Better late than never, eh? Sure, all the major entertainment media decided to get their fall previews out of the way at the actual beginning of fall. Pfft. Slaves to convention, every one of them. Rare is the writer who will preview the fall slate mid-way through October. The crazy thing is, even after limiting myself, there are still a staggering forty-two movies set to open between now and New Year's Eve that I find worth talking about. That's amazing.
Since that's a fucking lot of movies to preview, I'm splitting this up into four parts, one to run each day for the rest of the week. Take a gander, and marvel at just how many hours my ass will have to be in a movie theatre for me to see all of these. I'm off to buy me a cushion.
[P.S.: I've linked to each movie's page on ComingSoon.net, where you'll be able to find cast lists, photos, and movie trailers. Enough to satisfy the more info-hungry film fan.]
Movie: Domino (Tony Scott)
High-Concept Synopsis: Kiera Knightley is Domino Harvey. She is a bounty hunter. Tony Scott came to play with sepia tone and hald-held cameras. "Enjoy!"
Who Will Be Seeing It: Knightley's fans eager to see the pixie-ish starlet get all violent and vulgar. Pop cult vultures who won't be able to resist a cast featuring Christopher Walken, Mickey Rourke, Mo'Nique, and Brian Austin Green in the same movie. Fans of junk cinema.
Who Won’t Be Seeing It: People who see Tony Scott's name on a movie and involuntarily begin trying to stab their eyes out. Donnie Darko purists upset that screenwriter Richard Kelly is working on a film that makes hardly any sense, rather than one that makes no sense at all. The late Domino Harvey.
Why I'd See It: Kelly's script and a once-in-a-lifetime cast are enough to spark an interest, although Scott will likely fuck it up.
I'd Rather See This Movie Than: Man on fucking Fire
Movie: North Country (Niki Caro)
High-Concept Synopsis: Charlize Theron blazes a trail of sexual harassment litigation in a Minnesota coal mine. Frances McDormand, Sissy Spacek, and Woody Harrelson co-star.
Who Will Be Seeing It: Filmgoers curious to see if Theron can give another award-worthy dramatic performance. Fans of Silkwood, Norma Rae, Erin Brockovich, and other female crusader stories this movie is emulating. Lesbians continuing to hold a torch for Charlize, post-Monster, their logic being that the femullet factor trumps the Stuart Townsend factor.
Who Won’t Be Seeing It: People who find the trailer a little too . . . blatant. Men who enjoy a little ass slapping in the workplace every now and then. Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas.
Why I'd See It: When she's good, I enjoy Charlize Theron. I always enjoy Frances McDormand. And I have an odd soft spot for this kind of men-bad-women-good she's-Charlize-hear-her-roar emotional manipulation.
I'd Rather See This Movie Than: Get sexually harassed.
Movie: Shopgirl (Anand Tucker)
High-Concept Synopsis: Claire Danes works the glove counter at Saks. Steve Martin is smitten with her. A scruffy and unexpectedly adorable Jason Schwartzman completes the triangle.
Who Will Be Seeing It: People who enjoyed Martin's novel of the same name. Romantic comedy fans who dug the hell out of the rather excellent trailer. Members of Schwartzman's family not currently dealing with the fallout of one of them naming their freaking child "Kal-El".
Who Won’t Be Seeing It: People so completely opposed to the RomCom genre that even Steve Martin in an actual good role doesn't do it for them. Embittered My So-Called Life fans who still think Danes's movie career put the kibosh on that show. Kal-El Coppola Cage.
Why I'd See It: Great cast, all of whom are enjoying a renaissance of some sort. And the trailer suggests a Lost in Translation vibe that I can get behind.
I'd Rather See This Movie Than: Watch Steve Martin in that abhorrent-looking Pink Panther remake that got pushed back to 2006.
Movie: Prime (Ben Younger)
High-Concept Synopsis: Uma Thurman winds up dating Bryan Greenberg, the young-ish son of her shrink, Meryl Streep. Awkwardness and un(!)comfortability ensue.
Who Will Be Seeing It: People like me, who see the pairing of Streep and Thurman as a kind of leading lady mecca, for some (gay) unknown (gay) reason. Krista Allen and that other chick from Unscripted, in a show of solidarity to their fauxcumentary co-star Greenberg. Demi Moore, who plans to bring a "You Go, Uma's Character!" placard.
Who Won’t Be Seeing It: Hetero males who need Uma to be hoovering blow or slicing some Yakuza limbs off in order to enjoy her. Streep's hairstylist, who must be personally offended at her recent choice of on-screen coifs. Math geeks who are pissed that this movie isn't about prime numbers like they hoped it might be.
Why I'd See It: Umm . . . Uma and Streep? Are you new?
I'd Rather See This Movie Than: Watch one more second of Unscripted ever, ever again.
Movie: Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang (Shane Black)
High-Concept Synopsis: Val Kilmer is the buddy cop equivalent of Kevin Spacey's character in L.A. Confidential, with Robert Downey, Jr. as a petty theif and counterpart.
