Tag Archives: The Tree of Life

2012 Oscar Winner Predictions!

Well, it’s finally Oscar weekend. In honor of that, I’m posting my final set of predictions for who I think will take home the Oscar in each category. Click here to see the full list of nominees.

Picture: The Artist

Director: Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist

Actor: Jean DuJardin, The Artist

Actress: Viola Davis: The Help

Supporting Actor: Christopher Plummer, Beginners

Supporting Actress: Octavia Spencer, The Help

Original Screenplay: The Artist

Adapted Screenplay: The Descendants

Animated Feature Film: Chico & Rita

Cinematography: War Horse (tough pick!)

Art Direction: Hugo

Costume Design: Hugo

Make-Up: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

Film Editing: Hugo

Sound Editing: War Horse

Sound Mixing: Transformers Dark of the Moon (no idea with this category)

Visual Effects: Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Original Score: The Artist

Original Song: “Man or Muppet”, The Muppets

Foreign Language Film: A Separation

Documentary Feature: Pina

Documentary Short: The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom (yay for guessing!)

Live Action Short: Time Freak (ditto!)

Animated Short: A Morning Stroll (and again!)

The Times Like Those Alternative Oscars!

Every year, the same movies snatch up a big portion  of the Oscar nominations. Then, we hear about these movies for months as we lead up to Oscar night. And while this year has been a pretty exciting race (I’d say the winners for both lead acting categories are up in the air), and there were a few surprise nominees that snuck in at the last moment (what’s up, Demian Birchir?), it  can get a little bit repetitive to hear about the same movies over and over again, even if you enjoyed them.

In hopes of offering a change of pace, I’ve compiled my own “Oscar”  list of sorts. For my categories, I ignored all of the existing Oscar nominees and focussed on films and performances that didn’t receive as much awards attention this year. I also omitted people like Shailene Woodley, who did not receive an Oscar nomination but still got lots of attention from critics, bloggers, and awards groups leading up to the nominations.

Also, keep in mind that there are still lots of films from this year that I need to see. Shame, Take Shelter, Melancholia, and Martha Marcy May Marlene are just a few on that list.

Enjoy, and feel free to post your own “alternative Oscars” in the comments.

Best Picture

Drive

The Ides of March

Meek’s Cutoff

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Win Win

It may be a small, unassuming film, but Meek’s Cutoff stuck with me in a big way this year. The film is unconventional in almost every way (the pacing, the mumbled dialogue, the refusal to punch up the story with high drama), and it’s a true achievement in cinema.

Best Director

Tomas Alfredson, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

George Clooney, The Ides of March

Carey Fukanaga, Jane Eyre

Nicholas Winding Refn, Drive

Kelly Reichardt, Meek’s Cutoff

Again, I have to give this one to Meek’s Cutoff. While Nicholas Winding Refn offered a masterclass in cool and Tomas Alfredson built insane tension around old guys sitting around talking in a room, Kelly Reichardt created something truly unique. I didn’t care for her last project, Wendy and Lucy, but her deliberate pace and sparse, terse tone worked wonders in Meek’s.

Best Actor

Dominic Cooper, The Devil’s Double

Ryan Gosling, Drive

Tom Hardy, Warrior

Ewan McGregor, Beginners

Owen Wilson, Midnight in Paris

Cooper masters not one but two challenging roles in this messy film. He’s chilling and downright crazy as Sadam Hussein’s son, Uday, and also deeply sympathetic as Latif, the man hired as Uday’s double. It’s a towering pair of performances, and Cooper finally realizes the potential he showed in small roles in films such as Starter for 10 and An Education.

Best Actress

Felicity Jones, Like Crazy

Keira Knightley, Last Night

Mia Wasikowska, Jane Eyre

Kristen Wiig, Bridesmaids

Robin Wright, The Conspirator

Wiig gives a downright brilliant comedic performance in Bridesmaids, and sometimes that is enough for me. She throws herself into every gag headfirst, and she comes out in the end with a highly charming, perfectly executed performance. McCarthy is also great, but for me, Wiig is the reason to watch Bridesmaids.

