I did this last year, four parts in four days. That's...not going to happen this year. Still doing it in four parts, but it's going to take longer than four days to finish. On the bright side, I'm not waiting 'til mid-October to preview fall movies this time! And thanks to ComingSoon.net for being my go-to spot for upcoming movies.
Movie: All the King's Men (Steve Zaillian)
High-Concept Synopsis: As we said last year, when this was supposed to open, "Sean Penn plays a southern political demagogue, with Jude Law as his reluctant accomplice/enabler. Kate Winslet, Anthony Hopkins, Patricia Clarkson, James Gandolfini, and Mark Ruffalo co-star."
Who Will Be Seeing It: Film aficionados eager to get the serious movie season underway. Sean Penn's "Surly Man" fan club. Political filmgoers eager to see some deceit and power-mongering in their public officials, for a change.
Who Won’t Be Seeing It: Audiences scared off by the whole "pushed back from '05" thing. Die-hard partisans of the 1949 original. Chris Rock.
Why I'd See It: The phenomenal cast, for one thing. A capable director. And all the southern-fried Sean Penn I can handle. Yeah!
Movie: The Black Dahlia (Brian DePalma)
High-Concept Synopsis: Josh Hartnett and Aaron Eckhart are hard-boiled cops in the hard-boiled 1940s, investigating the historic Black Dahlia murder. Femmes both fatale (Hilary Swank) and not-so-much (Scarlett Johansson) are somehow involved.
Who Will Be Seeing It: DePalma fans hoping for a little less Mission to Mars and a little more...whatever DePalma movie is considered his best and not a polarizing love-it-or-hate-it affair. L.A. Confidential fans eager to see another James Ellroy novel make it to the big screen. The Hilary Swank Society for "Oh, One More Oscar Can't Hurt, Can It?"
Who Won’t Be Seeing It: The Society for "Come The Fuck On -- Josh Hartnett as a Cop? Again?" People looking to see a movie this fall without Scarlett Johansson in it...who will then go home and watch Grey's Anatomy once they realize there aren't any. Nathaniel
Why I'd See It: DePalma's hit-or-miss, but I have to believe the subject matter here is better than it was in Snake Eyes.He's a good fit for the ultra-noir story.
Movie: Sherrybaby (Laurie Collyer)
High-Concept Synopsis: Maggie Gyllenhaal is an ex-junkie ex-con trying to regain a relationship with her daughter.
Who Will Be Seeing It: Indie movie fans who have paid attention to the loud buzz accumulating for the film, and for Gyllenhaal's performance, in particular. Heroin addicts looking for a dark, quiet space to wallow in their smack haze. Independent Spirit Awards voters.
Who Won’t Be Seeing It: Will Smith, who has his own "single parent struggling to make a better life for his kid" movie coming out this fall. Frances Bean Cobain, for whom this movie hits way too close to home. Maggie's seethingly jealous brother Jake. Oscar nominations were supposed to be his thing!
Why I'd See It: The trailer looks very, very good, and Maggie in particular looks to be on fire. Not literally. At least not that I've seen.
Movie: The Last Kiss (Tony Goldwyn)
High-Concept Synopsis: Zach Braff tries to come to grips with his life and meets a beguiling brunette. BUT, unlike Garden State, in this one he's already married to another beguiling brunette. Plus this one's got Casey Affleck and a script by Crash's Paul Haggis.
Who Will Be Seeing It: Fans of Braff from either Garden State or his fine work on Scrubs. Aesthetes eager to take in the rather attractive supporting cast, which include Rachel Bilson, Jacinda Barrett, and Eric Christian Olsen. Suits at NBC hoping Braff leaves TV for film so they won't have to catch all the heat for cancelling Scrubs, because you know they want to.
Who Won’t Be Seeing It: People who didn't like Garden State and who see the similarities between that film and this one. People who still haven't forgiven Tony Goldwyn for putting the moves on dead Patrick Swayze's wife in Ghost. Jacinda Barrett's fellow Real World alumnae, who are probably too busy tending bar or degrading themselves in Challenges to go to the movies.
Why I'd See It: I liked Garden State, I like Zach Braff, and I think Rachel Bilson is adorable. Why wouldn't I? Oh, right. Paul Haggis.
Movie: The Science of Sleep (Michel Gondry)
High-Concept Synopsis: Gael Garcia Bernal has a very vivid dreamlife, which begins to bleed into his relatively ordinary life...in France? ...I think?
Who Will Be Seeing It: Fans of Gondry's Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind who nonetheless thought that movie could have stood to be "a bit weirder." Fans of Bernal willing to look past the fact that he seems to be wearing clothes quite a bit in this movie. Somnambulists. And that's not even an insult.
Who Won’t Be Seeing It: Fans of linear, no-guff movies that don't require stupid thinking. Fans of intelligent, layered storytelling, but the kind that doesn't have characters speaking stupid French. Dream-less sleepers.
Why I'd See It: It looks more cerebral than Eternal Sunshine, but Bernal is so likeable, he might be all the pull I need.
