Sunday, September 02, 2012

THE FALL 2012 FILM PREVIEW (part two)

Yesterday, we stopped to admire the changing colours of September and October. Today, let's dive into the harsh rains and rapidly dropping temperatures of November and December ... filmwise, that is.


I have made a promise to myself to read Yann Martel's brilliant novel for a second time before seeing Ang Lee's highly anticipated film version. I've seen the extended previews that everyone is apparently raving about and, while I still have full confidence that if anyone can pull off this near impossible adaptation, it would be Lee, I'm not yet convinced by the footage I've seen. So I want to go back and appreciate the beauty of Martel's brilliance, a story about struggle, strife and spirituality, one more time before letting Lee tell me his version of events. If Lee does succeed though, we could be hearing his name pretty often come awards season.

John C. Reilley voices the main character, Ralph himself, in this new animated feature from the good folks at Disney. Ralph has spent his whole life wrecking stuff and he can no longer deal with everyone hating on him for all the destruction he causes. Perplexed because he is just doing what he knows to do, Ralph decides to abandon the world he knows in search of a more accepting one. Did I mention Ralph is a video game character? The concept is amazingly geeky and the potential for hilarity is abundant. This is especially true knowing Sarah Silverman, Jane Lynch and Jack McBrayer voice the rest of the main characters.

Daniel Day-Lewis's resemblance to the former President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, is a little unnerving when you first see it. That really only makes for incredible possibilities for where Day-Lewis's performance will go in Steven Spielberg's historical drama, LINCOLN, though. Spielberg chooses to focus on the final months of Lincoln's life, as adapted for the screen by playwright, Tony Kushner. After his uneven performance and reception to his two features last year (THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN and WAR HORSE), Spielberg will be looking to remind everyone who's boss with this one. Oh, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt co-stars.

With the gigantic disappointment that was QUANTUM OF SOLANCE now years behind me, I am ready, no, I am desperate to see a James Bond film worthy to follow the brilliant CASINO ROYALE. The trailers for Sam Mendes's crack at bat look incredibly promising so my hope is bursting now. Daniel Craig returns, in great form it would appear as well, and looks far less depressed then he did last time. This is good because with Javier Bardem stepping into what is sure to be a deliciously evil Bond villain turn, Bond is going to need his wits about him at all times. Still, I'm sure Craig can find time for a quick dip at the beach too.

Also in November ... Robert Zemeckis leaves the world of motion capture animation and returns to live action with FLIGHT, starring Denzel Washington as an alcoholic hero pilot; Jean-Marc Vallee's award winning, festival success, CAFE DE FLORE, finally hits stateside ... And I'm very excited to see Edward and Bella again in TWILIGHT: BREAKING DAWN PART TWO. I'm mostly excited for this film because it is the last one in the series, until they reboot it in a few years, that is.


It doesn't matter to me what Quentin Tarantino is working on, I know that I will be there to see it the moment I can, because he is one of the few directors working today who never ceases to surprise me with new layers of depth to his ability with each film he makes. It doesn't matter to me if the film production is rumoured to be a difficult one at best or that the script was barely adhered to; I'm always certain Tarantino can pull through. It doesn't matter to me that the premise of the film has something to do with a fictionalized account of the slave industry told in spaghetti western style. No, it doesn't even matter to me that Jamie Foxx is starring in it. Tarantino can make a mess into a masterpiece and he's earned the benefit of all our collective doubt. Also, Leonardo DiCaprio stars in it.

Remember Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann in KNOCKED UP? Mann played Katherine Heigl's sister who was struggling with her identity as a mother and wife and Rudd played Mann's oblivious husband. Well, they're back in Judd Apatow's unofficial sequel to that film, THIS IS 40. Their characters both turn 40 in the same week and have a series of crises and epiphanies in the process. Apatow has struggled with personal growth and humour before (FUNNY PEOPLE) but I guess I'm feeling terribly charitable today, because I'm willing to let him take another stab too before I start to lose too much faith in his abilities. Besides, Melissa McCarthy and Albert Brookes co-star.

I am not afraid to say that I do not at all believe Tom Hooper deserved his Oscar for directing THE KING'S SPEECH. He did a fantastic job with it but there were far better works in the category from far more experienced directors; it was not his turn. That said, I'm glad he did win because it gave him the chance to make what looks to be one heck of a masterful musical. LES MISERABLES has been tackled on screen before but never in its musical version and with Anne Hathaway and Hugh Jackman as the leads, two proven singers, we may be in for a definitive contribution to the genre itself. This should be interesting too; the songs were sung live on set and not pre-recorded so there is nowhere for anyone to hide. I'm talking to you, Russell Crowe and Amanda Seyfried! (They also star.)

Also in December ... Pater Jackson reveals the first of three more movies about hobbits and the like, THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY; Tom Cruise will make his biggest stretch as an actor yet, playing a man who is 6'5' in JACK REACHER (a reach, indeed); and parents everywhere can rejoice. This year there is no new chipmunk movie to sit through. No, instead you get to see the Pixar classic, MONSTERS INC in 3D!

There you have it folks. Be sure to come back mid-week for my TIFF 2012 preview, which basically covers every other movie coming out this fall not already covered here.

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