All the entertainment news magazines have started to print out their fall movie previews. Here, I am only writing about the movies that look good to me. So if you’re looking for some pithy comment about how “Hugh Jackman is the Real Steel,” look elsewhere.
September and October
Drive (Sept. 16)- The first US film from Danish director Nicholas Refn (Valhalla Rising). This film, about a Hollywood stunt driver who moonlights as a get-away driver for criminals, is piquing my interest, not just because Ryan Gosling is the “It-boy” of the moment. It looks like an indie-action film that places a value on the performance of its actors rather than the action itself. So in a way, it’s the anti-Michael Bay movie. And what a cast this movie has—Albert Brooks (who is drumming up Oscar buzz for his against-type performance as a criminal boss), Bryan Cranston, Christina Hendricks (It’s an AMC party!), Ron Perlman and Carey Mulligan. I will definitely be seeing this film on opening weekend.
Moneyball (Sept. 23)- This film has been in the works for years, making its way through the hands of David Frankel (Marley and Me), Steven Soderbergh and Aaron Sorkin. Last year, the film finally started production under the helm of Bennett Miller (Capote) and a rewrite by Steven Zaillian (Schiendler’s List). It looks like this year’s Social Network, what with its grade-A cast (Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Chris Pratt, Robin Wright) intelligent, fast-paced script, Oscar-nominated director, and real-life based melodrama revolving around a couple of underdogs who “changed everything.” Even better though, it’s about sports! Its engrossing source material, the book Moneyball by Michael Lewis, is also a fascinating read and I urge everybody to check it out. As a sidenote, it is especially great to see the always charming Brad Pitt go back to a fun, leading role again, after being serious and dreary in Tree of Life, Benjamin Button and The Assassination of Jesse James. It will also be interesting to see Jonah Hill actually act and in something other than a Judd Apatow movie.
Killer Elite (Sept. 23)- Clive Owen, Jason Statham and Robert DeNiro. One has a mustache, one has stubble and one has a full beard. No one in this movie has time to shave because they’re too busy kicking ass. I honestly don’t care what this movie is about. I imagine it’s about three guys who intimidate, double cross and try to kill each other. In a perfect world, there would be no one else in the movie but the three leads (and maybe a chick) and every other scene would be a fight sequence. It would start out with Jason Statham tied to a chair and Clive Owen pointing a gun to his head. But Statham escapes, kicking Owen’s ass in the process. Then Owen goes to DeNiro in an abandoned warehouse to tell him to go kill Statham, but instead DeNiro plots with Statham (in a deli) to kill Owen. So DeNiro goes to “kill” Statham (in an airplane hanger), but ends up in a trap because Owen and Statham have plotted to kill DeNiro. So DeNiro fights his way through those two assholes and escapes. He goes to Owen (at a construction site) and you realize that the whole thing was a setup and that DeNiro was on Owen’s side the whole time and let himself be beat up to fool Statham. Then maybe money is involved and at one point Owen and Statham double-team some chick (at a shoe factory). But mostly the movie continues with one-on-one fight scenes and intimidating conversations. If Killer Elite is anything like what I just laid out, I will see it opening day.
The Ides of March (Oct. 7)- This George Clooney directed film is based on the award-winning play, Farragut North, which was loosely based on the 2004 Howard Dean presidential campaign. The last politically themed Clooney-directed film was Good Night and Good Luck (2005), which was amazing. I’m looking forward to this film, not only because of its top-notch cast (Clooney, Hoffman, Gosling, Paul Giamatti, Evan Rachel Wood, Marissa Tomei), but because it looks relevant, engrossing, complicated, and well done.
The Big Year (Oct. 14)- The trailer for this film was underwhelming, and completely ignored the film’s plot, which is about a bird-watching competition. I don’t care about director David Frankel (The Devil Wears Prada), and it’s not a great sign that the last produced screenplay of the film’s screenwriter, Howard Franklin, was in 2001, but I have to think that a movie starring Steve Martin, Jack Black and Owen Wilson, and boasting a supporting cast of Rashida Jones, Joel McHale, Dianne Wiest, Anjelica Huston, and Brian Dennehy, can’t possibly be anything but charming. Owen Wilson is doing just fine right now thanks to Midnight in Paris, and Steve Martin will always be a welcome presence on screen, so it’s Jack Black’s career that has the most on the line. I hope this film that reminds me why I like School of Rock instead of why Gulliver’s Travels was so shitty.
