The last quarter of the year is upon us, and with that comes a slew of serious dramas all hoping for a shot at the Oscars, and a smattering of year-end blockbusters that decided they’ll have better chances in fall than during summer. Here’s part 1 of a preview of the movies that are coming up in the next three months, ranked by my level of interest in them. Tomorrow, I’ll post part 2, and also explain what factors I take into consideration when choosing movies to watch.
Movies I’m excited for:
Thor: The Dark World (Oct 31)
It’s a Marvel movie. Based on their track record in recent years, there really needs to be nothing else said about it. But here are more reasons anyway: Thor is my favourite standalone movie before The Avengers, and I adore Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston (and Anthony Hopkins and Idris Elba and Stellan Skarsgard). If I could only watch one movie for the rest of the year, *this* would be it.
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (Nov 21)
Catching Fire is my favourite book in the Hunger Games trilogy, and the trailer looks beyond epic. Plus, Jennifer Lawrence has recently become my favourite young actress for being so honest and outspoken in her interviews, and she has more than proven her acting chops too. I still wish that Josh Hutcherson isn’t Peeta, but I can live with it.
The Counselor (Nov 28)
Because Michael Fassbender. I might have mentioned this before, but I’ve loved him since Inglourious Basterds, so him alone would be enough for me to watch this film; but the rest of the cast (Brad Pitt. Javier Bardem. Penelope Cruz.) and crew (Ridley Scott directing; Cormac McCarthy, whose No Country for Old Men was turned into an Oscar-winning film, as scriptwriter) are all heavyweights, which makes this film absolutely unmissable for me. Even Cameron Diaz, who is playing against type, looks convincing as a ruthless cold bitch. If I could only watch two movies for the rest of the year, this would be the other one.
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (Dec 12)
While I liked but did not love An Unexpected Journey as much as I thought I would, the Lord of the Rings trilogy was still the one that sparked my ardent passion for the movies and made me dream of being in the film industry some day. I will definitely watch this — I just *might* not feel the absolute need to be among the first to watch it on opening day anymore.
12 Years a Slave (Whenever this is coming to Singapore, I WILL BE THERE.)
I explained all my reasons for wanting to watch it in a previous post. I just hope it won’t wait till February to come to Singapore (though I’ve accepted that it most likely will). Granted, because of the heavy subject matter, it is not likely to be well-received in Singapore, where slavery didn’t affect us, and will likely do about as well as Lincoln did here ($276,020, according to Box Office Mojo); but depending on how many theatres they release it in the US, it could earn as much as Zero Dark Thirty did (2,937 theatres in the US, $108 million worldwide), or The Hurt Locker (535 theatres, $49 million) — all Oscar contenders talking about issues that were mostly American.
American Hustle (Dec 25 in the US; hopefully soon in Singapore)
Fresh off the success of The Silver Linings Playbook, industry watchers are eagerly awaiting David O. Russell’s next film about con artists caught up in the excessive world of the Abscam scandal, in which the FBI held a sting operation in the 70s/80s to take down corrupt public officials. It has a cast to die for (Christian Bale! Bradley Cooper! Jeremy Renner! Amy Adams! Jennifer Lawrence!), which is the main reason why I’m watching it.
Jack Ryan: Shadow One (Whenever this is coming.)
The latest adaptation of Tom Clancy’s novels about CIA analyst Jack Ryan, it’s supposed to come out on Dec 25 in the US, but there isn’t even a poster or a trailer out yet, which is strange for a year-end blockbuster. Either they screwed up the marketing, or the film isn’t ready yet and will be pushed back. But it’s an action movie with a cast I love — Chris Pine, Keira Knightley, and Kenneth Branagh, who directs as well — so I will be watching it no matter what, when it decides to come out.
Movies I’m not exactly excited about, but am interested in watching (there’s a 50-50 chance I may just wait till the DVD is out instead):
Gravity (Oct 10)
I am interested to see how well the movie will work with just George Clooney and Sandra Bullock on screen, floating in space, for its whole duration. It looks promising though: the trailer is gripping and terrifying, and critics are raving about how gorgeous the film looks.
Ender’s Game (Nov 7)
It’s an action-adventure movie based on a popular children’s book, and the cast isn’t bad. I haven’t read the book though, and not all movies based on popular books are good (re: The Mortal Instruments, not to mention TWILIGHT); so I’ll see?
The Fifth Estate (Nov 14)
It has a good cast, with Benedict Cumberbatch fronting it as Julian Assange, and it is about recent controversial events which I was interested in. But I’m not sure if I am interested enough to make a trip to the cinema to watch it, or if I will just wait for the DVD to come out and watch it in the comfort of my home.
Diana (Nov 28)
I have always been fascinated by Princess Diana, which is the only reason why I want to watch this, boosted a little by my liking for Naomi Watts and Naveen Andrews (Sayid from Lost), who play the princess and her lover respectively. However, critics have panned it, so whether I eventually watch it will depend on how much time I have on my hands the week it comes out, and if I want to spend that time going to town to watch a movie.
The Monuments Men (Dec 18 in the US; whenever in Singapore)
Heist movies are always fun, and it has the bonus of a great ensemble cast that includes George Clooney, Matt Damon, Cate Blanchett, Bill Murray, Huge Bonneville (Downton Abbey) and Jean Dujardin (The Artist). The look and feel reminds me a little of Inglourious Basterds, minus the Quentin Tarantino-ness of blood, gore, scalping and R-ratedness; or maybe Ocean’s Eleven in WWII.
Saving Mr Banks (Dec 20 in the US; whenever in Singapore)
A film about author P. L. Travers and her feelings as she meets with Walt Disney to make her beloved novel Mary Poppins into a movie. This looks to be a feel-good movie, with the trailer hitting all the right comedic yet emotional notes. More importantly, it has Tom Hanks as Walt Disney in a genial, jovial role that he looks like he will excel in, because he is that in real life (genial and jovial, not Walt Disney), and it has Disneyland in it. Emma Thompson is always lovely too.
Tomorrow, I’ll talk about the films that I am less excited about, and I’ll explain my reservations about watching them, even though many of those are Oscar contenders.