The Most Anticipated Films for the Rest of 2010 Part 3

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10) The Social Network

To tell you the truth I was not looking forward to the David Fincher / Aaron Sorkin dramatization of the Facebook saga until the iconic trailer was released. Not only was it visually stunning (as all Fincher’s films are) but its brilliant use of a course singing Radiohead’s outsider anthem Creep. Fincher understands the very dark secret to Facebooks appeal is human insecurity. Our constant curiosity of what is happening in our friends lives when we are not around. The film is now being hailed as the first major Zeitgeist picture of the decade.

Also it was recently discoverd that the story is told in a Rashomon style, where each character offers their own version of the truth. This one keeps looking better. Stars Jessie Essenberg, Andrew Garfeld, Justin Timberlake, Rashida Jones, and Rooney Mara.

9) The Rum Diary

Bruce Robinson, the famed director of Withnail and I (one of the all-time great comedies), adapts Hunter S. Thompson’s book about Paul Kemp, a freelance writer (not unlike Thompson himself) who faces a critical turning point in his life that leads him down a path of self-destruction. In not-so-shocking casting, Johnny Depp is playing the central character with Aaron Eckhart and Amber Heard costarring. It will be interesting to see how Robinson films the material, this being his first film in nearly 20 years.

8 ) The Illusionist

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Sylvain Chomet’s sleeper hit The Triplets of Belleville remains one of the most original works of the past decade. It seemed to walk a fine line between the charming and the grotesque. His long-awaited follow up is based off a long lost script from one of cinemas greatest comedians, Jacques Tati (Mr. Hulot’s Holiday, Mon oncle, Playtime, Traffic). Tati never filmed the script because he found it to be too serious and personal.

Here Chomet tones it down on the weird. He employs a more melancholy tone and sets the film in beautiful Edinburgh, Scotland. It opened in Berlin and Cannes to near universal praise and an sure bet for a Best Animated Feature nomination.

7) Tron Legacy

I usually balk at reboots/sequel. But Tron Legacy simply looks fantastic and might will over converts who don’t care for the 80’s original. The 200 million production seamlessly blends imaginative sets with gorgeous CGI. This highly stylized world (at least in my opinion) trumps Avatar‘s Pandora.

6) Steven Soderbergh (Haywire, The Last Time I Saw Micheal Gregg, And Everything is Going Fine).

Yes Soderbergh is still busy making movies (2011’s Contagion is said to be the first serious adult action movie filmed in 3D) but he currently still has three finished films in limbo. The first is his Spalding Grey tribute And Everything is Going Fine, which is said to be essential viewing for anyone who is a fan of Grey’s spoken word. The next is his improvised comedy with a same cast that worked with on the play Tot-Mom for the Sydeny Theater Company. It was reportedly filmed between rehearsals.

Soderbergh’s big scale martial arts/espionage movie Haywire is may be set for early January 2011. No word on a small Oscar qualifying release before the end of the year. Early screenings have brought a lot of positive word. The film is a revenge story about a super-black ops soldier (real-life martial-artist Gina Carano) who conducts complex a globe trotting revenge plot. The all supporting cast includes Michael Fassbender, Ewan McGregor, Michael Douglas, Bill Paxton, Channing Tatum and Antonio Banderas.

5) Great Television (Boardwalk Empire, Mildred Peirce, Carlos, This is England ’86, The Trip)

Some of the best filmmakers around are realizing cable may be the best place to tell stories. The audiences who once flocked to their local art house 15 years ago are no realizing its just easier to watch Mad Men or Treme.

Boardwalk Empire

You already know about this one. The pedigree here is out of this world. Martin Scorsese directs the pilot and Terrence Winter (creator of the Sopranos) is the penning the scripts. The series follows the rise of organized crime during prohibition in Atlantic City. Stars Steve Buscemi, Michael K Williams, Michael Stuhlbarg, Michael Shannon, and Michael Pitt. Yeah thats just about every Michael in Hollywood I think

Mildred Peirce

After the breakout success of Far From Heaven and 2007’s bizzaro Dylan bio-pic I’m Not There, many are wondering how Todd Haynes could top himself. Perhaps an epic HBO mini-series could fill the gap. The remake of Joan Crawford classic is said to be grittier and more sexual psychodrama (it HBO after all). The story follows the divorced single mother who tries to open a restaurant business and mange her relationship with her ambitious and spiteful young daughter. Stars Kate Winslet, Evan Rachel Wood, Melissa Leo, and Guy Pearce. The series finished filming months ago but is set to premiere around January 2011.

Carlos

Oliver Assayas is one of the most prolific directors around (even giving Soderbergh a run for his money). After his last film Summer Hours toped many critics lists last year, he decided to pull off a five hour opus about the Venezuelan terrorist Carlos “the Jackal”, who funded a worldwide terrorism organization and was even able to raid OPEC headquarters in 1975. It opened to Cannes to raves and is scheduled to premiere in America on cable as a Sundance Channel event in September.

This is England ’86

Shane Meadow’s This is England was such a big hit in the UK that it’s follow up is now a big Miniseries event. It’s set in 1986 four years after the original film and follows Shaun and skinhead buddies (this is before the subculture became adopted by white nationalists) Woody, Lol, Smell, Gadget, and Meggie as they start trying to live as adults. The events of the film based off of Meadows own experiences growing up and the series will a much deeper exploration of the characters than the original film. The teaser for the series borrows the trashy video camera asthetic Harmony Korine used in Trash Humpers.

