Friday, August 31, 2012
Looking Ahead: Fall Movie Preview 2012
As we near the end of the August in a matter of days, the fall movie season is about to be bestowed upon us. After a summer season that was full of flops and disappointments, the upcoming fall lineup is very promising as it is composed of potential Oscar contenders and highly anticipated blockbusters. Nonetheless, this year's summer movie season looks strong with what it has to offer, so I'm going to break down my Top 10 Anticipated films for the forthcoming movie season.
Honorable Mentions: Smashed, Silver Linings Playbook, Skyfall, The Hobbt: An Unexpected Journey, Wreck-It Ralph, Killing Them Softly, and The Sessions
10. This is 40- I've always been a big fan of Judd Apatow's work, especially his cult TV shows Freaks and Geeks and Undeclared, both which were produced years before his breakthrough success with The 40 Year-Old Virgin. He already has a 3-for-3 streak going with his directorial efforts (yes, even the criminally underrated Funny People), and this looks like he's going to succeed yet again with this semi-spinoff to his most successful directorial project Knocked Up. Though the trailers released have been a bit mixed in my opinion, I still have full trust in Apatow and his ensemble cast, led by Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann, that this will be one of the best dramedies at years end.
9. Lincoln- Though holding a strong reputation as one of the greatest directors of all-time, Steven Spielberg hasn't a classic in his filmography since 2002's Minority Report. However, that will most likely change when his next feature Lincoln releases, which stars legendary method actor Daniel Day Lewis in the lead role as Honest Abe. It also features a strong supporting cast led by Sally Field and Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Abe's family, but the reason why it's on the lower end of this list is because there hasn't been a trailer released yet. On the other hand, the set photos and promotional poster that have been released already are more than enough to ignite significant hype.
8. The Impossible- True story movies are one of the most conventional forms in late year Oscar-bait, but if they're handled with proper execution and grace, they can actually prove their worth in the awards season race. Fortunately with a great trailer and an acclaimed director, The Impossible looks like it has a strong shot at pulling off that feat. This true story of a family that managed to stay alive and find each other - after the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami is led by Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor, and is also written and directed by the duo that made the acclaimed Spanish horror film The Orphanage, so all is shaping up very well for once it releases.
7. Seven Psychopaths- Playwright-turned-filmmaker Martin McDonagh delivered a knockout feature debut with 2008's In Bruges, which garnered him his first Best Original Screenplay Oscar nomination, too. Now his twisted darkly comedic sense of humor is back with Seven Psychopaths, a dark crime comedy with an terrific ensemble cast headlined by Colin Farrell and the very underrated Sam Rockwell. Based off the trailer, it looks like a very worthy follow-up with its dark humor and eccentric characters, so now I'm only hoping that McDonagh and crew will succeed and that it will garner him his second Original Screenplay Oscar nomination.
6. Zero Dark Thirty-The death of Osama Bin Laden was a mammoth moment in American history, and it was only a matter of time until a film was announced on the Navy SEAL mission that accomplished the monumental feat. Helmed by Kathryn Bigelow, the Oscar-winning director of The Hurt Locker (a bit overrated by still pretty good), this has promise to be a pulse-pounding thriller from a mostly technical standpoint. Some people complain that the teaser trailer didn't show enough, but I highly admire that approach, and all I can do now is wait and see if Bigelow has the the prime potential to be the go-to-director for present-day war movies.
5. Argo-Ben Affleck as an actor? Mixed bag. Ben Affleck as a director? 2 for 2 so far. Affleck has delivered two great Boston-set films in a row with Gone Baby Gone and The Town, and now moves on to a new vision with Argo, a film based on a true story that took place in the midst of the 1979 Iranian Hostage Crisis. Both starring in the lead and directing, Affleck looks very solid in his role, and he is also backed up by a terrific supporting cast led by Bryan Cranston, John Goodman, and Alan Arkin. I'm not ready to predict potential Oscar nominations it could receive until I finally see it, but I am very excited nonetheless to see if Affleck can go 3-for-3 as director while also attempting a new kind of film, too.
4. Life of Pi- Allow me to admit something: I'm not a big fan of Ang Lee. Then again, that only comes from the fact that I've seen Hulk. On the other hand though, his newest feature Life of Pi has a definitive chance of me giving his filmography a full foray. Based on the acclaimed novel of the same name, the film looks like a visual masterpiece, and is also already very worthy of being shot in 3D to capture the beautiful setting of the Pacific Ocean amidst the lead character being stranded there. In addition to also seeing the film's first clip at the midnight 3D showing of Prometheus, my anticipation is only heightened further as people better watch out for Lee potentially securing his third Oscar nomination for Best Director.
3. Looper- Writer/director Rian Johnson is one of the most underrated filmmakers of this generation, in addition to being one of the few ones to tackle on a different genre with nearly every following film. Looper marks his foray into science fiction territory with Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis in the lead roles, which focuses on a hit-man in the future known as a "looper" who takes out his victims that are sent from the future to him. However, everything changes for him when he has to kill the future version of himself. So far the trailers have done a great job at masking the film's many secrets, and the visuals look surprisingly inventive, too. I can't remember the last time I've been this excited for a science fiction film, and hopefully Looper shows another spark of genius in Rian Johnson's short filmography.
2. The Master- Paul Thomas Anderson is easily one of the top 3 greatest directors of the past fifteen years, and its even more impressive that he's made only 5 films during that span. His long-awaited follow-up feature to his greed masterpiece There Will Be Blood, focuses on a Naval veteran (Joaquin Phoenix) that becomes involved in a fictional religion called "The Cause", and becomes a prominent sign of attention to the leader (Philip Seymour Hoffman). Anderson hasn't made one bad film in his career, and the trailer alone is already carrying the signature epic scope he lends to just about all of his films. I can already predict that Anderson's got another great film in his filmography, but the biggest question remains on how much of an Oscar contender it can be. I just hope that it'll be as strong as I imagine.
1. Django Unchained- Pulp Fiction was the film that turned me into the die-hard film buff I am today, and it also led to Quentin Tarantino becoming my leading mentor to become a filmmaker in the future. Tarantino has always professed his love for the spaghetti western genre, and it was only a matter of time until he brought that subgenre to the big screen with his own unique vision. With a Grade-A ensemble led by Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, and Leonardo DiCaprio, I can't see anything going wrong with this film. In Tarantino I trust.
So those are the main films I'm looking forward to the most later this year, and be sure to leave your choices in the comments below. As we all toast to the end of yet another summer, it's time to raise our glasses to a fall season ripe of awards contenders and blockbusters of numerous kinds!