Best Supporting Actor

Michael Fassbender, Jane Eyre

Colin Ford, We Bought a Zoo

Philip Seymour Hoffman, The Ides of March

Simon Pegg, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol

Mark Strong, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

I thought Fassbender was a tad overrated in X-Men (sorry), but he reminded me why I loved him so much in Fish Tank with a similarly physical and subtly threatening performance in the gorgeous Jane Eyre. He oozes charisma here, and makes for a completely magnetic screen presence. Kudos to Mark Strong, too, for fantastic scene-stealing work in Tinker Tailor, and for converting me into a Mark Strong fan.

Best Supporting Actress

Jessica Chastain, The Tree of Life

Anna Kendrick, 50/50

Carey Mulligan, Drive

Amy Ryan, Win Win

Michelle Williams, Meek’s Cutoff

It was the year of Chastain, and my favourite performance of hers (though I haven’t seen them all) was as the ethereal wife in The Tree of Life. It’s a beautiful, moving performance, and she slips seamlessly into the languid tone of the film.

Favourite Movie Posters of 2011

2011 Summer Movie Preview: May

With the release of Thor this past weekend, it’s officially the summer movie season. And there are some pretty massive movies on the horizon. But there are also some promising-looking smaller films that I hope won’t get lost in the shuffle. So here’s an in-depth look at the next four months at the cinema.

= Possible awards contender

= Times Like Those pick

= Probable cash cow

= Indie with breakthrough potential

= Looks like a turd

 

May 6

The Beaver

Starring: Mel Gibson, Jodie Foster, Anton Yelchin, Jennifer Lawrence, Cherry Jones

Director: Jodie Foster

Official Synopsis: “An emotional story about a man on a journey to re-discover his family and re-start his life. Plagued by his own demons, Walter Black (Gibson) was once a successful toy executive and family man who now suffers from depression. No matter what he tries, Walter can’t seem to get himself back on track…until a beaver hand puppet enters his life.”

My Take: Remember when Mel Gibson used to be a draw at the cineplex? Well, now his movies are getting delayed and opening inconspicuously in very limited release. Nonetheless, the premise of The Beaver is bizarrely intriguing, and the trailer was a pleasant surprise. It looks like a heartfelt family indie dramedy, which is widely known to be my favourite type of movie. And between this and Like Crazy, I am suddenly very interested in Anton Yelchin. Oh, right, and there’s that beaver puppet, too. (Limited release; expands May 20)

Jumping the Broom

Starring: Angela Basset, Paula Patton, Julie Bowen, Laz Alonso, Loretta Devine

Director: Salim Akil

Official Synopsis: “A collision of worlds when two African-American families from divergent socioeconomic backgrounds get together one weekend in Martha’s Vineyard for a wedding.”

My Take: This might sound bad, but these sorts of comedies with predominantly African-American casts (see also: Tyler Perry films) never get nearly as much attention in Canada as they do in the U.S., so I really don’t know anything about this film. I really thought it had something to do with witches, but apparently not.

Last Night

Starring: Keira Knightley, Sam Worthington, Eva Mendes, Guillame Canet

Director: Massy Tadjedin

Official Synopsis: “Set in New York City, Last Night is the story of a married couple that while apart for one night, is confronted by temptation that may decide the fate of their marriage.”

My Take: It seems like this movie has been kicking around forever, which probably isn’t a good sign. It could be taught and suspenseful, or it could be boring, and even though it’ll probably fall into the latter category, I’ll probably still check it out at some point. (Limited release)

Something Borrowed

Starring: Ginnifer Goodwin, Kate Hudson, Colin Egglesfield, John Krasinski

Director: Luke Greenfield

Official Synopsis: “Rachel (Goodwin) is a talented attorney at a top New York law firm, a generous and loyal friend, and, unhappily, still single –as her engaged best friend Darcy (Hudson) is constantly reminding her. But after celebrating her 30th birthday, perpetual good girl Rachel unexpectedly ends up in the arms of the guy she’s had a crush on since law school, Dex (Egglesfield)…who just happens to be Darcy’s fiancé. As one thing leads to another in the frantic weeks leading up to Darcy’s wedding, Rachel finds herself in an impossible situation, caught between her treasured friendship with Darcy and the love of her life.”

My Take: The trailers look absolutely wretched, and the movie seems to be filled with whiny, unlikeable people handling situations as poorly as they possibly can. Not even John Krasinski can pique my interest in this one.

