Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Short Film: The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore

I failed in my duties when I completely forgot to post this on Monday evening, but if you haven't stumbled across it just yet, feast your eyes on Oscar winning animated short The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, the mini-movie that beat out Pixar's La Luna.  Directed by William Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg, it's a story for book lovers that's oddly in step with the nostalgia sweep of this year's Academy Awards.  With a touch of Wizard of Oz, a bit of silent homage to Buster Keaton, and some very charming books, I'd say it deserves the recognition.  What say you?

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Oscars 2012 Liveblog

Honestly, if I were you, I wouldn't read this liveblog.  I can tell you in advance how it's going to go: The Artist will win everything, I will kick, scream, complain, whine, and sulk in my little corner of the internet. The commentary will be run of the mill, but, guys, I have to vent someplace.  These people on the couch with me just don't want to hear it (well, hear it again).  So, they will pacify me with candy and cookies, I will hope for a shocking turn of events, and all of you are welcome to do your own venting here as well...

6:35: Melissa McCarthy should win a special award for most genuinely likable individual on the red carpet.  Maybe. Or, most genuinely likable actress?

6:37: I keep flipping between the ABC official red carpet coverage and E!, but I don't know why. E! is like the trash tabloid coverage down to the screen layout.  Cheap, easy, and loud.

6:46: Alright, guys, look at Jean Dujardin. Watch him. He's a charmer, but it's sort of like everything you like about his performance in The Artist isn't really acting, it's just him.  It's like that part in Juno where Michael Cera has to point out no, guys, it's not the stink eye, it's just her face.  That's Dujardin. He just is  that character...

7:00:  Just realized the actual telecast doesn't begin until 7:30. FOILED. Ughhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.....

7:09: The cavalry has arrived with the candy, and they've themed it appropriately: "SweetTartists, Swedish Fish for Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Pop Rocks for Extremely Loud (a bit of an explosion), slices for War Horse."

7:30: You know it's time for some storybook business when Morgan Freeman shows up.  #UltimateNarrator

7:35: Alright, that opening was fairly cute. Appreciate the Biebs "I'm here to get you the 18-24 demographic" bit, and, you know, that little Clooney/Crystal liplock.

7:38: We have to have the song.  This takes me back, guys.  First an obviously topical Field of Dreams reference, then a song and dance straight out of 1994.  Glorious.

Achievement in Cinematography: Hugo - gorgeous movie, I approve. Though, I'm not really sure how anything tops Tree of Life.
Achievement in Art Direction: Hugo again.  Approval rating: high. 

7:50: "Chapter 11 theatre" "Your name here theatre" poor Kodak.

7:51: Who put together this montage?  A big chunk of this looks sort of like an advert for an $8 DVD sale at Best Buy...

Costume Design:  Mark Bridges The Artist.  Whatever.  So, we were seeing too much of J.Lo's boob there, right?  This dress is really awkward...
Achievement in Makeup: Iron Lady  makes sense to me.

Best Foreign Language Film:  A Separation no alarms, no surprises.  Man, can they give me something to snarkily comment on already?  Otherwise, you know, I just have to keep eating candy. #LifeisHard

8:09: The Batman is here to bring us Best Supporting Actress, that clip really highlighted the ways in which that was the least impressive of Jessica Chastain's performances last year (I liked her in that role, but, Tree of Life...Take Shelter).  And the winner is...OCTAVIA "big surprise" SPENCER.  Waterworks! She looks great this evening, incidentally...

8:18: These little digital chirps are driving me positively insane. I feel like we're learning something about all of Hollywood, like they're all automatons or replicants and their voicechips are broken...


8:22: Tina Fey is doing that thing that Liz Lemon does when she's trying to be a bit elitist and flashy.

Film Editing: Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, I also wasn't expecting this.   
Sound Editing: Hugo .....Great pun, guys.  Groan...
Sound Mixing: Hugo.  Gonna win all the awards except the big one, right?

