Films I'm Looking Forward To This Year
The Tree of Life, dir. & scr. Terrence Malick, st. Brad Pitt, Jessica Chastain & Sean Penn. “We trace the evolution of an eleven-year-old boy in the Midwest, Jack, one of three brothers. At first all seems marvelous to the child. He sees as his mother does, with the eyes of his soul. She represents the way of love and mercy, where the father tries to teach his son the world’s way, of putting oneself first. Each parent contends for his allegiance, and Jack must reconcile their claims. The picture darkens as he has his first glimpses of sickness, suffering and death. The world, once a thing of glory, becomes a labyrinth.”
Meek’s Cutoff, dir. Kelly Reichardt, scr. Jonathan Raymond, st. Paul Dano & Michelle Williams. Reichardt’s previous film Wendy and Lucy was one of my favourites of 2008, and I love Jon Raymond’s writing-he’s a novelist, and he also wrote Wendy and Lucy and Reichardt’s début,Old Joy. (He was also apparently an assistant to Todd Haynes on Far From Heaven, where he was credited under the stage name “Slats Grobnik.”) Meek’s Cutoff (cutoff means shortcut) is a western set on the Oregon Trail in 1845. The stills released so far make the film look like Badlands! This will hopefully play at the World Cinema Showcase or the NZIFF.
The Congress, dir. & scr. Ari Folman (Waltz with Bashir) from the novel The Futurological Congress by Stanislaw Lem, st. Robin Wright. The story follows a man living in a world in which reality has been supplanted by drug-induced hallucinations. The film will be a mix of live-action and animation.
<!-- more -->The Adjustment Bureau, dir. & scr. George Nolfi, from the short story “The Adjustment Team,” by Philip K. Dick, st. Matt Damon & Emily Blunt:
Source Code, dir. Duncan Jones, scr. Ben Ripley, st. Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Monaghan, Vera Farmiga & Jeffrey Wright:
The Dangerous Method, dir. & scr. David Cronenberg, based on the play by Christopher Hampton. “A look at how the intense relationship between Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud gives birth to psychoanalysis.”
The Grandmasters, dir. Wong Kar-wai, scr. Wong, Xu Haofeng & Jingzhi Zou, st. Tony Leung Chiu Wai & Ziyi Zhang. “The story of martial-arts master Ip Man, the man who trained Bruce Lee.”
Melancholia, dir. & scr. Lars von Trier, st. Kirsten Dunst & Charlotte Gainsbourg. About the destruction of a marriage and the breakdown of a family amid an impending disaster that will destroy the Earth.
On the Road, dir. Walter Salles, scr. Jose Rivera from the novel by Jack Kerouac, st. Kristen Stewart as Marylou, Sam Reilly (Control) as Sal Paradise, Garrett Hedlund (TRON: Legacy) as Dean Moriarty, and Amy Adams.
La piel que habito (The Skin that I Inhabit), dir. & scr. Pedro Almodóvar, from the novel by Thierry Jonquet, st. Antonio Banderas. “A revenge tale that tells the story of a plastic surgeon on the hunt for the men who raped his daughter.”
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, dir. Tomas Alfredson, scr. Bridget O’Connor & Peter Straughan from the novel by John le Carré, st. Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Mark Strong & Ciarán Hinds. From the director of Let the Right One In comes this adaptation of le Carré’s Cold-War thriller.
We Need to Talk about Kevin, dir. & scr. Lynne Ramsay from the novel by Lionel Shriver, st. Tilda Swinton & John C. Reilly. “The mother of a teenage boy who went on a high-school killing spree tries to deal with her grief — and feelings of responsibility for her child’s actions — by writing to her estranged husband.”
Wuthering Heights, dir. Andrea Arnold, scr. Olivia Hetreed from the novel by Emily Brontë, st. Kaya Scodelario & Nichola Burley.
Jane Eyre, dir. Cary Fukumanga, scr. Moira Buffini from the novel by Charlotte Brontë, st. Mia Wasikowska, Michael Fassbender, Jamie Bell, Imogen Poots, Judi Dench & Sally Hawkins:
Rise of the Apes, dir. Rupert Wyatt, scr. Rick Jaffa, Jamie Moss & Amanda Silver, st. James Franco, Andy Serkis, Freida Pinto, Brian Cox. A prequel to the original Planet of the Apes. (Just imagine Franco instead of Troy McClure in the above image.)
