The 2009 Holiday Movie Season

I've noticed lately that people are starting to put out best of the decade lists. Me, I have a hard enough time putting out a best of the year lists, and this year is no exception. It's been a decent year; better than last year, but then, that's not saying much. 2009 still suffered from the tail end of the writers' strike, though that should be out of our system by now. And now we're beginning to approach the time of year when Hollywood tones down the explosions and starts putting out their prestige fare in the hopes of garnering an Oscar (with at least one notable exception)... but I have to say, i was much more intrigued by the movies being dumped off in August than most of those being released in December. That being said, there are still a few movies I'm interested in seeing:
  • The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans (November 20) - I'm a little disappointed that this isn't getting a wide release, as it's something that seems like a big barrel of weird fun. I mean, it stars an apparently unhinged Nicolas Cage and is directed by Werner Herzog. From what I've seen, I have this almost cognitive dissonance in my head that I can't quite reconcile, but that only really makes me want to see this more. I'm not sure if I'll be able to get to it, but it looks like fun.
  • Fantastic Mr. Fox (November 25) - So this came out last week and I haven't had a chance to see it yet, but it looks fantastic. I'm really intrigued to see Wes Anderson tackle something outside his usual "quirky" wheelhouse (which has been getting a bit stale of late). It's part of a larger trend this year of young, trendy directors taking on children's stories (the other notable example being Where the Wild Things Are), which I found rather interesting. It's also interesting in that this year really does have a lot of different animation styles going on. This movie's got a very old-school stop-motion style, but this year you've also got the more advanced stop-motion of Coraline, the computer generated art of Up and even more traditional hand animated fare like Disney's The Princess and the Frog and Miyazaki's Ponyo.
  • Up in the Air (December 4) - Jason Reitman's third film is garnering a lot of buzz these days. From what I've seen, I don't think it will overtake Thank You for Smoking as his best film, but I have hope. But then, from what I've heard, it's a bit of a downer. I'm hoping for some levity through funny cameos though...
  • The Lovely Bones (December 11) - Peter Jackson switches gears to a (relatively) low budget drama about the murder of a 14 year old? I'm there. I haven't read the book and only have a vague idea of what it's about, so I'm excited for this one.
  • Avatar (December 18) - I suppose this is the one exception to the traditional December fare, but despite my misgivings (this film is a charter member of the "Films I want to see even though I know they will suck" list (see the bottom of this post)), I am looking forward to the return of James Cameron. I have to admit that I'm not very impressed with what I've seen so far (the dialogue seems especially bad), but you never know and at the very least, it looks to have some breathtaking action sequences...
  • Other Stuff: The Boat That Rocked/Pirate Radio, Ninja Assassin, The Road, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, and Sherlock Holmes.
  • Stuff to Watch on DVD/BD: February 2 looks busy... I may have to delay my top 10 list until I see these two: Black Dynamite and The House of the Devil. I would also really like to see A Serious Man, but that's another film that only had a very limited release and I can't even find a date for the DVD/BD... I know nothing about Franklyn other than that it's apparently SF and already out on DVD, so it's in my queue. I missed Extract when it was in theaters, and it's coming on DVD in December. Perhaps less excited about 9, Pandorum, and Jennifer's Body, but they're also coming out soon...
And that about covers it. Will any of these make my top 10? There is certainly a chance, but I don't see more than 1 or 2 making it on the list (provided I manage to see all these, many of which I predict I won't be able to due to annoying limited releases and lengthy waits for DVD/BD).