Release Date: January 18th 2008
Director: Kyle Newman
Writer: Adam F. Goldberg (The Jetsons, Night of the Living Dorks)
Cast: Sam Huntington, Kristen Bell, Dan Fogler, Jay Baruchel, Seth Rogen, Danny Trejo, William Shatner, Carrie Fisher, Jaime King, Christopher McDonald, Billy Dee Williams and more.
The Buzz: A road trip comedy about a group of “Star Wars” fans who travel to Skywalker Ranch to steal an early copy of “Episode I: The Phantom Menace” for their dying friend. I’ve heard nothing but good things about this film.
Release Date: February 15th 2008
Director: Doug Liman (Go, The Bourne Identity)
Writer: David S. Goyer (Batman Begins, Blade, Dark City)
Cast: Hayden Christensen, Samuel L Jackson, Diane Lane, Jamie Bell, Rachel Bilson
The Buzz: A feature film adaptation of the Steven Gould series of novels about a genetic anomaly that allows a young man to teleport himself anywhere. He discovers this gift has existed for centuries and finds himself in a war that has been raging for thousands of years between “Jumpers” and those who have sworn to kill them. The film has been delayed, which is usually a bad sign, but the extensive mythology behind the story has held my interest.
The Spiderwick Chronicles
Release Date: February 15th 2008
Director: Mark Waters (Mean Girls, Freaky Friday, Just Like Heaven)
Cast: Sarah Bolger, Freddie Highmore, Seth Rogen, Mary-Louise Parker
The Buzz: This is another film which I had very little little interest in until I saw some of the FX footage shown at Comic Con 2007. Based on the popular book series by Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi, Spiderwick tells the story of a mother, twin brothers Jared and Simon Grace, along with their sister Mallory,who find themselves pulled into an alternate world full of faeries and other creatures after moving into the run-down Spiderwick Estate. Is this the next Harry Potter? Probably not. But what is now-a-days?
Release Date: March 7th 2008
Writer/Director: Roland Emmerich (The Day After Tomorrow, Godzilla, Independence Day)
Cast: Camilla Belle, Steven Strait, Cliff Strait, Cliff Curtis
The Buzz: A prehistoric epic that follows a young mammoth hunter’s journey through uncharted territory to secure the future of his tribe. Let’s hope this is more Independence Day than Godzilla.
Release Date: March 21st 2008
Director: Robert Luketic (Monster-in-Law, Legally Blonde)
Writer: Peter Steinfeld (Analyze That, Be Cool)
Cast: Jim Sturgess, Kevin Spacey, Kate Bosworth, Laurence Fishburne, Aaron Yoo
The Buzz: Based on the book Bringing Down the House, 21 is the fact-based story about six MIT students who were trained to become experts in card counting and subsequently took Vegas casinos for millions in winnings. I read the book a few years back, and this is a fascinating story which should play well on the big screen.
Release Date: March 28th 2008
Director: Timur Bekmambetov (Nightwatch, Daywatch)
Writer: Michael Brandt (3:10 to Yuma, Catch That Kid)
Cast: Angelina Jolie, James McAvoy, Morgan Freeman, Terence Stamp, Common
The Buzz: Based on the Mark Millar graphic novel about a young man (McAvoy) finds out his long lost father is an assassin. And when his father is murdered, the son is recruited into his father’s old organization and trained by a man named Sloan (Freeman) to follow in his dad’s footsteps.
Release Date: April 4th 2008
Director: Carter Smith
Cast: Jena Malone, Joe Anderson, Shawn Ashmore, Laura Ramsey, Jonathan Tucker
The Buzz: Scott B. Smith was the author of A Simple Plan, which was adapted into a great film by a pre-Spider-man Sam Raimi. Smith also wrote The Ruins, which photographer and commercial director Carter Smith is directing. The horror/thriller follows a group of friends whose leisurely Mexican holiday takes a turn for the worse when they, along with a fellow tourist embark on a remote archaeological dig in the jungle, where something evil lives among the ruins.
