September 10, 2008

Fall Movie Preview 2008

I never understand how people can hate movie trailers. Watching the big screen turn green while the track lights fade out is one of the best parts of the theater experience for me.

My advice to you is: waste some time over the next half hour. Read my comments on the upcoming fall movies if you want, or just click the links and watch the trailers yourself (avoid the tempting HD options if you don't want to waste 3 hours on load time). It's good, old-fashioned, procrastinational fun.

Movies I'll Almost Definitely See

Miracle at St. Anna (Releases September 26th)

Directed by Spike Lee and starring Derek Luke, Michael Ealy, Laz Alonso, and Omar Benson Miller

A group of segregated soldiers get caught behind German enemy lines, and years later some weird stuff is happening that is probably related. It looks interesting, and it's Spike Lee, so I'm hooked.

Miracle at St. Anna, by Spike Lee

Spike Lee's storytelling will make Miracle at St. Anna worth seeing.

Flash of Genius (Releases October 17th)

Starring Greg Kinnear, Lauren Graham, Dermot Mulroney, and Alan Alda

Kinnear is a college professor who invents the first intermittent windshield wiper, which Ford quickly steals from him. He and his family fight back against the establishment. I know, but it looks very good if you watch the trailer (it might be artificially enhanced by the fantastic Dave Matthews song they use, but still...)

Milk (Releases November 26th)

Directed by Gus Van Sant and starring Sean Penn, Emile Hirsch, Josh Brolin, and James Franco

Harvey Milk was California's first openly gay elected official. The story looks compelling and the actors will be great. Even Victor Garber (you probably know him from that awful Alias show) makes an appearance. I'm a sucker for a well-told historical story, as you can see from the four movies I've put in my "Must See" category.

Milk, the Movie

Sean Penn gains even more liberal points for starring in this biography of Harvey Milk.

Defiance (Releases December 12th)

Starring Daniel Craig, Liev Schreiber, and Jamie Bell

I think Daniel Craig is a great actor who picks some awful movies (The Golden Compass was dreadful), but this story looks great. They could probably rename it "Don't Forget That the Nazis Are Evil", which might be a bit tired, but who doesn't love a story about a small band of rebels taking on the Evil Empire? Especially if it stars James Bond, Cotton Weary, and even Billy Elliot all doing decent German accents?

I'll Wait To See The Reviews, But These Look Interesting

Eagle Eye (Releases September 26th)

Starring Shia LaBeouf and Michelle Monaghan

When you cast these two eye-candies, it's like a secret code for "we'd just like to make a lot of money, please, kthxbye". That doesn't mean it'll be awful, but it's really hard to tell. The premise is almost exactly Matrix-like (a fantastic plot that not even Awful Reeves could ruin), which is both annoying and intriguing at the same time.

LaBeouf and Monaghan

LaBeouf and Monaghan are cast with hopes of drawing a young crowd.

Happy Go Lucky (Releases October 10th)

Directed by Mike Leigh and starring Sally Hawkins, Eddie Marsan, and Alexis Zegerman

You've seen Eddie Marsan before, you just don't remember where. Hawkins plays an overly happy girl named Poppy who sees the good in everything. This one is definitely going to get the dreaded label of "Quirky Comedy" which should keep it from making too much money, but I've been known to fall for those types (favorite movie = Royal Tenenbaums), so I'm certainly interested to see what the critics say.

Happy Go Lucky

Happy Go Lucky is a quirky British comedy about optimism and hope.

Body of Lies
(Releases October 10th)

Starring Russell Crowe and Leonardo DiCaprio

Espionage, double-cross, crooked CIA, Crowe, DiCaprio. That's enough to hook me. My only concern is: Isn't Don Cheadle in this movie? Oh wait...

Sex Drive (Releases October 17th)

Starring Josh Zuckerman, Clark Duke, Amanda Crew, James Marsden, and Seth Green

I know, the concept sounds awful. A nerdy kid who is on a quest to lose his virginity. The 18 Year Old Virgin? But here's why I might like it: 1) It's not Judd Apatow thank God, 2) Zuckerman looks like he might be funny in the trailer, 3) I have really liked James Marsden in everything I've seen him in. Watch the trailer, you might be surprised like I was.

