With festival season having begun in earnest and the Awards Season approaching with the velocity of rabbit shit in the Hadron Collider it’s time to look at what films we could be remembering for years to come, and which ones going into the Hole of Forgotten Children with Reservation Road, Amelia and Madeleine McCann. To be fair, after a summer of relatively forgettable entertainment it’s nice to have something to look forward to.
So here is a completely subjective look at the most (read: my most) anticipated films of the Autumn/Winter season.
Few words of note: All films will be released after October 1st 2012 and before December 31st somewhere in the world, while some may not be released before December 31st in the UK. Suck it.
Before we begin, here’s the 21 almost-rans (in Alphabetical Order):
Alex Cross – Tyler Perry playing straight VS. Matthew Fox playing cancer = Win for us.
Arbitrage – Solid looking White-Collar thriller from one of the Jarecki Bros. I forget which.
Frankenweenie – After Tim Burton’s last two cinematic hate crimes, it’s hard to muster much enthusiasm.
Gangster Squad - R.I.P. (Let’s face it, no-one knows when the fuck this will actually release…)
Great Expectations – Can it top the BBC Version from last Christmas? Probably not. Looking very by-the-numbers
The Hobbit – I think it went something like this:
INT. WARNER BROS EXECUTIVE OFFICE. DAY.
So Peter, we had an idea.
Yeah, what’s that?
Three films. Triple the profit.
But the book’s shorter than The Fellowship…?
We’ll triple your paycheck.
Well I’m certainly tempted. But seriously, it stinks of the cynical cash grab it really is. No-one will buy it.
Tell ‘em it was your idea.
CUT TO BLACK.
Hotel Transylvania - Could Gendy Tarkovsky bring Sandler back to form? Eight Crazy Nights was too long ago!
Jack Reacher - Tom Cruise is one of the last proper movie stars we have left, chuck in Chris McQuarrie and it should be fun!
The Life of Pi – Can all the visual splendour in the world make up for such a BORING book?
The Man With the Iron Fists - Can this really be good? I hope so, but right now it’s looking like an R-Rated KUNG POW! Enter the Fist.
My Brother The Devil - Strong script for this passion project for debut directot Sally El Hosaini
The Odd Life of Timothy Green – IT MAKES CHILDREN CRY (SPOILERS!):
On the Road - I’ll be honest, the length scares me and the book is too good. Reserved enthusiasm.
Pitch Perfect - This looks like Bring it On for 2012 and nothing makes me happier.
The Place Beyond the Pines – This was number 3 on my list until I saw it has been picked up for a 2013 release.
Ruby Sparks - If only Paul Dano wasn’t banging Zoe Kazan in real life, this may have cracked the top 10! Alas…
The Sessions – Lovely trailer, appealing cast. Looks perfectly sweet.
Sightseers – Ben Wheatley. Meh.
To The Wonder - Not certain it’ll get a release this season, but I’m sure it’ll be wonderful.
Wreck-it-Ralph – Having no affinity for the games it lovingly references, my anticipation is muted but it looks very, very charming. Plus, John C. Reilly could wreck my face anyday.
SO, WITHOUT FURTHER ADO:
26. PRIVATE PEACEFUL – Dir: Pat O’Connor – UK RELEASE: 12th October 2012
THE REASONING: Based on War Horse author Michael Morpugo’s 2004 novel of the same name, Private Peaceful looks like a British attempt at The Notebook, all wartime heartache and messy love triangles.
Lest you think that’s a bad thing, despite all the terrible subsequent Nicholas Sparks adaptations, The Notebook is still a high water-mark in tear jerker cinema. Following that lead Pat O’Connor’s film has cast two up and coming stars in Jack O’Connell (Eden Lake) and Alexandra Roach (The Iron Lady) alongside dependable stalwarts Richard Griffiths and Frances De La Tour and a strong supporting cast to tell the story of two brothers at war and the hometown girl who comes between them.
Sure to be a word of mouth hit amongst families throughout the half-term break.
SEE THIS ONE IF: Grandma can’t get enough of Autumn.
The ESLF Alternate Tagline: “World War 3-Some.”
