Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Nerdlinger's Top 10 Movies to See this Fall (2)

Presenting the second part of my look ahead to my most anticipated films of the fall/winter.

6 - Choke (Sept. 26th) - Sexual addict Victor Mancini (Sam Rockwell) spends his days working as a historical re-enactor at a Colonial theme park, but he spends his nights pretending to choke in upscale restaurants, where he forms a dependant relationship with the wealthy diners who "save" him. He does this to pay for his mother's medical bills while she succumbs to Alzeheimer's. Adapted from Chuck Pahalniuk's (Fight Club) novel by writer/director (and actor) Clark Gregg, Rockwell is a perfect fit for the wacky, potentially sleeper hit material. The film also stars Angelica Huston and Kelly Macdonald.

7 - Milk (Dec. 5th) - In 1977, Harvey Milk became the first openly gay man elected to public office in the US when he won a seat on San Francisco's Board of Supervisors. The next year, he and San Fran's mayor were shot to death by a former colleague. In the film, Sean Penn portrays Milk, while James Brolin plays his killer, Dan White. Directed by Gus Van Sant, the film should be powerful, intelligent and well made, but will we get the Van Sant who made Good Will Hunting, Drugstore Cowboy and Elephant? Or will we get the Van Sant who made Psycho and Gerry?

8 - Synecdoche, NY (Oct. 24th) - According to Wikipedia, this film appears to be about a theatre director (Philip Seymour Hoffman) who attempts to mount a massively ambitious production staged within a life-sized replica of New York while his autonomic functions begin to shut down one at a time. Sound weird? That's because this film is the product of writer Charlie Kaufman (writer of Being John Malkovich, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind and Adaptation) in his directorial debut, so it will be unlike anything you've seen before. Hopefully, that means it will also be as blindingly brilliant as those films as well. Let's also not forget that this film features some of the greatest actresses around; Catherine Keener, Samantha Morton, Michelle Williams, Emily Watson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Dianne Weist, Robin Weigert and Hope Davis co-star.

9 - Valkyrie (Dec. 26th) - Directed by Bryan Singer, this film tells the true story of the plot by German military officers to assassinate Adolf Hitler during the Second World War. Tom Cruise portrays Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg, war hero and one of the leaders of the plot. Germany, who has attempted to outlaw Scientology in the past, was upset at the casting of Cruise as one of their greatest heroic figures, but they should get over themselves. Cruise, when inspired and working with a director that can reign him in, can deliver great performances. Also, it's nice to see director Singer moving away from super-heroics and back to straight dramas.

10 - Doubt (Dec. 12th) - John Patrick Shanley directs this adaptation of his own hit play, in which a nun (Meryl Streep) suspects a priest (Philip Seymour Hoffman) of abusing a student. The play is amazing, tackling themes of morality, religion and truth, while leaving the audience in doubt as to the veracity of the accusations. With the playwright himself at the helm, and two of the best actors alive in the cast, it's hard to see this failing to live up to its considerable promise.

Here are some runners up that might be interesting as well: W, Frost/Nixon, Miracle at St. Anna, Revolutionary Road, The Wrestler.

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