No date set
This is right up my alley. I’m a sucker for metanarrative romances. About 99% of them clunk hard and don’t work, but the few that do – (500) Days of Summer, The Science of Sleep, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind – are the movies that leave me shaking by the end.
Yeah, Comet‘s stylism could be too much and Justin Long has yet to truly prove himself to me as the equal to Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Gael Garcia Bernal, or Jim Carrey, but I trust Emmy Rossum as an actress – especially now that she’s picking her roles from more indie stock.
The trailer works – it hits all the right buttons, pulls me in, makes me wonder, and makes me hope, which means it has all the right ingredients to break my heart and pick me back up again. That’s why I’m a sucker for metaromances – they’re just like the real thing.
BEFORE I DISAPPEAR
No date set
There’s a few reasons to keep this on your radar. Writer-director-actor Shawn Christensen is primary among them – he won an Oscar for Best Live-Action Short in 2012 with Before I Disappear rough draft “Curfew.” Emmy Rossum has been a consistently interesting actor who splits her time between stage and screen. She seems to have struggled a bit with not getting the range of roles she has on stage (in bigger-budget productions, her looks bottled her into playing a certain type of character), so I look forward to seeing her run against type.
Toss in actors like Ron Perlman, Richard Schiff, and Paul Wesley, as well as an intriguing, semi-mumblecore visual style, and you’ve got my attention. Fatima Ptacek, the young girl in the trailer, isn’t exactly a new find. She’s been voicing Dora the Explorer the past three years. I tend to think this is a step up.
Dec. 19 (limited)
Jan. 1 (wide)
I enjoy it when Mark Wahlberg goes back to playing these sorts of antisocial characters picked out of the gutter and dusted off so someone else can use them. These are roles molded from 60s and 70s crime flicks (The Gambler is itself a remake), and few actors hit the exact right note to carry off a modern translation.
That the man using him is played by none other than John Goodman only sweetens the pot.
AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON
Hulk smash Iron Man! Thor screams to the gods! Machine guns!!! Tanks!!! BALLERINAS!!!!!
Never change, Joss Whedon. Never change.
(It’s a good thing James Spader is a CGI whatever-he-is in this. If it was live-action James Spader, I’m pretty sure I’d have to root against The Avengers.)
No date set
OK, this doesn’t look like fine art, but it has a few things going for it that I love. First off, it’s a horror movie that doesn’t star 30 year-olds pretending they’re 18. They’re all well and good, but I enjoy the idea of a man fighting off a werewolf in a retirement community.
Secondly, I like the idea of a blind veteran as the protagonist. We’re seeing more and more protagonists with disabilities – even characters like Hiccup in kids’ movies like How to Train Your Dragon 2. Part of that comes from increasing understanding that “disability” can be a misnomer, and that people who cope with one can be just as able as the rest of us. Part of that comes from being a nation in multiple wars for 12 years running. Our soldiers don’t always come home the way they left, physically and mentally, and so our heroes in film begin to reflect that a little bit more.
Thirdly, I love werewolf movies. There aren’t enough of them, and there aren’t enough good ones. Late Phases looks pretty unabashedly like a B-movie, and that’s fine. I love a good B-movie, and many of them (Bubba Ho-Tep comes immediately to mind) have much, much more to say than you’d think.
2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY re-release
There are a very few films that must be seen in theaters at some point in a cinephile’s life. Lawrence of Arabia is first among these, and I had that brilliant opportunity a few years back. Right behind it, though, is 2001: A Space Odyssey, Stanley Kubrick’s stand-out space horror think piece originally released in 1968.
This is the crowning achievement from an age of science-fiction that was fascinated with the dawning era of space travel and what it meant for mankind as a rebirth into the stars. Writers then didn’t imagine it would become bogged down in a morass of red tape and funding issues. They imagined we would recognize expansion into space as the opportunity to become more as a species than we have been. Instead, that opportunity sits there, patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.