Thursday, November 4, 2010

At the Movies – November 2010 – Part 3: Best of the Month

Must See of the Month:

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (David Yates) – Nov 19
The film is the first of the two part finale. Harry, Ron and Hermione pick up were Dumbledore left off and search for the remaining Horcruxes to defeat Voldemort, whose power is stronger than ever. Director David Yates is back for his third Potter adventure (and he is directing part 2 as well) after doing outstanding work on the last two films (particularly Half-Blood Prince, which was amazing). Also returning is screenwriter Steve Kloves (who at the end of the franchise will have written seven of the eight films) and production designer Stuart Craig (who has worked on all the films). New to the series is very talented cinematographer Eduardo Serra (see his work on Girl with a Pearl Earring) and (the hardest working man in Hollywood) composer Alexandre Desplat. I am excited to see what they both bring to the films, which have all had excellent scores and photography throughout. In terms of actors and characters, all the main ones are back, and being the finale, lots of past characters will be returning. As far as new characters and actors, the franchise continues to bring in the best British talent with (one of my favorites) Bill Nighy, Ciaran Hinds, Jamie Campbell Bower, Miranda Richardson, and (newly announced Spider-Man reboot villain) Rhys Ifans joining the cast. This series probably has the best cast (across the whole series) of any franchise in film history (with the added bonus of perfect and truly amazing casting of young actors from the start). For Potter fans this is already a must see (I am going opening night), but for those few who have not yet ventured into the world, the series is fantastic, especially Prisoner of Azkaban and Half-Blood Prince, both of which are among the best films of the last decade. Go rent the first six or watch your DVDs and get ready for the best yet of the series (Yates himself says that Deathly Hallows blows his other Potter films away, and that is saying something). Check out the trailer.

Worth Checking Out (if not in theatres then at home):

Due Date (Todd Phillips) – Comedy – Nov 5
The film is about Peter Highman, who must travel cross country to make the birth of his child. However, it is not quite that easy, as he hitches a ride from Ethan Tremblay, an aspiring actor with a knack for disaster. After the success of The Hangover, director Todd Phillips could make just about anything and people would be excited for it, but when it once again stars Zach Galifianakis it is instantly a must see for comedy fans. Phillips decided to bring back more than just Galifianakis with cinematographer Lawrence Sher, production designer Bill Brzeski and composer Christopher Beck all working on The Hangover too. The cast is marvelous as well with Galifianakis and Robert Downey Jr. starring and supporting work from Michelle Monaghan (who is great in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and M:i:III), Jamie Foxx, Juliette Lewis, and Danny McBride (Kenny Powers). This looks to be hysterical, and with Downey Jr., Galifianakis, McBride, and Monaghan how can it not be? Check out the trailer.

127 Hours (Danny Boyle) – Thriller – Nov 5
The film is based on the true story of Aron Ralston, a mountain climber who was trapped under a boulder while canyoneering alone, having to resort to extreme measures to survive. Everyone was wondering what fantastic director Danny Boyle would do after the success of his film Slumdog Millionaire. This story seems like a perfect fit for him. The crew is essentially the same as Slumdog Millionaire with a screenplay by Boyle and Simon Beaufoy, cinematographer (and digital-photography specialist) Anthony Dod Mantel, production designer Suttirat Anne Larlarb, and composer A.R. Rahman, and why mess with a winning formula. Enrique Chediak also shot additional footage for the film. It is being hailed already as a tour de force performance by star James Franco. Kate Mara, Amber Tamblyn, Treat Williams, and Clemence Poesy co-star. The buzz for this film out of the festival circuit is incredibly positive with most favoring it among the top five films of the year. Certainly, it will be an Oscar contender. Plus, Boyle makes interesting films, so this is definitely a must see, oh yeah and expect it to be quite intense. Check out the trailer.

The Next Three Days (Paul Haggis) – Thriller – Nov 19
The film is about John Brennan, whose life is completely blown-up when his wife is accused of murder. Now, he has three days to escape with her after busting her from jail. Writing superstar Paul Haggis is back for his third film (not counting his awful first feature) as a director. Haggis is again working with production designer Laurence Bennett (who worked on his last two films) and hired amazing French cinematographer Stephane Fontaine and composers Danny Elfman and Alberto Igesias to score the film, making for a great crew. The cast is just as good with star Russell Crowe and supporting work from Elizabeth Banks, Olivia Wilde, Liam Neeson, Brian Dennehy, Jason Beghe, Jonathan Tucker (who was great in Haggis’s short-lived series The Black Donnellys), and RZA. The cast and crew is a good enough reason to see this, knowing nothing else – but given the story sounds cool too, this is a win-win. Check out the trailer.

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