‘Indiana Jones,’ ‘Dark Knight’ And More Flicks We Can’t Wait To See: ’08 Movie Preview

'Cloverfield,' 'Iron Man,' 'Wanted' also make our list.

It is impossible to overstate the anticipation we feel for the blockbuster movies coming out in 2008. OK, that’s not exactly true. We could say that we’d rather see “The Dark Knight” than peace in the Middle East. That would be an overstatement — but only a slight one!

So with all due exaggeration, embellishment and hyperbole, we present the 10 movies we’re most looking forward to in the new year.

10. “Wanted” (June 27)
Unfulfilled SWM in dead-end job in search of position as top-level assassin. Must possess perfect aim and uncanny skill with any weapon. LDR with father OK. Desire for revenge in said father’s death a huge plus. Wish to use violence purely for selfish and egocentric pleasures a must — fondness for S&M, D&D not deterrents. No experience necessary. Will train under two of industry’s best: the Fox (Angelina Jolie ) and Sloan (Morgan Freeman). Prefer TDH but willing to settle for Scottish and geeky (James McAvoy), provided applicant is willing to relocate. Will receive biquarterly reviews from Fates. No smokers.

9. “Cloverfield” (January 18)
Wanna learn all about “Cloverfield”? OK, but I have to ask: Do you know how to keep a secret? Yeah, so does J.J. Abrams. We’ve heard of making movies behind closed doors, but this is just plain ridiculous. Abrams’ new project is so hush-hush it makes Area 51 look like Areas 1-50. In fact, there’s not much we know about the flick beyond that it’s a monster movie set in New York and that it centers on a group of five friends. Bring your Slusho! — everything is illuminated January 18.

8. “Hancock” (July 2)
Look up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s … the Fresh Prince? The biggest movie star in the world, able to take down box-office records in a single blow, Will Smith returns to the July 4 weekend as a real-life Superman in “Hancock,” the story of an abusive, alcoholic, would-be hero that everybody hates. Well, except for the wife of his PR rep, the man out to rehabilitate his image (Charlize Theron and Jason Bateman, respectively). She really doesn’t hate him, if you catch our meaning. She really doesn’t hate him, like, twice a day if they get the chance. But hey, saving the world means never having to say you’re sorry. Might makes right when “Hancock” opens July 2.

7. “The Happening” (June 13)
How’s this for a twist? Just two years after “Lady in the Water” made him persona non grata in Hollywood, M. Night Shyamalan basically went door-to-door peddling a new script and found his calling with … a relationship picture? That’s what star Mark Wahlberg called “The Happening,” an R-rated story about the planet’s last-ditch effort against humanity. The man who would be Hitchcock is back. How’d he do it? Spoiler alert: He was dead the whole time.

6. “Eagle Eye” (August 8)
Everybody wants to be James Bond. But who daydreams of being a James Bond villain? Superspy, meet your super … student? Shia LaBeouf stars as a young kid mistaken for a terrorist and on the run with Michelle Monaghan in this flick from the mind of Steven Spielberg.

5. “Wall-E” (June 27)
It’s R2-D2: The Movie, the story of a Waste Allocation Robot left alone on Earth for centuries to clean up mankind’s garbage. It’s mostly dialogue-free. It’s a Pixar film from the director of “Finding Nemo.” Need we say more?

4. “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (November 26)
F. Scott Fitzgerald once wrote that there are no second acts in American lives. He believed it so much that he wrote “Benjamin Button” in reverse. The story of a man who’s born the moment he dies and who ages backward, Button seems like a dream come true: What if you knew then what you know now? Well, for starters, you’d have a lot of explaining to do to the woman you fall in love with (Cate Blanchett ). Some say youth is wasted on the young. We say it’s wasted on Brad Pitt, a 44-year-old who still looks like the biggest kid in the candy shop. Under the direction of David Fincher , Pitt enters second childhood (and then oblivion?) November 26.

3. “Iron Man” (May 2)
Movie stars and flashy cars and life with the top down: Billionaire playboy Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) lives the high life. So what do you get for the man who has everything? How about a biometric, weaponized, indestructible suit of body armor that can shoot rockets? And, oh yeah, it can fly. Alongside Terrence Howard as Jim Rhodes and Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts, the greatest superhero yet to get the movie treatment finally makes his way to the big screen when “Iron Man” opens May 2. Sing it with me: “Now the time is here/ For Iron Man to spread fear.” (Cue legendary, kick-ass guitar riff.)

2. “The Dark Knight” (July 18)
Why so serious? What would it take to put a smile on that face of yours? What if we told you that the sequel to the best-ever comic book movie looks even better, with the introduction of the Joker (Heath Ledger) and Two-Face (Aaron Eckhart) into Batman’s rogues’ gallery. Don’t laugh: Ledger’s Glasgow smile and sing-song voice make for a terrifying-yet-realistic psychopath, someone who just wants to watch the world burn. Batman (Christian Bale) and the Joker, Harvey Dent and Two-Face — they’re two sides of the same coin: costumed freaks who use violence and fear as a means to an end. Heads or tails, we win July 18.

1. “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” (May 22)
Nineteen years after he last rode into the sunset, the man with the hat is back . Throw me the idol, I’ll throw you the most anticipated movie of 2008: “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.” Will there be aliens ? A son ? A second chance at love with Marion Ravenwood (Karen Allen)? No rats, and definitely no snakes — X marks the spot May 22.

Hungry for more on what to expect from this year’s fleet of flicks? Check out these other 2008 movie previews:

” ‘Star Trek,’ ‘Incredible Hulk’ Among Our Most Anticipated Re-Imaginings: ’08 Movie Preview”
“Seth Rogen, Will Ferrell, Anna Faris Flicks Lead Most Eagerly Awaited Comedies: ’08 Movie Preview”
” ‘Harry Potter,’ ‘Bond,’ ‘Narnia’ Top Our Most-Anticipated Sequels: ’08 Movie Preview”

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