This past weekend, I stepped out of the house in shorts and a T-shirt and immediately walked right back in, when I realized how cold it actually was outside. It felt different; it felt like fall. While some people hate the fall, I love it! It’s all sweaters and soup and a welcome farewell to the mind numbing fare of the summer movie season. And with those changing autumn leaves comes the long awaited return of the prestige picture.
Speaking of anticipation, fans of the family drama, YOU CAN COUNT ON ME, from writer/director, Kenneth Lonergan, will finally get to see his sophomore project, MARGARET this fall, some eight years after it was originally shot. Anna Paquin plays a 17-year-old girl (she was 21 at the time of filming) who witnesses an accident and begins believing she may have caused it somehow. She proceeds to slowly destroy everything in her life. In 2009, Fox Searchlight deemed the project, which also stars Matt Damon, unreleasable, but somehow, both parties have now found the path to understanding. A small mystery remains as to who had final cut.
What lies ahead isn’t entirely bleak though. Justin Timberlake continues his transition from pop star to leading man with the sci-fi thriller, IN TIME. Andrew Niccol, the writer of THE TRUMAN SHOW and the writer/director of GATTACA, returns with his first film since 2006. At this indeterminate time in our future, people are genetically designed to die at the age of 25. (I for one am glad to live in a world where I have so far had nine years past that.) People who reach this golden age are given one year to either find more time, be that legitimately or otherwise. Timberlake’s character comes into a century’s worth of time and not surprisingly, that makes him a guy a lot of people want to find. The wide-eyed Amanda Seyfried and Olivia Wilde are along for the trip.
The title, TINKER, TAILER, SOLDIER, SPY, rolls off the tongue with ease and might and, from the looks of the incredibly taut trailer, the film itself might unspool with a similar readiness. Tomas Alfredson, the Swedish director behind the 2008 international cult hit, LET THE RIGHT ONE IN, marks his first English-language film with an adaptation of the John Le Carre bestselling spy novel of the same name. Gary Oldman stars as George Smiley, a character who has not been tackled since the late Alec Guiness played him in 1982. Smiley must put his retirement plans on hold in order to ascertain the identity of a mole within the deep folds on the British intelligence agency, MI6. And when that mole just might be Tom Hardy or Colin Firth, in his first post-Oscar role, you know Oldman has his work cut out for him.
Come November, it’s time for some very important things to be done. It’s time to put on makeup; it’s time to light the lights. Yes folks, it’s time to get things started with the first Muppets movie in over 20 years. Entitled simply, THE MUPPETS, this caper finds Kermit et al. banding together to save their old theatre from being destroyed by a greedy oil tycoon type. They have enlisted the likes of Amy Adams and Jason Segel to get the job done and there are plenty more cameos crammed into this welcome return to the big screen, from Neil Patrick Harris to Mila Kunis to Zach Galifianakis. Segel offers his aid in more ways than one as well. He essentially spearheaded this entire Muppets renaissance, even going so far as to co-write the screenplay.
One could argue that December is not really the fall still but while looking ahead, I see nothing wrong with looking even a little further past that at the same time. While there are many December releases to get excited about, there is one above them all that I am most drawn to. I’ve never read the THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO but I have seen all three of the Swedish films that were adapted from the Steig Larsson series. Ordinarily, I am not a fan of foreign language films being redone in English for mass market appeal but those films are not usually directed by the man behind THE SOCIAL NETWORK, David Fincher. And from the looks of the trailers, it seems to me that Fincher isn’t the least bit concerned about mass appeal. Rather, he seems intent on keeping it dark and authentic. Just in time for the holidays, no less ...
There are oodles of other movies coming, 100+ between now and the close of the year. A great deal of them will be covered in my upcoming TIFF coverage but here is a rundown of the rest for you: Director Steven Soderbergh kills off several Oscar nominees in CONTAGION; one of the most loved animated films of all time, THE LION KING, returns to theatres for a limited 3D run; Taylor Lautner tries really hard to be a big boy in the thriller, ABDUCTION; Daniel Craig plays creepy house with now wife, Rachel Weisz, in Jim Sheridan's DREAM HOUSE; Anna Faris recycles old boyfriends in WHAT'S YOUR NUMBER?; Hugh Jackman takes on robot boxing in REAL STEAL; the world gets a FOOTLOOSE remake it never wanted; Johnny Depp goes back to the world of Hunter S. Thompson in THE RUM DIARY; Michelle Williams gets her Monroe on in MY WEEK WITH MARILYN; Harold & Kumar return for a third trip in A VERY HAROLD & KUMAR 3D CHRISTMAS; Clint Eastwood takes on Hoover in J. EDGAR, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and potential love interest, Armie Hammer; Martin Scorsese goes family and 3D with HUGO; oh, and I think there should be another TWILIGHT mess in there somewhere.
Stay tuned for Black Sheep's TIFF preview next weekend and the holiday movie preview will bow near the end of November. In the meantime, bon cinema!