2008 Oscar-Bait

Well, it’s been a good year at the movies so far. There are only a few films that I’m interested in seeing this Summer (Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Pineapple Express, and Tropic Thunder)

My Top 5 for 2008 So Far:

1. The Dark Knight
2. Wall-E
3. American Teen
4. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
5. Iron Man

That said, I’m really looking forward to Oscar season this year. I have a feeling that the Academy Awards are going to be insane with competition. Last year was good, but this will probably be better. This afternoon I hunted down the upcoming films for the rest of the year.

My Top 11 Must-Sees:



The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Directed By: David Fincher
Starring: Brad Pitt / Cate Blanchett / Tilda Swinton

Zodiac was royally shafted at the Academy Awards this year. I thought it should have been nominated for picture, adapted screenplay, supporting actor (Robert Downey Jr) and visual effects. It probably wouldn’t have won any, but it should have had some recognition.

That said, I think Benjamin Button is going to get Fincher back in the game.


(Apple Trailers)

Burn After Reading
Directed By: Ethan Coen / Joel Coen
Starring: Brad Pitt / George Clooney / John Malkovich / Tilda Swinton / Frances McDormand

After the amazing No Country for Old Men last year, it looks like the Coens are back in action with a dark screwball comedy (their forte) with a great ensemble cast. It will be nice to see Frances McDormand in a Coen film again.


(Apple Trailers)

Revolutionary Road
Directed By: Sam Mendes
Starring: Leondardo DiCaprio / Kate Winslet / Kathy Bates

Looks like a Titanic cast reunion. Add in the director of American Beauty and Road to Perdition and you have an awesome combination.

The Soloist
Directed By: Joe Wright
Starring: Robert Downey Jr. / Jamie Foxx / Catharine Keener

Robert Downey Jr. has been in an insane number of films the last few years. That’s all.

Australia
Directed By: Baz Luhrmann
Starring: Hugh Jackman / Nicole Kidman / David Wenham

Quite simply, this looks epic, and I do not want to miss seeing it on the silver screen. It may end up being the next Lawrence of Arabia for all we know. And you can’t go wrong with Hugh Jacman.


(Apple Trailers)

Appaloosa
Directed By: Ed Harris
Starring: Viggo Mortensen / Renée Zellweger / Jeremy Irons / Ed Harris

As long as it’s better than Hidalgo. Solid cast, and the amazing Ed Harris.

Lakeview Terrace
Directed By: Neil LaBute
Starring: Patrick Wilson / Kerry Washington / Samuel L. Jackson

What can I say? The preview sold me. This looks to be quite the tense film.


(Apple Trailers)

Body of Lies
Directed By: Ridley Scott
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio / Russell Crowe

Since 2002, DiCaprio hasn’t disappionted me once as an actor. He just keeps plugging away. With 8 films in the next two years, he’s going to be a busy man. And to top it off, the preview reminded me a little bit of Michael Mann’s Heat, which is never a bad thing.

Doubt
Directed By: John Patrick Shanley
Starring: Meryl Streep / Philip Seymour Hoffman / Amy Adams

I’ve heard really good things about the Shanley’s play, which this is based on. And what a great cast.

The Reader
Directed By: Stephen Daldry
Starring: Kate Winslet / Ralph Fiennes

Defiance
Directed By: Edward Zwick
Starring: Daniel Craig / Liev Schreiber / Jamie Bell

You can’t go wrong with Edward Zwick.

What films are you looking forward to the most?

Bubble Review

I wasn’t planning on posting anything until I watched The Dark Knight tomorrow afternoon [IMAX-Harrisburg-2:15 PM-“Han Shot First” tshirt], but I also wasn’t planning on watching Bubble

Bubble
Directed By: Steven Soderbergh
Starring: Debbie Doebereiner / Dustin James Ashley / Misty Wilkins
Rating:

Firstly, am I the only that constantly confuses Steven oderbergh with David Cronenberg? (At least I can spell their names properly) And secondly, the only Soderbergh films that I have seen previously are the Ocean’s films, Traffic, and The Good German (which I didn’t care for). I can see now that I definitely need to explore more of his earlier work. It’s not all George Clooney and heists. 🙂

I randomly picked up Bubble at the library a few days, thinking it was from the director of Eastern Promises and A History of Violence. With that in mind, I really wasn’t expecting the style of the film. About 20 minutes into it, I had to check the director on IMDb.

It’s quite an unusual film, more in the style of the Dogme 95 movement than anything else. I learned afterwards that the three main actors hadn’t acted before and the scrpt was improvised. This definitely makes sense, and I thought that it worked out very well. Everything about the film felt real and not forced. I was especially impressed with the subtelty.

There’s an alternate ending on the DVD, which personally I didn’t care for. I’m very glad that they didn’t use it, as it completely ruins the realistic quality of Bubble. I vastly prefer the ending that I did see. Everything isn’t wrapped up in a nice narrative box. There’s a lot to think about in terms of the characters and their motivations, and especially varying degrees of conflict. And of course, toss a little religion into the mix. 🙂

Bubble could almost be qualified as a short film, clocking in at 73 minutes. For me the length was perfect. With a film like this that doesn’t rely havily on professional actors and a developed script, I’m not sure how it would have fared with another half hour or so. The story was concise and intriguing.

I’m not going to summarize the film. I’d rather just recommend that you get a copy and watch it.

Clone Wars: Lightsaber Duels Trailer

Click here if the video doesn’t play properly.

George Lucas’ Next (non-Star Wars) Film

John Campea at the Movie Blog posted yesterday about Red Tails, a (2009) film that George Lucas will be producing. The film will be set in World War II and will cover the Tuskagee Airmen, who were the first African-American pilots during the conflict. John Ridley (Three Kings) is set to be the writer.

I remember hearing about this at least 1-2 years ago, but now that the Star Wars films are over (or are they?) for the most part, I can see this getting more press later on this year.