Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Five Almost Anticipated Fall Movies

The 25 most anticipated movies of the fall list is hitting Movie MoJoe on Friday (fingers crossed), but there are always some movies that almost make the list.  In honor of the list dropping at the end of the week, I thought I'd compile a short list of the five movies that just missed getting a shout out.  

Disney had two huge hits with Frozen and Wreck-It Ralph, so their next project might also hit big.  Big Hero 6 is based on a little-known Marvel comic series, but the trailers make it look like a cuddly buddy comedy.  Honestly, if I hadn't read anything up on Hero, I wouldn't have known it had any Marvel roots.  

I could probably watch that inflated, Stay Puft-looking character for hours on end.  This lumpy guy is known as Baymax, and he's a bodyguard robot.  A young robots whiz named Hiro comes up with the plan to turn this gentle, nursing droid into a fighting machine when a Kabuki mask wearing supervillain tries to destroy the fictional city known as San Fransokyo.  

Remember Frank Hornberger from 30 Rock?  He provides the voice of Baymax, and Maya Rudolph, James Cromwell, and Damon Wayans Jr. lend their voices to other characters.  It's the first animated feature of a Marvel character since Disney acquired the studio.  

Newly minted Emmy-winner Benedict Cumberbatch plays another real-life figure after The Fifth Estate crashed and burned last year.  He plays Alan Turing in The Imitation Game, a race against time to break the Nazi Enigma Code.  When I first saw the trailer it reminded me of Enigma from 2001--that thriller starred Dougray Scott and Kate Winslet.  Cumberbatch stars alongside Keira Knightley and Matthew Goode.

Not only does it focus on the small group code-breakers during World War II.  It delves into Turing's past as a marathon runner, and Cumberbatch was able to replicate Turing's stutter.  Imitation also touches on Turing's conviction for being gay.  

Imitation's screenplay landed the top spot on The Black List (an annual survey about the top unproduced screenplays) in 2011, and it was acquired by The Weinstein Company for $7 million.  Expect Harvey Weinstein to push this hard for Oscar season.  Perhaps Imitation will be a historical drama with real emotional heft?  

Who isn't freaked out by a Ouija board?  A group teens are tormented by an evil spirit when they try to contact a recently deceased friend in...wait for it...Ouija!  To be fair, this looks like a standard ghost flick, but it looks like it could be a good time.  Loud musical chords cues and a young cast just looking for their big break   

The only person I recognize from this trailer is Olivia Cooke, who charms me every week on A&E's Bates Motel as Norman Bates' sweet friend, Emma.  She's no stranger to being surrounded by creepy, scary stuff, so maybe there's a scream queen in the making?  

Did you see Belle?  It was a costume drama about a mixed race daughter of a Navy Admiral in 18th-century England?  British actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw played the title character in that sumptuous melodrama, and she headlines Beyond the Lights, a romantic drama about an up-and-coming singer struggling to balance her professional and personal life.  

I've only seen Mbatha-Raw (Quvenzhane, who?) in Belle, but she commands the screen in it.  Her beautiful face is at the focus of a lot of the shots in that film, but Beyond is a completely different animal.  She reminds me a lot of Kerry Washington, because both of those actresses keep the emotion right under their skin on their faces.  You can almost see it quivering underneath.  It will be interesting to see her go from Dido Elizabeth Belle to Noni Jean.  Mbatha-Raw does all of her own singing, and she spent some time backstage at the Grammy's in 2012 to get a feel of what it's like to be a burgeoning singer at the cusp of success.  

Maybe it will just be a soapy drama, but it definitely gets points for two other actors: Minnie Driver and Nate Parker.  Driver recorded some tracks for the Phantom of the Opera film, and Nate Parker is just sexy as hell.  I would watch him do anything, and I've been a big fan of his since Arbitrage.  

Tim Burton mainly focuses on male characters.  The only big characters in Tim Burton films I can think of are Mrs. Lovett (Sweeney Todd), The Corpse Bride (from...The Corpse Bride), Catwoman (Batman Returns), and (shudder) Alice (from Wonderland fame).  His fantastical aesthetic also doesn't lend itself to biopics very often--Ed Wood was the last one he directed--so Big Eyes is a bit of a departure for Burton.  

Amy Adams plays Margaret Keane, a painter in the 1950's whose work featured young children with these big, Burton-friendly eyes.  Her husband, Walter (played by Christoph Waltz), took credit for the works of art, and he used his charisma to sell them to hardware stores and gas stations.  Big Eyes focuses on Margaret standing up to Walter and taking credit for the art that is rightfully hers.  Burton's film chronicles their marriage and their dramatic courtroom divorce proceedings.  

I'm dying for a trailer for this...

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