I am absolutely sick of writing “Top Ten” lists — so I have decided to make my big 2008 preview list with 20 films, just to add a little spice to your life. A while back my good friend Pete at /Film wrote an article about 55 Must-See Films in 2008, but that is just too many to sift through — you want it simple, right? Yahoo Movies also made their list of the Ten Most Anticipated Movies of 2008 — and it was absolutely lame. And lest I forget my good friend Alex at First Showing as he explains Why 2008 Will Be An Awesome Year for Movies — a comprehensive list similar to Pete’s. So as we ring in 2008, we’ve decided to give you a more precise, more definitive list of films to look out for in ‘08. With that said, I humbly present to you The 20 Most Anticipated Films of 2008.
20. Religulous (imdb)
Release Date: April 2, 2008
Talent: Bill Maher, Larry Charles (Director)
Synopsis: Bill Maher’s take on the current state of world religion.
The Buzz: Bill Maher has always had an interesting take on religion. In fact, he’s always had an interesting take on just about everything. That would be the key to the success of his late-night show Real Time with Bill Maher on HBO. In Religulous, Maher teams with Borat director Larry Charles to give his point of view on the state of religion in the world. Look out Michael Moore, you aren’t the only one who can be controversial.
19. The Incredible Hulk (imdb)
Release Date: June 13, 2008
Talent: Edward Norton, Liv Tyler, Tim Roth, Louis Leterrier (Director)
Synopsis: Depicting the events after the Gamma Bomb. ‘The Incredible Hulk’ tells the story of Dr Bruce Banner, who seeks a cure to his unique condition, which causes him to turn into a giant green monster under emotional stress. Whilst on the run from military which seeks his capture, Banner comes close to a cure. But all is lost when a new creature emerges; The Abomination.
The Buzz: Not much has been released about this new Hulk, save for a few promotional stills and some concept art, but we are holding out hope. Marvel Studios has their game-face on, and we couldn’t be more excited.
18. Repo! The Genetic Opera (imdb)
Release Date: 2008
Talent: Paul Sorvino, Paris Hilton, Anthony Head, Darren Lynn Bousman (Director)
Synopsis: A worldwide epidemic encourages a biotech company to launch an organ-financing program similar in nature to a standard car loan. The repossession clause is a killer, however.
The Buzz: Disregard the fact that Paris Hilton is attached and remember how much you loved the hack-and-slash musical gore of Sweeney Todd. Darren Lynn Bousman (Saw IV) may just have something similar on his hands.
17. The International (imdb)
Release Date: August 15, 2008
Talent: Clive Owen, Naomi Watts, Tom Tykwer (Director)
Synopsis: An Interpol agent (Owen) attempts to expose a high-profile financial institution’s role in an international arms dealing ring.
The Buzz: Director Tom Tykwer showed some serious visual style with Perfume: The Story of a Murderer on ‘06, and this time he brings Clive Owen (yes, the Clive Owen) in for a thrilling drama. Can you smell a repeat of Children of Men? Let’s hope so.
16. Speed Racer (imdb)
Release Date: May 9, 2008
Talent: Emile Hirsch, Christina Ricci, Matthew Fox, The Wachowskis (Directors)
Synopsis: Born to race cars, Speed Racer (Emile Hirsch) is aggressive, instinctive and, most of all, fearless. His only real competition is the memory of the brother he idolized—the legendary Rex Racer, whose death in a race has left behind a legacy that Speed is driven to fulfill. Speed is loyal to the family racing business, led by his father, Pops Racer (John Goodman), the designer of Speed’s thundering Mach 5. When Speed turns down a lucrative and tempting offer from Royalton Industries, he not only infuriates the company’s maniacal owner (Roger Allam) but uncovers a terrible secret—some of the biggest races are being fixed by a handful of ruthless moguls who manipulate the top drivers to boost profits. If Speed won’t drive for Royalton, Royalton will see to it that the Mach 5 never crosses another finish line. The only way for Speed to save his family’s business and the sport he loves is to beat Royalton at his own game. With the support of his family and his loyal girlfriend, Trixie (Christina Ricci), Speed teams with his one-time rival—the mysterious Racer X (Matthew Fox)—to win the race that had taken his brother’s life: the death-defying, cross-country rally known as The Crucible.
The Buzz: Sure the first trailer looked a little over-the-top, but this is The Wachowskis that we are talking about — they gave us The Matrix. Goofy and stylized, yes — but it also could just be a lot of fun.