W. (Releases October 17th)

Directed by Oliver Stone and starring Josh Brolin, James Cromwell, Richard Dreyfuss, Scott Glenn, Thandie Newton, Ellen Burstyn, and Elizabeth Banks

I am so scared of this. Haven't we driven the whole "capitalize on George W. Bush" thing a million feet into the ground? Is this a Mad TV movie? But again, actors and directors get my attention. Brolin has looked great, even though I didn't like No Country for Old Men he was great in it. And it's Oliver Stone doing one of his presidential biographies. It might be worth a look. We'll see.

W., by Oliver Stone

Is it too soon for a George W. Bush movie?

Quantum of Solace (Releases November 7th)

Starring Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, Jesper Christensen, Olga Kurylenko, and Mathieu Amalric

Uh, it's James Bond, and the first one that Craig did was okay. I'll definitely need to look at some reviews before spending $9 on this one, but it might be an enjoyable mess.

I'll Wait To See The Reviews, But These Look Pretty Bad

Rachel Getting Married (Releases October 2008)

Starring Anne Hathaway, Rosemarie DeWitt, and Debra Winger

The Oscar buzz is apparently building for Hathaway's role in this "dramedy", but from the trailer it looks all wrong. The "gritty" parts look forced and the morals look way too in-your-face, in a Dan In Real Life kind of way (shudder).

Australia (Releases November 14th)

Directed by Baz Lurhman and starring Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman

Real life Aussie Kidman plays a British rose who makes her way to pre-WWII Australia and falls for Crocodile Dundee Hugh Jackman. Except, there's a part where Kidman tells a mystical story of her tale to a child in a style reminiscent of The Princess Bride. Oh, and there seems to be a sort of Dances With Wolves kind of cultural war story, too. You can tell that I'm a little confused about how this all fits together.

Australia, by Baz Lurhman

Everybody has always wanted to see a movie about Australia, right?

Nothing Like The Holidays (Releases November 21st)

Starring Freddy Rodriguez, John Leguizamo, Debra Messing, Alfred Molina, Luis Guzman, Vanessa Ferlito, and Jay Hernandez

I'm always willing to give holiday movies some leeway, because I like them for what they are. But at first glance, wow, this could be horrible. Debra Messing is pretty bad, and the rest (besides Molina, who is excellent) are either eye-candy or mediocre at best. But I've been less annoyed with Leguizamo lately, and Freddy Rodriguez has done some good work. In the end, I think it's going to be a bad movie trying to capitalize on Christmas cheer, but I don't think it's going to be as awful as you think.

Okay, These Just Look Terrifyingly Horrible

The Day The Earth Stood Still (Releases December 12th)

Starring Keanu Reeves and Jennifer Connelly

Part of the consequences of seeing The Dark Knight three times in theaters was having to see this awful trailer three times. Awful Reeves looks like his typical self, and let me remind you that this is another eco-thriller about the dangers of abusing the earth. I'm all for being green, but not for overstating the case and hoping that aliens come to warn us of our doom, especially if the aliens say stupid shit like, "If the earth dies, you die, if you die, the earth survives."

The Spirit (Releases December 25th)

Written and directed by Frank Miller and starring Gabriel Macht, Scarlett Johansson, Samuel L. Jackson, Eva Mendes, and Jaime King

This is based on Will Eisner's classic comic series from the 40s and 50s, which should be somewhat exciting. But based on the trailer alone, wow. I half expected to find out that it was just a joke trailer, with a "Gotcha!" at the end and a link to the real one. I don't even know what else to say.

The Spirit

A great looking poster for an awful looking movie called The Spirit.

There are a lot more movies than that coming out this fall, I'm sure. Leave a note in the comments if you think I missed something substantial, or if you (gasp) disagree with any of my expert assessments.

1 comment:

Spence said...

I generally agree with this list.

I am looking forward to "Australia" almost on cinematography alone (and for some reason, because Hugh Jackman was believable as Wolverine, I give him a free pass for not being good in almost anything else). Also, I loved "Casino Royale" and regretted I didn't catch it in the theatres, so I'll definitely see "Quantom of Solace" because it'll be the best action movie of the year and it's worth $9 to see it on the big screen.

I agree completely about "The Spirit."