Thursday, August 23, 2007

My Ten Most Anticipated Films of Fall/Winter 2007

Despite my tendency towards feeling this way virtually every single year, I am convinced we are going to have a never-ending surplus of, at the very least, interesting movies this fall/winter, and it looks to be a truly great movie season. Looking at the release schedule, literally every week there’s at least one movie opening that made me giddy with excitement just thinking about the possibilities. This was a harder-than-usual list to narrow down to just 10, best here’s my best efforts (and keep in mind, the only reason “Eastern Promises,” “The Kingdom” and “Reservation Road” aren’t on here is because I’ve already seen them—and no, I can’t talk about them):

10. “Leatherheads,” directed by George Clooney (December 7th)

Okay, it sounds like a not-terribly-inspired romantic comedy, concerns Football—the sport I’m least interested in (and that’s saying a lot)—and happens to co-star the prissy young actress who gives this blog its namesake—but I’m willing to overlook all three of these aspects for a new film directed by, and starring the Clooney, who is by far my favorite person is Hollywood, and as far as I’m concerned, hasn’t led me wrong in nearly a decade.

9. “I’m Not There,” directed by Todd Haynes (November 21, limited)

I’ve always been interested in Hayne’s experimental Bob Dylan film—where the iconic musician’s different musical/personality facets are portrayed by six different actors, including a woman and a small black child—but haven’t been convinced it would actually work, and/or not be a total mess. Well, I’m still not totally convinced, but this new (fantastic!) teaser trailer has assuaged by fears a little bit, has planted the seeds into my head that it might be brilliant, and ensured to me that even if it’s a disaster, it’s a disaster I definitely want to watch.

8. “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford,” directed by Andrew Dominik (September 21, limited)

To me, Brad Pitt as Jesse James is perfect casting, so this one intrigued me right off the bat. Then I heard it’s an incredibly haunting mood piece that runs nearly three hours and features an amazing performance by Casey Affleck as Ford. On top of the best title of the year, the trailer makes the film look gorgeous, and after months and months of delays, I’m just ready to see the damn thing.

7. “Margot at the Wedding,” directed by Noah Baumbach (November 16, limited)

Baumbach’s “The Squid & The Whale” proved that the young filmmaker was capable of making a movie that was funny, oddly moving, featured characters that were all-too-familiar, and a master of a very specific style and tone. Judging by the trailer for “Margot,” his latest effort should offer more of the same, as well as Jennifer Jason Leigh’s juiciest role in a dog’s age and what appears to be a solid dramatic-esque part for Jack Black.

6. “Across the Universe,” directed by Julie Taymor (September 14 limited, September 21 nationwide)

Even if it's a horrific catastrophe, it should be a fascinating one-- the concept of a Beatles Musical (especially one directed by Taymor) just seems can't miss to me. Supposedly, the movie’s final cut runs about 130 minutes, a compromise between Joe Roth’s 100-minute cut and Taymor’s initial 155 minutes. From those I've heard that have seen it, the whole movie's like a glorious acid trip while listening to 33 of the Beatles’ best songs. Does that seem like it can go wrong to you?

5. “The Savages,” directed by Tamara Jenkins (December 26, limited)

While I’m a fan of Jenkins’ “Slums of Beverly Hills,” my anticipation of “The Savages”is almost entirely due to the pairing of one of my favorite actors and one of my favorite actresses in a movie that actually seems to be worthy of their talents, and Is riding some very positive buzz from the few who saw it at Sundance. If only Fox Searchlight wasn’t making us wait till 5 days before the year ends to see it…

4. “The Darjeeling Limited,” directed by Wes Anderson (September 29, NY only)

“The Royal Tenenbaums” is my favorite film, “Rushmore” is in my top 5, and I even love “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou,” which had many writing off Anderson, so naturally, I’m eagerly anticipating the filmmaker’s latest. The trailer seems to indicate the film will be exactly what I thought it would be based on its screenplay, which I read last summer: more about relationships between characters than style, feature a back-to-basics intimacy in response to some peoples disappointment with “Life Aquatic,” significantly more dramatic and quirky than overtly comedic, and great. If the ending is the same a it was when I read it, it’ll be moving/intriguing/infuriating audiences all throughout the fall.

3. “There Will Be Blood,” directed by Paul Thomas Anderson (December 26, limited)

I know nothing about what this is about, however: It’s based on Upton Sinclair’s “Oil!” It stars Daniel Day-Lewis. It’s Paul Thomas Anderson’s first movie in 5 years. His last three movies have been unqualified masterpieces. His next project could be “Transformers 2” and I would see it multiple times.

2. “No Country by Old Men,” directed by The Coen Brothers (November 2 limited, November 21 nationwide)

The Coen Brothers are the greatest filmmakers living today, and I’m convinced I’m their biggest fan. Even their “bad” movies (“Intolerable Cruelty,” “The Ladykillers,” “The Hudsucker Proxy”) are classics to me, and they’ve yet to fuck up in my eyes. Word on this movie from Cannes was absolutely insane, and based off reading 100 pages of Cormac McCarthy’s novel, it seems like it’s going to be a perfect marriage between content and the Coens’ style. I’m anticipating this baby enough that I refuse to watch the trailer. I’ve seen two movies in the last few weeks to which it’s been attached, and like a small child, I ran out of the theater when it started to avoid being spoiled. If there’s one movie this season I’m sure will be great, it’s this one.

1. “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street,” directed by Tim Burton (December 21 limited, January 11 nationwide)

As I’ve stated before on here, the 2005 Broadway revival of Stephen Sondheim’s musical is probably the greatest piece of art/entertainment I’ve ever seen, so the prospect of a possibly successful film version that stays true to Sondheim’s vision is supremely exciting to me. Given Burton’s penchant for making the movie he wants to make no matter what, the questionable singing talents of the actors involved, the early production stills indicating a revival of the aesthetics of “Sleepy Hollow,” I’m significantly more nervous than I am actually excited, but just the possibility of Burton getting this one right (the casting of Alan Rickman as Judge Turpin is a huge step in the right direction) gets me all worked up.

Also excited about: "Shoot 'Em Up," "Into the Wild," "Lust, Caution," "Grace is Gone," "Michael Clayton," "Elizabeth: The Golden Age," "Lars and the Real Girl," "Gone, Baby, Gone," "Rendition," "Dan in Real Life," "American Gangster," "Lions for Lambs," "Southland Tales," "Beowulf," "Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium," "The Mist," "Cassandra's Dream," "The Golden Compass," "Atonement," "I Am Legend," "Juno," "Charlie Wilson's War," "The Orphanage"


Blogger Michael said...

This is a superb list. However, methinks you should replace "Leatherheads" with "Atonement"--silly Clooney lover.

I'm very disappointed with the trailers for "I Am Legend" and "The Mist." "I Am Legend" ranks among the best vampire novels written, and "The Mist" is probably King's most chilling short story. But both film adaptions look like sensational, exploitative B-movies.

7:42 AM  

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