8:34: Just add Muppets. Stir. Same thing, maybe, with the Cirque....oh, Jonah Hill is clearly wishing he were more stoned for that.

8:41: I love Robert Downey Jr. Seriously.  This banter is pure gold.
Best Documentary Feature: Undefeated.  I asked for snarky commentary from the candy cavalry, they asked if I've been documenting the progression of their farts.  There you go.  That's as good as it gets.

8:45: Um, Christ Rock, I think that may be more along the lines of how working with Dreamworks goes, phone it in. BUUUUUUUUUUURRRRRRN.
Best Animated Feature: RANGO!!!  Thank god Pixar went and sucked it up this year, Rango deserves this.

8:51: Ben Stiller looks befuddled by Emma Stone.  Is she channeling Kristen Wiig right now?  She's nailing this. They should have her host next year...
Achievement in Visual Effects: Hugo.  How mad is Andy Serkis right now?

8:58: Melissa Leo: More cursing please.  Throw some life into it.
9:00: Nick Nolte appears to have forgotten what he actually did while filming Warrior...
Best Supporting Actor: Christopher Plummer for Beginners.  Oldest actor ever to win an Oscar? Whoa, VON TRAPP FTW!! Who doesn't love this dude, seriously?  Although, this acceptance speech is nearly identical to the one he made at the Spirit Awards.

9:09: Damn dog.

9:12: Big flashy prop, Best Original Score: that half-baked score from The Artist. "No formal training..." yep, that's why it sounds like every other Hollywood cliche on the planet.   

9:16: Best Song: "Man or Muppet" As if you had any doubt.  Really wish that had been performed...

9:24: She has to stand like that in this gown, right? Is there a rule? Imma stick out my leg over here, imma jut out mah hip, imma stand like i'm on the cover of a comic book.  I'm beginning to believe she's in a parasitic relationship with her children.  They're eating all of her meals, possibly sucking the nutrients right out of her hair or something.
Best Adapted Screenplay: The Descendants
Oh, those men posing like Angelina Jolie just made my day....

9:29: Is Jolie's skin purple?  Like, a little bit?  She's wasting away, guys.
Best Original Screenplay: Woody Allen! Midnight in Paris! Naturally, Woody is a no show.  

9:39: Ah yes, the cast of Bridesmaids is here to deliver the dick jokes.
Best Live Action Short Film: The Shore, daddy/daughter Oscar win (she's a giggler...)
Best Documentary Short: Saving Face
Best Animated Short: The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore

9:51: Best Director: Michel Hazanivicius 
In that roster? A serious joke. Bullshit bullshit bullshit.

10:00: I'd somehow managed to conveniently forget that at some point tonight The Artist would begin winning everything important and I would begin to actually yell things in the direction of the television.

10:13: I'm not impressed with Natalie Portman's dress. It's cute, but somehow very prom to me.
10:14: I watched A Better Life awhile back but didn't bother to review it, while the acting was good, the whole scenario seemed very Lifetime Movie of the week to me. It just didn't hit any of the right notes for me.

10:15: Yes, I'm probably heartless.
Best Actor: Jean Dujardin for The Artist.  I AM BREAKING STUFF RIGHT NOW.  I AM BREAKING SO MUCH STUFF.  This should have been Michael Fassbender, but out of the nominees I was really rooting for Clooney. In thinking about it, he really did some impressively nuanced work.  #Disappointed

10:25: So, the thing for everyone to do lately is talk about how good Viola Davis has always been. My question is: how have we determined this, when was everyone paying close attention to Viola Davis?  I mean, she was great in Doubt and clearly an excellent actress, but...?
Best Actress: Meryl Streep for The Iron Lady.  The film wasn't great, but the performance was impossibly strong.  She's a class act, it's been awhile....

10:33: Viola Davis is a talented lady, guys.  She's got the advantage of being a household name now. She will have her day, and chances are it will be for a much better film than The Help.

Best Motion Picture: The Artist
That's it, guys. There's your damn dog.  Y'all are crazy.  I'm done. Game over. I have to go push this TV out the window and into the yard now.  Break all the things.  

Saturday, February 25, 2012

All-Time Top 10: Actors Without Oscars

I've been having significantly more fun making lists about the Oscars than I'll probably have watching them.  With the awards ceremony just a day away,  we're coming up on the inevitable end of the list blitz.  Just as with the actress list, this one is in no particular order.  

1. Peter O'Toole
Number of Nominations: 8
Stand-Out Roles: Lawrence of Arabia, The Lion in Winter, Venus, Becket, The Ruling Class
What is the What: O'Toole is the real deal, a charmingly awkward gentleman veering between delicate and psychotic. All this is potentially more impressive if you consider he was probably completely drunk delivering most of his performances.

2. Peter Sellers
Number of Nominations: 3
Stand-Out Roles: Being There, Dr. Strangelove, The Mouse That Roared, The Party
What is the What: When he barely tried, he was nearly a master of physical comedy.  At his most inspired, however, he was a frenzied sort of genius with a million quick-change characters ready to be dropped in an instant.   

3. Cary Grant
Number of Nominations: 2
Stand-Out Roles: North by Northwest, His Girl Friday, Charade, Bringing Up Baby, T
he Philadelphia Story
What is the What: Beloved as a human being but never honored as an actor, Cary Grant defines what it means to be a leading man.  His knack for screwball comedy and the casually debonair is a skill set discounted too often.

4. Johnny Depp
Number of Nominations: 3
Stand-Out Roles: Ed Wood, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Sweeney Todd, Finding Neverland
What is the What: A brilliant character actor who, it seems, can divorce is on-screen personas 100% from his "real life" character.  If he'd step a little ways out of the spotlight and keep away from big budget projects like The Tourist, he'll win yet. 

5. Leonardo DiCaprio
Number of Nominations: 3
Stand-Out Roles: The Aviator, Revolutionary Road, The Departed, 
Shutter Island, What's Eating Gilbert Grape?
What is the What: While some (ahem, I'm looking at you Kat) still believe Leo should have gotten recognition for dying with shaky grace in the icy waters near the Titanic, it's hard to deny that he's become a stronger and stronger actor as the years have passed. The Aviator was a stand-out moment, and watching Leo's psyche crumble, watching him develop the tics of the suffering Howard Hughes, was nothing short of remarkable. 

6. Paul Giamatti
Number of Nominations: 1
Stand-Out Roles: Sideways, Win Win, American Splendor, John Adams, Barney's Version
What is the What: Giamatti is an actor's actor, a guy who does wonders operating in a spectrum of grays without pushing to one extreme or the other.

7. Robert Downey Jr.
Number of Nominations: 2
Stand-Out Roles: Chaplin, Tropic Thunder, Sherlock Holmes, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang 
What is the What: RDJ elevates mediocre blockbusters and makes them about the characters, he can banter with the best of them.

8. Brad Pitt
Number of Nominations: 3
Stand-Out Roles: Twelve Monkeys, Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Fight Club, Tree of Life, 
Inglourious Basterds, Burn After Reading
What is the What: How long have we been hearing a running commentary on Brad Pitt as a "pretty boy" instead of a "real actor"?  Twelve Monkeys and Kalifornia seemed to prove early on that Pitt could act himself out of a box, if need be, but also that he was willing to take on the wide variety of projects necessary for an interesting, noteworthy career.   

9. Richard Burton
Number of Nominations: 7
Stand-Out Roles: Becket, Equus, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Night of the Igauana
What is the What: He dominates the drama and casts one hell of an intimidating, grim shadow. 

