Monday, September 13, 2010

Fall/winter film preview

September and October used to be the dregs for movies, but 2010 actually offers a strong lineup for the early fall season, including "The Social Network" and Oliver Stone's "Wall Street" sequel.

November and December are shaping up nicely, too, with the usual spate of serious-minded Oscar hopefuls, not to mention the beginning of the end for "Harry Potter."

Here's a rundown of autumn's film offerings, with my highly subjective take on the buzz surrounding each movie: Tops, Taps or Tipping either way.

Release dates are subject to change.

The Town (Sept. 17) -- Ben Affleck's back in a big way in this gritty drama about a close-knit family of Boston bank robbers. Affleck also directed and co-wrote. Tops

Easy A (Sept. 17) -- Nathaniel Hawthorne's "The Scarlett Letter" gets an edgy update in this comedy starring Emma Stone as a high-school loser who becomes notorious when she pretends to be a promiscuous harlot. Tipping

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (Sept. 24) -- Everything's cyclical, especially movies and financial markets. Michael Douglas reprises his Oscar-winning role as shark Gordon Gekko, with Shia LaBeouf as his eager new wingman. Tipping

You Again (Sept. 24) -- Kristen Bell plays a beautiful swan forced to revisit her ugly duckling days when confronted with her high school tormenter marrying her brother. Jamie Lee Curtis, as her mother, replicates the conflict with old foe Sigourney Weaver. Tipping

Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole (Sept. 24) -- After three ultra-violent flicks, director Zack Snyder ("Watchmen," "300") tackles a PG-rated animated adventure about owls. We'll see if audiences give a hoot. Taps

The Social Network (Oct. 1) -- There's tremendous hype surrounding this cinematic account of the birth of Facebook. Indie star Jesse Eisenberg goes mainstream playing CEO Mark Zuckerberg, depicted as back-stabbing schemer. Directed by David Fincher from a screenplay by Aaron Sorkin. Tops

Stone (Oct. 1) -- Here's a creepy love triangle: Robert De Niro plays a parole officer facing retirement, Edward Norton is the skeevy convict who is his last case, and Milla Jovovich plays the criminal's wife who acts as temptress. Tipping

Let Me In (Oct. 1) -- Between "Let the Right One In" and "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo," the Swedes are providing a lot of fodder lately for Hollywood remakes. I'm dubious, but the casting of Chloe Moretz from "Kick-Ass" as a girl vampire lends hope. Tipping

Secretariat (Oct. 8) -- Diane Lane plays Penny Chenery, the dilettante housewife who owned the Triple Crown-winning Secretariat, in a drama more about the woman than the horse. Tipping

Nowhere Boy (Oct. 8) -- Another "Kick-Ass" star, Aaron Johnson, stars in this biopic of a young John Lennon before The Beatles made it big. Tipping

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest (Oct. 15) -- After the lackluster second installment in the Swedish trilogy about disturbed computer genius Lisbeth Salander, I'm inching toward the delete key. Taps

Red (Oct. 15) -- Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren and John Malkovich play retired CIA agents on the run in this spy comedy. The preview with Mirren firing a massive machine gun is strangely compelling. Tipping

Conviction (Oct. 15) -- Another Oscar nomination for Hilary Swank? It's shaping up that way in this true-life story of a high-school dropout who became a lawyer to get her brother's murder conviction overturned. With Sam Rockwell. Tops

The Company Men (Oct. 22) -- Picking up the thematic threads of "Up in the Air," Ben Affleck stars as a hotshot executive who gets laid off, and struggles to pick up the pieces. With Tommy Lee Jones and Kevin Costner. Tops

Hereafter (Oct. 22) -- There's been almost a total information blackout about Clint Eastwood's new movie, other than it stars Matt Damon and has something to do with the afterlife. Let's hope he doesn't go all M. Night Shymalan on us. Taps.

