Friday, August 30, 2013

Movie MoJoe's 25 Most Anticipated Movies of the Fall!!!

It's that time, people!  Time for me to compile a list of movies I am psyched to see, and then force all of my friends to read it.  This is my second go at it after posting my 20 Anticipated Movies of Summer.  This seasons is a bit harder, because I am going all the way to the end of the year.  There are more awards bait movies at this time of year, and, by November, I am foaming at the mouth.  There are 25 flicks I am amped to check out, but there are also five "honorable mention" that I wanted to include.  If you were going to say that I am simply too indecisive, you would be correct!  So grab your pumpkin spice lattes, zip up that hoodie, and check out my list.  

We shall quickly start with the honorable mention and then the real list begins.  I will be brief with these few. 

The Coen Bros.'s Inside Llewyn Davis is a no brainer.  You thought it would be on the list, didn't you?!  All right.  Show of hands?  I thought so.  Davis centers on a folk singer (Oscar Isaac) as he tries to make his way in the early 1960's.  It co-stars Carey Mulligan, Justin Timberlake and John Goodman in what is rumored to be a standout performance.  

Goodman has had a really good run as of late (co-starring in the last two Best Picture winners), so maybe he could chalk up another standout performance? 

I had a hard time deciding whether to put this or Grace of Monaco on the list, but this biopic failed to make the final cut.  I don't think I could get behind two wobbly biopics, even if they are starring two actress-y treasures.  Naomi Watts looks freakishly a lot like Princess Diana, doesn't she?  

I am not sure if this is going to be a slam dunk.  It focuses on the last two year's of Diana's life, so this might be a My Week with Marilyn caliber flick.  Then again, Michelle Williams did get an Oscar nomination for Marilyn...

I've talked about Ron Howard's Rush a million times, so I won't bore you with the details.  All you need to  know is that Chris Hemsworth is a cocky race car driver in the 1970's Formula One scene.  Feathered hair is all I need.

I mentioned The Monuments Men in my Best Picture predictions a few weeks back, and then a trailer dropped.  

Directed by George Clooney, Monuments is the true story of a specialized group of men who are trying to track down pieces of art work before the Nazis destroy it all at the end of World War II.  Starring Clooney, Matt Damon, Cate Blanchett, and, guess who, John Goodman, the movie looks like total awards bait.  On paper.  The trailer hints that this could be simply a commercial success.  It will make money, that's for sure.  

I know what you're thinking.  Why the hell would I want to see The Family?  Well, I want to see The Family because of Michelle Pfeiffer.  I saw Dark fucking Shadows, for fuck's sake, so it's obvious that I will see her in anything.  Robert De Niro, Pfeiffer, Glee's Dianna Agron and John D'Leo play the Manzonis, a notorious mob brood who are relocated to France during their stint in witness protection.  As we all know, Italian families with Mafia connections and short tempers don't stay hidden for very long, and soon all their old cannoli crunching cronies are on their tails.  

It could be fun, right?  Right?  

And, without further ado, I present the 25 most fall movies of 2013...

Dallas Buyers Club anchors my list, because I am sort of dying to see Matthew McConaughey's performance.  He's playing against type!  He lost tons of weight!  He has a deadly disease!  It's like an Oscar nomination checklist.  

McConaughey plays Ron Woodruf, a womanizing, homophobic man in 1985 who learns he has contracted HIV.  After discovering that Mexico has drugs that are not approved for use in the United States, he begins smuggling them across the border and sells them to people who need them.  Kind of like We're the Millers but prestigious and important.  Jennifer Garner plays a doctor, and Jared Leto plays a drag queen who also has the virus and begins helping Woodruf.  

Many Oscar pundits (myself included, though I am not a pundit) think he is a lock for a Best Actor nomination.  After the last couple years, it seems very possible.  His career is still on a hot streak: Mud, The Paperboy, Killer Joe, Magic Mike, and The Lincoln Lawyer all came out in the last two years, and he also has a supporting role in Scorsese's The Wolf of Wall Street.

