We start the Top 7. You finish the Top 10.
This has been one of the best Septembers in recent memory, (and it will continue to be in the next two Fridays). This creates a heavy optimism for the rest of the fall/winter season. After all, if Drive is so good, and it came out in only September, the rest of the year should be pretty exciting, right?
Here's my list of the Top 7 films I'm anticipating in the upcoming months, from Breaking Dawn to War Horse, etc.
Release dates are subject to change, and are based on Chicago's theater schedule.
7. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 (November 18)
Recap: The second-to-last movie we'll get from The Twilight Saga (until the inevitable re-boot in three years), Breaking Dawn is going to be summer-like event in a whole season of "award" movies (just as it is on this list). Directed by Bill Condon, the movie is set to deal with issues of marriage, pregnancy, and yes ... bed-shaking sex! (OMG YOU GUYS!!!) Reason: Whether I admit this freely or not, I have to concede that I am invested in these movies. Yes, it's mostly with intent on watching all of them critically crash and burn. But here I am, anticipating this event of a movie to dump itself into theaters with its apparently immortal fan base clamoring for any shirtless shots or gasp-worthy moments they can be dished. Since the movies before it have all been ruthlessly bad, I'm curious to see whether Breaking Dawn's tackling of more mature subject matter will hammer the final nails into the Twilight coffin, or if it will somehow rescue it from being just a stupid series about mythical high school drama. Everyone I've talked to about this movie mentions that this will be the toughest movie to adapt. If the other movies were so easy to adapt and sucked so badly, perhaps this will be a bleak disaster? Regardless, there's always a chance for a surprise, even with a Twilight movie. What else could be tempting me to come back for more and more?
6. War Horse (December 28)
Recap: Coming to theaters week after The Adventures of Tintin, director Steven Spielberg is going to drop this drama on award-season audiences. It's an adaptation of a book and a successful play. Reason: I have covered my eyes every time the War Horse trailer has come on in theaters, so I have little as to what this movie is visually about. But my uncovered ears like what they hear, as Williams' score sounds pretty darn beautiful in whatever snippets are provided. And what's there not to be excited about when Spielberg does a war drama?
5. Young Adult (December 9)
Recap: Hat-trick director Jason Reitman returns to the big screen with his fourth movie, likely at the mercy of a script written by Juno scribe Diablo Cody. This is the only non-adaptation on my list (yikes!) Reason: Yes, Cody won that Oscar for Juno, but her script for Jennifer's Body seemed to show a little exhaustion with her pop-particular dialogue and snarky repartee. It will be interesting to see if Young Adult has this same knack, and if she can still make it all seem fresh. Plus, Reitman has got his own 3-0 winning streak to try to add another win to.
4. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (December 21)
Recap: David Fincher, the snubbed director behind The Social Network, hurls himself into another adaptation with The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, the American take on a popular Swedish book read on every single bus and subway train for the past year. Rooney Mara, who was Zuckerberg's scorned lady friend in Network, plays the now-iconic character Lisbeth Salander. Reason: Last week they played a nine-minute preview of Dragon Tattoo after Straw Dogs, but I didn't stick around - I got out of the theater about as fast as this first book took to get an American remake. I've only seen the Karen O-fueled teaser once, and that's enough. Seems like Fincher's going to be mixing the stylish darkness with Generation X attitudes, like Seven meets The Social Network (dibs on that comparison!) For a director who has made adapted stories very much his own, there is hope that Dragon Tattoo won't be an entire copy of the remarkably solid Swedish movie, but the story structure will probably be the same. I'm mostly curious to see how raw Mara will be.
3. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (November 23)
Recap: Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, and Tom Hardy star in this movie directed by Tomas Alfredson, who left a mark in the movie world with Let the Right One In. Reason: In case you can't tell, I don't like to know anything about new movies before diving into them. But what I have from a cast list is great enough - here's a super dramatic cast that seems pretty darn unbeatable. Firth just earned his Oscar for last year's King's Speech, Tom Hardy should be getting some praise for his awesome turn in Warrior, and Gary Oldman ... is f**king Gary Oldman. Sounds like chances of great performances are very high, at the very least. Plus, this movie just opened at #1 in the U.K last weekend.
2. J. Edgar (November 11)
Recap: Clint Eastwood directs Leonardo DiCaprio in this biopic about J. Edgar Hoover, as written by Milk screenwriter Dustin Lance Black. Reason: Another fall, another Eastwood picture. Nope, I'm not complaining. And while Eastwood apparently doesn't care too much about awards, but he's certainly gunning for it with this movie, that unites DiCaprio, an award-winning screenwriter, Social Network breakout Armie Hammer, and yes, Eastwood himself. Mix them in a biopic bowl, and this could be Oscar gold, provided that Eastwood's recent sensitivities don't get in the way (as they did with the shunned Hereafter, and helped make Invictus a large shoulder-shrug). It's possible they won't, however, as Eastwood has said about Hoover, "I don't give a crap if he was gay or not." Take that as you will.
1. The Ides of March (October 7)
Recap: George Clooney directs and stars in this political movie that features Ryan Gosling, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Paul Giamatti. Reason: Again, it's only the casting list I need. Clooney and Gosling working together is a dream come true for those who dream about solid actors who are handsome to boot. Add in the names of Hoffman and Giamatti, and you've got an ensemble that could lead to something very special. And in my book, Clooney has never directed a bad movie. Even Leatherheads is an odd bit of fun.