März 21, 2009
The Long-Awaited Film Post (That I Just Found While Clearing My Harddrive)
When a few of us got together before Christmas, kalafudra and I tried to name the “Films To Look Forward To „. I’d like to think we did pretty well. Still, I’ve decided to come up with a more in-depth list, because it’s always nice to know what goodness (or greatness, or potentially epic failure) lies ahead ^_^ The list is by no means exhaustive, the research is, of course, sloppy at best, and the selection/reasoning depend entirely on my personal whims. (I’m doing this one in English, because my sources are in English, and I don’t like mixing English titles with German descriptions…Also, I can’t be arsed to translate that stuff in my head. Sorry.)
“Che: The Argentine/ The Guerilla” (Steven Soderbergh)
Plot: A two-part biopic of guess-who, starring Benicio DelToro.
Reason to care: Firstly, DelToro and Soderbergh make for a winning combination. Secondly, this one has received a lot of critical acclaim despite the fact that it’s about a guy who has to be excavated from beneath layer upon layer of sentimental myth.
“Duplicity” (Tony Gilroy)
Plot: Julia Roberts and Clive Owen as corporate spies who team up against their employers.
Reason to care: Precedent says that goodness will ensue when Roberts and Owen team up on screen. And the script for this one comes from the guy who wrote “Michael Clayton”.
“Genova” (Michael Winterbottom)
Plot: After the death of his wife, a man relocates to Italy with his two daughters.
Reason to care: Colin Firth in a film that isn’t a rom-com is always good (or at least interesting) to watch, and Michael Winterbottom films are always worth watching.
“Monsters vs Aliens” (Rob Letterman, Conrad Vernon)
Plot: Dreamworks blockbuster about humans-turned-monsters fight aliens who invade earth.
Reason to care: Oh c’mon…need I say more? Because there is more: The trailer is great, and Stephen Colbert plays the President of the United States. There is one downside, though, it’s a 3D-feature. Yes I know it’s supposed to be the future. But that future is damn annoying and gives me headaches.
“Dragonball: Evolution” (James Wong)
Plot: Adaptation of a looooong-running manga/anime/computer game franchise about aliens with martial-arts superpowers.
Reason to care: I admit, if you don’t know anything about Dragonball, this one will not be for you. If you are over 14 years old and don’t have access to a cinema where you won’t be recognized, it might also not be for you. But in my (limited) experience, anime adaptations are awesome, if unintentionally so. I can’t wait!!! (*squee*)
“Crank 2: High Voltage” (Mark Neveldine, Brian Taylor)
Plot: Sayeth Imdb: “Chelios faces a Chinese mobster who has stolen his nearly indestructible heart and replaced it with a battery-powered ticker that requires regular jolts of electricity to keep working.”
Reason to care: WTF? Didn’t he die at the end of the first one? Wasn’t that, like, the point? On the other hand…do we care? It will be exactly what it says on the tin, one long chase-scene interrupted by the occasional brawl, peppered with explosions. Which is a good thing.
“State of Play” (Kevin MacDonald)
Plot: This one is based on a BBC miniseries, about journalists and reporters investigating a scandal around a politician’s mistress.
Reason to care: The original was apparently great, and I will watch it as soon as I can. This one boasts Russel Crowe, Rachel McAdams, Ben Affleck and Helen Mirren.
“X-Men Origins: Wolverine” (Gavin Hood)
Plot: The first spin-off of the franchise, detailing Wolverine’s past.
Reason to care: I nearly hyperventilated with happiness when I saw the first trailer for this one. Lots of Hugh Jackman, no Brett Ratner…what more could a fangirl want? Gambit? Oh wait, he’s in there, too!
“Star Trek” (J.J. Abrams)
Plot: Call it a re-boot or a re-imagining, this one has young, hot-headed Kirk meeting his crew in a bar and joining them to boldly go and fight Romulans.
Reason to care: For non-geeks, this might be an unthreatening window into the Trekverse, since it requires no knowledge of canon whatsoever. For geeks like me, this could go both ways: Either it will re-energize the franchise, or it will alienate people and give me stuff to bitch about for weeks. What I know so far is that the casting is mostly awesome, and that Leonard Nimoy makes a cameo appearance. I don’t get why the physiology and culture of the Romulans were changed, and I don’t think I’ll like it. What I do like is that, judging from the trailer, this film finally recognizes that James T Kirk is an ass. Loyal to his friends, brilliant as a Captain, but fundamentally an ass.
“Synechdoche, New York” (Charlie Kaufmann)
Plot: A depressed theatre author builds a miniature version of New York inside a warehouse.
Reason to care: This is the first time Charlie Kaufmann hasn’t just written, but also directed. Let’s see what he picked up from Jonze and Gondry. Philip Seymour Hoffman’s reportedly great acting is one hell of a bonus.
“Up” (Pete Docter, Bob Peterson)
Plot: An old man ties balloons to his house and flies to South America.
Reason to care: It’s Pixar. Enough said.
“Inglorious Basterds” (Quentin Tarantino)
Plot: A group of Jewish-American commandos in WWII, who spread fear behind enemy lines by scalping and killing Nazis.
Reason to care: Check out the complete cast list. (Gedeon Burkhard, from Rex to Riches, lol) Even if everything about this film went completely wrong, it would still be memorable.
“Terminator: Salvation” (McG)
Plot: Post-apocalyptic struggle against the rise of the machines…who cares?
Reason to care: Confession time: I haven’t seen even a single minute of Terminator, yet. And I’m not sure whether I’ll watch the TV show. But I like McG’s style, and Christian Bale doesn’t appear in bad movies.
“Public Enemies” (Michael Mann)
Plot: Period drama about the newly established FBI’s fight against John Dillinger and other high profile crime bosses.
Reason to care: Apart from a plot that sounds really interesting? How about Christian Bale vs Johnny Depp?
“2012” (Roland Emmerich)
Plot: It’s a Roland Emmerich oevre about the apocalypse as predicted by the Mayan calendar.
Reason to care: Emmerich is a bit of a one trick pony, but unless he messes with history, I don’t really mind that much. (I’ll get a nice mammoth-bone club and carry it around with me, so I can beat him up if I ever meet him.) Anyway, I’m avoiding the trailer for this one on purpose, because that way I can keep hoping that this might also be the apocalypse as predicted by Cancerman in “X-Files”.
“Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” (David Yates)
Plot: The sixth installment of the series. If you thought the last one was dark, you ain’t seen nothing yet.
Reason to care: Where was this film at Christmas? Bad studio! Bad!!! If there was any justice in the world, and any strength of character in me, this film would be boycotted just for the blatant profit-maximising cheek of it. But, of course, I will be there to watch it, probably in the first week, as the last installment of a Potter-marathon. Because I’m still hoping the film will deliver what I want to see.
“GI Joe: Rise of Cobra” (Stephen Sommers)
Plot: Sayeth Imdb: An elite military unit comprised of special operatives known as G.I. Joe, operating out of The Pit, takes on an evil organization led by a notorious arms dealer. Sayeth Me: Plot? We don’t need no stinkin plot.
Reason to care: For the non-Americans reading this: GI Joe = Action Man. Yes, it’s another cult toy franchise for boys making the jump onto the big screen. (There’s probably a feminist rant somewhere in this, but I couldn’t stomach “Barbie – The Movie”, so I’ll just leave it for now.) Stephen Sommers has proven that he can direct solid, entertaining action flicks. He has also proven that he can direct awful trainwrecks. Personally, I’ll be watching this one just to see which one it’ll be this time ^_^ (This is another one with an interesting cast list, btw.)
“The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus” (Terry Gilliam)
Plot: A travelling theatre, parallel worlds, deals with the devil, a promise of the maiden’s hand in marriage…general Gilliam-awesomeness.
Reason to care: Terry Gilliam. Heath Ledger, Johnny Depp, Colin Farell and Jude Law all starring as “Tony”. Terry Gilliam. Tom Waits. Terry Gilliam. Christopher Plummer. Terry Gilliam.
“Where The Wild Things Are” (Spike Jonze)
Plot: Adaptation of a classic bedtime-story about a boy who gets sent to bed without his dinner and invents his own world full of wild beasts that crown him as their ruler.
Reason to care: I’ve had a look at the book and it looks cute. In the hands of Spike Jonze, it could become amazing. There’s also some serious acting talent in this.
“Sherlock Holmes” (Guy Ritchie)
Plot: Robert Downey Jr and Jude Law as Holmes and Watson in the umpteenth reworking of a great story.
Reason to care: Downey Jr is on top of the world right now, and he is the perfect choice to play Sherlock Holmes. The rest of the cast isn’t bad, either, but the cast list alone tells me they’re playing havoc with the established canon. The way I see it, one of two things will happen: Either, I will walk out of this in tears, outraged and disappointed, seeking the safe refuge of my ITV Holmes box-sets. Or I will float out on a wave of Holmes-enduced euphoria, happy with the world and begging for sequels. From the few screenshots I’ve seen so far, I’m guessing it will be the latter. After all, a film with a character called “Lord Coward” can’t possibly go wrong.
“The Wolf Man” (Joe Johnston)
Plot: During a visit to the country of his ancestors, an American man is bitten and cursed by a werewolf.
Reason to care: At first, I figured that this was either going to be a trainwreck à la “Van Helsing”, or a cult classic close to the 1941 original. Then I saw who was in it: Benicio Del Toro, Anthony Hopkins, Emily Blunt, Hugo Weaving and Geraldine Chaplin. Are you interested, yet?
