The 2009 Review Of The Year: Part One

2009 is almost over.

And not to sound like grumbling old blokes, but can you believe how quickly it’s gone by?

There have been some huge stories and even huger-er films released so far this year, so we thought we’d look back at some of the biggest stories, movies and features that showed up on the site.

Let’s begin, somewhat naturally, at the beginning.

It was a time when Emily Blunt was in Iron Man 2, we were still really excited about Watchmen and we thought Christian Bale was a generally chilled-out dude. How things would change...


January was the month that The Spirit finally arrived in cinemas. We'd already had a little fun at its expense. And then we got to see it properly. The verdict? Not good . Fortunately, there was better stuff right around the corner as Role Models got the year off to a proper start with that age-old formula for great comedy: kids swearing .

We continued to get very excited about the idea of Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson collaborating to make Tintin.

So we were thriled when the beard announced two major casting coups - Simon Pegg and Nick Frost would be slipping on performance capture suits to play Thomson and Thompson . Which then got us thinking: who else could he cast, and who would they play ?

In other upcoming film news, we got the first proper look at Michael Myers' mask in Rob Zombie's Halloween follow-up, which had fans ranting about the idea that he'd be going sans disguise for a hefty chunk of the film.

But we couldn't be worried about such things - we were too busy tracking down The 11 Sexiest Breakout Stars of 2009 , with a follow-up focusing on Breakout Blokes . Hellllo, Malin Akerman and Freida Pinto...

Talking of the lovely Miss Pinto, we finally got the chance to see Slumdog Millionaire . We figured the film could go far - even to the Oscars. How right we were... Oh, and since the shiny golden gongs were rushing towards us, we decided to select 8 Movie Characters Who Should Host The Oscars . Daniel Plainview, anyone?

But before the golden baldies, we got the Golden Globes. Kate Winslet nabbed a couple of prizes, while Slumdog began its awards haul run. We also tracked the event in pictures .

Another winner that night was Mickey Rourke, scooping a much-deserved gong for his role in The Wrestler, which we thought was amazing. We also had Mickey chat to us about it.

And that was just before we reported that he was up for a role in Iron Man 2 , along with Sam Rockwell and Emily Blunt. Rockwell and Rourke signed on, Blunt , sadly had to drop out due to scheduling issues.

In other news, The A-Team got a new director, the Watchmen spat between Fox and Warners got settled (yay!) Lara Croft plotted a return to raiding tombs and Joaquin Phoenix announced he was quitting acting to become... a rapper ?

The movies kept coming too - we reviewed the pulpy likes of My Bloody Valentine 3D and more solid work such as Milk , Frost/Nixon, Revolutionary Road and, er, JCVD .

Next: February



This is the month Christian Bale would likely wish to forget, since the world got to hear him flipping out on the Terminator Salvation set. He apologised a week after the leak ,but the damaged was done and the remixes were clogging up the intertubes (one of our favourites is above).

The US Superbowl game brought with it a whole host of TV spot trailers, which we naturally ripped apart with all the glee of a child opening christmas presents - we looked at Star Trek , Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen and GI Joe .

Among our more exciting moments was grabbing an exclusive chat with James Cameron about Avatar , and we also got what could be the first look at the film's native aliens .

The month's big movies included likeable 3D epic Bolt from Disney, David Fincher unleashing The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button, The Punisher arriving to dish out rough justice and Friday The 13th, which saw the return of Jason Voorhees. To celebrate that last one, we looked back at the hockey-masked stalker's best kills .

And it was awards time yet again as The BAFTAs blew into town. Guess what happened? Yep , Kate... Slumdog... not much unexpected. We got pics , though.

Less ikely to be up for awards when it finally gets made was one of the early examples of this year's continuing trend - making board games into movies. Candy Land ? Really?

We were much more excited over word that Martin Campbell - the man who helped re-invent 007 with Casino Royale - was close to signing on to direct Warners' Green Lantern movie (he's since confirmed it). We decided to make our own suggestions for the lead role.

It was a case of robot in a plastic pack when we got our first look at The Fallen from the new Transformers pic. Well, in toy form, anyway...

Valentine's Day came around again, so we showed you how to recreate 7 movie dates , tallied up your list of Worst Screen Couples and Soppy Rom-Coms disguised as Man-Movies for that night in...

Pixar was kind enough to show us 45 minutes of Up, which we loved, while we also sat down exclusively with director Pete Docter and producer Jonas Rivera for a chat about how they made it.

Oh, and Chris Nolan's directing a new film! No, it's not Batman 3. It's Inception , which is about... er... the architecture of the mind. Apparently.

We got back into Oscar countdown fever with 31 Stupidiest Oscar Moments , looked at Worst Case Scenarios of winners that could upset the big categories on the night, and showcased the Golden Raspberry "winners".

It was finally time for the big night. Kate got her due, Sean provided a surprise and, yes, we had the pics , while covering the whole thing in Twitter and blog-style...

Regular news returned with our chance to see Michael Cera as Edgar Wright's Scott Pilgrim , a cool new Watchmen viral video, '80s style, and our world exclusive Star Trek pics .

