Sunday, July 20, 2008

A cinematic glance ahead

Since I'm suddenly in a movie frame of mind (geddit?), I thought I'd take a look at what's waiting for us once the summer is out of the way. While this summer has been far better than, possibly even the best of, recent years, there's still no denying that the summer can leave those who like to leaven their blockbuster intake with some quieter and more thoughtful movies, a tad bit unsatisfied. The one film that looks capable of satisfying both at once arrives tomorrow, having smashed records practically every five minutes since opening last weekend in the USA. Yes, I'm talking about The Dark Knight. So what's coming up further ahead that's arousing my interest?

Eden Lake (September 5th). Yes yes, I realise I'm starting a supposedly cerebral list with what looks like a tacky horror movie. But the thing is, I love Kelly Reilly and would see her in anything, including this. She's a fiercely intelligent not to mention staggeringly talented actress who I've been besotted with for some time now. Plus this comes from Optimum Releasing, who just opened the surprisingly good Donkey Punch (which I saw over the weekend, more on that later).

The Duchess (September 5th). I'm torn about this as it looks like a sumptuous period drama with a fabulous supporting cast (Ralph Fiennes, Hayley Atwell, Charlotte Rampling, Dominic Cooper and so on). None of that can detract from the fact it has Keira Knightley in the title role as the Duchess of Devonshire. She is a horribly limited actress and her refusal to unclench her jaw when she speaks drives me up the fucking wall.

Pineapple Express (September 12th). Not doing well on the cerebral front am I? I'm sure there are people out there who are well and truly over Judd Apatow and his compadres. I enjoyed but was not floored by Knocked Up, Superbad or Forgetting Sarah Marshall though it has left me with a mad crush on Seth Rogen and Jason Segel. Only one of them is in this movie of course. The story of two slacker stoners on the run after witnessing corrupt cops commit a murder is hardly mining new territory but the trailer made me chuckle a few times, though I hope it's not a case of the only funny parts being in the trailer.

The Women (September 12th). I have to say I had completely forgotten about this movie being made and it's highly likely that while watching it, I'll keep getting the giggles thinking about Elaine Stritch's story about being in a touring production of this show, told in At Liberty. But it will be fascinating to see the likes of Annette Bening and Carrie Fisher completely upstage Eva Mendes and Meg Ryan, don't you think? I have to say that I do.

Brideshead Revisited (October 3rd). Now this is more like it. A sumptuous looking adaptation of what has already been a classic and much loved television series and is of course based on Waugh's timeless novel. The cast has old school brilliance (Michael Gambon, Emma Thompson) mixed with the pick of up and coming talent (the three key roles of Charles Ryder, Sebastian and Julia Flyte are taken by Matthew Goode, Ben Whishaw and Hayley Atwell, all of whom are fearsomely talented). I cannot wait. Here's hoping, after her Woody Allen disappointment, this is Atwell's breakthrough. Anyone who has seen her in The Line Of Beauty will know exactly what she's capable of.

Burn After Reading (October 17th). I am not in any way a die hard Coens Brothers fan. They've made some astonishing movies and they've also made some astonishingly bad movies. The former does of course outweigh the latter and when they get it right, they really get it fucking right (Fargo, No Country For Old Men). This cast makes me just about shit my pants in anticipation as well. I've loved Tilda Swinton for over 15 years now, she has such an incredible presence I could and will watch her in anything. Same goes for Frances McDormand. So if this film turns out to be the two of them reading the ingredients off the back of a cereal box for 90 minutes, I probably wouldn't mind. Certainly not if Brad and George were in the background.

Quantum Of Solace (October 31st). Yes, so it's a horrible title. It's still better than Tomorrow Never Dies, as titles go. Daniel Craig is the best thing that has ever happened to Bond and the franchise. While Casino Royale is not quite the slam dunk it thinks it is (weak villain, horrible third act), it's still mightily entertaining stuff and it's just full of tantalising promise. It's difficult to tell from the hyperkinetic editing of the teaser trailer whether the promise has been fulfilled or not, but I'll happily pay my money to find out. Plus, Judi Dench, the second best thing to ever happen to the Bond franchise is still front and centre as M. Good good.

Blindness (November 14th). Early reviews at Cannes were disappointed with the latest film from Fernando Meirelles. I have to say the plot sounds like Day Of The Triffids without the Triffids. Also, the trailer simultaneously intrigues and excites me, but also makes me think there's potential for this to be 2008's Children Of Men (which is to say an inexplicably publically adored piece of shit). Julianne Moore rarely sets a foot wrong and there's also Mark Ruffalo and Gael Garcia Bernal in the mix. Oh, and Sandra Oh. Also, City Of God and Constant Gardener were two jaw dropping films from a direction perspective. So the odds are on the film's side if you ask me.

Harry Potter & The Half Blood Prince (November 21st). Is there anyone not looking forward to this? After turning the longest book of the series into the shortest movie so far, it'll be interesting to see what they do with Book 6, in which there's an awful lot of padding and not much happens until the final third. I was interested to read that all of the big action sequences which take place off the page and are merely discussed on the page will be shown in the movie, and apparently writ large. I still think cutting the final book into two movies is the worst idea possible (just write a really fucking good adaptation! You can pare some of the midsection of the book down to a montage without losing anything for the love of God) but at least Prince would seem to be shaping up nicely.

The Day The Earth Stood Still (December 12th). Could this be the role Keanu Reeves was born to play? When I first read about this happening, I thought it was shocker of an idea. Big sci fi remakes of alien invasion movies could only conjure up a flashback to Spielberg's War Of The Worlds, which caused me some serious acid reflux. But then I saw the trailer and thought "well, I'll be. They might just make this worth watching after all." Reeves seems to fit the role in a way he hasn't since Neo and while I'm sure there will still be some fist swallowingly terrible moments from him, they will hopefully be fewer and farther between than usual.

For 2008, that's pretty much it right now. Stay tuned for the joys of 2009.


Southern Boy said...

I just watched the trailer for "the Women."
Is it possible that someone was like, "we have this awesome, smart, literary play that was already a movie and a revival that was also filmed, why not Sex and the City it up?"
Although it's nice to see Jada is acknowledging her lesbian self.

Jerby said...

Well, if anyone's capable of swallowing a fist, it's you, darling. ;)

Very excited at some of these.

Grouchbutt said...

I also love Fernando Meirelles' direction. I read a review of Blindness (I think it may have been Lisa Schwartzbaum), and the reviewer made a special point to get in a few digs at City of God and The Constant Gardener. Lost some credibility points with me. I liked the first better than the second, but both were amazing to watch.