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2010 Fall Preview: Part II

Fall is now upon us. With Labor Day upon us, that means it’s time to get the rake out and pass on those trick or treats. Football has replaced Baseball, although with the pennant race in full gear, important baseball is still to be played. I am glad I mentioned the word important because that ties right in with the time of year for film geeks. Gone are the dumb, loud, obnoxious retreads and sequels.  In are the hoyty toyty films, films vying for oscar gold.  While all might not be good, most of them are at least interesting.

In Part I, I took a look at films that looked intriguing but could go either way.  In Part II, I will be looking at the big can’t miss films of the fall.  Not all of these are big blockbusters but all of these are films are guaranteed to be awesome.  These are films that you need to see right away.  Most of them, you have probably heard and are anticipating as well.

1. The Town (Warner Bros)

Cast: Ben Affleck, Rebecca Hall, Jeremy Renner, Jon Hamm, Blake Lively, Chris Cooper, Pete Postlethwate

Directed by: Ben Affleck

Release Date: September 17th

LOGLINE: A bank robber gets involved with the hostage of his latest heist.

In 2007, Affleck directed one of the best films of that year with Gone, Baby, Gone.  The film was a masterpiece and it established Affleck as  a director to look out for.  Now he is back with The Town, another crime film set around the Boston area dealing with complex moral issues.  I think the trailer looks incredible and the cast is very good with Affleck in the leading role, Hall as the hostage, Oscar nominee Renner as Affleck’s partner, and Hamm in the role of an FBI agent.  However the actress who has walked away with the most buzz and Oscar attention is none other than Gossip Girl Blake Lively.  She apparently has the Amy Ryan role here playing a 29 year old drug addicted single mom.  The film will premiere in Venice later this week and will play at the Toronto Film Festival.  Since becoming a director, Affleck has become one of our most interesting character actors with memorable turns in Extract and State of Play.

2. True Grit (Paramount Pictures)

Cast: Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, Josh Brolin, Hailee Steinfeld

Directed by: The Coen Brothers

Release Date: December 25th

LOGLINE: A 14 year old girl sets out to avenge the killing of her father with the help of a one-eyed marshal.

It’s a remake of the classic John Wayne classic, although apparently it is more of an adaptation of the book.  It doesn’t matter.  If you put a gun to my head and asked me to name my favorite director or set of directors, I would have to say the Coen brothers.  Everything they have done, with the exception of O Brother Where Art Thou, I have liked.  After seeing No Country for Old Men, the idea of the Coens doing a straight western is enough to get me drooling.  The cast is excellent with Bridges, Damon, Brolin and the newcomer Steinfeld.

3. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I (Warner Bros)

Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Imelda Staunton

Directed by: David Yates

Release Date: November 19th

LOGLINE: Part I of the conclusion to the Harry Potter saga.

Even though the film is in 3D (mistake), I am still very much looking forward to this film.  I love what they have done with the latest Harry Potter films and David Yates is a master craftsman.

4. The Social Network (Columbia Pictures)

Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Justin Timberlake, Rooney Mara, Andrew Garfield

Directed by: David Fincher

Release Date: October 1st

LOGLINE: A look at the invention of Facebook.

The trailers and the fact that I have now read the book The Accidental Billionaires, I have to say that I am going into this film with unrealistically high expectations.  The theatrical trailer is brilliant and I love the use of “Creep.”  The early reviews have been stellar and I trust that Fincher has done a great job.

5. 127 Hours (Fox Searchlight)

Cast: James Franco, Kate Mara, Amber Tamblyn

Directed by: Danny Boyle

Release Date: November 5th

LOGLINE: Based on the true story of a man whose arm was trapped under a boulder and was forced to cut it off in order to survive.

I love Danny Boyle.  He always chooses new and interesting films to work on with things like Sunshine, Slumdog Millionaire, and 28 Days Later.  Now comes 127 Hours, which stars James Franco and tells the true story of Aron Ralston.  The early buzz has been phenominal, and as long as you can avoid passing out from all the blood on display, it looks like Boyle has another winner on his hands.  I am also excited to see Franco in a role like this.  He has established himself as one of the most versatile young actors that we have (look at 2008 with Pineapple Express and Milk), but he has yet to get a role this juicy.  The supporting cast is also really solid with Mara, Tamblyn, and Clemence Posey.

