Friday, October 17, 2008

2008 Fall Movie Preview, Part 3

[Previously: Part 1, Part 2]

Movie: W. (Oliver Stone)
High-Concept Synopsis: So, for example, say there was this trust-fund fuckup who drank his way through Yale, shit-kicked around Texas, found Jesus, and was set as the figurehead of the Neo-Conservative takeover of Washington who ended up being the most divisive and ultimately unpopular President of all time. Hypothetically.
Who Will Be Seeing It: People who already have their mind made up about George W. Bush.
Who Won't Be Seeing It: People who already have their mind made up about George W. Bush.
Why I'd See It: I was really not into this project at first. Not at all. But the cast has enough intriguing possibilities (Ellen Burstyn as Barbara Bush? Jeffrey Wright as Colin Powell?) to keep me interested. And at the very least, this is going to make for an interesting failure. October 17

Movie: The Secret Life of Bees (Gina Prince-Bythewood)
High-Concept Synopsis: In 1960s South Carolina, a white girl and her nanny (Dakota Fanning and Jennifer Hudson) escape a bad home situation and find a home with two singers and an Oscar nominee (Queen Latifah, Alicia Keys, Sophie Okonedo). And yes, I realize Queen Latifah has an Oscar nomination too.
Who Will Be Seeing It: Fans of the best-selling book. Jennifer Hudson fans who haven't seen Sex and the City. Gullible bloggers who were oddly enchanted by the trailer.
Who Won't Be Seeing It: Chick-lit opponents. Jennifer Hudson fans who have seen Sex and the City. Lecture-averse audiences worried that this is a movie with a Lesson.
Why I'd See It: Sue me, the trailer makes this look better than it probably should be. This is my chance to understand this Dakota Fanning thing before she either succumbs to awkwardness or enacts her plan for world domination. October 17

Movie: Passengers (Rodrigo Garcia)
High-Concept Synopsis: Anne Hathaway is a therapist assigned to counsel a group of plane crash survivors. Patrick Wilson, David Morse, Andre Braugher, Clea DuVall, and Dianne Weist co-star.
Who Will Be Seeing It: Fans of Peter Weir's Fearless, which tread on a very similar premise, but who think that Hathaway makes for a prettier version of John Turturro. Broadway fans who liked Wilson and Weist so much in All My Sons (aka, The Katie Holmes Play) that they want to see them together on the big screen. Tragedy junkies.
Who Won't Be Seeing It: Fear-of-flying types (I realize there's a word that ends with -phobes for it, but I don't want to look it up). Non-fans of the coping-with-PTSD subgenre. Fans of Peter Weir's Fearless, which tread on a very similar premise and was also pretty damned fantastic so why not just step off, huh?
Why I'd See It: I'm really into Rodrigo Garcia after watching a season's worth of "In Treatment." The man knows how to make therapy compelling. And he's got Dianne Weist along here too. I'm retardedly in the tank for Dianne Weist these days. October 24

Movie: Changeling (Clint Eastwood)
High-Concept Synopsis: In 1920s Los Angeles, Angelina Jolie's abducted child is returned to her ... only it's not her kid. The LAPD is sure she's just not looking at him closely enough.
Who Will Be Seeing It: Angelina's fans, eager to see her much buzzed-about performances. Oscar watchers, because: ka-ching! Easily fooled fans of George C. Scott and remakes of classic horror.
Who Won't Be Seeing It: Audiences following the increasingly unimpressed reviews. Oscar watchers who, naturally, despise filmmakers and actors who want to win Oscars. Jennifer Aniston (still!).
Why I'd See It: I continue to support Angelina Jolie in serious movies, even if this could accurately be re-titled Angelina Jolie in a Serious Movie. I'm not wild about Clint Eastwood's recent run of Oscarable movies -- Million Dollar Baby was good but overrated; Letters from Iwo Jima also good but didn't resonate; Mystic River was seriously flawed and wasted a lot of potential; and Flags of Our Fathers was embarrassing -- but I figure it's worth a look. October 24