In Time (Oct. 28)- Writer/Director Andrew Niccol is the brainiac behind such high-concept films as The Truman Show, S1m0ne, The Terminal, and Gattaca, and while only two of these movies are any good, the effort and deep questions these films bring up are worthy of merit. The big, deep question with this film is, can Justin Timberlake actually be a movie star? (The film actually revolves around a futuristic world in which time is used as currency). I have mixed feelings about J.Tizzle. I love him on SNL, and I liked him in The Social Network, but in the trailers for Friends with Benefits, his camera mugging and attitude of “I know what I’m saying is funny and charming” really turned me off. In In Time, it seems like JT won’t have time to mug as he’ll be too busy running from bad guys (like Pete Campbell!), so maybe he’ll be enjoyable to watch on screen. On the female front, I don’t find anything intriguing about hot It-Girls Amanda Seyfried and Olivia Wilde. Amanda was great in Mean Girls, but her safe choices of dumb romance movies are uninspiring and what was supposed to be Olivia’s breakout summer (with starring roles in Cowboys and Aliens and The Change Up) turned into a summer of busts. Both of these ladies have a lot to prove in terms of being movie stars.
NOVEMBER AND DECEMBER PREVIEWS COMING SOON!
Hi readers! Right out of the gate I want to let you know that in the coming weeks I will begin making some upgrades to this blog. Most changes will be minor (formatting, etc.) but the biggest change is that I will be trying to post more frequently, which means I will write more concise bi/tri-weekly posts instead of having one gigantic post every two and a half weeks. I am very excited about this, so please, if you have an RSS feed or a Google Reader account, add me to your list!
Ok–on with the show!
Like most of America, I was very disappointed by last night’s Oscar ceremony. Overall I found it dull, tedious, unbelievably unfunny, uncomfortable at times, and anti-climactic. But I tried to live blog/tweet through it all. So here it is–I present to you my live OSCAR BLOG!
7:27- Source Code = Groundhog day + more explosions
Picks in advance: Best Picture- King’s Speech
Best Actor- Firth
Best Actress- Portman
Best Supporting Actor- Bale
Best Supporting Actress- Leo
7:32- Opening video reminds me of MTV Movie Awards. Bringing in Alec Baldwin is clutch, but why bring in last year’s lesser funny Oscar host?
Pretty lazy opening overall. This sucks.
What does Back to the Future have to do with anything? Why not.
7:36- I don’t think I laughed once during this whole opening. Does not bode well for the future
7:38- Very pithy banter. Really stupid jokes. REALLY STUPID JOKES. I wonder what jokes they threw out?
7:40- Is James Franco going to murmur every line?
7:40 – Have we decided that comedians need to host the Oscars again?
7:42- Tom Hanks hasn’t won an Oscar in 16 years. Like Meryl Streep, he’s due.
7:44- I predict Alice In Wonderland for art direction—I WIN!
7:45- Tim Burton not nearly as happy that his movie won. He looks like a Basset Hound
7:46- Now he’s a happy Burton. Dating Tim Burton was the best thing that ever happened to Helena Bonham Carter’s career.
7:55- Kirk Douglas is going off script! STOP GOING OFF SCRIPT! THIS IS SO UNCOMFORTABLE!
7:56- You know who feels the worst about Kirk Douglas? Catherine Zeta Jones. That’s what she has to look forward to in 20 years.
7:57- Melissa Leo wins! Nice surprised face. But you’re taking way too much time! You had so much time to practice this speech why are you so obnoxiously gracious? Way too over the top for me. Why are you using his cane to walk off stage? What is all this nonsense!
8:00- Timberlake and Mila Kunilingus’ banter is so awful. Hey! At least he improvised a joke- You know! I think he should host next year.
