Thursday, December 3, 2009

For Your Consideration ... December Movie Releases

And now the studios bring out the big guns. The Oscar race has been pretty stagnant since the festivals at the end of summer, but the Big Four - The Lovely Bones, Invictus, Avatar, and Nine - are finally starting to be screened for critics. We'll see if the game changes much. Doesn't look like it's going to so far.


Armored - The director's first name is "Nimrod," which may not be a good sign. :P The cast is rather impressive - Dillon, Fishburne, Reno, and hey, is that Skeet Ulrich? - but I'd enjoy a movie like this much more in the summer.

Brothers - With names like Jim Sheridan and David Benioff - not to mention Jake Gyllenhaal and Tobey Maquire and Natalie Portman - it's got a good pedigree, if nothing else. I just don't really like the setup. And I REALLY don't like the Generic Precocious Kid I've seen in the trailer who knows waaaaaaay to much about her mommy's sex life and feels the need to tell daddy all about it.

Everybody's Fine - REMAKE! *takes a drink* Robert DeNiro is supposed to be remarkably good in this. Now, I know what you're thinking - DUH, he's ROBERT DENIRO, natch! But I think we can all agree that his career has been a little disappointing to watch for a while now (though I think his supporting turns in Stardust and The Good Shepherd are pretty stellar, in their own VERY different ways). This seems a lot like Last Chance Harvey, but I'm fairly interested to see this.

Serious Moonlight- Woman finds out her husband is leaving her for another woman, so she duct tapes him to a chair to keep him hostage until he falls back in love with her. This has gotten some harsh criticism, and I confess it strikes me as very creepy. I'm all for Meg Ryan breaking type and proving she can do something besides fall in love with Tom Hanks or Billy Crystal, but her attempts have been ham-fisted at best. Probably skipping this.

Translymania - This is apparently NOT part of that string of utter crap genre-spoof movies. Still, I will likely skip this. I've had enough of vampires for a while.

Up in the Air - (Limited release is this weekend; wide release Christmas Day.) Another one that's been on everyone's Oscar watch list since the summer, and the National Board of Review just named it the Best Picture of the Year. Common wisdom is that this will be Precious's big competitor for Best Picture at the Oscars. Rather excited about this. Jason Reitman apparently proves that a huge part of Juno's success was his direction. George Clooney plays with the public's perception of him as the eternal bachelor. And Anna Kendrick seems to be proving that she is way too good to be involved with the Twilight franchise.


Invictus - Clint Eastwood directs Morgan Freeman who plays Nelson Mandela. And the idea of national healing could not be more timely. No way I'm missing it, despite the mixed reviews.

The Lovely Bones - This is getting mixed reviews as well, though many of the complaints I've seen don't make a lot of sense to me. I'm personally not a fan of the "deceased loved ones watching us from heaven" idea. And by "not a fan" I mean I kind of hate it. But this is Peter Jackson we're talking about it, so I'm sure I'll see it. However, this is also coming out on BNAT weekend, so not right away.

The Princess and the Frog - A return to the old Disney 2D magic. This has been playing in NY and LA, but it's a special event that costs $30, so I'm waiting like everyone else. Very excited.

A Single Man - (limited release, goes wide on 25th) Not to be confused with the Coen brothers' A Serious Man. Colin Firth in what has been called a career-making, likely-Oscar-nominee role, playing a man whose lover (Matthew Goode) has just died. He won Best Actor for this at the Venice Film Festival. Directorial debut of fashion icon Tom Ford. Trailer looks stunning. Can't. Wait.

The Slammin' Salmon - From the guys who brought you Super Troopers, Club Dread and Beer Fest. I haven't seen any of those, so this is an unknown quantity. If you like those films, though, this is supposed to be an especially strong film of ... that sort.


Crazy Heart- Originally scheduled for a spring release, this has been pushed up for Oscar consideration (and because its star is doing a movie in the spring and wouldn't have been able to do press then), and Colin Firth will apparently have some serious competition for Best Actor from the LONG overdue Jeff Bridges. This movie seems like a cross between The Wrestler and Tender Mercies, with a lot of great original music. Can't wait for this.


Avatar - Was not terribly wowed by the first trailer, but the 16 minutes of footage in actual 3-D was pretty freakin' spectacular, as was the later, longer trailer. The most convincing 3-D I've ever seen (literally), but that's going to mean nada if there's not a solid story behind it. This is the big BNAT rumor, despite the fact that no Twentieth Century Fox movie seems to have had an advance screening there (there's some drama between Harry and the studio that I don't fully understand, but it's apparently SRS BZ). I can't imagine a better audience to show this to first, but I'm still dubious. We'll see (in about a week OMG).

Did You Hear About the Morgans? - Estranged couple is forced into the witness protection program. The trailer contains a reference to Sarah Palin, which is wonderful. I'm not going to much trouble to see this right away, though. It seems to ring all those rom-com cliche bells.

Nine - (limited release, goes wide on 25th) "Beeeeee Italiaaaaan!" I can't even tell you how much I want to see this movie. I saw a recording of the original production with Raul Julia, and it is an amazing musical. I'm concerned about the adaptation, though, as they've cut a few key songs (for example, the title song "Nine") and changed some of the characters completely. This was one of my BNAT premiere guesses.

The Young Victoria - Love this trailer, love Emily Blunt, and love that Queen Victoria is getting the full Hollywood treatment. I've heard not-great things about Blunt's performance and the movie in general, but Rupert Friend is supposed to be wonderful.


Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel - Part of my soul died just from reading the title. I dare not set my eyes upon such a creature.

The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus - (limited) Those who have seen it at the festivals have said great things about it. After a rough patch battling studios for creative control, I hope very much that this is a return to form for Gilliam. The man has a vision like no one else. I'm also looking forward to seeing how the film works around the incomplete performance of Heath Ledger.

It's Complicated - I'm not wild about this one. I'm all for older actresses playing alluring romcom heroines, especially if they're Meryl Streep, but the concept seems kind of soapy. Also, despite a strong lead performance in a similar central character, Something's Gotta Give was enough to put me off filmmaker Nancy Meyers. Alec Baldwin, on the other hand, is supposed to be remarkable. (His Oscar co-host Steve Martin is also in this.)

Sherlock Holmes - "Get that out of my face." "It's not in your face, it's in my hand." "Get what's in your hand out of my face." Another possible BNAT entry. A new energy for Holmes and supposedly heavy on the homoerotic tension between he and Watson.

And finally...

The White Ribbon - Palm d'Or winner at Cannes, about children who were part of the generation that grew up to be the Nazis. Looks absolutely gorgeous, and director Michael Haneke always has something to say worth listening to.

My personal must-sees:
Up in the Air
The Lovely Bones
The Princess and the Frog
A Single Man
Crazy Heart
Sherlock Holmes
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
The White Ribbon

No comments:

Post a Comment