Movie: The Queen (Stephen Frears)
High-Concept Synopsis: Helen Mirren plays Queen Elizabeth II as she struggles mightily to contain her glee at the death of Princess Diana in 1997.
Who Will Be Seeing It: Royal family sycophants and hangers-on. Fans of Helen Mirren, hoping her much-buzzed performance here gives her another chance to take an awards-show stage and bellow "ass-over-tit!" so loud the Lord himself blushes. Fellow Diana-haters.
Who Won’t Be Seeing It: Elton John. Parents Television Council head-pearl-clutcher Brent Bozell, who will be too busy getting the vapors over Vivica Fox showing too much thigh on Dancing with the Stars. to deal with that vulgar Helen Mirren. Prince Harry, who plans on being too stoned to care about a movie version of his grandmum.
Why I'd See It: It's supposed to be excellent, and Mirren in particular is said to be Oscar-worthy. Plus, I love the Queen's central message in the movie, which appears to be, "I don't know what all the fuss is about."
Movie: The Last King of Scotland (Kevin MacDonald)
High-Concept Synopsis: A young Scottish doctor goes on a medical mission to Uganda, where he becomes the pet physician of murderous dictator Idi Amin.
Who Will Be Seeing It: Fans of Forest Whitaker, whose performance as Amin has been drawing big-time Oscar buzz. Fans of James MacAvoy (The Chronicles of Narnia), who plays the conflicted Scotsman. And...uh...this guy's from Uganda. Maybe he'd be interested.
Who Won’t Be Seeing It: Fidel Castro. Saddam Hussein. George W. Bu--, I mean...uh...Mao.
Why I'd See It: I've been talking up this film -- and Whitaker in particular -- for Oscar since the spring, so needless to say I feel justified. Also, I've been a fan of James MacAvoy from Children of Dune, okay. Nobody deserves to enjoy this movie's success more than me!! Nobody!!
Movie: Shortbus (John Cameron Mitchell)
High-Concept Synopsis: Love and sex and loneliness and sex and art and sex and politics and sex and sex and sex all converge in John Cameron Mitchell's said-to-be-phenomenal follow-up to Hedwig and the Angry Inch.
Who Will Be Seeing It: Grandmothers and prudes, clearly. No, for real, let's all just hope that those of us who really do want to see it won't have our theatrical experience infringed upon by those looking to have a public wank, eh?
Who Won’t Be Seeing It: Grandmothers and prudes. And people turned off by the blurb that says Shortbus "plays like Woody Allen's Manhattan with money shots." Personally, I think Manhattan could have used some money shots.
Why I'd See It: John Cameron Mitchell is such a ridiculously likeable personality, you want to do everything you can to see him succeed. Plus, who doesn't like sex? Plus, the trailer makes it look seriously good. I'm just nervous about that whole people-wanking-in-the-theater thing. I have a delicate constitution.
Movie: The Departed (Martin Scorsese)
High-Concept Synopsis: Leonardo DiCaprio is a cop undercover as a mobster. Matt Damon is a mobster undercover as a cop. Lenny and Squiggy live down the hall. No, no. That's not right. But Jack Nicholson is the mob boss that ties it all together, which is the next best thing.
Who Will Be Seeing It: Scorsese fans eager to see the director return to his Mean Streets form. Audiences who enjoy this film's strategy of loading up on past-and-present leading men (DiCaprio, Damon, Nicholson, Mark Wahlberg, Martin Sheen, and Alec Baldwin). Irish Americans excited that Scorsese is making them look like the bad-ass criminals for once.
Who Won’t Be Seeing It: Scorsese-haters (AKA, Academy Awards voters). Robert DeNiro, who's gotta feel a little resentful that DiCaprio has replaced him as Marty's go-to guy. Lenny and Squiggy, who feel like they could carry a movie, now that we mention it, and are bitter that they haven't been given a chance.
Why I'd See It: I haven't seen a Scorsese film with this much apparent life in it in quite some time. The cast is superb, and the trailer looks excellent. That's, like, all the ingredients right there.
Movie: Little Children (Todd Field)
High-Concept Synopsis: Patrick Wilson and Jennifer Connelly are married parents in the suburbs. He starts having an affair with single mom Kate Winslet. And somewhere in there, the kid who played Kelly Leak in The Bad News Bears is playing a child molester. Sounds like Oscar season to me!
Who Will Be Seeing It: Fans of suburban pain and angst -- holla! Angels in America fans who know that Patrick Wilson is in his element when he's having sex with someone he thinks he shouldn't. Fans of the source material, Election author Tom Perrotta's novel.
Who Won’t Be Seeing It: People tired of suburban angst and pain (...holla!). People who still haven't forgiven Connelly for that awful Oscar acceptance speech. Bad News Bears alum Tatum O'Neal, who feels she could have played a convincing child molester, too.
Why I'd See It: Todd Field's In the Bedroom was quite good, and I absolutely love the three leads here. What's a little molestation compared to Kate Winslet and Patrick Wilson?
Coming soon: part 2!