2009 Preview O S January 8, 2009 Continuing our preview, we review the latest 09 movies – from “Old Dogs” to “Star Trek” OLD DOGS NOV 09 Two best friends-one unlucky-in-love divorcee (Robin Williams) and the other a fun-loving bachelor (John Travolta)-have their lives turned upside down when they’re unexpectedly charged with the care of six-year-old twins while on the verge of the biggest business deal of their lives. The not-so kidsavvy bachelors stumble in their efforts to take care of the twins (newcomers Ella Blue Travolta and Conner Rayburn), leading to one debacle after another, and perhaps to a new-found understanding of what’s really important in life. PINK PANTHER 2MARCH 09 The sequel to the 2006 worldwide hit, stars Steve Martin as he reprises the role of intrepid-if-bumbling French police detective, Inspector Jacques Clouseau. When legendary treasures from around the world are stolen, including the priceless Pink Panther Diamond, Chief Inspector Dreyfus (John Cleese) is forced to assign Clouseau to a team of international detectives and experts charged with catching the thief and retrieving the stolen artifacts. Martin is joined by his co-stars Jean Reno (as Ponton, his partner) and Emily Mortimer (as Nicole, the object of his awkward affections). The investigative dream team is played by Andy Garcia, Alfred Molina, Yuki Matsuzaki (Letters from Iwo Jima) and Bollywood star Aishwarya Rai Bachchan. Lily Tomlin also stars. PELHAM ONE, TWO, THREE AUGUST 09 In The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3, Denzel Washington stars as New York City subway dispatcher Walter Garber, whose ordinary day is thrown into chaos by an audacious crime: the hijacking of a subway train. John Travolta stars as Ryder, the criminal mastermind who, as leader of a highly-armed gang of four, threatens to execute the train’s passengers unless a large ransom is paid within one hour. As the tension mounts beneath his feet, Garber employs his vast knowledge of the subway system in a battle to outwit Ryder and save the hostages. But there’s one riddle Garber can’t solve: even if the thieves get the money, how can they possibly escape? PUBLIC ENEMIESJULY 09 Johnny Depp and Christian Bale emerge from two of the biggest blockbuster series of all time (Pirates of the Caribbean and Batman, respectively) to star in this crime drama from HEAT’s Michael Mann. Depp stars as legendary gangster John Dillinger, while Bale plays FBI agent Melvin Purvis. PUNISHER WAR ZONE FEB 09 PUNISHER: WAR ZONE, the third screen appearance from Marvel Comics’ angel of death, continues the saga of Frank Castle, normal New York City citizen turned Mafia-slaying vigilante following the murder of his wife and daughter. Upping the violence level to the intensity of a horror film, this outing requires no prior knowledge of the character’s screen antics and features an appealingly stoic performance from Ray Stevenson, who cuts an imposing physical presence, and is a more-than-worthy successor to previous Punishers Dolph Lundgren (1990) and Thomas Jane (2004). Six years after the death of his family, Frank Castle is still waging war against organized crime in New York. After he ambushes a party for an aging mob boss and turns it into a bloodbath, the battle moves to a recycling warehouse where Castle pushes gangster Billy Russoti (Dominic West) into a swirling vat of broken glass. During his escape, Castle accidentally shoots one of the FBI men who have arrived on the scene. Russoti undergoes plastic surgery, but after seeing his badly disfigured face for the first time, he shoots his surgeon and dubs himself “Jigsaw.” While a deeply regretful Castle attempts to make amends with the widow (Julie Benz) of the agent he has slain, Jigsaw rallies an army of criminals in an attempt to take down the seemingly indestructible Punisher. RACE TO WITCH MOUNTAINMARCH 09 For years, stories have circulated about a secret place in the middle of the Nevada desert, known for unexplained phenomena and strange sightings. It is called Witch Mountain, and when a Las Vegas cab driver (DWAYNE JOHNSON) finds two teens with supernatural powers in his cab, he suddenly finds himself in the middle of an adventure he can’t explain. When they discover that the only chance to save the world lies in unraveling the secrets of Witch Mountain, the race begins, as the government, mobsters and even extraterrestrials try to stop them. THE SECRET OF KELLSMARCH 09 From Tomm Moore comes the latest Irish animation feature “The Secret of Kells”. Featuring