Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Two Top Tens: Fall Film Preview

It’s a Doubled "Tuesday Top Ten". I'm so ready for summer to be over. Let's just hop right into these lists... (I've included links to previous or related posts when applicable)

Ten Fall Movies I Can’t Wait To See

Naturally I should say I Could Never Be Your Woman since it stars Michelle Pfeiffer & Paul Rudd...but, even with a new release date (11/something), I still don't believe it'll coming out. I am intrigued by the cast of Rendition (10/19) but the trailer didn't do a lot for me. Then of course there's vampires (you know my feelings there) on the attack in 30 Days of Night (10/19) which I'm curious about given its graphic novel origins and the various clips I've already seen. But not top 10 curious...

10 The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (09/21)
I'm tired of hearing about the editing wars and troubled production. I just want to see the damn movie already, OK?! Still love the title no matter what people say. But then I am fond of that Cop Gives Waitress $2 Million Dollar Tip party game where you retitle a movie with a plotty headline and see if anybody can guess the film. Ever played that? [prev. post]

09 Michael Clayton (10/5) The trailer looks good. Tony Gilroy (the writer /director) is hot off contributions to the Bourne franchise and the cast is to die for: Clooney. Wilkinson. Swinton. Even though this movie is from the TV friendly legal thriller genre I don't object. I don't object at all. [more on Clooney or Swinton]

08 The Brave One (09/14) Similarly I don't normally care a whit about vigilante revenge dramas (usually get distracted by their upsetting politics) but the combination of Neil Jordan and Jodie Foster flipped some kind of switch inside me and I have to see it. [more on Jodie Foster]

07 The Savages (12/26) This movie takes place during the holidays but I still think it's a mistake to wait until the last holiday weekend of the year to open a small scrappy dramedy -- especially one with the Oscar potential --but alas I don't control the Fox Searchlight universe. If Laura Linney's whole performance is as expertly calibrated as her comic punches in the trailer, expect fans to go crazy demanding that overdue Oscar. [more on Linney]

06 Margot at the Wedding (11/16) Loved Squid & Whale. A worthy follow up? [prev post]
05 Eastern Promises (09/14) Loved A History of Violence. A worthy follow up?
04 Lust, Caution (09/28) Loved Brokeback Mountain. A worthy follow up? [prev post]

03 His Dark Materials: The Golden Compass (12/07) I can't wait to see what Nicole Kidman does with her tricky glamorous role. This novel is excellent but its wrap up is as unwrapped as the finale of the first installment of The Lord of the Rings. The movie is risking instant comparisons with that epic through its genre, its trilogy status and even its marketing campaign. That's an awfully high bar to have to clear as far as expectations go. [related posts]

02 I’m Not There (11/21) Blanchett, Gere, Ledger, Bale and more as Bob Dylan. Finally a biopic with something more than event+event+event on its mind [related posts]

01 Atonement (12/7) That this adaptation of Ian McEwan's novel would be an Oscar smash was an early hunch that I still feel grand about. Now the trailers and buzz suggest it's a great movie too. That is infinitely more important news. [related posts]

Ten Additional Performances / Things I’m Curious About

10 Amy Adams & James Marsden in Enchanted (11/21) Did they use up the only good stuff in the trailer or does this movie hold gleeful silliness from two game actors? [more on Amy & James]

09 Everyone in The Darjeeling Limited (9/29) We all know that director Wes Anderson favors widescreen compositions and excessively detailed production design. What's less commonly discussed is that his ensembles can be magical. How are Brody, Wilson, Schwartzman, and Huston in this?

08 The Critics and In the Valley of Elah (September) This movie from the over rewarded Oscar magnet Paul Haggis (Crash, Million Dollar Baby) is already leading to some virtual critical tussles. What will the consensus be? Or will there be none?

07 Dakota Blue Richards (The Golden Compass) vs. Saoirse Ronan (Atonement and I Could Never Be Your Woman) Which young blonde actress will be gunning for Dakota Fanning's throne once reviews and box office response comes in?

06 Everyone in Lions for Lambs (11/09) Could Streep, Redford and Cruise all be as bad as they look in that trailer? Yikes.

