Wednesday, August 10, 2005

THE FALL GUY: 10 movies that might not suck

The summer movie season has entered its quick fade, with the Steven Spielbergs and Ridley Scotts of the world being replaced by the Steve Boyums and Bruce Hunts (no, seriously - they sound like gay porn stars, but in fact they're the heralded auteurs behind the upcoming classics Supercross and The Cave).

Truth be told, I've always been a fall moviegoer anyway. I enjoyed the hell out of Batman Begins and War of the Worlds, but looking back at my favorite movies of the last 10 years, a solid majority came out in the October-December months.

With this in mind, here's a look at the 10 most exciting titles from now until the apple falls in Times Square. There are a few very notable exceptions - I'm not including The Aristocrats, because it has already been released in other parts of the country (it would easily be No. 1 on my list). King Kong is missing, because the trailer was awful, and I am still feeling a bit of a Peter Jackson/Lord of the Rings backlash. As for prestige titles like Jarhead, All the King's Men, Memoirs of a Geisha and Syriana, I just haven't seen any posters or trailers to whet my appetite. They could move up the list before too long.

1) Domino (Oct. 11) - It even surprises me this lands in the No. 1 spot, but I can't get over my love of Tony Scott's Man on Fire, which somehow gets better each time I see it (yes, I voted for Bush). This is his follow-up, and seems to be a stylistic companion piece, using the same erratic cuts and washed out lighting that only Scott and Steven Soderbergh seem to get away with. And Keira Knightley ain't a bad lookin' woman.

2) Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Nov. 18) - I wish I could use my teaching gig as an excuse for reading the Harry Potter books, but I started them long before I considered this profession. I've read all six, seen all three movies, and consider Goblet of Fire to be the best story of the bunch. For the life of me, though, I can't figure out how they're going to condense the sprawling story into 150 minutes.

3) Munich (Dec. 23) - Opening on the annual date of the Massey Christmas Party, Steven Spielberg's terrorist drama goes right up against another gritty tale of international intrigue - Cheaper By the Dozen 2, starring Steve Martin and Hilary Duff. It's going to be a tough call, but I'll probably opt for the party, then the story of the assassination of the Isreali Olympic team and its vengeful aftermath. One red flag: screenwriter Tony Kushner is a Marxist blowhard, loudly against any military response to 9/11 - and now he's penning a tale of a country's retaliation against Arab terrorists? If he enters his own roll-over-and-play-dead mentality into the film's themes, it'll be a preachy bore.

4) Elizabethtown (Oct. 11) - The trailer doesn't really jump at me - it seems a little too cutesy, and Orlando Bloom is actually prettier than Kirsten Dunst - but Cameron Crowe has not made a bad movie yet. And yes, I'm even including Vanilla Sky, which I actually consider better than Jerry Maguire and Almost Famous (and yes, I realize I'm the only one).

5) Rent (Nov. 11) - Ok, I know movie watchdogs are saying this movie is years too late, and any relevance it had was firmly squashed long before Team America: World Police so savagely parodied it. But as far as I know... well, that's sort of the point. I don't know, because I've never seen the play, and had never even heard the supposedly famous "Seasons of Love" song until the first trailer (which hooked me). I'm Rent-stupid, which means I'm an uncultured, unhip rube when it comes to the NYC types. Hey, but "stupid" is only a condition of your surroundings - I bet them damn yankees are totally lost during The Dukes of Hazzard.

6) Roll Bounce (Sept. 23) - What the world needs now - uh, is a roller-skating movie called Bow Wow? Why this wasn't released in the summer is a question for the ages. Check the trailer out here. Maybe it's the song - Ok, I think it definitely is the song - that makes this seem like a light, breezy flick to see during the warmer months. It'll likely die in late September, but it will get my eight bucks. I dig the vibe, behbay. (P.S.: I'm referring to the teaser trailer, which works much better than the new one).

7) Everything Is Illuminated (Sept. 16) - It's really the poster image that grabs my attention; the trailer only serves to draw me in a little further. Elijah Wood has handled his post-Lord of the Rings career very well, balancing small roles in quirky studio films (Sin City, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) with leads in even quirkier indies like this one. Incidentally, this is the directorial debut of actor Liev Schreiber.

8) Get Rich or Die Tryin' (Nov. 11) - I have to give prizzops to 50 Cent for following Eminem's 8 Mile example - instead of breaking out in some paint-by-numbers action fluff (DMX, I'm looking at you), he pairs up with director Jim Sheridan, usually known for more subdued European fare like In America, In the Name of the Father and My Left Foot. Believe it or not - and I'm heavily leaning toward "not" - some pundits believe Fiddy has a shot at a Best Actor nomination.

9) Lord of War (Sept. 16) - I've been a long believer in an Academy Award for "Best Ad Campaign," and though that doesn't appear on the horizon, the marketers behind Lord of War should be patting themselves on the back. The trailer is pretty hilarious, but it's really the poster that grabs me - you might not be able to tell with the small image above, but Cage's image (he's playing an arms dealer) is fashioned entirely out of bullets. As long as there's no overzealous anti-gun message undercut into the film (and there doesn't appear to be), this should be a great time.

10) Waiting (Sept. 23) - It's easy to envision the pitch meeting for this one. "It's Office Space in a restaurant!" And, well, that's about it - but the trailer is pretty hilarious. For anybody who's worked in customer service, this could hit very close to home (I have no restaurant history, but I believe three years at a movie theater concession stand qualifies me). Ok, yes, it's stupid - and I'm picking it over new films from Terry Gilliam (The Brothers Grimm), David Cronenberg (The History of Violence) and Terrence Malick (The New World) ... but it's my list, so suck on it. (Trust me, if Grimm wasn't getting horrible advance buzz, it would be near the top of the list).


Tony Grant said...

Very, Very, cool site Josh, hey check my site and let me know more about movies.

diligent law student said...

Came across your site - and it caught my interest. I agree with you about Waiting - I actually read the book, and as a former waitress, it was very amusing!

Lydia said...

Interesting choices really. I too am looking forward to some of your choices especially Everything is Illuminated. Can't wait. I would like to see what you think of it after seeing the movie.

Doug said...

I'm actually really looking forward to "Red-Eye." Is that bad?

Josh said...

There is nothing bad about looking forward to a Rachel McAdams-related event.

Doug said...

Oh, good, then you'll definitely want to make it to our upcoming nuptials. Details forthcoming.

Lydia said...

Yeah I agree with you guys except for the whole Rachel McAdams thingy. I totally love Cillian Murphy especially after Batman Beginnings. Can't wait.

Marley Angel said...

great list. I'll probably only see half of it but it certainly does motivate me to check out new ones that I wouldn't ordinarily care about. So thanks for sharing.

Although I have to say I am shocked that you liked Vanilla Sky. You should check out the original Open Your Eyes. It's ten times better.

Josh said...

I've seen "Open Your Eyes." I think it just depends on which one you see first, and I saw "Vanilla Sky" first. I was surprised at how similar they were.

Marley Angel said...

Yes me too. I did Vanilla Sky first and then everyone kept telling me the Spanish original was better. Which I think it was. But then again, Spanish is my native tongue so that helped me understand the movie better. Those subtitles aren't always quite exact. And while both movies were the almost the same frame by frame, I understood Abre Los Ojos and was totally lost in Vanilla Sky.