Thursday, September 15, 2011

Fall/winter movie preview

Before I jump right into this, a couple of notes.

First off, though I've recently moved from Macon, GA., back to Salisbury, MD., I still only get movies that open in the widest possible release, so that's what will be included. Although I'm fairly certain Roman Polanski's "Carnage" and Alexander Payne's "The Descendants" will play wide enough to reach my little corner of the world, I couldn't be sure, so they didn't make the cut.

And second, of course, these are only my picks, so please do feel free to add any at the end that you think I may have snubbed. And with that, let's get right to it, starting with what should be a great one today.

Today: "Drive"

I couldn't tell you what exactly a Nicolas Winding Refn is, but the marketing machine is certainly in full force for what will be the first of his movies I've managed to catch, and why not? Arthouse faves Ryan Gosling and Carey Mulligan in a movie about a stunt driver who just happens to double as a getaway car artist? I'm there. Enjoy this trailer.

Sept. 23: "Moneyball"

When it comes to sports movies, my two favorite genres are boxing and baseball. In the former (well, MMA, actually), "Warrior" is already a real winner (see it already, people, sheesh), and I'm betting "Moneyball," starring Brad Pitt as Oakland A's bean counter Billy Beane with a script by Aaron Sorkin, will be too. Enjoy this trailer.

Sept. 30: "50/50"

On paper, this one should be pretty dour, and some early reviews I've seen have pegged it as exactly that, but based on the cast I'm thinking I'll still really dig it. In this flick based on writer Will Reiser's battle with cancer, Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays the character based on Reiser, Seth Rogen is his best bud, and definite Reel Fanatic fave Anna Kendrick, who I'll watch in anything without the word "Twilight" in it, plays a shrink. Enjoy this trailer.

Oct. 7: "The Ides of March"

If it's fall, it's the season of George Clooney, and he stars in (and directs) this one and also stars in the aforementioned "The Descendants" too. Clooney has an underappreciated flair as a director, and even though this tale of political operatives and dirty tricks (in which Clooney plays a candidate for president, natch) apparently takes a pretty jaded view of our world, I do too right now, so bring it on. Enjoy this trailer.

Oct. 7: "Real Steel"

If you're going to make movies based on video games, why not Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots? That seems to be exactly what director Shawn Levy has done here for this flick starring Hugh Jackman about, yes, boxing robots. Silly? No doubt, but I'm still betting on a ton of fun too. Enjoy this trailer.

Nov. 4: "A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas"

Though the rest of October looks pretty bleak, things will light up again (pun fully intended) as John Cho and Kal Penn return for their third adventure as America's favorite stoners. This time out, Harold (Cho) appears to finally be too old for all this nonsense (though I hopefully never will be), being happily married with children until Kumar (Penn) shows up to drag him away for more ganja-fueled games. And yes, of course, NPH comes back from the dead. Enjoy this trailer.

Nov. 11: "Immortals"

Of all the movies on this list, this one has the biggest potential to simply be awful, but I still have a lot of time for Tarsem, so I'll take a chance on it. If you've never seen his "The Fall," it's a true visionary wonder, and there are few rentals I can recommend higher. This time out, things are a lot more epic as Mickey Rourke (yes, really) plays a king ruling Greece with an iron fist until Theseus (Henry Cavill) leads an uprising against him. Keep your fingers crossed for this one, and enjoy this trailer.

Nov. 11: "J. Edgar"

A complete stranger to subtlety, Clint Eastwood is just a maddeningly uneven director in my book, but there's no denying the pedigree of this grand biopic. With a script from "Milk" scribe Dustin Lance Black, one Leo DiCaprio will play the FBI founder and longtime director who just happened to enjoy wearing dresses. The only trailer I could find for this was a short teaser in which Leo just lights a cigarette, and all the clips I could locate (with funny effect) laid a fart track over it, so no trailer for this one.

