R0BTRAIN's Bad Ass Cinema: 10 in 2008

So to be honest, with the holidays upon us, as well as my continued convalescence from my recent hospitalization, it’s become difficult to really put together an in-depth column, hence my recent lists and what not. Another thing is that I love doing lists. So with that, here’s another one. Hopefully my last one, other than my annual “best of” list which will come out with the rest of the Popcorn Junkies’ staff. I was trying to put together something for the New Year, so with that here’s my list of the movies that I’m looking forward to the most this coming year. I think 2007 finished extremely strong (aside from the abominations starring Nicholas Cage and animated chipmunks), and 2008 is really looking up in my opinion.

So here are the ten movies that I’m looking forward to more than any others. Are there any real surprises here? No, not really. Any of these films are the ones you could expect me to look forward to, but still I’m listening to them anyway. This way we can be reminded of what a great year we have in store for us.
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10. Star Trek – Starring Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto, Directed by J.J Abrams

Release Date: 25 December 2008

This film will do one of two things. This movie will either re-invent this franchise for a new generation, reinvigorating the series for the first time since Star trek II: The Wrath of Khan or this will be the final nail in the coffin of Gene Roddenberry’s vision. Even mixed results, such as those that were attained by Abrams last big release, Mission: Impossible III, could still result in an overall failure for Star Trek. Abrams seems to have put his film career and the hopes and dreams of all Trekkies everywhere on the line with this movie, and frankly I wish him the best of luck. I hope he’s able to somehow recreate the magic and chemistry that existed within the original crew. If he can’t then this will probably be the final frontier.
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9. Rambo – Starring Sylvester Stallone, Directed by Sylvester Stallone.

Release Date: 25 January 2008

Of all the big surprises of 2007, the best was seeing just how awesome Live Free or die Hard ended up. I’m hoping with Rambo that Sylvester Stallone is able to tap into the same type of nostalgia that Bruce Willis was able to this past summer. All of the trailers have looked awesome so far and I’m looking forward to the ultra violence that the promos have promised. Stallone was able to score a win with Rocky Balboa during the Christmas season of 2005. If the shaky release date doesn’t hurt him, maybe fans of old school action will go ahead and help him out again.
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8. Midnight Meat Train Starring Vinnie Jones, Bradley Cooper, Directed by Ryuhei Kitamura.

Release Date: 16 May 2008

I’m really excited with the prospect of the Western world getting their introduction to Ryuhei Kitamura. For those that haven’t experienced the fun of Versus, Azumi, and Godzilla: Final Wars, I’m hoping this adaptation of a Clive Barker short story will have the energy of those other films, especially knowing this won’t have all the insane fights those other pictures provided. With any luck Kitamura will have a smooth transition, and start to infect Hollywood films with his own brand of crazy entertainment.
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7. Cloverfield – Starring Michael Stahl-David and Mike Vogel, Directed by Matt Reeves

Release Date: 18 January 2008

Cloverfield has had some of the most intriguing marketing I’ve seen in a long time. The first and second trailers for the film showed little, but left a fun mystery that will hopefully stir up some big business come January 18th. I hope the movie’s monster looks breathtaking on the big screen, and that the camera isn’t such that it gives us motion sickness more than it thrills us. I‘m also anxious to see what kind of visuals the movie can come up with for $30 million. Hopefully, this will end up the year’s biggest entertainment surprise.
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6. WALL-E – Starring Fred Willard and Jeff Garlin, Directed by Andrew Stanton

Release Date: 27 June 2008

After more than a decade of excellence, the Pixar team is producing their first full on Science Fiction film, and I for one couldn’t be happier. The movie promises to be incredible, with a terrific look, as per usual with Pixar. Wall-E himself has a classic design, and I’m hoping the aliens’ model is like nothing we’ve ever seen before, or they’re the aliens from the vending machine in Toy Story. While Cars was a bit of a letdown, Ratatouille was another masterwork from the studio, so Wall-E looks to continue this legacy of excellence from Hollywood’s most consistent creative house.
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5. Hellboy II: The Golden Army – Starring Ron Pearlman and Luke Goss, Directed by Guillermo Del Toro