05 Kate Winslet in Romance and Cigarettes (09/07) Delayed for a very long time but we'll finally get a look at Kate's fiery singing performance that some people are gaga for. Or will we? I can't quite believe it's going to open [more Winslet]

04 The women of The Golden Age (10/12) According to the trailer, Cate Blanchett will be chewing every prop and costume on set in her new star vehicle, a sequel to her star making role in Elizabeth. The bitchy question that I know you're all asking --OK, well I'm asking it at least --is this: Can Samantha Morton or Abbie Cornish upstage her from the sidelines? [supp. actress Oscar race]

03 Woody Allen, still hot lukewarm from Match Point, releases the similarly dark Cassandra’s Dream (11/30). Will it be another sign that he's regained some creative juice or a wobbly step back? [more on Woody]

02 Gerard Butler in P.S. I Love You (12/21) Can he convince people that he loves Hilary Swank? This Herculean acting feat has only ever been successfully completed by Chlöe Sevigny. She got an Oscar nomination for it. Stay tuned. Developing...

01 Helena Bonham-Carter as Mrs. Lovett and Johnny Depp as Sweeney Todd (12/21) *bites fingernails* [related posts]


Michael B. said...

Romance and Cigarettes is OPENING? Can't wait...I've been waiting for like 2 years! AHH. I've heard that Winslet is sensational!

Michael Parsons said...

Butler was rushed to emergency after being heavily toothed in a kissing scene.

J.D. said...

Kate + singing = WHOO-HOO!!!!!!!

Comentator said...

I Could Never Be Your Woman is not showing in the States yet? It premiered here a wee ago (writing from Spain), but I passed- I absolutely love La Pfeiffer, but everything seems to say that the movie sucks. Wating for Stardust instead...

adam k. said...

I gotta hand it to you Nathaniel, though your Swank-hate may be out of control, you sure know how to be creative about it. Always finding new and unexpected ways to diss her.

Wouldn't it be funny if both Romance and Road opened this year and Winslet got double oscar-nominated??? I would die of happiness.

Anonymous said...

Remember the name Hayley Atwell... she will shine in Cassandra's Dream!!!


adam k --i do try. thanks for noticing

The Jaded Armchair Reviewer said...

Wait a minute, you've NEVER seen Romance and Cigarettes???!!!

Get your feelings of frustration ready for the rest of that movie because it won't be a good experience once Kate is gone (sorry Mary-Louise Parker).......

Anonymous said...


Sorry, I'm excited.

'It Could Happen To You', by the way. Didn't even look it up.

Anonymous said...

wow, just watched the atonement trailer for the first time... looks phenomenal. i never thought they'd be able to do the book justice, but am feeling more optimistic. still not sure how they'll make the ending work as well on screen though.

adam k. said...

Wait, no mention of Julianne Moore or Savage Grace? I think you forgot her.


savage grace to the best of my knowledge still has no distributor for the US market.

Cinesnatch said...

Speaking of Dakota Fanning ... Hounddog anyone?

Anonymous said...

I'm a bit confused... some of those release dates are in December - wouldn't that be Winter? (And if December counts, where's THERE WILL BE BLOOD?)


winter actually starts on december 22nd not to nitpick. so it's more of a rest of year preview (but yes i forgot THERE WILL BE BLOOD. probably on account of it's always been the thing i'm most anxious to see but i don't wanna make myself any more anxious.

Anonymous said...

I hope all of those movies suck..lol. ...j/k.

I have a feeling Atonement will , since everyone is pumping it up.

I'm not anticipating any of those. They all look rather boring...I could be wrong.

Anonymous said...

BTW ..Romance & Cigarettes got pretty bad reviews

par3182 said...

i believe that's the lovely laura linney

Michael B. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael B. said...

Turturro lights "Cigarettes" in NY theater
Lucky all you New Yorkers...Hope it comes to LA...

Y Kant Goran Rite said...

Atonement is the upcoming movie I'm most terrified of: Keira Knightley? Dramatic lead? Just let her stick to pirate movies.

Glenn Dunks said...

I picked Atonement for big Oscar loving too. I'll feel chuffed if that or any of my other four predictions make it quite frankly. I predicted them in February (I think) so to get any is good, I reckon!

I pretty much agree with you on all of your tips although I'm not feeling the Michael Clayton love. The trailer did nothing for me.

Crazy that Romance and Cigarettes is actually opening. I hope we get it here too.

Glenn Dunks said...

Oh, and people need to give up the Keira bashing. It's kind of ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

imdb says that "SAVAGE GRACE" does have an US release date!!! 23 November 2007 (limited)

you should really mention her.


that's strange. they don't list a distributor anywhere --how is it coming out?
[cue twilight zone music]

Glenn Dunks said...