10. James Mason
Number of Nominations: 3
Stand-Out Roles: Lolita, Bigger than Life, A Star is Born, Georgy Girl
What is the What: Mason seemed best suited to a sort of melodramatic role as corrupted father figure, or, maybe that's just how we know him best.  He was a versatile actor, strangely sympathetic even as he adopted the guise of tyrannical villain,   

Honorable Mentions: 
Bill Murray, Alan Rickman, Orson Welles, 
Edward Norton, Fred Astaire, Gary Oldman

Thursday, February 23, 2012

All-Time Top 10: Actresses Without Oscars

The countdown to Oscar night is on, and while I'm sort of hoping I won't have to add Michelle Williams to this list in the future, I'm also sort of ambivalent about the whole thing.  Will I liveblog?  Yes, I will. Will it likely be exceptionally negative and deprecating?  Probably.  For now, though, let's just talk about these ladies.  What began as two separate lists of Oscar-snubbed actresses has been merged to include talented women past and present.  While some still have a shot at a statuette, we watched the careers of others end long ago.  In no particular order, I present for your consideration ten actresses (+Charlotte Rampling) who deserve(d) the recognition. 

1. Deborah Kerr
Number of Nominations: 6
Stand-Out Roles: The King and I, From Here to Eternity, Black Narcissus, The Innocents, An Affair to Remember, and I kind of love her in Night of the Iguana
What is the What: Kerr received an honorary Oscar in 1994, but never received a statuette for any single, specific performance.  I've long considered her an incredibly versatile actress, one who resisted the pigeon-holing of Hollywood's golden age iconography and who disappeared into her roles whether a tea-sipping gentlewomen or adulterous beach-comber.

2. Judy Garland
Number of Nominations: 2
Stand-Out Roles: Wizard of Oz, A Star is Born, Meet Me in St. Louis
What is the What: Garland received 'Juvenile' recognition for her role as Dorothy but was neglected adult recognition. She burned with a manic energy and seemed to bring her tragic real life to the screen in ways that made her every appearance somehow surprising.

3. Isabelle Huppert
Number of Nominations: 0
Stand-Out Roles: The Piano Teacher, La Ceremonie, Violette, 8 Women
What is the What: She may be French and her roles may be primarily French-speaking (though she was great fun in I Heart Huckabees), which makes her an unlikely Oscar contender, but Huppert is a formidable on-screen presence whose every character seems to demand that we take the time to peel back the layers and analyze what's going on there.  

4. Catherine Deneuve
Number of Nominations: 1
Stand-Out Roles: Repulsion, Belle de Jour, Last Metro, 
Umbrellas of Cherbourg, Indochine
What is the What: While Deneuve is certainly more of a European presence, she seems to have been a muse to the whole of the continent. She's a bold beauty, an art house icon, and the sort of import you'd be totally justified in assuming had an Academy Award.

5. Greta Garbo
Number of Nominations: 4
Stand-Out Roles: Ninotchka, Camille, Anna Christie, Queen Christina, Mata Hari
What is the What: Garbo was a gravelly-voiced enigma with the perfect face for silent cinema and the ability to speak volumes with those arched eyebrows.  For all the mystery and drama she brought to the screen, however, she also a sort of preternatural knack for comic timing...

6. Barbara Stanwyck
Number of Nominations: 4
Stand-Out Roles: The Lady Eve, Double Indemnity, The Furies, Stella Dallas
What is the What: When she appeared on screen she dominated not because of some haunted glamour, but because she exuded the same self-assured, gutsy confidence of her characters.  Even when she's playing vulnerable, there's a trace of a bad ass just below the surface. 

7. Liv Ullmann
Number of Nominations: 2
Stand-Out Roles: Persona, Autumn Sonata, Face to Face, Scenes from a Marriage, 
What is the What: Ullmann was, perhaps, Ingmar Bergman's go-to actress of choice, and their match made for a great artistic collaboration.  Where Ullmann may not be suited to larger-than-life roles, she plays small, quiet ones with a sublimely understated grace and an always present depth of feeling.