Movie: Pride and Glory (Gavin O'Connor)
High-Concept Synopsis: Edward Norton and Colin Farrell are brothers and NYPD cops who become at odds when cops, cops, cops, Irish, gritty, cops, family, loyalty, criminals, cops, family, Irish, cops.
Who Will Be Seeing It: The same people who have seen every other movie where Internal Affairs investigates a dirty Irish cop. Fans of Farrell and Norton, both of whom are so incredibly close to getting back to the A list. The prideful and the glorious.
Who Won't Be Seeing It: Fans of new and interesting plots. The dozens of people who have had bad experiences working with Norton or have gotten VD from Farrell. The humble and the unspectacular.
Why I'd See It: It doesn't hold a ton of appeal for me, but I do like the leads quite a bit. October 24

Movie: Synecdoche, New York (Charlie Kaufman)
High-Concept Synopsis: Frustrated theatre director (Phillip Seymour Hoffman) builds an NYC replica inside a warehouse and directs an elaborate, years-spanning production inside. No less than seven hundred famous actresses take turns being sexually attracted to him.
Who Will Be Seeing It: Fans of that sprawling cast, which incudes Catherine Keener, Samantha Morton, Hope Davis, Michelle Williams, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Dianne Weist. Fans of first-time director Charlie Kaufman, who's already earned much loyalty with his brilliant screenwriting. People who are totally queer for either New York City or scale models.
Who Won't Be Seeing It: People who can't pronounce the title. People who have caught into Kaufman's trend of writing slovenly, miserable sad-sack analogues of himself as his central characters. Seriously, people who can't pronounce the title will not go see this.
Why I'd See It: Kaufman has yet to steer me wrong, though I have my doubts about him without Spike Jonze to rein him in. October 24

Movie: Zack and Miri Make a Porno (Kevin Smith)
High-Concept Synopsis: Seth Rogen is Zack. Elizabeth Banks is Miri. They would very much like to make a porno.
Who Will Be Seeing It: Kevin Smith's fans who managed not to give up on him after Clerks 2. Kevin Smith's fans who did give up on him after Clerks 2 but have allowed themselves to hope again. Pornography enthusiasts.
Who Won't Be Seeing It: Audiences who are sick of always having to think of Seth Rogen having sex in his movies. Folks worried about Kevin's occasionally inscrutable track record towards gay characters, represented this time by Justin Long and Brandon Routh. Total prudes.
Why I'd See It: Clerks 2 was bad. He hasn't made a movie I've liked without major reservations since Dogma. And yet, the concept, casting, and trailer for this one have all been right on the money. My optimism is riding pretty high. October 31

Movie: RocknRolla (Guy Ritchie)
High-Concept Synopsis: English and/or Irish thugs and/or drug addicts murder and/or rob from each other while the requisite American contingent gets involved and quickly freaks out at how hardcore all the English and/or Irish thugs and/or drug addicts are. Ah, Guy Ritchie.
Who Will Be Seeing It: Fans of Ritchie's previous films who haven't grown tired of them yet. Fans of star Gerard Butler who refuse to allow something to trivial as a pronounced lisp get in the way of their appreciation, and good for them really. Tom Wilkinson fans, who are totally justified.
Who Won't Be Seeing It: Jeremy Piven's detractors, who are equally justified. Audiences weary of Ritchie's oft-repeated themes. Madonna and Alex Rodriguez, who will be busy that weekend know, stuff.
Why I'd See It: We've discusses this already. October 31

Movie: Role Models (David Wain)
High-Concept Synopsis: Paul Rudd and Seann William Scott spend their court-ordered community service mentoring children. Naturally.
Who Will Be Seeing It: Fans of The State and Wain's crowning glory, Wet Hot American Summer. There isn't really anything else that needs to be said but: Paul Rudd's legion of groupies, male and female. People who may have suddenly started taking a shine to Seann William Scott in, say, Southland Tales.
Who Won't Be Seeing It: People wary of the sitcom-worthy central conceit. Non-fans of the possibly too-big-for-his-britches Christopher "McLovin" Mintz-Plasse. Haters of the cute-children-are-monsters genre.
Why I'd See It: Wet Hot American Summer buys you a lot of trust, my friends. A lot. November 7


auntmel said...

The casting for "W" is the only reason I'm going. Burstyn as Babs, Scott Glenn as Rummy, and "Dobby The House Elf" as Rove...I'm needing to see that. But after the last 8 years, I'm not sure I'm going to be able to sit through 2:09 of this.

JennB said...


Excuse me, I'll just be over here with the other nerds.

Rebecca said...

For what it's worth, the book version of "The Secret Life of Bees" is far less twee than it had any right to be.