Finally, Woody came back, as did Clint , Anvil rocked us and The International gave us a Bond-esque fix.

Next: March



After what seemed like years of waiting, Watchmen hit our screens at last. While no film could have lived up to the hype, we liked it, and were disappointed to see it didn't fly at the box office. We were inspired to look at great Opening Credits Sequences , though.

Early March was also trailer tastic, loaded down with promos. Terminator Salvation launched a new one. We took it apart . A Public Enemies promo arrived. We took its riches. Harry Potter brought us a fresh trailer. We worked our magic on it . Oh, and Drag Me To Hell. Which we dragged to... trailer breakdown hell ?

Exhausted from all the trailer mauling, we celebrated St Patrick's Day in the Best Movie Bars , and thought of Great Movie Mums for... what else? Mother's Day.

Film-wise, pickings were slimmer in March, but we got to see Marley & Me (we won't spoil the ending for you), Lesbian Vampire Killers (still a great title, shame about the movie) and Knowing , which turned out to be both more - and less - than we expected.

In brighter movie news, based-on-truth prison drama Bronson proved movies could still shock, and made us ponder 7 Strange Ways To Survive The Slammer.

And there was more news to come - we got new plot details for the Tron sequel, Kevin Smith got hold of A Couple Of Dicks (easy, it's a cop comedy), Megan fox (mmm... Megan Fox) became attached to nerd boy dream role Fathom, Zack Snyder started work on his Watchmen follow up Sucker Punch and George Miller hyped up the return of Mad Max (as Mel-free anime).

Meanwhile, Joss Whedon and Cloverfield's Drew Goddard sent some young actors into the Cabin In The Woods , we got the first look at Tim Burton's Alice In Wonderland , and a fresh glimpse of chiseld Jake Gyllenhaal as the Prince Of Persia .

More on the rumour side were whispers of Danny Boyle spinning Slumdog success into a job directing Bond 23 (he's not doing it, at least not yet, so we suggested other ideas ) and the Fantastic Four reboot (it didn't stop us offering up casting ideas ).

Oh, and Robert Rodriguez? Stop teasing with Sin City 2 talk? KTHX.

March wrapped with us looking at the 20 Worst Movie CGI Moments , learning that the Terminator Salvation ending had been changed, and scoring some amazing new pics from the film.

Sean Penn, Jim Carrey and Benicio Del Toro signed on as the Three Stooges for the Farrelly bros (Penn's since dropped out), and Paramount, confident in Star Trek 's future success, gave the go-ahead for a sequel script to be started.

Next: April



Spring arrived, and so did Wolverine... just not quite how the filmmakers intended. The workprint got leaked , the studio got in a huff and we went in search of other big movies that arrived in the world before they hit cinemas .

Meanwhile, we continued our obsession with Jessical Biel stripping in Powder Blue, and the Bruno trailer i nvaded our eyes.

Among the month's biggest rumours was Men In Black 3 gearing up. We haven't seen much development in that one yet, but we did point out what we thought should be in the film.

Oh, and another rumour turned out to be very true, as Jackie Earle Haley was confirmed as the new Freddy Krueger in the reboot of A Nightmare On Elm Street .

It was reported that Mike Newell would be re-opening The Box Of Delights , and Gore Verbinski would not be directing the next Pirates film. So we picked a few possible replacements .

Among the month's releases were The Boat That Rocked (Richard Curtis sleepwalks), Monsters Vs Aliens (big fun 3D 'toon), Fast & Furious (Vin gets the old gang back together), Race To Witch Mountain (blah remake), awesome Swedish vampire tale Let The Right One In and rubbish anime adaptation Dragonball Evolution .

Not forgetting, of course, the return of Chev Chelios in Crank: High Voltage , which got us thinking whether he really could survive all that crazy s**t .

April also brought Easter, so we looked at Movie Messiahs and film Rabbits Better Than The Easter Bunny .

We got excited about Duncan Jones' intelligent sci-fi Moon, and mourned the loss of JG Ballard. Oh, and we also went out on a date with Robert Pattinson . Don't ask. He didn't call us after.

We got over our pain watching I Love You, Man and chatting with star Jason Segel . Plus, we looked at some great and some not-so-great movie posters.

Cannes crept ever closer, and we got a look at the schedule , thrilled to the first of the Scott Pilgrim Video Bllogs (Edgar Wright, you are officially a genius at promotion), loved the idea of Michael Chabon re-writing John Carter Of Mars , premiered some world exclusive Terminator Salvation imagery and forced ourselves to look at the lovely Megan Fox (mmm... Megan Fox) in her Jonah Hex getup.

Just for fun, we thought up some other Classic Literature/Monster Movie Mash-Ups to go with Pride & Prejudice & Zombies, and got another look at Avatar . Blurry, but still exciting.

Just not as exciting as the launch of our DVD Club . Which is slowly conquering Twitter. The first rule of DVD Club? You DO talk about DVD Club. The second rule? Er, no pets.

Finally, there was time to review Wolverine (not quite as good as we hoped), Observe And Report (ditto) and State Of Play (thankfully ace) and In The Loop (definitely ditto).

