A quick look at the films I'm really looking forward to in 2009. I'm not including Star Trek and Watchmen in this bunch simply because I'm covering the hype on those two elsewhere. This is an opportunity to spotlight a number of forthcoming releases for early 2009 from some of the biggest directors in the industry.

Released 23rd January 2009
Director: Ron Howard

Frost/Nixon is a play by the British screenwriter and dramatist Peter Morgan. Its subject is the series of televised Frost/Nixon interviews that former US President Richard Nixon granted David Frost in 1977 and that ended with a tacit admission of guilt regarding his role in the Watergate scandal. The play premiered at the Donmar Warehouse theatre in London in August 2006. Directed by Michael Grandage, it starred Michael Sheen as the talk-show host and Frank Langella as the former president. Frost/Nixon is now a 2008 historical drama film based upon the play of the same name. The film version is directed by Ron Howard and produced by Brian Grazer of Imagine Entertainment and Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner of Working Title Films for Universal Pictures. The film reunites its original two stars from the London and Broadway productions of the play. www.frostnixonthemovie.com


Released 23rd January 2009
Director: Gus Van Sant

In 1977, Harvey Milk was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, becoming the first openly gay man to be voted into major public office in America. His victory was not just a victory for gay rights; he forged coalitions across the political spectrum. From senior citizens to union workers, Harvey Milk changed the very nature of what it means to be a fighter for human rights and became, before his untimely death in 1978, a hero for all Americans. Academy Award winner Sean Penn stars as Harvey Milk under the direction of Academy Award nominee Gus Van Sant in the new movie filmed on location in San Francisco from an original screenplay by Dustin Lance Black and produced by Academy Award winners Dan Jinks and Bruce Cohen. The film charts the last eight years of Harvey Milk’s life. While living in New York City, he turns 40. Looking for more purpose, Milk and his lover Scott Smith (James Franco) relocate to San Francisco, where they found a small business, Castro Camera, in the heart of a working-class neighbourhood that was soon to become a haven for gay people from around the country. With vitalizing support from Scott and new friends and volunteers, Milk plunges headfirst into the choppy waters of politics. Milk serves San Francisco well while lobbying for a citywide ordinance protecting people from being fired because of their orientation – and rallying support against a proposed statewide referendum to fire gay schoolteachers and their supporters; he realises that this fight against Proposition 6 represents a pivotal precipice for the gay rights movement. At the same time, the political agendas of Milk and those of another newly elected supervisor, Dan White (Josh Brolin), increasingly diverge and their personal destinies tragically converge. Penn's performance is already being singled out by LA and New York critics and an Oscar nomination looks likely. www.filminfocus.com

Released 6th February 2009
Director: David Fincher

Already receiving rave reviews from US critics, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, adapted from the 1920s story by F. Scott Fitzgerald is about a man who is born in his eighties and ages backwards. A man, like any of us, unable to stop time. We follow his story set in New Orleans from the end of World War I in 1918, into the 21st century, following his journey that is as unusual as any man’s life can be. It follows the life of Benjamin, who is born with the appearance and physical limitations of a man in his eighties. Abandoned in a nursing home by his father, Benjamin begins aging backward. While in the home, he meets Daisy, a young aspiring ballerina. As the film progresses, the two fall in love, while struggling to deal with the issue of one growing younger while the other grows older. Directed by David Fincher, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is a time traveler’s tale of the people and places he bumps into along the way, the loves he loses and finds, the joys of life and the sadness of death, and what lasts beyond time. www.benjaminbutton.com

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  1. I say, that Button thing looks like a bit of all right! :-)

  2. Yes, it looks very interesting. For me, the fact that it is a David Fincher film will make it must see. His last film, 'Zodiac', was a masterpiece and of course he's responsible for 'Seven' and 'Fight Club'. And I dearly want to see 'Milk' because it looks like Gus Van Sant has made the perfect film of Harvey's life leading up to his assassination. I would recommend wholeheartedly the DVD of 'The Times Of Harvey Milk' - a fantastic documentary that can reduce anyone to tears. I'm filling up now as I type this. And 'Frost/Nixon' simply because it's Michael Sheen's moment in the sun. A cracking actor.

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