Friday, September 25, 2009

October Month Preview

October Month Preview

September saw the biggest movie event of my year, The Toronto International Film Festival, and it’s a good thing, because most of the movies I had a chance to see in theaters that month were dull and duller. October kicks things up a notch, with more Oscar hopefuls being released, although, not as many as in years past. While in the past months, I focused only on wide release movies, this month, I decided to throw in several limited release movies as well. At this time of year, the studios open many of their films on only a few screens at first, before expanding them. They do this to try and build buzz of their awards worthiness. So while not all of these films will likely hit your area in October, they will probably being hit you at some point in the upcoming months. As per normal however, most of the big players will sit on the sidelines until November and December. Having said that, October offers many strong offerings, mixed with some films you’d have to put a gun to my head to get me to see. We’ll have to see how the month plays out.

October 2nd

Capitalism: A Love Story – Michael Moore’s latest documentary focuses on the problems with modern capitalism in America, particularly on all those bank bailouts last year where billions of dollars were given to huge banks so they can go on screwing millions of Americans. Moore is not a subtle filmmaker, and sometimes he is not even a fair filmmaker, but I always look forward to every film that he makes. Anticipation Level: 10

The Invention of Lying – Ricky Gervais is a comedic genius, who so far has had trouble translating that genius from TV (where The Office and Extras are two of the best comedies of all time) to the big screen. But in his big screen directorial debut, he looks to change that. He plays the only man in the world capable of lying, and he uses his new found ability to great effect. The reviews from TIFF were warm, if not spectacular, but I still cannot wait to see what he does in this film. Anticipation Level: 8

A Serious Man – The Coen brothers return with their latest masterpiece, a comedy/drama about a Jewish man in 1967 Minnesota whose entire life falls apart in front of his eyes. He is being tested in a way that no one since Job has, and as played by Michael Stuhlbarg, he is probably the most sympathetic character in the Coens brothers history. This is a superbly made, brilliantly acted masterpiece that was my favorite film of this year’s Toronto Film Festival. Anticipation Level: N/A, since I saw this already at TIFF, I cannot really anticipate it, can I, but it would have been a 10 had I not seen it.

Whip It! – Ellen Page returns to her first leading role since her smash hit Juno, and once again she plays a teenager trying to find her own path in the world, much to the chagrin of her parents. This time though, it’s not pregnancy, but roller derby, in Drew Barrymore’s riotous debut film as a director. Yes, it follows the Juno formula fairly rigidly, but I cannot say there were too many films at the festival this year that I had more fun at. Anticipation Level: N/A, since I saw this already at TIFF, I cannot really anticipate it, can I, but it would have been a 9 had I not seen it (I love Page).

Zombieland – The preview for this film looks absolutely hilarious – a blend of zombie movie and comedy the likes of which we haven’t seen since Shaun of the Dead. I love Woody Harrelson, especially when he’s playing a demented character like this, and I also love Emma Stone who has a supporting role. While I may not be familiar with the director, Ruben Fleischer, this one looks like too much fun to miss. Anticipation Level: 8

October 9th

Couples Retreat – Vince Vaughn, Jon Favreau and Jason Bateman can all be funny in movies. And Kristen Bell and Malin Akerman are at least good eye candy, even if they have not impressed me very much with their movies (Bell was good, but could have been better in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, and has yet to find a role to watch her TV work on Veronica Mars). This one looks amusing, but I’m not sure about it. Anticipation Level: 5

Night of the Demons – I have never actually seen the late 1980s B horror film that this is a remake of, and the cast looks like this should have come out in 1999 (Edward Furlong? Shannon Elizabeth? Monica Keena? At least they’re still working I guess). Since I have yet to see a preview and had to go further than usual to even find a poster, this looks like it’s basically a studio dump. Anticipation Level: 2

An Education – This was one of the films I most regretted not being able to see at this year’s Toronto Film Festival. This had got wonderful reviews since it debuted at Sundance earlier this year, and its march to the Oscars seem to being going strong, with many people saying newcomer Carey Mulligan could easily win the Best Actress prize this year. This is based on a wonderful book, and I cannot wait to see it. Don’t know if I’ll get a chance this weekend, or I’ll have to wait until it opens wider, but this is probably my (second) most anticipated film of the month. Anticipation Level: 10

October 16th

Law Abiding Citizen – I cannot say that I really dislike Gerard Butler, but I have yet to see him in a movie that I actually liked. Jamie Foxx can be good, but he can also be quite bad. Director F. Gary Gray has had an interesting career though, directing good films like Set It Off, The Negotiator and The Italian Job (then again he also directed A Man Apart and Be Cool), so I’m sure I’ll check this out. Not really looking forward to it though. Anticipation Level: 5.