Monsters (Oct. 29) -- This could be the next low-budget sci-fi/thriller to break out, a la "District 9." It's about -- you guessed it -- critters from another planet. Taps

127 Hours (Nov. 5) -- James Franco plays Aron Ralston, a real-life mountain climber who amputated his own arm after being trapped. From "Slumdog Millionaire" writer/director Danny Boyle, so it's got a great pedigree, but the trailer deceptively avoids what the movie is actually about. Tipping

Megamind (Nov. 5) -- Is it me, or does this DreamWorks animated flick seem suspiciously similar to "Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog"? (Google it.) The evil scientist is the protagonist, and his Superman-ish nemesis plays the heavy. Tipping

Due Date (Nov. 5) -- "The Hangover" director Todd Phillips re-teams with star Zach Galifianakis for another raunchy road trip comedy, this time with Robert Downey Jr. as an expectant father. Tipping

Fair Game (Nov. 5) -- Seven year later, will people remember the Valerie Plame scandal, let alone want to buy a ticket to see a one-sided dramatization starring Sean Penn and Naomi Watts? Taps

Morning Glory (Nov. 12) -- Harrison Ford trades in his bullwhip for a news anchor pompadour in this dramedy about an ambitious TV producer who hires a crotchety journalist to co-host a lightweight morning show. With Diane Keaton and Rachel McAdams. Tops

Unstoppable (Nov. 12) -- Denzel Washington must really like trains, and director Tony Scott. After "The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3," he stars (with Chris Pine) in this thriller about a runaway train. Tipping

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows -- Part I (Nov. 19) -- And people thought "The Lord of the Rings" milked its finale. The final chapter of the epic journey of a boy wizard, in which Harry goes wand-to-wand with Voldemort, is being split in two. You'll have to wait until July 15 for the real end. Tipping

The Next Three Days (Nov. 19) -- Russell Crowe plays a regular schmo determined to break his wife (Elizabeth Banks) out of prison after she's falsely convicted of murder. With Liam Neeson. Tipping

Love and Other Drugs (Nov. 24) -- Anne Hathaway and Jake Gyllenhaal are bed-hopping types who hook up, but then he wants to Get Serious in this romantic comedy/drama. Tipping

Burlesque (Nov. 24) -- Based on the preview, this musical starring Cher trips over every cliché of the small-town-girl-goes-to-the-big-city shtick. Taps

Tangled (Nov. 24) -- The Rapunzel fairy tale gets a modern updating in this Disney animation movie that emphasizes action/adventure over princesses. Tipping

Black Swan (Dec. 1) -- Director Darren Aronofsky channels Ingmar Bergman's "Persona" in this stylized drama about rival ballet stars. Starring Natalie Portman. Tipping

The Fighter (Dec. 10) -- Mark Wahlberg stars in this biopic about boxer Micky Ward, a never-say-quit type coached by his reformed brother (Christian Bale). Tipping

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (Dec. 10) -- After the second film based on the C.S. Lewis fantasy books disappointed, the franchise switched studios and directors -- never a good omen. Taps

How Do You Know (Dec. 17) -- Reese Witherspoon, Paul Rudd and Owen Wilson play a romantic triangle in what would appear to be another dopey romantic comedy. Except for two things: Writer/director James L. Brooks ("As Good As It Gets") and co-star Jack Nicholson. Tops

TRON: Legacy (Dec. 17) -- A box office flop that became a Gen-X cultural touchstone, the CGI-pioneering film gets a sequel nearly 30 years later. Jeff Bridges reprises his role as a video game designer, inside which his son is trapped. Will anyone born after 1990 care? Tipping

Yogi Bear (Dec. 17) -- Here's a TV retread for those put off by the snooty intellectualism of "Alvin and the Chipmunks." Taps

Country Strong (Dec. 22) -- Hollywood loves movies about down-and-out country singers making a comeback. Gwyneth Paltrow stars, and sings, apparently pretty well. Tipping

Little Fockers (Dec. 22) -- Ben Stiller and Robert De Niro team up a third time as a father and son-in-law odd couple. Sounds naughty, looks crappy. Taps

Gulliver's Travels (Dec. 22) -- A super-sized Jack Black stars in a very divergent adaptation of Jonathan Swift. Taps

Somewhere (Dec. 22) -- After the stylized stumble of "Marie Antoinette," writer/director Sofia Coppola appears to be back in understated "Lost in Translation" mode with this drama about a movie star (Stephen Dorff) downshifting from the high life. The film took top prize at the Vince film festival. Tipping

True Grit (Dec. 25) -- John Wayne's signature role gets remade by the Coen brothers ("No Country for Old Men"). With Jeff Bridges taking over the eye patch of marshal/hired gun Rooster Cogburn. Revisionist Western? Smile when you say that, pilgrim-O. Tipping

The Debt (Dec. 29) -- Helen Mirren and Sam Worthington star in this drama about Israeli agents sent to hunt down a notorious Nazi, only to face recriminations 30 years later. Tops

Blue Valentine (Dec. 31) -- Not too much is known about this romantic drama, other than it stars Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams, it jumps around in time, and it was a Sundance favorite. Tops

No comments:

Post a Comment