Fall/Winter Part 2: October

The Darjeeling Limited
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.

October 5

*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.

Michael Clayton
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.

October 10

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

October 12

The Golden Age
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

October 19

*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

October 26

Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead
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

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6 thoughts on “Fall/Winter Part 2: October

  1. Things start to heat up a bit at the multiplex, it would seem.

    Obviously I’m in for Djeeling Limited, what with the Wes Anderson and all.

    Michael Clayton also sounds good, what with the Clooney and ll.

    About a Son and Control are both intriguing to me, but will probably end up being rentals.

    Elizabeth looks like Oscar baiting but with Blanchett and Owen, it’s hard to pass up. I’m sure it will look pretty too.

    Sleuth: As much as I want this to work, I have a bad feeling about it.

    Tyler Perry’s Movie: Yeah, and this guy has a TV series with his name all over it too. I want to hate him for the sheer ego required to slap your name on everthing you make, even when it’s grammatically incorrect to do so, but then I also have to admire his marketing saavy.

    Reservation Road: Sounds like 21 Grams, another upbeat, feel-good movie.

    30 Days of Night: Comes from a great concept but I imagine they’ll make a shitty by-the-numbers horror film out of it.

    Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead: Sold.

    The Signal: The buzz on this one is moderate but positive. I like the concept and the trailer looks unpretentious and low-budget enough that maybe it will work. Or be the next Hatchet.

  2. Hmm…just left a comment and it didn’t stick. I’m sure it was massively important too. Like every word dripping with value. Jerks.

    Anyway, The Signal sounds promising but it’s also fraught with peril. The trailer is catchy, but it hides a lot too. If it was from a filmmaker I knew and liked, I’d be more enthusiastic. As it is, I’m curious but skeptical.

    As for the unstarred movies, I’m most curious about the two docs: My Kid Could Paint that and Jimmy Carter.

    Elizabeth…yeah I don’t know. It’s starred but mostly because of Cate and Clive. I don’t remember liking the first one that much.

    Mainly I think because Jeff Wells hates it so much, I want to like it. It could be this year’s Marie-Antoinette or Munich.

  3. Not to get on a rant, but, of all of Jeff Wells’ random prejudices, I’ve never gotten the disdain for Munich. I think its one of Spielberg’s strongest films…period. And his very best in the genre of “I can do grown up movies too.”

    I like Marie Antoinette, but I can at least grasp why one would have a problem with it.

    Even more off topic: I haven’t been commenting on HE much lately because its seems to have devolved into a hipster elitist version of the understandably maligned talk backs on AICN. The threads seem to always turn into personal attacks on politics that have nothing to do with the initial thread, or just personal attacks period.

    I do grasp that irony of going off a tangent to bitch about people going off tangents though. So for October, I’m favoring Before the Devil Knows Your Dead and Michael Clayton. I’ll catch Darjeeling, but I’m one of those that’s over Anderson’s mannered, self-conscious delivery. He recently said in an interview that that interpretation of his work is predictable and boring, but, I just don’t get high off a director revisiting the same pet theme virtually the same way over, and over, and over…ok, rant, over, deep breath…

  4. You know Chuck, I like how you say stuff knowing that you’re probably going to get kicked in the balls, but saying it anyway. I’d probably have a more entertaining and popular blog if I went right ahead and did the kicking, but sadly that’s not my style.

    It turns out I can see exactly what you’re saying about Anderson, even if I don’t have the same problem. I’m still completely sold on his post-Rushmore work. There’s something about the fetishistic, adult-story-filtered-through-the-eyes-and-memory-of-a-child thing that remains massively appealing to me. In 5 years if he’s still doing all the same things and hitting all the same beats with The Kinks on the soundtrack, I may be of the same opinion you are now. For now though, I’ve already got my ticket.

    I can see where a person might not have been in love with both Munich and Marie-Antoinette, but Wells’ continual harping on them irritates the fuck out of me.

    I haven’t been posting there much myself. I’m back after a longish absence, but there’s not much pleasure in it. The same old boring arguments that are all too often not actually about movies.

    I still post there in a blatant attempt to drum up traffic…I’m a whore, I know…but it’s not the first place I go anymore.

  5. I’ve certainly been accused of being a little low brow in terms of what I like and dislike, but the way I see it, you might as well just put it out there and go with what works. An unpopular opinion, while infuriating to some and potentially embarrassing to me, at least might get the ball rolling in a different direction, even if its on a very, very small scale.

    I do try to value everyone’s opinion though, I hate the you like this so you must be that line of thought that seems to dominate quite a few sites these days.

    Thanks for the kind words, but I think my site is a bit more humble than yours in terms of readership anyway, and I enjoy the moderate, rational style. Ebert has made a very good living writing in a similar key. I’ve thought about including my link on HE, but I have to admit that the prospect intimidates me. Assuming those guys clicked at all, I think they’d gut me.

  6. I certainly wouldn’t describe you as lowbrow. There’s nothing worse than unthinking acceptance or unthinking rejection and no one could accuse you of either one. You make demands of the stuff you watch, even the stuff that fits into supposedly disreputable genres.

    And you know, it’s one thing to be able to watch and enjoy a movie, but it’s another to be able to articulate an opinion on it and still another to do it in writing for people to read. Maybe it comes easy to you, but for me it’s hard and I’m still finding my way.

    Since HE is/was the main place I go to and the only one where I’d established any kind of an identity, it seemed like the only place I could get readers who weren’t friends or family. My biggest fear wasn’t that I’d be gutted, but that I’d be ignored. I’m not going to set any blogging records here, but I’m always jazzed to see that someone has clicked over, whether they leave a comment or not…and most of them don’t. Most of the people who have to be jerky know-it-alls probably couldn’t be bothered to comment on amateur sites since it’s beneath them and they wouldn’t get enough attention anyway.

    I’m beginning to think that even at a place like HE, most of the readers don’t comment. It’s just the core weirdos like us.

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