My Thoughts on the December 2010 Releases

I initially sent this in an email to a friend, then thought: this could be a kind of cool thing to post on my blog and hopefully generate a little feedback that is not happening in my review posts.  I could make it into a monthly feature, and it could be fun for people to see what I think of movies before I see them in comparison to my reviews afterward.  So here are my initial thoughts on the 12/10 releases.

Black Swan: it’s Aronofsky. Enough said.  Looks like Polanski becomes Argento.  Hope the trailer hasn’t ruined too much.  Bonus points for Cassel.  And could this be the start of a genuine career for Kunis?  And Winona Ryder is in this?  Oh, Aronofsky, you’re just stacking the deck against yourself, aren’t you.  I have no doubt you’ve succeeded, but is the toll that this challenge must have taken on you the real reason your marriage has collapsed?  As for Ryder, she’s going to have this critical darling in December and then the mainstream-friendly The Dilemma in January.  Could she possibly resuscitate her career after all these years as well?  Are these the kinds of doors that playing Spock’s mother for a few seconds opens?

I Love You Phillip Morris: delayed longer than God. Could it possibly be any good at this point? Considering mainstream America are homophobes and no one could figure out how to market “funny” Jim Carrey playing gay, possibly.  Or it could just be all kinds of an interesting misfire.  Even if it’s not great, should be worth a watch.  Carrey and McGregor look like an oddly successful pairing.

Rare Exports: should be interesting.  Hopefully it will be interesting, fun, and at least decent.  Certainly it will be different, and a far superior alternative to Little Fockers or Gulliver’s Travels.

The Warrior’s Way: this looks all kind of terrible.  Kate Bosworth, what are you doing to your career?  And Geoffrey Rush, you should know better.  There is no way this is a “paycheck” movie, and neither is it The King’s Speech.

The Tourist: I’m sure I’ll see it, but Johnny Depp looks badly miscast. Seems like this would be much better featuring an average guy who gets caught up with Angelina Jolie. Johnny Depp playing an average guy? That doesn’t work. Imagine if someone like Ed Helms had starred in this alongside Angelina. Now that would have been a fucking awesome movie. Or at least more realistically, an Edward Norton or Ryan Gosling or someone who can at least be this side of average in a Hollywood way. But not Johnny Depp in fucking mascara. Still it’s the American debut from the director of The Lives of Others, so there’s that.

The Tempest: I hate Julie Taymor. Titus was the longest 14 hour movie of my life. Even when Taymor directs well, she directs interminably.

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader: I will see it because I love the Narnia books, but the film adaptations just aren’t as effective at capturing the magic or being compelling as the Harry Potter movies. I’m not sure why this is. Perhaps Hilary Swank is a secret producer.

The Company Men: I’m actually really interested in this one, even with Ben Affleck acting. But this looks like it’s been downgraded from wide release to limited. Either it’s going to platform out and be a surprise hit of the holiday season as it connects with audiences who can empathize in the failing economy, or it’s going to be a tree falling in the forest that no one will hear and it will run for 1-2 weeks and then disappear. It’s the theatrical directorial debut of ER showrunner John Wells, so there’s that. Plus some really good older talent like Chris Cooper and Tommy Lee Jones. Conservative Republicans could potentially eat this one up if given a chance.

The Fighter: I’m there, even though I’m not the world’s biggest Mark Wahlberg fan. But I like Christian Bale and I like Amy Adams, and I’m curious to see what David O. Russell has done taking over after Aronofsky left, with a movie that seems like it would have been perfect for Aronofsky (I guess once you do The Wrestler, you’re not doing The Fighter, too).

Tron: Legacy: this is the fanboy drooling pad of the end of the year, and I’m so there. I think Kosinski is going to be pumped up as the next Spielberg/Fincher after this comes out. Hopefully Garrett Hedlund doesn’t ruin the whole movie, but The Matrix ended up being Keanu-proof, so you never know.

Yogi Bear: shoot me in the fucking head, hell no.

How Do You Know: yes, I will take more Paul Rudd with a side serving of Owen Wilson (and I say this as a straight man who just happens to like both of them), and it looks like the best thing Brooks has directed in a long time. I used to really like Reese Witherspoon, but she is starting to age in a bizarre way, and perhaps not making the best movie choices lately, either. Still, I don’t think she’ll actively detract from the film.

All Good Things: I’m there for Gosling, even if it looks predictable and likely bad.

