Ahhhhhh, fall. The colorful foliage, the crisp air, the apples, the battening down of the hatches for the season to follow, ahhhhhh. Oh, and, of course, spending hours upon hours in a darkened room in front of a big screen. Yes, it's that time of year when the studios march out the serious films that aim to please the intellectuals and those who are soooooooo tired of the damn sequels. Enough already. Now, we have Shrek 4 and 5 and Spider-Man 4 to look forward to in the coming years not to mention the last two Harry Potter films. Oy, vey!!!!
Well for me fall and winter is a time to see all of the films that will eventually be vying for the little gold men. It's an exciting time for me as I pride myself on seeing ALL of the major nominees. The better to offer my humble opinion on who REALLY SHOULD be winning those men. So, without further ado and before the multiple critics and awards groups weigh in on their winners (hello Boston, hello, NY, hello LA!!!!), I will list the movies coming out in the next four months that I'm most looking forward to. I'll also offer a few early predictions on who will score a nomination for the big O.
I hope you enjoy the list as much as I've enjoyed putting it together.
Rendition-Blond funny girl Reese Witherspoon in a drop dead serious role? Yes, with Oscar winners Alan Arkin and Meryl Streep thrown in for good measure.
The Kingdom-Sydney Bristow (Alias) and Ray Charles impersonator together???? With hunkier as the years go by Jason Bateman???? Yes, it's true and it's also got a great director and is just one of MANY films this fall to deal with the quagmire in the Middle East.
The Brave One-Yes, we know Jodie Foster can act tough but what happens when she goes on a crime spree????? Hmmm, let's start jotting down ideas now as she goes face to face with cop Terrence Howard (not to mention some unlucky thugs).
Into The Wild-I read the book twice (only one of a literal handful of books I've read more than once) and this will either be a serious Oscar contender or a disappointing adaptation of a beloved book (remember, Memoirs Of A Geisha? Unfortunately, I still do.). Sean Penn has proven before how superb he is as a director; don't let us down Pennie.
Michael Clayton-Oscar winner and perennial hottie George Clooney and Oscar nominee Tom Wilkinson in a "layered" thriller set in a Manhattan law firm. I recently saw the trailer and was quite intrigued. Let's hope there's plenty more where that came from.
Grace Is Gone-Another movie that deals with the tragedy in Iraq. This one has a somber and unfunny John Cusack (who's had Oscar buzz surrounding him since this movie premiered at the festivals) as a widower whose wife was killed in Iraq and must now figure out how to tell his daughters.
Dan In Real Life-Steve Carell could read the phone book and I'd probably pee myself laughing. Perennial beauty and Oscar winner Juliette Binoche plays a woman who is dating the brother of Carell's character but he wants Binoche for himself.
Enchanted-I recently saw the trailer for this movie as well and it does put a little spin on all of those fairy tales. A prince and princess go from technicolor animation to real-life NYC. Throw in a little McDreamy (yes, from Grey's Anatomy) and you've got the makings of a hopefully very clever film with some great fish out of water gags. Thankfully it was changed from a Chicago setting with the princess being mistaken for a stripper. And, yes, it's a film with the terrific Oscar nominee Amy Adams......ahhhhhhh.
The Kite Runner-Just had the pleasure of reading this book earlier this year. Wonderful story and portrayal of 1970's Afghanistan. A tale of two friends who are torn apart by fear and silence. Again, either it will really work or have the book lovers hurling vitriolic stones.
Lions For Lambs-Ok, I'm not into this movie because of Tom Cruise at all. It is an interesting pairing of Cruise and Streep (who COULD get her 15th Oscar nod). Throw in Redford as a director and you've got the makings of a potential several category sweep when it comes to the nominations.
I Am Legend-This reads and feels like a movie one would see in the middle of the summer. Will Smith as the only "living" thing on earth after a plague wipes out most of humanity. The word is that there is hardly any dialogue at all in the first hour; just Smith and his trusty German shepherd. Kudos to the filmmakers for filming this in NYC and making it look like a true ghost town.
Leatherheads-The film's premise doesn't sound that interesting to me but the cast very much does. John Krasinski (American version of The Office), Renee Zellweger, and George Clooney. Directed by Clooney as well.
National Treasure:Book Of Secrets-I know, I know, it's a remake of 2004 popcorn adventure thriller. Why do I want to see it? Not because of Cage who is back as treasure hunter Ben Gates but because of the so-prim-and-proper-it hurts Helen Mirren who plays his mother. I just want to see her letting her hair down and shedding that corset.
Atonement-Another adaptation from another beloved book.
Some predictions for Oscar nods come January.
Marion Cotillard-La Vie En Rose (sure bet) ****
Julie Christie-Away From Her (sure bet) ****
Jodie Foster-The Brave One
Jason Bateman-The Kingdom
Evan Rachel Wood-Across The Universe (sure bet) ****
Clive Owen-Elizabeth:The Golden Age
Tom Wilkinson-Michael Clayton
John Cusack-Grace Is Gone (sure bet) *****
Javier Bardem-No Country For Old Men
Meryl Streep-Lions For Lambs
Laura Linney-The Savages (sure bet) *****
The Golden Compass
Lions For Lambs
The Kite Runner
Into The Wild