Harold & Kumar 2
Release Date: April 4th
Directors: Jon Hurwitz & Hayden Schlossberg (Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle)
Cast: John Cho, Kal Penn, Roger Bart, Richard Christy, Rob Corddry, Neil Patrick Harris, Eddie Kaye Thomas
The Buzz: This stoner sequel follows the cross-country adventures of the pot-smoking duo as they try to outrun authorities who suspect them of being terrorists when they try to sneak a bong on board their flight to Amsterdam.
Release Date: May 2nd 2008
Director: Jon Favreau (Elf, Made)
Cast: Robert Downey, Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Jeff Bridges, Terrance Howard, Leslie Bibb, Shaun Toub
The Buzz: Jon Favreau’s big screen adaptation of the popular Marvel comic book character. Robert Downey Jr. plays Weapons designer Tony Stark, who is injured by shrapnel in his heart while in Afghanistan to introduce his new missile design. His captors order him to assemble a missile for them, giving him access to a workshop. He puts his creativity to use by assembling a bulletproof set of power armor, complete with pacemaker and flamethrowers, and uses it to free himself. Back at home, he becomes Iron Man, developing a flying suit with the red and gold scheme and advanced weapon capabilities.
The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian
Release Date: May 16th 2008
Director: Andrew Adamson (The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe)
Cast: Liam Neeson (voice), Ben Barnes, Warwick Davis, William Moseley, Anna Popplewell, Peter Dinklage
The Buzz: Okay, so the first film lacked action, but Disney has promised to up the ante with Prince Caspian. And if the footage shown at Comic Con was any indication, this could be the film to jump-start the Summer.
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
Release Date: May 22nd 2008
Director: Steven Spielberg (Raiders, Jaws, Every great movie from your childhood)
The Buzz: Steven Spielberg directs the fourth installment of the Indiana Jones series. Harrison Ford is back, and so is Karen Allen as Marion Ravenwood. New to the production is Cate Blanchett as the bad girl, John Hurt as ??? and Shia LaBeouf as Indy’s greaser sidekick. Not much can be said about the storyline, as it is being kept tightly under wraps. George Lucas has said that Crystal Skull is more in tone with Raiders than any other film in the series. This makes us excited. If it’s on par with The Last Crusade, than I’ll be happy.
Release Date: Summer 2008
Director: Jon Avnet (Fried Green Tomatoes)
Writer: Russell Gewirtz (Inside Man)
Cast: Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Martin Scorsese, Carla Gugino, Donnie Wahlberg, John Leguizamo, 50 Cent, Brian Dennehy
The Buzz: Two Veteran New York City Detectives hunt a vigilante who may be one of their own. After 8 collaborations, Martin Scorsese hasn’t worked with De Niro since Casino back in 1995. Who would have thought that their next live-action big screen collaboration would be in front of the camera. And Pacino and De Niro are appearing on screen together for the second time in history. The legendary talent being brought together for this film screams for attention. Could this be the next Heat or Departed?
Release Date: Summer 2008 (estimated)
Writer/Director: Clark Gregg
Cast: Sam Rockwell, Anjelica Huston, Kelly Macdonald
The Buzz: Chuck Palahniuk is one of my favorite authors. You might know him as the author of Fight Club, which was brilliantly made for the screen by David Fincher. Choke is probably my third favorite book from Palahniuk. My favorite, Survivor likely won’t ever be made because the plot involves a terrorist and an airplane. In Choke, Victor Mancini (Rockwell) is a sex addict who works as a reenactor of the Revolutionary War. To support his hospitalized mother (Huston), Victor cons others by pretending to choke at restaurants to get money from his rescuers. Actor Clark Gregg pursued Choke for his directorial debut, after the project was dropped by Universal.
