14 September 2008

Fall/Winter 2008


O. K., kids, it's time for another of my Most Eagerly Anticipated lists, and this one is sure to hit them high. Choc-full of tasty little morsels that will no Doubt - ha, the wit (i. e., get ready for more) - run the gamut from the predictably Frosty naked breath of cold winter air to that charmingly rich glass of warm Milk by the fireside, the stores for this year's-in-film Fall/Winter season should be ample supply for the days ahead; and so, without further ado (and further lame pun from this one over here), I give you my top 10 (with the expected 11th cherry on top):

  1. Happy-Go-Lucky (10 October) - Mr. Mike Leigh delivers; I'm already waiting by the door.
  2. W. (17 October) - Mr. Stone delivers; I'm pacing nervously by the door: For the sheer noisome controversy and tripe of this timely film, which I can already whiff a month ahead, this film merits a spot on this list. I know, I just posted (in another terrible pun) that Revolutionary Road could go either way, but this one really takes the cake for the most ambiguously received and presented to date. I just honestly have no idea. Points for the concise title though.
  3. Synecdoche, New York (24 October) - Well - never I fear - if I should be left tongue-wagging and still hungry for delivery after Mr. Stone's uncertain epic, I should still unquestionably find a smörgåsbord at my gate for Mr. Kaufman's talented hand. While Synecdoche, New York looks to be perhaps his darkest venture yet, I nevertheless have the utmost confidence in his abilities and know that even dark chocolate can be sweet.
  4. Australia (26 November) - Now, this film is a rare treat, a kind of dish that one has to catch at the right moment, lest it be overdone or underdone, too thick or too runny, too base or - infinitely more terrifying - out of season: a piece by Baz Luhrman. Undiscussed ever since the talks of his rendering a more powerful Alexander the Great epic fizzled back into the ether, the director in this, his latest project, stays a lot closer to home. The epic film features fellow Aussies Hugh Jackman and (the still vital if somewhat flickering) Ms. Kidman in its leading rôles and traipses through fairy tale and romance as though they were both naturally one in the same. Though it is sure to be a pretty plate, I'm definitely eager to find out if it taste as good as it seems.
  5. Milk (26 November) - Though I don't really like to rank the films on these lists of mine, this one easily tops this list this year. A Botticelli of a film - full-bodied, delicately lit, and handsomely white as Mr. van Sant's films have been of late - Milk has a team that, I feel, cannot fail to deliver one of the best, if not the best, of the season. Mr. Penn, Mr. Hirsche, even Mr. Franco, and the rest of that robust cast look in tip-top form; Mr. Elfman's chords sound full-fledged and limber; Mr. Savides', who previously shot among others Elephant (2003) for Mr. van Sant, frames look polished and shining; and Mr. Lance Black's screenplay, under the tutelary of Mr. van Sant's wise counsel, should, depsite the unfulfilled ambitions of Mr. Lance Black's previous project The Journey of Jared Price (2000), reach quite substantial proportions. I'm starving myself for the day before its release, so that I can lick the plate.
  6. Frost / Nixon (5 December) - And then for dessert I'll have.... O, I jest, I jest. This film is a main course all on its own. Written by Mr. Peter Morgan, chief engineer behind The Queen (2006) and the entertaining The Last King of Scotland (2006); the film features the newly embraced talents of Mr. Michael Sheen as well as a towering monolith of a performance by long-buidling Mr. Frank Langella, who plays the Nixon half of the titular duo. Directed by Ron Howard, that the film should seriously fumble at all is highly unlikely. I only wish they had gotten Mr. Desplat to score it instead of the often maudlin and thusly execrable Hans Zimmer.
  7. Doubt (12 December) - A thick, heavy cheesecake of a platter, this piece just emanates the pungent kind of air effected by the forceful plunking down of a heavy tome upon an empty table - or something like that. Filled by a great cast of actors, who will certainly be able to do the Pulitzer-winning play's action due service - actors, including the beautiful Ms. Amy Adams in her first large, exclusively dramatic rôle - Doubt should be a fascinating if somber character study probing the significant moral questions of certainty, truth, and apology in our times.
  8. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (25 December) - Coming out on Christmas Day, this appropriately fantastical title, taken from an F. Scott Fitzgerald story, could be one of the best of the batch. Mr. Pitt gives awards-voters another chance to acknowledge what is hopefully to be a banner year for his career, Ms. Blanchett is hardly capable of falling down, and Mr. Desplat, whose presence is duly noted here, provides a wistfully complimentary score to the dim but sharp frames of Mr. Miranda's screen.
  9. Revolutionary Road (26 December) - Leo, Kate, "Wild as the Wind", and (hubby) Sam Mendes at the wheel: I'd be remiss not to ask for these seconds.
  10. Coraline (December) - A Henry-Selick, stop-motion fantasy to be distributed by Focus Features: Sure, I'll have the special.
  11. Rachel Getting Married (3 October) - Living up to the nature of this slot as the unpredictable yet somewhat feel-good indie with the strong (female) leading performance, in the tradition of other films like Pieces of April (2004) and The House Bunny (2008) - which Anna Faris did nail by the way - Rachel Getting Married actually could be the breakthrough film for its leader Ms. Hathaway, who, though she may have broken through the wall blockading actors from the general public's fanaticism, has nevertheless yet to break through the wall blockading mediocre actors from greatness. I sincerely hope she does.
Phew, having just gone through all these films, I can safely say I want to see them all right now, but their releases are just around the corner, as we enter into this Fall/Winter season of our year in film 2008.

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