I just wanted to point out that Denis O'Hare seems to always play men opposing gay characters in movies.  He went up against Sean Penn in Milk, and he plays the doctor who gives Woodruf his health news at the beginning of the film.  I don't know if O'Hare's character is negative (I assuming, I know), but he also has a part in Ryan Murphy's HBO adaptation of The Normal Heart.  Just saying.  I love O'Hare, and I can't wait to see him, no matter how big the part.

There aren't enough documentaries on anticipated movie lists, and I intend to change that!  

Salinger focuses on, you guessed it, novelist J. D. Salinger, whose The Catcher in the Rye continues to grip readers young and old alike.  The trailer makes it look like a hardcore thriller, a must-see for book junkies (and all those English teachers out there).  The film was kept secret for over five years and features more than 150 interviews, including Danny DeVito, Gore Vidal, Tom Wolfe, and Philip Seymour Hoffman.  

Harvey Weinstein acquired the rights shortly after this past year's Academy Awards, and, allegedly, he was the only studio head to see it.  Why all the secrecy?  Is it that good?  I bet Salinger, a notorious recluse, would at least approve of all the sneaky behanvior.  It was also recently announced that five new Salinger novels will be published by 2020.   

I have thought Nicole Kidman should play Grace Kelly since I first saw her.  Apparently, it takes a while for wishes to be granted, but, as far as I can tell, it will be worth the wait.  Kidman inhabits Kelly in Olivier Dahan's Grace of Monaco.  

Kidman has stated that she related to the classic beauty in the regard that they both left their passions in order to start a family.  The film isn't a straight up biopic, and, like a lot of other films as of late, focuses on a specific moment in history.  Kelly has just turned down Alfred Hitchcock's Marnie, and she witnesses the debacle between her husband, Prince Rainier III (Tim Roth), and Charles de Gaulle (Andre Penvern).  She does this all the while going through her own identity crisis.  

Have I not mentioned one of the best parts?  Parker effing Posey is in it!  She plays Madge Tivey-Faucon, a scheming lady-in-waiting to Kelly's princess.  Posey has commented that she felt like Mrs. Danvers to Kidman's Grace.  I.  Am.  So.  There.  

There is no trailer as of yet!  Baaahhh!!!

What would you do if you suddenly developed an aversion to touching other people?  What would you do if you developed this aversion, and you were a highly in-demand massage therapist?  

Lynn Shelton's Touchy Feely examines the physical and emotional shifts of a pair of siblings whose lives take dramatic turns after their sense of touch changes.  Rosemarie DeWitt plays Abby, a respected massage therapist whose career stalls when she suddenly doesn't want to touch other people's bodies.  Conversely, her brother, Paul (Josh Pais) sees a surge in his slagging dental practice after a "healing power" begins to bring in more clientele.  

Ellen Page plays Paul's daughter, who he hires to be his assistant after the practice's business starts booming.  Everyone loves some Ellen Page, right?

I still think DeWitt should have received a Best Supporting Actress nomination for Rachel Getting Married, and I am dying to see her in a leading role.  I really gotta let that go...

Let me just get this out of the way.  Adore was originally titled Two Mothers.  I hate when movies have stupid, generic titles, and I feel like the former title is much more suited for the movie.

Adore is about two mothers, Naomi Watts and Robin Wright, who are life-long best friends who fall in love with each other's teenage sons.  Yeah.  Shit just got real up in here.  Roz (Wright) lives with her husband and her son Tom (James Frecheville).  Watts plays Lil, a single mother to Ian (Xavier Samuel). 

I am going to go for a cheap laugh here.

I'm sorry!  I'm sorry!  Here's the legit trailer.

Directed by Anne Fontaine, Two Mothers Adore debuted at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival to mixed notices.  I just think it will be cool to see a movie about women taking control of their sexuality without apologies, and it is directed by a woman.  Suck on that, Rick Santorum!  

