With the leaves starting to change and the temperatures starting to dip, there is no doubt that summer is well in our rear view mirror. Even though the official start of fall was only a few weeks ago, it somehow already seems like summer is a distant memory. Of course, all the Christmas merchandise and decorations in stores does nothing to help matters. I actually saw my first Christmas themed TV commercial last night; Target, I love you but you’re jumping the gun a little bit!
The end of summer also means the end of summer blockbusters. The superheroes of the universe get to hang up their capes for a while for much needed R&R and you see a drastic decline in the number of explosions in films as the weather becomes crisper. While summer movies tend to be big, broad affairs that are a lot of fun, fall movies become generally much quieter and more serious. There are aberrations of course – we are currently right in the heart of horror movie season – but there is generally a distinctive change in tone at the cinema. Fall brings the first glimpse of possible Oscar contenders, though the majority of Oscar hopefuls will roll out closer to the end of the year. There is no way that the upcoming Hungry Hungry Hippos movie (yup – a real thing) would ever open in the fall. That has summer written all over it.
While I enjoy the superhero/shoot-‘em-up movies as much as the next girl (well, probably more than most girls), the film of fall and winter tend to be the ones that I enjoy the most. This year is no different; I have a lot of movies whose release I am anxiously anticipating. While some people write birthdays on their calendars, I write movie openings. Here’s a sampling of some of the films that I am most excited for (I stretched the definition of fall a bit – some of these films come out as late as December).
1. Argo (October 12)
I’ve made no effort to hide my adoration of Ben Affleck, but I am especially enjoying this second phase of his career. Not only is he making more interesting choices in the roles that he selects, but he has blossomed into quite the director. I quite liked his adaptation of the Dennis Lehane book Gone Baby Gone and while The Town had some flaws, it was also a solid film. His latest effort, Argo, has a great cast (Affleck, my man Bryan Cranston, John Goodman, Alan Arkin and everyone’s favorite football coach, Kyle Chandler) and tells what appears to be an interesting story of the operation to rescue six Americans trapped in Iran during the hostage crisis.
I’ve seen this trailer more times than I can count, yet when the early chords of “Dream On” start, I get chills every time. If I’m not at the ALDS this weekend (GO YANKEES!), I will be in the theater watching this movie.
2. The Paperboy (limited release October 5)
This is the latest from the director of Precious and is a sexually charged crime thriller. What intrigues me about this movie is that there are a lot of actors in this film in roles that you don’t really expect them to play – John Cusack plays a convict and Nicole Kidman plays a death row groupie. The film stars Zac Efron and Matthew McConaughey as brothers trying to prove that Cusack was wrongly convicted. This movie has gotten a lot of buzz because of the relationship between Efron and Kidman in the film and the behavior that they engage in; I won’t spoil it for anyone who wants to be surprised, but if you are curious you can find out more info here. I like Kidman when she takes some chances and this role sounds like it is as big of a departure from her usual persona that you could get. I have no idea when this film will roll into town, but they have peaked my interest.
3. Vamps (limited release November 2)
I’m intrigued by this comedy for three reasons: a) It marks the first reteaming of director Amy Heckerling and Alicia Silverstone since Clueless (a movie that I still find incredibly re-watchable, and that is not typically my genre); b) Krysten Ritter (aka, the titular “B” in the ABC Comedy, Don’t Trust the B in Apartment 23 co-stars; and c) Despite the fact that they have been done to death, I still kind of like vampires.
The premise otherwise could go either way – two young vampires experiencing the trials and tribulations of being single and dating in the big city – but based on the pedigree, I’m expecting good things.
4. Skyfall (IMAX November 8; conventional theaters November 9)
Daniel Craig is my favorite actor to play Bond, which may be considered blasphemy to those who grew up with Connery in the role. But I’m relatively new to the 007 game and I really liked Craig before he put on the famous cufflinks (check out the movie Layer Cake – fantastic!), so I am partial to his interpretation. I think he revitalized a flailing franchise with Casino Royale. So after a delay between movies due to the bankruptcy issues at MGM, I’m anxious to see 007 back in the game (even if he’s drinking beer now instead of martinis).
5. Hitchcock (November 23)
I have loved Hitchcock movies for as long as I can remember; my mom was a fan and I distinctly remember watching Rear Window with her for the first time (though I’m beginning to believe that my distrust of birds can be connected to my viewing of his film). I always get excited when AMC does their yearly Hitchcock marathon, though my DVR may feel differently about it. Hitchcock the man is just as fascinating to me; I watched an old interview that he did with Dick Cavett and immediately wanted to know more about the man behind these films. Hitchcock is based on the book Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho and focuses on the relationship between Alfred and his wife Alma. Anthony Hopkins and Helen Mirren star as the couple and if that isn’t an impressive pedigree for a film, I don’t know what is.
(Sorry – no trailer yet for this one) The trailer is currently showing exclusively at Apple Trailers.
6. Hyde Park on the Hudson (December 7th)
Here’s all you need to know: Bill Murray is FDR. If that doesn’t make you curious, I don’t know what would.
7. Christmas Bonanza – Django Unchained, Les Miserable, West of Memphis (limited release)
I’m not sure yet how I am going to convince my family that we should celebrate Christmas at the movie theater, but there are three movies that I am very much looking forward to. And yes – I am aware that I don’t have to see a movie the day it comes out. But I want to.
Django Unchained should come as no surprise – I’ve been talking about this new Taratino movie since it was just a twinkle in Quentin’s eye. He speaks my language, so I have no doubt that it will be awesome. I’ve seen every Taratino film on opening day since Kill Bill Vol. 1, so I may have a late night showing in my future.
My desire to see Les Miserable is more unexpected, even to me, since I’ve never seen the play or read the book. Chalk this up to repeated viewings of the trailer; advertising actually worked in this case. Though I am a sucker for a musical, so this desire isn’t completely out of left field.
As for West of Memphis, I apparently just can’t get enough of the story of the West Memphis Three. You would think that this subject would have been exhausted after the three HBO Paradise Lost documentaries, but from what I’ve heard this new documentary is not just a rehash of the previous films and offers a new perspective and new information. This film has already on the festival circuit and reviews have generally been pretty positive. And Lord knows I do love me a good documentary.
What movies are you looking forward to this fall? Sound off in the comments below.