Coming Attractions

Here are the movies I’m looking forward to seeing in the next four months.  I’m sure a couple of these will break my heart as they fail to live up to their potential.  There’s also sure to be a sleeper that comes out of nowhere and astonishes me.  That’s the joy of the movies.  My anticipation is based on four criteria:

  • Base Material:  If it’s an adaptation of a book I’ve enjoyed, I’m likely to see the movie.  An engaging premise or story always interests me, and I’ll see some movies because I’m fascinated with their genre.
  • Cast:  While this can be very subjective – look at the later Airport movies or Irwin Allen’s disaster pics – there are some actors I truly enjoy watching.
  • Director:  Having Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, or another fine artist in the director’s chair will likely get me into a seat at the multiplex.
  • Trailers:  I put this last since a good trailer can hide a horrible picture, and a bad trailer can sink a great one (like Children of Men a few years ago).  But they can pique my interest.

I’ve put the below movies in alphabetical order, rather than attempt to rate them:

50/50 (Sept 30): Seth Rogen helped his friend Will Reiser deal with cancer, which thankfully is in remission.  This is a fictionalized version of the story, written by Reiser and with Rogen producing and starring as a fictionalized version of himself.  It will likely be closer to Knocked Up than Brian’s Song.

Abduction (Sept 23): I hesitated about this one.  It has an excellent supporting cast (Maria Bello, Jason Isaacs, Alfred Molina, Sigourney Weaver) and John Singleton directing.  The premise is intriguing: a teen discovers he was abducted as a child.  The hesitation is that the star is Taylor Lautner from the Twilight movies.  Can he act with more than his abs?

The Adventures of Tintin (Dec 23): Steven Spielberg has two movies coming this fall, both within a week of Christmas.  Here he uses performance capture and CG-animation to recreate the cartoon adventures of a teenage reporter.  The books by Herge have been bestsellers everywhere except in the US since the first appeared in the 1920’s.  That may change after this movie.

Carnage (TBA): Based on a Tony winning play, Jodie Foster, Kate Winslet, John C. Reilly and Christoph Waltz take the main roles, with Roman Polanski directing.  It could be a new Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf.

Contagion (Sept 9): I have a soft spot for disaster movies, as long as they aren’t a disaster themselves, like 2012.  With Steven Soderbergh directing and a cast including Kate Winslet, Gwyneth Paltrow, Laurence Fishburne, Jude Law and Matt Damon, my hopes are high.

A Dangerous Method (Dec 6):  Viggo Mortensen plays Sigmund Freud, Michael Fassbender (Jane Eyre) is Carl Jung, and Keira Knightley is the woman who destroys the two men’s friendship.  With direction by David Cronenberg (A History of Violence) this will be a dangerous film.

The Descendants (Nov 23): It’s been 7 years since Alexander Payne directed Sideways.  Now he’s back and directing George Clooney.  That makes it worth a look.

Dream House (Sept 30): Jim Sheridan directed My Left Foot, In America and In The Name of the Father.  Now he’s done a horror movie starring Rachel Weisz, Daniel Craig, and Naomi Watts.  This genre is very much the realm of the writer.  Screenwriter David Loucka has few credits, most of them middling comedies like the Whoopi Goldberg movie Eddie, so he’s an unknown factor.  I do hope, though, that Mr. & Mrs. Craig’s marriage starts with a hit movie together.

Drive (Sept 16):  After Crazy, Stupid Love (a movie I loved), Ryan Gosling now appears in this noir thriller (a genre I love) along with Carey Mulligan.

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (Dec 25): I haven’t read Jonathan Safran Foer’s bestselling novel about a child who lost his father on 9/11, but having Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock in supporting roles is awesome.  Stephen Daldry (Billy Elliott, The Hours) directs.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Dec 21): I saw the Swedish-language version and was mesmerized by it, so the English version has a lot to live up to.  But with David Fincher directing, Rooney Mara in the title role, and Daniel Craig as Mikael Blomkvist, the crusading reporter, it’s already taken several steps in the right direction.

Hugo (Nov 23): A children’s story, filmed in 3D, set in 1931 Paris, with Sacha Baron Cohen as comic relief?  Hmmmm.  Directed by Martin Scorsese?  My brain just went boing!  But considering Ben Kingsley appears as the French movie pioneer (and toymaker) Georges Melies, having the cinephile Scorsese in the driver’s seat makes more sense.

The Ides of March (Oct 7): Ryan Gosling is a busy man this year.  Here he stars with George Clooney, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giamatti and Marisa Tomei in a political drama, directed by Clooney.  Clooney demonstrated with Good Night and Good Luck that he is just as comfortable behind the camera as he is in front of it.

Immortals (Nov 11): This made the list by the barest of margins (and might fall off before November).  Mickey Rourke as a Greek God?  That’s digging yourself a pit to stand in from the very beginning.  On the plus side, it’s directed by Tarsem Singh, who made the visually stunning The Cell.  It may come down to standing in the box office line and flipping a coin on whether to see this movie or not.

In Time (Oct 28): Director Andrew Niccol (Gattaca) presents another genetic-based sci-fi story filled with beautiful people.  There are worse ways to spend two hours.

The Iron Lady (Dec 16): I lived in England during the time Margaret Thatcher broke the power of the miner’s union and survived an IRA bombing in Brighton.  It will be fascinating to see Meryl Streep inhabit this oversized character.

J. Edgar (Nov 9): With Clint Eastwood directing and Leonardo DiCaprio in the title role, this screams potential Oscar winner.  The Academy does like a good bio-pic.

Martha Marcy May Marlene (Oct 21): Elizabeth Olsen became the toast of the Sundance Festival because of this movie about a young woman reentering society after leaving a cult.  Olsen is the younger sister of Mary-Kate and Ashley, but I won’t hold that against her.

Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (Dec 21): This is another movie, like Immortals, that may come down to a coin flip at the box office window.  It may be Mission: Ridiculous, but I’m considering it because this will be the live-action debut for director Brad Bird (The Iron Giant, The Incredibles).

Moneyball (Sept 23): I was so-so about seeing this movie until I saw the writing credits: Aaron Sorkin (The Social Network) and Steve Zaillian (Schindler’s List).  They could write a laundry list and give it more intelligence than many of the movies made in a year.  With Brad Pitt, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Robin Wright, this has to be a contender.

The Muppets (Nov 23):  It’s the Muppets first time back on the big screen in 12 years.  Surprisingly, they don’t look any older.  (A multitude of Hollywood stars are jealous.)

My Week with Marilyn (Nov 4): There’s a positive buzz about Michelle Williams’ performance as Marilyn Monroe in this film, set during the filming of 1957’s The Prince and the Showgirl.  It also features Kenneth Branagh as an actor Branagh was compared with when he began his career – Lawrence Olivier.

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (Dec 16): The first Guy Ritchie Sherlock Holmes was delightful, and for once Watson was portrayed as a partner rather than as comic relief.  With Ritchie, Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law back again, and with Noomi Rapace (the original Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) as the female lead, I’ll give it a go.

The Skin I live In (Oct 14): Pedro Almodovar (Talk to Her) again teams up with Antonio Banderas on what promises to be an unusual, disturbing and involving film.  Definitely not vanilla pudding.

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (Nov 18): This is one of my favorite John le Carre stories.  The cast is truly stellar, with Colin Firth, Tom Hardy (Inception), Ciaran Hinds (HBO’s Rome), and Gary Oldman as George Smiley.

War Horse (Dec 28): Spielberg’s second Christmas movie this year is 180 degrees different from The Adventures of Tintin.  I caught the trailer for this movie last week and it had me tearing up.  The movie’s based on a hit Broadway and London West End play.  I’m anticipating that I’ll be a puddle for the ushers to mop up by the end of the actual movie.

Do you have movies you’re planning to see this fall?  Or are there some you plan to avoid.  (You may notice Breaking Dawn Pt 1 doesn’t appear on my list.)  Please feel free to leave a comment.


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