8. Charlotte Gainsbourg
Number of Nominations: 0
Stand-Out Roles: Antichrist, Melancholia, The Science of Sleep
What is the What: Really, guys, I'm putting her on here because her work with Lars Von Trier has been nothing short of phenomenal.  Even if you're a die hard Von Trier detractor, you can't argue with the wrenching strength of Gainsbourg's performance in Antichrist.  

9. Julianne Moore
Number of Nominations: 4
Stand-Out Roles: Far From Heaven, The Hours, Boogie Nights, Magnolia, 
A Single Man, Safe, The Kids Are All Right
What is the What: It's easy to think of the seemingly quite affable Moore as somehow like her recurring 30 Rock character, but that may qualify as underselling her a little.
 Ok, maybe a lot.

10. Helena Bonham Carter
Number of Nominations: 2
Stand-Out Roles: Fight Club, King's Speech, Sweeney Todd, Howards End, 
Wings of the Dove, A Room with a View
What is the What: A consummate character actor who seems to be in a constant state of on-screen reinvention. She's as poised as the queen mother and as colorful as a cartoon.

Honorable Mentions: 
Charlotte Rampling, Marilyn Monroe, Marlene Dietrich, Emily Watson, 
Laura Linney, Catherine Keener, Annette Bening, Gloria Swanson, Michelle Williams

Required Reading: David Denby Discusses 'The Artist' in Context

Dear Internet Friends:  We all know The Artist is practically guaranteed a Best Picture win at this Sunday's Oscars.  As you may have determined from my bitter review, Twitter rants, and run-on slamming of the film, I think this is a complete joke.  In reading one glowing commentary after the next from the big names, movie-blogging community, and Hollywood-at-large, I began to feel as though I'd watched a completely different film.  Where had people gotten this sense of something fresh and new?  Where was this revelatory sort of joy coming from?  The film I had seen was muted and stale, its actors approximating something they didn't fully understand, the movements plagued by a too-slight range of motion.  As charming as Jean Dujardin is, I was dumbstruck that he was even nominated, now that's he's a frontrunner, I'm wondering if Hollywood even knows its own history.

Basically: I'm been sitting here shaking my head in complete confusion since December.  Now, The New Yorker's David Denby has written an exhaustive piece on the art of silent film acting for the February 27th issue that makes me feel like maybe, just maybe, someone did see the same forgettable novelty I sat through.  Denby smartly articulates just what I've been bothered by, but does it in a way far more polite than I've been able to.  Read the article at The New Yorker's site it's well worth the time.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Wilde.Dash's 30 Most Anticipated of 2012, pt. 2


16. Cloud Atlas (?)
Directed By: The Wachowskis & Tom Tykwer
Starring: Hugo Weaving, Tom Hanks, Hugh Grant, Halle Berry, Susan Sarandon, Jim Sturgess
One-Sentence Reason: If you're familiar with the novel, you know the scope and scale of this project promises either the highest highs or the lowest, most disastrous lows. 
17. Liberal Arts (?)
Directed By: Josh Radnor
Starring: Elizabeth Olsen, Josh Radnor, Zac Efron
One-Sentence Reason: It's about college and it rocked Sundance, is that enough?

18. Stoker (?)
Directed By: Chan-Wook Park
Starring: Mia Wasikowka, Nicole Kidman, Matthew Goode, Jacki Weaver
One-Sentence Reason: This is Chan-Wook Park's (Oldboy, Thirst) English-speaking directorial debut...written by Prison Break star Wentworth Miller (say what?).

19. Looper (9/28)
Directed By: Rian Johnson
Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt, Paul Dano
One-Sentence Reason: JGL and Rian Johnson reteam to bring us a sci-fi story about an assassin sent to kill his future self.

20. Only God Forgives (?)
Directed By: Nicholas Winding Refn
Starring: Ryan Gosling, Kristin Scott Thomas
One-Sentence Reason: A year after Drive, Gosling and Winding Refn join forces to bring us what will likely be an insanely stylized Thai boxing match.

