With summer behind us and the bi-annual dumping grounds of September/October upon us, there seems to be a little more amiss than usual. While the end of the year promises to lay out the ground work for the next Oscar race, I think it’s to be expected. While not everything looks as savory as, say, Inception, Toy Story 3, or even Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, there are definitely a few things to look forward to after all and here’s a weekly look at what’s coming our way!
Today director Paul W.S. Anderson returns to the franchise he birthed for the first time since the original. Resident Evil: Afterlife looks absolutely no better than any of the first three and even using James Cameron’s spiffy Fusion Cameras can’t keep me from thanking the movie lords that this was not pre-screened.
September 17 – Ben Affleck jumps back into the director’s chair while headlining another book-to-film adaptation as he strolls through The Town along with Jon Hamm and Jeremy Renner. Emma Stone steps into the spotlight in what looks like the second coming of Mean Girls but I hear it surprisingly leans more towards 10 Things I Hate About You. Easy A, consider me sold. On the other hand, M. Night Shyamalan takes the story and producing credits but his directing choice (the Dowdle Brothers, Quarantine) doesn’t exactly bring any inspiration of hope to Devil.
September 24 – Oliver Stone returns to Wall Street where Michael Douglas is going to teach Shia LaBeouf that Money Never Sleeps even if it’s with Gekko’s daughter. Kristen Bell, Odette Yustman, Sigourney Weaver, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Betty White headline an all-female cast to find out that history repeats itself in Andy Fickman’s You Again. Zach Snyder can hopefully bring us some true escapism with a film about talking hooters — no, not those hooters. Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole brings the season’s longest title which hopefully the film can live up to. Ryan Reynolds gets to prove just how much you either love him or hate him as he brings a basically one-man act to Buried. While I wasn’t able to catch this one at Sundance I hear it’s quite the show.
Thankfully, October brings things back to life a bit.
October 1 – David Fincher brings us the behind the scenes shenanigans of everyone’s favorite site, Facebook. The Social Network combines Fincher with a stellar cast in Zombieland’s Jesse Eisenberg, the new Spider-man Andrew Garfield, our new Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Rooney Mara, and everyone’s favorite “mother lover,” Justin Timberlake. Matt Reeves makes things even more intimate than his POV-shot Cloverfield with his remake of the Swedish Let the Right One In. Say what you will about remakes, Let Me In looks pretty amazing but we shall all bear judgment.
October 8 – Everyone’s favorite bitch, Katherine Heigl, teams up with Josh Duhamel to find out how hard parenting can be in Life As We Know It, Diane Lane gets put to pasture in Seabiscuit 2: Greener Grasses… err, I mean Secretariat, and Wes Craven gets in your face as My Soul to Take is the latest in the 3-D conversion fad.
October 15 – The boys are back as Johnny Knoxville and Bam Margera find outright hilarious ways to use 3-D technology in Jackass 3-D, while Bruce Willis, Helen Mirren, Morgan Freeman, and John Malkovich are retired and extremely dangerous in Red.
October 22 – Things that go bump in the night get caught on camera like a busted pedophile as Paranormal Activity 2 tries to scare up another cash grab from audiences. Meanwhile, Clint Eastwood tries for Oscar gold again, reteaming with Matt Damon for Hereafter which deals with death and the supernatural in a far more award-winning way, to be sure.
October 29 – Just in time for Halloween comes another gore-off as Saw 3D drops the numerals and a hyphen as Lionsgate tries to milk their cow for the seventh year in a row. One of the films I’m most looking forward to comes out this day as well; Monsters looks like a fantastic hybrid of Cloverfield and District 9. From the looks of things so far it appears to be following the Jaws technique of holding off on its money shots, which just makes things even creepier if you ask me.
November churns out more things aiming to take a swipe at your wallet and starts off with as many as four films vying for your affection.
November 5 – Megamind hopes to lure you in with Will Ferrell, Brad Pitt, Tina Fey, and Jonah Hill in DreamWorks’ take on superheroes and villains. Robert Downey, Jr. and Zach Galifianakis hit the road to make it to the delivery room in Due Date. Danny Boyle and James Franco bring us the hardships of the great outdoors and show everyone why I don’t subscribe to it, as the true story of Aron Ralston is brought to life in less time than the title: 127 Hours. And finally, Doug Liman tries to rebound from Jumper with his own take on true life events with Naomi Watts and Sean Penn as Fair Game.
November 12 – Tony Scott gets Denzel Washington in front of his camera again with Chris Pine and Rosario Dawson along for the ride in Unstoppable which lives up to its name by the fact that it’s yet another remake. Rachel McAdams, Harrison Ford, and Diane Keaton all get to be silly for producer J.J. Abrams in Morning Glory, and aliens hover and hoover in Skyline.
November 19 – The film that families are most anticipating is the finale of the beloved wizard series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I which, while it may be the first of the last, is also the first of the series to be in 3-D. And speaking of remakes, a French thriller gets my future sister-in-law as an extra alongside Russell Crowe and Elizabeth Banks in The Next Three Days.
November 24 – Christina Aguilera and Cher try to camp things up in Burlesque while Anne Hathaway stakes her claim on an Oscar with Jake Gyllenhaal in Love and Other Drugs, while “The Rock” continues to prove why we should call him Dwayne Johnson and drives Faster than ever before to avenge his brother’s death.
November 26 – Disney gets this day all to themselves and tries to outmarket their typical girl factor while focusing on the male secondary character in their computer animated take on Rapunzel (voiced by Mandy Moore) while Zachary Levi gets Tangled in misadventures along with the heroine.
December 1 – Oscar watch goes into hyperdrive as Natalie Portman battles her own inner demons while making out with Mila Kunis in Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan while Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie get to take a vacation that has to be better than the insufferable Eat Pray Love as The Tourists.
December 10 – While underperforming for Disney, Fox has picked up the Narnia series as the Chronicles continue to bash you over the head with some good ol’ fashioned Catholicism as studio heads knock on wood in hopes that Voyage of the Dawn Treader battles Ga’Hoole for most extended title rights. Marky Mark brings his funky bunch to the ring in a switch-up for director David O. Russell in the aptly named The Fighter. Christian Bale and Melissa Leo bring their acting chops as well to chronicle boxer “Irish” Micky Ward (Wahlberg) trained by Dickie Eklund (Bale).
December 17 – My most anticipated film of the fall season is TRON: Legacy. If you’ve ever seen the trailer in 3-D on an IMAX screen then you should have no question as to why. Considering the fact that the script comes from two Lost writers with a little help from the good folks at Pixar, this thing should be quite epic. On the flip side of epic comes the disastrous looking live-action Yogi Bear. While all they had to really do is dress up Dan Aykroyd in a funny hat and a tie, he could easily slip from the title character to Elwood Blues and no one would know the difference. Oh wait, except that he’d be actually funny reprising Elwood for a third time instead of driveling in this tripe. James L. Brooks finally returns after six years to bring Reese Witherspoon, Paul Rudd, and Owen Wilson together to ask the question without the mark, How Do You Know. Hopefully hilarity will ensue.
December 22 – When it comes to beating dead horses, no one does it better than the Focker family. This time Ben Stiller has kids and Robert De Niro takes a Viagra-esque pill requiring a shot in the old you-know-what. The trailer looks like more of the same but early word of mouth isn’t too hopeful. With a better director this time around, I hope it’s better than it looks. Maybe it will wind up being another Death to Smoochy where the film wound up being 100% better than any of the promotion led us to believe. Jack Black brings his shtick to Gulliver’s Travels where maybe with a script co-written by Nicholas Stoller (who wrote and directed Get Him to the Greek, and directed Forgetting Sarah Marshall) along with a fantastic supporting cast including Emily Blunt, Jason Segel, Amanda Peet, T.J. Miller, and Romany Malco, things will gel and Black won’t run rampant.
December 25 – Now what would award season be without a new offering from the Coen brothers? They say that their True Grit is more inspired by the original Charles Portis novel than the John Wayne/Glen Campbell/Robert Duvall/Dennis Hopper film, but it’s no doubt that they’ll deliver their own brand of justice to the material. With a cast including Matt Damon, Jeff Bridges, Josh Brolin, and Hailee Steinfeld, it’ll be interesting to see if the Coens can snag more Oscar wins next year.
December 29 – Last and certainly not least comes John Madden’s The Debt. After beating out Saving Private Ryan back in 1999, we’ll see what Madden has up his sleeve with Helen Mirren and Tom Wilkinson undoubtedly upping the stakes in the best acting categories while Sam Worthington seems to be there to appeal to the masses.
While there’s certainly something for everyone, hopefully there’s far more good than bad. But let’s all just take the next few months to breath a little easier before the Hollywood wastelands of January through March come our way again.