“The Lovely Bones” (Peter Jackson)
Plot: Adapted from a bestselling novel, this tells the story of a murder, narrated by the victim.
Reason to care: Before Peter Jackson set out to boost New Zealands tourism industry, he made “Heavenly Creatures”, so he’s proven his mettle when it comes to not-so-epic-not-trilogies. The cast, with one glaring exception, seems excellent, but I’m always willing to be surprised by Mark Wahlberg.
“Coraline” (Henry Selik)
Plot: Coraline walks through a secret door in her family’s new home and discovers a world that is almost, but not quite, the same as her own.
Reason to care: This is adapted from a book by Neil Gaiman, which was one of the best and creepiest children’s stories I’ve ever some across. That alone would be reason enough to go watch it on opening night, in my book. For any philistines who might need additional reasons, let me tell you that the stop motion animation looks fantastic, that Dakota Fanning voices Coraline and Teri Hatcher the Other Mother.
“Rachel Getting Married” (Jonathan Demme)
Plot: A young woman who has been in and out of rehab for years returns home for her sister’s wedding.
Reason to care: First of all, Anne Hathaway owes us. Bigtime. Because Bride Wars was Not Ok. Secondly, the plot sounds really interesting and the reviews are positive. And thirdly, Rosemary DeWitt adds value to any project she’s in.
“Wendy and Lucy” (Kelly Reichardt)
Plot: A quiet story about woman and her dog, struggling with poverty. I’m not sure this one needs a plot…it seems to be more of a study on mood and character.
Reason to care: Michelle Williams is always good. And the last film that came along like that, all quiet and unassuming, was “Lars and the Real Girl”, which I fell in love with instantly.
“The Visitor” (Thomas McCarthy)
Plot: A college professor returns from a conference to find a couple of illegal immigrants living in his appartment.
Reason to care: Apart from heaps and heaps of critical acclaim? What would you do? Seriously, what would you do?
“Robin Hood”, formerly known as “Nottingham” (Ridley Scott)
Plot: Oh come on.
Reason to care: I think there should be some kind of court imposed restraining order seperating Russel Crowe and Ridley Scott. And having Crowe play both Robin *and* Nottingham is beyond weird. But…and there are several buts: Two of them are called Cate Blanchett and Mark Strong. And I have high hopes that this film will be the “Kingdom of Heaven” of the year. I see great comedic potential.
“Planet 51” (Jorge Bianco)
Plot: The inhabitants of Planet 51 live in fear of alien invasion. When an astronaut from Earth arrives, their fears seem to become reality.
Reason to care: Watch. The. Trailer. I dare you not to laugh.
“Fanboys” (Kyle Newman)
Plot: In 1998, five Star Wars fans travelled to Skywalker Ranch to steal an early copy of The Phantom Menace.
Reason to care: I have serious hopes that this could be geekdom’s “Man On Wire”.
“A Christmas Carol” (Robert Zemeckis)
Plot: Again…Come ON!!!
Reason to care: It’s that time of the year again! Robert Zemeckis versus 3D Motion Capture Animation – A love affair that must end…soon…PLEASE!!!. He thinks it’s the future. I hope he’s wrong. Because that would be one hell of an annoying future. But the story is, obviously, great, and seeing Jim Carrey do no less than 4 roles to Gary Oldman’s 3 should be interesting ^^ Yes, the rest of the cast is nice, too. Too bad we won’t get to see them.
“Surrogates” (Jonathan Mostow)
Plot: Sayeth imdb: “Set in a futuristic world where humans live in isolation and interact through surrogate robots, a cop is forced to leave his home for the first time in years in order to investigate the murders of others’ surrogates.”
Reason to care: It’s dystopian sci-fi with Bruce Willis. There’s only two ways this could go: horribly wrong, or wonderfully right – and the odds point to “wonderfully right”.
“I Love You Phillip Morris” (Glenn Ficarra, John Requa)
Plot: The story of a god-fearing family man, turned flamboyantly gay conman, turned passionate lover, told in retrospective from his deathbed.
Reason to care: I never pass up the chance to see Jim Carrey in a serious movie for grown-ups, because it tends to be worth my while. Also, Phillip Morris from the title is played by Ewan McGregor. And I will tolerate any amount of shameless Oscar-baiting to see Ewan McGregor kiss another guy. I’m easy that way.
„Mary and Max“ (Adam Elliot)
Plot: A friendship between two unlikely pen-pals, a lonely eight-year-old girl from the Melbourne suburbs, and a fourty-four year-old man in New York.
Reason to care: Again…watch the trailer – the animation is striking, the story is heartwearming, and interesting and Max and Mary are voiced by Philip Seymour Hoffman and Toni Collette, respectively.