Fall Movie Preview

October is an erratic month at the movies. It’s not the awfulness of January and February, nor is it the packed-in Oscar month of December. In 2010, October brought us award nominees (“The Social Network”, “Inside Job” (last year’s documentary Oscar winner), and “Carlos” (which won a lot of international awards)) and pure Hollywood drivel looking for a Halloween crowd (Wes Craven’s worst movie yet “My Soul to Take” and “Saw 3D”). What will hit and miss in October 2011? Here’s a closer look at five October films people will be talking about:
OCTOBER 7
THE IDES OF MARCH: Based on an award-winning play, this political tale
of dirty politics has one of the best casts in recent memory (Ryan
Gosling, George Clooney, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giamatti,
Marisa Tomei).
JAKE: Clooney, Hoffman, AND Giamatti in a political thriller? What’s
not to be excited about? Add on top of that Gosling (who is having a
very good year) and you have the makings of a movie that’s both
entertaining and thought provoking. I would watch these actors in just
about anything, but this actually looks good.

JASON: I am inclined to agree and, living in D.C., ads are all over
the place. But I also said the same thing about the remake of “The
Manchurian Candidate”. Denzel Washington, Meryl Streep, and the
director of “The Silence of the Lambs” and “Philadelphia.” How could
it not be excellent? Well, it wasn’t. Hopefully this political drama
maintains the smart writing, suspense, and occasional humor in the
play.

JAKE: It should also be noted that the major issue with The Manchurian
Candidate remake was no Angela Lansbury (Don’t believe me? Go watch
the original).

JASON: Helena Bonham Carter’s performance as the Queen of Hearts in
last year’s “Alice in Wonderland” has nothing on what Angela Lansbury
did with that classic character.

THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE 2: FULL SEQUENCE: If you need to know the plot of
the first one, you live under a rock. A very comfortable, warm,
friendly rock that I am envious of. If only I could find that rock and
crawl under it …

JAKE: Speaking as someone who watched the first one, I cannot say I am
super eager to see a sequel. The first movie wasn’t even bad enough to
be fun, it was just….boring. I have no desire to see this
whatsoever. However I am sure Jason has already bought tickets, right?

JASON: The most I have seen of “The Human Centipede” is one minute of
the “South Park” episode based on it. The idea disgusts me and while
you tell me it’s not as gruesome as expected, I am concerned that was
just because the first one was made with such a small budget. With a
bigger sequel budget, will they go more disgusting? Likely. Will it be
better? Can it get any worse?

JAKE: My guess is it will be worse. The one thing the original had
going for it was tone, which is usually the first thing chucked out
the window for sequels. I doubt it will even be interesting enough to
rent. High on the interesting-o-meter, however, has to be any film
pairing an award winning actress with, well, Nic Cage.

OCTOBER 14:

TRESPASS: No, not a re-release of the Bill Paxton/ ICE-T film from the early 1990s; this film focuses on a married couple (Nicolas Cage looking unintentionally hilarious and Nicole Kidman lacking all ability to show emotion through the Botox) who are kidnapped in their own home and try to fight back.

JASON: I believe I saw and enjoyed this movie when it was called “Panic Room”, Jodie Foster’s last commercial success before she started making films about Mel Gibson shoving his hand into beaver (puppets). I also saw it when it was called “The Strangers”, a surprisingly scary horror film (until it slides into the slasher genre). Nicole Kidman, once a possible heir to Meryl Streep’s acting throne, is riding a slippery slope back into her “Bewitched”/ “The Stepford Wives” summer bomb world. Nic Cage is always Nic Cage, but why is he trying to beat Tom Hanks in “The Davinci Code” for worst toupee?

JAKE: Kidman has not made great choices in the last decade or so, though it seems she is in that place where no matter what she is in, it will bomb. I confess a love for Nic Cage movies, you are rarely bored. But this pairing? If it gets some buzz it might be worth renting, but I am not putting money on it.

