Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Looking Forward To... FALL/WINTER

Summer is over and we all know what that means: fall/holiday films are right around the corner! Actually, they're pretty much here. In fact, I saw one just last week, Contagion, a film directed by Steven Soderberg which looked like a mash-up of Outbreak and Traffic with an all-star cast that have either won or been nominated for an Oscar. That same weekend also saw the debut of Warrior which stars Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton as brothers who are also professional mixed martial artists.

The rest of September usually doesn't have much to offer, but I'm find a few films that have a lot of promise. Right on the top of that list is the Cannes-winning Drive starring Ryan Gosling and Carey Mulligan. I have yet to find a film critic I trust that hasn't raved about this film so my expectations are ridiculously high. I'm also looking forward to the dark comedy 50/50 with Joseph Gordon Levitt dealing with cancer. There's also the Aaron Sorkin-penned baseball flick Moneyball with Brad Pitt and Philip Seymour Hoffman that's getting some awards buzz. The suddenly ubiquitous Jessica Chastain is in Take Shelter with Michael Shannon doing what he does best (aka play crazy). Probably won't see this in theaters, but the light comedy What's Your Number with Anna Faris, Chris Evans, and a slew of fellow young stars could be a riot. For the horror fans, of which I'm not, there's Dream House with Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz as well as a remake of Straw Dogs starring a couple of hotties, James Marsden and Alexander Skarsgard. There's also festival-favorite gay film Weekend which looks pretty good. Finally, Disney is releasing The Lion King in 3D for two weeks and I am so tempted to check it out despite my not-so-friendly feelings regarding 3D because I can't stop imagining how the "Circle of Life" opening sequence would look on the big screen.

October's selection seem to be similar to September with a few films that look good from the outside. Like September, my most anticipated film for the month stars Ryan Gosling, this time in the political thriller The Ides of March. Technically though it's more of a George Clooney film since he not only stars in the film, but also wrote and directed it. Another star-studded thriller is Margin Call starring Zachary Quinto, Kevin Spacey, and Paul Bettany. Sundance winners Martha Marcy May Marlene and Like Crazy also look intriguing. The first stars Elizabeth Olsen as a girl who tries to put her life together after escaping a cult while the second is getting a lot of "Blue Valentine-lite for young adults" reviews and stars the charming Anton Yelchin and Felicity Jones. Johnny Depp meanwhile tackles the adaptation of Hunter S. Thompson's novel The Rum Diary while Justin Timberlake and Amanda Seyfried co-star in sci-fi thriller In Time. Also out this month is Roland Emmerich's Shakespeare-centric period drama Anonymous which is surprisingly getting some nice reviews as well as Pedro Almodovar's latest in The Skin I Live In. Some guilty pleasure choices include the probably unnecessary remakes of Footloose and The Three Musketeers, but at least the latter has Orlando Bloom and Christoph Waltz hamming it up (so I'm in!).

The slate heats up a bit in November with an array of Oscar contenders (and non-Oscar contenders alike). Oddly enough one of those films, and probably my most anticipated this month, is The Artist, a black-and-white silent film that debut in Cannes with its lead actor Jean Dujardin picking up Best Actor. Best Actress went to Kirsten Dunst for her work in the apocalyptic Melancholia, a film directed by Lars von Trier. David Cronenberg's A Dangerous Method with Michael Fassbender and Viggo Mortensen playing the famous psychological duo of Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud respectively (also stars a very captivating Keira Knightley), Steve McQueen's Shame also with Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan, and Alexander Payne's The Descendants with George Clooney all release in this overstuffed month. All three, but especially the latter two, have been getting rave reviews as of late. Michelle Williams channels Marilyn Monroe in My Week with Marilyn while Leonardo DiCaprio channels J. Edgar Hoover in Clint Eastwood's J. Edgar. Visionary director Tarsim Singh tackles Greek mythos with the Immortals starring Henry Cavill while Martin Scorcese goes unexpectedly animated in Hugo. Finally, I'm trying very hard to avoid the new chapter of the Twilight saga (Lee Pace why are you in this?) and what better way to do that than embracing nostalgia with The Muppets starring Amy Adams and Jason Segel.

Finally, December is chock full of last-minute Oscar entries and big holiday films. The most intriguing film this month is probably Roman Polanski's film adaptation of the popular play God of Carnage, simply re-titled as Carnage starring Kate Winslet, Jodie Foster, John C. Reilly, and Christoph Waltz. Other big name directors working with some Hollywood stars include Oscar-friendly Stephen Daldry directing Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock in Extremely Loud and Incredible Close, Guy Ritchie teaming up with Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law again in the Sherlock Holmes sequel, and David Fincher putting forth his highly anticipated adaptation of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo with Rooney Mara and Daniel Craig. A couple of uber famous women are taking the helm as directors with Madonna's W.E. and Angelina Jolie's In the Land of Blood and Honey hoping to make a splash at year's end. The Juno team of Jason Reitman and Diablo Cody reunite for Young Adult, a dramedy with the blindingly beautiful Charlize Theron and Patrick Wilson. Finally Steven Spielberg will have two December films coming out, The Adventures of Tintin and War Horse. Gary Oldman headlines Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy while Meryl Streep will try for another Oscar nomination by playing Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady. That's already a lot, but I still haven't mentioned Tilda Swinton's much-lauded performance in We Need to Talk About Kevin, Matt Damon and Scarlett Johansson in We Bought a Zoo, or even the latest Mission: Impossible film with Tom Cruise. There's also the film everyone is in aka New Year's Eve which should find an audience due to the timeliness of the film as well as the sheer number of celebrities in it.

The sad thing about making this list of films I am "looking forward to" is realizing the certainly of me being unable to see all of these films in the next four months. For many, I will catch them on DVD months (or even years) from now. The other sad part? This list isn't even complete! There are still films out there that need distributors or, if they have one already, need to figure out when they will be released (I'm looking at you Albert Nobbs, The Lady, etc.). Oh, the life of a film addict.

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