Next: May



One movie dominated May. No, it wasn't Ghosts Of Girlfriends Past . It was Star Trek , of course! We celebrated with a week of features, including The 25 Greatest Star Trek Movie Moments.

When we weren't talking Trek, we were chatting exclusively with Christian Bale about everything from Terminator Salvation to the outburst and working with Michael Mann on Public Enemies.

And there was another big franchise lumbering towards us, since Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen launched yet another trailer , which we promptly took apart . Oh, and we got to talk to TF co-star Megan Fox (mmm... Megan Fox), who starred in a preposterously sexy video.

Iron Man's sequel was on our minds, with the first official pic , our first glimpse of Robert Downey Jr back in the suit, and our look back at The Story Behind Iron Man .

That wasn't all the Downey Jr action - the Sherlock Holmes trailer arrived to much 'net kerfuffle over its comedy, and we broke it down .

In reviews, Coraline delighted us (and made us A) glad Henry Selick planned to adapt another Neil Gaiman book and B) think about Kids Movies' Wasted On Kids . Synecdoche, New York put us in a Charlie Kaufman frame of mind.

Know what else we were thinking about? 3D - both in the mag and online. Well, that and Who Could Play Frank Sinatra .

Hollywood went reboot/prequell/spin-off crazy (again) announcing new developments on Alien (turns out it'll likely be a prequel), Cliffhanger and Wolverine's Deadpool . And there was news on Preacher from Sam Mendes, Don Quixote from Terry Gilliam (good news! It'll be made! We hope!) and the earliest rumblings of Bradley Cooper playing Face in Joe Carnahan's The A-Team .

We watched Angels & Demons , Night At The Museum: Battle Of The Smithsonian , and Tormented , which had us thinking of great Revenge From Beyond The Grave Moments .

But the real master of horror - Sam Raimi also returned, bringing Drag Me To Hell and giving you the chance to quiz him via our Twitter chat.

Total Film packed off several of its best and brightest to Cannes , where they could enjoy free booze, ladies in bikinis and, oh yeah, write and shoot blogs about films. We got see Up , wrote The Story Behind the movie and debated the merits of Inglourious Basterds.

We looked ahead to District 9 , turned recent News Stories Into Movies , got celebrities to tell us which movies Changed Their Lives . Twilighters were abuzz over the New Moon teaer poster, while Ghostbusters fans were happy to hear Dan Aykroyd spill more about the third movie.

There was more Avatar art to enjoy, Nic Cage's Bad Lieutentant went nuts in a crazy trailer (which we couldn't help but t ake apar t) and Pixar brought us the brand new Toy Story 3 teaser.

Finally, we got to see one film early , liked it, and wrote about it...

Next: June



Terminator Salvation arrived at the start of this month, which we celebrated with Unforgettable Terminator Moments and Movie Robots Fighting TV Robots . Oh, and we looked at some possible indie directors for Terminator 5 .

The Twilight: New Moon trailer arrived online, much to fans delight and our... breakdown .

James Cameron finally got to talking more about Avatar, and we gathered everything We Know so far about the movie.

We wrote The Story Behind Rob Zombie's Halloween movies , and congratulated the first winner of our Monthly Sweding Challenge .

Sadly, we had to bid goodbye to David Carradine, and looked back at his career. Guillermo del Toro talked The Hobbit (it'll only be two films, apparently) and we wondered who could play the younger Bilbo Baggins .

We got our first look at Josh Brolin as Jonah Hex , and learned Liam Neeson would be bringing his particular set of skills to The A-Team as Hannibal Smith.

Film-wise, we also saw The Hangover (hilarious), Last House Of The Left (shoddy), and went Looking For Eric (liked it).

Back in news, we learned James Cameron (him again) might be directing a segemnt of the Heavy Metal remake (if it ever gets going), got our first look at Mickey Rourke in Iron Man 2 and took a stroll down memory lane to see how some of his movies reflected his life.

For fun, we pondered Remakes That Should Be Remade , and celebrated Father's Day with a list of Bad Movie Dads.

Martin Scorsese launched the Shutter Island trailer , and we responded with an on-set report . Peter Morgan signed on to co-write Bond 23 , which then led to a rumour gust about Michael Sheen up for playing Blofeld.

In much more confirmed spy news, Tom Cruise and JJ Abrams officially began development of Mission: Impossible IV , and those Inglourious Basterds had a new poster .

We forced ourselves to watch Mega Shark Vs Giant Octopus (so you don't have to) and gave you something much better to point your eyes at: Total Film TV !

With Star Trek still flying high, we got creative and suggested 9 Possible Plots for the sequel, and movie men we'd want to replace beleagured PM Gordon Brown.

We liked John Woo's Red Clff and had fun with Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen .

The Last Airbender's teaser and the first look at Avatar rounded out the month. On to the second half of the year!

We'll be back for Part 2 of our year review on Monday!

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Freelance Journalist

James White is a freelance journalist who has been covering film and TV for over two decades. In that time, James has written for a wide variety of publications including Total Film and SFX. He has also worked for BAFTA and on ODEON's in-cinema magazine.