JASON: Four words in counter: “Season of the Witch”. Too many words? I’ll try three: “The Wicker Man”. Two words? “Drive Angry.”

JAKE:  I can’t comment on Season, but where else but “Drive Angry” are you going to see a guy fight off henchman while getting laid. And “The Wicker Man”? The BEEEEES, the BEEEEES! Hilarious.

JASON: Well, I know you’re already focused on “Ghost Rider 2” coming out in a few months, but we have two more movies to preview.

TAKE SHELTER: With a truly impressive trailer, this indie film focuses upon a man who has visions of the apocalypse and decides to take the little money his family has to build an underground shelter.

JASON: “Take Shelter” and “Melancholia” (starring Kirsten Dunst, who won some very prestigious awards) are my two indie potential gems of the fall, both about people prepping for the end of the world. Of course, picking an indie gem is usually pretty tough as “critics’ darling” could translate to “boring, pretentious crap” when it leaves the festival and hits theaters. Still, the intelligent mix of psychological drama, sci-fi intrigue (my hatred of sci-fi keeps eroding), and strong, original writing get me excited. And Michael Shannon (Oscar nominee for “Revolutionary Road” and Screen Actors Guild winner for TV’s “Boardwalk Empire”) deserves a prime role that showcases his talents.

JAKE:  I am not sure what to make of “Take Shelter” besides finding Shannon creepy, though that is true of everything he as been in. “Melancholia” has peaked my interest for sure. A brooding indie about people dealing with the end of the world is right up my alley and Lars von Trier can produce really fascinating movies, at least some of the time.

JASON: I still won’t see von Trier’s film “Anti-Christ”, not because of any anti-American, pro-Nazi gibberish he yells at festivals but because it supposedly has a hell of a brutal scene. Still, his “Dogville” (starring Nicole Kidman and Lauren Bacall) was a brilliantly innovative film that I never recommend to anyone because, while I still think back about some of the scenes, I didn’t really like it until hour two of three. That was a time when Nicole Kidman would never have made a movie like “Trespass.”

OCTOBER 28:

IN TIME: Justin Timberlake and Amanda Seyfried (OK, stay with me here …) star in this sci-fi thriller where people stop aging at 25 and must work to “earn” more time to live. The rich people in the world are those who are have piles of years stacked up, assuring they will only die when they want to, while the poor people must work every minute if they expect to see another day.

JAKE: I am actually very interested in “In TIme”. It is easy to dismiss Timberlake and pile on the hate, but the guy is usually good in everything he does, from SNL to “The Social Network”. The movie itself looks like an intereting blend of sci-fi elements and social commentary. If they can balance those elements with the inevitable romance subplot (Seyfried could work here, as she can deliver a unique energy to a predictable role. See season one of “Veronica Mars”), this could be a very cool movie you can rave about to the majority of people who will never see it.

JASON: Well, how many people see it depends on what audience it aims for. The trailer seems to be going for the “Gattaca” and “Dark City” audience which, if I remember correctly, consisted of four people who looked oddly like Comic Book Guy. Both films bombed in theaters, but did well on DVD, where I saw and enjoyed them both. The one thing that “In Time”‘s trailer doesn’t give me is a sense of how complex it is. Is this going to be 2011’s “Inception” or 2011’s “The Island” (a supposedly thoughtful (but not) sci-fi Michael Bay movie with a good cast, but horrible writing)? I root for the former, but have no idea. And yes, Justin Timberlake is really turning into quite the actor. He has more Emmys than the entire cast and crew of “Battlestar Galactica” already, doesn’t he?

JAKE: I hate you.
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4 thoughts on “Fall Movie Preview

  1. Pingback: Melancholia Trailer |

  2. Pingback: Monday Morning @ the Movies (Oct. 31) |

  3. Pingback: November Movie Preview | that essence rare

  4. Pingback: Monday Morning @ the Movies (Nov. 7) | that essence rare

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