Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Top 13 films of the fall/Holiday season

As the mercury begins to drop, along with the leaves on the trees, the focus in Hollywood turns away from popcorn and more toward Oscars. So I scoured the fall/holiday movie release schedule and came up with 13 titles I’m particularly looking forward to seeing. Aren’t we lucky?

In order of release, with dates subject to change:  
Contagion: The “disease that kills everyone” movie has been made a number of times, but when Kate Winslet, Gwyneth Paltrow and Matt Damon star, and Steven Soderbergh (“Traffic”) directs, I can only be intrigued.  (Sept. 9)

Moneyball: Although I like baseball, I can’t call myself a rabid fan. And I care even less about the world of finance. This movie, starring Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill, combines both. That sounds like it could be poison, but the story of how the Oakland As used computers to draft players sounds fascinating, even to a non sports/finance fan like me. Bennett Miller ("Capote") directs, and Aaron Sorkin ("The Social Network") and Steven Zaillian ("Schindler's List") write.  (Sept. 23)

The Ides of March: Even if George Clooney hadn’t shot his political drama at Miami University earlier this year, I would still want to see a movie with a cast that also includes Ryan Gosling, Evan Rachel Wood and Marisa Tomei. Since he did shoot at Miami, and I didn’t get to see the filming, I’m all over this one. (Oct. 7)

 J. Edgar: Clint Eastwood directs Leonardo DiCaprio, who plays the infamous FBI Chief. Good enough for me. (Nov. 9)

The Descendants: Yes, George Clooney stars in two movies I’m anxious to see this fall. In this one, he stars as a man trying to reconnect with his daughters and learns his wife was cheating on him. Alexander Payne (“Sideways”) directs for the first time in a too long while.  (Nov. 23)

Hugo: Yes, the director of such violent classics as “Taxi Driver,” “Goodfellas” and “The Departed” tries his hand at a family film, and shoots it in 3D to boot. Better yet, the very talented Chloe Moretz (“Let Me In”) stars. This could be either wonderful or a maddening misfire; any way you slice it, it has to be fascinating. (Nov. 23)

The Muppets: Here is the movie I am most looking forward to this fall. I’ve been a Muppets fan all my life, and it seems like they’re on the rebound after churning out subpar material like “Muppets from Space” and “Muppets Wizard of Oz.” That this co-stars my favorite actress, Amy Adams, only sweetens the deal. (Nov. 23)

The Artist: Here’s the arthouse film I most want to see: A modern-day silent and black and white movie about a silent film star facing the arrival of talking pictures.(Nov. 23)

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo: I was a great fan of the foreign trilogy starring Noomi Rapace, and now “the feel-bad movie of Christmas” is being directed by David Fincher (“The Social Network”) Yes, please. (Dec. 21)

Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol: Too many people scoff at this franchise and at Tom Cruise, but the trailer for this looks like loads of fun to me, and it’s shot partly in IMAX too, just like “The Dark Knight.” Brad Bird (“The Incredibles” - yes, he's moving from animation to live action) directs. (Dec. 21)

The Adventures of Tintin: I’ve not been a great fan of the motion-capture style of animation used in movies like “Beowulf” and the “Christmas Carol” with Jim Carrey, but when a master of visuals like Steven Spielberg is at the helm, I have to give it a chance. (Dec. 22)

We Bought a Zoo: Cameron Crowe hasn’t directed since the misguided “Elizabethtown” and hasn’t made a truly great movie since “Almost Famous.” I’d say he’s due. Matt Damon and Scarlett Johansson star.(Dec. 23) 

War Horse: Spielberg double dose! Having plumbed World War II several times, the director turns his atttenton to World War I and the story of a boy and his horse who serve in the trenches. The trailer looks gorgeous. (Dec. 28)

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