04 October 2007

My Most Excitedly Anticipated of 2007

So, as I mentioned in my review of Across the Universe, I do have a list of films that I like to call my most excitedly anticipated of the year. Now, it's not a real list, one written down and enumerated, ordered and carefully thought out; it's more of a collection of the titles of films whose previews for one reason or another stood out to me as presaging either a film that I think I'd really personally enjoy or a film that I think I'd find very well done - a collection that I just happen to be writing down and enumerating now...yea...:

1) Across the Universe
Before: All previews point to a beautifully crafted, if spontaneous, piece by the talented filmmaker/artist Julie Taymor, whose previous film Frida was a wonderful example of what film can be. Evan Rachel Wood is a plus.

After: All reviews point to disappointment. Ms. Wood was just OK, but it wasn't her fault.

Grade: C-

2) Control
Before: All previews point to an interesting, beautifully shot inspection into the life of Ian Curtis, enigmatic lead singer of the early 80s post-punk band Joy Division (a personal musical favorite). Samantha Morton is a plus.

Release Date: October 10

3) Dan in Real Life
Before: All previews point to a fun, quaint (in the best sense) comedy-drama by Peter Hedges, a director whose forte and inclination are such films. Juliette Binoche, John Mahoney, and a score by Norwegian singer/songwriter/rock star Sondre Lerche are all plusses.

Release Date: October 26

4) The Darjeeling Limited
Before: All previews point to a "smart," "edgy," and fun(ny) exploration of family so well done by acclaimed writer/director Wes Anderson in the past. Plusses for pairing Adrien Brody with Owen Wilson and Jason Schwartzman, for the consistent cinematography, and for Anjelica Huston, Bill Murray, and Wes-Anderson newbie Natalie Portman.

Release Date: September 29 (but I haven't yet been able to go into Manhattan to see it. Hopefully I will this weekend.)

5) Elizabeth: The Golden Age
Before: All previews point to a gorgeously decorated, well acted, if a bit unbalanced, epic that should do justice to the otherwise somewhat hackneyed institution "the sequel." Plusses for all returning cast members, the additions of Samantha Morton and Clive Owen, and the exquisite looking costumes (and art direction).

Release Date: October 12

6) Lust, Caution
Before: All previews point to another meditative, questioning triumph for brilliant director Ang Lee, who has this time wisely paired himself with the extremely adept Tony Leung and wisely chosen Alexandre Desplat to compose the score. Plusses for Mr. Lee's refusal to kowtow to the MPAA's silly and prudish regulations and for the backing by Focus Features.

Release Date: September 29

7) Margot at the Wedding
Before: All previews point to a ripe, heady little piece by Wes-Anderson protege Noah Baumbach, whose The Squid and the Whale simply wowed me. Plus for Nicole Kidman in the lead.

Release Date: November 16

8) My Blueberry Nights
Before: All previews point to an intriguingly mysterious new piece by acclaimed director Wong Kar Wai, whose In the Mood for Love is exquisite. Major plusses for the incredible cast with the quirky inclusion of Norah Jones and for both the contemporary setting and the English language, both new territories for the director that I prefer to see as willful challenges he has set up for himself.

Release Date: TBD 2007

9) The Savages
Before: All previews point to a well shot, strongly and tightly written film that hopefully will have avoided the silly pitfalls of Mr. Payne and Mr. Taylor's Sideways script. Plusses for Philip Seymour Hoffman and Laura Linney as siblings, for Fox Searchlight, and for a trailer that made me laugh more than twice.

Release Date: November 30

10) Atonement
Before: All previews point to that sweeping-historical-romance--drama-with-a-twist-that-is-sure-to-be-an-Oscar-favorite kind of film. Plusses for the talented and upcoming James MacAvoy, the beautiful and brilliant Keira Knightley, the inimitable Vanessa Redgrave and Brenda Blethyn, the smooth cinematography, the period costumes, and the reunion of Joe Wright and Dario Marionelli.

Release Date: December 7

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