21. Cosmopolis (?)
Directed By: David Cronenberg
Starring: Robert Pattinson, Paul Giamatti, Juliette Binoche, Samantha Morton, Mathieu Almaric, Jay Baruchel
One-Sentence Reason: The novel is DeLillo, the director is Cronenberg...the fact that the star is Edward Cullen can probably be excused.

22. Bachelorette (?)
Directed By: Leslye Headland
Starring: Kirsten Dunst, Lizzy Caplan, Isla Fisher, Adam Scott, Rebel Wilson
One-Sentence Reason:  A supposedly acidically nasty comedy about dreadful women cast in supporting roles on the big day of a 'friend' they routinely ridicule (Bridesmaids: the dark side?).

23.Byzantium (?)
Directed By: Neil Jordan
Starring: Saoirse Ronan, Gemma Arterton, Tom Hollander, Sam Riley
One-Sentence Reason: Neil Jordan joins the vampire game, Saoirse Ronan is pretty awesome.

24. Damsels in Distress (?)
Directed By: Whit Stillman
Starring: Greta Gerwig, Analeigh Tipton, Adam Brody
One-Sentence Reason: Whit Stillman's dialogue.

25. Anna Karenina (?)
Directed By: Joe Wright
Starring:Keira Knightley, Matthew MacFadyen, Jude Law, Kelly Macdonald, Aaron Johnson
One-Sentence Reason: With the exception of The Soloist, Wright's flair for the visually dramatic and ability to make twice-told stories interesting his left me thoroughly impressed.

26. Skyfall (11/9)
Directed By: Sam Mendes
Starring: Daniel Craig, Ralph Fiennes, Javier Bardem, Judi Dench
One-Sentence Reason: While I haven't loved the last two Craig-based installments of the 007 series, I'm eager to see where a director like Mendes can take the spy flick, especially with Bardem and Fiennes in the mix as potential villains...

27. The Gangster Squad (10/19)
Directed By: Ruben Fleischer
Starring: Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, Sean Penn, Josh Brolin, Nick Nolte, Giovanni Ribisi
One-Sentence Reason: It's a Los Angeles gangster story set in the 40's/50's, I'm sensing some noir.

28. The Wettest County (8/31)
Directed By: John Hillcoat
Starring: Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman, Jessica Chastain, Shia LaBeouf, Guy Pearce, Mia Wasikowska
One-Sentence Reason: The presence of nearly every buzzed about actor of 2011 cancels out the fact that Shia LaBeouf is in this movie.  

29. Attenberg (?)
Directed By: Athina Rachel Tsangari
Starring: Giorgos Lanthimos, Ariane Labed
One-Sentence Reason: Dogtooth was so thoroughly bizarre that I can't wait to see what else leaps fully-formed from Tsangari's head.

30. Frankenweenie
Directed By: Tim Burton
Starring (the voices of): Catherine O'Hara, Winona Ryder, Martin Short
One-Sentence Reason: I must have watched the original short film at least 20 or 30 times growing up...

Honorable Mentions:
The Dictator, Wreck-It Ralph, This is 40, Lincoln, Gambit, 
Safety Not Guaranteed, Cogan's Trade, and yes...
The Hunger Games.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Wilde.Dash's 30 Most Anticipated Movies of 2012, pt. I


1. Moonrise Kingdom (5/25)
Directed By: Wes Anderson
Starring: Bill Murray, Ed Norton, Frances McDormand, Bruce Willis, Tilda Swinton, Jason Schwartzman
One-Sentence Reason: I unapologetically love Wes Anderson, and we haven't had a live action film from him in five years.

2. Django Unchained (12/25)
Directed By: Quentin Tarantino
Starring: Jamie Foxx, Leonardo DiCaprio, Samuel L. Jackson, Christoph Waltz, Sacha Baron Cohen, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Kurt Russell
One-Sentence Reason: QT has rounded up a cast of standards and A-listers for what appears to be another piece of revisionist, badass history (this time set on a Mississippi plantation).

