Saturday, September 04, 2010

Black Sheep presents Fall Foliage 2010

As I sit at my desk right now, I fear that a large branch from the tree outside my bedroom will suddenly fly in through the window and strike me, unexpectedly from behind, likely killing me instantly.  I'm not that paranoid, really.  It is just that windy out there. To be honest, I feel bad for the tree.  Swaying back and forth like that does not look fun to me.  Either way, I had to break out my sweaters today.

While it may not be the best day for a picnic, it is a very good day to take a look at what this autumn has in store for filmgoers hungry for, well, really any morsel of substance they can get their eyes on after the disastrous summer season we were all just made to suffer through.  Given that I will be seeing a ton of fall titles at the Toronto International Film Festival next week, I will focus this Fall Foliage film preview on titles that will not be screening at TIFF.  Trust me, Black Sheep will be so drenched in TIFF before you know it, so we have to spread the love while we still can.  Please, go on and grab you sweater and let's take a walk through the changing leaves ...

The beef walks alone.
Originally due last spring, Oliver Stone's WALL STREET: MONEY NEVER SLEEPS now opens on September 24.  It's been 23 years since Michael Douglas won an Oscar for playing the human incarnation of greed, Gordon Gekko, and now he's back, out of jail in 2001 when the film picks up.  It's the new kid in the big city that is carrying this show though.  Shia LaBeouf will try to break away from his younger skewed audience and show more adult patrons that he can play with the big guys too.  Taking down Gordon Gekko should definitely convert a few non-believers.

Franco can pull off any look.
Academy Award winning documentary filmmakers, Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Freidman, try their hand at narrative film for the first time with this biopic of famous poet, Allen Ginsberg.  James Franco continues to prove his versatility by portraying the eccentric poet during the time of his obscenity trial for writing the poem the film is named for, HOWL.  I would see Franco in just about anything (or just about nothing, for that matter) and it will be great to see how Epstein and Freidman deal with fiction knowing how fantastic they deal with the truth.

Naive Nev.  You'll see.
Alright, I've actually already seen Sundance sensation, CATFISH, so I'm not so much looking forward to seeing it as I am looking forward to you all being able to see it.  My review will come post-TIFF but I will say this for now, if you chat online or have a Facebook page or have ever felt feelings for someone you never met while calling them "cutie" in text messages on your iPhone, see this movie.  I'm not trying to scare you but it just puts a lot into perspective.  It's like watching PARANORMAL ACTIVITY almost, except this time I was actually scared.

This dude has way more friends than you and me combined.
Speaking of Facebook, do you know how that whole thing started?  No?  Well, you can now, thanks to Academy Award nominated director, David Fincher (THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON, FIGHT CLUB) as he takes on the birth of the online phenomenon in THE SOCIAL NETWORK.  I don't know if it's that intensely emotional rendition of Radiohead's "Creep" in the trailers (the band is called Scala, in case you were wondering) but I can't get enough of it.  Jesse Eisenberg and Justin Timberlake star in what could be a surprise Oscar contender.  I'll post my review on my wall when it's ready.

C'mon! How does it get any better than this?
I was not a big fan of Robert Schwentke's last film, THE TIME TRAVELER'S WIFE.  Come to think of it, I didn't really get into his previous film, FLIGHTPLAN, either.  Well, here's hoping the third time for me will be a charm.  RED rounds up a bunch of retired CIA agents who moonlight with the occasional kill contract on the side to keep things lively.  I guess their retirement savings were lost in the market crash.  Regardless, I'm thinking the cast - Bruce Willis, Helen Mirren and Morgan Freeman - will show the director how it's done.

I don't think she's allowed to smoke in there.
Noomi Rapace returns as the girl who continues to captivate American film going audiences and readers alike in the close to the Swedish trilogy, THE GIRL WHO KICKED THE HORNET'S NEST.  The films have not done nearly as well as the books but with everyone reading this last installment just this summer, interest could not be higher.  The aforementioned Fincher will be directing the American remakes but you do not want to miss the honesty and integrity of these gritty works first.  (Click for previous reviews of THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO and THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE.)

Gentlemen, please. Contain yourselves.
When I saw THE HANGOVER, I thought it had only two things going for it really.  I loved seeing Vegas in the harsh light of day - even the city itself looked hung over.  I also found that director, Todd Philips, had a really strong sense of where he was going at all times.  Aside from that, I wasn't anywhere near as impressed as most of the rest of the world and breakout star, Zack Galifianakis, annoyed me more than anything else.  Still, the trailer for Philips' follow-up, DUE DATE, looks promising.  I may forgive him and Galifianakis at the same time if they pull it off.  Fortunately, Robert Downey Jr. is on hand to make sure they get it right.

Looks more comfortable than the back of that car in "Brokeback Mountain".
LOVE AND OTHER DRUGS looks like a passable romance that could potentially surprise you with depth when you're not looking.  The likable quality of the stars alone though should make it an easy breeze to get through.  Jake Gyllenhaal plays a Viagra salesman, pushing it when it first took off in the market.  The drug is no substitute for the love he finds in Anne Hathaway though.  I know it sounds somewhat cheesy but this is a romance after all.  With Edward Zwick at the helm though, the man behind DEFIANCE and BLOOD DIAMOND, I'm sure it's not all going to be that simple.

Beautiful blunder?
It has not been a very good year for Christina Aguilera.  Her album, "Bionic", bombed.  Her entire summer concert tour had to be scrapped.  And now, the advance buzz on her feature film debut, BURLESQUE, is that is could be a full-on disaster.  This could've been her year but you know they say bad things come in three's.  It could go either way at this point is what I've been reading but I would have a lot more confidence in the director, Steven Antin, if his biggest production credit before this wasn't executive producing the Pussycat Dolls reality competition show.  Good luck, Xtina.  It sounds like you're going to need it.

There you have it - a handful of pictures Black Sheep Reviews will be covering in the months to come.  We will take one last look back at the summer of 2010 with the Summer Box Office Report in the next couple of days and then it's TIFF, TIFF, TIFF.  Don't miss it and thanks for reading.

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