such voice talent as Brendan Gleeson and Mick Lally, the film follows the twelve-year-old boy named Brendan, who is currently living quietly with the monks in the fortified Kells Abbey, under the tutelage of his uncle Abbott Cellach. Although the looming danger of invasion by the dark and terrifying Vikings remain a constant threat, it is no mystery that Brendan is being groomed as a future replacement for the Abbott Cellach, a stern and mechanical man. But it is in this remote part of Ireland that Brendan soon discovers something much more than the copasetic tedium of monk-hood when he comes into contact with Brother Aidan, a master illuminator. The story of the animated film continues as Brother Aiden shows Brendan his current project, which is the extraordinarily brilliant and insatiably creative, but still very unfinished book of illumination. Brendan and the Secret of Kells finds a young man whose destiny to finish this remarkable book, and finds a young man whose new talent for the art of illumination similarly makes clearer both the boy’s most anxious desire for enlightenment as well as his most deep and darkest fears. Brendan must finish the book, but it isn’t before he ventures beyond the walls of Kells Abbey and confronts the mythical world outside, filled with vile, dangerous creatures and marvelously enchanted beings alike. Will a chance meeting with a mysterious young forest spirit, a pale girl named Aisling, curb his chances of encountering a worrisome demise in the wild? Or will the Viking hordes close in sooner than the young artist is able to awaken his inner prodigy for the art of illumination, imagination where adventure, danger and action await him. SHERLOCK HOLMESTBC In a dynamic new portrayal of Arthur Conan Doyle’s most famous characters, “Sherlock Holmes” sends Holmes and his stalwart partner Watson on their latest challenge. Revealing fighting skills as lethal as his legendary intellect, Holmes will battle as never before to bring down a new nemesis and unravel a deadly plot that could destroy the country. 17 AGAIN APR 09 What would you do if you got a second shot at life? Class of 1989, Mike O’Donnell is a star on his high school basketball court with a college scout in the stands and a bright future in his grasp. But instead, he decides to throw it all away to share his life with his girlfriend Scarlett and the baby he just learned they are expecting. Almost 20 years later, Mike’s glory days are decidedly behind him. His marriage to Scarlett has fallen apart, he has been passed over for a promotion at work, his teenage kids think he is a loser, and he has been reduced to crashing with his high school nerd-turned-techno-billionaire best friend Ned. But Mike is given another chance when he is miraculously transformed back to the age of 17. Unfortunately, Mike may look 17 again, but his thirtysomething outlook is totally uncool in the class of 2009. And in trying to recapture his best years, Mike could lose the best things that ever happened to him. THE SOLOIST TBC In The Soloist, an emotionally soaring drama about the redemptive power of music, journalist Steve Lopez (Oscar® nominee Robert Downey Jr.) discovers Nathaniel Anthony Ayers (Oscar® winner Jamie Foxx), a former classical music prodigy, playing his violin on the streets of L.A. As Lopez endeavors to help the homeless man find his way back, a unique friendship is formed, one that transforms both their lives. The Soloist is directed by Joe Wright (Golden Globe winner for Best Drama and Oscar® nominee for Best Picture Atonement). STATE OF PLAY APR 09 A political conspiracy lies at the heart of this film starring Oscar winners Russell Crowe, Ben Affleck, and Helen Mirren. A reporter (Crowe) in the nation’s capital discovers a mess of lies when… A political conspiracy lies at the heart of this film starring Oscar winners Russell Crowe, Ben Affleck, and Helen Mirren. A reporter (Crowe) in the nation’s capital discovers a mess of lies when the mistress of a congressman (Affleck) is murdered. Kevin Macdonald (THE LAST KING OF SCOTLAND) directs this thriller based on the BBC miniseries of the same name STAR TREKMAY 09 From director J.J. Abrams (Mission: Impossible III, Lost and Alias), producers Damon Lindelof and Bryan Burk and screenwriters Roberto Orci & Alex Kurtzman (TRANSFORMERS, MI: III) comes a new vision of the greatest space adventure of all time, Star Trek, featuring a young, new crew venturing boldly where no one has gone before. Stay tuned for our final 2009 Preview tomorrow!