Rabbit Hole: Kidman, Eckhart, Cameron Mitchell, script by Lindsay-Abaire. Hell yes, bring on the depressing dead kid drama. Perhaps this will be the antidote after the inevitable Little Fockers viewing.

Casino Jack: it’s probably good, or possibly not. Either way, it looks kind of boring. If someone twists my arm or I read a bunch of good reviews, I could be convinced.

Frankie and Alice: Halle Berry bad is too much for even Stellan Starsgard good. Probably not.

Little Fockers: I can see it happening, God help me. Particularly around the holidays with some friends or family with questionable and mainstream-only taste.

True Grit: yes, this is a done deal. Going to be an interesting holiday season for Bridges, and he looks great in this. He’s somehow aged into one of the few Hollywood living legends over the last few years; before that he was simply an aging (and good) actor. Still, with all of the potential, for some reason I’m a little worried the Coens may succeed in making a smart, brilliant version all their own that doesn’t get criticism from fans of the original, yet still fumbles the ball in an odd way near the end. Hope not.  And no, I don’t think Damon will be the weak link, even if I’m in the minority in saying that, though I’ll admit he may not have been that well-served by the trailer.

Somehow: eh, I’ll see it. But Sofia Coppola you are becoming pretentious and your trailer doesn’t help. Nor does what looks to be too close a retread to Lost in Translation. And Stephen Dorff is no (insert talented actor here, or anyone I might have preferred to see in this part… let’s say Josh Brolin to stick to a similar type).

The Illusionist: somehow not very interested. Could positive feedback on this change my mind?

Gulliver’s Travels: I don’t see how I can manage both this one and Little Fockers. It has to be one or the other. Both and I will receive a shotgun blast to the head in the middle of the night courtesy of the Taste Police.

Country Strong: I have a feeling this movie will show, in the aftermath of Tron: Legacy, that Garrett Hedlund actually CAN act.  Still, I hate country music.  I also haven’t yet seen Duets, and if I have to see Gwyneth Paltrow singing in a movie, I would prefer to finally rent that one.

Blue Valentine: hell yes. Even if it gets an extremely limited NC-17 release, I will be there.

Biutiful: I’ve been waiting for this one for ages. It’s the first Inarritu film since the parting with Arriaga, and it looks awesome. Like Inarritu’s take on Shyamalan’s Unbreakable. Bardem is always amazing; and seeing him play a romantic, existential, beleagured, blue-collar family man trying to make sense of seemingly supernatural powers looks right up my alley. Too bad this thing is going to get dumped into an extremely limited release, me thinks.

Another Year: it’s Mike Leigh, so probably, unless it gets lost in the shuffle as I travel between L.A. and Buffalo and it ends up only playing in those cities when I’m not there.  Can’t say I’m super excited, and I’ve missed the last few Leigh releases, but really, it’s time to change that and fill in the holes in my Leigh catalogue.

So what are you all looking forward to in December?  Anything here that’s new to you that looks interesting?

Published in: on November 13, 2010 at 2:51 am  Comments (3)  

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Visitor from megwood here. I’ve learned not to get enthused over films these days, but the Rare Exports trailer looks promising and I like the Finnish style of madness. Can’t abide Angelina Jolie – she looks to me as though she’s made of plastic – so I’ll be giving The Tourist a miss.

    After all the buildup, I can’t see how Tron Legacy can be anything but a disappointment. So I’m ignoring the buildup.

    Frankie and Alice finished filming in January 2009 and is only getting a release now? Not a good sign.

    Nothing’s really reaching out and grabbing me…

    • Hey Roger, thanks a lot for coming over here and reading and posting!

      I think this year has been disappointing in a lot of ways, and December looks to continue that in terms of the awards-angling releases. The 2011 Academy Awards looks like it’s going to be a pretty bleak affair, just not much to choose from. As for what’s going to be big in December, I think Tron (whether it’s disappointing or not, although it’s now gotten to the point where everything released in relation to it is making it look worse and worse) and Littler Fockers (yikes) are a lock, and True Grit seems like it’s poised to sell a lot of tickets and be the thinking person’s draw. But other than that, it may not be a big movie month this year.

      I’ll see if I can get Meg to check out Rare Exports and write a review… seems like it shouldn’t be too hard. 🙂

  2. I saw “Rabbit hole” one the other day. Oscar performances all over, but God, what a depressing film….
    Here’s my review

    As far as Black Swan Natalie Portman deserves some recognition!!!

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