Thursday, August 27, 2009

Fall favorites: The 10 flicks I'm most looking forward to for the rest of this year

Actually, before we get into any of that, the funnest news out there now is that they're actually gonna make a movie based on the TV show "Soul Train," and Don Cornelius himself will be involved.

How, you might ask, will they come up with a plot for a show about dancing? I have no idea, but I still think this flick could be a lot of fun, mostly because of another one that's grown to be among my favorites.

I used to consider Malcolm Lee's "Roll Bounce" to be a guilty pleasure kind of flick, but I've seen it so many times on Saturday afternoon TV now that it's simply one of my favorite flicks, with no qualification. Since that silly little flick is about a kid (yes, Bow Wow) who just wants to roller skate, I can easily envision a "Soul Train" movie about a kid who just wants to dance and land a spot on a national "Soul Train" tour.

And in a few other tidbits before I get to the main event today, because "Chuck" co-creator Josh Schwartz apparently can't be idle for even a few seconds, he's now apparently getting into the sitcom game.

He's teaming with fellow "Chuck" producer Matt Miller to pen a multicamera script for CBS that will follow "a twentysomething newlywed couple navigating their new life together." The pilot, which picks up after the couple's honeymoon, is inspired by Schwartz and Miller's recent marriages.

That sounds like more than a little meh to me, but since I tune in for every new episode of both "Chuck" and "Gossip Girl," I'm sure I'll check this out too.

And speaking of "Gossip Girl," star Blake Lively has joined the already rather impressive cast of Ben Affleck's next directing effort, "The Town," based on the Chuck Hogan novel "Prince of Thieves," and in even better news, Chris Cooper is about to too. They join Affleck, Rebecca Hall (huzzah!), Jeremy Renner and even Don Draper.

The story follows a bank manager (Hall), the career criminal (Affleck) who stole more than her heart (not my wording!) and the FBI agent (Hamm) trying to bust the crook and his gang, of which Renner is a part. Lively is playing Renner's sister and Affleck's troubled ex-girlfriend. Cooper would play Affleck's father. Shooting begins next month in Boston.

And finally, in wildly good "Dollhouse" news, it seems that "Firefly/Serenity" vet Summer Glau is about to join the cast for a multiepisode arc that should add more than a few wrinkles to the storyline.

She will play a character named Bennett who shares a past with Eliza Dushku's Echo and has a connection to another Dollhouse character. And, in even better news, it seems that she works at "a dollhouse," meaning different from the one where Echo and the others live. Excellent.

OK, enough of that. Before I got distracted by the dailies this morning, this was supposed to be all about the 10 (or maybe 11) movies I'm most looking forward to for the rest of this year. And just to prove it was some tough decision-making, here are the six flicks that almost made the cut but just missed: "Jennifer's Body," "Zombieland," "Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant," "Gentlemen Broncos," "Nine" (the musical) and "Sherlock Holmes."

And now, without further dawdling, here goes, in order only of release date:

Sept. 4: "Extract"
All signs are that this will be the first Mike Judge movie to truly play wide in, well, forever, so if that turns out to somehow be a lie, I'm really gonna be pissed. This looks an awful lot like "Office Space" from the perspective of management, which with Jason Bateman, Mila Kunis, Kristen Wiig, Ben Affleck and J.K. Simmons all in the cast would be just fine with me.

Sept. 11: "Tyler Perry's I Can Do Bad All By Myself"
I'm certain that this one will fall into the Perry formula, but I'm just as certain that I simply don't care. It's really not that I'm an apologist for Mr. Perry, but that I find even his most routine flicks to be filled with more humanity than just about anything else out there. And besides, with the great Taraji P. Henson in the lead for this one, there's no way I won't be there on opening day.

Sept. 18: "The Informant!"
When's the last time you can remember Steven Soderbergh really having fun with a movie? I suppose the second and third "Ocean's" movies might qualify, but I didn't bother with those, so I'd have to go back to the first one, in other words quite a while. Well, it certainly looks like "The Informant!", starring Matt Damon as a rather inept corporate whistle blower, should be a return to fun form, and I'll be there to find out.