Release Date: June 13th 2008
Writer/Director: M. Night Shyamalan
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Zooey Deschanel, John Leguizamo
The Buzz: Say what you will about M. Night Shyamalan, but many of his detractors have admitted that The Happening is his best script since The Sixth Sense. A paranoid thriller about a family on the run from a natural crisis that presents a large-scale threat to humanity. The Happening will be released purposely on Friday the 13th.
The Incredible Hulk
Release Date: June 13th 2008
Director: Louis Leterrier (Transporter, Unleashed)
Writer: Edward Norton
Cast: Edward Norton, Liv Tyler, Tim Roth, William Hurt, Tim Blake Nelson
The Buzz: Edward Norton stars as Bruce Banner, in a non-sequel sequel to Ang Lee’s The Hulk. The Incredible Hulk is on the run, and the action is more intense in Edward Norton’s screenplay (that’s right, Norton also wrote the screenplay).
Release Date: June 20th 2008
Writer: Peter Segal (Tommy Boy, The Longest Yard, 50 First Dates)
Cast: Steve Carell, Anne Hathaway, The Rock, Alan Arkin, Terence Stamp, Masi Oka
The Buzz: Steve Carell stars as Maxwell Smart in the big screen adaptation of the classic Mel Brooks comic spy television series. Anne Hathaway plays Agent 99, Dwayne Johnson plays Agent 23, and Alan Arkin is the Chief. Tommy Boy helmer Peter Segal directs. We’ll try to forget that he once made Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult. I saw abunh of footage from Get Smart at Comic Con, and was pleasantly surprised. I think this could be the next Austin Powers if done right.
Release Date: June 27th 2008
Director: Andrew Stanton (Finding Nemo)
The Buzz: Wall-E is the film I’m most looking forward to in 2008. Yes, even over Indy 4 and Dark Knight. Andrew Stanton developed WALL-E before Toy Story was made: the original idea was, “What if mankind evacuated Earth and forgot to turn off the last remaining robot?” After hundreds of lonely years of doing what he was built for, WALL•E (short for Waste Allocation Load Lifter Earth-Class) discovers a new purpose in life (besides collecting knick-knacks) when he meets a sleek search robot named EVE. EVE comes to realize that WALL•E has inadvertently stumbled upon the key to the planet’s future, and races back to space to report her findings to the humans (who have been eagerly awaiting word that it is safe to return home). Meanwhile, WALL-E chases EVE across the galaxy and sets into motion one of the most exciting and imaginative comedy adventures ever brought to the big screen. Joining WALL-E on his fantastic journey across a universe of never-before-imagined visions of the future, is a hilarious cast of characters including a pet cockroach, and a heroic team of malfunctioning misfit robots.
Release Date: July 2nd 2008
Director: Peter Berg (The Kingdom, The Rundown, Friday Night Lights)
Cast: Will Smith, Jason Bateman, Charlize Theron, Johnny Galecki
The Buzz: Will Smith portrays an alcoholic superhero despised by everyone. A publicist (Bateman) helps rehabilitate him, and the superhero eventually begins an affair with the publicist’s wife (Theron).
Hellboy 2: The Golden Army
Release Date: July 11th 2008
Director: Guillermo del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth)
Cast: Ron Pearlman, Selma Blair, Doug Jones, Jeffrey Tambor, Luke Goss
The Buzz: Guillermo del Toro returns with the second chapter in the big screen adaptation of the popular Dark Horse comic book hero. The story revolves around a mythical world that starts a rebellion against humanity in order to rule the Earth, so Hellboy and his team must save the world from the rebellious creatures.
The Dark Knight
Release Date: July 18th 2008
Director: Christopher Nolan
Writer: David S. Goyer (Blade, Batman Begins) and Jonathan Nolan (Memento, The Prestige)
Cast: Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Morgan Freeman, Gary Oldman, Cillian Murphy, Michael Caine, Anthony Michael Hall, Aaron Eckhart
The Buzz: Christopher Nolan’s follow-up to the highly acclaimed Batman Begins. Batman (Bale) raises the stakes in his war on crime with the help of Lieutenant Jim Gordon (Oldman) and District Attorney Harvey Dent (Eckhart). Batman sets out to dismantle the remaining criminal organizations that plague the city streets. The partnership proves to be effective, but they soon find themselves prey to a reign of chaos unleashed by a rising criminal mastermind known to the terrified citizens of Gotham as The Joker (Ledger). Can not wait.
