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Posted at 9:54 AM ET, 01/ 8/2008

Eight Flicks is Enough

By Jen Chaney

Aside from the Oscar-caliber films currently toiling for moviegoers' (and award-givers') attention, almost everything in cineplexes at this time of year is complete dreck. (Look no farther than "Meet the Spartans" for evidence of this fact.)

But fear not, desperate moviehouse-wives. The slate of films for the first half of this year contains some potential gems, some of which appear on this list of eight movies I am eager to see in early '08.

1. "Cloverfield"
The buzz around this one has died down to almost inaudible levels. Perhaps that's because the recent commercials and trailers make this look more like "The Blair Witch Project" meets "Independence Day" than a ground-breaking monster movie for the high-tech era. Still, my hopes remain high-ish because a) J.J. Abrams is involved, and b) this is the first cinematic effort from Bad Robot, the same company that brought us "Lost." And my loyalty to (read: obsession with) "Lost" knows no bounds

2. "Be Kind, Rewind"
The release date on this has been pushed back yet again, now to Feb. 22. Which could be a bad sign. But the premise of this destined-to-be-unconventional Michel Gondry movie -- in which Jack Black and Mos Def attempt to recreate classics like "Ghostbusters" and "Back to the Future" -- is too delicious to resist. (And major props to New Line for designing a brilliant Web site to promote the flick.)

3. "Snow Angels"
David Gordon Green, the filmmaker behind such indie favorites as "George Washington" and "All the Real Girls," brings another small-town drama to the screen on March 7. "Snow Angels" got high marks at last year's Sundance Film Festival and boasts a solid cast, including Sam Rockwell and Kate Beckinsale. It will be interesting to contrast this with Green's next directorial effort, the Judd Apatow-Seth Rogen comedy "The Pineapple Express," headed to theaters this summer.

4. "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull"
George Lucas says we're all going to hate this sequel, coming to theaters in May. I, for one, can't wat to find out if he's right.

5. "Forgetting Sarah Marshall"
Seth Rogen is the former "Freaks and Geeks" cast member winning all the accolades lately. But I say, let's hear it for the unsung Jason Segel. Having played a small but hilarious role in "Knocked Up" and a larger one on TV's "How I Met Your Mother," he stars in and wrote this comedy about a guy who can't escape his ex (played by Veronica Mars herself, Kristen Bell). Here's hoping it's good enough to make him a movie star. (And yes, "Marshall" was produced by the inescapable Judd Apatow.)

6. "Sex and the City"
Mr. Big on the big screen? Please, bring it on ASAP.

7. "The Happening"
Surprise, surprise, it's another thriller from M. Night Shyamalan. Aftre bombing colossally with "Lady in the Water," a lot is on this line for this filmmaker who, in my opinion, is oozing with talent that he doesn't always use in the most effective ways. Here's hoping he redeems herself. If he doesn't, Hollywood may consider him as dead as (spoiler alert!) Bruce Willis in "The Sixth Sense."

8. "The Dark Knight"
Okay, this comes out in July, which means it technically doesn't fall in the first half of '08. But the second trailer for this follow-up to the impressive "Batman Begins" is so strong, I had to include it on the list. The only thing more compelling than seeing the can-do-no-wrong Christian Bale back in Bruce Wayne mode is catching the first glimpses of Heath Ledger as the Joker. "Brokeback" Man looks absolutely terrifying; if that trailer is any indication, his performance may well put Jack Nicholson's to shame.

By Jen Chaney  | January 8, 2008; 9:54 AM ET
Categories:  Movies  
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