My most anticipated from last year didn't exactly turn out so well, but that's the fascinating thing about anticipation: things you have little interest in can turn out to be superb, and things you just can't wait for more often than not let you down. And then of course there's all the things that just aren't on the radar yet. Here's to looking back at the beginning of 2009 (oh, my) and seeing just how odd my anticipations were.
This list does not contain 2007 US releases that UK is still to get; for reasons I now don't understand but am bidden by anal-retentive personality to abide by, my movie year is governed by America and not Britain, which means you can look forward to this year's Gold Stars from mid-March (my month away from uni). So, while I may be whizzing round the room in excitement over Juno and There Will Be Blood, they will not be found within.
Runner-ups: The Changeling, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Dark Knight,Genova, How to Lose Friends & Alienate People, Stop Loss, Sunshine Clearing, The Young Victoria
10. The Brothers Bloom
dir. Rian Johnson
cast: Rachel Weisz, Adrien Brody, Mark Ruffalo, Rinko Kikuchi, Robbie Coltrane, Nora Zehetner
I was the rare non-fan of Johnson's debut Brick, but this con movie just looks cool- and the cast (barring Brody, my nemesis) looks fantastic. I get a sort of screwball vibe from it, and there just isn't enough screwball these days. Johnson's done noir- can he tackle another classic Hollywood genre?
dir. Baz Luhrmann
cast: Nicole Kidman, Hugh Jackman, David Wenham, Essie Davis, Bryan Brown, David Gulpilil
Baz Luhrmann's long-awaited Australian epic (I'm assuming) sounds, looks and feels like a potential masterpiece, some kind of defining movie for both it's country and it's time... if it's done right. It seems to be an epic, a war movie and a western all rolled into one. And how interesting is it to cast Nicole Kidman in an Australian movie called Australia and have her play an Englishwoman?
8. The International
dir. Tom Tykwer
cast: Clive Owen, Naomi Watts, Armin Mueller-Stahl, Ulrich Thomsen
A simple equation: Tom Tykwer + Brothers' Ulrich Thomsen x Naomi Watts = me interested in movie.
7. The Reader
dir. Stephen Daldry
cast: Kate Winslet, Ralph Fiennes, Bruno Ganz, Karoline Herfurth, Linda Bassett
The switcheroo of Nicole Kidman for Kate Winslet made this jump up onto the top ten, and if that doesn't tell you how frequently I kneel at the altar of the Winslet nothing will. I still have reservations about the story and the accent, but I watched A Christmas Carol for Kate so I'm bloody well going to watch this. (Plus, Perfume's silent nose-filler Herfurth is in it!)
dir. Fernando Meirelles
cast: Julianne Moore, Mark Ruffalo, Gael Garcia Bernal, Danny Glover, Sandra Oh
A fascinating plot based on a novel by a Nobel Prize winner, three superb leads and a director who's already proved he knows his way around a camera. This is already being touted as an Oscar contender, and, though it sounds a little off their track, hopefully it will be good enough to break down barriers and become a real hit.
5. The Box
dir. Richard Kelly
cast: James Marsden, Cameron Diaz, Frank Langella
Unusually for Kelly, the basic plot sounds alarmingly simple, but the imdb's idea of "true humanity" may hint at a much more complex and difficult film to deal with. This has the potential to be a complete disaster, both artistically and commercially, or some kind of minor masterpiece (I can't see it going mainstream, somehow). Plus, James Marsden!
4. Body of Lies
dir. Ridley Scott
cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Russell Crowe, Carice Van Houten, Michael Gaston
Reasons why I want to see this movie: Carice Van Houten. Carice Van Houten. Carice Van Houten. Carice Van Houten. Carice Van Houten. William Monahan. Carice Van Houten. Carice Van Houten. Leonardo DiCaprio. Carice Van Houten. Carice Van Houten.
Does anyone have a problem with that?
3. Synecdoche, New York
dir. Charlie Kaufman
cast: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Michelle Williams, Catherine Keener, Emily Watson, Samantha Morton, Dianne Wiest, Hope Davis
The name Charlie Kaufman should really be enough by itself. But my god, look at all those ladies. I'd see a film by Paul W.S. Anderson if it starred all of them. Delayed from last year, this will assuredly be as original and unpredictable as Kaufman's previous work, and with him behind the camera as well, it should all add up to a truly unique- and hopefully marvellous- experience.
dir. Andrew Stanton
cast: WALL-E, a robot
Pixar may have disappointed me with their last couple of movies, but this looks truly wonderful. Still filming, reports seem to suggest that there's going to be very little dialogue- risky, surely, for what is essentially, at least in the marketer's eyes, a kid's movie? Now that Disney have seen sense and are (apparently) letting Pixar alone to do their own thing, this will hopefully be a return to the studio's glory days of Toy Story. It's certainly the big event of the summer as far as I'm concerned.
1. Revolutionary Road
dir. Sam Mendes
cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Kathy Bates, Michael Shannon
Not only are Jack and Rose reunited, but they brought Molly Brown with them! There are so many questions. Will the chemistry still be there? How will the ten years + have changed the way Kate and Leo interact? How will Kate work with her husband as director? Is the book actually any good? Can this possibly live up to the hype? I have to wait exactly a year from today to find out.