The Stepfather – Another remake of a 1980s B horror movie that I have never actually seen. With the cast of Dylan Walsh, Sela Ward, Amber Heard, Penn Badgley, Sherry Stringfield, Paige Turco and Jon Tenney, and a director I have never heard of, shouldn’t this be going straight to DVD. Anticipation Level: 2.

Where the Wild Things Are – Spike Jonze’s long awaited for follow-up to Adaptation finally arrives in theaters this month. Based on one of my favorite children’s books, this movie looks inventive and delightful. I hope this means that Jonze can direct something not written by Charlie Kaufman and make a great movie (Michel Gondry can’t). I’ve been looking forward to this one for a while now. Anticipation Level: 10.

Black Dynamite – A hit at festivals around the country (although strangely, the film did not play Toronto), this homage to 1970s blaxpoltation movies looks utterly entertaining and fun, even if it does star Michael Jai White, Arsenio Hall and Tommy Davidson – actors I normally do not think are all that good. Anticipation Level: 8.

October 23rd

Amelia – Mira Nair is a fine director, and Hilary Swank is a fine actress (even if she doesn’t deserve to have two Oscars), but this Amelia Earhart biopic is so far leaving me cold. It could very well turn out to be wonderful – they certainly want it to be an Oscar player – but something about the film has me dreading it. I will undoubtedly see it, and I hope I’m wrong. Anticipation Level: 5.

Antichrist – Out of all the films this month, this is the one I want to see more than the rest of them combined. I have heard the debates raging about this film ever since it debuted at Cannes, and had to miss it when it played here in Toronto, but anything Lars von Trier does, I look forward to seeing. Even if I end up hating it, I desperately want to see the damn thing for myself. Anticipation Level: 11. (That’s 1 louder than the rest for you Spinal Tap fans).

Astro Boy – This update to the anime series classic is probably going to delight children, and since I have a wife who loves anime, I’m sure I’ll see it, but come on! It does look more than slightly stupid, doesn’t it? Anticipation Level: 3

Cirque de Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant – I am so sick of vampires right now it’s not even funny. What’s worse is that vampires have gone from evil villains to sexy bad boys all things to Stephanie Meyers (news flash for all those teen girls out there – fucking a vampire is like fucking a corpse – it’s just as cold and dead). I know this isn’t Twilight, and director Paul Weitz is actually quite talented, and I love John C. Reilly, but still, I cannot imagine myself watching this anytime soon. Anticipation Level: 1.

Saw VI – Since I have suffered through each of the first five Saw movies, there is no way I’m going to stop watching this series now (when they start going straight to DVD I will). I have stopped trying to figure out how Jigsaw keeps showing up in these movies, even though he’s been dead for the last two, and just go with the flow. Yes, I’m sure it will be shit. But I am also sure I’ll see it. Anticipation Level: 4.

Motherhood – Why does badass action chick Uma Thurman continue to insist on subjecting her fans to these lame romantic comedies that she is terrible in? Seriously, I do not want to see Thurman struggling to get her child’s birthday off the ground, and want to see her kick ass! Anticipation Level: 1.

Ong Bak 2 – Tony Jaa is quite an athetletic martial artist, and the original Ong Bak is worth watching just to marvel at his stunts. That he cannot act, doesn’t seem to slow him down any. I’m sure this will be dumb, but it could be fun. Anticipation Level: 4.

October 30th

Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day – Boondock Saints has become a cult classic for some reason. I did quite enjoy the film when I saw it years ago, but honestly have never really felt the urge to watch the film again. Now all these years later, they are making this pointless sequel. Yet, I know I’ll be there, so I don’t know why I’m complaining. Anticipation Level: 6.

Michael Jackson’s This is It – I am so sick of hearing about Michael Jackson that I cannot imagine any circumstances that I would actually watch this movie. A documentary about him rehearsing a concert series that he never did because he died? Seriously, who the hell wants to watch that? Anticipation Level: 0.

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