[MUST-SEE] The Black Swan - [limited] I've watched the trailer twice by my own volition (and a few times in front of films it's been attached to), but I am determined to know as little as possible about this going in. There is ballet, body horror, and psychological terror. The director said this and his previous film The Wrestler were at one point all one movie. That's already more than I want to know. This has gotten some incredible buzz coming out of the festivals, and I cannot wait to see it. Darren Aronofsky is fast becoming one of the all-time greats. Another one in my "most anticipated" pile. I'm hoping to make it a triple feature with two other ballet-centric movies, The Red Shoes and Suspiria.
All Good Things - [limited] Now is the winter of our Ryan Gosling (with this and Blue Valentine coming out this month)! I've seen the trailer for this a few times, and I still can't figure out what it's about. Is it a love story about people from opposite sides of "the tracks"? Is is a story about a man's career and family heritage coming between him and his wife? Is it about a woman giving up everything about herself for her marriage? Is it (and this doesn't even come up until the last couple of seconds) a murder mystery? I'm waiting to hear more, even if more is just "trust me, you want to know as little as possible."
I Love You Phillip Morris - [LA/NY] I am downright furious at the treatment this film has gotten in the last several months. I've put this on I don't know how many drafts of the coming months' releases and it has kept getting pushed back. I saw it written in my old calendar for JULY. And it's as clear as day why this has happened - studios don't know how to sell Jim Carrey as a man in love with another man. I hope THIS time it actually sees the inside of a theater.
Night Catches Us - [LA/NY/Phil.] I have literally never heard of this film (which apparently premiered at Sundance in January) until today when it suddenly showed up on IMDB's "coming soon" page. This also just got nominated for Best First Feature at the Independent Spirit Awards. Anthony Mackie, who made a memorable supporting turn in The Hurt Locker, gets top billing in this, alongside Kerry Washington, as a man accused of orchestrating the murder of a Black Panther. This looks very interesting and has (judging from the trailer) some amazing music by The Roots. Sadly, however, this is exactly the kind of thing that slips through the cracks of my movie-watching. Hopefully, it will be playing somewhere in January during the nadir of good movies.
Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale - [NY] Last holiday season I amused myself while listening to "Here Comes Santa Claus" that the lyrics could be the tagline for a slasher flick - "Hang your stockings and say your prayers, 'cause Santa Claus is coming tonight - MUAHAHAHAHA!" The good people of Finland seem to have heard my giggling and have made a film about Santa as the boogeyman. Which, if you think about it, is not far off the mark.
The Warrior's Way - The trailer totally had me at "Ninjas ... damn." Ninja assassins AND Geoffrey Rush? God bless us every one, it's Christmas after all!
Meskada - [LA/NY] What is it with these movies popping up out of thin air on the release schedule?! Buzz on this is not good, despite the impressive cast (Nick Stahl, Walking Dead's Norman Reedus, and Grace Gummer (daughter of Meryl Streep, and I'm sure she loves people calling her that)).
The Tourist - Something about Angelina Jolie's way-too-clean British accent is off-putting. But ... Johnny Depp. You know I'm there. :-) Also, the line about "upgrade it from room service" gets me every time I see the trailer.
The Tempest - Julie Taymor's film projects have been hit and miss, mostly miss for me. The film I like best of hers is Across the Universe, but it's still deeply flawed, in my opinion. This has not gotten good reception at all. I still think my favorite way of experiencing this particular Shakespeare play is the fantastic documentary Shakespeare Behind Bars. May watch that again instead and listen to the recording of Anne Hathaway and Audra McDonald singing "Full Phathom Five."
The Company Men - I could have sworn this was coming out a couple of months ago, and I may have even had it on one of the other months' posts. John Wells, the television producer who gave us E.R. and (*choir of angels singing*) The West Wing turns his eyes to films. The trailer breaks my heart, and it actually looks like even more of a "movie of the moment" than Up in the Air, with the focus on layoffs and trying to pick up the pieces and start one's life again.
The Fighter - [limited] After screening at AFI a few weeks ago, this has gotten all kinds of Oscar buzz. It's the kind of crowd-pleaser that would do well, even without the expanded Best Picture field. Most attention seems to be going to Christian Bale, though, rather than Wahlberg, the film's star. What is it about boxing movies that's so darned captivating?
Voyage of the Dawn Treader - I confess that I have read none of the Narnia books save The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, so I have no idea what to expect here. Except that I understand what little there is of shipping to be had in the series appears in this book. I'm not sure what it is about these films that strikes me as disappointing, but this looks more in the same a-cut-below vein.