Ah, Don Jon.  How much I want to see thee.  My love of Joseph Gordon-Levitt is deep, and it's real.  I love him when he plays a teen hustler (Mysterious Skin).  I love him when he plays a lovesick greeting cards writer (500 Days of Summer).  Hell, I even liked him as a bicycle messenger in probably the only movie about bicycle messengers (Premium Rush).  So, will I love him as a manwhore guido who is addicted to porn?  What do you think? 

Gordon-Levitt is really going for broke with this romantic comedy.  Not only is he the star, but it is his first time writing and directing a feature film.  He snagged some really big stars with Scarlett Johansson, Julianne Moore, and up-and-coming actress, Brie Larson.  JGL stars a womanzing gym rat whose life begins to shape differently after he meets Barbara (Johansson) and Esther (Moore).

Barabara is as obsessed with romantic comedies as much as Jon watches porn.  She believes romantic life is like what she sees on the big screen, and she has a BIG problem when she discovers her new boyfriend's porn addiction. 

Entertainment Weekly's editor, Jeff Cagle, said it was the best movie he saw at this year's Sundance Film Festival, and it will also show at the Toronto Film Festival later this year. 

It's rare that you see a comedy starring actual adults, so don't be too shocked when you see Enough Said and everyone in the audience is over the age of twenty.  

Julia Louis-Dreyfus plays Eva, a masseuse (how many masseuses are on this list...sheesh) who is nervous about her teenage daughter moving off to college.  A friendship begins with one of her new clients named Marianne (Catherine Keener), and then she meets a man, Albert (James Gandolfini, in one of his last starring roles).  Maybe her daughter moving out isn't such a bad idea?  There's just one little catch.  Albert is Marianne's ex-husband.  I feel like it's kind of like Prime with a dash of It's Complicated

I love Nicole Holofcener's movies, especially Please Give.  She and Keener have done multiple projects together, and I always seem to laugh out loud at the awkwardly funny situations in the movies.  It will be interesting to see Louis-Dreyfus and Gandolfini bounce off each other, because they seem like would have two completely different approaches to comedy.  Big plus?  Toni Collette! 

Why would you remake a modern classic?  Oldboy, Park Chan-wook's ultra-violent revenge tale from 2003, is getting remade.  Normally, I would roll my eyes and add it to the list of unncessary remakes, but this is different because of two words: Spike Lee.  The outspoken filmmaker must know that fanboys are freaking out a little bit about this one. 

Josh Brolin plays a man who was kidnapped and imprisoned for 20 years, but he never knows why.  He is mysteriously released, and he hunts down the men responsible for keeping him locked up.  Sharlto Copley and Elizabeth Olsen star alongside Brolin. 

I know a lot of people don't like Lee (mainly for his public persona), but you have to admit, he's a ballsy filmmaker.  Even though he's made a handful of films, this is his first remake.  The original film won the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival, and the movie reportedly follows in the original's footsteps.  I assume that means the same story, but a different take.  Lee isn't a man who would copy another director's work.  Park granted Lee approval to make the movie if Lee's didn't duplicate the original.  Lee says, "He'll be happy." 

Lesbians, lesbians, lesbians!!!  Who knew I would be so excited for a movie that features a ridiculous amount of girl on girl action!

Blue is the Warmest Color won the coveted Palme d'Or at this year's Cannes Film Festival, and the only thing people could talk about were the graphic sex scenes.  The story centers on Adele, a young French teacher who becomes involved with a blue-haired girl named Emma, a student at a nearby college.  I am sure your mind is racing wondering what the title means! 

Despite winning the top prize at Cannes, a lot of people had a problem with the length (it clocks in at nearly three hours), and they insist that the movie will have to be edited for American audiences.  Well, that's not surprising.  You whisper the word vagina and they pretty stamp your movie with an NC-17 rating.  Maybe that's the rating that the movie will receive when the present it to the Motion Picture Association of America.  American swine. 

