Tuesday, December 30, 2008

2009 Preview

Courtesy of USA Today, here is a list of interesting/promising movies to look forward to in 2009:

Bride Wars (Jan. 9). Hoping to tap into the growing power of female moviegoers, Fox begins the year with this Anne Hathaway/Kate Hudson comedy about two friends who become rivals when they schedule their weddings on the same date.

Coraline (Feb. 6). The 3-D animated parade gets into full swing with this cartoon about a young girl (voiced by Dakota Fanning) who walks through a secret door to discover an alternate version of her life.

Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience (Feb. 27). It worked for Hannah Montana, so why not for the crooning teen idols?

Watchmen (March 6). No comic-book movie has more expectations on its shoulders than this dark Zack Snyder adaptation about a band of dysfunctional superheroes. (This movie may be delayed due to a recent legal battle between Warner Bros. and Fox...)

Race to Witch Mountain (March 13). Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson continues his transition to family film leading man with this remake of the Disney classic about two kids with paranormal powers on the run from aliens and shady government agencies.

Duplicity (March 20). Julia Roberts and Clive Owen team up as a pair of corporate spies plotting a con job on their respective bosses.

Fast and Furious (April 3). Vin Diesel and Paul Walker return to the franchise about men who just can't drive 55.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine (May 1). Summer kicks into high gear with the latest installment of the mutant franchise, this time anchored by Hugh Jackman's hairy hero with long nails and a short fuse.

Star Trek (May 8). J.J. Abrams revisits the Enterprise with an origins story.

Angels & Demons (May 15). Da Vinci Code star Tom Hanks returns (with better hair) as inquisitive symbologist Robert Langdon.

Night at the Museum II: Battle of the Smithsonian (May 22). Ben Stiller just can't get enough of exhibits that come to life, and this time infiltrates the Smithsonian.

Land of the Lost (June 5). Hollywood loves dead TV shows, and Will Ferrell stars in this adaptation about a group that stumbles into a land of dinosaurs and Sleestaks.

The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 (June 12). Denzel Washington and John Travolta star in this remake of the Walter Matthau caper about robbers who target a subway train.

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (June 26). The shape-shifting robots are back and bigger than ever in this bombastic sequel.

Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs (July 1). Our favorite prehistoric ani- mals return for a third installment of a $1.2 billion franchise, this time with a film produced completely in 3-D.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (July 17). The book series may be finished, but the film series has a few installments still to go.

G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra (Aug. 7). Brendan Fraser stars in this story about the heroic squadron in constant battle with the arms-dealing Cobra organization.

Fame (Sept. 25). A remake of the 1980 musical about aspiring students at the New York Academy of Performing Arts.

Shutter Island (Oct. 2). Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio (The Departed) reunite for this story about a U.S. marshal investigating a murderess who escaped from a mental hospital.

The Wolfman (Nov. 6). Benicio del Toro dons the furry costume in this action film about the monster with full-moon anger-management issues.

Sherlock Holmes (Nov. 20). Robert Downey Jr. becomes the plucky British detective whose sidekick Watson (Jude Law) remains by his side.

The Lovely Bones (Dec. 11). Peter Jackson leaves the Shire to direct this drama about a young girl who has been murdered and watches over her family and her killer from the great beyond.

Avatar (Dec. 18). In his first feature film since Titanic, James Cameron returns with a sci-fi epic about a band of scientists and astronauts who discover a planet populated by diverse life and deadly ammonia-breathing life forms.

Which of these movies gets you excited for 2009?

Monday, December 29, 2008

2008 wrap-up

2008 was a different year for me in terms of my movie-going habits. I saw a fair number of movies, especially considering the cramp that a newborn puts in your style, but can only remember a couple that I felt like were truly great. Since I'm not sure I actually saw 10 new movies in the theaters, I'll resist the temptation to do a top 10 list, but I will list a few of my favorites for the year:
  • The Dark Knight: The most challenging, frightening, and rewarding movie I saw this year. I'd be really upset if it didn't at least get some acknowledgement at the Oscars in January, especially for Heath Ledger's amazing performance.
  • Wall-E: A truly unique experience, but it has held up very well upon further viewings. It's beautiful and simple, but as lyrical and sweet as anything else in 2008.
  • The Spiderwick Chronicles: I never read the books, but this adaptation was a lot of fun, with just the right amount of magic and heart to qualify for a decent family popcorn film.
  • Indiana Jones 4: I know it was corny at times and hardly anything revolutionary, but it was also a lot of fun, and made the little boy in me smile more than anything else I saw this year.
I also enjoyed Iron Man, The Visitor, Hellboy II, and Eagle Eye. There's a lot scheduled to open here in 2009, including the next Harry Potter film...I wonder what movie will catch my imagination like these movies did this year.

What were your favorites this year?

Monday, December 22, 2008

J-Dawg's new look

Ta da! After much pestering by my loyal reader, I have finally decided on a new look for the blog. It took me forever to find a new look, since most of the templates out there are just so girly. And to be honest, I'm not even completely sold on this look either. So we'll give it a trial run, and if it doesn't grow on me, then it's back to the navy blue & polka dots.

Oh yeah, and MERRY CHRISTMAS everyone!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Brand-new Season 5 "Lost" scene

I'm crazy about Lost. Yes, the show can make me crazy sometimes, but usually it's in a good way. Here's a fascinatingly ambiguous (does Lost do it any other way?) scene from the new season (premiering on Jan. 21) between Jack and Ben.

You realize we've only got 34 episodes left of this show, don't you?

Sunday, December 14, 2008

"World's Coastlines from Above"

I've already praised the random joys of HDNet's programming, which includes such varied programming as Trailerama, Arrested Development, and Dan Rather Reports, all in glorious HD. My latest obsession is World's Coastlines from Above, which is exactly what it sounds like: helicopter tours of the world's shorelines. In addition to the amazing HD shots of some of the world's most remote and beautiful places (Spain is next on my travel "bucket list" thanks to this show), it includes info-packed narration that makes me feel like I'm learning while I appease my wander-lust. It kind of feels like someone has poured cheese sauce all over my broccoli so that I won't notice that I'm eating something that's good for me.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Happy anniversary

Just days before the current edition of The Amazing Race airs its finale (we're still mourning the unceremonious departure of Toni & Dallas), CBS announced that it would air a 14th edition of the suddenly popular show. The latest edition is set to premiere on February 15 (my 6th wedding anniversary) in the same timeslot it has occupied for the past year or so (Sundays at 7:00 p.m.). The network also announced the 18th edition of Survivor, which will premiere on February 12.

Survivor has always been a winner in the ratings, though its numbers have never matched the Survivor: Australia highs of several years ago. The Amazing Race, however, has teetered on the edge of cancellation several times, so it comes as a relief that a renewed interest in its lead-in, 60 Minutes, has brought more viewers to our beloved race. As more information about the new edition arises, I'll make sure to post it here.