8:07- John Lasseter is one of the richest people in the world and I bet he spends all of his money on toys. Toys and Hawaiian shirts.
8:13- Penelope Cruz had big boobs before. But now she has “I just had a baby boobs.” Who’s hotter: her or Sofia Vergara? I can’t decide!!!!!!
8:14 Did Brolin and Bardem plan to wear the same tux?
8:19- David Seidler better have a great fucking speech. Really peaked late as a writer. His last movie was 2009’s TV Movie Kung Fu Killer starring David Carradine. Also wrote Warner Bros animated non-classic Quest for Camelot.
8:27 I want to know what sketch they decided to take out so we could hear Anne Hathaway sing a 30 second bitch slap to Hugh Jackman? Is she auditioning for her high school musical? What’s going on here!
8:47- Way to ruin the ending of True Grit oscars!
8:50- That guy must have worked hard to make the choo choo sounds in Unstoppable!
8:58- Rick Baker has a GORGEOUS mane. Reminds me of Lucius Malfoy’s. Love that The Wolfman won an oscar while True Grit and The Kids are Alright wont.
9:03- Fun fact Randy Newman is 1/19 in Oscars wins.
9:11 Laziest comedy writing ever. Made out with Anne Hathaway….in a MOVIE! HAHAHAHAHA! Franco is so ironic. What happened to Bruce Vilanch!
9:16- Oscar autotune was most creative thing they’ve done so far.
9:29- “Please come back!”- The Audience to Billy Crystal
10:04- Biggest mistake of the night. David Fincher totally deserved that. Hollywood must really hate him because there’s really nothing special about the way The King’s Speech was directed.
10:06- Way too much Celine Dion tonight. No one likes her. The Oscars really jumped the shark.
10:20: Finally! Presenters with charisma! Bullock and Bridges were great.
THAT’S AS FAR AS I GOT. I was really bored and had nothing more to say. But hey! There’s always next year!
Have you seen the new trailer for YOGI BEAR? I have! It looks terrible!
I really liked the choice of Dan Aykroyd for Yogi Bear (just as I think Bill Murray as Garfield was an inspired choice), however Justin Timberlake as Boo-Boo is stunt casting if I’ve ever heard it. (I guess you can’t really make the argument that Americans were waiting for Dan Aykroyd and J-Tizzle to really GO AT IT with each other…but still.) Justin Timberlake’s Boo Boo voice is just Justin with a high pitch whine. Every time Boo Boo has a line I think, “Hey Justin Timberlake’s in this movie.” (Truth be told though, every time I see Justin Timberlake anywhere I think–“Hey! There’s Justin Timberlake.”)
Also, I’m not a tech nerd, but the CGI just looks terrible. The other bummer is that Anna Faris is in this movie. She has such a promising career! I don’t know why she would lower herself to this “Alvin and the Chipmunks” ripoff garbage. (I mean…I do know–$$$!)
**Sidenote— Since Alvin and the Chipmunks came out a few Decembers ago and made like $200 million, every old cartoon is being converted into a CGI movie. The Smurfs Movie is coming out soon, starring Neil Patrick Harris. There is also a Speedy Gonzales Movie starring George Lopez, a He-Man Master of the Universe Movie and a Thundercats movie all in the works. Not to mention past movies like Speed Racer and Underdog. The hope is that teens/adults who remember these cartoons will take their kids to see the movies, thus appealing to 2 or 3 of the 4 crucial demographics (those being: MEN, WOMEN, Kids, Older Folks). The only problem is–a lot of those cartoons werent good, and were not meant to have characters sustained for over 10 minutes. For example, Speedy Gonzales is funny for 5 minutes. I can’t imagine watching him for 90. Hollywood–stop turning fine cartoons into shitty movies!
BUT BACK TO YOGI BEAR–What good is having this movie in 3D? (I know I know! $) but still! Unless Yogi can actually steal the popcorn on my lap, there is nothing that 3D can help this movie “achieve.” I think in some cases 3D will end up hurting the movie more than helping it, like with Cats and Dogs 2 in 3D which came out this past weekend. Parents aren’t going to be willing to shell out 18 bucks for a real shitty movie. 12 bucks maybe, but not 18.
