Summer Is Almost Over!!
After a less than spectacular Summer Movie Season, the Fall/Academy Awards Season will soon be upon us!!
Here is a sneak preview:
Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (Sept. 24)
Reception at Cannes was mixed. Director Oliver Stone updates his 1987 film, Wall Street, for a new economic crisis, with Shia LaBeouf as a young broker who comes under the wing of now-out-of-prison Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas), while courting Gekkoís estranged daughter (Carey Mulligan).
Focus on: Douglasís tricky portrayal of the rueful con man, Gekko, still the best character in this convoluted financial thriller.
You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger (Oct. 1)
The grass is always greener in someone elseís bed in Woody Allenís latest farce, which stars Anthony Hopkins as Alfie, a wealthy London business man, who ditches his superstitious wife (Gemma Jones) for a call girl. Meanwhile, their daughter (Naomi Watts) and son-in-law (Josh Brolin) struggle with extra-marital temptations.
Focus on: Hopkins, who squeezes genuine pathos out of this foolish old reprobate, while English newcomer Lucy Punch, as the gold digger, walks off with the comic scenes.
The Social Network (Oct. 1)
In a real revenge-of-the-nerd story, Jesse Eisenberg plays Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, who improved his social life through computer programming, but became the youngest billionaire in history while facing legal and personal challenges.
Focus on: Director David Fincher (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) and writer Aaron Sorkin (The West Wing), who bring Oscar-worthy weight to a topical story that already has half a million online friends.
Carlos (Oct. 21)
Too sexy for a terrorist? That was one knock against French director Olivier Assayasís five-and-a-half hour epic, Carlos (starring Edgar Ramirez), a memorable portrait of a gun-for-hire as both an instigator and product of his times.
Focus on: Assayasís taut storytelling as he turns a multi-language, decades-spanning drama into what feels like an intense dash across history from the sixties to the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Hereafter (Oct. 22)
Clint Eastwood directs this supernatural thriller written by Peter Morgan (The Queen), following three near-death stories of an American factory worker (Matt Damon), a French journalist (CÈcile de France) and twin English brothers.
Focus on: Eastwoodís no-nonsense aesthetic, which should make this afterlife story more about Zen detachment than New Age mush.
127 Hours (Nov. 5)
Slumdog Millionaire director Danny Boyle directs the real-life story of Utah hiker Aron Ralston (James Franco), who, in 2003, spent five days with his arm trapped by a boulder before he came up with an escape plan.
Focus on: Man, rock and prolonged silences, as Boyle assumes an atypically understated mode for this intense survival tale.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (Nov. 19)
The second-last of the ultra-lucrative Potter movies finds the mature Harry, Hermione and Ron on the run from the snake-nosed Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes), who has taken control of Hogwarts and the Ministry of Magic.
Focus on: Hanging with your favourite characters. Before the big showdown of Hallows: Part 2 brings the 10-year film cycle to a close, we have a road movie concentrating on the three friends.
The Kingís Speech (Dec. 10)
Colin Firth plays Englandís wartime king, George VI, who hired an Australian therapist (Geoffrey Rush) to cure his stammer, in the latest Brit pic about the human side of royal personages.
Focus on: Very British acting excellence and a credible historic reconstruction, which should make this film (originally a play) like Masterpiece Theatre with a budget.
Love and Other Drugs (Nov. 24)
A free-spirited woman with health issues (Anne Hathaway) falls for a wheeler-dealer pharmaceutical salesman (Jake Gyllenhaal) in this adaptation of Jamie Reidyís memoir, Hard Sell: The Evolution of a Viagra Salesman.
Focus on: A literate script from director Ed Zwick that balances a sardonic take on the world of penile drug-pushing with romance and pathos.
Black Swan (Dec. 1)
Director Darren Aronofsky (Pi, Requiem for a Dream) is out to do for tutus and pirouettes what his last film, The Wrestler, did for body slams and barbed wire in this psychological thriller starring Natalie Portman as a New York dancer with Mila Kunis as her possibly illusory competitor.
Focus on: Aronofsky delivers brilliant visuals, and the image of Natalie Portmanís swan mask alone delivers an anticipatory thrill chill.
Miral (Dec. 3)
Based on the book by Rula Jebreal, the story traces the history of modern Palestine through the life of an orphan girl, Miral (Freida Pinto), raised to believe in peace through education, who falls for a political activist.
Focus on: Painter-turned-director Julian Schnabelís track record (Basquiat, Before Night Falls, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly) is consistent in delivering emotionally powerful films.
The Tempest (Dec. 10)
Before there was Lost, there was the original castaway drama, Shakespeareís The Tempest, here reworked by Julie Taymor, with Helen Mirren as the spell-weaving Prospera leading an international cast, including Djimon Hounsou (as Caliban), Russell Brand, Alfred Molina and Chris Cooper.
Focus on: The island designs supervised by Taymor (Frida, Across the Universe) and, of course, Mirren the Magician.
How Do You Know (Dec. 17)
Reese Witherspoon stars as a former pro athlete torn between an easy-going baseball pitcher (Owen Wilson) and a businessman facing criminal charges (Paul Rudd).
Focus on: The return of the king of the heartfelt comedy, director James L. Brooks, the man behind The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Terms of Endearment and As Good as it Gets.
Somewhere (Dec. 22)
Director Sofia Coppolaís new drama is set in Los Angelesís Chateau Marmont and stars Stephen Dorff as a hard-partying celebrity reunited with his estranged 11-year-old daughter (Elle Fanning).
Focus on: Fans of Lost in Translation will instantly see the hook: Coppola directing a movie set in a strange hotel and the rarefied bewilderment of celebrity life; can lightning strike twice?
True Grit (Dec. 25)
A teenaged girl hires a hard-drinking deputy marshal to hunt down her fatherís killer in this Western, based on the Charles Portis novel, previously adapted into an Oscar-winning John Wayne picture.
Focus on: The Coen Brothers, in a movie starring Jeff Bridges, which represents a hard-to-beat two-one combo.
Bring on the Fall!!
Summer Is Almost Over!!