12 Movies for 12 Months: 2009 in Preview

We’ve gone ahead and surveyed the monthly film landscape to find for you the twelve key movies to see during the upcoming year. You’re welcome! Naturally, all release dates are subject to change.

January: Notorious (dir. George Tillman, Jr.)

As our esteemed colleague so accurately wrote, January is truly the coldest month for Hollywood. Unless you plan on catching up on all the holiday releases, there won’t be a whole lot of reasons to sneak out to the local cineplex in the coming weeks. Still, we would implore you to make an exception and catch Notorious. Based on the life of Notorious B.I.G., the film looks like one-third American Gangster, one-third Walk the Line and one-third awesomeness. Newcomer Jamaal Woolard stars as Biggie, but we’re more excited for the supporting cast: Derek Luke as Puff Daddy; Anthony Mackie as Tupac; and Angela Bassett as Voletta "What kind of grown ass man calls himself Puffy?" Wallace. (January 16th)

February: He’s Just Not That Into You (dir. Ken Kwapis)

February is really a month for lovers. So if you’re single, that means wallowing and watching romantic comedies with happy endings to make yourself feel better. (Not that we know anything about that!) We’d understand if you thought He’s Just Not That Into You , based on the best-selling book, looked like filmic arsenic. However, there is hope: Director Ken Kwapis has helmed some of the very best episodes of the American Office (we’ll forget that he also directed the atrocious License to Wed) and the cast is sprawling, featuring everyone from Jennifer Aniston to Kevin Connolly. Mostly, we just want to see it for the ever-adorable Ginnifer Goodwin. (February 6th)

March: Duplicity (dir. Tony Gilroy)

We’ve been on a Michael Clayton binge over the last couple of weeks, watching it over and over on cable and loving it a little more after each viewing. So consider us incredibly amped up to see what director Tony Gilroy comes up with next. Duplicity has been on our radar ever since its perfect cat and mouse trailer appeared online just before Thanksgiving. The title is terrible, but that’s about our only complaint. Clive Owen, Julia Roberts, Tom Wilkinson and Paul Giamatti star. (March 20th)

April: Observe and Report (dir. Jody Hill)

The latest film from the Judd Apatow comedy factory is supposedly so dark and twisted, we’ve seen it compared to Taxi Driver. Sign us up! Seth Rogen stars as a vindictive and angry mall cop, trying to stop a flasher before the real cops do. Please don’t confuse this with that stupid Kevin James movie. (April 10th)

May: Star Trek (dir. J.J. Abrams)

As usual, May is absolutely loaded with big movies: Terminator Salvation, Pixar’s Up, Angels and Demons, X-Men Origins: Wolverine and Night at the Museum 2. Still, of that group, Star Trek might be the best. We were never fans of the series, but we are big fans of the trailer for the franchise reboot. Plus, we’re suckers for anything with J. J. Abrams’ name on it. Well, anything but October Road. (May 8th)

June: The Hangover (dir. Todd Phillips)

A groom-to-be (Justin Bartha) and his three friends (Bradley Cooper, Zack Galifianakis, Ed Helms) head to Las Vegas for a Bachelor Party and when morning arrives … the groom is nowhere to be found. The latest from Old School director Todd Phillips seems poised to be a huge hit, something no doubt helped by three stars that are on the cusp of major breakthroughs. We’re pretty much banking on this being the funniest film of the summer. (June 12th)

July: Public Enemies (dir. Michael Mann)

The last time Michael Mann directed two heavyweight lead actors in a summer blockbuster he gave us Miami Vice, a movie which still plays best with the sound off. This time around Mr. Mann tells the story of John Dillinger with (we hope!) better results. Johnny Depp portrays the famous bank robber while Christian Bale is the FBI agent tracking him down. In case you were wondering: you have to go all the way back to Forrest Gump in 1994 to find a Best Picture winner that was released in July. (July 1st)

August: Taking Woodstock (dir. Ang Lee)

This will be your girlfriend’s favorite movie of the summer. Just look at the cast: Emile Hirsch, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Liev Schreiber, Paul Dano and Demetri Martin. While the comedic tone of Taking Woodstock seems like a departure for Ang Lee, perhaps it’ll be a welcome one. After Brokeback Mountain and Lust, Caution, the guy needs to lighten up. (August 14th)

September: The Informant (dir. Steven Soderbergh)

You know that Steven Soderbegh comedy you’ve been waiting for? Here ’tis! Matt Damon stars as the titular whistleblower, a former vice president helping the government in a case against his agri-business employer. Sounds serious until you check out the rest of the cast: Patton Oswalt, 30 Rock‘s Scott Adsit, Tony Hale, Mike O’Malley, Paul F. Thompkins and Joel McHale from The Soup. Hell, even Biff from Back to the Future shows up. Expect laughs and wackiness. Think The Insider mixed with Out of Sight. (September 18th)

October: Shutter Island (dir. Martin Scorsese)

Martin Scorsese’s first feature film since winning the Oscar for The Departed once again stars Leonardo DiCaprio and takes place in Boston. The similarities end there. Based on the Dennis Lehane book, Shutter Island is set in 1954 and finds Mr. DiCaprio and Mark Ruffalo as a pair of U.S. marshals sent to the remote island to find an escaped mental patient. One of these days, Mr. DiCaprio is going to get his Oscar. Perhaps this is the movie. (October 2nd)

November: The Box (dir. Richard Kelly)

We think we’d be pretty excited to see The Box even if Arcade Fire wasn’t scoring the entire movie. The premise is Twilight Zone-ready: a married couple (Cameron Diaz and James Marsden) discovers a mysterious box on their doorstep, which if opened gives them instant wealth. The only catch? Opening it kills someone they don’t know. Richard Kelly, he of Donnie Darko and Southland Tales, directs, meaning: Expect some insanity. (November 6th)

December: The Lovely Bones (dir. Peter Jackson)

Based on the acclaimed book by Alice Siebold, The Lovely Bones is Peter Jackson’s first film since spending the last decade dealing with orcs and giant apes. Atonement pill Saoirse Ronan stars as a murdered young girl who watches over her family—and her killer—from heaven. Mark Wahlberg and Rachel Weisz play the parents, which is fine, until you remember that Ryan Gosling could have been the star. Unfortunately, he was supposedly fired for gaining too much weight. Mr. Gosling might not talk to animals, but he’s a way better actor than Mr. Wahlberg. Early, early prediction: Expect Oscar heat for Susan Sarandon as the grandmother. (December 11th)