As I have mentioned in the past, I like to think of the year as divided into three trimesters â€“ the beginning of the year studio dumping grounds between January and April, the summer blockbusters and Indie hits from May through August, and the adult-aimed Awards-bait films that appear between September and December. The quality of the films in each trimester is completely subjective, but typically the films that appear the most on end of the year top tens are released in the latter part of the year.
We are about to approach the last trimester and here are the films that I’m most looking forward to:
Honorable Mention: The Lovely Bones, Up in the Air, and Love Ranch
10) Broken Embraces – December 11
In a recent interview Penelope Cruz credited Pedro Almodovar as one of the main reasons she wanted to act. And I’m sure glad she did, because now the pair makes magic together just about every time they release a new film. This noir mystery seems like a great opportunity for both Almodovar and Cruz to show their strengths. Its reception at the Cannes Film Festival wasn’t overwhelmingly positive, but often times Cannes Films get overlooked only to find success later.
9) The White Ribbon – December 25
Michael Haneke’s bleak film won the Palme d’Or at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival and is destined for critical success in America. The clips that have been released so far make it seem like a throwback to the films of Michelangelo Antonioni, which I love so much. Haneke is one of the smartest, most versatile filmmakers today and I have no doubt that The White Ribbon will be a great addition to his impressive canon.
8) The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus – December 25
Terry Gilliam’s fantasy film about a traveling theatre company that gives the audience more than they were expecting was plagued with problems during production, most obviously one of the film’s stars – Heath Ledger – passed away before his filming was complete. Gilliam picked up the pieces and filled in the roles with a collaboration of Colin Farrell, Johnny Depp, and Jude Law (I don’t think the ladies need another reason to see it). From the trailer, the results look fantastic.
7) Bright Star – September 18
I just realized that every film on this list so far premiered at the Cannes Film Festival. That coincidence was completely unintentional. However, of the films that Cannes saw Jane Campion’s Bright Star is the one that I’m most interested to see. Campion has a great eye behind the camera and so I have no doubt this will be one of the best shot period pieces we have seen in a while. Also look for it to be a frontrunner for the Awards season.
6) The Road – October 16
Cormac McCarthy’s novel on which this film is based is bleak, intelligent and thrilling. Post-apocalyptic movies have been done before, but director John Hillcoat has a real opportunity here to make something great. If the plot follows the book, Viggo Mortensen in the lead role will get to really own this film and Kodi-Scott McPhee, playing his son, will be incredibly empathetic. I just hope that the film manages to maintain the dark tone of the book. If it does, this could be great.
5) The Men Who Stare at Goats – November 6
I noted in my review of this book that this had real potential to be an absolutely hilarious film. The picture above further indicates the ridiculousness of the film’s premise – the U.S. Army employs a league of psychics, who are trained to stare goats to death, to use their skills on terrorists and insurgents in Iraq. And yes, the film is based on a true story. Other than what I read in the book, not a whole lot is known about this film. There is no trailer or website and the shot above is the only available photo. However, with the talent involved I have no doubt this will be great.
No trailer yet!
4) Avatar – December 18
A lot of people have been talking about how their excitement for this film has waned after seeing the trailer. Contrarily a lot of people who saw the 16-minute IMAX 3D preview said that it was fantastic. This is one of those films that can’t really go wrong – the anticipation is so high that even if every word that comes out about the movie is negative, it’s still going to have a huge box office. I personally think that the film will be excellent, but I fear that the hype will set expectations too high.
3) Nine – November 25
Key words that are also reasons that I want to see Nine: Federico Fellini, musical theatre, Daniel Day Lewis, Penelope Cruz, Judi Dench, Marion Cotillard, Sophia Loren, Nicole Kidman, Kate Hudson, supporting actress fantasy, sultry sound mixing, original songs, yummy.
2) A Serious Man – October 2
I have a lot of personal reasons that I am anticipating this film. The shooting was done in a neighborhood that I had been to many times as a kid. Also, a son of my dad’s friend plays the younger version of the protagonist. However, personal reasons aside this film looks downright fantastic. It has probably the best trailer of the year so far and ensures that there will be much laughter.
1) Where the Wild Things Are – October 16
The trailer for Spike Jonze’s Where the Wild Things Are gave me goosebumps when I first saw it. The soundtrack is excellent, the special effects look like just the right blend of surrealism and authenticity, and the supporting cast is very strong. The thing that really gave me confidence in this movie, however, is the featurette in which they interview Maurice Sendak, the author of the popular children’s story on which the film is based. Sendak seems truly optimistic about the project and he also says that Jonze asked for his input, but Sendak told Jonze he needed to find his own voice. I imagine that’s one of the best things a director can hear. I have faith in Jonze that this film can be truly wonderful.
What about you? Which movies can’t you wait to see this fall?