The Trip

Micheal Winterbottom’s (24 Hour Party People, Tristam Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story) new improvised comedy has just wrapped filming six episodes. They are a last minute edition to this year’s Toronto Film Festival as all six episodes will be condensed into a two hour movie. No word yet if it will be released here in the states as a movie or in its UK sitcom format. It follows Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon (playing versions of themselves) as they go on a road trip to northern England.

4) Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives

The winner of the coveted Golden Palm at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. The surreal dreamscape from Thailand’s Apichatpong Weerasethakul (his fans call him Joe) about the final days of the titular character as he dies from kidney failure. While his family members are at his bedside as the ghost of Boonmee’s dead wife pays them a visit as does a terrifying “monkey ghost” who roams the forest. And thats just the tip of the iceberg.

Weerasethakul is truly an original, there is no one remotely like him. His other films Syndromes and a Century, Blissfully Yours, Mysterious Object at Noon and Tropical Mandalay defy explanation. They are not to be understood but experienced.

3) Certified Copy

Abbas Kiarostami (Close Up, Taste of Cherry) was the leader of the New Iranian Cinema movement in the early 90s. And after 10 years of micro-budget digital experiments (Ten). He returns to big budget filmmaking with Certified Copy. It also marks his first film made outside his home country (granted his films have been banned in Iran for over 10 years).

The film stars Juliette Binoche (her performance won her the Best Actress Prize at Cannes) and British opera singer William Shimell as a couple who meet in tuscany. But things are askew from the beginning. They start roll playing a couple who have been married for years but were they role playing before. Kiarostami explores the concepts of how we connect with people who are close to us and to those who are not.

2) The Tree of Life

The continuous delay of Terrence Malik’s film as well as not one sign of a trailer, film stills, or any has me worried of the damn film will ever come out.

Shot way back in early 2008 with reportedly 3 million feet of 35 millimeter film, this is Terence Malick’s largest production yet and still only his fifth film since his 1973 debut Badlands. The project had been in the legendary filmmaker’s head for 30 years. Originally titled Q, the film was to be the follow-up to 1978’s Days of Heaven, but Malick took a 20-year hiatus from directing. In the years since his return,Tree of Life was constantly being rumored to be in production, and now it’s a reality. Malick also made an adjacent (Brad Pitt-narrated) documentary to the film called The Voyage of Time, which is supposed to chronicle the “birth and death of the universe” (I’m not sure if both films will be playing together). Here’s the IMDB plot synopsis:

“The film opens documenting the origins of life, through the age of reptiles and mammals and then man. Progressively, we are swept through time until the 1950s, where the birth of life suddenly comes to seemingly pointless sickness and death. Pointless, that is, to young Jack, who is unaware of all that has led to this point and time, only to arrive to the tragedy he must come to grips with. This is the philosophical thrust of older Jack’s struggle to coexist in a world that seemingly has little to no value for him. The “tree of life” is the framework of the story, how one thing leads to another, a miracle of growth and evolution, where nature is purposeful, and never random.”

Brad Pitt plays the father (a part originally intended for Heath Ledger) and Sean Penn has the role of the adult Jack. It is also rumored that there will be two different versions of the film (one exclusively for IMAX theaters). We also have cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki (Children of Men, The New World) and composer Alexandre Desplat (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Birth) on board.

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1) Enter The Void

Yes this movie looks completely ridiculous. Gasper Noe (Irreversible, I Stand Alone) is a filmmaker aims for the stratosphere literally and figuratively. The film is literally a long POV shot of the protagonist, a drug dealer who gets killed, has his life flash before his eyes, becomes a ghost who floats around Tokyo, and then reaches the afterlife. Yes the film is pure spectacle, but not since since the 60s have we gotten such an epic stoner film. Stars Paz de la Huerta (The Limits of Control, Boardwalk Empire) and Nathaniel Brown.

Honorable Mentions

Claire Denis’ White Material

My Dog Tulip

The Last Train Home

Jackass 3D
The only movie this year that I’m willing to see in 3D.

Kaboom

Black Venus

Abdellatif Kechiche’s follow up to 2007’s acclaimed The Secret of the Grain is a bio-pic about Indiewire Describes Black Venus as “a biographical film documenting the life of Saartjie Baartman, whose oversized features tore her from South Africa and took her to Europe in the nineteenth century, where she was peddled around as a circus freak while attempting to free herself.”

The Robber

This razor-sharp German thriller by Benjamin Heisenberg has potential to find a real audience in America. It tells the story of a man who is essentially a marathon runner by day and serial bank robber by night. The man’s criminal acts have no real motive; he is simply an endorphin junkie obsessed with getting away with the most efficient and clean robbery possible. The film is an adaptation of the popular Martin Prinz novel, itself based on an actual series of crimes committed in Austria.

Cedar Rapids

Ed Helms gets his first starring role as a happy-go-lucky who travels to a big city convention to save the jobs of his co-workers. The Screenplay by Phil Johnson has gotten alot of buzz and director Miguel Arteta (The Good Girl, Chuck and Buck). The solid cast includes John C Riley, Sigourney Weaver, Anne Heche, and Alia Shawkat.

2 Comments
  1. The Black Man Is GOD says

    Brilliant choice for Enter the Void as #1, I’m crossing my fingers it comes to New Orleans Film Festival. Other than that I’m really curious about Romain Gavras’ first film, Animal Kingdom, And the Turin Horse.

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