Where The Wild Things Are
directed by Spike Jonze
After five years in development, Spike Jonze’s long-awaited adaptation of Maurice Sendak’s beloved children’s book is finally seeing the light of day. Not without a share fair of controversy, of course. As has been much reported, the movie was originally scheduled to be released October 2008, but Warner Bros. execs, unhappy that the film was less family-friendly than they anticipated, demanded re-shoots. Jonze complied, though the final product is, according to the director himself, representative of his original vision. With its breathtaking cinematography and innovative monsters (actors in full-costume portray the Wild Things, while the faces are computer-animated), Jonze’s ode to childhood imagination is sure to be one of the most-talked about movies of the year.
directed by Nelson McCormick
In this remake of the chilling 1987 horror-thriller, Michael (Penn Badgley, “Gossip Girl”) returns home from military school to find his mother in love with David (Dylan Walsh, “Nip/Tuck”), a seemingly normal guy with a few (possibly literal) skeletons in the closet. Unnerved by his suspicious behavior, Michael sets out to discover the true identity of his soon-to-be stepfather before it’s too late. The movie marks the second ’80s horror remake in a row for director McCormick, following last year’s Prom Night.
Law Abiding Citizen
directed by F. Gary Gray
Gerard Butler stars as an everyday guy (one might call him a “law abiding citizen”) who orchestrates a deadly series of events to exact revenge on the district attorney (Jamie Foxx) who helped set his family’s killers free. While the revenge storyline is pretty trite, the movie will apparently unfold chronologically backwards. Hopefully, the narrative structure will overshadow the tiredness of the material.
New York, I Love You
Following the international success of 2006’s Paris, je t’aime, New York, I Love You is the second in a proposed series of anthology films set around “Cities of Love” (upcoming ones include Rio, Shanghai and Jerusalem). This collection of Big Apple love stories assembles another eclectic mix of moviemakers (Brett Ratner, Mira Nair, the Hughes Brothers, Wen Jiang, Shekhar Kapur) and actors (Natalie Portman, Ethan Hawke, Chris Cooper, Julie Christie, Irrfan Khan) for what will likely be a wide-ranging journey on finding love in the city that never sleeps.
directed by Scott Sanders
Call Black Dynamite the flipside of Todd Haynes’ Far From Heaven. While the comparison may sound like a stretch, both movies replicate the style and tone of a specific genre in movie history. While Far From Heaven re-creates the melancholy Douglas Sirk melodramas of the 1950s, Black Dynamite conjures up the outrageous humor and funky swagger of gritty 1970s blaxploitation. The movie revolves around the title character (Michael Jai White, The Dark Knight), a smooth-talking, karate-chopping cat hellbent on avenging the murder of his brother by any means necessary (and also, one assumes, pleasing some ladies along the way).