I know I should anticipate Thanksgiving and Christmas for important reasons. Showing our gratitude for the bountiful blessings God has seen fit to endow. Being thankful for family and friends. Celebrating the pivotal event of human history: the birth of Jesus Christ.
And I do.
But I also get jazzed about all the new movies coming out.
I know, I know. Where are my priorities?
Here, in ascending order of excitement, are the movies I’m looking forward to seeing this winter. In fact, I might get so excited, I’ll actually see some of these in the theater instead of waiting for the DVD release.
Based on the true story of boxer Mickey Ward. Boxing movies promise well and this one has a great cast: Amy Adams, Mark Wahlberg and, of course, Christian Bale. I think I would pay eight bucks to hear Christian Bale read the Nutritional Information panel on a cereal box. Yes, he’s taken a bit of a departure from his Batman physique, but I’ll forgive that. (Is it too early to add The Dark Knight Rises to my list?)
Probably the best trailer I’ve seen all year. Which isn’t saying much but it’s still good. (And a dissertation on why movie trailers suddenly suck wind is not the purpose of this post. Maybe later.)
I quite enjoyed Chris Pine in the Star Trek reboot and I loved Denzel Washington in American Gangster, Courage Under Fire, Glory, Inside Man, Man on Fire, Training Day, Fallen, Remember the Titans, Virtuosity, Crimson Tide, The Pelican Brief, Much Ado About Nothing, and The Book of Eli.
Oh, wait. I have seen The Book of Eli yet.
Nevermind. I loved Denzel in it anyway.
To be honest, the trailer makes me think this film could go either way. I’m not really sure what it’s supposed to be: a spy movie, a thriller, an action-comedy? Hopefully, the filmmakers figured it out after the trailer was cut.
But I am excited about the potential chemistry between Jolie and Jack Sparrow, er, Johnny Depp. My interest probably comes down to actor-loyalty: certain actors I trust not to choose a stupid, waste-of-my-time-and-theirs film.
That and Angelina Jolie is probably the only true bombshell in Hollywood right now. Jane Russell, we miss you.
Actor loyalty strikes again. Russell Crowe is the Steve McQueen of our generation. There are actors who are better looking. And taller. With nicer manners. Who don’t throw telephones. None of that matters, frankly. Some actors just have “It.”
The premise of The Next Three Days, about a man who decided to break his wife out of prison, is intriguing. I will admit I’m a little on the edge of my seat because of some hints that the couple’s kid gets left in the dust — which triggers my outrage reflex a little prematurely. We shall see.
I’m prejudiced here. I worked in a professional ballet company for four years. I know a little about what goes on: the backstage politics, the competitive favoritism, the shuffling of romantic partners, etc. I thought the premise looked interesting but not all that different from Center Stage really. (And we all know what a watershed film that was.)
But then Natalie Portman started plucking black feathers out of her shoulder.
You had me at “duality.”
Warning: I’ve been hearing there is a pretty graphic sex scene between the two female leads. “Not that there’s anything wrong with that.” I just don’t wanna to see it.
One of my biggest complaints about Hollywood is that “feel good movies” are now largely extinct. If, by some miracle, one happens to squeak past the wrist-slitting nihilists who greenlight films these days, it’s widely panned for being “sentimental” or “cliched” or “schmaltzy” or “escapist” or — my personal favorite — “manipulative.”
Because a pointless downer movie like The Curious Case of Benjamin Button should never be considered manipulative. Right?
Hopefully, The King’s Speech will be as “manipulative” and “schmaltzy” as it looks. The movie is based on the true story of King George VI (father of the current Queen) and the therapist who helped him overcome a speech impediment. The trailer does an excellent job of laying out clear stakes1 for this film and the cast looks quite stellar. Even the usually strident Helena Bonham Carter seems surprisingly likable in a turn as the late Queen Mum.
Gwyneth Paltrow as a country music star? Get real.
But the trailer makes this out to be one rousin’, boot-scootin’, honky-tonkin’, rip-roarin’ of a good time. Quelle surprise. Gwynie actually seems comfortable in her big-hair and beefy accent. Lest I prejudge, it would be prudent to give her a chance.
(Granted, I’ll have to get past her well-documented superiority complex and her utter contempt for the demographic that typically comprises country music fans. But. It could still be good. Maybe.)
Technically, Jane Eyre won’t make its debut until March 2011. But I thought this trailer made it worthy of inclusion a little early. (And there are no trailers available for The Dark Knight Rises. I checked. Or it would so be here already…)
If the trailer is any indicator, I love the direction they’ve taken the story. The BBC versions are always lovely, but they lack the true gothic gravity which I admire in the novel. Maybe that stiff-upper-lip British thing gets in the way of truly embracing the dark side of gothic literature.
I think Mia Wasikowsky is a great choice for the titular character, even as I’m a little underwhelmed by the casting of Michael Fassbender. I suppose the casting of a relative “blank slate” was intentional — much as I think it was with the casting of Mr. Darcy for Pride and Prejudice — so I’ll suspend judgment for the moment.
Yes, I know it’s already out. But I’ve been busy and haven’t seen it. And it’s killing me.
Maybe over Thanksgiving I’ll lock myself in the bathroom and sneak out the window.
How long it is? Two hours and sixteen minutes? That could work. Too much turkey or pie or something. Maybe the family would buy it…
Without doubt, this is the 2010 Holy Grail of holiday movies for me.
The Chronicles of Narnia on film is almost like watching a film adaptation of my childhood and The Dawn Treader is certainly one of the best. This is the kind of movie for which I would withhold my ancient bones from their rightful place — in bed — in order to go to a midnight showing. On the way home, I would probably wrap my car around a tree from exhaustion though.
Still, for a good movie no sacrifice is too great.
- Clearly laying out the stakes, while important for any film trailer, is absolutely essential for a period film set in Britain. Most Americans have no clue who George VI was or why his ability to speak distinctly had global implications. We’re just not up on our British history like we should be. If you want further proof, note that the 1994 film The Madness of King George was originally called The Madness of George III, after the play upon which it was based. Hollywood execs insisted the name be changed due to concerns that audiences would stay away because they’d “missed” The Madness of George, Parts I and II. ↩