Jury president Steven Spielberg doesn't think it will have a probelm in the States.  In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Adele Exarchopoulos (who stars as Adele) said Spielberg brushed off the film's potential distribution problems by saying, "He said he was sure the film would have gret success in America."

Cumberbitches unite!!!  In addition to starring as Khan in this summer's Star Trek: Into Darkness, Benedict Cumberbatch will star as WikiLeaks found Julian Assange this October in The Fifth Estate.  I want to admit something.  I apparently live under a rock, because I don't know much about the WikiLeaks scandal.  I obviously don't know very much about current events, because I spend so much time in a movie theater.

The film is slightly based on two books: Inside WikiLeaks: My Time with Julian Assange and the Worlds Most Dangerous Website by Daniel Domscheit-Berg, as well as WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange's War on Secrecy by British journalist Luke Harding and David Leigh.  Director Bill Condon (Dreamgirls) describes the movie as a buddy movie.  Daniel Bruhl plays Domscheit-Berg to Cumberbatch's Assange.  It seems that Bruhl is going to have two performances to watch out for (this and Ron Howard's Rush). 

In addition to wearing that awful, stringy white wig, Cumberbatch wore contacts and false teeth to really get into the character of Assange.  When the trailer first debuted, I hadn't heard that they were making a movie on the WikiLeaks scandal, so this was a very pleasant surprise.  One person who isn't happy is Assange himself.  He reportedly read the screenplay, and condemns the film as a "massive propaganda attack" against WikiLeaks.  Maybe Estate will be entertaining, and it might teach me something.

I am nervous and anxious to see the remake of Carrie.  Nervous because I think Brian de Palma's Carrie is one of the best horror movies ever.  I know that a remake won't diminish that.  I am getting more anxious, because I keep seeing trailers for it and everyone knows that I love me some Julianne Moore. 

Carrie White's story seems rather timely considering that teens have been going through some turmoil in the last few years.  Bullying is still a hot button issue in high schools, and Carrie brings forth one of the bloodiest bullied teen stories to light.  Again.  Chloe Grace Moretz (I am just waiting for her to drop that middle name...any day now...) is close to the appropriate age to play Carrie.  She was 16 when the film was shot, and Sissy Spacek was ten years older when she played the title role in the 1976 version.  Stepping into the role of religious fanatic mother Margaret is Julianne Moore.  Her hair is all frizzy and crazy in the trailer, and I hope we get to see her version of the "sin never dies" monologue that still gives me the creeps.  Thanks, Piper Laurie.

My reservations for the movie come from the original trailer.  Some of the images of Moretz suggests that Carrie is excited by her powers, and I guess I have always thought that she was more fascinated or scared of what she could do.  She's always intrigued, but I never thought she was totally stoked to make things float around.

The trailer gives a ton away, but aren't we all very familiar to Carrie's story by now?  Kimberly Pierce (Boys Don't Cry) directs.  On a side note, I recently saw Kick Ass 2, and Moretz's character (Hit Girl) gives up fighting crime.  We get to see her as a normal teenager trying to get through the politics of high school.  I buy her a little bit more in the role.   

The JFK assassination has been the subject of many films and books, but Parkland focuses on the ordinary people in Dallas who are thrust into the chaotic situation hours after Kennedy was shot.  It mainly focuses on the doctors and nurses who step in when tragedy strikes.  Zac Efron (swoon) plays a young doctor who must take control of the emergency room, and Marcia Gay Harden plays a seasoned nurse who guides him along the way.  Paul Giamatti plays a camera enthusiast whose footage of the parade might help the Secret Service (which includes Billy Bob Thorton and Tom Welling) figure out the events of that fateful day.   

I am most interested in the plot thread of Lee Harvey Oswald's mother, Marguerite (Jacki Weaver), and her son Robert Edward Lee Oswald Jr. picking up the pieces after the incident. 

