Fall/Winter Part 3: November

American Gangster
American Gangster (2007) 

November 2 

*American Gangster. Denzel Washington is Harlem’s top drug kingpin and Russell Crowe is the cop trying to take him down in this 70s period crime drama from director Ridley Scott. I was skeptical at first. The gangster genre seemed a little played out, Crowe’s schtick had worn thin and Scott has been a bit uneven lately. The director’s cut of Kingdom of Heaven was pretty great though and Crowe has redeemed himself with 3:10 to Yuma. I’m officially excited about this one. Trailer

The Martian Child. John Cusack and Amanda Peet take in a pasty looking child who says he’s from Mars…and maybe he is. The cynic in me looks at the trailer and wants to punch someone in the neck. The optimist in me thinks John Cusack is pretty good and that trailers often lie. Then the cynic in me beats the living holy hell out of the optimist in me. Trailer

Bee Movie. Jerry Seinfeld is Barry B. Benson. He’s a bee. Get it? Yeah, and he’s going to sue us for stealing bee’s honey for thousands of years. I can just see the cheesy Pete Hammond pull quote already: “Bee Movie gets an A+!!!!”  Trailer

Darfur Now. “A call to action for people everywhere to help stop the catastrophe in Darfur, Sudan.” That about sums this documentary up, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, all across the country, people are still saying “Darfur where?” Website

*Joe Strummer. The Future is Unwritten. Julien Temple documentary about the late Clash frontman. Trailer

November 9

*No Country for Old Men. Though I liked them better than most people I know, I don’t consider Intolerable Cruelty or The Ladykillers (2004) to be real Coen Brothers movies. Therefore, this is the first real one in 6 or 7 years. It’s not just my most anticipated movie of 2007. It’s my most anticipated movie in years. What’s it about? What difference does it make? Who’s in it? Who cares? I’m not posting a picture and I’m not even linking to the trailer.

Southland Tales 
*Southland Tales. Richard Kelly’s much maligned and long delayed ensemble Comedy, Musical, Sci-Fi, Thriller set in the near future finally hits the big screen after a lot of editing and the shooting of hundreds of additional special effects shots. With Dwayne Johnson, Seann William Scott, Sarah Michelle Gellar and others. Trailer

Lions for Lambs. Robert Redford directs Meryl Streep, Tom Cruise and himself in this drama that weaves together the stories of an idealistic professor and an ambitious presidential candidate. The whole thing centers on the war in Afghanistan. Another crumby looking trailer.

Fred Claus. Another obligatory Christmas themed movie that will probably make a ton of money. The title pretty much says it all…gee, wouldn’t that suck having Santa for a brother? It’s got a good cast (Paul Giamatti, Vince Vaughn, Miranda Richardson, Kevin Spacey and Rachel Weisz) but it just looks awful. You know it does. Trailer

I Could Never Be Your Woman. Amy Heckerling writes and directs this romantic comedy that finds Michelle Pfeiffer falling in love with younger man Paul Rudd. So is this going to be the Amy Heckerling who brought us Clueless and directed Fast Times at Ridgemont Highor or is it going to be the Amy Heckerling who brought us Look Who’s Talking, Too? Based on this trailer it’s #2, no pun intended…well maybe a little.

The Life of Reilly. I’m deadly serious when I tell you I want to see this documentary about 1970s game show panelist extraordinaire Charles Nelson Reilly. I’m not shitting you. I do. No, really. Trailer

November 16

Love in the Time of Cholera. Break out your Oscar ballots. Oprah has spoken and she says “If you love love, this book is the best love story ever.” It’s the story of author Gabriel García Márquez’s parents and how they waited 50 years to be together. Now it’s a movie so you don’t even have to be able to read to enjoy it. Javier Bardem and Benjamin Bratt star. Mike Newell directs.  

Beowulf. The 12 or 13 hundred year old Old English epic poem about the warrior Beowulf comes to life…well if you consider the creepy CGI with the dead eyes to be life. Directed by Robert Zemeckis. Screenplay by Neil Gaiman and Roger Avary. With Angelina Jolie, Anthony Hopkins, Ray Winstone and others. Trailer

Margot at the Wedding
*Margot at the Wedding. Noah Baumbach (The Squid and the Whale) brings us another family tale. This one’s got Nicole Kidman, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Jack black. Trailer

Redacted. Brian De Palma takes on the Iraq war. Is this going to be like Casualties of War ? Is it uncool for me to admit I didn’t like that movie? At all?

November 21

Enchanted. A beautiful princess (Amy Adams) is banished from her happy, musical, animated home and ends up in modern-day Manhattan. I was sharpening my knives to eviscerate this one from day one as it looked like Walt Disney’s legacy was going to be finally and completely Shrekified with a lot of fart jokes and pop culture references. Then I heard the bad news from some sources that’s it’s actually really good. With Thomas Kinkade’s A Christmas Cottage delayed until 2008, what am I supposed to rip apart?

*I’m Not There. Todd Haynes’ biopic about Bob Dylan where the legendary singer/songwriter is played by everyone from Cate Blanchett to a little black kid. Could be brilliant or it could be a train wreck. At the very least I’ll bet it’s interesting. Trailer

Stephen King’s The Mist. Frank Darabont did great things with the Stephen King short story Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption. Can he repeat the magic with another one? There are a lot of ways this one could go sour, but we’ll see. Trailer

Christmas in Wonderland. Swayze! Electra! Christmas!

