Wednesday, November 3, 2010

At the Movies – November 2010 – Part 2: Hollywood Films

Part 1: Art-House Films

Romance and Rom-Coms:

Love and Other Drugs (Edward Zwick) – Romance – Nov 24
The film is about Maggie and Jamie. Maggie is a free spirit, refusing to be tied down by anyone or anything. Jamie has buckets of charm and is relentless, attributes that serve him well with the ladies and at work. But, they both find that they must reconsider their lives and choices when they engage in a relationship that is deep and takes them both by surprise. Edward Zwick is a very good director (he made Glory, for example), but the last time he tackled a film with romantic dramatic and comedic beats we were treated to the not so good About Last Night…. However, his skill (based on the majority of his work) instantly makes this a potential awards season contender (though probably on the outside looking in for the Oscars). To shoot and design the film, Zwick has hired indy crew members Steven Fierberg and Patti Podesta. For the score, he is collaborating again with composer James Newton Howard. Fox definitely thinks they have a hot young cast with stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hawthaway and a decent supporting cast with Katheryn Winnick, Judy Greer, Hank Azaria, Oliver Platt, and Gabriel  Macht. The film has a lot of star power and should be a contender for Golden Globes. In terms of the film being good, it looks like a romance with comedy but more drama, and with Zwick directing I am inclined to believe it will be pretty good at the very least. Check out the trailer.

Serious Films:

Fair Game (Doug Liman) – Drama – Nov 5
The film is about a CIA agent whose identity is revealed by the White House in an effort to discredit her husband, a writer who wrote about the Bush administration manipulating intelligence about WMDs in order to justify the invasion of Iraq. While the film is somewhat eagerly anticipated, I am less excited for a few reasons: 1) director Doug Liman has not made anything that good since The Bourne Identity (and that was the weakest in the series), 2) Iraq War/Bush administration corruption films are overly abundant and 3) the buzz for the film has only been mediocre. The film is being produced by Akiva Goldsman (who works on the show Fringe and wrote A Beautiful Mind), while Liman is shooting the film himself with production design from the very good Jess Gonchor and a score from John Powell (who also composed for Green Zone, a film with essentially the same message). Naomi Watts and Sean Penn star, while Ty Burrell, Sam Sheppard, Bruce McGill, Noah Emmerich, and Michael Kelly provide supporting work. The film is being billed as a drama thriller with action (it is a Doug Liman film after all). It should be interesting to see the story behind Karl Rove’s leaking of the name of CIA agent Valerie Plame. Check out the trailer.

Morning Glory (Roger Michell) – Drama – Nov 10
The film is about a TV producer, Becky Fuller, who dedicates herself to reviving a struggling morning show despite the feuding anchors. British director Roger Michell has a diverse background having made both rom-coms and thrillers. He has a good handle on both comedy and drama which makes him well suited for this film. Screenwriter Aline Brosh McKenna has written a few ok rom-coms, but she also wrote The Devil Wears Prada. Plus, the film is produced by J.J. Abrams (who seems to only make good stuff). The film features work from excellent cinematographer Alwin H. Kuchler (check out his work on Sunshine, it is breathtaking) and production designer Mark Friedberg, while the score is from David Arnold who worked with Michell on his last two films. The film stars Rachel McAdams and has a great supporting cast with Harrison Ford, Diane Keaton, Jeff Goldblum, and Patrick Wilson. The film looks to be a good drama with comedy overtones. Paramount Pictures certainly hopes the film will play into awards season, but there is way too much good stuff this year for this to likely be a serious Oscar contender, but maybe the Golden Globes. I am interested in this more so due to Abrams’s involvement as he has a great track record as a producer. Check out the trailer.

Fun Movies:

Megamind (Tom McGrath) – Animation – Nov 5
The film is about Megamind, a supervillain who defeats his arch nemesis Metro Man. But now, with no hero to fight, he finds his life sort of pointless and boring. Director Tom McGrath does not have the greatest track record, his two previous films being Madagascar and its sequel, but both of those did well with children, which is probably who this is aimed at. Of course, the film is in 3-D. On a good note though, it features production design from David James (who worked on Flusher Away) and a score from Hans Zimmer and his protégé Lorne Balfe. The main selling point of the film, however, is the cast – starring Will Ferrell and with additional voice-work from Brad Pitt, Tina Fey, Jonah Hill, and David Cross, a great group to say the least. The ads make the movie seem like a typical B quality Will Ferrell film (and I could do without the crappy Megamind song), with him playing the same old character, only this time animated to be a blue alien. But, with all involved, it probably is going to be funny (or we can hope so). Check out the trailer.