James Bond 22
Release Date: November 7th 2008
Director: Marc Forster (Stranger Than Fiction, Finding Neverland, The Kite Runner)
Writer: Robert Wade and Paul Haggis (Casino Royale)
Cast: Daniel Craig, Goran Visnjic, Judi Dench, Giancarlo Giannini, Jesper Christensen
It’s Bond, what more can you say? Daniel Craig returns as agent 007. Not much is known about this film as of yet. All we do know is that this movie is going to be the first ever direct sequel to another official James Bond film (Casino Royale)
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Release Date: November 21st 2008
Director: David Yates (Order of the Phoenix)
Writer: Steve Kloves (Wonder Boys, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone)
Cast: Emma Watson, Daniel Radcliffe, Jim Broadbent, Rupert Grint, Tom Felton
The Buzz: As Harry Potter begins his 6th year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, he discovers an old book marked mysteriously “This book is the property of the Half-Blood Prince” and begins to learn more about Lord Voldemort’s dark past.
The Day the Earth Stood Still
Release Date: December 12th 2008
Director: Scott Derrickson (The Exorcism of Emily Rose, Hellraiser: Inferno)
Writer: David Scarpa (The Last Castle)
Cast: Keanu Reeves (Matrix)
The Buzz: A remake of the classic 1951 sci-fi action film by Robert Wise, which is considered one of the best Science Fiction films of all time (#7 on Arthur C Clarke’s List) and was debated for it’s religious symbolism and many interpretations. Bernard Herrmann score is also notable, partly because of its use of two theremins. The film is currently ranked #187 of all time on IMDb, with a 8.1 rating. Reeves will play Klaatu, an alien who arrives on Earth accompanied by a large humanoid robot named Gort, with a warning to world leaders that their continued aggression will lead to annihilation by species watching from afar.
Angels & Demons
Release Date: December 19th 2008
Director: Ron Howard
Writer: Akiva Goldsman (A Beautiful Mind, The Da Vinci Code)
Cast: Tom Hanks
The Buzz: The Da Vinci Code is overrated. I’ve always found the prequel Angels & Demons to be the far better and more interesting story. It’s a classic race against time to find a hidden bomb in the Vatican and hunt down a serial killer in Rome. The reason why this story is more interesting to me is the multi-layered debate about which is to be trusted - science or religion.
Release Date: December 25th 2008
Director: JJ Abrams
The Buzz: JJ Abrams restarts the Trek series at the beginning. Not much is known about the film other than it will feature a young Kirk and Spock in the early days of the Enterprise. Casting of young and comedic actors has worried long time fans, but producers have stated since the beginning that they are trying to attract a new audience to the series. Zachary Quinto (Heroes) as Spock, Eric Bana as the villain Nero, Zoe Saldana (Drumline) as Uhura, Anton Yelchin (Charlie Bartlett) as Chekov, John Cho as Sulu and possibly Chris Pine (Just My Luck) as Kirk.
Release Date: Fall 2008 (estimated)
Writer/Director: Richard Kelly (Donnie Darko, Southland Tales)
Cast: Sean William Scott, Cameron Diaz
The Buzz: I, like many others, LOVED Kelly’s feature film debut Donnie Darko. I have yet to see his follow-up, Southland Tales, which has garnered far less acclaim. Based on the story “Button, Button” written by Richard Matheson (I Am Legend), the film surrounds a troubled married couple who find a small wooden box on their doorstep, which brings with it unforeseen fortune. Their good luck, however, comes at a price.
Which one are you looking forward to the most ?