Yesterday, I posted a preview of the movies that I was interested in watching in the next three months. Today, I shall mention the ones that I’m not so interested in, and I’ll explain my reasons for each.
Movies that I will think about catching, but probably will watch on DVD instead, if I ever watch them:
Blue Jasmine (Oct 10)
It’s a quirky comedy drama by Woody Allen, and Cate Blanchett is always lovely, but it’s not enough to make me go to the cinema.
The Butler (Oct 24)
It has an uplifting trailer, and an all-star cast that includes Robin Williams, John Cusack, Jane Fonda and James Marsden playing the eight US Presidents that Forest Whitaker’s character is butler to, and his fellow White House servants. (They have managed to transform Alan Rickman into Ronald Reagan’s spitting image, which is amazing.) But at the same time, it also looks overwrought and heavy-handed in the way that it will play on your emotions. Critics have been mixed about it too, so this is one of those I’ll-think-about-it films for me.
Captain Phillips (Dec 5)
Another heavy drama, with Tom Hanks in the lead, based on the true story of Captain Richard Phillips and the 2009 hijacking by Somali pirates of the US-flagged MV Maersk Alabama. I vaguely remember reading about it in the news back then. While it ended fairly well — the captain survived at least; not sure about the pirates — I need more than just Tom Hanks amongst a cast of unknowns to make me make a trip to the cinema, buy a ticket, and sit down and watch a heavy drama for two hours to emerge feeling as though my guts have been wrenched out.
Out of the Furnace (Dec 6 in the US; whenever in Singapore)
Christian Bale is in it, and so is Woody Harrelson, whom I liked in Now You See Me and The Hunger Games. That’s not enough incentive for me to catch a gritty movie about people in redneck towns looking for their brothers who have gotten into deep shit, the possibly losing-your-limbs-and-your-life kind.
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (Dec 26)
Ben Stiller directs and stars in this film about an office worker who lives inside fantasy worlds where he gets to live an adventurous life while romancing his co-worker. The trailer has a dreamy, surrealist feel to it, and the premise looks like a muted version of the LOL comedies that Ben Stiller is best known for — which is great because such movies always feel like they are trying too hard to make you laugh. But I am not particularly a fan of Ben Stiller to want to go to the movies for him.
August: Osage County (whenever)
It’s adapted from an award-winning play, with a stellar cast that includes Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Ewan McGregor, and Benedict Cumberbatch in a minor role. That said, it is a very character-based drama about relationships in a family in small town America. I am not interested enough to go to the movies for this.
Acclaimed movies I will most likely be skipping:
All is Lost (Oct 18 in the US; whenever in Singapore)
It’s two hours of Robert Redford being stuck at sea alone, struggling to survive. It will be interesting to see how it will keep the audience riveted with just him on screen, but it also looks like a terrifying film that I’m perfectly fine not watching.
Dallas Buyers Club (Nov 1 in the US; whenever in Singapore)
It’s a David vs. Goliath story with great reviews from critics, and I know Matthew McConaughey is transitioning from the frivolous roles he used to do into an A-list indie actor. But I’m not a huge fan of his, and movies about topics I’m not very interested in have to have a cast of actors I like, or one actor I love and will watch *anything* in (an exclusive club which, right now, comprises only of Michael Fassbender and Tom Hiddleston). Also, while I admire his dedication in nearly starving himself for this film, his accent is indistinguishable.
The Wolf of Wall Street (Nov 14)
Usually, I will watch anything that Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio paired up to do; but the trailer looks vulgar. That’s mainly it. I don’t mind watching movies about excessive consumption, but the excess shown in the trailer is so vulgar that it turns me off. Which is probably the point of the real life story turned into book that the movie was adapted from — to show how outrageous and shocking Wall Street culture is when people with *extremely* dubious morals have too much money — but this time round, I just have to say no. Unlike American Hustle, which also depicts excess, it does not have an ensemble cast that I am excited about.
Nebraska (Nov 22 in the US; whenever in Singapore)
It’s a character-based adventure-drama about an aging, booze-addled father who makes his way to Nebraska with his estranged son to collect a million dollar Mega Sweepstakes Marketing prize (synopsis from IMDb), and the trailer looks quirky. Bruce Dern won Best Actor at Cannes for his portrayal of the father, and it’s directed by Alexander Payne, who also did the highly acclaimed Sideways and The Descendants. That said, I have no clue who any of the actors in this movie are, and I need more incentive.
Inside Llewyn Davis (Dec 20 in the US; whenever in Singapore)
It’s a quiet character drama set in a seminal time in music history, directed by the Coen brothers, and critics love it. But the cast doesn’t appeal to me, and I’m not interested in music history either.
I’m not saying I will never watch these movies. They look like good movies after all, and they will probably go on to be nominated for and win some awards. A few years later, if I change my mind, I’ll probably catch them on DVD. But right now, my interest isn’t there.
There are many more I haven’t mentioned here, simply because I am not interested at all — whether because the cast isn’t appealing enough for me, or the genre (Escape Plan. I don’t like Sylvester Stallone all that much, and I detest testosterone-filled movies for the sake of testosterone-filled movies), or the fact that it just looks stupid (Machete Kills. No. Just no.)
When I choose movies to watch, it’s not a dichotomy between blockbusters and serious dramas/arthouse films, because that is just being either a pretentious art-fart, or one of the mindless hordes that studios target every summer with sequels and explosions to keep them happy. It’s whether that movie has a combination of factors that will interest me.
Usually, when I discover a movie is in production, I would have decided then if I was interested in it based on how much I like the cast, the plot, and the director, in that order. (If you have read through all my reasons above, you will notice that the cast is the most important factor. It is also why I watch very few foreign films.)
The eventual trailer will either affirm my decision, which is what happens most of the time; or occasionally cast it into doubt, making a “maybe” into a “yes” (that happened to The Artist), or a “sure-watch” into a “wait-for-the-DVD” or an even rarer “won’t-even-bother”. (The Hangover Part II falls into the last category. I loved the ingeniousness of the first movie, but once I knew they were going to Thailand and they put a monkey in the sequel — one of the most trite, trying-so-hard-to-be-a-LOL-comedy-it’s-not-funny gimmicks to ever have been invented — I lost all interest in it.)
Along the way, if I happen to fall in love with an actor and I know he is going to be in a certain movie, my interest in that movie will catapult (re: Crimson Peak, which will be the first horror movie I’ll ever make myself watch, because Tom Hiddleston signed on to do it). Reviews don’t usually play a part in my decision, unless the critics have panned what I thought should have been a good movie, or praised a movie that I thought had the potential to be awful. (I was going to watch Paranoia for Gary Oldman and Harrison Ford, and a bit for Liam Hemsworth and Josh Holloway, but all the critics absolutely hated it, so I decided not to.)
If anyone else would like to offer up their own list of movies they will be watching, feel free to comment! I would love to see if others share the same view as me.