As the fall movie season opens, Hollywood unleashes on theaters a torrent of prestige pictures, Oscar bait, and potential holiday blockbusters. For this week’s Roundtable, we take a look at the films we’re most anticipating for the rest of the year.
Here are the staff picks:
- ‘Tron Legacy‘ – Yes, there are a whole bunch of hoity-toity artsy fartsy movies coming out between now and Christmas. I’m sure I’ll be chomping at the bit to see those too. But nothing makes my brain crackle with excitement the way the promise of ‘Tron Legacy’ does. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not the biggest ‘Tron’ fan. In fact, I think it’s visionary but utterly boring nonsense that I would never wish on my worst enemy. (Seriously, rewatch it again. It’s painful.) No, the reason that ‘Tron Legacy’ has me so jazzed is that it looks to be, in sight and sound, the movie-going event of the year. Going on only the early trailers (although I will get an extended look at the movie at this press thing in a few days), it looks like commercial director Joseph Kosinski has created a beautifully realized, neon-lined world that plugs directly into our technology-addled imaginations. Add to that the double-role of Jeff Bridges as his human character and his ageless computer-world doppelganger (youthful Bridges occupying the same space as grizzled old Bridges? Can you imagine?) and you’ve got me totally hooked. Real intrigue comes in the form of French electro-robots Daft Punk, who have composed the music. Anyone who saw them on their last tour know that they were clearly inspired by the original film. (They DJ’d while perched atop a light-up pyramid.) The simple prospect of new music from these two is enough to make me giddy. Combined with the jaw-dropping visuals (even more jaw-dropping in Disney Digital 3D), you might have the most you-must-be-there sensory experience since ‘2001.’ It’s a game that will surely be worth playing.
- ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1‘ – There aren’t a lot of movies I’m excited about in the coming months, but I’m delighted that ‘Deathly Hallows’ is hitting during the holiday season. There’s something strangely Christmasy about the series, even though each film tends to run the gamut of seasons. They’ve become something of a tradition, even if the previous offering did depart from that. The obvious reason to get excited is because the ‘Harry Potter’ series has been improving consistently from movie to movie, and this is the beginning of the end. It’s bound to be good. The less obvious reason is that I’ll get to see a big group of actors I love all on one screen together. Ralph Fiennes is easy enough to track down, but I leap at the chance to see Michael Gambon in action. Alan Rickman, Jim Broadbent, and John Hurt are in it, as are two more of my favorites – Gary Oldman and Bill Nighy. Where else are you gonna get a cast like that?
- ‘Morning Glory‘ – I want to see this. I can’t help myself. There are just too many of my favorite stars involved to even consider passing it up. Simply watching the trailer had me laughing out loud a few times. Rachel McAdams, Diane Keaton, Jeff Goldblum, Patrick Wilson, even Harrison Ford (well, well, look who found his sense of humor!) appear to be in top form. The setting, a TV news station, has made for some great films in the past. And it all just looks surprisingly great! My wife complains about me dragging her to far too many crappy romantic comedies. (Yes, I know, shoe on the other foot or something.) Too bad, this one comes out a few days before my birthday, so guess what we’ll be going to see November 16th?
- ‘True Grit‘ – Over the course of their careers, Joel and Ethan Coen have made a point of working in a wide variety of film genres. They’ve made everything from suspense thrillers to screwball comedies to a period gangster picture. A lot of their movies are unclassifiable. (What genre does ‘The Hudsucker Proxy’ fit into?) They’ve even attempted a remake once before (‘The Ladykillers’), unfortunately to disastrous results in that case. ‘No Country for Old Men‘ was sort of a modern Western, but until now the brothers had never tackled a good ol’ fashioned oater. With their new remake of the John Wayne classic ‘True Grit’, they get to try their hands playing cowboy, and can also hopefully redeem themselves in the remake category. It’s going to be a challenge standing up against Wayne’s iconic performance as Rooster Cogburn in the original (which was the movie he won his only Oscar for), but I think that Jeff Bridges is an ideal choice to bring his own spin to the role. I’m certainly interested to see how this shakes out.
Jason Bovberg (Connected Home Media)
- ‘Let Me In‘ – I remember spotting John Ajvide Lindqvist’s ‘Let Me In’ at my local Borders store’s horror section back in 2007 – an unassuming translated novel that nevertheless drew me in with its understated cover design. The novel turned out to be one of my great finds of that year. It’s a touching “coming of age” vampire story intercut with a sprawling, grotesque side plot about a walking dead man. In the 2008 Swedish film version called ‘Let the Right One In,’ Lindqvist (adapting his own book) wisely focused his tale on Eli, the child vampire, and her new friend Oskar. With the help of director Tomas Alfredson, they conjured up one of the most elegant, emotionally resonant horror films you’re likely to come across. When I heard the news of an American remake, I recoiled at first. I just didn’t see much of a reason for it. But then Matt Reeves became attached to the project. I had greatly admired Reeves’ ‘Cloverfield‘ and began imagining this exciting young director’s perhaps more amped-up take on the story. And then Hit Girl herself, Chloe Moretz, signed on as the “young” vampire. I became more jazzed. By the time Michael Giacchino inevitably took on the score, the remake had completely won me over. I was ready to buy my ticket. Great horror films are rare, and from what I’m hearing, we’re about to see one. ‘Let Me In’ is my most anticipated film of the fall. By the time you read this, we’ll all have our chance to experience it.
Adam Tyner (DVDTalk)
- ‘Hatchet II‘ – I kind of wanted my pick to be something a little out of left field – something that looked intriguing but wasn’t on the radar at large. Looking at the release slate for the next few months, I’m not sure a movie like that exists. Everything either seems to be universally appreciated already, like ‘True Grit’ and ‘Black Swan,’ or of pretty much no interest to me whatsoever. That’s okay. I have my usual fallback: when all else fails, go for the gore. I really dug ‘Hatchet,’ Adam Green’s blood-spattered Valentine to ’80s slasher flicks. The first ‘Hatchet’ was one of those rare horror-comedies that’s genuinely funny, and it crams together some of the most dementedly imaginative and over-the-top kill scenes of anything I’ve come across in ages. So, I’ll hand my pick over to ‘Hatchet II,’ hoping I’ll have as much fun with the sequel – which is being released unrated, believe it or not! – as I did with the original.
Now it’s your turn. Tell us in the comments which movies you’re looking forward to.