Oct. 2: "The Invention of Lying"
Anyone who bothered to see last year's "Ghost Town" (and there really weren't many of you at all, so take that as my rental tip for the day) knows that beneath his rather caustic exterior, Ricky Gervais is just a big fan of thoroughly charming romantic comedies. Here's hoping this flick he co-wrote and co-directed with Matthew Robinson will be just as good as "Ghost Town," and that a whole lot more people bother to watch it.

Oct. 2: "Whip It"
Is it really true that I haven't seen young Ellen Page in a movie since "Juno"? I think so. I know she was in "Smart People" last year, but I didn't bother with that one. So I say welcome back, and in what should be a really fun flick, Drew Barrymore's directing debut with Page, Barrymore, Kristen Wiig and even Juliette Lewis as roller derby queens. I'm there.

Oct. 9: "The Damned United"
This is also actually listed as coming out on Sept. 25, but either way, I seriously doubt it's ever gonna open anywhere that won't make me drive at least an hour to see it. Which is a real shame, because it's based on easily one of my favorite books, and one you don't even have to love soccer to enjoy (but it would certainly help.) It tells the story of Brian Clough's rather disastrous and brief stint as the coach of Leeds United, a team he makes clear from the start he still detests even after becoming its leader. With Michael Sheen playing Clough and "The Queen" scribe Peter Morgan writing the script, I can't see any way this will be anything but a winner, if you get to see it.

Oct. 16: "Where the Wild Things Are"
OK, this is the one. Without much modesty at all, I'll tell you that long before they started to generate unbelievable buzz, I last gave this title to "No Country for Old Men" and then "Slumdog Millionaire." I have serious doubts that Spike Jonze's flick will be an Oscar contender like those, but I do know that whatever he comes up with from my favorite childhood tale by Maurice Sendak is easily the one movie I'm most looking forward to for the rest of this year.

Oct. 30: "Youth in Revolt"
Of all the movies on this list, this one certainly has the highest potential to be simply wretched, but I'm still holding out hope, since I just loved the book by C.D. Payne. In the movie, Michael Cera will play the (16- rather than 14-year old, I think) hero, Nick Twisp, who simply wants to score with the seductive love of his young life, Sheeni Saunders. It never gets much more complicated than that, but if it captures the spirit of Payne's wildly satirical book, it should just be a wicked pleasure.

Nov. 25: "The Fantastic Mr. Fox"
I didn't have terribly high hopes for this first foray into animation by Wes Anderson, but the stills and trailer I've managed to see have gotten me all geeked up once again. Anderson used the stop-motion technique to tell this classic Roald Dahl tale, with George Clooney as the voice of titular Mr. Fox, so I'm definitely willing to take a chance on it.

Nov. 25: "The Princess and the Frog"
No matter how hokey this one might be, Disney's return to classic 2-D animation, with its first black princess - Anika Noni Rose - and a grand score, is enough to get me hooked. It's surely too late to completely turn back now, but I'm hoping this makes a ton of money and at least opens the door for more animated movies that I don't have to put on a second pair of friggin glasses to watch.

Dec. 4: "Up in the Air"
Whew! We're finally at the end, with the welcome return of writer/director Jason Reitman. A quick check of the IMDB reveals there are no less than eight other flicks with the same title, including one short also coming out this year. Reitman's flick is about a corporate downsizing expert (Clooney again) who revels in piling up frequent flier miles. I don't think she has a very big part, but Anna Kendrick is in this too, and it always just makes me smile to see her on the big screen.

And there you have it. Please feel free to let me know of any flicks you think I've wrongfully snubbed, and have a perfectly pleasant Thursday. Peace out.

27 comments:

jeremy said...

"A Serious Man", Oct. 2?

Reel Fanatic said...

