Thursday, August 20, 2009

Nerdlinger's Most Anticipated Films of Fall 2009 (1)

Last year, I listed the ten films of the fall that I was most excited to see. The fall is always a great time of year for filmgoers, as studios release their heavy hitters during this time in order to compete for award attention. So, like last year, I'm going to list the ones that I'm most anticipating. What's shocking to me is that one of the movies from last year didn't come out after all, and now appears on this year's list.

So, without further ado,

10 - The Fantastic Mr. Fox (Nov. 13) - Wes Anderson directs a stop motion animation version of Roald Dahl's classic book, starring the voices of George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Bill Murray, Jason Schwartzman, Owen Wilson and Willem Dafoe. Instead of recording the voices in a conventional studio, Anderson took his cast on location to record their performances, with the cast actually doing the things their animated counterparts did. Meaning, if Mr. Fox was digging in the ground, Clooney dug in the ground; if the animals were eating, the cast ate. Cool. And yeah, The Darjeeling Limited was pretty awful, but the pairing of Anderson and Dahl could be a match made in heaven.

9 - Broken Embraces (Nov. 20) - Pedro Almodovar is quite simply one of the great filmmakers working in the world today, and when you pair him with Penelope Cruz, the result is one of the great actor/director collaborations in modern film. Centering on a tale of dangerous love, the film has the flavour of hard-boiled film noir. Though it got some mixed reviews at Cannes, I'll take a mixed film by almodovar over some director's successes.

8 - The Road (Oct.16) - The film was originally scheduled to be released in November of last year, but was pushed to this fall for reasons that still aren't entirely clear. Some say it was done after The Weinstein Company, the studio releasing the film, thought it could benefit from a less crowded release date and from more post-production. Others claim that the Weinsteins didn't want the film to distract Academy voters from the film they preferred, The Reader. Still, the film, based on a relentlessly bleak and sublimely brilliant Cormac McCarthy novel, recieved a blindlingly positive review from Esquire, which read in part: It is a brilliantly directed adaptation of a beloved novel, a delicate and anachronistically loving look at the immodest and brutish end of us all. You want them to get there, you want them to get there, you want them to get there — and yet you do not want it, any of it, to end.

I still can't wait to see it.

7 - Nine (Nov. 25) - 8 1/2 is one of the best movies ever made. It's certainly the best movie about making movies that has ever been made. It's perhaps the masterpiece of Federico Fellini, and that was a guy who had a few absolutely brilliant films under his belt. Nine is the musical version of that film. Before you get all snooty about remaking a classic, you should know the musical debuted on Broadway in 1982, when it ran for over 700 performances and won five Tonys, including best musical. Now Rob Marshall, who, it must be said, knows a thing or two about musicals, takes it to the big screen. What really makes this cool is who takes on the main role of Guido; Daniel Day Lewis (otherwise known as The Fucking Man).

6 - Precious (Nov. 6) - Lee Daniels directs this adaptation of Push, an autobiographical novel by Sapphire. It tells the harrowing and yet still elating story of Precious Jones, an overweight teenager growing up in Harlem and trying to survive being impregnated twice by her father and a hateful relationship with her mother. It won awards at Sundance and was screened in competition at Cannes. Receiving great reviews from papers like Variety, this could be the little film that blows everyone away this year.

See you soon for the final five!

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