We'll get to my picks for the upcoming new TV shows to watch, today it's all about the silver screen. I'm going to run down the top ten films that I'm excited to see this fall and winter, leading up to awards season. Without further ado, let's begin with the first five.
1 - The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (Dec. 25th) - One of my favourite films of last year was Zodiac, which seems to get more and more brilliant every time I watch it. Director David Fincher has made a string of stylish, technically innovative films (Se7en, Fight Club, Panic Room) that contain some bold thematic material while still delivering wide appeal. Now Fincher has made ...Button, based on the F. Scott Fitzgerald story, in which a man is born as an old man and lives his life aging backwards, getting more and more young as the story goes on. Starring Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett, it may not work, but it should be totally original.
2 - The Road (Nov. 26th) - Based on the celebrated novel by Cormac McCarthy, The Road takes place in a bleak post-apocalyptic world in which a father and son walk south along a long road to escape the coming winter with only a pistol with two bullets to protect them. Joe Hillcoat, who helmed the excellent western The Proposition directs Viggo Mortensen, who may turn out to be one of the greatest actors of his generation. Robert Duvall, Guy Pearce and Charlize Theron also star.
3 - Quantum of Solace (Nov. 14th) - Daniel Craig returns as James Bond in the follow up to the hugely successful relaunch of the venerable franchise, Casino Royale. That film worked because it combined the franchise's over the top action with a modern, grittier, more down to earth seriousness, and Daniel Craig's considerable charisma to create a film that was one of the most thrilling adventures in the series' history. If the production team approaches this one with the same care, and avoids its predilection for bombast and bloat, then this could be the most fun movie of the year.
4 - Changeling (Oct. 31st) - Clint Eastwood's latest film stars Angelina Jolie as a Depression-era mother who, after her son is kidnapped, is overjoyed to learn that the LAPD have found her child. However, when reunited, she learns that the boy claiming to be her son is not hers, and her subsequent efforts to prove this and find her true son are met with resistance by the corrupt LAPD. The film received rave reviews at Cannes, and while Eastwood's films are usually almost oppresively tragic, they are also undeniably captivating.
5 - Australia (Nov. 26th) - Love him or hate him, director Baz Luhrmann is a master at employing visual flourish to tell sweeping stories. I detested his Romeo + Juliet, which I thought was style without substance. I loved Moulin Rouge! which was both infinitely stylish and also undeniably moving. He is the only director besides Kubrick who has ever made me enjoy Nicole Kidman, which is no mean feat. Also, co-star Hugh Jackman is pretty much genetically designed for this type of film. A chick flick, yes, but one that will go beyond that pejorative description.
See you soon for part 2!