Big Screen Ballyhoo – My Most Anticipated Films

Alright. In another kind of weak post, as I’m feeling a bit week (I may have to visit a doctor tomorrow after all), I want to talk about movies that are coming out this year. Some of you may be aware that we’re on the cusp of “good movie season,” or the time when a massive glut of films contending for Oscars pop up. They like to put Oscar movies toward the end of the year so they don’t get outshone by other films or just plain forgotten.

And there’s quite a few.

So here are MY picks, categorized by my excitement for them, with the trailers linked with the title of the film.

Movies that I ABSOLUTELY WILL SEE in theaters, I don’t care who I have to punch and shove out of the way.

Okay, more accurate would have been to say “movie,” because there’s only one in this category.

“Les Miserables” is a novel by Frenchman Victor Hugo. It’s a rather meaty piece of work, detailing love and revolution, but more often focusing on one man, Jean Valjean, as he escapes from prison and attempts to live out his life, all while Inspector Javert hunts him down through the years. The novel has seen at least two film adaptations, one starring Liam Neeson, Uma Thurman and Geoffrey Rush. And it was rubbish. But I never managed to get through the novel. I was introduced to the story via the smash musical, one of the most popular musicals of all time (and I think the longest running one worldwide, though I’m unsure). And, for the first time ever, the musical is being brought to the big screen. Directed by Tom Hooper, Academy Award-winning director of Best Picture-winning “The King’s Speech,” the movie stars Broadway veteran Hugh Jackman as Valjean. Also in the film are Russel Crowe (Javert), Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfried, Helena Bonham Carter, Sacha Baron Cohen, and some stage talent like Samantha Barks. And the singing is being filmed live, as opposed to pre-recorded and lip synched.

This is my favorite musical of all time. I’ve got a couple of worries (Seyfried’s voice sounds a bit too vibrato-y to me in the extended look trailer and I have to wonder what they’ll cut from the 2.5 to 3 hour monster), but you BET I’ll be there. The film comes out Dec. 25. Christmas Day present. I might even abandon my family to watch this.

Movies that I am really quite excited about seeing.

First, this one came out yesterday. “Trouble with the Curve” marks Clint Eastwood’s return to acting. The movie’s about an old baseball scout (Eastwood) losing his eyesight and trying to reconnect with his daughter (Amy Adams), as well as the old butting heads with the new. The movie also stars John Goodman (he’s getting a lot of work lately, and I love it) and Justin Timberlake (who earned my respect as an actor with “The Social Network”). Baseball’s not my favorite sport, but it’s Eastwood in his element, reminiscent of his work on “Million Dollar Baby.” If I’m not completely dead, I’m going to try to see it tomorrow.

Second, Ben Affleck has jumped back into the director/actor’s chair after the critically acclaimed film “The Town.” Affleck’s new movie, “Argo,” is based on the weirdly true story of a CIA extraction unit attempting to rescue six American refugees/people hiding from Tehran, Iran in the middle of the violent Iranian revolution in 1979. Their plan? Send in a Canadian film crew to film a sci-fi movie called “Argo.” Get them out that way. The movie stars Affleck, as well as John Goodman (I really like this guy!), Bryan Cranston and Alan Arkin. Affleck’s been doing well as an actor, taking on more serious roles and stories, and I like how he’s dressed down for this movie. I really want to watch it. The film comes out on Oct. 12.

Another I would really like to see is “Wreck-It Ralph.” It’s a Disney computer animated film about an 8-bit arcade character who’s tired of being the bad guy in his video game. So he leaves to find another video game to be part of. Featuring the vocal talents of John C. Reilly as Ralph, Jack McBrayer as his nemesis Fix-It Felix, Sarah Silverman, Jane Lynch, Alan Tudyk and others, the film also features many recognizable video game characters, such as Bowzer, M. Bison, Zangief, Dr. Robotnik and Pac-Man ghost Clyde. It looks like it’ll be a cute, original film about one of the things I enjoy: Video games. And it starts in an arcade. I miss those. The film comes out on Nov. 2.