6. Enter the Void (IFC Films)

Cast: Nathaniel Brown, Paz de la Huerta

Directed by: Gaspar Noé

Release Date: September 24th (limited)

LOGLINE: A drug-dealing teen is killed in Tokyo only to reappear from beyond the grave to watch over his sister.

This one could go either way.  Noé, who directed the extremely controversial Irreversible, seems to divide audiences and critics alike.  They either love his visceral style of filmmaking or they find it obnoxious and exploitative.  I happen to be the former because I have loved everything he has done.  I think Irreversible is a near masterpiece and one that definitely haunts me.  Enter the Void premiered as a rough cut at Cannes in 2009 to decidedly mixed reviews.  Variety and THR panned the film while Daniel Kashman compared Noé to Kubrick.  However, Noé showed the final cut at Sundance this year and got rave reviews from Andrew O’Hehir and Allison Wilmore from IFC.  I am a fan of Noé and the trailer looks epic.  Even if it is a disaster, it will be an interesting disaster at the very least.

7. Due Date (Warner Bros)

Cast: Robert Downey Jr, Zack Galifianakis, Jamie Foxx, Michelle Monaghan

Directed by: Todd Phillips

Release Date: November 5th

LOGLINE: A high-strung father-to-be is forced to take a road trip with an eccentric aspiring actor in order to make it to his child’s birth on time.

This film is on the list for one reason.  It looks hilarious.  Phillips, who directed one of the funniest movies of last year The Hangover and this reteams him with the breakout star of that film Galifianakis.  I like the idea of Downey, someone who is known for eccentric oddball characters, getting to be the straight man.  I found The Hangover to be a surprisingly well made and well shot film, it is a far superior from a filmmaking standpoint than The 40 Year Old Virgin or Knocked Up, and from the trailer it looks like Phillips is continuing with that trend.

8. Tree of Life

Cast: Brad Pitt, Sean Penn, Jessica Chastain

Directed by: Terrence Malick

Release Date: Unknown

LOGLINE: Centering around a family with three boys in the 1950s, the eldest son witnesses a loss of innocence.

I write this paragraph knowing full well that there is a very good chance that we won’t see this film this year at all.  Malick was originally supposed to release the film in 2009 but he wasn’t done so Apparition pushed back the release till 2010.  However it hasn’t shown up anywhere in the festival circuit, something that is really suspicious since it was supposed to premiere at Cannes and Toronto.  Apparition went under earlier this year however it is not clear whether that is the issue or if it is because Malick might still be tinkering with it.  The film did receive a PG-13 rating from the MPAA, meaning that some finished or close to finished print exists somewhere.  With that being said, the film is making the list because it is Malick.  I love all of his films and it is an event when one of his films comes out.

9. Black Swan (Fox Searchlight)

Cast: Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Vincent Cassel, Barbara Hershey, Winona Ryder

Directed by: Darren Aronofsky

Release Date: December 1st

For It:

  • It’s Darren Aronofsky and he is coming off what is arguably his most mature outing to date (The Wrestler)
  • The cast is incredible.
  • The trailer looks good.
  • The Premise is intriguing.
  • The critics that love the film, really love the film.

Against It:

  • Remember the last time Darren Aronofsky tried to make a commercial genre film?  It ended being The Fountain.
  • The critics who hated the film, HATED IT!
  • It has been called a guilty pleasure or a weak Showgirls immitation

I am really excited to see this but this is by know mean’s a sure thing.  This film could be a masterpiece or it could be a fiasco.  Either way, it should be really interesting.

10. Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (20th Century Fox)

Cast: Michael Douglas, Shia LaBeouf, Carey Mulligan, Josh Brolin, Frank Langella

Directed by: Oliver Stone

Release Date: September 24th

LOGLINE: Gordon Geko returns from prison.

When I first heard about this film, I scoffed at the idea of it.  It was clearly a cash grab by Stone but than I saw the trailers and they looked really good.  The second trailer is phenomenal and it has a great cast.  The early reviews out of Cannes suggest it is more than just a cash grab.