Sunday, September 21, 2008

Upcoming Films and Trailers

The first half of the year only produced a handful of worthwhile films, which is typical. The 2 best films I've seen so far this year are probably WALL-E and The Dark Knight. I admittedly didn't see that many films, though, as very few piqued my interest.

The 2nd half of the year always has a lot more interesting films. Here are a few that are on my radar for the second half of the year. In the approximate order from most to least anticipated.

1) The Curious Case of Benjamin Button - The latest project from probably my favorite living director, David Fincher, finds him teaming up with Brad Pitt once again (as they did on two of my favorite films, Se7en and Fight Club). It's based on a an F. Scott Fitzgerald short story and the trailer is really phenomenal. Fincher's latest work, Zodiac, was another masterpiece, so it will be interesting to see if he hits another one out of the park.

2) The Wrestler - Coming off of the brilliant 'The Fountain', Darren Aronofsky is back with 'The Wrestler'. Starring Mickey Rourke as an aging wrestler seeking to regain some of his past glory, but with some troubling personal and family issues. It just recently premiered at Venice Film Festival and won the top honor there. Aronofsky is one of the most interesting filmmakers working today, and he is for 3/3 so far in my book (Pi, Requiem for a Dream, and The Fountain). This will mark the first time he hasn't worked with cinematographer Matthew Libatique on a film of his, and all the early reviews say his signature visual flair is definitely absent. Resulting in this film having a grittier, toned down, 70s drama look and feel to it. I'm very interested to see how this will turn out.

3) Burn After Reading - The Coen Brothers' follow up to No Country For Old Men (one of my two favorite movies from last year) has them returning to their bread and butter; the dark comedy. As opposed to drama/thriller. This film also stars Pitt, oddly. And features an excellent cast including John Malkovich who is always awesome. Prior to NCFOM, the Coen's had been in a rut with a couple of lackluster comedies. Will be interesting to see if they return to form in the genre.
(EDIT: This is no longer upcoming, it came out last week and is excellent. Check it out)

4) Blindness - I read the dystopian novel by Jose Saramago about a year or two ago, and thought it was one of the better novels I had read in quite a while. Shortly after I had read it I heard that Fernando Meirelles, director of City of God (easily one of the top 10 films of the 2000s), was going to be directing an adaptation of the novel. That's a pretty potent combination of strong source material, and a very talented director at the helm, so I was highly anticipating it before I even saw a trailer. The trailer itself is actually underwhelming, and even looks like a sterilized, Hollywood version of the universe. But I still have high hopes for this one.

5) Choke - I'm actually not expecting too much from this. It's based on the novel by Chuck Palahniuk (author of Fight Club). I read the book a few years ago, and I thought it was one of Palahniuk's weakest books. In addition, this is the director's first film. So he's untested and unproven. However, Sam Rockwell as the lead was a very excellent casting choice. After seeing Fincher adapt Palahniuk, though, I envision all of his novels as i read them as though they're being directed by Fincher. So I'm just curious to see how someone else will handle the source material.

There are undoubtedly some other upcoming films worth checking out that I either forgot or don't know about, but these top my list.

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