Saturday, September 01, 2012

THE FALL 2012 FILM PREVIEW (part one)

Ive been up for a couple of hours now and it has only just now dawned on me that it is September 1. Summer isn't technically over but it's hard to argue with its inevitable finality once September rolls around. All is not lost though. With the fall comes some very impressive films and Black Sheep is here to help you sift through them ...


For me, September means the Toronto International Film Festival. And as I plan on previewing the 40 or so titles I will be seeing during this year's festival later this week, I will limit my choices today to films that will only be coming to a theatre near you.

Let's begin with the man everyone is talking about this week, Clint Eastwood. With all his directing as of late, he hasn't acted for another director for almost 20 years. (1993's IN THE LINE OF FIRE would be the last time, in case you were curious.) Personally, I can barely handle the man. His films are so bogged down with his old, white man idealism that they never resonate with me emotionally. Perhaps relinquishing his directorial duties will make him more enjoyable for me, but seeing as how his baseball scout character in this Robert Lorenz film seems like just as much of a curmudgeon as everyone else he plays, my hopes are not high. At least Amy Adams and Justin Timberlake are along to lighten the load.

Yes, this does look just like your typical fright flick, but how can it be with Jennifer Lawrence in the lead role? After earning an Oscar nomination for her brilliant work is WINTER'S BONE and dominating her star making turn as the girl on fire in one of the year's biggest hits, THE HUNGER GAMES, she certainly doesn't have to take a role like this. So unless this was shot before she stepped into the role of Katniss (which is possible but I could not find the shooting dates), this horror film has to be a cut above the rest. Lawrence herself is reason enough to find out though. Elizabeth Shue and Max Theriot co-star.

Other September highlights include Bradley Cooper plagiarizing Jeremy Irons in THE WORDS; Viola Davis and Maggie Gyllenhaal take over a broken down public school in WON'T BACK DOWN; Kirsten Dunst hopes her group of gal pals can repeat the BRIDESMAIDS success with BACHELORETTE; and although I can hardly believe it, they are still making RESIDENT EVIL movies. RETRIBUTION, the fifth in the series, hits September 14.


Many people accuse Tim Burton of having sold out a long time ago, of being washed up and tired now. I am actually often amongst those people but I am very excited for his newest stop-motion animation, FRANKENWEENIE. Based on his 1984 short film, which got him ousted from the Disney junior animator job he had at the time, the expansion is pretty much exactly what you would expect - young boy's dog is brought back to life and the townspeople are not very open to this freak of nature. Yes, there is the potential the feature length will bring with it many schmaltzy and unnecessary moments but if Burton does it right, it could be a new creepy cult classic.

Brad Pitt reteams with the director of THE ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES BY THE COWARD ROBERT FORD, Andrew Dominik, for this new thriller. Pitt plays a hit man hired to tail two less than sharp thieves who rob a mob-run poker game. The premise sounds almost funny but the trailer looks like the final product will be less than amusing. One thing is for sure though; with a 97 minute runtime, this one will surely be faster paced paced than their last collaboration. Also, Richard Jenkins and James Gandolfini co-star.

Given the success of the first TAKEN film, it is no real shock to see a sequel for the film hitting theatres now. After all, that film solidified Liam Neeson as a bonafide action star internationally. After watching the preview for the sequel, I am sure fans of the first film will not be disappointed with the follow-up. I, however, was not a huge fan of the first film and have very little interest in this instalment. This time around, his wife and daughter appear to be taken as revenge for the havoc he wreaked last time out. And I'm supposed to take this seriously?

Also coming in October ... Helen Hunt plays sexual surrogate to John Hawkes in Oscar-buzzy, THE SESSIONS; Jennifer Garner comes dangerously close to losing her cool as a champion butter sculptor in BUTTER; Robert De Niro and Diane Keaton play a long-divorced couple trying to play nice for their son's wedding in THE BIG WEDDING, which sounds like it could have been directed by Nancy Meyers (it is not); and apparently there is a never-ending stash of found ghost footage somewhere in a Hollywood basement just waiting to be turned into a PARANORMAL ACTIVITY movies. The fourth film in the series hits October 19 (and will be gone by November 1, most likely).

Check back tomorrow for Part Two of Black Sheep's 2012 Fall Film Preview, which will feature November and December.

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