Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Holiday movie preview: December/Undated

I changed the title of the blog post because even though most of December IS technically autumn, it just doesn't seem right to call it "fall," does it? On with the show ...


The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader: The Narnia franchise moves from Disney to Fox, although I don't expect there will be much of a difference. One encouraging sign: the presence of the usually steady hand of Michael Apted behind the camera. PROSPECT: B

The Fighter: Amy Adams is in it, which is all I need to know, although I suppose it's also cool that Christian Bale and Mark Wahlberg co-star and that David O. Russel (Three Kings, I (Heart) Huckabees) directs.  PROSPECT: A

The Tourist: The director of The Lives of Others makes a thriller with Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie. On the basis of the names alone, I'm interested. I shall withhold further judgment until I see a trailer. PROSPECT: B


How Do You Know: James L. Brooks directs Reese Witherspoon, Paul Rudd and Owen Wilson. Good enough for me, althrough it remains to be seen if this is closer to As Good as It Gets or Spanglish, the latter of which wasn't bad but needed an extra pass through the typewriter. PROSPECT: A

Tron Legacy: I had a big Tron Poster and the silly little electronic game when I was 12. I'm SO there. PROSPECT: A

Yogi Bear: Attention, Hollywood studios: Turning 2D cartoon characters into CG mutations is profoundly wrong and ugly, whether it's , Scooby-Doo, The Chipmunks or  Garfield. Enough!  PROSPECT: F


Gulliver's Travels: I like Jack Black and Emily Blunt but I have to agree with IMDB that this has a very Land of the Lost vibe too it. I'm wary. PROSPECT: C

Little Fockers: I'm not quite so in love with this series as the general public, but not quite so down on it as some critics. The notion of trying to shoehorn in Dustin Hoffman at the last minute via pickup shots troubles me. PROSPECT: B

True Grit: The Coens remake John Wayne's Oscar winner with Jeff Bridges in the lead. How can one NOT be interested in that? PROSPECT: A


The Debt: John Madden (Shakespeare in Love) directs Helen Mirren, Sam Worthington and Tom Wilkinson in a story about Mirren being a Mossad agent. The premise and the trailer are intriguing enough.


Another Year: Mike Leigh directs. Attention must always be paid on that fact alone. PROSPECT: B

Black Swan: Darren Aronofksy moves from The Wrestler to The Dancer in a gritty ballet movie that is generating very strong buzz, particularly for Natalie Portman's performance. PROSPECT: A

Fair Game: Don't worry, this is not a remake of the Billy Baldwin/Cindy Crawford caper, but the film version of the Valerie Plame story, starring Sean Penn and Naomi Watts and directed by Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity). PROSPECT: A

The King's Speech: The King in question is George VI, father of Elizabeth II. Such period pieces often strike me as stuffy, but I can't fault the cast: Helena Bonham Carter, Colin Firth, Guy Pearce, Michael Gambon, Geoffrey Rush, Timothy Spall, Derek Jacobi. PROSPECT: B

I Love You Philip Morris: This has been jockeyed all over the schedule, probably because the distributor fears that the notion of Jim Carrey playing a gay man in a dramatic role will make people's heads explode. Here's what makes my head explode: it's directed by the guys who wrote Bad Santa. PROSPECT: B

Never Let Me Go: Adapted from a story by Kazuro Ishiguro, the author of The Remains of the Day,  the new film by Mark Romanek (One Hour Photo) has divided critics, with some saying it's a masterpiece and some saying it's too chilly and remote. But that very division is what intrigues me, along with the female leads: Keria Knightly and Carey Mulligan. PROSPECT: A

127 Hours: Danny Boyle follows up Slumdog Millionaire - and that's enough to hook me, but the premise ups the intrigue: a man becomes trapped under a boulder in a canyon and resorts to desperate measures to survive. PROSPECT: A

Somewhere: Sofia Coppola returns with a film about an actor (Stephen Dorff) holed up in the Chateau Marmont hotel, where his daughter (Elle Fanning) visits him. Dorff turns me off a bit, but Fanning is looking to match her sister in the eerie talent department. PROSPECT: A

You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger: The buzz says that Woody Allen's latest is not one of his better movies, but as a film buff, I must obey the commandment: Thou Shalt Always Give Woody a Shot.

What fall/holiday movies are you most looking forward to? Least? I would put The Social Network in the "most" slot and Yogi Bear in the "least" slot.

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