Thor


Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Stellan Skarsgard, Anthony Hopkins, Kat Dennings, Idris Elba

Director: Kenneth Branagh

Official Synopsis: “At the center of the story is The Mighty Thor, a powerful but arrogant warrior whose reckless actions reignite an ancient war. As a result, Thor is banished to Earth where he is forced to live among humans. When the most dangerous villain of his world sends its darkest forces to invade Earth, Thor learns what it takes to be a true hero.”

My Take: I probably could not have been less interested in the premise, and the trailers didn’t really do anything to change my mind. But Thor is getting pretty good reviews, so I may have to check it out.

May 13

Bridesmaids


Starring: Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Rose Byrne, Ellie Kemper, Jon Hamm, Melissa McCarthy, Wendi McLendon-Covey

Director: Paul Feig

Official Synopsis: “Kristen Wiig leads the cast as Annie, a maid of honor whose life unravels as she leads her best friend, Lillian (Rudolph), and a group of colorful bridesmaids on a wild ride down the road to matrimony. Annie’s life is a mess. But when she finds out her lifetime best friend is engaged, she simply must serve as Lillian’s maid of honor. Though lovelorn and broke, Annie bluffs her way through the expensive and bizarre rituals. With one chance to get it perfect, she’ll show Lillian and her bridesmaids just how far you’ll go for someone you love.”

My Take: I am so happy to see Kristen Wiig get a lead role. Especially one that looks so good. It’s great that more people finally seem to realizing that women can be funny, too, and it’s great that they gave these ladies an (apparently) good film. I love the whole cast, and I’m definitely hoping to check it out in theatres.

Everything Must Go

Starring: Will Ferrell, Rebecca Hall, Glenn Howerton, Laura Dern

Director: Dan Rush

Official Synopsis: “Everything Must Go tells the story of Nick (Ferrell) a career salesman whose days of being on top are long gone. The same day Nick gets fired, for falling off the wagon one last time, he returns home to discover his wife has left him, changed the locks on their suburban home and dumped all his possessions out on the front yard. Faced with his life imploding, Nick puts it all on the line – or more properly, on the lawn – reluctantly holding a yard sale that becomes a unique strategy for survival.”

My Take: Will Ferrell has proven to be a capable dramatic actor, and Everything Must Go looks like it could be his meatiest role yet. It got good reviews at TIFF but flew under the radar a bit. And while I don’t think it will be a box office hit, it’s nice to see Ferrell trying new things. (Well, maybe he shouldn’t have tried The Office…) (Limited release)

Hesher

Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Natalie Portman, Devin Brochu, Rainn Wilson, John Carol Lynch, Piper Laurie

Director: Spencer Susser

Official Synopsis: “Loud music. Pornography. Burning **** to the ground. These are a few of Hesher’s favorite things. And they are what Hesher (Gordon-Levitt) brings into the lives of TJ (Brochu) and his father, Paul (Wilson) when he takes up residence in their garage uninvited. Grief-stricken by the loss of TJ’s mother in a car accident, Paul can’t muster the strength to evict the strange squatter, and soon the long-haired, tattooed Hesher becomes a fixture in the household. Like a force of nature, Hesher’s anarchy shakes the family out of their grief and helps them embrace life once more.”

My Take: This is another one that’s been floating around in distribution purgatory for a while (if I remember correctly, it played at last year’s Sundance festival), but I can kind of understand why, based on the trailer. I’m not writing it off yet, but it does look like a…strange film. (Limited release)

Priest

Starring: Paul Bettany, Cam Gigandet, Maggie Q, Lily Collins, Stephen Moyer, Karl Urban, Christopher Plummer

Director: Scott Stewart

Official Synopsis: “Priest, a western-fused post-apocalyptic thriller, is set in an alternate world — one ravaged by centuries of war between man and vampires. The story revolves around a legendary Warrior Priest (Bettany) from the last Vampire War who now lives in obscurity among the other downtrodden human inhabitants in walled-in dystopian cities ruled by the Church. When his niece (Collins) is abducted by a murderous pack of vampires, Priest breaks his sacred vows to venture out on an obsessive quest to find her before they turn her into one of them.”

