I mentioned on this week’s podcast how it was incredibly difficult to narrow down my most anticipated movies of the Fall to only five films. When compiling my tri-annual “Movies to See This Trimester” list I learned that it was also incredibly difficult to narrow it down to 25 films. There is at least one potentially great movie coming out every weekend starting in September through the rest of the year.
25) Like Crazy – October 28
Directed By: Drake Doremus
Unlike other independent films this year there has not been much said about Drake Doremus’ film since it won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance back in January. The film stars Anton Yelchin, Felicity Jones, and Jennifer Lawrence as a college aged couple trying to make a long-distance relationship work. The trailer for the film looks solid and Jones has been highly praised for her performance.
24) Straw Dogs – September 16
Directed By: Rod Lurie
This remake of the 1971 Sam Peckinpah film appears to change the time and setting of the original slightly, but stick close to the same plot. It is about a screenwriter who relocates to his wife’s hometown where run-ins with locals force them to defend their own home. The remake stars James Marsden, Kate Bosworth, and Alexander Skarsgaard.
23) A Separation – December 30
Directed By: Asghar Farhadi
The winner of the Golden Bear at this year’s Berlin Film Festival, this movie has already been so well-liked overseas that it has cracked the top 250 on IMDb. The story centers on two parents who have to make a choice to leave Iran for the betterment of their child or to stay to care for a parent with Alzheimer’s. It should make a strong play for Best Foreign Film and could be one of the best films of the year.
22) Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close – December 25
Directed By: Stephen Daldry
Stephen Daldry’s films tend to rain Oscars every time they get released and this star-studded adventure movie about set in a post-9/11 New York sounds as Oscar bait as can be. The story follows a nine-year old amateur inventor who goes on a search for the lock that fits the mysterious key his recently deceased father left him.
21) Carnage – December 16
Directed By: Roman Polanski
The film received mixed reviews at the Venice Film Festival earlier this week, but that doesn’t dampen my excitement for this screen adaptation of Yasmina Reza’s play. The film is about two sets of parents who meet for an intervention when their sons have a violent confrontation. It stars Kate Winslet, John C. Reilly, Jodie Foster, and a very well-reviewed Christoph Waltz.
20) The Skin I Live In – October 14
Directed By: Pedro Almodovar
This sexy, creepy-looking film from enigmatic director Pedro Almodovar looks like it provides his usual unique perspective of the world. It is about a plastic surgeon who devises a sort of synthetic skin and tests it on females who become an object of his obsession. The film re-unites Almodovar with Antonio Banderas and it looks excellent.
19) War Horse – December 28
Directed By: Steven Spielberg
This movie is Spielberg’s more Oscar hopeful film of the two he has coming out this year. Adapted from the novel by Michael Morpurgo and follows its adaptation for the stage a few years ago. It has a very Oscar-friendly World War I setting and based on the trailer it looks excellently shot by longtime Spielberg collaborator Janusz Kaminski.
18) J. Edgar – November 9
Directed By: Clint Eastwood
I haven’t been as big a fan of recent Clint Eastwood movies as others critics and awards bodies have. However, J. Edgar looks like one of his most promising projects in years. The film stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Armie Hammer who gave one of my favorite performances from last year. The script is by Oscar winning Milk screenwriter Dustin Lance Black and is rumored to play up the closeted gay life of J. Edgar Hoover.
17) The Ides of March – TBA
Directed By: George Clooney
George Clooney has proven more adept at directing politically driven dramas than period football comedies and luckily this film is much more the former. The film has one of the greatest casts of the year including Ryan Gosling, George Clooney, Paul Giamatti, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Evan Rachel Wood, Marisa Tomei, and Jeffrey Wright. With a cast like that I don’t care what the critics have to say.
16) The Artist – November 23
Directed By: Michael Hazanavicius
This modern day silent film pays tribute to the early years of Hollywood and all of the behind the scenes drama that accompanied the on-screen stardom. It received raves in Cannes and has been getting similarly praised on the Fall festival circuit. With the Weinstein Company distributing the film it should have some major campaigning behind it and could be equal parts nostalgia and fresh ideas.
15) Tyrannosaur – TBA
Directed By: Paddy Considine
The directorial debut for Paddy Considine has gotten much praise for the performances of Peter Mullan and Olivia Colman. The film is about a woman trapped in an abusive relationship and a man who is plagued by a violent past. The poster and trailers for this film are fantastic and I’m looking forward to seeing the directorial debut of one of my favorite actors.
14) Shame – TBA
Directed By: Steve McQueen
Steve McQueen and Michael Fassbender had a fantastic first team-up for the film Hunger, where they turned a scene that was nothing but a 20-minute conversation into one of the most suspenseful, high-stakes parts of the film. I can’t wait to see what they come up with in this new film about a man who has his sexual escapades reigned in when his sister comes to live with him. Carey Mulligan as the sister gives the film some additional cred.
13) Melancholia – November 11
Directed By: Lars Von Trier
Lars Von Trier was banned from the Cannes Film Festival for carelessly making some anti-Semitic comments. He mentioned in an interview that this was his first film that does not have a happy ending. Basically – he is a crazy person who makes damn interesting films.
12) My Week With Marilyn – November 4
Directed By: Simon Curtis
Early buzz on this film has been all for Michelle Williams in a performance that has been described as the best of her career. I could easily see this being the type of film where the performances get rave reviews and Oscar nominations, but the film overall receives a tepid response.
11) 50/50 – September 30
Directed By: Jonathan Levine
Joseph Gordon-Levitt can do little wrong in my eyes and he is certainly best suited for comedies with a serious side. This personal film from director Jonathan Levine tells the story of writer Will Reiser’s true-life battle with cancer and it presents the story in a comedic light. It seems like the type of film that is more destined for critical appreciation than Awards, and I cannot wait.
10) We Need to Talk About Kevin – December 2
Directed By: Lynne Ramsay
This was one of the most highly acclaimed films at the Cannes Film Festival and it is all set to light up the Fall festival circuit as well. It follows the story of two parents whose son commits a heinous crime at his school and it follows the entire life of the child, ending with the grieving process. It sounds like a showcase for the incredibly talented Tilda Swinton, who is always at the top of her game.
9) Coriolanus – December 31
Directed By: Ralph Fiennes
I am a sucker for Shakespeare adaptations and this one is for one of the Bard’s stories that has never been told on celluloid before. Ralph Fiennes stars and directs and offers great opportunities for Gerard Butler and Vanessa Redgrave among others. It has been a while since a Shakespeare performance has been nominated for an acting Oscar, but I think this film might change that.
8) Martha Marcy May Marlene – December 22
Directed By: Sean Durkin
This film has made more appearances on the Festival circuit than other films with showings in Sundance and Cannes and upcoming in Toronto. Everywhere it goes it has critics jumping on its bandwagon and it looks like the type of cool mystery that should be fascinating. John Hawkes, Sarah Paulsen, and Elizabeth Olsen all star.
7) The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo – December 21
Directed By: David Fincher
The Swedish film adaptations of Stieg Larsson’s famous novels were pretty extreme in their telling of Lisbeth Salander’s unique story and from what I have seen the David Fincher version seems to be going even further. This may not be as critically acclaimed as Fincher’s The Social Network, but I am very excited nonetheless.
6) Take Shelter – September 30
Directed By: Jeff Nichols
Along with Tom Hardy one of the other more interesting actors who is currently working is Michael Shannon who has amazed audiences both on screen and on stage. In Take Shelter he is finally given a leading role as a paranoid father who thinks the apocalypse is following him. Shannon can do amazing and unique things with a role like that and I can’t wait to see what he comes up with.
5) Moneyball – September 23
Directed By: Bennett Miller
I love baseball and this film has a great cast, so it’s a no-brainer that it’s on my must see list. It also is the first directorial effort for Bennett Miller since his 2005 film Capote, which was one of my favorites from that year. I’m excited to see what he does with this solid source material as well as what type of performances are in store from Brad Pitt and Philip Seymour Hoffman.
4) Drive – September 16
Directed By: Nicholas Winding Refn
Nicholas Winding Refn combined with Tom Hardy for Bronson, one of the best and most underrated movies of 2008. He combines with star of 2011 Ryan Gosling for this gritty story of a Hollywood stunt-man who moonlights as a getaway driver. It earned Refn the Best Director prize at the Cannes Film Festival and looks like a fantastic action movie.
3) Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy – December 9
Directed By: Tomas Alfredson
Tomas Alfredson’s last feature length film was Let the Right One In, which rivals Carl Theodor Dreyer’s Vampyr as my favorite vampire movie of all-time. It will be interesting to see if he can bring that same sense of suspense and subtlety to this British spy tale. Even if he’s not at the top of his game a cast that includes Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Tom Hardy, John Hurt, Toby Jones, and Mark Strong should help.
2) A Dangerous Method – November 23
Directed By: David Cronenberg
The subject matter of this film, psychologists Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung, is what interests me the most. Add the fact that it’s directed by David Cronenberg and stars Viggo Mortensen and Michael Fassbender and my interest is substantially piqued.
1) The Descendants – November 23
Directed By: Alexander Payne
Alexander Payne is one of my favorite working directors and there has been a sad absence in the seven years since his last film came out. This intimate suburban family drama looks like another great opportunity for Payne to exhibit his subtle and meaningful directing style. He is known for getting some great performances out of his cast and I cannot wait to see what Clooney does here.
It’s going to be an excellent Fall. You can vote for your most anticipated films of the year on this week’s poll.