25. NO – Dir. Pablo Larrain – UK RELEASE DATE: 8th February 2013
THE REASONING: Pablo Larrain’s follow up to Tony Manero and Post Mortem looks to continue forcing his perspective on Pinochet’s reign in Chile. Set in the late 80′s, No stars Gael Garcia Bernal as an advertising executive begrudgingly brought on to assist with the ‘No’ Campaign in voting to allow the Chilean people to disband the dictatorship.
All reports suggest that it’s Larrain’s most accessible film to date, seducing the Mad Men audience while retaining his pitch black strain of humour. Obviously sensing this accesibility, Larrain has chosen to shoot the film on a camcorder from the era, leaving us a full-frame VHS quality print to watch. Well played.
SEE THIS ONE IF: The wait for a new season of Mad Men is as punishing for you as it is for me.
The ESLF Alternate Tagline: “Ummmm, yes?”
24. THE TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN – PART 2 – Dir. Bill Condon – UK RELEASE DATE: 16th November 2012
THE REASONING: I haven’t seen the last two, but come on… LOOK!:
SEE THIS ONE IF: At some point in your life you went through menopause.
The ESLF Alternate Tagline: “Fangs for the Memories.”
23. THE HUNT – Dir. Thomas Vinterberg – UK RELEASE DATE: 30th November 2012
THE REASONING: Allegedly Vinterberg’s best film since the influential Festen, The Hunt tells the story of a teacher (Mads Mikkelsen) who is accused of flashing himself to a child, and the repercussions of such an accusation. A familiar scenario for many readers of this site I’d imagine.
If it’s even half as good as his debut masterpiece then you know you’re in for a treat, and Mikkelsen is finally getting the attention he should have gotten years ago following his Cannes win for Best Actor.
SEE THIS ONE IF: You know that you’re innocent, but you need some pointers on convincing others.
The ESLF Alternate Tagline: “The Flashiest Film You’ll See All Year!”
22. LINCOLN – Dir. Steven Spielberg – UK RELEASE DATE: 25th January 2013
THE REASONING: I’ll be honest, if it wasn’t for the cast and script by Tony Kushner (Angels in America) I wouldn’t be that excited. Spielberg’s historical epics are iffy at best, manipulative all too often and as predictable as you’d expect. And although I can’t shake the feeling we’re in for The Conspirator: Part 2 there’s reasons to be optimistic.
Daniel Day Lewis. Joseph Gordon Levitt. Adam Driver. Walton Goggins. Jared Harris. John Hawkes. Sally Field. Tim Blake Nelson. Tommy Lee Jones. Michael Stuhlbarg. Jackie Earle Haley. Lee Pace. James Spader. David Strathairn. David Oyelowo. Joseph Cross. Hal Holbrook. Bruce McGill.
Come on, who’s not excited by that cast list?
SEE THIS ONE IF: Like beards. And hats. Lots of hats.
The ESLF Alternate Tagline: No Vampires. Scout’s Honour.
21. QUARTET – Dir. Dustin Hoffman – UK RELEASE DATE: 4th January 2013
THE REASONING: I wish Dustin Hoffman was my uncle.
Oh, you want more? Well it’s about damn time the 75 year old actor directed a movie for real, as opposed to someone else’s. It’s strange that he’d choose something so anglo-centric but really this will be an excuse to watch some of our nation’s best kick back and have fun in their old age. Allegedly, the film doesn’t shy away from more heart-wrenching and honest moments, so bring a hankie.
SEE THIS ONE IF: The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel had too many brown people in it for your liking.
The ESLF Alternate Tagline: “Die in Harmony”
20. SIDE BY SIDE – Dir: Christopher Kenneally – UK RELEASE DATE: TBC
THE REASONING: Keanu Reeves has made a documentary about the difference between Digital and Film, and as a film fan it’s almost a duty to see it. Obviously, everyone has their own horse to back in the digital debate, but as film moves the way of the dodo film’s such as this aim to help us understand the world we’re stepping into.
Exploring the history and processes of both techniques and using his clout in Hollywood to interview the right people including James Cameron, Dion Beebe, Danny Boyle and David Fincher amongst others, Side by Side is THE documentary of the year for film fans.
SEE THIS ONE IF: You’re reading this site.