Finally in this category is “Looper.” A sci-fi film by writer-director Rian Johnson of “Brick,” the movie focuses of Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s character, a man whose job it is to kill people forcibly sent back in time, specifically for assassinations. And it’s all going alright. Until he, played by Bruce Willis, is the one he has to kill. Willis escapes, Gordon-Levitt hunts for him and the people in charge hunt for both. It looks like an intriguing plot and treatment of time/space, what with the way some objects are acting in the trailer. I think I’d rather enjoy it. The movie comes out on Sept. 28.

Movies that I think I would enjoy seeing, but don’t yearn to see.

First on this list is one that sort of exists in between this category and the previous. It looks fascinating and has a great cast, but it also looks like it could be tedious and too drawn out or forced. That movie is “Cloud Atlas,” a film by the Wachowskis (“The Matrix”) and Tom Tykwer (“Run Lola Run”). Based on a novel by David Mitchell, the movie tells six stories across many, many years. The trailer seems to suggest that it’s about two people being reborn throughout history and finding one another, but I can’t be sure having never read the source material. However, the film stars Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent, Hugo Weaving, Susan Sarandon and Hugh Grant, all solid actors. It looks like an interesting premise, to say the least. The movie comes out on Oct. 26.

I suppose this film kind of exists between like “Cloud Atlas” did. And I’d be murdered if I didn’t mention it now. “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” which has released a new trailer just recently, worries me a bit. Director Peter Jackson has turned the J.R.R. Tolkien story into a three film monster, like “Lord of the Rings.” It makes me wonder what he’s adding in. And the trailer seems to show a few things added in. I, for one, don’t recall there being any giant rock creatures throwing giant rocks at Thorin Oakenshield and company. Still, I enjoy the story, and it does look pretty, so I’ll probably go watch it. The movie comes out on Dec. 14.

In the not in between lies “The Perks of Being a Wallflower,” based on the young adult novel of the same name from the late 1990s. Starring Logan Lerman as a high school freshman feeling like a bit of an outcast without friends, as well as Emma Watson as a friendly senior in her first starring role in the post-“Harry Potter” era, Paul Rudd as a friendly English teacher and Ezra Miller as Thompson’s friendly gay step brother (there are a few friendly people), the movie is coming-of-age to a T, but it looks like it will be a nice spin on things. The film is already out, actually, just not in Tuscaloosa. I’ve been told it may have a wide release on Oct. 5.

“Silver Linings Playbook” stars Bradley Cooper as a man struggling with his bipolar disorder and Jennifer Lawrence as a woman who also has some sort of problems she needs therapy and drugs for. It will be nice to see Lawrence in an adult role (she may have some already, but none I’ve seen). Romance blossoms between the two as they work through their problems together and join some dance competition… thing, I’m not sure. The movie also stars Robert DeNiro and Chris Rock, and comes out on Nov. 21.

“Rise of the Guardians” is Dreamwork’s competition for Disney’s “Wreck-It Ralph” this year. Featuring the vocal talents of Chris Pine, Alec Baldwin, Hugh Jackman, Isla Fisher and Jude Law, the film is about mythical characters that protect children coming under attack. Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, Jack Frost, the Tooth Fairy and the Sandman all have to work together to fight off the incursion of the Boogeyman as he begins to strike fear into the hearts and dreams of children. It looks adorable and potentially quite good. This movie also comes out on Nov. 21.

Movies I wouldn’t mind seeing. They’re probably really good.

No real summaries for these… Just the name and the release date. I suggest watching the trailers if you want to know more.

“Anna Karenina,” limited release on Nov. 16. Stars Kiera Knightley, Jude Law.

“Django Unchained,” released on Dec. 25. Stars Jamie Foxx, Samuel L. Jackson, Leonardo DiCaprio, Christoph Waltz.

“This Is 40,” released on Dec. 21. Stars Paul Rudd, Leslie Mann, Jason Segel.

“The Master,” already released. Stars Philip Seymour Hoffman, Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams.

“Lincoln,” released on Nov. 16. Stars Daniel Day-Lewis, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tommy Lee Jones, David Strathairn, Sally Field, Bruce McGill, James Spader, Jackie Earle Haley.

A LOT of good movies coming out. Definitely give some of them a look. Now, I’m going to bed. I’ve written far too much for a “filler” post.

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2 thoughts on “Big Screen Ballyhoo – My Most Anticipated Films

  1. mharper says:

    I think you’re referring to Emma Watson, not Emma Thompson, in TPoBaW…

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