friday February 20, I will reveal 10 of my top 40 most anticipated films of 2009. Sure, some of these films will wind up being crap, and perhaps some won't even come out this year, but right now these are the 40 films I look forward to most between now and the end of December. The director is in brackets, and the stars are listed beneath with a line or two explaining why I'm looking for to it. Without further ado, this is part 1, that deals with films 40-31.
40. 500 Days of Summer (Marc Webb)
Starring: Zooey Deschenel, Joseph Gordon Levitt.
Why? A hit at Sundance this year, and two of my favorite actors in some sort of romantic comedy. I can’t wait to see what these two do together.
39. Jennifer’s Body (Karyn Kusama)
Starring: Megan Fox, Amanda Siegfried, Adam Brody, Johnny Simmons, JK Simmons.
Why? It will be interesting to see if Diablo Cody can match her Juno screenplay with this horror movie/comedy. I hope so, but I doubt it.
38. The Box (Richard Kelly)
Starring: Cameron Diaz, James Marsden, Frank Langella.
Why? I am one of the few defenders of Richard Kelly’s Southland Tales, but I think scaling back a little could help. Hopefully this straight ahead horror film will do that.
37. Sherlock Holmes (Guy Ritchie)
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law, Rachel McAdams, Mark Strong.
Why? I have pretty much lost faith in Guy Ritchie, but in my mind Robert Downey Jr. can do no wrong, so I cannot wait to see him as one of my favorite characters out of my childhood.
36. The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus (Terry Gilliam)
Starring: Heath Ledger, Johnny Depp, Jude Law, Colin Farrell, Christopher Plummer, Tom Waits, Verne Troyer.
Why? Gilliam’s career has always been hit or miss, but when he hits, he usually hits big. True, it’s been more than 10 years since Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, his last great film, but who knows, maybe he’ll get it together this time. And how can you not want to see a movie with that cast, especially because it really is the last time we’ll see a new Heath Ledger performance.
35. A Christmas Carol (Robert Zemeckis)
Starring: Jim Carrey, Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Robin Wright Penn, Cary Elwes, Bob Hoskins.
Why? I have liked Zemeckis’ forays into motion capture animation so far, and this is the type of story that can use it to maximum effect, especially with Carrey playing multiple roles. And who DOESN’T want to see Gary Oldman play Tiny Tim?
34. Drag Me to Hell (Sam Raimi)
Starring: Alison Lohman, Justin Long.
Why? It’s Sam Raimi returning to horror movies for the first time in 15 years. How could I not be jazzed about that? Oh, and I like Lohman.
33. Duplicity (Tony Gilroy)
Starring: Clive Owen, Julia Roberts, Tom Wilkinson, Paul Giamatti.
Why? The trailer for this looks like a caper film in the Ocean’s style, with Owen and Roberts playing ex-spies. Should be fun.
32. State of Play (Kevin Macdonald)
Starring: Russel Crowe, Rachel McAdams, Ben Affleck, Jason Bateman, Helen Mirren, Robin Wright Penn, Viola Davis, Jeff Daniels.
Why? A great cast, a great director, a great preview, this looks like it should be one of the year’s great entertainers.
31. The Limits of Control (Jim Jarmusch)
Starring: Tilda Swinton, Bill Murray, Gael Garcia Bernal, John Hurt.
Why? The one thing that is true of all of Jim Jarmusch’s films is that no one makes them quite like he does. No idea what it’s about, or who plays who, but it’s Jarmusch, so I'm there.