Friday, September 6, 2013

A Fistful of Fall Anticipation 2013! (Brad's Picks)

Just four more months left to the year.  September, October, November, December.  Summer is behind us; it's time for Hollywood to unleash the Oscar Bait heavy hitters.  Don't know if you've picked up the mood around ITMOD lately, but Matt & I are desperate for some real-deal cinematic entertainment.  So far this year I've seen 54 films.  I've liked a bunch, but I've only LOVED two films (Only God Forgives & The World's End).  That's fairly depressing.  And going into this prestigious Fall Season, I don't see a lot of options to perk up my mood.  None of the films listed below are there due to their content.  The plots do not really interest me, but the filmmakers behind the camera certainly do.

Honorable Mention - Oldboy:  I am not anticipating Spike Lee's Oldboy remake, I'm dreading it.  Josh Brolin & Sharlto Copley are perfectly paired as the tortured & torturer, but I just cannot imagine this film sticking the original's epic revenge twist.  And judging by what little I've seen of the trailer, this Spike Lee Joint doesn't even seem bothered with pulling off the Korean climax.  So...good, right?  Be it's own thing.  Maybe focus more on the original comic?  Well, except the trailer seems to rob every other beat from Chan-wook Park's film.  Beards, umbrellas, hammers.  Color me cautiously curious.

5.  The Monuments Men:  I think George Clooney is one of the most fascinating, if not all-together successful, actor-turned-directors out there.  Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, Good Night and Good Luck, Leatherheads, Ides of March.  Each of his movies are wildly different from the next.  Not just in plot or tone, but in visual style.  Name me another actor/director that has as strong an eye as Clooney?  You can't.  Good Night and Good Luck is probably his strongest effort, but I've also really enjoyed the oddity of Confessions, and I think Leatherheads is ridiculously charming.  But Ides of March was just a basic political melodrama with strong performances, but a blah predictable screenplay.  I'm happy to see him tackling this oddball WWII art caper flick, but is this just a period piece Ocean's 11?  There could be worse things.

4.  The Wolf Of Wall Street:  Martin Scorsese makes a movie, I get excited.  And with its Kanye score and Matthew McConaughey chest thumping, I absolutely adored the first theatrical trailer.  My only concern is that this is just a Social Network wannabe.  Asshole Leo tossing midgets, lobsters, and orange juice and making boatloads of cash off all us American suckers.  We've had a lot of Rise & Fall stories throughout the years, and Scorsese himself delivered two of the greatest with Goodfellas & Casino.  Does he have a third one in him?  I sure hope so.

3.  Thor - The Dark World:  Pre-Avengers, Kenneth Branagh's Thor was my favorite of the Marvel Studios movies.  Chris Hemsworth is the single greatest spandex discovery since Christopher Reeve.  His smile owned that movie.  It was a romcom fish-outta-water adventure that didn't need to bother with brooding responsibility a la Iron Man or a dozen other super hero flicks.  All Thor cared about was having fun at the movies.  But now Branagh is out, Game of Thrones's Alan Taylor is in, and The Dark World promises to deliver the Empire Strikes Back.  Not sure if that's what I want from the mighty god of thunder, but Jason Aaron's comic has brought new levels of enthusiasm to the character, and I'm fascinated to see if Hemsworth's lackadaisical brute can handle the doom & gloom.

2.  The Counselor:  Frankly, given my absolute frustration surrounding Prometheus, I am simply stunned that Ridley Scott's latest has not only made my Top Five, but my Number 2 to boot.  Just goes to show you the power of Michael Fassbender.  Not too mention Javier Bardem, Brad Pitt, Cameron Diaz, and Penelope Cruz viciously chewing up a scenery supplied by Cormac McCarthy.  Guns, drugs, and jaguars - Oh My!  This project was born out of the director's inability to adapt McCarthy's hateful western, Blood Meridian, so cross your fingers that this flick brings the rage found within the printed page.  Although, I'll simply settle for some Black Rain blood squibs.

1.  Inside Llewyn Davis:  IMDB's short synopsis reads, "A week in the life of a young singer as he navigates the Greenwich Village folk scene of 1961."  That doesn't really get the heart pumping, does it?  Of course, that's the charm of the Coen Brothers.  They can seemingly take any subject and transform it into a comedy, a drama, a western, a noir, a whatever.  With the exception of Intolerable Cruelty, every single one of their movies has landed in my end of the year Top Ten.  I expect the same here.  You've got Coen stalwart John Goodman, but a lot of fresh faces as well.  The lead Oscar Isaac has been on the verge of a breakthrough for nearly the last ten years (Robin Hood, Sucker Punch, Drive), and given enough critical praise & audience acceptance Inside Llewyn Davis might be his ticket.  Justin Timberlake, Carey Mulligan, Garrett Hedlund, F Murray Abraham, and Neelix round out the supporting cast.  I certainly like these faces.


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