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Nine Goes to the Movies

Nine Goes to the Movies

Nine is a popular number at the movies these days. Last week I saw Shane Acker’s animated dystopian adventure 9, featuring the voice of Elijah Wood, which opens September 9, 2009. Wednesday night I see Neill Blomkamp’s alien thriller District 9, produced by Peter Jackson. The German film Cloud 9 opens in New York this Friday and in LA on August 28. This fall I look forward to the Rob Marshall musical Nine. Earlier this year I missed the animated feature $9.99. I count four past movies named Nine, as well as such classics as Nine Months, The Whole Nine Yards, Nine Queens, Nine 1/2 Weeks and Nine to Five. Is any other number as frequently used in movie titles? I guess one and ten are just as common, finally. But why the plethora of nine titles in 2009?

Acker’s 9 got some positive buzz at Comic-Con. Filmmakers Tim Burton and Timur Bakmembetov were so excited by the visuals in Shane Acker’s 2005 Oscar-nominated UCLA thesis short that they helped to produce the Focus Feature. While the world and the visuals are stunning, the story is derivative and familiar. I want more depth and originality, post-Wall E. Here’s the original short:

Here’s my Cannes coverage on Marshall’s Nine:

The Weinsteins also debuted for buyers and press a featurette made by Rob Marshall of his musicalNine, which was adapted by the late Anthony Minghella from the Broadway musical inspired by Federico Fellini’s 8 ½. In the role of the womanizing director having a midlife crisis (played on-stage by Raul Julia and Antonio Banderas) is Daniel Day Lewis, who looks handsome and charismatic in the movie. (Yes, he sports an Italian accent. And sings. And dances.) Much of the story, like Marshall’s Oscar-winning Chicago, unfolds in the director’s mind as he muses over the women in his life: his mother (Sophia Loren), the village prostitute (Fergie), lover (Nicole Kidman), wife (Marion Cotillard), mistress (Penelope Cruz), interviewer (Kate Hudson) and costume designer (Judi Dench). The movie looks sumptuous, elaborate, visually dazzling. It also looks expensive, and was shot in London and Cinecitta (estimates range from $80 to $90 million). The risk for the Weinsteins: is there a market big enough to pay back the cost of a studio-scale all-stops-out musical? The movie opens during awards season, November 25. Here’s the trailer.

And District 9 clips and trailer:

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