Friday, August 10, 2012

My top five most anticipated movies for the rest of the year.

Hype. It's an overwhelming thing. For movies, in particular. Whether it be for stars, directors, or just the premise in general, everybody can either embrace it, or wonder what the big deal is, myself included. I've had cases where I was one of the few who never once bought into a movie's hype (Ridley Scott's overlong and confused Prometheus, for one example), and times where the fanboy within me couldn't be more excited to see a movie (Pixar's heartfelt and hilarious Brave, for another). But Kingdom of the Crystal Skull kind of hype is the worst, where a movie is so built up that the end product is bound to disappoint. We're not sure if we'll even like a movie that won't be released for months, but it always gives you something to look forward to.

So that's the focus of today's post. Here is where I'll be listing my top five most anticipated movies for the rest of the year. If you don't see a favorite of yours on here, it's because I haven't heard of it, I'm not quite looking forward to it enough to put it on here, or nothing about it interests me at all (that last one's for you, Cosmopolis).

#5: (tie)
Anna Karenina & Looper
I know I'm cheating, but it's hard to pick between these two. They're both such completely different movies. One is Anna Karenina from modern master director Joe Wright. After a slump with The Soloist and Hanna, he's making his return to the period romance, a genre he excels at. Pride & Prejudice is my favorite movie of 2005, Atonement is one of my favorite movies of 2007, and Keira Knightley, both talented and beautiful, is always at her best when working with Wright.
Rian Johnson's ambitious looking sci-fi Looper has also been steadily gaining my interest. You want to talk about ORIGINAL ideas, this looks about as original as Hollywood gets, and the trailer is astonishing. It also doesn't hurt that stars Bruce Willis, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Emily Blunt have all declared this the best movie they've ever done. That's high praise, now let's see if they're right.

To the Wonder
Terrence Malick's directorial style is the epitome of love it/hate it. I'm personally on the love it side, especially for The Thin Red Line, one of my top five favorite movies of all time. All we know about To the Wonder is that it's a romance, but in typical Malick fashion, it should hold more to it than just that. It's still odd that it's coming out this soon, though, because Malick is such a secretive perfectionist. His career spans over forty years, and To the Wonder will only be the sixth film he's ever directed. It's great that he's picking up the pace, but one must wonder how he could possibly follow up The Tree of Life?

Django Unchained
Not really a shocker, but I'm a Quentin Tarantino fan. I just love his style. After flirting with spaghetti western undertones in Inglourious Basterds, I'm excited to see how he'll make a full on western. The cast looks promising too, featuring Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, and an atypical supporting performance from Leonardo DiCaprio. If I'm not mistaken, this will be his first non-leading role since What's Eating Gilbert Grape, so it'll be interesting to see how he handles this.

Rust & Bone
This one is for a number of reasons. It's a love story with a fascinating premise, it received good reviews from the Cannes Film Festival, and it's director Jacques Audiard's follow up to the wonderful A Prophet. But the biggest reason for my anticipation is Marion Cotillard. Cotillard is a terrific actress (anyone who's seen La Vie en Rose and Nine will say the same), but in her recent American films, she's been reduced to middling supporting roles that don't allow her to show her true talent. This looks like it'll get her back in the game... big time!

I was always looking quite forward to this. It's directed by the legendary Steven Spielberg, it features a huge cast of outstanding actors/actresses (including Daniel Day-Lewis), and it has a promising production crew. But what really put it over the top was Tony Kushner's involvement as a screenwriter. Kushner is a New York writer known primarily for his list of stage plays and musicals. He even co-wrote the script to Spielberg's movie Munich alongside Eric Roth. Name recognition would be enough, but Kushner has apparently called his Lincoln script the best he's ever written. Normally a mere publicity quote for actors, but from his mouth, this is a big deal. We're talking about the guy who won the Pulitzer Prize for writing the play Angels in America, which he then adapted into the flawless HBO mini-series with Al Pacino and Meryl Streep. If he thinks that this is the best he's ever written, then nothing's gonna stop me from seeing it. If it can live up to at least 75% of that hype, I'll be satisfied. I can't wait!

Honorable Mentions: Cloud Atlas, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Master, Skyfall.

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