Kids around the country are back in school, I’ve had a few fantasy football drafts already, and soon enough the Pumpkin Spice Latte will be back, so I guess that means it’s time for me to write one of my favorite columns of the year: my Top-10 Most Anticipated Films for the Fall.
10. Argo (dir. Ben Affleck)
This was a last-minute addition to the list, as it is starting to play the festival circuit and already reeling in rave reviews. Ben Affleck’s first two films (Gone Baby Gone and The Town) were the work of someone who really knows his way around the camera, and with each film he makes it’s becoming clear that he will be around for awhile, improving upon himself with his work. Perhaps his best strength as a filmmaker, though, is his interest in telling great stories. This true story about the Iranian hostage crisis looks to be as intense as it will be fun, and between the plotline and the supporting cast, I have no doubt this will be entertaining.
9. Amour (dir. Michael Haneke)
(No Trailer Yet)
Okay, this list in general is surprisingly devoid of art-house films that none of my readers will end up seeing, so I had to throw at least one in here. Bonus points for me, also, as this is a foreign film. My relationship with Michael Haneke’s films is an odd one—no other director in the business can make me say “What the *bleep* am I watching right now?” more than he does. They are not in any way “enjoyable” films. Yet, his last film, The White Ribbon, is a recent example of a director who is in complete control of his work, showing the perfect balance of restraint and flair. I look forward to seeing what he can do in this film—a relationship drama.
8. Looper (dir. Rian Johnson)
If all I told you about this film is that the words “Bruce Willis,” “Joseph Gordon-Levitt,” and “time-travel” are involved, wouldn’t that be enough to make you want to see it? In all seriousness, the plot and trailer alone for this film didn’t really put it on my most anticipated radar, but I keep reading things about how the script is amazing, and the actors all say it’s the best project they’ve EVER been a part of, and things like that. Additionally, it’s by the director of Brick, one of the most criminally underrated movies of last decade (which also starred Levitt), so this one definitely has my curiosity piqued.
7. Skyfall (dir. Sam Mendes)
I have very few hard and fast rules in life, but one of those is that I see every movie starring Javier Bardem. Bonus points if he’s a villain and has a terrible haircut in the movie. But seriously, I’m really excited for this next installment in the Daniel Craig-era Bond franchise. Quantum of Solace was a massive disappointment to me after the success of Casino Royale, but the trailer for this film is stunning, Sam Mendes is directing it, and again, Javier Bardem is involved.
6. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (dir. Peter Jackson)
Between The Dark Knight Rises, The Avengers, Spiderman, The Hunger Games, and the upcoming ending to the Twilight series (FINALLY), this was definitely a banner year for fanboy films, and the The Hobbit should be a nice way to cap off all of this madness at the end of the year. I would be lying if I said I was as excited for this film as I was for all of the Lord of the Rings films, only because The Hobbit seems kind of anticlimactic story-wise compared to the former, and it will be hard to make it feel like it’s not something we’ve already seen. However, I do have faith that Peter Jackson has a few tricks left up his sleeve, and I will be there front and center and ready to be thoroughly entertained when this film is released on December 14th. Oh, and I just found out that an actor named Adam Brown is playing one of the dwarves in the film, so yeah, badass.
5. The Place Beyond the Pines (dir. Derek Cianfrance)
(No Trailer Yet)
Ryan Gosling should be in all the movies. He continually improves upon his craft, while attaching himself to interesting and out-of-the-ordinary projects. This film, from the director of 2010’s Blue Valentine, stars Gosling as a “motorcycle stunt driver who considers committing a crime to provide for his wife and family.” Sounds a lot like another recent Gosling film...Drive. But hey, what could be bad about that?
4. Django Unchained (dir. Quentin Tarantino)
This film would probably be higher on my list, if A) Terrence Malick wasn’t making a movie this year, and B) I hadn’t heard so much about the production hell that this film went through. Casting changes left and right, even during shooting, can’t possibly be good for a film. But hey, it’s Tarantino. His worst movie is better than most, and his best movie is better than almost every movie. So I have no trouble looking forward to a western in which Leonardo DiCaprio is a theatrical villain.
3. Lincoln (dir. Steven Spielberg)
(No Trailer Yet)
Putting this at #3 is somewhat a leap of faith for me, and I’m really holding out hope that Daniel Day Lewis starring as the titular 16th POTUS will at the very least make a run-of-the-mill film into a very good one. The ceiling for this film, on the other hand, is unlimited.
2. To the Wonder (dir. Terrence Malick)
(No Trailer Yet)
I’ve spoken of my love affair with Terrence Malick on the blog before, and though he released another film just last year (The Tree of Life), he has only made 6 films in 40 years counting this one, so it is still a very notable event when a new film from him is released. Ben Affleck and Rachel MacAdams star as lovers in what we can only guess is a romantic drama, because as usual with his films, plot details are quite thin at the moment. Malick’s directorial style is extremely suited to love stories, and the portions of his films that feature love stories are always some of my favorite aspects of his films. To The Wonder is dropping in at the Venice Film Festival this week, so I’m sure we will know more details and perhaps have a trailer in the near future. Oh, and once again, Javier Bardem.
1. The Master (dir. Paul Thomas Anderson)
I’m kind of going out on a semi-limb here, because as far as auteur directors go, PTA is certainly not one of my favorites, although I respect his work. I’m putting it as my #1 for several reasons.
(1) The cast is amazing, and Joaquin Phoenix and Phillip Seymour Hoffman look stunning in the trailer.
(2) I’m getting more of the “incredibly unsettling” vibe from the trailer that I so much enjoyed in Anderson’s most recent film, There Will Be Blood.
(3)Musical score by Johnny Greenwood (of Radiohead)
(4) Intense religious subject matter
The last couple of years when I wrote this column, my #1 most-anticipated film didn't crack my top-10 list for the year, or even get close, really. I hope Paul Thomas Anderson's film can break this cycle, and I look forward to finding out when The Master is released on September 21.