My Take: Paul Bettany, what are you doing? I have no idea why he has become some kind of misguided “action” star. That said, I’m slightly curious about Lily Collins’ performance, since I thought that she was pretty good in The Blind Side (and she was one of my Up-and-Coming Actors to Watch last year). Dunno if I can stomach this one, though.

May 20

Midnight in Paris


Starring: Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams, Marion Cotillard, Kathy Bates, Adrien Brody, Michael Sheen, Allison Pill, Carla Bruni

Director: Woody Allen

Official Synopsis: “This is a romantic comedy set in Paris about a family that goes there because of business, and two young people who are engaged to be married in the fall have experiences there that change their lives. It’s about a young man’s great love for a city, Paris, and the illusion people have that a life different from theirs would be much better.”

My Take: Well, at least Woody Allen is consistent with his one-movie-per-year approach to filmmaking. Even if his last two films (Whatever Works and You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger) made almost zero impact, I’m kind of hopeful that this might be the next Vicky Christina Barcelona. I think the casting of Owen Wilson is kind of inspired, and he might suit Allen’s style surprisingly well. I’m not holding my breath, but maybe it will be a pleasant surprise. (Limited release)

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides


Starring: Johnny Depp, Penelope Cruz, Ian McShane, Geoffrey Rush, Sam Claflin

Director: Rob Marshall

Official Synopsis: I’m not going to bother. It’s another friggin’ Pirates movie. What do you expect?

My Take: Confession time! I’ve only seen the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie, and I didn’t even like it that much. I mean, it was fine, and Johnny Depp was undeniably wonderful, but once was more than enough for me. However, the trailer for this film did draw me in, and I might possibly check it out at some point. It could also (possibly) be worth watching for Sam Claflin, who made my list of up-and-coming actors to watch this year. He recently got cast in one of those Snow White movies that are coming out next year, and he’ll also star in The Seventh Son, which is apparently a big deal.

May 26

The Hangover Part II


Starring: Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis, Ed Helms, Justin Bartha, Ken Jeong

Director: Todd Phillips

Official Synopsis: “In The Hangover Part II, Phil (Cooper), Stu (Helms), Alan (Galifianakis) and Doug (Bartha) travel to exotic Thailand for Stu’s wedding. After the unforgettable bachelor party in Las Vegas, Stu is taking no chances and has opted for a safe, subdued pre-wedding brunch. However, things don’t always go as planned. What happens in Vegas may stay in Vegas, but what happens in Bangkok can’t even be imagined.”

My Take: The Hangover was a fun, unexpected hit that served as a star-making vehicle for its three leads. But do we really need another one? Especially one that looks like a less funny rehashing of the original?

Kung Fu Panda 2

Starring: Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, Seth Rogan, Gary Oldman, Dustin Hoffman, Jackie Chan

Director: Jennifer Yuh Nelson

Official Synopsis: “In KUNG FU PANDA 2, Po is now living his dream as The Dragon Warrior, protecting the Valley of Peace alongside his friends and fellow kung fu masters, The Furious Five. But Po’s new life of awesomeness is threatened by the emergence of a formidable villain, who plans to use a secret, unstoppable weapon to conquer China and destroy kung fu. Po must look to his past and uncover the secrets of his mysterious origins; only then will he be able to unlock the strength he needs to succeed.”

My Take: Ah, another pointless sequel. How refreshing.

May 27

The Tree of Life


Starring: Brad Pitt, Jessica Chastain, Sean Penn

Director: Terrence Malick

Official Synopsis: The Tree of Life is the impressionistic story of a Midwestern family in the 1950’s. The film follows the life journey of the eldest son, Jack, through the innocence of childhood to his disillusioned adult years as he tries to reconcile a complicated relationship with his father (Pitt). Jack (played as an adult by Penn) finds himself a lost soul in the modern world, seeking answers to the origins and meaning of life while questioning the existence of faith. Through Malick’s signature imagery, we see how both brute nature and spiritual grace shape not only our lives as individuals and families, but all life.

