By this point, with only two months remaining, I must confess myself despaired that there shall not be a single truly great American movie released in 2010. Given that we’ve firmly entered Awards Season – a time of year marked by movies that are supposed to be better than they are – I don’t suppose that any are in the hopper, either. But here’s what’s coming up this month, anyway.
And here we are, with the month’s first awards hopeful – one of the shoo-ins for a healthy chunk of Oscars, Danny Boyle’s telling of the true story of a man who got trapped in a canyon and had to cut off his own arm to escape, 127 Hours. I would love to be as super-psyched for this one as I possibly could; I would love to share in the feeling that this is going to be one of The Big Films of the season. But that trailer… that trailer tells me it is the Boyle of The Beach, and not the Boyle of Sunshine, who made this picture. Obviously, not everyone will share this perspective; a good number of people probably consider “not the man who directed Sunshine” to be cause for relief. But there you have it: I am prepared to not love this movie. For shame! I am a heathen.
Still, it’s the best bet in a shaky weekend. The big 3-D family movie (because every week in November needs one of them, right? Well, it’s actually three of four this year, which startled me a little bit. Maybe November is the new June) is DreamWorks’s Megamind, which looks to suffer from all the usual DreamWorks complaints: crammed-in celebrities, arch pop-culture tone, unlovely character design. And the big R-rated lad comedy is Due Date, which has “August release” scrawled all over it, but there you go: the film Todd Phillips rushed through while pre-producing The Hangover 2. A sentence increasingly packed with horrible notions the longer you stare at it.
Frankly, I’m almost the most excited so see For Colored Girls, not because I am necessarily thrilled to see notoriously un-nuanced direct Tyler Perry work his magic over a legendary work of African-American literature (which I have not read), but because I suspect that, with this film, I’m finally going to lose my Tyler Perry virginity.
Y’all on the coasts get an early look at Fair Game, the Valerie Plame thriller starring Naomi Watts, which will no doubt be Serious and Important, and hopefully this does not mean that it will also be Shrill and Unfun, but I have my suspicions.
Among the many mysteries of Morning Glory is why it snagged a Wednesday release. Another is what exactly it’s supposed to be: Murphy Brown Loves Prada is my best guess right now. What the hell, it’s got Diane Keaton in it, it gets my $10.
Striking back against the tiny onslaught of female-driven comedy earlier in the week, the weekend is all the fuck about dudes: whether ’tis the molten testosterone of the newest Tony Scott/Denzel Washington collaboration, Unstoppable (this time Denzel stops a runaway train! hopefully with his bare teeth! how macho would that be!!), with its noise and its artfully grainy cinematography; or the fanboy service of Skyline, which has aliens. And some really crummy dialogue in the trailer. It’s also the most high-falutin’ shiniest CGI-driven indie that I think has ever come out, which is a point of interest, at least.
I’ve bitched a lot, and I’ll bitch in the future, that of all the Harry Potter books to be cut into two parts for its film adaptation, it would be the last – the one in which nothing at all happens for about 300 pages or so, compared to the virtually non-stop incident of Goblet of Fire, Order of the Phoenix, and Half-Blood Prince, all of which managed to work just fine as single-part movies right around 2.5 hours or so. And yet, I am excited for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1. Hell, it’s going to be pretty. Damn pretty. And maybe, just maybe, director David Yates will somehow manage to tap into his inner Tarkovsky and find something illuminating and powerful in the 90 minutes he’s going to be obliged to devote to scenes of Harry, Ron, and Hermione camping. In fact, I think that’s exactly what’s going to happen.
Other screens: Oscarbait in the form of a socially-progressive Sally Hawkins vehicle about a labor strike, Made in Dagenham; and then, The Next Three Days, a prison-break movie from the bombastic mind of Paul Haggis.
“There’s a new musical. It’s animated. It’s from the Disney studios. Glen Keane had a major part in developing it. It’s a new fairy tale movie based on ‘Rapunzel’. And the songs are by Alan Menken.” Given all this, long-time readers might reasonably assume that I was more excited for Tangled than for any other movie of 2010. Then again, the same long-time readers would likely have seen one or another of the film’s trailers, and would know exactly why I’m not excited for Tangled, not even above the other movies opening for Thanksgiving: it’s going to suck. It’s going to suck really goddamn bad. It’s going to offend everyone who ever grew up on a steady diet of Sleeping Beauty and The Little Mermaid. Shit, that trailer makes me nostalgic for Meet the Robinsons.
But I may be wrong. It has happened a great many times. And if that’s the case, this is going to be the happiest blog in the whole world on the 24th.
Here’s the damn weird thing: there are actually two musicals opening the same day, so I have a back-up. Admittedly, that back-up is a Christina Aguilera vehicle. But nevertheless, I am unjustifiably excited for Burlesque, and you can’t do a damn thing to stop me. Happily, I get to re-establish my credibility by being not excited at all for Faster, a movie in which explodey things are.
In the company of Burlesque, Faster, and Tangled, I am quite certain that one of the great sins committed by Love and Other Drugs is its violation of the elegance of nothing one-word titles. That, and being directed by the boring hack Edward Zwick. That will be another of its great sins. Still, it has Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway nude. There are always compensations.
The unenviable lot of being the one film released the day after Thanksgiving falls this year to The King’s Speech, which I assume was renamed from its working title of Colin Firth Plays a King and Wins an Oscar.