December Movie Preview

Here’s the last slate for 2010 – would be blockbusters and Oscar nominees, all pushed in together.

December 3rd

The Warrior’s Way

E: Martial Arts epics aren’t as compelling as they used to be, I think.   It might make a good rental.

C: Honestly, I’m not sure there was ever a time when 80% of martial arts epics weren’t terrible…

I Love You Philip Morris

M: I loved Catch Me If You Can, and the story behind this has certain similarities to that, but the title just makes me think of cigarettes, which I’m guessing is not what I think they are going for.

E: Me too!  But I thought this was the gay prison love story?  I think that the appeal of Ewan McGregor might be blunted by the idea of McGregor with Jim Carrey here.  Then again, I generally approve when Carrey stretches (The Truman Show).  I’m certainly curious about the reviews!

C: Er, then there were stretches we’d all rather forget, like The Number 23… Frankly, I’m avoiding this one on the basis that, from the plot description, it sounds depressing.

Black Swan

C: Darren Aronofsky! I haven’t loved all his films, but you can’t deny that director’s got style. This one looks pretty freaky…

E: Dark ballet movie, featuring Natalie Portman, who learned to dance en pointe for the film (an amazing accomplishment).   Portman’s a real contender not merely for a Best Actress nod (she’s been nominated once in the supporting category) but the win.  The film might even have a shot at one of the ten best picture slots, or so I read, if it’s not too odd for audiences.  I have to say, though, the ads make it look like Single White Female, with lesbians and a poor grip on reality.

M: Everything I’ve heard about it makes it sound like a cross between a porno, and one of those dark, artsy indie films that actors and critics love but audiences hate, which makes for a very odd combination.

E: Well, it is Darren Aronofsky, so that’s not an unfair guess.

C: Would this be an appropriate moment to mention that I can’t flippin’ wait for The Wolverine?

December 10th

The Tourist

E: Angelina Jolie looks fabulous, anyhow.  Johnny Depp looks debonair, and you can’t beat Venice as a glorious location.  I hesitate to say the same of this movie, though.

M: It’s weird, the buzz around it is awful.  You’d think with Depp, Jolie, a great location, and what looks to be high production value and an interesting concept this would be getting people really excited.  I’m wondering if it’s really lousy, and thus the buzz, or if it’s going to be like Conspiracy Theory, where it generated lousy buzz, flopped in theaters, but turned out to be a really good movie in the end.

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

E: I’m so happy they’ve made this movie.  It looks good, don’t you think?

M: I really do, and am very excited to see it.  I was starting to say that the book is a departure from the formula of the series, but then I thought more about the series, and there are a lot of “departures” in it, so I’m not sure.  It will certainly be different than the first two movies, though.

C: I have a lot of problems with this film series – well, #1 only had a few bits that bothered me, but #2 was a long series of bothers – so I’m hesitant about looking forward to this one.  Will they convey the magic and wonder of the book’s episodic adventure quest? Or will they angstify it beyond recognition?

Company Men

E: Downsizing, just in time for Christmas!  Woohoo!

The Tempest

E: I hate that this film is getting God-awful reviews.  It’s one of my favorite Shakespeare plays, and the cast is ridonkulously rich with talent.

C: Helen Mirren, Alfred Molina, Djimon Hounsou, Felicity Jones, David Strathairn, Ben Whishaw –  lions and tigers and bears, oh my! I was all set to love this, but the trailer… well… it looks kind like Labyrinth on LSD. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but – will we even be able to see the awesome actors through the trippy special effects?

December 17th

Tron Legacy

M: In the small town where the Quibbling Siblings grew up (and where E still resides), very few things are open after 6:00pm.  Other than restaurants, the only thing that was when we were growing up was the local candle pin bowling alley.  That bowling alley had a mini arcade, with probably three stand up video game consoles, and a crane (which was unfortunately not full of three eyed little green aliens that worshiped “the claw”).  One of the games they had for years was Tron.  Now, in case you haven’t picked up on it by now, I am a geek.  I loved the video game of Tron.  I loved the original movie.  I don’t care how dated the effects are at this point, I am mad that they haven’t released it on DVD, and that I can’t find it anywhere to rewatch before the sequel comes out, because I don’t care if it gets panned, I WILL see the sequel.  That said, I think it looks very cool, even if I’m not sure what the difference between 3D and “Real D” is.

E: I think it looks incredibly cool, and I wasn’t nearly as enamored of the original as you.  Mr. E is totally peeved we can’t get a hold of the original, too.  You’d think they’d have made a push to release it on DVD with enough time for fans to buy and watch it before seeing the new movie.  Talk about a wasted opportunity!

How Do You Know?

E: I would so like this to be good (James L. Brooks! Reese Witherspoon!  Paul Rudd!) but it looks incredibly lame. What is the problem making good romantic comedies these days?

The Fighter

M: This is another movie that interests me.  I like biopics, boxing usually works as a good movie topic (see: Rocky, Cinderella Man, etc), it has Marky Mark, Christian Bale and Amy Adams, and I’ve heard Mickey Ward on the radio before and he’s a pretty interesting guy.  Not sure I’ll go to the theater for it, but I’m interested.

E: Right.  It’s a local story, Christian Bale just won the NBR for supporting actor – it looks promising.  I might have to put this on my list.

Yogi Bear

M: Another remnant from our childhood, but this remake looks far less interesting.

E: Definitely not theater visit material.  Not sure it’s even home viewing material, to be truthful.

C: The trailer (which is attached to Deathly Hallows) was certainly unimpressive. Definitely the only-kids-will-laugh kind of kids’ movie.