This Christmas. Lindo! Elba! Christmas!

Seriously. Just stop with the crappy Christmas movies already.

November 30

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. Julien Schnabel directs this true story of Jean-Dominique Bauby, the successful French Elle editor-in-chief who has a stroke at age 43. Undaunted by a little thing like total paralysis, he authors a memoir by blinking in code. Me? If I’m so much as reduced to wearing an adult diaper, I want to be put down.

The Savages. Two siblings who don’t get along are forced together when their father begins showing signs of dementia. It’s a comedy drama directed by Tamara Jenkins and I’m only mentioning it because it’s got Laura Linney and Philip Seymour Hoffman.

Teeth. When a virgin is sexually assaulted, she discovers her vagina has teeth. I say her vagina has teeth.

Flawless. Michael Caine plays an aging janitor who pulls off a jewel heist in 1960s-era London. Directed by Michael Radford (Il Postino, The Merchant of Venice). You’re still thinking about the vagina with teeth, aren’t you?

Next: December


7 thoughts on “Fall/Winter Part 3: November

  1. Wow, I didn’t realize it until just now but every single movie in your list there has the possibility of being either some kind of brilliant concept or a total and utter train wreck of a movie. A number of these are quietly building hype based on their runs at the late Summer/Fall film fests and some of these are just simply nutty concepts on their own. Others sound completely derivative and stupid but seem to have potential.

    Who knows?

    I am excited for No Country for Old Men even though I’m trying to keep my expectations low.

    I’m having a really hard time buying into the growing hype over American Gangster. It just sounds and looks like been there, done that.

    As for the rest of the slate, I’m curious about a number of these but extremely hesitant to get too excited yet. I’ll just wait and see how this plays out.

  2. Martian Child looks awful, I don’t care if Olivier is in it, much less John Cusack. Movies about insane people as the barometers of what our lives should be bug me, movies about children as the barometers of what our lives should be bug me, Movies about insane children as the barometers of what our lives should be will really bug me.

    Too bad about the Fred Claus trailer, the premise is iffy, but the idea of Giamatti and Vaughn playing off one another sounds fun. Leave it to the guy who screwed up a perfectly servicable premise in Wedding Crashers to do the same here (though I imagine many disagree with me about WC, and many will probably disagree about this.)

    I want really want to see American Gangster and No Country For Old Men, but we knew this already. I’m also on board for The Mist, love the story. Didn’t love Darabont’s last two movies (rather strongly disliked them actually) so it will be interesting to see him in different terrain.

  3. Since when did you start routinely watching trailers?

    ‘Punching someone in the neck.’ Launching over the back seat grabbing the skinny, pale, bookish urban geek by the lapels and strangling him to death with the wires of his own earbuds.

    Ben Wade would say – ‘I like this side of you, Craig’.

  4. Joel, I could pretend that I’m keeping my expectations low for No Country, but I’d be kidding you and myself. We both know better. They’re through the fucking roof.

    Chuck. Toss in movies about retards and your must-avoid list is similar to mine. No offense to any retards who read this blog. I use the term in the nicest way… unless you’re fans of Wedding Crashers because I’m with Chuck on this one. One funny scene at the very beginnng with Vince Vaughn ranting to his secretary and it was all down hill from there. Full disclosure: I never made it to the actual end. I figured the end of my patience was close enough.

    Sartre. I avoid trailers for movies I already want to see, to the extent that I can, but for purely journalistic purposes I check out an occasional trailer for these forecast deals just to get a sense of what the studio is trying to sell me and whether I’m buying. And I assure you, no creatures, sentient or otherwise, were harmed in the creation and maintenance of this blog…but a guy can dream, can’t he?

    Also, I use the term ‘journalistic’ in the weakest possible sense.

  5. I just hope no one ever pushes you too hard 🙂 A whole Straw Dogs like scenario of Peckinpahesque violent retribution might unfold.

    I know one has to take care with trailers but I find that for the most part those that present lame, adolescent, and cheesy material are accurate representations of the end product.

    Hey CJ, I value a small degree of self deprecation in others. But disparaging your qualities as a journalist is just plain silly, dang it.

  6. Sartre, in a sea of self-importance, consider my self deprecation an acknowledgment of perspective. Make no mistake though, I rule my own universe (and look pretty f’ing handsome sitting here on my throne if I do say so myself).

    As for trailers, even if you remove smart/dumb from the equation, there is still a lot of wiggle room for lying. Have you ever seen a trailer before say, a romantic comedy or before a TV show that appeals to women, then seen a trailer for the same movie in another context? They emphasize totally different things specifically to appeal to certain demographics and they can come across as very different movies. Of course, this statement would carrie a lot more weight if I could come up with a specific example… but I can’t.

    See, a journalist would have examples.

    Having said that, I saw the trailer for Bucket List before Michael Clayton and it was pretty bad. Despite the presence of Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, I can’t see any way this movie could not annoy me.

  7. Wedding Crashers was one of the most over-rated comedies in years, I agree with you on that, but I would go on to see mean things about Taladega Nights and I know people would disagree with me on that one.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s