The Devil’s Double, dir. Lee Tamahori, scr. Michael Thomas, st. Dominic Cooper & Ludivine Sagnier. “A chilling vision of the House of Saddam Hussein comes to life through the eyes of the man who was forced to become the double of Hussein’s sadistic son.” (via Dan Slevin.)
Marţi, după Crăciun (Tuesday, After Christmas), dir. Radu Muntean, scr. Muntean, Alexandru Baciu & Razvan Radulescu. “Paul Hanganu loves two women. Adriana his wife and the mother of their daughter, the woman with whom he’s shared the thrills of the past ten years, and Raluca the woman who has made him redefine himself. He has to leave one of them before Christmas.”
Biutiful, dir. Alejandro González Iñárritu, scr. Iñárritu, Armondo Bo, Nicolás Giacobone, st. Javier Bardem. “This is a story of a man in free fall. On the road to redemption, darkness lights his way. Connected with the afterlife, Uxbal is a tragic hero and father of two who’s sensing the danger of death. He struggles with a tainted reality and a fate that works against him in order to forgive, for love, and forever.”
And Everything is Going Fine, dir. Steven Soderbergh. Documentary on the actor, playwright, screenwriter, performance artist, and monologuist Spalding Gray, Soderbergh’s second after 1995’s Gray’s Anatomy.
Hesher, dir. Spencer Susser, scr. Susser, David Michôd (Animal Kingdom), st. Natalie Portman, Joseph Gordon-Levitt & Rainn Wilson. “Hesher is a loner. He hates the world and everyone in it. He has long greasy hair and homemade tattoos. He is malnourished and smokes a lot of cigarettes. He likes fire and blowing things up. He lives in his van, until he meets TJ.”
Red State, dir. & scr. Kevin Smith, st. Melissa Leo, John Goodman & Michael Angarano. Smith directs a genre picture, finally! It’s a horror film in which “a group of misfits encounter fundamentalism gone to the extreme in Middle America.”
The Future, dir. & scr. Miranda July, st. July, Hamish Linklater & David Warshofsky. “When a couple decides to adopt a stray cat their perspective on life changes radically, literally altering the course of time and space and testing their faith in each other and themselves.”
The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn, dir. Steven Spielberg, scr. Steven Moffat, Edgar Wright & Joe Cornish from the comic books by Hergé, st. Daniel Craig, Simon Pegg & Jamie Bell.
Restless, dir. Gus van Sant, scr. Jason Lew, st. Victor Morris, & Mia Wasikowska. “The story of a terminally ill teenage girl who falls for a boy who likes to attend funerals and their encounters with the ghost of a Japanese kamikaze pilot from WWII.”
Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol, a.k.a. Mission: Impossible 4, dir. Brad Bird, scr. J.J. Abrams, Josh Appelbaum & André Nemec, st. Cruise, Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, Anil Kapoor.
Norwegian Wood, dir. & scr. Anh Hung Tran (Xich lo), from the novel by Haruki Murakami. Not the first Murakami adaptation—that would be Jun Ichikawa’s Tony Takitani in 2004—but the first with music by Jonny Greenwood! (More stills at The Cultural Post.)
Damsels in Distress, dir. & scr. Whit Stillman, st. Adam Brody & Greta Gerwig. Stillman’s first film since The Last Days of Disco in 1998.
Super 8, dir. & scr. JJ Abrams:
The Green Hornet, dir. Michel Gondry, scr. Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg, from the radio series by George W. Trendle, st. Seth Rogen, Christoph Waltz, Cameron Diaz, Jay Chou, Edward Furlong & Tom Wilkinson. Opens January 20th.
Not to be confused with…
The Green Lantern, dir. Martin Campbell, scr. Greg Berlanti, Michael Green, Michael Goldenberg & Marc Guggenheim, based on characters created by Bill Finger and Martin Nodell, st. Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, Mark Strong, Peter Sarsgaard, Temuera Morrison, and Taika Waititi. Opens June 16th.
Your Highness, dir. David Gordon Green, scr. Danny McBride & Ben Best, st. Natalie Portman, Zooey Deschanel, James Franco, Danny McBride & Justin Theroux.
Drive Angry 3-D and Season of the Witch, starring Nicolas Cage. The first stars Cage as “a man wholiterally escapes from hell in order to save his granddaughter,” who’s played by Amber Heard. In the second, directed by Dominic Sena, Cage is one of a number of “14th-century knights [who] transport a suspected witch to a monastery where monks deduce her powers could be the source of the Black Plague.” Hope he loses his shit in both of ’em.
Hobo with a Shotgun stars Rutger Hauer as a hobo with a shotgun: