2009 Winter Movie Preview: March
Watchmen (March 6)
Given the Christmas Eve ruling that gave Fox the legal right to at least a big chunk of "Watchmen," it seems at least somewhat unlikely that Zack Snyder's adaptation of the classic graphic novel will reach the screen on its scheduled release date -- but we're optimists, and like the rest of the red-blooded fanboy world, we're eager to get a look at Synder's vision of the source material, so we're just going to cross our fingers and hope for the best. Whenever it comes out, you can be sure "Watchmen" will dominate the press (and the box office) for weeks
Sunshine Cleaning (March 13)
Amy Adams and Emily Blunt starring as dysfunctional sisters who bond over their business as partners in a crime-scene cleaning service? Sign us up. If there's a "Little Miss Sunshine" in the indie flock for '09, "Sunshine Cleaning" would seem to be it -- although the endless delays leading up to its release don't bode well, Adams and Blunt have shown incredibly good taste in scripts, and the fun of watching them quarrel while mopping up blood is bound to make up for any deficiencies in the script.
Duplicity (March 20)
Julia Roberts hasn't always had the best of luck when reuniting with past co-stars ("Runaway Bride," anyone?) but "Duplicity" has an uncommonly strong pedigree -- for her second go-round with Clive Owen, Roberts has the golden pen and directorial touch of Tony Gilroy ("Michael Clayton") working to elevate this tale of espionage and corporate intrigue above the tired trappings of the genre. It's been awhile since Roberts was a sure thing at the box office, and we have a very hard time believing in her as "CIA officer Claire Stenwick," but after "Clayton," we've got nothing but faith in Gilroy.
I Love You, Man (March 20)
Speaking of stars who have earned our trust, here are Paul Rudd and Jason Segel. Rudd stars as a "girlfriend guy" -- the type of guy who always ditched his buddies for whichever woman happened to be in his life -- who, now that he's getting married, is distressed to discover that he has no best man. From watching the trailer, we know he finds Segel on his search -- and that the easy laughs the duo shared in "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" weren't a fluke.
This Side of the Truth (March 20)
Ricky Gervais has thus far been unable to translate his enormous small-screen success to the theatrical projects he's chosen, but "This Side of the Truth" could change that, casting Gervais as a man who lives in a land where no one has ever lied -- and who discovers the power of fibbing, ultimately using it for personal (and, presumably, very funny) gain. Gervais' co-star here is Jennifer Garner, who we could take or leave, but the supporting cast includes some very funny names (Christopher Guest, Jeffrey Tambor, Jason Bateman, John Hodgman, Tina Fey), so we're keeping our fingers crossed.
Adventureland (March 27)
"Superbad" director Greg Mottola took some of the box-office juju from that project and used it to get the wheels turning on "Adventureland," his script about a college grad (Jesse Eisenberg) whose lack of prospects leads him to a dead-end job at the titular theme park...and the attentions of Kristen Stewart ("Twilight"). Not the most original premise in the world, perhaps, but it's set in 1987, which is funny all by itself -- and that trailer isn't bad, is it?
Monsters vs. Aliens (March 27)
"Shrek" notwithstanding, DreamWorks has had a trouble relationship with animation -- but even if "Monsters vs. Aliens" isn't the best CG-animated feature of 2009, it's bound to be one of the most hyped and commercially tied in, thanks to a cast full of stars (Reese Witherspoon, Seth Rogen, Paul Rudd, Kiefer Sutherland, Stephen Colbert) and an ultra- wide release that's going to send it into conventional theaters and IMAX screens in something called "Ultimate 3-D." Your kids will want to see it, and they're going to want the toys. Just warning you now.