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Winter of content: The cinema releases to look forward to 19 August 2009

Posted by jordanfarley in Film News.
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With the summer blockbuster season crawling to a finish for another year there’s no time to lament the disappointing lack of big hitters this year when there’s a whole winter of genre goodies to look forward to.

The unfathomably successful Final Destination franchise reaches its fourth instalment at the end of August – the imaginatively titled The Final Destination (by the creative minds behind the rebranding of The Fast and the Furious no doubt) – the gimmick this time round, it’s the first in 3D. If it has half the fun factor of February’s My Bloody Valentine 3D it should be one to look out for.

The first week in September sees District 9 and Gamer going head-to-head for the genre crown. Already gaining stellar reviews across the pond District 9 looks likely to be the sleeper hit of the year with a fantastic viral campaign raising expectations through the roof and an intriguing apartheid metaphor premise which, like all the best sci-fi, has something to say about the world we live in today. Gamer on the other hand looks like a bit of mindless fun but little more. It raises more interest than it should by having the creative duo responsible for the lunacy of Crank, Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor, behind the camera and Dexter himself Michael C. Hall playing the film’s villain.

Space horror takes off the week after in the form of Pandorum, but after a promising looking teaser the recent theatrical trailer seems to hint that the film will share more in common with the likes of Event Horizon and Resident Evil than Alien or fright-fest video game Dead Space. Still it’s got Ben Foster and Dennis Quaid so it can’t be all bad.

New Bruce Willis vehicle Surrogates closes out the month – based on one of the most thought provoking comics in recent years by writer Robert Venditti, but directed by Terminator 3 hack Jonathan Mostow. Surrogates is unlikely to be anything more than a watered down, action driven shadow of the comic with a few decent set-pieces and enough explosions to distract you from what should have been a much better film. Then again I could be eating my words in a few weeks time.

Toy Story is getting re-released in 3D at the beginning of October, I’m not convinced the 3D will add anything to an established classic (Nightmare Before Christmas in 3D was underwhelming to say the least) but you can’t argue with the chance to see one of Pixar’s finest the way it should be seen more than 14 years since its debut (God that makes me feel old). If nothing it will also serve as a useful marketing tool for the debut of Up in the UK, almost five months after it first appeared in the States. Why Pixar insist on such a big gap between worldwide releases every year I’m not quite sure, but the wait is always worth it.

October 9 is a busy day as it also sees the release of Megan Fox’s man-eating horror Jennifer’s Body and Scorsese’s much anticipated Shutter Island which looks to be the master’s first foray into the world of the supernatural (not counting his episode of Amazing StoriesMirror Mirror). Both at least show more promise than Zombieland, out at the end of October, which looks like little more than an American Shaun of the Dead with more zombie killing and less Cornettos.

Robert Zemeckis’ motion capture 3D version of A Christmas Carol debuts, oddly, at the beginning of November with Jim Carrey playing not just Scrooge but all of the ghosts that haunt him (a trailer has yet to be released), while Roland Emmerich is back on familiar disaster-strewn territory with big budget effects-fest 2012 exploding onto screens in November. Emmerich has been off the boil recently with 10,000 BC proving to be little more than the dumb man’s Apocalypto, but 2012 shows promise of a return to the much more accomplished works of his early career like Stargate and Independence Day.

The second instalment in the wildly popular Twilight franchise New Moon drops in November but the best is saved for December with Richard Kelly’s new thriller The Box hopefully marking a return to the quality of work seen in Donnie Darko as opposed to his much maligned follow-up Southland Tales; Where the Wild Things Are hopefully proving that a troubled production doesn’t always mean a bad film; and James Cameron’s Avatar hopefully living up to the hype.

To say Cameron’s first theatrical feature since 1997’s Titanic is hotly anticipated would be the understatement of the year. The drip feed of information on his revolutionary 3D work is set to become a torrent this Friday as the world is granted its first glimpse of Pandora and the Na’vi with an online trailer and select screenings of 15 minutes of footage all around the globe. It’s hard to know what to expect but based on past form it’s hard to imagine Avatar being anything other than a stellar return to the big screen for the king of the world.

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