15. RocknRolla (imdb)
Release Date: October 3, 2008
Talent: Gerard Butler, Gemma Arterton, Jeremy Piven, Thandie Newton, Guy Ritchie (Director)
Synopsis: London’s criminal underworld takes notice of a Russian mobster’s shady land deal, a scam that puts millions of dollars up for grabs.
The Buzz: We’ve been waiting since Snatch for Guy Ritchie to deliver a rockin’ good movie. It just so happens that he may have done that, and named it appropriately. Hopefully Madonna was too busy directing her own film to get in the way.
14. Get Smart (imdb)
Release Date: June 20, 2008
Talent: Steve Carell, Anne Hathaway, Dwayne Johnson, Alan Arkin, Peter Segal (Director)
Synopsis: Maxwell Smart, Agent 86 for CONTROL, battles the forces of KAOS with the more-competent Agent 99 at his side
The Buzz: Don’t believe all the negative word of mouth around this film, forget about re-shoots and just relax. Director Pete Segal is making us a fantastic action-comedy with Steve Carell, seemingly the reincarnation of Don Adams, at the heart of it all. It should be light, fun and full of Anne Hathaway’s hotness.
13. James Bond 22 (imdb)
Release Date: November 7, 2008
Talent: Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, Mathieu Amalric, Marc Forster (Director)
Synopsis: None Available.
The Buzz: The damn thing has not even begun shooting yet (it starts January 3), and the web is already buzzing about the next chapter for James Bond. Daniel Craig is back, his new Bond girl (rumored to be Gemma Arterton) is smoking hot, and we can expect the same viciousness that we saw with Casino Royale.
12. Sex and the City: The Movie (imdb)
Release Date: May 30, 2008
Talent: Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Cynthia Nixon, Kristin Davis, Michael Patrick King (Director)
Synopsis: Not Available.
The Buzz: No one knows exactly how the infinitely popular television show will translate to the big screen, but we do know this: your girlfriends will eat it up. This thing, good or bad, is going to print money at the box office. It’s better that you not fight it, gentlemen.
11. Be Kind Rewind (imdb)
Release Date: February 22, 2008
Talent: Jack Black, Danny Glover, Mos Def, Mia Farrow, Michel Gondry (Director)
Synopsis: Jerry (Jack Black) is a junkyard worker who attempts to sabotage a power plant he suspects of causing his headaches. But he inadvertently causes his brain to become magnetized, leading to the unintentional destruction of all the movies in his friend’s (Mos Def) store. In order to keep the store’s one loyal customer, an elderly lady with a tenuous grasp on reality, the pair re-create a long line of films including The Lion King, Rush Hour, Ghostbusters, When We Were Kings, Back to the Future, Driving Miss Daisy, and Robocop , putting themselves and their townspeople into it. They become the biggest stars in their neighborhood.
The Buzz: Michel Gondry’s quirky flick is one of the best reasons to attend this year’s Sundance Film Festival, but if you have to wait — you will surely be rewarded. In every trailer thus far, Mos Def and Jack Black look like a perfect tandem for a movie like this. Fans of oddball comedy should find this one to be a nice early-year surprise.
10. Hellboy II: The Golden Army (imdb)
Release Date: July 11, 2008
Talent: Ron Perlman, Selma Blair, Doug Jones, Guillermo Del Toro
Synopsis: The mythical world 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 Buzz: This time around, Hellboy gets bigger and badder thanks to it’s director’s much-inflated profile. Universal has given Guillermo Del Toro a major green light to make a visual spectacle unlike any other — all he has to do is deliver as he always does.
9. Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay (imdb)
Release Date: April 25, 2008
Talent: John Cho, Kal Pen, Rob Corddry
Synopsis: 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.
The Buzz: It sounds dumb to put this one so high on the list, but the first Harold & Kumar film was a huge success — especially with the younger audiences. There is no reason to suspect that this film won’t turn up the ridiculousness, delivering more munchie-craving slackers and more NPH — plenty more NPH.
8. The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (imdb)
Release Date: May 16, 2008
Talent: Liam Neeson, Ben Barnes, Andrew Adamson (Director)
Synopsis: “Prince Caspian” finds the Pevensie siblings pulled back into the land of Narnia, where a thousand years have passed since they left. The children are once again enlisted to join the colorful creatures of Narnia in combating an evil villain who prevents the rightful Prince from ruling the land.
The Buzz: The Pevensie kids are going back to Narnia, and it would appear that we are all going with them. Fans of the first film (of which there are many) are getting very excited about this one. Those of us who were bored with the first one, myself included, can take refuge in the fact that the first trailer for Prince Caspian has tons of action.