My Take: Well, judging by how many times I’ve blogged about it already, I think it’s safe to assume that I’m pretty excited for The Tree of Life. I’m not a die-hard Mallick by any means (I’ve actually only seen The New World, and that was when it first came out on DVD, so I found it a bit boring at that age), but the trailer for this movie completely captivated me. I’ve probably watched it a dozen times, and I appreciate the beauty of it every time. It’s like a beautiful little stand-alone piece. Who knows how the movie will work in its entirety, but I’m certainly optimistic. (Limited release)

The Ultimate 2011 Movie Guide

You know all of those “most anticipated” lists that are out around this time? And you know how they all just have the year’s biggest blockbusters (Thor, Transformers 3, etc.) in varying order? Well, this list is different. It’s a mix of all different genres and sizes of movies (yes, including some blockbusters). I always find it interesting to look back at the movies that I was excited about. Because all it takes is a bad trailer and/or poor reviews to make me completely lose interest a lot of the time. So here’s a look at 50 films in 2011 that I’m excited for, in a very rough order.

1. The Tree of Life

Release Date: May 27

Director: Terrence Malick

Starring: Brad Pitt, Jessica Chastain, Sean Penn

The plot description is vague (something about a loss of innocence), but the trailer suggests that artistry takes precedence over plot. Director Terrence Malick (whose past films include The New World, Badlands, and The Thin Red Line) takes his time to make meditative films, and hopefully it will be worth the wait.

2. Contagion

Release Date: October 21

Director: Steven Soderbergh

Cast: Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, Marion Cotillard, Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow, Laurence Fishburne, John Hawkes, Demetri Martin, Bryan Cranston, Elliott Gould You can’t argue with that cast. The sci-fi storyline about scientists stopping a killer virus may not lend itself to such A-list star power, but with Soderbergh at the helm, it’s bound to be a cut above the usual genre fair.  

 

3. On the Road

Release Date: TBA

Director: Walter Salles

Cast: Sam Riley, Garrett Hedlund, Kristen Stewart, Kirsten Dunst, Tom Sturridge, Viggo Mortensen, Amy Adams, Steve Buscemi, Elizabeth Moss

This long-gestating adaptation of Jack Kerouac’s famous novel has a top-notch cast with some of my personal favourite current actors. Adapting such a huge book is always a challenge, but if they can pull it off, this could be a hugely popular film.

4. Young Adult

Release Date: TBA

Director: Jason Reitman

Cast: Charlize Theron, Patrick Wilson, Patton Oswalt

I love Jason Reitman as a director, and I love him even more when he teams up with screenwriter Diablo Cody. Charlize Theron stars as a divorced writer hoping to reconnect with a now married old flame (I’m guessing that’s Patrick Wilson’s character?). Even with that vague plot, the names attached make me thing that this might be a romantic dramedy that’s actually good.

5. X-Men: First Class

Release Date: June 3

Director: Matthew Vaughan

Cast: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, January Jones, Rose Byrne, Kevin Bacon, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, Zoe Kravitz, Lucas Till, Oliver Platt, Caleb Landry Jones

What is with the amazing casts this year? Hopefully they don’t disappoint, as these monster casts sometimes do (hi, Nine!). I could see this one going either way, but Matthew Vaughan (Kick-Ass) is a fun director, and with the actors attached, I’m sure I’ll enjoy it on some level. The trailer looks like promising, if not fairly standard, superhero fare.  

 

6. Ceremony

Release Date: April 8

Director: Max Winkler

Cast: Michael Angarano, Uma Thurman, Reece Thompson, Lee Pace

It earned strong reviews at TIFF, and Max Winkler’s directorial debut looks like a charming and funny coming-of-age tale. Angarano and Thompson have been deserving of a breakthrough role for years, and even if this isn’t the vehicle to rocket them to the big time, it’s refreshing to see some of Hollywood’s truly talented young actors get a chance to show off their acting chops.

7. Beginners

Release Date: June 3

Director: Mike Mills

Cast: Ewan McGregor, Christopher Plummer, Melanie Laurent

McGregor is always a joy to watch on screen, and it’s an added bonus when his movies are actually good. His career seems to be on the upswing again, and this modest little story about a man dealing with his father’s late-life coming out looks like charming fun, with a dollop of melancholy.