Release Date: 11 July 2008

While I think the first Hellboy movie is good flick, I did have several problems with it. The movie didn’t have the atmospheric feel of the comics and the ending to the film was really anticlimactic. From the trailer, it looks as if there may have been several improvements since the first entry. Hopefully, the movie’s mood is closer to Pan’s Labyrinth than it is Blade II, at least early on. It’s interesting to me that the franchise has moved to Universal, and I hope the studio’s legacy of Monster movies can add Hellboy II to its ranks of the great ones.
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4. Iron Man – Starring Robert Downey, Jr. and Jeff Bridges, Directed by John Favro

Release Date: 2 May 2008

I know it was a financially successful year for Marvel’s films, but creatively, I think the studio is kind of at a low point. Even the mighty Spider-Man franchise put out a bit a dog this year, with the Venom storyline being shoehorned in the movie to get the kids in at the expense of real entertainment. That’s why John Favreau’s new film could be an incredible opportunity for Marvel’s films to be put back on the right track. Iron Man looks like it has the makings of what could be a popcorn classic, with an up and coming director, astonishing acting talent, and a franchise ripe with potential. I absolutely love that they got Robert Downey, Jr. for this role, as I think he’s a guy we want to root for, in spite of his personal demons. Hopefully, the combination of smartass humor and action runs all the way through the movie like it does in the trailer, and if it does we’re in for something really amazing. There’s very little of this film that doesn’t look marvelous so far, so hopefully this is the real deal.
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3. Bond 22 – Starring Daniel Craig and Jesper Christensen, Directed by Marc Forster

Release Date: 7 November 2008

It was some sort of miracle that Casino Royale was able to be pulled off as brilliantly as it was. Rebooting a beloved character and starting fresh seemed to be exactly what the Bond franchise needed, and now we get to see how they’re able to follow it up. While I love the Bond antics of the past, I hope that the movies don’t start to rest on the laurels of their former glories. The movies need to move on and continue with Casino Royale’s serious tone and create a whole new legacy. Casino Royale managed to be smart and entertaining, and if Marc Forster and Daniel Craig can keep going in that same fashion, 007 can be as big as he ever was.
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2. The Dark Knight – Starring Christian Bale and Heath Ledger, Directed by Christopher Nolan

Release Date: 18 July 2008

From the looks of it, Christopher Nolan is well on his way to erasing our memories of Joel Schumacher. Batman Begins was a near perfect adaptation of the Batman mythos to the big screen, and with the footage released so far for The Dark Knight, he may have taken this film even further. Heath Ledger was an out of nowhere choice to play the Joker, but now that we’ve seen some of what he can do, it’s possible he could be the ultimate version of the Joker onscreen. No one, except Mark Hamill, was ever really able to make the Clown Prince of crime really scary and to find the real power behind the character. Heath Ledger looks to completely change that. Hopefully, the little things that didn’t work in Begins, the chaos in the fight scenes to the point they are indecipherable and the love subplot, have been improved upon to the point where this film can simply be seen as a glorious achievement.
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1. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull Starring Harrison Ford and Karen Allen, Directed by Steven Spielberg

22 May 2008

It’s hard to believe it’s been almost 20 years since the last Indiana Jones adventure was in theaters. Since that time, the love for this series has not waned, but this movie is admittedly a risky proposition. Harrison Ford hasn’t made a good movie in forever, and Shia LeBouff hasn’t exactly won over all of the fan base for this movie, so there’s going to be a lot of questions that this movie will have to answer. Still, nostalgia is a powerful weapon and Steven Spielberg and George Lucas wield it pretty well. Hopefully, some of the same magic is still here. Other than Star Wars, Superman, and Bond, no series even comes close to this one for me, and if there’s a good story here, I’m sure I can overlook how Harrison Ford has aged. It shocks me every time that a film tries to emulate this series unsuccessfully time after time. Hopefully, an actual sequel won’t commit the same sins.

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