Ack! ... How could I have possibly forgotten the Coen brothers! ... I'd have to make the list 12, since I don't want to remove anyone, but I'd gladly do so for them

*lynne* said...

I ~just~ saw the trailer for 'The Informant!" a few minutes ago! Despite not being a Matt Damon fan, form the little that was shown in the trailer I think he pulls off the 'inept whistle-blower' well. It's already in my (saved) Netflix queue :)

Reel Fanatic said...

Agreed, Lynne .. I'm not his biggest fan either, but from what I've seen so far, it definitely seems to have a screwball kind of feel I think I'll really like

Sachin said...

I am in the middle of reading The Informant and it is quite an interesting and funny read. And going by the film's trailer, Matt Damon has done a fine job of capturing the book's character (or real life person). Basically, whatever is shown in the trailer is in the book and the scenes appear to convey the same sense of disbelief at the character's behaviour.

Like you, I am also looking forward to The Damned United although I have read that the original book had segments which had to be re-written because Brian Clough's family complained about inaccuracies. I think the movie has combined different aspects of Clough from the 70's and 80's into one character but still I want to see it because it is very rare one gets to see a film about a soccer manager.

I am curious about Men who Stare at Goats because the book was a very good read. I just wonder how much of the relevant stuff they will take from the book.

And I am so glad that Extract is going to be shown in theaters. I have no idea what happened with Idiocracy and why it didn't get a theatrical release but word of mouth ensured that Idiocracy was seen by many people. So looking forward to getting some laughs from Extract.

Reel Fanatic said...

I had heard that the Clough family had some issues with the book Sachin, but I'm still surprised they caved and changed things for the movie ... I never took the book as a 100 percent accurate work, but instead just an extremely interesting work of historical fiction ... and Men Who Stare at Goats does indeed look like an interesting one too .. Clooney is everywhere this fall!

Eric said...

Looks like some decent stuff coming up. though I really do not get excited about Tyler Perry.
Whip it looks cool
If you like Soccer, Have you seen Frodo in The Green Street Hooligans? Really good though more about fans then the game.
Also a note on you previous post.
The Barsoom stories involving John Carter and Deja Thoris are much beloved by old school Sci Fi. Think of Boris Valejo posters.
Like we say around the house when we try cooking something new and different
"This is either really gonna be good or it's really gonna suck"
I for one am hoping for good.
Cheers

Reel Fanatic said...

Green Street Hooligans is indeed a great little flick, Eric, and I like movies and books that are about crazy soccer fans as much as I do movies and books about the game itself ... If you happen to stop back and see this, one amazing book about soccer hooligans is "Among the Thugs" by Bill Buford, a Granta editor who embedded himself with a band of Manchester United fans and really got swept up in the madness

Sachin said...

regarding The Damned United, I believe only segments of the original book were rewritten but not the film. From soccernet's review of the film:

Clough's own family have boycotted the film, while one of the stars of Leeds' side in the 70s, John Giles sued the publishers of the Damned United book successfully and author David Peace was forced to re-write sections of the plot because of the inaccuracies. He has not been to see the film either, claiming: "the movie is based on a false premise" and there are reported to be 17 different factual errors that litter the script.


I have not read the book but I am keen to see the movie for what it is and I will not focus on the historical accuracies. Most of what I know about Clough is only from books and football clips. Although I remember seeing the season when he was in charge of Nott Forest when they were relegated from the premier league.

Speaking of soccer films, have you seen Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait?

Reel Fanatic said...

I have indeed seen that Zidane movie, Sachin, and it's a real treat for soccer fans ... I had no idea that Peace was also beefing with the movie folks, but even so, that just makes me even more curious to see it~

Nell Minow said...

Great list! I have seen two of the films already, "Extract" and "Whip It." I look forward to your reactions.

I am also a huge fan of "Roll Bounce" and have seen it at least four times. Great cast, great soundtrack, wonderfully evocative sense of place, and a fine story as well.

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