Rabbit Hole

E: Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart star as parents who’ve suffered a tragic loss.  Most people in the know put Kidman on the shortlist for Best Actress.

M: Tell me, do you think Aaron Eckhart works as a leading man?  I know the options in Hollywood are limited these days, but he seems like he’s getting shoved down our throats, and I’m just not sure.

E: Oh, I don’t know.  I like him well enough in Possession, Thank You For Smoking, and a few others.  I’ve never seen him like this.  I’m very very freaked out just by the thought of this, however; I can’t always bring myself to see dead child movies, even when they’re Oscar nominated.

Casino Jack

E: Story of lobbyist Jack Abramoff, starring Kevin Spacey.

M: As you know, I’m a big Kevin Spacey fan, but a story about a lobbyist, disgraced or otherwise, isn’t very appealing to me.

E: So not baby-sitter worthy.

Frankie And Alice

E: Halle Berry’s bid to get herself another Oscar nomination, playing low class and sexy.

December 22

Little Fockers

M: I loved the first, liked the second, but I’m just not feeling the third.

True Grit

M: E, was it you I was discussing this with the other day?  How, even with the cast and the Cohen brothers, it just feels wrong to remake a classic like True Grit?  I know you’re not into Westerns, but still, True Grit is one of the most famous movies of all time, why remake it?  Why not choose a lesser film, a more flawed film.  It’s like when the remake of Psycho came out a few years back, it just doesn’t make sense.

E: It was me.  I don’t think it’s as egregious as the shot for shot remake of Psycho (which was definitely more than a few years ago, M) but it will be interesting to see if they can carry this off.  I’m not all that familiar with the original, actually, although I’m pretty sure Dad must have inflicted it on me at some point or other.

Gulliver’s Travels

E: Family adventure remake of the classic satirical novel, starring Jack Black, Jason Segel and Emily Blunt.

M: I like Jack Black, but he strikes me as wrong for Gulliver.  Jason Segal actually seems like a better fit for the title role to me.

E: Maybe.  The trailer is pretty cute.

C: It’s a guarantee this movie will be a silly-fest from from start to finish – but will it be the good kind of silly? That’s a cast one can at least feel hopeful about.

Somewhere

E: Sofia Coppola’s latest, about a young girl having some quality time (in a hotel, of course) with her rock star dad. Rumored to be quite good.

Country Strong

E: Gwyneth Paltrow’s bid to get herself another Oscar nomination.  (Like Berry, she’s only been nominated once, which has people wondering if that nomination – and win – was a fluke.  That’s unfair in both cases; Paltrow is a fine actress and singer, although I will say hers was not my favorite, or even second favorite, performance of that year.)

M: Is it just me, or does it seem weird to have a character who’s supposed to be washed up and is getting passed up for younger better looking stars played by a 30-something Hollywood beauty?  Especially when you consider the character’s a country star, and country music has a long (and current) tradition of women stars staying very popular as they get older?

E: Yes, good point.  And actually, that makes me think well of country music fans.  I think the idea is that she’s having a comeback not so much because the public got bored with her as she had addictions which took her out of the music scene for a while.  Not being a country fan, I can’t speak to how forgiving – or not – they might be about such things, but I feel like they could get past it?

The Illusionist

E: French animated film (by the makers of The Triplets of Belleville) which will contend for one of the three best animated feature spots.

M: Is it a remake of the Edward Norton/Paul Giamatti film from 2006?

E: Sadly no.

December 29th

Biutiful

E: Javier Bardem, would-be-Oscar nominee.

Blue Valentine

E: I’m sensing a theme: Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams are also in the hunt for their second career nods.  The big difference?  I don’t think anyone would say that their first nods were flukes.  The question is really whether anyone will see this movie; between the dark subject matter (a couple meet, fall in love, and spectacularly fall apart) and the NC-17 rating (they have a lot of explicit sex a long the way), it could be a tough sell.

C: No one could say Ryan Gosling was a fluke? I’m sure he’s a lovely person, but he’s acted half-asleep in every movie I’ve seen him in.

M: And you think no one seeing the movie somehow makes it LESS likely that they’ll get nominated?  Um, hello!  Hollywood overwhelmingly nominates and awards people and movies that the general public have no interest in!

C: True words, brother.

E: You people, really.  Oscar is this middle ground between Artsy and popular.

M: Mmmmm, yeah, the way Rush Limbaugh is the middle ground between conservative and liberal.

E: Bah, enough snark from you.  It’s really not either: it tries to balance both.  As far as box office – well, that’s a weird dance, too.  And ideally, that should be a good thing.  Important themes don’t make a movie great, and big box office doesn’t either.  That’s fair, right?  Do you want to argue that good movies shouldn’t be nominated because they didn’t play in a lot of theaters?

M: Maybe.

E: No?  Good, I didn’t think so.

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3 comments on “December Movie Preview

  1. Krizzzz says:

    Black Swan just got a good review in the Boston Globe today.

    I’m intrigued by Natalie Portman. (Plus, I enjoy her when she does guest spots on things like Project Runway and Top Chef). Is it me, or is she successfully moving from “I only have one tone of voice” to “I am TOO a serious actress”?

  2. Gina says:

    Why, thank you. (On behalf of country fans, that is. 🙂 )

    I’m planning a review of the “Country Strong” soundtrack on my LJ one of these days; will post a link here, if you’re interested in getting a country fan’s take on it.

  3. Gina says:

    Oh, and I also had the thought that the “True Grit” remake (I’m a fan of the original, a favorite of my dad’s) is weirdly reminiscent of that shot-for-shot “Psycho” remake.

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