I am in love with the simplicity of this poster.  


Based on the book Four Days in November, Parkland will come out right before the 50th anniversary of JFK's assassination.  This is the directorial debut of Peter Landesman.

Based upon the acclaimed book, The Book Thief chronicles the life of Liesl, a young girl living in Nazi-occupied Germany.  She steals in order to support her foster family headed by Geoffrey Rush and Emily Watson.  Those two alone are enough to get me into a theater.  How underappreciated is Watson, am I right?

When a stranger named Max appears at the door, Liesl's new family asks her to keep his whereabouts a secret.  Max stays in the family's basement, and Liesel witnesses a world that no one her age should see.  Director Brian Percival (Downton Abbey) found his Liesel in Sophie Nelisse, a 13-year old Canadian actress who was actually training for the 2016 Olympics.


An interesting aspect about the book is that it is narrated by Death.  The trailer presents it as a straight-forward period piece, so maybe they are saving that element for audiences to discover.  The book, by Marcus Zusack, is quite the best-seller, so hopefully the adaptation will retain what readers love about it.  Does this look like a sneaky awards contender to anyone else?  It was originally supposed to come out in January of next year, but they pulled it back to come out in the middle of November.  Interesting...only time will tell...

I remember distinctly the experience of seeing James Wan's Insidious in theaters in 2010.  The theater was packed, and me and my two friends had to completely split up since there weren't three seats together.  It was one of the funnest theater-going experiences of my life, because the audience was so responsive to everything. 

The imagery of Wan's movie freaked me out, and it seems like it's going to continue with the second installment, out in just a few weeks.  I remember liking the first movie for the first two thirds, but then zoning out, because it got too hokey for me.  Loved the imagery, though.  In Insidious: Chapter 2, the Lambert family discovers that the malevolent spirits haven't entirely left their family.  Um...maybe it's because the dad (Patrick Wilson) is possessed by an evil spirit!!!  Oh, man, am I excited for this.   

I...just...can't.  It freaks me the hell out!!! 

Even if I don't like this one, I bet the experience of it will be memorable.  After Wan scared the crap out of me earlier this summer with The Conjuring, I am so pumped.

Judi Dench starring in a movie is cause for celebration in my book.  In Philomena, Dench stars as Philomena Lee, an Irishwoman who is hunting for the son she was forced to give up for adoption when she was much younger.  She travels to America with a journalist (Steve Coogan) who is initially reluctant to take on a human interest story. 

Hearing Dench say, "I did not abandon my child." at the very beginning of the trailer is enough to break my heart.  It's hard to believe that Dench hasn't won a boatload of Oscars by now, and it seems like this will grab her her nomination first since 2006's Notes on a Scandal--which she totally should have won for.  Stephen Frears directs Philomena, his second collaboration with Dench after Mrs. Henderson Presents.  If she can get nominated for that, she can for this. 

I think her pairing with Coogen is interesting.  I love him, but seeing him bottled up next to her strikes me as odd.  By the way, I don't want to hear anyone say the word clitoris...let alone Judi Dench.  Just saying.   

You ever sit back with a copy of A Christmas Carol next to a fire and think that Charles Dickens was banging some hot, young thing?  No?  David Copperfield?  

The Invisible Woman, directed by its star Ralph Fiennes, reveals the affair between Dickens and Nelly Ternan.  If you Google portraits of Dickens, you will see that Fiennes looks quite a bit like the famous author.  Hello, great makeup design.  Felicity Jones plays Ternan, and Kristin Scott Thomas (gaaaahhh!!!) co-stars.  Are you telling me that I get Scott Thomas in a literary story with gorgeous costumes.  Gasp!

I am not the biggest fan of Felicity Jones, but I love this picture of her.  She looks a lot more mature.  

Ternan was only 18 when she met Dickens, who was 45, and many believe that she was his muse.  Unfortunately, there is no trailer yet.  Bah!

