Nick And Norahs Infinite Playlist
Described by co-star Kat Dennings as “the cutest thing in the universe”, Superbad’s Michael Cera looks set to boost his unlikely sex-symbol status with this hip romance from Raising Victor Vargas helmer Peter Sollett. Set over one night in Manhattan, it tells of a high school student who asks a total stranger to pretend to be his girlfriend so he can avoid an awkward confrontation with his former sweetheart (Fool’s Gold cutie Alexis Dziena). Cue the new Juno…
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The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button
David Fincher’s time-spanning drama is already being tipped as a Best Picture contender for the ’09 Oscars. Scripted by Forrest Gump writer Eric Roth from a short-story by legendary novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald, the titular Ben (Brad Pitt) is born elderly and grows younger – with pretty freaky consequences. It’s about love and life – and death and, and… “It’s just weird!” confirms Fincher.
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Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa
Outside of the Shrek series, Madagascar is Dreamworks’ most successful animation title, so this seasonal sequel hardly comes as a surprise. The safari of central characters and their counterpart voice talent – Ben Stiller, David Schwimmer, Chris Rock, Jada Pinkett Smith – all return, this time crash-landing in Africa and hooking up with Alex the lion’s family. A bit like Shrek 2, then, only with more animals, fewer laughs and if the first film is anything to go by vague audience concerns that it’s all somehow a bit racist.
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Quantum Of Solace
A revenge flick – near-unique among Bonds for being a sequel – in which 007 seeks comeuppance for whoever offed missus Vesper Lynd (Eva Green). He’s searching for that titular quantum of solace (bit of comfort), but clearly not /that/ pissed off seeing as he’s back to the spy essentials of chasing skirt (Gemma Arterton, Olga Kurylenko) and eye-balling baddies (Mathieu Amalric). Throw in direction from class act Marc Forster (Monster’s Ball, Stranger Than Fiction) and Bond 22 looks set to push on with the goodwill kickstarted by Royale.
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Heath Ledger’s ex-wife Michelle Williams is terrific in this Brit-thriller adap of Chris Cleave’s controversial novel. After her husband and son are killed in a football-stadium bomb blast, defiant working-class mum Williams finds herself torn between two men: the police officer (Matthew Macfayden) investigating the attack and the journalist (Ewan McGergor) she was sleeping with when her family was decimated… “London is a city built on the wreckage of itself, Osama,” says Williams out loud to the al-Qaeda godhead. “It’s had more comebacks than The Evil Dead.”
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Refusing to be halted even by the death of its cancerous villain Jigsaw (Tobin Bell), the fifth instalment of the B-movie horror juggernaut was shot in just over a month by the production designer of the last three instalments. The plot is cloaked in secrecy, the premise remains the same: another gleefully sadistic hack-job from a franchise that’s devolved with cynical nous into a hi-concept conveyor-belt of diabolical torture-porn set-pieces.
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Friday The 13th
The Friday The 13th franchise is more convoluted than an Escher painting (if MC had drawn machetes instead of stairs) and twice as baffling to follow, if normal rules of narrative are applied to it. The killer’s his mum! No it isn’t, it’s him! No wait it’s someone else! Now it’s a weird demon thing! And a cyborg! So, well done producer Michael Bay, who’s firmly yanked the ‘Reboot’ lever to dial down the absurdity and (re)kick-start the splattersome tale of loony thrill-killer Jason Voorhees (Derek Mears).
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Atonement director Joe Wright tells the real-life story of classical instrumentalist Nathaniel Ayers (Jamie Foxx), rescued from the busking gutter by LA journalist Steve Lopez (Robert Downey Jr). The potential Oscar-kicker? He’s schizophrenic. Oh, and screenwriter Susannah Grant has plenty of previous with ‘issue’ movies (she wrote Erin Brockovich). Let’s just hope that, unlike Atonement, Wright eases up on the number of eggs he slings into the, umm, cine-pudding.
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What if Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet had both made it off the Titanic alive, hocked that diamond and set up home together? Might they have turned out like the embittered Connecticut suburbanites they play in their latest collaboration? That’s the enticing proposition suggested by this adaptation of Richard Yates’ 1961 novel, which marks not just Kate and Leonardo’s first flick together since James Cameron’s Oscar-grabbing blockbuster but also her first with helmer hubby Sam Mendes. Finally time for Kate to break that five-noms Oscar duck?
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This Chuck Palahniuk adap directed by first-timer Clark Gregg stars Sam Rockwell as sex addict Victor Mancini who works as a historical reenactor to keep his mum Ida (Anjelica Huston) propped up in a fancy hospital. Oh, and he intentionally chokes in restaurants to cheat helpers out of cash. Nice. Okay, maybe not the new Fight Club, but dirty, funny and Palahniukky all the same.
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Read the other parts of our 30 must see films of Winter 2008: