Thursday, March 6, 2014

At the Movies – March 2014 – Part 3: Most Anticipated Films

Must-See of the Month:

The Grand Budapest Hotel (Wes Anderson) – Dramedy/Theist – Mar 7
Plot Summary: The film focuses on the adventures of Gustav H, the concierge at the legendary Grand Budapest Hotel, and his lobby boy Zero, centering on a caper involving a missing painting and Gustav’s relationship with a wealthy elderly guest Madame D. Filmmakers: Auteur Wes Anderson creates magical films that capture the imagination with their lavish style, design, and characters. Each new film from Anderson is a treat. He is working again with his Moonrise Kingdom collaborators: composer Alexandre Desplat, cinematographer Robert D. Yeoman, and production designer Adam Stockhausen. Cast: The film stars Ralph Fiennes and co-stars newcomer Tony Revolori. It also features a brilliant supporting ensemble, including: Saoirse Ronan, Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Tilda Swinton, Lea Seydoux, Jude Law, Owen Wilson, Willem Dafoe, Adrien Brody, Tom Wilkinson, Jason Schwartzman, Jeff Goldblum, Bob Balaban, Harvey Keitel, F. Murray Abraham, and Mathieu Amalric (ten of whom have worked with Anderson previously). Expectations: The Grand Budapest Hotel debuted in February at the Berlin Film Festival to rave reviews. It is a film that pays homage to the classic Hollywood era both narratively and stylistically – and filmmakers like Ernst Lubitsch. Anderson has a style unlike any other filmmaker (though often imitated), with every shot (its mise en scene, blocking, and camera movement) specifically designed down to the tiniest detail. His films also have a great dry humor and excellent soundtracks. I am very interested to see what he does with a story that takes place in Europe between the World Wars, as it was a bizarre time. Plus, this film probably has 2014’s best cast so there a bound to be many wonderful performances. This, with Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar, is the film I am most anticipating for 2014. I cannot wait to see it. Trailer: Here.

Worth Checking Out:

Noah (Darren Aronofsky) – Adventure Epic – Mar 28
Plot Summary: The Biblical story of Noah’s ark – basically, God is upset with man so he decides to flood the world, cleansing it and giving mankind (and animal kind) a new start (and fish a momentary heyday). He speaks to Noah and tells him that the flood is coming. Noah decides to build an ark to protect his family. Filmmakers: Auteur Darren Aronofsky is making his first Hollywood blockbuster with Noah (although, one could consider The Fountain a stylistic attempt, maybe). He is known for his edgy character dramas like Requiem for a Dream, The Wrestler, and Black Swan, none of which resemble a Hollywood blockbuster in the least. He is working with frequent collaborators composer Clint Mansell and cinematographer Matthew Libatique; new to the team is production designer Mark Friedberg – all of whom are excellent in their respective fields. Cast: The film stars Russell Crowe and co-stars Jennifer Connelly, Emma Watson, Logan Lerman, and Anthony Hopkins. Douglas Booth, Kevin Durand, Nick Nolte, Ray Winstone, and Frank Langella feature in support. Expectations: Noah is going to an interesting film one way or another, and also probably very polarizing. There is no doubt in my mind that Darren Aronofsky is going to make something very ambitious and aesthetically brilliant. He has a great cast as well. Plus, Paramount Pictures has given him final cut, so it will be his vision we see in theaters. What does an Aronofsky blockbuster looks like? Like I said above, probably a lot like The Fountain, which could be really cool and different when it comes to what we are accustomed to from Hollywood disaster epics. I am also very excited to hear Clint Mansell’s score for the film (his recent stuff, like Black Swan and Stoker, has be really great). Trailer: Here.

The Raid 2 (Gareth Evans) – Action Crime Thriller – Mar 28
Plot Summary: Following the events of The Raid, Rama again goes undercover with the thugs of Jakarta with the plans of bring them down and uncovering the corruption within his police force. Filmmakers: Everyone from The Raid is back for the sequel, including: writer-director Gareth Evans, composers Aria Prayogi, Fajar Yuskemal, and Joseph Trapanese, cinematographers Matt Flannery and Dimas Imam Subhono, and fight choreographer Yayab Ruhian. Cast: Indonesia action star Iko Uwais is back as well playing Rama. Expectations: The Raid was probably the best pure action film of 2012 with incredible fight sequences (and lots of brutal violence). Many claim that The Raid 2 is an even better film with bigger and better fight set pieces. Fans of The Raid are no doubt very excited to see this film, and for those who have not seen it (and like martial arts action films) it is one worth checking out (see the trailer for the original here). This is likely to be one of the biggest and best cult films released in 2014. It has been playing to critical acclaim on the festival circuit. Plus, Gareth Evans is at work on The Raid 3. Trailer: Here.

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