Friday, November 1, 2013

At the Movies – November 2013 – Part 3: Most Anticipated Films

Must-See of the Month:

Nebraska (Alexander Payne) – Drama – Nov 22
Plot Summary: Woody Grant is a good-for-nothing aging alcoholic. Somehow he wins a million dollar Mega Sweepstakes Marketing prize, and must embark on a trip from Montana to Nebraska with his son David to claim it. Filmmakers: Director Alexander Payne makes funny and dramatically engaging road movies, like About Schmidt and Sideways (even The Descendants has moments that feel like a road movie) so this is right in his wheelhouse. He is working with composer Mark Orton (The Good Girl), production designer J. Dennis Washington (Stand by Me), and frequent collaborator cinematographer Phedon Papamichael. Cast: The film stars Bruce Dern and Will Forte, and features June Squibb, Bob Odenkirk, and Stacy Keach in support. Expectations: Nebraska is the first film Alexander Payne is directing that he did not also write. Yet, it looks and feels very much like his other work. I am a bit curious why he went with Will Forte as the son. It just strikes me that there were probably a lot of potentially stronger choices for that role. As for Bruce Dern, he is perfect for his role (it reminds me a lot of his character in Big Love, though probably not quite as evil). He is receiving Awards Buzz for his performance and could receive an Oscar nomination (and more than likely an Independent Spirit Award nomination). This is a must for fans of good indie-style dramedies. Trailer: HereReview: Here.

Worth Checking Out:

Dallas Buyers Club (Jean-Marc Vallee) – Drama – Nov 1
Summary: The true story of Ron Woodroof, a Texas electrician, who goes to war with the medical establishment and pharmaceutical companies after being diagnosed as HIV-positive (in 1986), fighting for better and more assessable medication and treatments for all patients. Filmmakers: Canadian director Jean-Marc Vallee is very good at garnering great character performances, making him a good fit for this film. I really like his previous work, including: C.R.A.Z.Y. and The Young Victoria. He is working with cinematographer Yves Belanger and production designer John Paino (Win Win). Cast: The film stars Matthew McConaughey and co-stars Jared Leto and Jennifer Garner. Denis O’Hare, Steve Zahn, Dallas Roberts, Kevin Rankin, Griffin Dunne, and Michael O’Neill feature in support. Expectations: Dallas Buyers Club has been receiving a bunch of Awards Season buzz, especially for Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto. It is not outside the realm of possibility that it could also sneak into the Best Picture nominations as well in a very competitive year (particularly at the top). The film looks like a strong character drama focusing on a difficult topic – one that is still very much relevant today as the medical and pharmaceutical industries continue to not always act in the best interests of patients (rather their own bottom lines). I look forward to seeing it. Trailer: HereReview: Here.

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