Who doesn't love Mary Poppins?!  No one, that's who!

The troublesome shooting of the adaptation of the P. L. Travers book is the subject of Saving Mr. Banks, a Disney-backed biopic.  Emma Thompson plays Travers, who objected to almost everything when they tried to put everyone's favorite nanny on the big screen.  No one dealt with Travers more than Walt Disney himself, and he is played by Tom Hanks.  Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks sparring off each other in the early 1960's.  That's like a trip to Disney World for me.  

I was curious if they were going to include the fact that Travers HATED the final version of Mary Poppins, and I heard that the script indeed addresses it.  Poppins was a very personal book to Travers (she based fussy Mr. Banks on her own father), so don't expect Thompson to portray her as a one-note, joy-hating shrew.  I am a bit wary that The Blind Side's John Lee Hancock is directing, but I've heard nothing but positive things.  

Director Jason Reitman always does good work in my book.  Juno and Up in the Air are two of my favorites, and his Young Adult is underappreciated.  I am especially interested in his latest, Labor Day, because of the two stars: Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin.  

Winslet plays Adele, and emotionally fragile woman trying to take care of her son, Henry, in New England in 1987.  While shopping, they encounter a man named Frank Chambers (Brolin) who is badly injured.  Adele doesn't ask questions, and she takes in the bleeding Frank into her home, shielding him from the police.  Over the course of a long weekend, Frank slowly reveals his story as the police search frantically for him.  

Labor Day debuted at Telluride, and the early word is positive and cautious.  All the reviews I've read have mentioned that there is so much going on below the surface that audiences need to sit with it and think before they really discuss their feelings towards it.  One thing is clear, though, Reitman doesn't want to be pigeonholed.  

I feel like a trailer is going to debut any day now...

American Hustle, David O. Russell's fictionalized drama about the Abscam scandal of the early 1970's, was originally titled American Bullshit.  Imagine that on a marquee.  It's not something that you would expect Russell to follow his Oscar-winning Silver Linings Playbook.  But when has David O. Russell ever been predictable?

This entry is short, because, quite frankly, there hasn't been much released on the plot of the movie.  The trailer just gives us drama and hair.  Long, beautiful hair.  Oh!  And it also gives us the idea that this might be Amy Adams' movie.  There is barely any dialogue in the first teaser, but we get to see her be really sexy.

We know some about the characters, though!  Christian Bale (Oscar-winning Russell alumni from The Fighter) plays Irving Rosenfeld, a con artist who makes a deal to assist the FBI.  Adams (Oscar-nominated Russell alumni from The Fighter) plays Irving's sexy, British mistress, Sydney.  Dying to hear her accent.  D-Y-I-N-G.  Sydney is as equally ruthless as her partner.  Bradley "Corn Rows" Cooper (Oscar-nominated Russell alumni from Silver Linings Playbook) plays Richie DiMaso, the FBI agent who forces Irving to assist them.  Jennifer Lawrence (Oscar-winning Russell alumni from Silver Linings Playbook) is Richie's volatile, young wife, Rosalyn.  

Party girl.

When I first saw this trailer, I thought Lawrence gave off a total Sharon Stone in Casino vibe.  Nathaniel Rogers from The Film Experience (also known as one of the best movie sites around) totally said the same thing in one of his podcasts.  I felt ridiculously excited that I shared this thought with someone.  Speaking of Nathaniel (and his awesome site and his awesome commentary), he posted a really funny gif on his dissection of the American Hustle trailer:

I have no idea what is happening in this scene, but I need to know.  And I don't want to wait until Christmas to find out.  It looks like the most bitchy bathroom confrontation since Reese Witherspoon and Sarah Michelle Gellar in Cruel Intentions.  Yeah, you're thinking it too.  

After the family patriarch, Beverly (Sam Shepard) suddenly disappears, the Weston family crumbles into dysfunction.  Well, more dysfunction.  Violet, Beverly's wife, is suffering from mouth cancer, but that doesn't stop her from drinking or smoking or hurling insults towards all of her children.  Yes, August: Osage County is the feel good movie of Christmas!

Adapted from the Pulitzer-prize winning play by Tracy Letts, August gathers the entire Weston clan together for a piping hot soup of anger and a hell of a lot of great writing.  The film is packed to the brim with stars.  Meryl Streep plays Violet, a dream for any actress.  Julia Roberts plays Barbara, the daughter that Violet clashes the most with--not that anyone is safe with Violet around.  The film also includes Ewan McGregor, Abigail Breslin, Margo Martindale, Benedict Cumberbatch, Chris Cooper, and Juliette Lewis.  

I always think Roberts does her best work when she is pushed by a director or the material.  It must have been a dream come true to not only act opposite Streep, but play her daughter.  Letts adapted his own play for the screen.  

The cast all lived together in Oklahoma while they filmed the movie.  Maybe the bonds between the characters will resonate even stronger.

I am sort of obsessed with Steve McQueen's 12 Years a Slave.  

Chiwetel Ejiofor plays Solomon Northup, a free man happily living with his wife and daughters in New York City in 1841.  He is deceived and sold to a sadistic slave owner played by Michael Fassbender in the Deep South.  Northup worked on plantations in Louisiana for 12 years before he was freed. 

The cast is impressive.  In addition to Ejiofor and Fassbender, 12 Years also boasts Benedict Cumberbatch as a Baptist preacher and slave owner, Brad Pitt as a carpenter, Sarah Paulson as Fassbender's wife, and Alfre Woodard.  The trailer, with its striking visuals and swelling music, made a big impression on me when I initially saw it.

Ejiofor has been around for many years (check out Kinky Boots or Dirty Pretty Things), and McQueen's film to deliver for him.  McQueen's Shame (also starring Fassbender) was brutally graphic, and I expect he will carry that intensity into this film as well.  It is set to play the Toronto Film Festival in September.

In an age where we are constantly glued to our phones, and communication changes by the minute, is concept of Spike Jonze's Her inevitable?  The gentleness of this really shines through in everything that I've seen.

Joaquin Phoenix plays Theodore Twombly, an introverted man who writes letters for other people (how do I get into that profession?).  He purchases state-of-the-art computer operating system called Samantha.  When he starts the program he is greeted by the voice of Scarlett Johansson.  The more he talks to "her," the more Theodore is engaged by Samantha's charm and sense of humor.  Amy Adams plays Thoedore's friend and Rooney Mara is his ex-wife. 

Jonze's films (Being John Malkovich, Where the Wild Things Are) always have quirky, complex characters.  Phoenix, who is becoming more outspoken as years go on, really projects warmth and lonliness that we could all understand. 

Do I really need to sell anyone on this?  Catching Fire looks so effing good.  The second installment of Suzanne Collins's mega-successful young adult novels hits theaters right around Thanksgiving, so expect the numbers to be pretty damn big. 

If you have been living under a rock for the last five years, I will brief you.  After winning the 74th Hunger Games, Katniss Everdeen returns home a victor.  Her family is safe, and she no longer has to worry how her family will eat the next day.  The Capital (you know, the dickwads who want to ruin everyone's lives) don't really like how Katniss almost killed herself and fellow victor, Peeta (Josh Hutcherson)--a big slap in the face to the ones running the show.  To put Katniss in her place, they throw her back into the arena to fight for her life in the Quarter Quell, a fight to the death with previous winners of The Hunger Games.  Poor Katniss can't catch a break! 

Gary Ross directed the first installment (which came out last year and made a buttload of money), but he declined to work on the sequel.  What?!  The production team had to scramble to find a replacement and not lose time between films.  Francis Lawrence (no relation to star Jennifer) stepped in, and I am loving everything I've seen so far.  Well, except for Sam Claflin as Finnick Odair.  I had my heart set on Armie Hammer, and I am trying to let it go.


The DRAAAAAMMAAAAAA!!!  This looks they stepped up on the visuals and production design.  How can you not be excited for this?!?!?!?

Oh hi, Daniel Radcliffe.  Another anticipated movie list, another former Harry Potter star making it to the top.  Kill Your Darlings did not snag the second place spot because I am a huge Harry Potter fan.  I mean, Radcliffe's presence helps, but only because he is becoming a very brave in his film choices.  I am looking forward to a story that talks about writers bucking literary traditions, and a story about finding your own voice.

The Beat generation is at the forefront of John Krokidas' first film.  Radcliffe plays Alan Ginsberg in 1940's New York City.  He is joined by fellow writers Jack Kerouac (Jack Huston) and William Burroughs (Ben Foster) in 1944 when Gisberg's friend Lucien Carr (Dane DeHaan) kills David Kammerer (Michael C. Hall).  Whoever thought the kid from Chronicle could take down Dexter?

The buzz around Kill Your Darlings is rather positive, which makes me only want to see it more.  It debuted at the Sundance Film Festioval and garnerd some nice notices.  Damon Wise from The Guardian called the film "the real deal" and noted, "creates a true sense of energy and passion, for once eschewing the clacking of typewriter keys to show artists talking, devising, and ultimately daring each other to create and innovate."  Justin Change from Variety wrote:

"A mysterious Beat Generation footnote is fleshed out with skilled performances, darkly poetic visuals, and a vivid rendering of 1940's academia in Kill Your Darlings.  Directed with an assured sense of style that pushes against the narrow confines of its admittedly fascinating story, Krokidas' first feature feels adventurous yet somewhat hemmed-in as it imagines a vortex of jealousy, obsession and murder that engulfed Alan Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs, and Jack Kerouac in the early days of their literary revolution." 

This teaser feels a bit unfinished, but man does it pack a stylish punch.

Alfonso Cuaron's Gravity nabbing the top spot on my list shouldn't really surprise people that read my blog.  I haven't shut up about it since I first saw the teaser.  The poster even freaks me out.  Cuaron's space thriller comes out this October, and even though the plot scares the living hell out of me, it is the movie I am most looking forward this fall.

Sandra Bullock stars as Dr. Ryan Stone, a medical engineer out in space with astronaut Matt Kowalsky, played by George Clooney.  Many would consider being alone in space with Clooney a fantasy come true, but these two are hard at work for Kowalsky's last venture to space.  While floating miles above Earth, debris collides from a satellite collides with a space shuttle, destroying their way home and leaving them to struggle out in space.  With limited air supply, the two must depend on each other to survive. 

Being stranded in the middle of space has now been added to my long lists of fears.  Thanks, Alfonso Cuaron. 

Bullock was not Cuaron's first choice.  Angelina Jolie, a more predictable choice if you ask me, was originally attached to star, but she dropped out to direct her first feature, In the Land of Blood and Honey.  Cuaron tested a long list of actresses including Natalie Portman and Blake Lively, but he ultimately went with Bullock.  Her character recently lost her child, and Cuaron commented that Bullock understood the character the minute she walked through the door. 

Gravity looks visually stunning.  It recently opened the Venice Film Festival, and the praise for the striking visuals are unanimous.  Cuaron invented a new way to create the feeling of zero gravity for Bullock and Clooney, and I even heard that some shots start as wide angles and they become POV shots.  It's all very impressive and exciting.  Critics are even saying that this is Bullock's best movie of her career.  Justin Chang from Variety raved about the film:

"...restores a sense of wonder, terror, and possibility to the big screen that should inspire awe among critics and audiences worldwide..."   

Is there a more ambitious film coming out this fall that deserves this spot?  I don't think so. 

There you have it, folks!  What do you think?  Are there movies on the list that you didn't know about?  Something that you wrote off that you're not exciting for?  Roll your eyes at something?  Sound off in the comments, people!  Until spring...  

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