The Home Stretch, My Five Most Anticipated Films for the Rest of the Year

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The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Early word on Fincher’s latest film is not good, but it’s done little to damper my expectations. I was a huge fan of Zodiac, and even that film had less than enthousiastic reports upon it’s release. It’s a film that I could easily see being unfairly maligned or ignored like some of the better films of last year. I dont’ expect Fincher to pander to the critics or audience, which is one of the reasons why I am so enthousiastic about it. The trailers are stunning, the visuals alone look as though they will be worth the price of admission. F. Scott Fitzgerald penned the original story, one of his later works, it reflects a sadness and weight that he himself carried throughout his life. The story of a man born as an old man, growing younger over time has not been done oncreen to my knowledge, and the concept is incredible. The faith I have in the source material, and Fincher is enough to make this my most anticipated of the year.

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Revolutionary Road/Doubt
A cop-out! But really these are two films I want to see but don’t think will be good. They both seem to pander to the award winning crowd, the type of films that win a series of awards only to be forgotten a few years later. That being said, at it’s best Revolutionary Road could rank among recent films that touch on the past like Far from Heaven and Atonement to reach beyond being a simple period piece of easy messages and pretty visuals to make an interesting statement about the roles of gender, and societal expectations in modern society. I’m keeping my hopes up because I am extremely fond of Kate Winslet and though I’ve yet to enjoy a Sam Mendes film I’ve seen, I don’t think he is in the league of Ron Howard as far as easy filmmaking goes. Doubt’s content and script makes it seem interesting, but the cast is really what makes me wary. Streep especially usually sets off alarms in my mind that this won’t be more than an over-acting fest that will garner a huge amount of unwaranted awards. The word of mouth, however is very good, and the trailer is intriguing. Here’s hoping I’m wrong, and it turns out to be surprisingly successful.
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Frost/Nixon
I know! I’ve already butchered poor Ron Howard’s name as someone who’s films I don’t want to see.. but I lied! I’m a sucker for political crap, and this looks like it could be really good political crap. The play is apparently good, and the content kills me. I like the look from what I’ve seen… bah, please let this be your masterpiece Ron Howard. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE! And Sam fucking Rockwell is in this. I love him!

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The Wrestler
The only Darren Aronofsky I enjoy is the Fountain, but I do think this has a huge amount of potential. I’m happy to see how well received it is among my international buddies, and though Mickey Rourke looks really creepy, he is a more than decent actor. The supporting cast features Marisa Tomei, one of my favourites and I am still giving Evan Rachel Wood the benefit of the doubt that one of these days she will in fact blow me away. Would not have been on my radar however if it were not for all the praise it’s been garnering over the past few weeks.

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The Reader
Could go either way, but damn… I love Ralph Fiennes and Kate Winslet. Is that enough? Too bad in my experience Stephen Daldry is a rather boring director, but this could be his break from the pack.

Wow, my enthousiasm for those films is soooo unenthousiastic. I’m actually way more excited to see some of the films I missed or are currently playing, I should get on renting some of these babies!

10 Films I missed/playing now that I want to see
Kung-Fu Panda
My Winnipeg
My Blueberry Nights
CJ7
Encounters at the End of the World
Flight of the Red Balloon
Burn After Reading
The Fall
JCVD – The Movie
Synecdoche, New York
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17 responses to “The Home Stretch, My Five Most Anticipated Films for the Rest of the Year

  1. I’m really, really hoping Mendes can do justice to Revolutionary Road, because the book is incredible. I’m actually looking forward to Benjamin Button…Zodiac was outstanding. And yes, you should definitely see My Winnipeg…EVERYONE should see My Winnipeg.

  2. My dad saw Frost/Nixon, I don’t know if he liked it, I think he and his film critic friends generally thought it worked better as a play. The Wrestler should be ok, my friend (who loves Aronofsky) saw it at TIFF and loved it.

    From the ones you list at the bottom, I can recommend My Winnipeg and Encounters at the End of the World (probably my favourite Herzog doc). I saw JCVD at the Midnight Madness screening at TIFF – hell of a good time but I don’t know how it would stand up outside of that context.

  3. James: I haven’t read the book, but it’s somewhat reassuring. I do hope it does end up good, the trailers are really mixed. Some very cheesy lines but I’m hoping it’s just taken out of context. They can be misleading.

    DG: I haven’t seen the play, and don’t see much opportunity to in Montreal anytime soon. I’m very interested in the backstory though, so I’ll be seeing it.