Editor’s note: Saw this last week and it is absolutely essential viewing, informative, fun, very thought provoking. Available on US iTunes Store for those with access (IL).
The ESLF Alternate Tagline: “Starring Johnny Utah AS Keanu Reeves”
19. THIS IS 40 – Dir. Judd Apatow – UK RELEASE DATE: 14th February 2013
THE REASONING: Knocked Up is arguably Judd Apatow’s best film, and while he’s never hit the heights of Freaks and Geeks on the big screen it’s the closest he’s come to portraying that seminal series’ honesty to a connecting audience.
In an attempt to get himself that writing Oscar he obviously feels he deserves, Apatow has further moved into James L. Brooks territory and developed a semi-sequel focusing on Paul Rudd & Leslie Mann’s characters from Knocked Up as they approach the big 4-0.
Ignoring the trailer’s bum note (“This is Everyone’s Story…” if you’re white & rich), if Apatow can keep it under 2 hours then returning to Rudd & Mann’s easy chemistry could be the return to form his fans are waiting for. The support cast, as always, instill confidence including Chris O’Dowd, Melissa McCarthy and Albert Brooks as Paul Rudd’s Dad.
SEE THIS ONE IF: You find Paul Rudd infinitely more attractive than Seth Rogen… Wait, come back!
The ESLF Alternate Tagline: “Ruddy Good Stuff”
18. ZERO DARK THIRTY – Dir: Kathryn Bigelow – UK RELEASE DATE: 25th January 2013
THE REASONING: After becoming the first woman to ever win the Best Director Oscar, Bigelow returns with another military-themed yarn.
Except this one might be less a yarn and more a ‘government-leaking-secrets kind of tale’. Allegedly pushed back in the US until after the presidential election due to the aforementioned rumours, Bigelow’s film tackles the US mission to track and kill Osama Bin Laden. Re-teaming with her Hurt Locker scribe Mark Boal (whose script Jessica Chastain claims is the best she’s ever read), and with a cast including Chastain, Kyle Chandler, Joel Edgerton and Parks & Recreation’s Chris Pratt, Zero Dark Thirty looks to eschew the inherent patriotism for bare-boned thrills.
SEE THIS ONE IF: You’re a fan of quality, thinking (wo)man’s action films. Even if they don’t star Johnny Utah.
The ESLF Alternate Tagline: “Mitt Romney can’t be allowed to happen”
17. THE SAPPHIRES – Dir: Wayne Blair – UK RELEASE DATE: 2nd November 2012
THE REASONING: It looks like a cross between That Thing You Do and Dreamgirls with a Down Under twist and you’re asking me why I’m sold? It sounds like heaven.
Word out of Cannes suggest Harvey Weinstein’s on to a massive crowd pleaser with this one, marketed heavily on Chris O’Dowd but truly belonging to the actress playing the Aboriginal girls touring Vietnam to entertain the troops with their band The Sapphires. Great music, easy laughs and bright new stars… should be quietly massive.
SEE THIS ONE IF: You feel that that what Vietnam needed is even more great songs…
The ESLF Alternate Tagline: “Go Walkabout with these girls…”
16. SKYFALL – Dir. Sam Mendes – UK RELEASE DATE: 26th October 2012
THE REASONING: I’m not much of a James Bond fan, having seen only 7 of them in my lifetime but after keeping hold of the reins for so long it’s exciting to finally see the Broccoli’s hand them over to a genuinely talented (and Oscar-winning) director.
Mendes clout has managed to secure a top notch cast, and the trailer promises a fusion of the old-school cheesiness with the Daniel Craig bond aesthetic to give us what looks like James Bond’s most cinematic adventure yet.
With ‘Master of Light’ Roger Deakins making it look pretty, a game Javier Bardem sporting a blonde wig and large fake teeth, able support from Ralph Fiennes, Naomi Harris and Ben Whisaw as Q (!!!) and with rumours this may be Judi Dench’s swansong from the franchise, expectations can’t be much higher.
Now are they just gonna give Christopher Nolan the next one so he can get it the fuck out of his system?
SEE THIS ONE IF: You plan on going to the cinema sometime in October or November, it’s kind of inevitable.
The ESLF Alternate Tagline: “Even Adele Can’t Ruin It!”
Please, do come back next week for 15-10!