Jason Schwartzman, Adrien Brody and Owen Wilson in The Darjeeling Limited
Part two of the slow-to-roll-out Fall/Winter forecast brings us to October. This isn’t a comprehensive list, just the things that look notably good, bad or ugly. The ones that are the most promising are starred. As always, release dates are courtesy of ComingSoon.net and are subject to change.
*The Darjeeling Limited. Wes Anderson gets October off to a fast start with (for me) the 2nd most anticipated movie of the year (actually New York gets it a week earlier when it opens the NY Film Festival…jerks). I’d love to be able to tell you all about it, but I can’t. The movie is under a full media blackout so as to preserve every last drop of discovery, surprise and enjoyment for the night my ass is planted in a theater seat with popcorn and Coke by my side. I don’t know a damn thing about it except that it has Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody, Jason Schwartzman and Anjelica Huston and that I’ll be there opening day. Ok, even as I type this I’m tempted as hell to have a look at the trailer… Damnit I couldn’t help myself! I watched it. It looks like 31 flavors of awesome. (Limited release. 9/29 for New York)
The Good Night. Here’s Gwyneth’s little brother Jake Paltrow in his directorial debut. I have a feeling this movie is going to get killed. People still haven’t forgiven Gwyneth for Shakespeare in Love beating Saving Private Ryan at the Academy Awards and now here she is starring in her little brother’s movie. “Sure,” you say, “if my family was connected in Hollywood and my famous sister starred in my movie, I could make it in the movie business too.” Maybe, but they aren’t, she isn’t and you haven’t. Tough shit. I thought the same kinds of things about Sofia Coppola and she’s done alright for herself, hasn’t she? Anyway, this one’s got an intriguing cast including Martin Freeman (The Office [UK]), Simon Pegg (Hot Fuzz), Penélope Cruz (International hottie) and Danny DeVito (Domestic not-so-hottie). It tells the story of a guy whose life is going down the crapper until he meets the girl of his dreams…literally. Then I’m guessing things get kind of weird. Well, the trailer looks rather crappy. They can’t all be winners I guess.
The Heartbreak Kid. Farrelly brothers remake of the Neil Simon/Elaine May comedy of the same name with Ben Stiller and Michelle Monaghan. The perennially single Stiller meets a woman and marries her after only one week. On their honeymoon he realizes she’s a monster and then he meets a woman (Monaghan) who really might be perfect for him. Now how to get rid of the monster… I’ve heard some surprisingly positive things about this one, but if they’re true then whoever cut the trailer should be fired. It looks awful. Tired, bland and stupid. I don’t believe in judging a movie by its trailer, but you know what? I don’t like the Farrelly brothers all that much. I think I’ll pass.
George Clooney as Michael Clayton
*Michael Clayton. Tony Gilroy who wrote all of the Bourne pictures steps behind the camera for his directorial debut. George Clooney stars as a lawyer (Michael Clayton ….duh) who handles the legal dirty work for large corporate clients. He hates his job, but he’s stuck to it. When the senior litigating partner at Clooney’s firm melts down, the shit hits the fan and flies all over a monster class-action lawsuit they’re trying to settle. Also with Tom Wilkinson, Tilda Swinton and Sydney Pollack. I hate the title, but everything else looks good. (Limited release. Opens wide 10/12) Trailer
My Kid Could Paint That. Have you ever looked at a piece of modern art and thought “My kid could paint that”? Well, a few years back, someone’s 4-year-old kid pulled in over $300,000 for some paintings she did. The little girl was a media sensation, but when it turned out the paintings may have actually been done by her father…well some people felt pretty ripped off. If you’d pay 300 large for some scribblings, what difference does it make who painted them? Art is art, right? What is art anyway? Does anyone even know anymore? Here’s a documentary about the whole mess. (Limited release) Trailer
Kurt Cobain: About a Son. Documentary based on never-heard-before audiotaped interviews of the late Nirvana front man. (Limited release. Opens in NY on 10/3) No trailer that I could find.
Control. Dramatization of the life of Joy Division singer/song writer Ian Curtis whose physical and mental problems caused him to cut his own life short just as the band was skyrocketing to fame. With Samantha Morton. (Limited Wednesday release) Trailer
House. Two couples are lured to a house and trapped by a serial killer. Once inside they’re informed that they have to kill one of their number or they’ll all die. Let the games begin. I don’t know. Sounds kinda Saw Rip-Offy. Then again, it isn’t always the setup that counts, but what they do with it. (Limited Wednesday release) Trailer
Cate Blanchett as Her Majesty in Elizabeth: The Golden Age
*Elizabeth: The Golden Age. This sorta sequel to the historical drama Elizabeth went into the Toronto Film Festival with Oscar aspirations and really took a beating by the press. Whatever. I’d pay cash money to hear Cate Blanchett reading stock quotes. Plus you’ve got Clive Owen. Trailer
We Own the Night. New York City, 1988. Joaquin Phoenix comes from a family of cops, but he’d rather live the high life as the manager of a popular Brooklyn club that serves as the base of operations for a Russian mobster. He tries to keep the two worlds separate, but things get messy when the mobster is targeted by Phoenix’s cop brother Mark Wahlberg and his deputy chief of police father Robert Duvall. Trailer
Sleuth. Kenneth Branagh continues his quest to become Sir Laurence Olivier by remaking the Joseph L. Mankiewicz film based on an a stage play about some cat-and-mouse mind games between an older married man, his wife and his wife’s lover. This time Michael Caine plays the Olivier (married guy) part and Jude Law plays the Michael Caine (wife’s lover) part. Supposedly completely rewritten by Harold Pinter. The CaineLawSLEUTHPinterBranagh business on the promotional materials seems a wee pretentious. (Limited release) Trailer