It's an incredibly bonkers movie I can assure you of that and whoever distributes it (probably some obscure company like Sam Goldwyn or Magnolia) is gonna have a helluva time advertising it.

Juli is delightfully batshit crazy though!

Anonymous said...

screened last night in NYC ! Good reviews, one viewer says it's a masterpiece, the other one calls gives it 3 stars out of 4. Leigh looks like the frontrunner in the supporting category and Kidman seems to have a meaty and multi-layered character. If this and THE GOLDEN COMPASS open to great reviews and are considered for awards, it will prove that she's still the actress of the decade.
Check it out :



Anonymous said...

I'll do my own list of anticipated performances for Oscar season:

1. Cate Blanchett, "The Golden Age" & "I'm Not There"
2. Johnny Depp, "Sweeney Todd"
3. Javier Bardem, "No Country for Old Men"
4. Keira Knightley, "Atonement"
5. Halle Berry, "Things We Lost in the Fire"
6. Jennifer Jason Leigh, "Margot at the Wedding"
7. Daniel Day-Lewis, "There Will Be Blood"
8. Tom Hanks, "Charlie Wilson's War"
9. Nicole Kidman, "The Golden Compass"
10. George Clooney, "Michael Clayton"

Anonymous said...

How could anyone not be anticipating The Golden Age? No one will upstage Cate...least of all Abbie Cornish.
Also, Helena Bonham Carter in Sweeney Todd. Mrs. Lovett is one of the best roles of all time!
Also, can't wait to see Uma and Evan in In Bloom...hope it gets distribution at Toronto!

Anonymous said...

I'm with you on Atonement, my most anticipated of the year. I'm also really excited/nervous for The Golden Compass. I love the books, but I fear for the worst despite what seems to be a great cast. Here's hoping it defies all expectations and ends up being smashing.

Anonymous said...

Hey Markus, I heard about Margot at the Wedding's screening in Lincoln Square last night too, it sounds great to me! I'm a huge fan of both Nicole Kidman and Jennifer Jason Leigh so those are definitely my most anticipated performances of the year.

Much as I adore Nicole (and I really never got the whole "ice queen" criticism - I always find her lovable and endearing!), I think this will be Jennifer Jason Leigh's year. She is already generating strong Oscar buzz and this seems like the kind of role Supporting nods are made of. A friend of mine who attended the screening said that it's easily Leigh's best performance in years, and she's not even a big JJL fan! So she has shot straight to the top of my list of Anticipated Fall Performances.

Anonymous said...

Hey spooky kid,
what did you friend say about Nicole ? Doe she have a shot at a nom ?

Anonymous said...

Ah... Southern Hemisphere season changes are always at the start of the month! (You guys up there must switch on the equinox dates...)

- The (Baz Lurhman Hating) Australian

Anonymous said...

Yeah in the US, for some reason the 'official' (or at least how it's marked on my calender) change of the seasons goes by the solstices and equinoxes, even though it kinda doesn't make sense (by my reckoning, we're well into winter by the the time we officially start calling it 'Winter.')

I don't pay attention to that though. To me, winter starts in around late November, Spring starts in about March or April, Summer starts somewhere around May/June, and Fall starts around about September.

oops, sorry to get so off topic

Anonymous said...

Actually, it has nothing to do with northern/southern hemisphere division. Different countries adopted different systems is all:

Anonymous said...

Oh, and to get back on topic, here's my Top Ten Anticipated Films. I know some of those are actually 2008, others had already opened in US, and still others have no regular distribution there planned as of today... But hey, my top ten --> my rules. :P

1. The Dark Knight
2. La Antena
3. Atonement
4. I'm Not There
5. Nightwatching
6. Persepolis
7. Le scaphandre et le papillon
8. Ratatouille
9. Sweeney Todd
10. Sleuth

Honourable Mentions:
4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days | The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford | The Bothersome Man | Bug | Lust, Caution.

Y Kant Goran Rite said...

Give me one good reason (or half-convincing half-performance) to quit with the Keira bashing. She's stealing roles from infinitely better, healthier and more attractive British actresses. She deserves to be in jail with Lindsay Lohan.

Also, read Atonement, and tell me it's within Keira's range. (And if you do, I'll still laugh at you.)

Anonymous said...

Atonement is well within Keira's range. Ian McEwan himself has praised her performance in it and he should know the character.

Anonymous said...

So, y kant goran rite, you equate taking on challenging roles that are possibly beyond your ability to drunk driving and being a coke fiend? I have no problem with Kiera bashing, but seriously dude, what? It's good of you to be concerned with her health, though.

