2009 is almost gone and it's time to sort through a huge cache of quality year-end theatrical releases. Here is my top 10 list of films I definitely want to see before the end of 2009. All release dates are subject to change.
Law Abiding Citizen (October 16) – Gerard Butler, a seemingly regular family man, and Jamie Foxx, a district attorney, face off in this action thriller about crime and justice. Revenge theme echoes from Taken along with modern day social themes in economic down times elevate the already high interest.
Where the Wild Things Are (October 16) – Maurice Sendak's classic book gets the big screen treatment directed by Spike Jonze as a boy creates his own creature world. A fresh offering free of computerized special effects. Also playing in IMAX theaters.
Up in the Air (starts in limited release December 4) – George Clooney stars in director Jason Reitman’s drama about traveling businessman who teaches a new employee his job and finds love as he’s struggling for survival. Vera Farmiga, Jason Bateman and rising star Anna Kendrick also star.
Men Who Stare at Goats (November 6) – George Clooney, Jeff Bridges, Kevin Spacey, and Ewan McGregor star in this military comedy about paranormal powers. A welcome departure from recent military dramas.
Oh My God (NY, LA on November 13) – This documentary features Peter Rodger’s worldwide inquiry into God, religion, and the global community which spanned two and a half years in 23 different countries.
Pirate Radio (November 13) – Previously known as The Boat That Rocked, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Bill Nighy, Rhys Ifans, and Kenneth Branagh star in this comedy/romance set in 1966 when pirate radio DJs satisfied rock and roll fans with music all day, every day when the BBC could only play it two hours a day.
The Blind Side (November 20) – Every fourth quarter of the year needs an inspiring sports drama. Sandra Bullock and Tim McGraw star as a married couple who help a homeless student, played by Quinton Aaron, who finds escape from his troubles through football.
Red Cliff (limited November 20) – Originally released in China in 2008, John Woo’s latest action epic fills the screen with amazing battles and historic drama. Just remember, this film has a sequel, which was already released in China earlier this year.
Avatar (Dec. 18) – Was it worth the wait? Director James Cameron hopes audiences will say yes as his feature film follow-up to Titanic final hits the big screen. Also playing in IMAX and 3D theaters.
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (December 25 in limited release) – Heath Ledger and director Terry Gilliam have a very special film here with Johnny Depp, Jude Law, and Colin Farrell finishing and expanding Ledger’s role as the transforming Tony. Christopher Plummer plays the central character Dr. Parnassus and Tom Waits plays Mr. Nick.