Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Nerdlinger's Most Anticipated Films of Fall 2010 (Part 1)

It's that time again, when the leaves turn, kids go back to school, and Hollywood attempts to prove they're capable of producing more quality films than All About Steve and The A-Team. Oddly enough, so far this year, I can't see any clear-cut Oscar-favourites coming down the pike. In fact,t here looks to be more than a few smaller, riskier films poised to step up to the plate, which is a welcome change from bloated prestige pictures that don't deliver.

Without further ado, here's part one of my list the ten films I'm most looking forward to this fall/winter, with a "honorable mention" section of films that might surprise me. Let's get the show on the road!

10 - Waiting For "Superman" - Davis Guggenheim (An Inconvenient Truth, It Might Get Loud) directs this documentary that examines the American public school system, how it is broken, what opportunities are available for the average student, and what steps could be taken to fix the myriad problems faced by today's kids and educators. The film follows a selection of promising kids as they struggle to gain the best chance for a quality education. Should be powerful, engrossing, and most all, a great generator for serious discussion of reform. (Sept. 24)

9 - Miral - Julian Schnabel (Basquiat, Before Night Falls, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly) directs this film about Hind Husseini's attempt to found an orphanage in Jerusalem following the creation of the state of Israel. The story is told through the eyes of Miral, a young women in the late 1970s who leaves the shelter of the orphanage and falls for a politically active Palestinian man, leading to her becoming embroiled in the Palestinian/Israeli conflict. Schnabel is major league film maker of singular vision, so this may not be two hours of fun, but it should be affecting and bold. (Dec. 3)

8 - Black Swan - Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Winona Ryder and Vincent Cassel star in this thriller about two young ballerinas (Portman & Kunis) who find themselves in competition for the lead role in Swan Lake. Portman's Nina is an innocent, devoted to dance, but Kunis' Lily is more sensual and dark. Their rivalry warps into a twisted friendship, and then into something darker. Darren Aronofsky has long been poised to become one of the most gifted film makers of our generation, with some critical successes (Pi, The Wrestler), and some divisive films (Requiem for A Dream, The Fountain) under his belt. Here's hoping Black Swan is the one that truly confirms his promise. (Dec. 1)

7 - The Town - Ben Affleck directs and stars in this Boston-set crime film as a local bank robber who finds himself increasingly frustrated by the life he's chosen and aware that it doesn't have many positive end points. He sees his opportunity to change in his growing attraction to a former hostage (Rebecca Hall) who may or may not be able to finger him to a relentless FBI agent (Jon Hamm), while their relationship puts him at odds with his partner in crime (Jeremy Renner) and may endanger his life. Affleck proved with Gone Baby, Gone that he was more than a beefy pretty-boy who fluked into writing an Oscar-winning film. He has a real eye for this kind of gritty crime film, the cast is exciting, and the trailer looks great. (Sept. 10)

6 - Tron: Legacy - The first Tron didn't set the world on fire at the time of its release, but has since become recognized as one of the innovators in computer generated images and has achieved a cult following. That was enough to get Disney to green light this update, which follows the son (Garret Hedlund) of the first film's protagonist (Jeff Bridges) into the computer world, where Bridges has been lost for years. The footage and trailers that have been released look absolutely spectacular, and the story is still intriguing, if a little goofy. Still, could be a blast. (Dec. 17)
See you soon for Part 2!


Brenton said...

Those last three look good. I think I'll be disappointed by Tron, but I'm fine with that.

TimeLords said...

No clear cut Oscar favourites?
Surely "Inception" can fall into that category. I can foresee Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, and Best Screenplay nominations. And possibly Best Supporting Actor (Levitt or Murphy). Might even go Best Supporting Actress (Ellen Page); not sure her role was meaty enough, but I thought she was good.
That said, it's good to see some other films on the horizon that will make it more than a 1 horse race.

Nerdlinger said...

I think Inception, while I loved it, has pretty sharply divided some people who found it cold, and more of a puzzle than a movie with an emotional through line. It'll probably get a nomination (mostly because they so egregiously shafted The Dark Knight) but I doubt it would win.

TimeLords said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
TimeLords said...

I think a Best Picture nom is a given, even if they weren't giving out 10 nominations these days. Maybe even A-Team gets a nod with those numbers. Don't get how people really came away with a cold feeling from the film. Cobb's desire to once again see his children, and guilt over his wife. And Fischer's issues with his father. And then add the puzzle aspect. It was all there.

Nerdlinger said...

I'm not disagreeing with you. The second time I saw it, I was actually choked up at the ending. I certainly think it deserves to be nominated, but I'm just saying there's enough of a "backlash" to spoil its chances at the win.

TimeLords said...

Didn't think you were disagreeing with me about the film. I know you liked it as well. But given the dirth of great films (so far) this year, I would think it would stand a good shot as it is now.
Is the backlash coming from professional critics, or more from public internet forums? The few critics I read spoke glowingly about it, but I didn't read extensive amounts of them.

Nerdlinger said...

It's more from the Internet in general, though there have been a few pro critics that have said they don't get all the fuss. I think Entertainment Weekly had ana atricle or two. And if you go to Rotten Tomatoes you'll see a few reviews by some major critics that complain about a lack of heart to the film. Backlash always happens with a film this popular (unless it's made by Pixar, that'd be like kicking a puppy).