Saturday, March 18, 2006

Coming Soon (But Not Soon Enough): An Introduction

In preparing seriously for the silly April Fools Oscar Predictions, I get a crash course in what (theoretically) each new movie year will be like. 2006 has, at this writing, lots of crime stories, abundant Best Actress showcases, the return of many beloved acclaimed auteurs, and adaptations of interesting source material that could go either way. Over the next 12 days, I'll be previewing the dozen future films that have piqued my interest the most. This is not a list of the films that I think will be best or a list of what I think Oscar will go for (that's on April 1st, remember. Goodness you have a short attention span).

Tied for #13th place (just missing the list)
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
(Warner Bros. Supposedly arriving in October)


Maybe the Mountain finally broke my resistance to Westerns? I find myself excited about this one. Or maybe I just love the title (I pray they don't change it). Or maybe I just love Brad Pitt (duh). This Assassination comes from the director of Eric Bana's breakout film, Chopper. Despite Brad's media ubiquity (care of Brangelina) he doesn't actually make that many movies so we have to sit up and take notice when he does. Brad plays the assassinated James and Casey Affleck plays the titular coward Ford. Hefty Bonus Points: Mary Louise Parker is in it.

Zodiac
(Paramount. Supposedly arriving in September)


David Fincher is a fine director. My admiration doesn't just stem from that terrific trilogy of Madonna music videos either ("Express Yourself", "Oh Father" and "Vogue"). I consider him 4 for 5 in regards to his feature film output. Only The Game is a miss in my book (and a highwire interesting miss at that). His 'sick & wrong trilogy' (my idea of a trilogy. not his) was a major announcement of "new auteur in the house!"Alien³ is underappreciated if completely vile. Se7en is masterfully wound up and impactful. Fight Club is a problem but weird in all the best ways. Fincher gets a lot of praise for his visual flair but what's less commonly noticed is how good he is with certain actors. He's directed not just Brad Pitt's best performance but his second best as well.

Zodiac, Fincher's new film about a serial killer terrorizing 1960s & 70s San Francisco, does not star Brad Pitt. But since it does star Jake Gyllenhaal, I'm not complaining. The serial killer genre is played out, as far as I'm concerned, but Fincher did direct the best one (you heard me Silence fans -throw down!) so maybe he can squeeze another diamond out. I'm also totally game to see Fincher's first period piece.

Tomorrow
#12: an adaptation of a terrific but unfilmable play I saw and loved...

tags: David Fincher, Zodiac, Jake Gyllenhaal, Brad Pitt

10 comments:

OhMyTrill said...

I'm taking a class on Westerns right now...and I still can't stand them.

Brokeback is the one strange exception.

adam k. said...

I will be seeing Manderlay tonight. I just realized it's playing in my local art theater. Very excited... but also kind of now, cause it doesn't look nearly as good as Dogville. I'll take Kidman over Roan Howard's daughter any day.

adam k. said...

also kind of now = also kind of not

Arkaan said...

Is the play "Bug"?

Middle-P said...

Totally agree that Seven is better than Silence. Nathaniel I am finding more and more reasons to love you each day!(hopefully Zodiac will be up there...)

chofer said...

Well, based on the "traditional AMPAS taste" I would go with this five this year (with one slot for the "independent movie" to keep the critics quiet.

1- THE GOOD GERMAN (Casablanca revisited, plus Clooney/Soderbergh team)
2- THE BLACK DAHLIA (crime period thriller a la LA CONFIDENTIAL with LOTS of tech wizardry, an "A" list cast and a legendary if underrated director looking strong for a comeback)
3-MARIE ANTOINETTE (Spectacular period biopic with a rebel young director coming from a ROYAL family within AMPAS)
4- BABEL/SOUTHLAND TALES- If CRASH is any indication, these ensembles pieces will have a chance. Interlocked stories with a mexican director who pioneered the CRASH metaphor and a fresh young american looking strong for a breakthrough)
5- LITTLE CHILDREN- (The "independent" choice. A Hollywood cast, a celebrated book and an actor/director overdue by AMPAS for IN THE BEDROOM. This could be sweeping the critics awards by year end)

Five more in the gateways:

1- THE GOOD SHEPHERD (legendary actor turned director and an excellent cast. I heard it before...)
2- FLAG OF OUR FATHERS (It's war, it's Eastwood, so go figure!!)
3- ZODIAC/THE DEPARTED (This IS the year of the crime thrillers, so go figure!!)
4- RUNNING WITH SCISSORS (The sleeper hit?)
5- FUR (Nicole Kidman WILL be surely nominated for this, but will it the movie? Added points: It's a small biopic like CAPOTE)

John T. said...

I can't wait for either of these films either. However, I love The Silence of the Lambs, while I merely appreciate the complexity of Seven-for me.

As for Westerns, I've been on a kick to see the big Westerns that I've missed in honor of my love of Brokeback. I especially have enjoyed the rich ambiguity of Shane and the harsh nature of The Searchers.

Anonymous said...

Fur and Little Children cannot get here soon enough!!!!

2 of my favorite actresses that have a GREAT chance to get nominated this year?!?!? OMG, please let these be good.

Anthony said...

"The Game" was my favorite film of 1997, for what it's worth. Liked it a lot. I liked all of Fincher I've seen; never got to watching "Alien3."

Kamikaze Camel said...

Yeah, Can't wait to see what Dominik will do. He's made me (and other cineasts) wait so freakin' long for his followup (Australian directors who made great first films always seem to take forever to make their second. Dominik, Rowan Woods and Craig Monahan among them recently who made second features).

And I love me some Fincher when he's working in the confounds of structure. Se7en and Panic Room are big faves of mine and I liked The Game. Didn't particularly like Fight Club but what am I gonna do? And I never saw Alien3. Oh well. Cry me a river.

Se7en is better than Silence though!