The Social Network- You’ve probably already seen the trailer for this movie, but if you haven’t you should watch it now! It looks awesome, which I’m sure the movie will be, considering it’s directed by David Fincher (Se7en, Fight Club, Zodiac) and written by Aaron Sorkin (A Few Good Men, The West Wing). The acapella use of the song “Creep” against backgrounds of facebook’s features really gets the audience uncomfortably thinking about their own facebook use. The trailer is also interestingly and intensely cut.
A few years ago, Aaron Sorkin started a facebook group so he could find out more about facebook from the inside. This was a while ago, before your mom and your seven year old sister could sign up. So I appreciate that he did his research. But this movie isn’t going to be about where “poking” comes from. It’s a drama about friendship and business and trust and money and relationships. The intriguing part is that the backdrop of the movie is obviously a website, nay–an institution that is so integral to our every day lives, but who’s origins are still quite the mystery for most of us. I’m excited for this movie. But this is the last movie I want to see Jesse Eisenberg in, playing a more confident, smarter Michael Cera. Ok Jesse?
LET’S TALK ABOUT CRAZY THINGS IN HOLLYWOOD
1. Paramount signed on to make a 3D Justin Bieber biopic/concert film. To be directed by none other than the director of Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth.” WOT! I’m not even mad that they’re making a Justin Bieber movie, cause honestly, that was to be expected. After all, it’s Justin Bieber’s world now. We’re all just living in it. The sooner we realize that the faster we can get on with our lives. (By the way Usher is smiling in this picture because for every record Bieber sells, Usher makes like $15. Usher owns Bieber. He’s like Strombolli, the evil puppet master who discovers Pinnochio, lets him sing “I’ve Got No Strings” and makes straight up cash money.)
But Mr. Director sir (Davis Guggenheim), who also just directed a documentary about the failure of the public school systems, How can you possibly go from directing movies of the utmost importance and relevance to America and the global community to a CONCERT movie starring a universally disrespected 15 year old pop queen. And no disrespect to concert movies–Martin Scorsese does excellent work with the Rolling Stones. But Mr. Guggenheim, The Rolling Stones Justin Bieber is not.
IMPORTANT BREAKING NEWS! (2 days after I began writing this post.) Guggenheim just dropped out of the movie. Darn. That was so close to being the craziest thing I’ve ever heard. The fact that he had legit signed on to do it is still crazy, but in the end, thank God, all this Guggenheim talk is for naught.
*Sidenote–Justin Bieber is really one of the most polarizing figures of today. Spending the summer around kids aged 9-15, I have realized that one either HATES Justin Bieber with a passion and want to rip out his larynx, decapitate him, take out his brain insides, fill it up with Smarties, and turn his head into a Bieber pinata….OR you LOVE JUSTIN BIEBER SO MUCH IT MAKES YOU PUKE! You have to watch BABY 30 times a day, you have pictures of him all over your bed, and you live your life by the Bieber code–just be yourself! There is no middle ground. Kids dont “not give a shit” about Justin Bieber. He’s like the “Inception” of popstars.
Also, Justin Bieber is writing a memoir. Or more like telling a writer funny stories about his first haircut and the first time he was raped by pixies.
HOLLYWOOD NONSENSE NUMBER 2-
As pointed out to me by Daniel “I know Gregory Rollman” Arkin, Universal is developing the film BATTLESHIP, based on the board game, as a starring vehicle for Rihanna. The logline is as follows: “Battleship will unfold as a massive Naval adventure across the seas, in the skies and over land as our planet fights for survival against a superior force.”
YEA FOR MAKING QUALITY MOVIES!
HOLLYWOOD NONSENSE NUMBER 3-
Hollywood is remaking Ahnuld Schwarzenegger’s TOTAL RECALL.
What’s with all the Ahnuld remakes! First Predator, then I hear about a Commando remake! Now this? STOP remaking Arnold movies! They’re not going to get any better. They’re perfect the way they are. Please! Leave AHNULD ALONEEEEE! Abadah.
Thanks for reading!