Nov. 23: "Hugo"

Even though he's shortened the title from "The Invention of Hugo Cabret" and filmed this in surely unnecessary 3-D, I still can't wait to see what Martin Scorsese comes up with from one of my favorite books, by Brian Selznick. Asa Butterfield stars as our hero, a young boy who lives in the walls of a train station and discovers one of Georges Melies' amazing automatons. Definite Reel Fanatic fave Hit-Girl Chloe Moretz co-stars. Enjoy this trailer.

Nov. 23: "The Muppets"

Everyone who is, like me, of a certain age, remembers Jim Henson's beloved puppets with nothing but fondness, and has probably (also like me) been lapping up everything that's been released already by the Disney marketing machine. The key to a great Muppets movie is an entirely fun spirit, and everything I've seen so far indicates that writer Jason Segel and director James Bobin have just about nailed it, so here's hoping. Enjoy this trailer.

Dec. 9: "The Sitter"

Though as mentioned above I have nothing but love for a good stoner flick, director David Gordon Green proved with the simply awful "Your Highness" that, if you try hard enough, you can certainly make one of those that just sucks. This time out, however, he's playing it much more safely, pretty much combining "Superbad" with "Pineapple Express" for this flick starring Jonah Hill as quite possibly the world's worst babysitter. I'm a sucker for movies starring foul-mouthed kids (the vastly underappreciated "Role Models" gets me every time), so I'm hoping this will be very funny. Enjoy this red band trailer (and be warned, it's plenty foul).

Dec. 9: "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy"

Director Tomas Alfredson's "Let the Right One In" is easily one of my favorite movies of the last 10 years or so (and definitely the best one with vampires), so you can count this follow-up as the one movie I'm most looking forward to seeing this fall. For his take on John Le Carre's novel about the hunt for a Russian mole who has infiltrated Britain's house of spooks, he's assembled a cast that somehow includes Colin Firth, Gary Oldman, Tom Hardy, Mark Strong, Ciaran Hinds and even Sherlock himself, Benedict Cumberbatch. Enjoy this trailer, and let the spy games begin.

Dec. 16: "Young Adult"

Director Jason Reitman has yet to make a movie that I haven't mostly loved, and for this hopefully very dark comedy he's reunited with scribe Diablo Cody. In it, Charlize Theron, who proved on "Arrested Development" that she can be extremely funny, plays a writer of teen novels who returns to her small hometown to try and pitch woo with her now happily married former high school sweetheart (Patrick Wilson). No trailer for this one either yet, but keep an eye out for it soon, most likely right here.

Dec. 21: "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo"

Having been burned once already recently by Matt Reeves' extremely by-the-book and just as unnecessary remake of "Let the Right One In," you can color me extremely skeptical about this one, but it certainly fits right in director David Fincher's wheelhouse. Rooney Mara will attempt to step into the shoes of hacker extraordinaire Lisbeth Salander, already perfected on screen by Noomi Rapace in the Swedish original, as she aides Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig, this time) as he tracks down Nazis and other unseemly happenings. Enjoy this trailer.

"Dec. 23: The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn"

What are the odds that even Steven Spielberg can release two movies in the space of six days that are both real winners? Not likely, but this year, on paper at least, it looks like it could happen. In this first one, Hergé's beloved young Belgian detective looks more than a bit odd with the modern touch, but I'm still hoping this will be an old-fashioned tale at least in spirit. Enjoy this trailer.

Dec. 23: "We Bought a Zoo"

After what seems like at least 10 years off, director Cameron Crowe is back this year in a big way, with, first, his documentary about Pearl Jam and then this tale that seems tailormade to his very humanity-heavy style of storytelling. Matt Damon and no-longer-never-nude Scarlett Johansson star in this flick with easily the most "Snakes on a Plane" title of the fall season. Enjoy this still very new trailer.

Dec. 28: "War Horse"

Spielberg's second entry of the week is just the kind of epic movie you'd expect, telling the story of a boy and his horse and their adventures in World War I. And with that, finally, there you have it. Enjoy this final trailer and, as stated above, please feel free to add any movies you're looking forward to that I have somehow snubbed. Peace out.


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