3. The Dark Knight Rises (7/20)

Directed By: Christopher Nolan
Starring: Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, Gary Oldman, Anne Hathaway, Marion Cotillard, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Juno Temple
One-Sentence Reason: While the number of new elements in play leave me dubious: it is the Batman.

4. Prometheus (6/8)

Directed By: Ridley Scott
Starring: Charlize Theron, Michael Fassbender, Noomi Rapace, Idris Elba, Patrick Wilson, Guy Pearce
One-Sentence Reason:  In space, no one can hear you scream.

5. Brave (6/22)

Directed By: Mark Andrews & Brenda Chapman
Starring (the voices of): Kelly MacDonald, Emma Thompson, etc.
One-Sentence Reason: Pixar's first outing with a female protagonist (and first stand-alone feature since 2009's Up) looks to be a positively gorgeous adventure.

6. The Master (Untitled Paul Thomas Anderson Project) (?)

Directed By: Paul Thomas Anderson
Starring: Philip Seymour-Hoffman, Laura Dern, Amy Adams, Joaquin Phoenix
One-Sentence Reason: While little has been revealed on the auteur's upcoming project, we do know that it will be a 1950's period piece on the leader of a seemingly sinister faith-based organization.

7. The Avengers (5/4)

Directed By: Joss Whedon
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Samuel L. Jackson, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, etc. etc. etc.
One-Sentence Reason: Even if it winds up being absolutely terrible, the lead-in has been tremendous fun.
8. Dark Shadows (5/11)

Directed By: Tim Burton
Starring: Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham-Carter, Eva Green, Chloe Moretz, Michelle Pfeiffer, Jackie Earle-Haley, Johnny Lee Miller
One-Sentence Reason: Soap opera styled gothic horror which (according to early rumors) is successfully, hilariously, camp...count me in.

9. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (12/14)

Directed By: Peter Jackson
Starring: Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, a million other people
One-Sentence Reason: If for no other reason, I look forward to seeing what Peter Jackson can do with Middle Earth now that technology has accumulated another decade's worth of advancement.

10. Gravity (11/21)

Directed By: Alfonso Cuaron
Starring: Sandra Bullock, George Clooney
One-Sentence Reason: Cuaron's films always inhabit beautiful worlds, and (if Children of Men was any indication) he may just have a talent for science fiction strong enough to make us forget the Bullock of The Blind Side.

11. The Amazing Spider-Man (6/3)

Directed By: Marc Webb
Starring: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans, Sally Field
One-Sentence Reason: Because the comic book film has evolved, Mary Jane was always overrated, and personally, I'm all for a slightly darker take on the web-slinger.
12. The Great Gatsby (12/25)

Directed By: Baz Luhrmann
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, Carey Mulligan
One-Sentence Reason: Baz Luhrmann is adapting Fitzgerald in 3D; if nothing else, you know it's going to be a feast for your eyeballs.

13. "The Untitled Terrence Malick Project" (?)

Directed By: Terrence Malick
Starring: Ben Affleck, Rachel McAdams, Jessica Chastain, Rachel Weisz, Michael Sheen, Javier Bardem
One-Sentence Reason: Malick went from five movies in 40-years to five movies in the scheduled span of three, after Tree of Life, I am 100% ready for the next one.

14. Nero Fiddled (?)

Directed By: Woody Allen
Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Ellen Page, Penelope Cruz, Alec Baldwin, Alison Pill, Greta Gerwig
One-Sentence Reason:  Woody Allen goes to Italy and casts Jesse Eisenberg as his proxy, what could go wrong?

15. Snow White and the Huntsman (6/1)

Directed By: Rupert Sanders
Starring: Charlize Theron, Kristin Stewart, Chris Hemsworth, Ian McShane
One-Sentence Reason: Those there's a strong chance that with Stewart in the mix this could go the way of a more action packed Twilight, it's a chance I'm willing to take on the merits of its visuals alone.

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