With summer almost coming to an end it’s about time to look forward to the best American cinema has to offer. Because of awards season, and because people have more time to focus on serious things apparently, fall and winter bring movies adults can sink their teeth into.
Of course, there are some remakes in the mix, and a startling number of works featuring Scarlett Johannson, not to mention scripts by Oscar winner Paul Haggis (Crash) finally finding their way to the big screen. Here is a taste of some of the best the season has to offer, and those with the best chance of making a dent with the Academy.
Based on the mysterious death of TV’s Superman George Reeves, Focus Features’ Hollywoodland (September 8) has much buzz going in. Not only is Ben Affleck getting early raves for his performance, but the film itself is supposed to be a moving account of a mostly forgotten actor’s life. Making his directorial debut is Allen Coulter, known for his work on HBO’s Sex and the City and The Sopranos.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind director Michel Gondry makes his return with The Science of Sleep (September 22), starring Gael García Bernal and Charlotte Gainsbourg. From a script by Michel Gondry, The Science of Sleep looks to be another mixed-up, wonderful love story.
The eagerly awaited All the King’s Men (September 22), a remake starring Sean Penn, Jude Law, James Gandolfini, Kate Winslet, Mark Ruffalo and Anthony Hopkins, is about the rise and fall of an idealist in Louisiana politics. The film was directed by Steven Zallian and was finished last year but pushed for release this year.
Michael Moore is back, this time with his notoriously hush-hush project called Sicko, due for release some time in September, dealing with America’s health care system in all of its corrupt and twisted glory.
October 6 brings Martin Scorsese’s The Departed, which has him reteaming for the third time with Leonard DiCaprio. Written by William Monahan, the film also stars Matt Damon and Jack Nicholson. Scorsese is delving into the mean streets of South Boston where the state police are taking on organized crime.
Time again when Hollywood tries to make a film of an unfilmable, but great novel. This time it’s Running with Scissors (October 27), based on the novel by Augusten Burroughs. Annette Bening, Joseph Fiennes, Alec Baldwin and Evan Rachel Wood head the cast.
October 20 brings Richard Linklater’s Fast Food Nation, speaking of unfilmable novels. Pic stars Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette and revolves around, of course, fast food and its struggle with keeping its fresh meat fresh. Clint Eastwood’s Flags of Our Fathers is written by Paul Haggis and stars Paul Walker. Sight unseen, the film already seems to have its foot in Oscar’s door.
Sofia Coppola brings Marie Antoinette to US theaters also on October 20, on the heels of it getting roundly booed at the Cannes Film Festival. Forget best picture and screenplay but keep an eye on this one for the technical nods, like art direction and costume.
November sees the animated film Flushed Away, from Dreamworks, starring Hugh Jackman and Kate Winslet (voicing the animated characters), and the latest by Pedro Almodovar, Volver, with Penelope Cruz.
November 10 a trio of highly anticipated films make their debut – Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s Babel, starring Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett goes up against Fur, starring Nicole Kidman about the life of Diane Arbus. Also opening, A Good Year, reteaming Russell Crowe with director Ridley Scott.
Most awards watchers are looking forward to Christopher Guest’s For Your Consideration, which is a send up of the awards process itself. It’s about time someone shined a light on the absurdity of the season. Guest brings back his loyal team of players, including Eugene Levy, Harry Shearer, Parker Posey, Catherine O’Hara and this time, he adds Ricky Gervais to the list.
The last month of the year almost always rolls out the Big Oscar Movies and this year it’s Mel Gibson’s Apocalypto, for better or worse; Steven Soderbergh’s The Good German, starring George Clooney; Dreamworks, directed by Bill Condon and starring Beyonce Knowles; and The Good Shepard, directed by Robert De Niro and starring Matt Damon and Angelina Jolie.
Are you excited yet?