 

8. Restless

Release Date: TBA

Director: Gus Van Sant

Cast: Mia Wasikowska, Henry Hopper, Schuyler Fisk, Jane Adams

I would be slightly dubious about the “quirky” plot (“a terminally ill teenage girl who falls for a boy who likes to attend funerals”) if it wasn’t in such good hands. From his big-name fare (Good Will Hunting, Milk) to his artiest, least comprehensible work (Paranoid Park) Gus Van Sant is always an interesting director. The trailer makes it look like one of his more mainstream efforts, but Restless also appears to have Van Sant’s unique touch that makes me very excited.

 

9. Jane Eyre

Release Date: March 11

Director: Carey Fukunaga

Cast: Mia Wasikowska, Michael Fassbender, Jamie Bell, Sally Hawkins, Judi Dench, Imogen Poots

It looks like it’s going to be a big year for both Wasikowska and Fassbender, and this sweeping adaptation of the classic Charlotte Bronte novel will likely give both their careers even more of a boost. Potentially overwrought but certain to be well-shot, the best-case scenario for Jane Eyre would be something along the lines of a darker version of 2005’s Pride & Prejudice.

10. Super 8

Release Date

Director: J.J. Abrams

Cast: Kyle Chandler, Elle Fanning, Amanda Michalka

After a completely esoteric teaser and an only slightly more telling Superbowl spot, I still don’t really know what Super 8 is about. But I have faith in J.J. Abrams after Lost and the Star Trek reboot. Elle Fanning is a young actress who I surprisingly really like, and I loved seeing Kyle Chandler (who will always be Coach Taylor to me) being a badass in the trailer. 

  • And 60+ More to Look Forward To…
    Potentially Hilarious Comedies
    There are few things that I enjoy more than a big, dumb comedy, if it’s done well. And, like most years before it, 2011 has a number of potential winners (most of which are bound to disappoint)

    • The most anticipated comedy of the year is probably The Hangover: Part II. But is a sequel really necessary?
    • Thanks to the first Hangover outing, The Office‘s Ed Helms gets his own film with Cedar Rapids.
    • And in a film that could be this year’s Hangover, three of the funniest dudes working today (Jason Sudeikis, Jason Bateman, and Charlie Day) compare Horrible Bosses. Oh yeah, and Jennifer Aniston, Kevin Spacey, Colin Farrell, and Jamie Foxx are along for the ride, too
    • David Gordon Green, who proved his comedy chops with Pineapple Express, and now he has a medieval stoner flick (with James Franco, no less!), Your Highness, and a baby-sitting-stint-gone-awry comedy, The Sitter (starring Jonah Hill, Sam Rockwell, Ari Graynor, and Max Records), on the docket for 2011.
    • The ladies (in this case, Kristen Wiig, Rose Byrne, Maya Rudolph, and Ellie Kemper) finally get a chance to be funny in an Apatow-produced comedy in Bridesmaids.
    • Capitalizing on the horror/comedy genre that 2009’s Zombieland explored to great effect, director Craig Gillespie (Lars and the Real Girl) brings Anton Yelchin (one of this year’s hottest commodities), Colin Farrell, and David Tennant along for a remake of 1985’s Fright Night
    • Speaking of Zombieland, director Ruben Fleischer and star Jesse Eisenberg team up again for the caper comedy, 30 Minutes or Less. With a supporting cast that includes Aziz Ansari, Danny McBride, and Nick Swardson, it seems like a sure-fire laughfest…right?
    • And speaking of great casts, The Big Year stars Rashida Jones, Jim Parsons, Owen Wilson, Jack Black, Rosamund Pike, Steve Martin, Joel McHale, Dianne Wiest, and Anjelica Huston in a comedy about bird-watching.

    And what would the year be without a few star-studded rom-coms? Most of them sound exactly the same, but there are a few with a glimmer of hope.

    • Crazy Stupid Love offers the heavenly combination of Steve Carrell, Julianne Moore, Ryan Gosling, and Emma Stone in a film about a struggling father trying to reconnect with his family.
    • Jennifer Aniston and Paul Rudd reteam thirteen years after The Object of My Affection for Wanderlust
    • And while I’m not a huge fan of multi-story rom-coms, What’s Your Number? stars Anna Farris as a woman recalling her past twenty (yes, twenty) relationships. And with a supporting cast that includes Andy Samberg, Joel McHale, Chris Pratt, Zachary Quinto, Chris Evans, Mike Vogel, Ari Graynor, and Thomas Lennon, even I can’t help but be excited.
    • Oh, and I kind of like Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake as actors, so I’m sort of excited for Friends With Benefits. So sue me.