7. Star Trek (imdb)
Release Date: December 25, 2008
Talent: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Eric Bana, Zoe Saldana, Karl Urban, J.J. Abrams (Director)
Synopsis: A chronicle of the early days of James T. Kirk and his fellow USS Enterprise crew members.
The Buzz: J.J. Abrams has practically an entire year to make sure that his installment is up to par, as he would be an idiot to disappoint the throngs of Trekkies that will be putting his film under a microscope. And while they may be harsh, they should also be a very excited bunch — as there hasn’t been much in the way of a good Trek film since — ever.
6. Wall-E (imdb)
Release Date: June 27, 2008
Talent: Fred Willard, Jeff Garlin, Andrew Stanton (Director)
Synopsis: The year is 2700. WALL*E, a robot, spends every day doing what he was made for. But soon, he will discover what he was meant for.
The Buzz: While Wall-E is significantly more soft-spoken than any past Pixar character (except Luxo the lamp, that is), we have no doubts that audiences will have no trouble falling head over heels for the little guy — it’s something in his eyes. Andrew Stanton and the crew at Pixar have failed to disappoint us up to now, with plenty of great films under there belt — we see no reason why they would start here.
5. Cloverfield (imdb)
Release Date: January 18, 2008
Talent: Michael Stahl-David, Mike Vogel, Lizzy Caplan, Matt Reeves (Director)
Synopsis: Revolves around a monster attack in New York as told from the point of view of a small group of people.
The Buzz: There are some that have had this marked on their calendar since the mysterious first teaser trailer ran in front of Transformers last summer. Basically, we are all waiting to see the monster that pretty much eats New York City. On 1-18-08, the lines will surely be long — so get to the theater early.
4. Iron Man (imdb)
Release Date: May 2, 2008
Talent: Robert Downey Jr., Terrence Howard, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jon Favreau (Director)
Synopsis: When Tony Stark is forced to create a life support suit to keep him alive after an accident he decides to use the technology in his suit to fight crime.
The Buzz: Did you see the trailer? How much more do you need to see to be excited for Iron Man? Downey Jr. is perfectly cast as Tony Stark and Director Jon Favreau has every fan of the Marvel universe believing. This will be the first big blockbuster of what could be the most exciting summer movie season ever.
3. Zack and Miri Make a Porno (imdb)
Release Date: 2008
Talent: Seth Rogen, Elizabeth Banks, Jason Mewes, Kevin Smith (Director)
Synopsis: Lifelong platonic friends Zack (Rogen) and Miri (Banks) look to solve their respective cashflow problems by making an adult film together. As the cameras roll, however, the duo begin to sense that they may have more feelings for each other than they previously thought.
The Buzz: You didn’t think that this list would be all summer blockbusters did you? Zack and Miri will combine two of the most beloved comedic minds in all of Hollywood, director Kevin Smith and actor Seth Rogen, to make a movie about two people who want to start a porn company. And it stars the always gorgeous Elizabeth Banks. If you need to read that again to allow it to really sink in, we can wait.
2. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (imdb)
Release Date: May 22, 2008
Talent: Harrison Ford, Karen Allen, Shia LaBeouf, Cate Blanchett, Steven Spielberg (Director), George Lucas (Writer)
Synopsis: Not Available.
The Buzz: They might as well have titled this film Indiana Jones and the Return to the Bank, as it is going to seriously pad the LucasFilm bankroll. Steven Spielberg brings back his trusted old adopted son (Harrison Ford) and throws him back in the Indy costume alongside his new adopted son (Shia LaBeouf) for what can only be described as a wild ride — and we don’t even know what the film is about yet.
1. The Dark Knight (imdb)
Release Date: July 18, 2008
Talent: Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Aaron Eckhart, Christopher Nolan (Director)
Synopsis: Batman raises the stakes in his war on crime. With the help of Lieutenant Jim Gordon and District Attorney Harvey Dent, 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.
The Buzz: Part of it may be the fanboy inside of me, the other part might be the brilliant web of viral marketing being spun by the folks at Warner Brothers, but there is 2008 release that can get here any sooner than The Dark Knight. Christian Bale is back and as badass as ever in the (nippleless) batsuit and Heath Ledger is slowly transforming into the Joker that we never knew he could be. Mark my words, The Dark Knight is going to rule the summer box office.
So there you have it, our picks of the Top 20 Most Anticipated Movies of 2008. Let’s get on with it already!