*Besides The Blockbusters

15 Movies* You Should Watch In 2009


For some, film is religion, and no temple is more sacred than the art house cinema around the corner. Serving as a calm voice of reason in a sea of neon megaplexes, the art house is the perfect refuge for discovering that gem of a specialty film. However, in a world this connected – via Bluetooth transfers, Tweets, and so forth – how can any movie claim to be truly independent? After all, Slumdog Millionaire was released by Fox Searchlight to be a cash cow chick flick disguised as an art house drama crowd and popcorn ready. Before I rant about the grindhouse glory days being long gone, here are fifteen upcoming flicks worth your recession-era Hamilton ($10), and frankly, who cares if they’re indie or not?

Inglorious Basterds

inglorious-basterds-movie-posterThe so-called master of visceral cinema, Quentin Tarantino crafts another delirious “splatter opera,” only this time it’s about WWII characters nicknamed “Bear Jew” and “Jew Hunter.” Set in Nazi-occupied France and narrated by Samuel L. Jackson – this five-chapter, Pulp Fiction-length film promises to be both bloody satisfying and structured by that trademark “double helix” of a plotline we’ve come to expect and enjoy.

Release Date: August 21st, 2009

Shutter Island

shutter-island-movie-posterOut of the 64 Oscar nominations generated by Martin Scorcese’s movies, 89% come from those edited by a lil old lady named Thelma Schoonmaker. With her return on yet another Dennis Lehane-derived narrative, expect a substance enriched execution perhaps equal to that of 2007 Best Picture The Departed. And as much as we should never forgive Leonardo DiCaprio for his role in making a chick flick the biggest box-office movie of all time (over The Dark Knight no less), his performances only get better with each Marty set.

Release Date: October 2nd, 2009


extract-movie-posterMike Judge, director of Office Space, comes out with another workplace comedy – this time exploring what it’s like to be the boss when everything seems to be shifting around you (Film School Rejects). Jason Bateman stars as Joel, the owner of an extract factory, alongside Ben Affleck, Mila Kunis, and other various funny people like J.K. Simmons.

Release Date: September 4th, 2009


bruno-movie-posterI have two questions for Sacha Baron Cohen on his latest sociopolitical satire: can Bruno successfully out-Borat Borat? And will he eat chocolately things, like, all the time? Bruno, the self-proclaimed “Voice of Austrian Youth,” leaves home this July to have “Delicious Journeys Through America.” Arnold Schwartzenegger, a past vetoer of same-sex marriage bills, is one of Bruno’s many on/off screen targets. Expect plenty of laughs and another phase of overused catchphrases. Very Nice!

Release Date: July 10th, 2009

The Invention of Lying

From the co-writer and co-director of The Office (UK version), comes The Invention of Lying, a comedy starring Ricky Gervais, Tina Fey, Jonah Hill, Louis C.K. (a past writer for Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Chris Rock), George Bluth Sr. er I mean Jeffrey Michael Tambor, as well as Jennifer Garner, and Rob Lowe. Set in an alternate world where no one has ever lied, Gervais plays a performer who “invents” lying for personal gain and power; he describes his character as “a loser who’s about to lose his job, and who’s lumbering through the 1300s. All he’s got to work with is the Black Death. But once he lies and pretends he’s found lost stories, he becomes the greatest storyteller in the world.”

Release Date: September 25th, 2009

The Road

the-road-movie-posterA silenced pump action shot gun, staccato dialogue, and a rod shooter used to punch out door knobs and skulls … these are the elements that emerge when recalling 2008 Best Picture No Country for Old Men. From the same literary mind comes The Road, a searing, post-apocalyptic tale that is best described by the LA Times as “a book that wrenches our nightmares into a gray light where they don’t vanish but become more vivid.” Hopefully British playwright Joe Penhall can recreate the raw emotional pull of Cormac McCarthy’s Pulitzer Prize winner without “milking the tits of a giant” (his own phrase).

Release Date: October 2009


sugar-movie-posterWhen’s the last time you saw a real sports movie, one without that trite Disney bull shit transforming into a single, fateful season? My answer has to be Hoop Dreams and from the looks of it, indie upstart Sugar comes from the same vein of authenticity. A film about a Dominican pitching prodigy pursuing the American Dream (Major League ball), Sugar intends to portray what is raw and true for hundreds of Latino farm-system boys everyday.

Release Date: Now Playing (April 3rd, 2009) (Limited)

Whatever Works

whatever-works-movie-posterWoody Allen directing Larry David in a film dealing with the complications between an older man and a younger woman? Few premises for a comedy sound more promising, especially when you pair a cynical imagination with an all too willing (read: humorously neurotic) mouthpiece. Larry David plays a recently divorced and retired physics teacher whose repeated life failures lead him to teach chess and become romantically entangled with a naïve, Southern belle (Evan Rachel Wood – The Wrestler) to the disapproval of her parents.

Release Date: June 19th, 2009 (NY, LA)

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