Rogue. Tourists vs. giant crocodile in the new horror/thriller from Greg McLean of Wolf Creek fame (or is it infamy?). Radha Mitchell (Pitch Black) and Michael Vartan (Alias) are the main course. Trailer
Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married? I almost wish I’d seen a Tyler Perry movie so I could make a snarky, dismissive comment here. Almost. Trailer
Lars and the Real Girl. Ryan Gosling’s new girlfriend is a life-size doll. Literally. Her name is Bianca. He pushes her around in a wheelchair. Also with Emily Mortimer and Patricia Clarkson. (Limited Release) Trailer
*Gone Baby Gone. Tired perhaps of taking a beating for his work in front of the cameras, Academy Award winning (remember that?) writer Ben Affleck steps back behind, this time as a director. Based on a novel by Dennis Lahane (Mystic River) and starring Ben’s brother Casey Affleck, Michelle Monaghan, Morgan Freeman and Ed Harris. This one is about an abducted 4-year-old girl in Boston. Perhaps they wanted her to do some paintings. Ben also co-wrote the screenplay along with Aaron Stockard. I like the cast and the milieu. Sign me up. Trailer
Rendition. Thriller from Gavin Hood the director of Tsotsi. Reese Witherspoon plays a woman whose Egyptian husband disappears returning home from a trip abroad. It turns out he’s being detained and interrogated by the U.S. government. Also starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Meryl Streep, Peter Saarsgard and Alan Arkin. I don’t know. Good cast anyway. Trailer
Reservation Road. From Terry George, the writer/director of Hotel Rwanda. Mark Ruffalo hits a little kid with his car and speeds off. The kid dies. Joaquin Phoenix and Jennifer Connelly are the dead kid’s parents. Mira Sorvino is Ruffalo’s ex-wife. With this cast I feel like I should be more excited…but I’m not. CoughCoughOscarBaitCough. (Limited release) Trailer
Things We Lost in the Fire. Hmmm. Looks like we lost everything….except for one more bite of Oscar bait. Halle Berry loses her husband David Duchovny and strikes up an unlikely relationship with her husband’s childfood friend, heroin addict Benicio Del Toro. Lives are changed. Oscars are polished. Denmark’s Susanne Bier directs. Trailer
30 Days of Night. Living in Barrow, Alaska where there is 24-hour darkness for 30 days straight every winter would be hell. Unless you were a vampire, then it would kick ass…as long as you had a warm jacket. Josh Hartnett plays one of the non-bloodsuckers. Trailer
Wristcutters: A Love Story. Dark comedy set in the afterlife for suicides where Patrick Fugit (Almost Famous) searches for the girl over whom he offed himself. Sounds like a quirky indie comedy which is a sword that can cut both ways. (Limited release. Expands 11/2) Trailer
Ethan Hawke and Philip Seymour Hoffman in Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead
*Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead. Philip Seymour Hoffman convinces his brother Ethan Hawke to help him rob the jewelry store owned by their father Albert Finney. Shit hits fan. Sidney Lumet directs. Marisa Tomei costars. Craig can’t wait. This French trailer seems to give away a lot of the movie, but it’s the only one I could find. Watch it at our own risk especially if you have an allergic reaction to seeing Marisa Tomei naked. Not that I’m pandering for hits or anything. [Note 10/7. The linked trailer has been changed from what I originally described to the regular American Trailer] (Limited release)
Jimmy Carter Man from Plains. Jonathan Demme’s documentary about former president Jimmy Carter…you know, the man from Plains. Filmed during Carter’s controversial book tour for Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid. Not to be confused with John Candy Man from Planes Trains & Automobiles. (Limited release) No adequate trailer found
Dan in Real Life. Peter Hedges fooled me once with Pieces of April (yeah, I fell for it. What can I say? I’ve got a dying mom thing). Can he do it again with this one? Not likely. Read this verbatim blurb from ComingSoon which they probably lifted directly from the press materials: “Advice columnist Dan Burns is an expert on relationships, but somehow struggles to succeed as a brother, a son and a single parent in this heartfelt comedy from director Peter Hedges.” Admit it, the title alone makes you want to throw up in your mouth a little and the blurb sends you running to the bathroom. The good news is that it has Steve Carell , Juliette Binoche, John Mahoney, Emily Blunt and Dianne Wiest. The bad news is… well… everything else. Trailer
Rails & Ties. Alison Eastwood continues to follow in the footsteps of her father Clint. This time she sits in the director’s chair. Kevin Bacon and Marcia Gay Harden are a childless married couple with problems. She’s got a potentially terminal illness. He buries himself in his work as a train conductor. When his train hits a car on the tracks killing a young woman, the woman’s son holds him responsible. I will give you one thousand dollars in unmarked bills and I’ll walk your dog for a month if Kevin and Marcia don’t end up raising the boy. (Limited release) Trailer
Run, Fat Boy, Run. The good thing about having David Schwimmer behind the camera is that we don’t have to see his face or hear his voice. Also this one has Simon Pegg. He leaves Thandie Newton at the altar, pregnant. Five years later he realizes he made a mistake (it took him five years??) so he enters a marathon to prove that, for once in his life, he can finish something. In the process, he hopes to win his ex fiancée back from new boyfriend Hank Azaria. Sounds kind of dismal, but did I mention it has Simon Pegg? Trailer
Saw IV. Yeah, I Saw 1 and I Saw 2. I’ll pass. Seriously, even the people who liked the first one are tired of these, right? Trailer
The Signal. The set up: A city is driven crazy by a strange transmission on New Year’s Eve. The gimmick: Told in three parts from three different perspectives by three different directors. Could be good. Could be precious B.S. The trailer isn’t conclusive, but strongly leans toward the latter.
Coming next: November