Summer’s over, and good riddance – though I’m not the first to notice the curious and maybe unprecedented manner in which the 2010 summer movie seasons consistently improved as it went on. At any rate, it’s time for the loveliest of all months, when the big-ticket movies are done and the Oscarbait hasn’t quite gotten its makeup on yet. Hooray!
First, though, we have to let the rest of the air out of the summer, with what by all means out to be a real pip of an assassin thriller: The American, with George Clooney under the direction of Anton Corbijn. At a minimum, it should be unfathomably gorgeous; and it’s a good time of year for that sort of thing.
And then, summer finally passes out, with Machete, Robert Rodriguez’s expansion of his fake Grindhouse trailer. To be fair: it is bound to be better than a full-length Don’t or Werewolf Women of the S.S. To be cynical, the best part of that trailer was the voiceover line, “They fucked with the wrong Mexican”, and even if that makes a cameo appearance in the feature, it won’t work as well.
Then we transition into the September Doldrums with Going the Distance, a romantic comedy with Drew Barrymore and Justin Long, about two people in love in distant cities. Boy oh boy, if there were ever two people I wanted to see in a movie together, it was Drew Barrymore and Justin Long.
3-D + the fourth entry in terrible horror series based on video games + the legendarily bad Paul W.S. Anderson = Resident Evil: Afterlife, the newest in a line of movies I am unreasonably excited for only on the basis of how gaudy they look. And Christ, does this one ever look gaudy. Paul W.S. Anderson in 3-D is the kind of thing that makes angels cry.
The only other wide release is The Virginity Hit, which looks so bad on so many levels I kind of can’t think about it, but the limited release calendar – some of it opening only in New York and Los Angeles, unfortunately – has some interesting possibilities: Casey Affleck’s documentary about Joaquin Phoenix, I’m Still Here; a hit French romantic comedy, Heartbreaker; and an Australian musical dramedy, Bran Nue Dae, among others.
An Ishiguro novel set in dystopian Britain, with a cast of Lovely Young Things including Keira Knightley, Carey Mulligan, and Andrew Garfield? Why yes, I think I am already desperate for Never Let Me Go.
Taking the wide releases in order from most to least anticipated, because I have no freaking idea which one is going to be the biggest:
–The Town, Ben Affleck’s second film as director. Gone Baby Gone was outstanding, and this film has an even more irresistible plot hook: a master thief falling in love with the woman suffering from PTSD after he robbed her bank. The bad news is that Ben is playing the lead himself, instead of his brother Casey.
–Easy A, in which Emma Stone (who is immensely likable, but needs to be in a really great movie soon if she doesn’t want to keep drifting around and running out a career by her 30th birthday – and her window-dressing role in Zombieland doesn’t cut it) relives a teen comedy version of The Scarlet Letter. Could be good, hard to say: but there is a quick bit with Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson in the trailer that is as funny as hell, and anyway, those two actors are enough to get me to pay for just about any movie ever.
–Devil finds M. Night Shyamalan story-writing and producing – because writing is his strength – a story about Satan-inna-elevator.
–Alpha and Omega looks so fucking ugly, I can’t even put it into words. The least-appealing animated film of 2010.
The coasts only, but a new Woody Allen film is enough of an event that I must still call attention to You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger, which at any rate cannot possibly be as bad as Whatever Works.
Delayed from all the way back in April, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps finds Oliver Stone making his first-ever sequel, for a story that probably didn’t need it; but hey, topicality. Also, any new Stone is a guarantee of interesting results, though increasingly, nothing good. So this one definitely gets a look, even if one should keep one’s expectations at a low simmer.
Also, Zack Snyder makes his own first: a non R-rated movie in the form of Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole, a cartoon about owls. From the trailer, a powerfully gorgeous cartoon; but Jesus, an epic about owls? From Zack Snyder? I wonder if there’s even the possibility of this turning out well.
Rounding out the wide releases, there’s You Again, which has all the hallmarks of a pedestrian, throwaway comedy – and yet there’s Jamie Lee Curtis and Sigourney Weaver in the cast. So there must be something there that the trailers aren’t telling us, unless the sole reason to see the film is watching those two immensely wonderful actresses zinging each other. Which is, at any rate, a good reason.