Unstoppable (Tony Scott) – Action – Nov 12
Based in a true story (though I assume highly embellished), the film is about Frank Barnes and Will Colson, two rail company employees who fight  to stop an unmanned runaway freight train carrying combustible liquids and poisonous gas before it wipes out a city. Action-directing veteran Tony Scott is making his fifth film (third consecutive) with star Denzel Washington. Scott is known for his “MTV” style of shooting involving kinetic, choppy editing. Fitting with his style and the fact that this is un-bashfully an exaggerate action film, the crew features lots of action movie experience with cinematographer Ben Seresin, production designer Chris Seagers (who are both on next year’s X-Men: First Class) and composer Harry Gregson-Williams. Along with Washington, the film stars Chris Pine and has supporting work from Rosario Dawson, Ethan Suplee (it’s not a schooner… it’s a sailboat), Elizabeth Mathis, Kevin Dunn, Jessy Schram (who has a multi-episode arc on Veronica Mars), and Kevin Chapman (who was great on Brotherhood). The film does not look that great, but Scott usually makes entertaining films though his last few have not been as good as his older work (who doesn’t like True Romance). Check out the trailer.

Skyline (Colin & Greg Strause) – Sci-Fi – Nov 12
The film is about aliens who come to Earth, shine blue light down that attracts people outside and then suck them up into their ships (but it is cooler than it sounds, maybe). The Strause Brothers make their second feature with this film (both about extraterrestrials), but are better known for their extensive special effects work on lots of big budget movies. For the film, they decided to work with newcomers, cinematographer Michael Watson (who worked as a camera assistant on The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) and composer Matthew Margeson. They also put together a lesser known cast with Eric Balfour, Scottie Thompson, David Zayas, Donald Faison, and Brittany Daniel, among others. Given the directors, the film should feature amazing special effects, but I am not expecting an amazing film. It will probably be a fun sci-fi action flick to rent (unless you have to see the vfx on the big screen). Check out the trailer.

Burlesque (Steven Antin) – Musical – Nov 24
The film is about a small-town girl Ali Rose, who comes out to LA (like so many do) to pursue her dream, finding a place in a neo-burlesque club operated by a former dancer (this is the same movie, based on this logline, as Showgirls just sub LA for Vegas and the NC-17 rating). Music-video director and actor (yup he was in The Goonies) Steven Antin makes his feature debut with this film. Antin hired a fitting DP in Bojan Bazelli as he shot Hairspray (the newer one), while production designer Jon Gary Steele and composer Christopher Beck round out the principal crew members. The film stars Christina Aguilera, which is good because she can sing and this is a musical (funny how that often does not happen – yeah, I am looking at you Pierce Brosnan, but you are still awesome), but can she act, as she is making her acting debut. The supporting cast features the wonderful Kristen Bell and Stanley Tucci, along with Cher, Cam Gigandet, Alan Cumming, Eric Dane, Julianne Hough (from Dancing with the Stars), and Peter Gallagher. I do like musicals, but for whatever reason I am not all that excited about this one, even given the cast (but I will probably still rent it). Based on what I have seen, it just does not look that great. Check out the trailer.

Faster (George Tillman Jr.) – Action – Nov 24
The film is about an ex-con (known in the credits as Driver) who is out for revenge after he was double-crossed during a heist landing him in jail and his brother dead. But revenge is not so easy with an experienced cop and crazy hit man after you. Director George Tillman Jr. has done so ok films in the past and sort of the same can be said for screenwriting brothers Tony & Joe Gayton (one good film and one bad film). Tillman Jr. brings back cinematographer Michael Grady for the film, favoring familiarity over experience shooting action. Production designer David Lazan is designing his second feature (his first also centered on a car – The Hitcher), but he has worked as an art director on a number of action films. And to score the film, talented indy composer Clint Mansell. The film stars The Rock (ok, I know, he wants to go by Dwayne Johnson now) and has a good supporting cast with Billy Bob Thorton, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Maggie Grace, Jennifer Carpenter (from a show you should be watching – Dexter), Carla Gugino, Moon Goodblood, Tom Berenger (fresh off his cinematic rebirth in Inception), and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (but you can call him Mr. Eko). The film should be a fun action film given the cast, but probably not worth more than a Netflix rental. Check out the trailer.

Tangled (Nathan Greno & Byron Howard) – Animation – Nov 26
The film is about Rapunzel, a princess that has spent her whole life in a tower waiting for her true love to come along. Finally, a bandit passes by and she falls for him and now must venture into the real world to find him. This will be the fourth feature from the somewhat newly formed Walt Disney Animation Studios headed by John Lasseter. Co-directors Greno and Howard both worked on another of the studio’s films Bolt. Alan Menken is providing the score. He is responsible for many classic Disney scores including Aladdin, Hercules and Enchanted. The film features voice-work from stars Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi (from Chuck) and supporting voice-work from Ron Perlman, Brad Garrett and Jeffrey Tambor. Disney generally makes pretty good family films, but their new animation studio is still no where near producing the same quality work of their other animation house – Pixar. Check out the trailer.

No comments:

Post a Comment