Who Will Be Seeing It: The kind of film nerds / guy's guys who tend to dominate conversations at websites like Aint-It-Cool-News and C.H.U.D. 80s throwback enthusiasts who love to revel in memories of Iceman and Less Than Zero. The people who insured this movie, who must have made an absolute mint with celebrated fuckups like Kilmer and Downey onboard.
Who Won’t Be Seeing It: People sick to death of buddy action movies, even if this one is billed to be better than most. People who made the mistake of seeing Kilmer's last eleventeen movies, or however long it's been since he made a good one (y'all, I think it was Heat). The "Max Power Memorial Society For Totally Obvious Pseudonyms" because even they can't buy "Shane Black" as a name given by God and/or his momma.
Why I'd See It: Even when he sucks, Robert Downey, Jr. is ridiculously watchable.
I'd Rather See This Movie Than: Work on the set of this movie.
Movie: Stay (Marc Forster)
High-Concept Synopsis: Ryan Gosling sees dead people. Ewan MacGregor and Naomi Watts deal with it in some fashion.
Who Will Be Seeing It: MacGregor fans willing to give him a second chance after The Island. Watts fans willing to forgive and forget after The Ring Two. Scary movie fans looking to see something around Halloween, considering the only other seasonal offerings are fucking Saw II and The Fog.
Who Won’t Be Seeing It: Scaredy-cats. Filmgoers who can't quite get past Marc Forster delivering something so godawful as Finding Neverland. Rita Moreno, who's pissed that, with BD Wong's appearance in this movie, every former Oz cast member has found work except for her and the guy who played Rebadow.
Why I'd See It: Creepy plays well with me in October. And I keep waiting for Gosling to get that one breakthrough role.
I'd Rather See This Movie Than: Saw II or The Fog
Movie: The Legend of Zorro (Martin Campbell)
High-Concept Synopsis: Antonio Banderas wears a mask, while Catherine Zeta-Jones rocks a bodice. Again!
Who Will Be Seeing It: Melanie Griffith. Michael Douglas. That one guy who liked The Mask of Zorro.
Who Won’t Be Seeing It: Me, and You, and Everyone We Know.
Why I'd See It: Ummm . . . well, I enjoy CZJ in pretty much everything, but . . . come on.
I'd Rather See This Movie Than: Die. Probably.
Movie: The Weather Man (Gore Verbinski)
High-Concept Synopsis: Nicolas Cage is a weather man who just flew in from Chicago, and boy is his hairpiece tired. He's also maybe on the edge of a breakdown? Michael Caine plays his dad.
Who Will Be Seeing It: Weather men. Those poor suckers whose deals with the devil stipulate they see every Michael Caine movie, not just the good ones. People who liked The Ring and Pirates of the Caribbean, but always hoped Verbinski would eschew genuine entertainment for cloying sap.
Who Won’t Be Seeing It: Anybody who's seen Nicolas Cage in a movie, ever. Sports anchors whose rivalry with those pompous weather men has reached a fever pitch. Me.
Why I'd See It: Well, I won't. But if I did, it would be to see what Verbinski can do without a cool horror concept or awesome star turn to fall back on.
I'd Rather See This Movie Than: Wear Cage's wig.
Movie: The Squid and the Whale (Noah Baumbach)
High-Concept Synopsis: Jeff Daniels and Laura Linney are getting divorced. Their two sons are having a rough time of it.
Who Will Be Seeing It: Anyone who caught the stellar buzz out of Sundance or the sparkling reviews that keep rolling in. People who loved young Jesse Eisenberg in Roger Dodger and would like to forget he starred in Cursed. Misguided Seas Captains ("Yarr, I was misled by the title").
Who Won’t Be Seeing It: Everyone who got burned by Happy Texas and thus will never trust anything approved by Sundance again. Crazy people who for some reason don't like Laura Linney. Wes Anderson fans who blame Baumbach for the fact that The Life Aquatic was something of a letdown (an offbase claim – clearly I'm reaching here).
Why I'd See It: Baumbach is great. Linney is amazing. Eisenberg shows great promise. And Daniels has quietly become a great clutch performer.
I'd Rather See This Movie Than: Almost anything this month.
Movie: Good Night and Good Luck (George Clooney)
High-Concept Synopsis: David Strathairn plays Edward R. Murrow, bastion of television journalism, who takes a stand against Senator McCarthy and the Communist witch hunts.
Who Will Be Seeing It: Commie Pinko Leftists who secretly want to bring America down from within. People who think George Clooney is dreamy. David Strathairn enthusiasts hoping that maybe this role will help us stop thinking of him as the child molester from Dolores Claiborne.
Who Won’t Be Seeing It: Bill O'Reilly. Ann Coulter. Do you need any more reason to see it than the fact that these two aren't?
Why I'd See It: I liked Clooney's Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, and I love the subject matter here. The trailer and the advance word have been stellar, too.
I'd Rather See This Movie Than: Read O'Reilly's or Coulter's books.
Coming tomorrow: Harry Potter, Johnny Cash, and a family called Stone.