[MUST-SEE] TRON: Legacy - Possible BNAT premiere? It's 1982 predecessor screened at the very first BNAT. I appreciate the nostalgia for the original, and I do think it's rather cool, but I saw it relatively late in life, so I don't have the same reverence for it that the fanboys do. Still, it looks pretty wicked awesome. And how about that movie magic making Jeff Bridges look twenty-eight years younger?
Yogi Bear - No. I don't care who does the voices (Dan Ackroyd and Justin Timberlake, in this case). Thank goodness for Tron, otherwise this would make even more money than it probably still will.
Rabbit Hole - [limited] Nicole Kidman is apparently back in fine form in this grieving parent dramedy from John Cameron Mitchell (of Hedwig and the Angry Inch fame). Everything I've seen and heard makes me want to see this even more. Perhaps no piece of marketing, however, is as brilliant as this poster. How amazing is that?!
Casino Jack - [limited] Wasn't there a documentary about Abramoff recently? This is getting pretty good buzz. I haven't seen a lot of Kevin Spacey lately, but it's good to see him ... back, I guess.
How Do You Know - It's hard to believe James L. Brooks has only directed five films before this in his entire career. He's been far too busy with "The Simpsons," I expect. But three of his five films are absolute classics - Terms of Endearment, Broadcast News, and As Good as It Gets. I look forward to seeing this latest directorial offering. Except that I resent that idea that a woman of 27 is "a bit past her prime," as the IMDB synopsis puts it. Hmph.
[MUST-SEE] True Grit - Now is also the winter of our Jeff Bridges. This looks so awesome it ought to be criminal, which usually means a movie is bound to disappoint, but the response to this week's secret screening has been incredible. I'll go ahead and say that I don't foresee it making a huge Oscar impact, since the Coens sweep for No Country for Old Men (another western) was just three years ago and Jeff Bridges won just last year. Honestly, though? I don't really care. This looks amazing and I can't freaking WAIT. *crosses fingers for a BNAT screening, though we'll probably get our Bridges fix with Tron instead*
[Side note: I was watching the first trailer recently that has the a cappella gospel song playing in the background. The song is "Where No One Stands Alone," as recorded by the Peasall Sisters, who provided the singing voices for George Clooney's three daughters in another Coens film, O Brother, Where Are Thou?. I just thought that was cool. And a great song, too. :) ]
Little Fockers - I have never gotten into these films at all (I think I finally, accidentally saw the first one a few years ago and found it mildly amusing at best). I'm impatiently waiting for this franchise to just go away.
Gulliver's Travels - Everything I've seen looks terrible, but I guess the studio has faith in it if they're putting it out this close to Christmas.
Country Strong - [limited] So ... Crazy Heart, but with a rich female singer instead of a washed up has-been? Seriously, the character even has a drinking problem, which of course is not unusual for the country music business, but still. And while I love me some Gwyneth Paltrow, her accent in this kind of grates. I think it's cool that she's getting another chance to show off her singing ability, though, because she's pretty darn good. And I have to say that setting it in Nashville is obviously pushing my hometown buttons. Also, YAY WOMEN FILMMAKERS.
The Illusionist - [limited] From the filmmakers who brought us the delightful Triplets of Belleville. That alone is enough to recommend it.
Somewhere - [limited] The latest from Sofia Coppola and the big Venice Film Festival winner. There's a thread running through most of her work regarding the loneliness of fame. This looks pretty interesting, but the name Fanning (even if it's not Dakota) makes me twitch.
Biutiful - [limited] Responses to this on the festival circuit have been all over the map. The trailer for this movie may in fact be the most pretentious thing I have EVER seen, and the director Alejandro González Iñárritu is sometimes brilliant, sometimes infuriating (I loved his 21 Grams, hated Babel). Javier Bardem, however, may be enough to get me to a theater to see it.
Another Year - [limited] I love Mike Leigh, and he's made some of the most interesting and complex character studies of anyone making movies in the last twenty years. I don't know that anything of his will exceed my affection for Topsy-Turvy, but this looks wonderful. Speaking of Topsy-Turvy, I'm always amused to see people who've played a couple (in this case, Mr. and Mrs. Gilbert, played in TT by Jim Broadbent and Lesley Manville, respectively) playing something totally different.
Blue Valentine - Another movie the MPAA ratings board has picked out to make an example of, this time slapping an NC-17 rating on what should by all accounts be rated R. The trailer is adorable (though I understand the film is heart-shattering), and I can't wait to see this.