     

    Shit Gets Serious

    Depressing Dramas!

    • Alright, this isn’t a depressing drama, but Cameron Crowe’s We Bought a Zoo is a mix of comedy and drama, and it stars Matt Damon, Elle Fanning, Scarlett Johansson, Thomas Hayden Church and Patrick Fugit (yay!). The title kind of says it all.
    • Director Kenneth Lonergan (You Can Count on Me) meditates on the aftermath of a bus crash in Margaret, which has an impressive cast of Anna Paquin, Matt Damon, Mark Ruffalo, Matthew Broderick, Kieran Culkin, Olivia Thirlby, Krysten Ritter, Allison Janey, and Rosemarie DeWitt
    • The Iceman delves into the life of infamous killer Richard Kulinski, and it stars James Franco, Benecio Del Toro, and Michael Shannon
    • Imagine a movie that stars Cillian Murphy, Michael Fassbender, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, and Colin Farrell. Well, this film might actually exist. At-Swim-Two-Birds is an Irish film based on an Irish novel directed by a respected Irish actor (Brendan Gleeson). And it’s going to be amazing, if it ever gets made (IMDB still lists it as in pre-production. Why must you tease us so?)
    • The Lucky One is a stupid-sounding movie based on a stupid-sounding book by a stupid author, but I will watch it and probably secretly really enjoy it because it stars stupid Zac Efron.

    Period Pieces!

    • Colin Firth, Tom Hardy, and Gary Oldman make a fetching trio in Cold War thriller Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
    • Michelle Williams, Emma Watson, and Eddie Redmayne explore the life of Marilyn Monroe in the appropriately titled My Week With Marilyn
    • Frued and Jung face off in A Dangerous Method, which stars Michael Fassbender, Viggo Mortensen and Keira Knightley
    • Cross-dressing in 19th century Ireland is made cool in Albert Nobbs. Glenn Close takes the titular role, while Mia Wasikowska, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, and Aaron Johnson make for a enticing supporting cast.
    • Teen heartthrob Robert Pattinson plays a social climber at the turn of the last century alongside Uma Thurman, Christina Ricci, and Kristen Scott Thomas in Bel Ami

    Sci-Fi!

    • Justin Timberlake, Cillian Murphy, Amanda Seyfried, Olivia Wilde, Alex Pettyfer, Matthew Bomer, and Johnny Galecki deal with the troublesome effects of anti-aging in
      Now (by Gattaca director Andrew Niccol)
    • Clive Owen and Daniel Bruhl (stars of my own personal dreams) come together for a supernatural thriller about clairvoyant children in Intruders
    • Emile Hirsch, Olivia Thirlby , and Max Minghella escape an alien attack in The Darkest Hour
    • The infamously punishing Lars Von Trier guides Kirsten Dunst, Charlotte Gainsbourg, and Kiefer Sutherland through Melancholia, a thriller about Earth being on collision course with another planet.

    Action Movies!

    • Remember when Steven Soderbergh cast Sasha Grey in The Girlfriend Experiment? That sort of made sense as an experimental piece. Now he’s taking a somewhat similar risk by casting non-actor and fighter Gina Carano as the lead in Haywire. But this time she’s backed by a cast that includes Ewan McGregor, Michael Fassbender, Channing Tatum, Michael Douglas, Antonio Banderas, Michael Angarano, and Bill Paxton in this story of a black ops soldier out for revenge. This is either going to be amazing or awful.
    • Tower Heist. Pros: It stars Casey Affleck and Ben Stiller, and it was written by Noah Baumbach. Cons: It was directed by Brett Ratner (director of the only X-Men movie that I disliked, and heartless conspirator against the precious Hugh Jackman), stars Eddie Murphy, and has a completely boring, generic-sounding story (some Ponzi scheme heist thing). I’m hoping the good outweighs the bad, though. It is Noah Baumbach, after all.
    • Driver explores the high-flying life of a stunt driver, starring Ryan Gosling and It Girl Carey Mulligan
    • Matt Damon plays a man on the run from unknown forces with Emily Blunt in The Adjustment Bureau

     

    Blockbusters

    • As someone who grew up with Harry Potter, it pretty much goes without saying that I am excited for the final movie chapter, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
    • Scorsese goes three dimensional with the highly anticpated Hugo Cabret. This adaptation of the children’s book stars Chloe Moretz, Michael Pitt, Jude Law, Emily Mortimer, Sascha Baron Cohen, Ben Kingsley, Christopher Lee, and A Serious Man‘s Michael Stuhlbarg.
    • David Fincher is on a roll, and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, his adaptation of the massively popular Swedish book, is bound to be stylish and intense.