I've said it before, I've never been all that impressed with Knightley (neither as a star or as an actress). I'll say it again, she's stunned me in the trailer with how good she was and has now raised my expectations quite considerably. I've read the book and was worried that she wouldn't be right for it, and I'm a bit putoff the way the Guardian et al have been chomping at the bit with this film, but still - I'm excited. Sorry that you're not.

Anonymous said...

Hey Markus,
Well my friend is a big Nicole fan, not so much of a JJL fan, but she said on this occasion she preferred Jennifer. She said she thought Nicole was still very good, solid, but not "revelatory", whereas Leigh was more of a juicy, scene-stealing standout in all their scenes together (and a lock for a Supporting nod, in her guess). Oh and she praised Jack Black quite highly too! Personally I love both actresses so I'm really psyched for it! When I asked her to predict a few nods, she guessed, in order of confidence:

Best Supporting Actress - Jennifer Jason Leigh
Best Original Screenplay - Noah Baumbach

+ possibly
Best Actress - Nicole Kidman
Best Supporting Actor - Jack Black

and a few Golden Globe comedy/musical nods

Anonymous said...

A scene from Atonement has been released, btw.

Boyd said...

I saw Atonement yesterday and... it's really pretty good. Not sure if its Oscar-winner material, though it looks like Oscar-nominee material in the technical categories except for editing, and we all know what that means... Knightley is great, but McAvoy steals the show! Hampton's screenplay stays VERY close to the novel (perhaps even too close? I finished reading it two weeks ago and I found the story to be utterly predictable... perhaps too much so) . Wonderful cinematography, sets, costumes, make-up, hair, the works. Plus Dario Marinelli is probably going to win the Best Score Oscar. His music is amazing and actually tells part of the story (for the observing viewer at least) through a nifty little trick... so simple and so great.

I'm trying to gather my thoughts into something more coherent for publication on my site soon.

Anonymous said...

Can you fault the story of an adaptation for being predictable if you've just finished reading the book?

Boyd said...

That was my question exactly.

I am not sure, but I guess I am leaning towards a "too faithful" judgement because the wow-factor was pretty much gone, which is probably an indication that the adaptation is too tame. If it brings nothing much to the original (absolutely brilliant) story, why make the film?

There are occasional films that respect the book and still have that wow-factor (Lord of the Rings and Brokeback Mountain come to mind as recent examples), and I didn't always feel it in Atonement...

Anonymous said...

Boyd, can I ask you what you think of the Supporting Actress chances of either Romola Garai, Saoirse Ronan or both? At first the buzz was all about Garai but lately it seems to have shifted towards Ronan. Yet I can't really imagine a Babel-style double nod for this film. What do you think?

Boyd said...

Hello Anonymous!

Garai won't get it - she has the difficult middle section to carry and the part isn't nearly flashy enough. If you have read the book, you will know one of the best scenes is when she is asked to hold the hand of a French-speaking patient at the hospital... that scene is in the film, but it is a bit underwhelming, while it should have been her "showcase" moment.

Ronan is great, she might get a nod, also because she's in like a bazillion other films and so she is now a "known" quantity in Hollywood (people don't like to vote for complete unknowns, this is why Susanne Bier only got her nomination this year... because she had finished shooting her Hollywood film and people knew who she actually was in person). It's tricky though, and I think her great turn is diminished by the way the underuse Garai's considerable acting chops and the mishandle the ending with Vanessa Redgrave... so it's a tough one. The only surefire acting bet, I would say, is McAvoy and maybe Knightley.

Anonymous said...

Thanks very much for the detailed analysis Boyd.

Okay, I'm scratching Romola Garai off my predix as I have heard too many neutral-to-underwhelming reports about her now (Empire magazine also said she was outshone by Saoirse Ronan). Maybe next time, she's only a young lass. But I'll keep an eye on Saoirse Ronan now. I don't really want to see her win though because I'm rooting for Jennifer Jason Leigh, or else maybe Helena Bonham Carter. (Supporting Actress is my favorite race.)

Thanks for the feedback. Looking forward to seeing Atonement soon :)

Anonymous said...

I'm not a fan of Miss Knightly in particular and I don't know the book, but from the terrific trailer I'd say that Atonement just might be the epic that Cold Mountain (the film) wanted to be but never was.


Boyd said...

For those interested, my full review of Atonement has gone up.