    I missed both My Winnipeg and Encouters in theatres. I’m really annoyed at myself, though the latter was only around for a week. IT happened again this week with Let the Right One in.

    I might wait to see JCVD on DVD with a bunch of friends, seems like it would be a lot more fun

  4. Wow – thanks for this, I’m woefully out of touch with what’s coming up so didn;t have a clue. This is a nice rundown…

    …shame there’s not a whole lot to get enthusiastic about there, though a new Fincher can’t be bad news can it?

  5. I am also looking forward to Doubt.

    Evan Rachel Wood was very good in The Wrestler. Very emotionally charged, and the only other reason I saw the movie besides the fact that it was directed by Darren Aronofsky. Marisa Tomei was good too. Characters that are strippers can get pretty old. I mean, why couldn’t the love interest be ANYONE else besides a stripper??

    And I still haven’t seen My Blueberry Nights either.

  6. Ha! No, I wouldn’t be enthusiastic either . . . Kate Winslet’s always a treasure, but her hitching with Sam M. has got to be a mistake. Actually, like that “Atonement” director he sounds like a jerk. Or maybe he just makes jerky films.
    I just don’t think the english-language cinema has much in the way of fresh talent. I’d love to see “Zodiac” but, unless you’re vigorously plugging it, I haven’t had too high hopes for it. Fincher’s always been on my shit-list, frankly!

  7. Alex: Truthfully, I had to do a little research to put this together so don’t feel alone. I’m definetely most excited about the Fincher though, I’m hoping it lives up to my expectations.

    Allison: I’m jealous you live somewhere where films are so easily available, though I shouldn’t complain, I’m luckier than most living in a big city.

    Jason: I like the Atonement director :p I enjoy both his films a great deal in fact!

    Definetely, but I have a hard time looking out for foreign films. It’s the Oscar season when I start to get a feel for what’s coming out, and what is worth seeing. I know the Dardennes bros. are coming out with a new film, but I’m not familiar with their work, so I can’t say I’m really anticipating it.

    I’ve only seen two Fincher films, Seven and Zodiac. I enjoy the former, but it’s not really my thing. I really dislike the third act, especially once John Doe REALLY makes an appearance. Zodiac is a lot different, far more about obssession and procedure. If you’ve seen Memories of Murder, it’s a lot like that, but not nearly as funny. I’m recommending it somewhat, probably among my 20 favourite films from the 2000s. I’m not particularly well versed in cinema from the 80s onward.

  8. I love basically every key player of Frost/Nixon’s cast (Sheen, Rockwell, Bacon, Hall, Macfadyen, Jones) except for Langella, whose Nixon I’m not completely sold on based on the trailer. I am anticipating it though.

  9. The Fall is amazing. I know the word “stunning” is overused when describing films but this one is truly deserving. I was unaware beforehand that the film was shot without any CGI. My mind still can’t comprehend how that’s even remotely possible. Make sure you read up on The Fall before you watch it, or at the very least, afterward, because the more you know about it, the more you’ll appreciate it.

  10. I didn’t realise there were no special effects, I’ll definetely do some reading before seeing it. I just noticed that my video store has a copy, looking forward to picking it up!

  11. The F. Scott Fitzgerald story that is the basis of Benjamin Button is a very, very slight work. I’ve read the short story and it is somewhat rote and sad with very, very little character development in it.

  12. IMDB’s description of Doubt:

    “Set in 1964, Doubt centers on a nun who confronts a priest after suspecting him abusing a black student. He denies the charges, and much of the play’s quick-fire dialogue tackles themes of religion, morality and authority.” …and starring Mr. and Mrs. Nomination, Meryl Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman.

    …can anyone say Oscar bait?

  13. and on Benjamin Button, Fitzgerald’s short story is pretty disappointing and shockingly simplistic. Really, no character or moral depth to speak of…except for towards the end, where (spoiler, maybe, but anyone could probably figure out what’ll happen) he’s a little kid…the way Fitzgerald puts Benjamin’s sudden innocence into words is really quite tragic when you consider that it’s all come to this. But hopefully Fincher’s expansion on the story isn’t as over-the-top and sensory-overload as the trailers make it seem.

  14. I know, most of the ones I’m choosing are so Oscar-baity. I roll my eyes at myself. It’s really a shame, because I think the content has potential. But the glimmer of awards makes filmmakers…. suck.

    Y’all are breaking my Benjamin Button Bubble. Though, maybe having low expectations is better. *ponders*

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