     

    Indies

    Sundance

    • Director Drake Doremus (Douchebag) earned huge acclaim at Sundance for his long-distance romance/coming-of-age story, Like Crazy (starring Anton Yelchin, Felicity Jones, Jennifer Lawrence, Twilight‘s Charlie Bewley, and Chris Messina)
    • One of the other break-out films of the festival was Martha Marcy May Marlene, which stars Elizabeth Olsen (sister of Mary-Kate and Ashley) as a young woman dealing with her escape from a cult. The top-notch supporting cast includes John Hawkes, Hugh Dancy, and Brady Corbet.
    • Paul Rudd steps behind the camera again with his rom-com-dram My Idiot Brother, and gets some help from Elizabeth Banks, Zooey Deschanel, Emily Mortimer, Steve Coogan, Hugh Dancy, Rashida Jones, TJ Miller, and Adam Scott on screen.
    • Fundamentalism is this year’s whipping boy at the movies (seriously, did you see how many Sundance films took on religion this year?), and The Ledge is apparently a battle of wills between a Christian and an atheist that involves a man on the ledge of a very tall building. It stars Charlie Hunman (Sons of Anarchy), Liv Tyler, Patrick Wilson, and Terrence Howard.
    • Kevin Smith’s own statement on fundamentalism takes the form of a horror film in Red State, which stars John Goodman and Michael Angarano.
    • The Details (starring Elizabeth Banks, Laura Linney, and Tobey Maguire) has a bizarre plot about raccoons, but since it is director Jacob Aaron Estes follow-up to Mean Creek, I can’t help but be intrigued
    • J.K. Simmons gets a much-deserved lead role, and Lou Taylor Pucci stars as his son with a memory-blocking tumour in The Music Never Stopped. It looks like a nice meditation on family, and the power of music.

    TIFF Holdovers

    • Peep World
      (which I somehow managed to completely miss hearing about up until now) looks like a funny, slightly Arrested Development-esque comedy about a family who feels betrayed when the youngest brother uses them as material for his novel. And did I mention that it stars Michael C. Hall, Rainn Wilson, Judy Greer, Sarah Silverman, Taraji P. Henson, and Kate Mara? Yeah, that too.
    • The Conspirator‘s cast alone (Robin Wright, James McAvoy, Evan Rachel Wood, The Greatest’s Johnny Simmons, Alexis Bledel, Jonathan Groff, Justin Long, Kevin Kline, Tom Wilkinson, etc.) is awesome, and the story, which revolves around the assassination of Lincoln, sounds intriguing
    • I didn’t love Kelly Reichardt’s previous effort, Wendy and Lucy, but I did respect it, and I’m interested to see her next project with Michelle Williams (supporting cast includes Paul Dano, Bruce Greenwood, and Zoe Kazan)
    • Last Night
      looks like a lush warning against the pitfalls of love and excess, and the cast (Keira Knightley, Sam Worthington, Eva Mendes, Guillaume Canet) is certainly easy on the eyes.
    • Will Farrell gets semi-serious as man whose life is falling apart in Everything Must Go

    Yet to Screen

    • Jay and Mark Duplass let Jason Segel into their mumblecore world with the decidedly low-concept comedy Jeff Who Lives At Home
    • Sarah Polley directs herself, Michelle Williams, Seth Rogan, and Sarah Silverman in a drama called Take This Waltz
    • Jay Baruchel, Sean William Scott, Liev Schreiber, and Allison Pill celebrate hockey in Goon
    • Cancer is made kind of funny (?) in Live With It, which stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a young man diagnosed with cancer (supporting cast includes Seth Rogan, Anna Kendrick, Bryce Dallas Howard, Anjelica Huston, and Phillip Baker Hall)