Our Most Anticipated Films of 2008

Body of Lies

Synopsis: Based on a novel by Washington Post columnist David Ignatius, it follows a journalist-turned-CIA agent who is sent to Jordan to track down an Al Qaeda terrorist.

Why the buzz: The screenplay is by William Monahan (The Departed, Kingdom of Heaven). The director is Ridley Scott. The actors are Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe. Hmm. I'm pretty sure I'm seeing this. The only uphill battle this movie has is the Middle East factor. It isn't exactly hotcakeville.

Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Synopsis: F. Scott Fitzgerald's story is about a man that is born old and ages backwards, all the way to infancy and beyond.

Why the buzz: Brad Pitt plays the old man and eventual baby. The film also stars Cate Blanchett, Tilda Swinton, Julia Ormond (who still acts!) and Elias Koteas. Eric Roth (Forrest Gump, The Good Shepherd) is adapting Fitzgerald's book and David Fincher is directing. The talent involved and the odd story make this too intriguing for me to miss.

The Dark Knight

The Dark Knight

Synopsis: The sequel to Batman Begins finds Batman pitted against his famed foe, The Joker.

Why the buzz: Well, the buzz stems from the fact that Batman Begins ruled. Chris Nolan is still directing and all of the original cast members are back (except Katie Holmes who was replaced by Maggie Gyllenhaal, a more interesting actress). The bat will rule the summer.


Wall-EWALL-E

Synopsis: WALL-E is a robot (his name is short for Waste Allocation Load Lifter Earth-Class). Earth has been abandoned and he was left behind to haul all the garbage around. But as the trailers tell us, things change.

Why the buzz: I'm a sucker for any Pixar venture so this is pretty much a given. Also, I dig the latest teaser.


Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Synopsis: Indiana Jones is somehow involved with a kingdom and I'm guessing there's a crystal skull somewhere in there.

Why the buzz: It's been 18 years since the last Indy adventure so there is naturally some level of anticipation. Spielberg, Ford, and Lucas are all back in the saddle again from a script written by David Koepp (though there are reports that much of Frank Darabont's stab at the screenplay remain).


Bond 22

Bond 22

Synopsis: Bond womanizes, drinks martinis and shoots bad guys.

Why the buzz: Everybody wants to check out the next Bond movie just to see if the Broccoli family is going to screw it up. Casino Royale was such a great movie, Bond fans almost can't believe it. To really make things interesting, Finding Neverland and The Kite Runner director, Marc Forster is directing.


Cloverfield

Cloverfield

Synopsis: Creature rages Godzilla-like havoc on New York City. No word yet as to whether or not Maria Pitillo makes an an appearance as the most obnoxious New Yorker in the history of mankind.

Why the buzz: The ad campaign reflects J.J. Abrams canny ability to stir things up and get people talking. This is the first major player and must-see movie of 2008.


Iron Man

Iron Man

Synopsis: Tony Stark is a Bruce Wayne-like billionaire who uses his industrial technology to fight crime. Based on the popular Marvel comic book.

Why the buzz: Because the Comic-Con footage and trailers kicked unholy ass. It also features a pretty stellar cast: Robert Downey Jr. (an unconventional, yet dead-on choice to play Stark), Gwyneth Paltrow, Jeff Bridges, Terrence Howard and Samuel L. Jackson. Former swinger Jon Favreau directs.


Hellboy 2

Hellboy 2: The Golden Army

Synopsis: Hellboy and his team return to kick butt against a rebellious evil army set to dominate Earth.

Why the buzz: I enjoyed, but did not go geek-gaga for the original Hellboy. But word is writer-director Guillermo del Toro is aiming to make this movie every bit as good as his Pan's Labyrinth and that's enough for me to camp out at the local Muvico the night before.


Speed Racer

Speed Racer

Synopsis: The infamous Japanese cartoon import gets the live action treatment.

Why the buzz: That insane-looking trailer is enough to get me at least curious. But I love how this movie was cast (Emile Hirsch, Christina Ricci, Susan Sarandon, John Goodman, Matthew Fox and Richard-bleepin'-Roundtree). Most importantly, it is the first film since The Matrix: Revolutions where the Wachowski siblings are officially in the directors' chairs (even if their influence was all over V for Vendetta).


Runner Ups:

Revolutionary Road

Revolutionary Road

Director Sam Mendes (American Beauty) directs Titanic flames Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio in this '50s-era marriage drama that focuses on conformity. I'm expecting buckets of Oscars.


Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

The darkest (and possibly best written) of the Potter books will finally make its way to the big screen and we can't wait for that wicked ending.


Star Trek XI

The sexier, less creaky-in-the-knees cast has the Internet buzzing. Can J.J. Abrams win over non-nerds? Bet on it.

Synecdoche, New York

Charlie Kaufman (Being John Malkovich, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) is the most brilliant and original screenwriter around and now he gets behind the camera to direct Philip Seymour Hoffman and a sick cast in another oddball silver screen confection. I'd tell you what it's about but it wouldn't make any sense.

The Happening

Yes, I'm an unabashed fan for everything M. Night Shyamalan and I loved his Entourage cameo (he seemed willing to make fun of himself and I can always get with that). This weather-unfriendly movie looks like the anti-Day After Tomorrow and that's a good thing. Mark Wahlberg and Zooey Deschanel star.

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Dre writes three times a week for Film.com. He left off your most anticipated movie on purpose. Email him!