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.
(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.
#12: an adaptation of a terrific but unfilmable play I saw and loved...
tags: David Fincher, Zodiac, Jake Gyllenhaal, Brad Pitt