Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Looking Forward ...

So earlier I talked about the best movies of the year so far. One of the things that reminded me that it was time to divide the year between what's happened and what's happening in the coming months was the arrival of Entertainment Weekly's Fall Movie Preview. Even way back before I started blathering on the internet about whatever the hell, movie-wise, I'd always pick up the Fall Preview and pore over this glorious list of movies waiting to rock my face off.

Now I tend to know much more about the movies that are being previewed, but it's still a great resource for setting the agenda for the last few months of the year. What looks good and what looks sketchy? Here's my list of the ten movies I am most excited for this fall (in absolutely no order).

The Lovely Bones (Peter Jackson, opens 12/11)
You could've knocked me over with a feather at the beginning of the year if you'd told me I'd be this geeked for The Lovely Bones. Not that I'm some big Peter Jackson hater -- the Lord of the Rings backlash sickens me, after all -- but King Kong had dampened my enthusiasm some, and the source material (full disclosure: never read it; don't tell Oprah) seemed to doom this project to prestige hell. Shame on me for underestimating, at least based on what I've seen so far. The trailer suggests a wholly cinematic creation, with Jackson's imagination in fine form. I'm looking forward to the Rachel Weisz and Stanley Tucci performances, but it's the sight of Susan Sarandon perhaps finally getting another role worth sinking into that has me most excited. I'm not without reservations -- the impressionistic nature of the afterlife scenes could creep into What Dreams May Come-style overkill, and Mark Wahlberg is making me nervous that he still hasn't shed whatever hoodoo M. Night Shyamalan pulled on him in The Happening. But I'm firmly on the side of "psyched" right now.

Where The Wild Things Are (Spike Jonze, opens 10/16)
Look, I never said I was a good person with pure motives. So when the Where the Wild Things Are trailer dropped and everybody lost their minds over it, and I didn't entirely get it, there was a semi-conscious part of me that turned on the movie, sight-unseen. Hey, at least I'm owning up to it. But now with all this Avatar nonsense -- another movie everybody lost all sanity over and decided was some revolutionary piece of cinema based on nothing whatsoever -- and seeing how Avatar looks for-real shitty, I've been able to focus all my pissy annoyance on James Cameron. Which is a good thing, because now I can admit Spike Jonze's dark little children's tale looks pretty damn amazing.

Whip It! (Drew Barrymore, opens 10/02)
My most anticipated movie of the Fall Movie Season (aka Gimmie Gimmie Oscar Gimmie Time) is a Drew Barrymore-directed roller-derby movie with zero awards prospects whatsoever? I'm as shocked as you are. But damn, every time I see that trailer I get so pumped for this. I've already talked about why, so now I'm just going to expound upon some suggestions for awesome derby names. It's a decently fun exercise to pass the time; best I can tell, derby names kind of split the difference between drag names and Garbage Pail Kids names. Anyway, most of these have likely already been taken but who knows?: Lucille Brawl; Eleanor of Smack-uitaine; Ambulatori Amos; Scarro (like Charro, know); Gretchen Maul; Bea Aggressive; Janice Kick-in-shin; Martina Not-til-it's-ovah; Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliott.

Jennifer's Body (Karyn Kusama, opens 9/18)

You guys, I think I'm gonna end up liking Megan Fox. GodDAMNit. But first I'm going to get to rave about Amanda Seyfried, so there's that. I'm in a very Diablo Cody-positive place after the first season of United States of Tara, so this is probably the best time to foist something like this upon me. Keeping it funny but not cutesy is going to be an issue, but the preview footage suggests it strikes a good balance. We'll see. Thinking positive!

Famous Boxes and Precious Foxes -- click below for the rest of the list!

Fame (Kevin Tancharoen, opens 9/25)
Probably setting myself up for a disappointment here, but I can't not be psyched for something as dumbly entertaining as a modernization of Fame. Surem I'll almost certainly walk out wanting nothing more than to see the original. But then I will! And won't that be amazing? Honestly, this is more an heir to the Center Stage/Step Up empire, and that's totally cool with me.

An Education (Lone Scherfig, opens 10/09)
Well it seems like everybody's shot-in-the-dark Oscar predictions for newcomer Carey Mulligan seem to be all that closer to coming true than ever before. I like the idea of a girl's coming-of-age story in England -- have I seen something like that before? Nothing springs to mind. The supporting cast -- Peter Sarsgaard, Alfred Molina, Emma Thompson, Dominic Cooper, Olivia Williams -- is incredible, and everyone who's seen it has flipped for it. Done. Sold.

The Box (Richard Kelly, opens 11/06)
As one of three people worldwide who loved Richard Kelly's Southland Tales, I have no reason to have reservations about his next movie. The plot? Something about a box that grants wishes at a "Monkey's Paw"-style price. The era/hairstyles? The 1970s, for some reason. The accents? Southern, for some even stranger reason, particularly since Cameron Diaz has no affinity for it. None of this bothers me, nor does the release date, which has been pushed back about a dozen times. How can any of those concerns possibly matter when Frank Langella shows up on their doorstep with a hideous scar and a devil's bargain. The trailer looks impossibly fantastic.

Precious (Lee Daniels, opens 11/06)
Yes, yes, this would be the "Monique gets an Oscar nomination" movie that blazed a trail through every festival on the map this year and left critics positively breathless with praise. So...yeah. Let's see it, then.

Fantastic Mr. Fox (Wes Anderson, opens 11/25)
I maintain that Wes Anderson is one of our best filmmaker/storytellers, and the fact that he's stayed within his own signature style actually strengthens my argument. But that's a position to be defended on another day. For now, I'll say that the Fox project kind of perplexed me until I saw the trailer footage. All of a sudden, the concept of a Wes Anderson stop-motion adaptation of a Roald Dahl book not only makes sense but seems exciting. If Clooney doesn't overshadow the whole thing, this could be great.

The White Ribbon (Michael Haneke, opens 12/25)
What kind of sneering, humanity-hating, joke's-on-you high-handed moralizing could Michael Haneke possibly have up his sleeve that would win over the Cannes jury for the first time ever? And exactly how brilliant will the filmmaking be? And how frustrated will audiences be as the former wrestles with the latter in their aggravated brains? Guess we'll all find out on ... Christmas Day?! Jesus.


OleNelson said...

I'm totally feeling you on the Megan Fox conundrum. I mean... she's ridiculous. Obviously. But something about the trailer made me concerned that my core feelings on the Fox issue were going to change.

JA said...

Yes. To almost everything. That whole Fame thing... notsomuch. But everything else is a go!

Joe Reid said...

Jason, think of my feelings for Fame as your feelings if there were to be a movie where Eli Roth screen tests for various psychopath-murderer roles while wearing a wifebeater for 90 minutes.

Kirk said...

"You guys, I think I'm gonna end up liking Megan Fox. GodDAMNit."

I KNOW! Argh. The trailer just made the movie look so awesome. I found myself A) stoked for it to come out and B) thinking that maybe Megan Fox is super rad.

Didn't see that one coming.