Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Alll hail Fall: 12 movies I can't wait to see

With the movie summer officially coming to an end this weekend, it only seems appropriate that "Bangkok Dangerous" with Nicolas Cage is the only movie truly opening wide this week.

I'll probably give that one a chance, and we also get caught up this week at my multiplexes with "Brideshead Revisited" and "Henry Poole Was Here." The latter flick just sounds like the definition of sappy, but The Orlando Sentinel's Roger Moore - who I almost always trust - gave it four out of five stars, so I might just have to give that one a chance.

Today, however, it's all about the Fall, and the potentially great movies it brings with it. We start out, thankfully, with a new Coen brothers flick, and there's even better stuff coming after that, so let's get right to it. (Please note that these opening dates are sometimes only for very limited openings and are always subject to change.)

Sept 12: "Burn After Reading"
The only review I've seen of this one so far was in The Hollywood Reporter, and they panned it as snarky and not terribly funny. I've yet to meet a Coen brothers comedy I didn't like (and yes, I even have time for "Ladykillers"), though, so I'm definitely in - even if it does look like Brad Pitt's gonna go what Robert Downey Jr. described in "Tropic Thunder" as "full retard."

Sept. 12: "Tyler Perry's The Family that Preys"
I've always had tons of time for Tyler Perry, even if he did make a slight misstep earlier this year with the rather pedestrian "Meet the Browns." Here, he's got Kathy Bates and Alfre Woodard in his first flick to cross the color line in a big way, and I'm betting it will work just fine.

Sept. 26: "Blindness"
Anyone who's been here before (and hopefully there are a couple of you) knows that I often list, when pressed, Fernando Meirelles' "City of God" as my favorite movie, so I'm certainly looking forward to his take on the novel by Jose Saramago. I read the book earlier this summer, and I have to warn everyone out there, this is going to be a really bleak affair, even with Julianne Moore, Mark Ruffalo and Gail Garcia Bernal all on board.

Sept. 26: "Miracle at St. Anna"
There are three flicks on this list that I'd give a gold star because I want to see them even more than all the others, and this is the first. Even if he is motivated at least in part by his squabble with Clint Eastwood, what I've seen so far of Spike Lee's World War II epic leads me to believe this will be among his very best, putting it in rare company indeed.

Oct. 17: "W."
Just because there's a 60 percent-or-so chance that this will just suck beyond all reason doesnt mean I'm not intrigued. Of all the crazy casting in Oliver Stone's deconstruction of our lame duck president, I think the best will be Thandie Newton as Condoleezza Rice and, even better, Toby Jones as Karl Rove.

Oct. 24: "Synecdoche, NY"
When he had the filter of director Spike Jonze to control him a bit, Kaufman still delivered one of the most delightfully odd flicks I've seen with "Adaptation." Here he takes the reins himself for this tale of a director (Philip Seymour Hoffman) struggling to build a life size replica of New York City and at the same time deal with the various women in his life (Catherine Keener, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Michelle Williams and Emily Watson are apparently among them, so I really can't feel too bad for the guy!)

Oct. 31: "Zack and Miri Make a Porno"
What I've seen so far of this Kevin Smith flick starring Elizabeth Banks and Seth Rogen indicates it will be funnier and have more heart than anything he's delivered in years. That doesn't mean, of course, that it won't be deliriously crude too, so if you watch this redband trailer at work, certainly do so with headphones on!



Nov. 14: "Quantum of Solace"
What can I say about Bond? Not much, but I'll definitely be there to watch when Daniel Craig returns to the role with a bevvy of new babes in tow.

Nov. 26: "Milk"
Harvey Milk certainly seems to be an odd figure to have two competing biopics out there, but this one from Gus Van Sant reaches the finish line first, and I'm betting it will be the superior flick (and I admit I can't even remember who's doing the other one.) Here, you've got Sean Penn as the San Francisco pol Milk, and also Josh Brolin, James Franco, Emile Hirsch and Diego Luna all on board. If I can make one DVD recommendation, you can do a whole lot worse than Van Sant's "Elephant," even if it only has about 12 words of dialogue in total.

Nov. 28: "Slumdog Millionaire"
Danny Boyle is sorely in need of a winner after the simply tired "Sunshine," and I'm giving this one my second gold star as my vote of confidence. Shot all over India, the only thing I know for sure is that it's about a very poor dude who strives to become a contestant on the Hindi version of "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" so he can win the heart of the gal he's smitten with. If that sounds a bit crazy, I'm hoping the outcome certainly turns out to be that and a whole lot more.

Dec. 19: "The Brothers Bloom"
The inspiration for this list was actually this pic of Rinko Kikuchi as "Bang Bang" in Rian Johnson's sophomore flick, which gets my final gold star. If you haven't seen his first, "Brick," do so ASAP. Here he's got Adrien Brody and Mark Ruffalo as the titular brothers and con men, Rachel Weisz as their latest target and Kikuchi as their explosives expert. In my mind, I'm already there.

Dec. 25: "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The final entry goes to David Fincher's take on the F. Scott Fitzgerald character who ages in reverse through the 20th century. Early word is this will be a very mainstream flick that bears few of Fincher's signature touches, but it takes place largely in Baltimore (and damn well better have been filmed there!) and co-stars one of my favorite actresses in Taraji P. Henson, so I'm definitely in for this one as a Christmas treat.

Honorable mention
Here, in no order of preference or chronology, are the flicks that might have made this list if I had all day to work on it: "Towelhead", "Choke", "Flash of Genius", "Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist", "RocknRolla", "City of Ember", "The Road", "Australia", "Frost/Nixon", "Revolutionary Road" and "Valkyrie".

And there you have it. Please feel free to let me know of any I might have missed, and have a perfectly bearable Wednesday.

10 comments:

The Bloody Munchkin said...

Dude, Choke!!! With Sam Rockwell. That would've made the top of my list easy, but I have both a thing for Chuck Palunchuk books and Sam Rockwell, so you can see why...

Shorty said...

Nice list...I would have The Road at the top of the list instead of Honorable mention...but that's just logistics...glad to see you finally read Blindness...you're right about it being bleak, but it's also an incredible novel and I can't wait to see how it plays out on film...keep up the gr8 work!

Reel Fanatic said...

I have a real soft spot for Sam Rockwell too, Mr. Munchkin, and would have added "Choke" to the main list if I knew more about it ... All I've seen so far is a trailer that looks enticingly odd ... As for "Blindness," Shorty, I understand that it put off a lot of people at Cannes because of its dire outlook and some of the more graphic scenes, but I just can't wait to see it

The Bloody Munchkin said...

Reel Fanatic, Choke was my first forray into Chuck Palunchuk's work (he also wrote Fight Club) and is every bit as odd as the trailer alludes to, and plus some. I won't ruin for you, but dude. If they even get half the things in the book onscreen, I'll be astounded.

Mercurie said...

I am really looking forward to Burn After Reading, but then it IS the Coen Brothers.

Christopher said...

SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE and where's Australia? Baz Luhrmann is the shit.

Check out my blog (www.apothos.blogspot.com) and vote in my poll!

Will you link to me?

Anonymous said...

"The Road" has gotta be number one. It has fantastic source material, and a crucial role played by none other than Omar from "The Wire."

Reel Fanatic said...

I did indeed stop by and vote for "Slumdog Millionaire," Christopher ... I'm sure Baz's Australia will be great, but the combination of Danny Boyle and India is just a natural draw for me ... and I'll certainly add a link to your nice blog when I get a chance .. and thanks for the info about Omar, anonymous one ... I'm hoping he keeps getting bigger roles than what's he's found so far on the big screen

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