Between the Chicago International Film Festival (10/9 – 10/23) and an increasingly busy commercial release slate, I’m going to see something like 31 movies in 31 days. How many do you think I can get reviewed? Over/under 15?
The Good Lie
AMERICAN CITIZEN Reese Witherspoon wants another Oscar, y’all.
I didn’t like Gillian Flynn’s novel as much as most people, but when I read it I did think it had a lot of potential to be a better movie. My issues were mostly with the narrative gimmicks used throughout the book, and I think with those removed the story can take over more fully. Early reviews have been pretty great, and I’m really looking forward to this one, Ben Affleck and all.
Alexandre Aja’s latest is about a young man who sprouts devilish horns after the brutal murder of his girlfriend, of which he stands accused. I’ve been waiting for this one forever. So glad it’s on demand, so I can catch it and Gone Girl.
Nicolas Cage is remaking a Kirk Cameron movie adapted from a book about the rapture. No, that’s not a joke.
Men, Women & Children
Jason Reitman follows up the lackluster Labor Day with Men, Women & Children. Reviews for this one haven’t been much better than they were for Labor Day. Reitman may need to take a break and rediscover his mojo.
Adapted from the erotic novel by Zane, Addicted is about a woman whose seemingly perfect life falls apart when she begins an affair. Have you ever read anything by Zane? This movie will be HOT. Might not be any good, but it will be HOT.
Alexander and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day
Another adaptation, this time of a kids’ book. Good for the kiddie set, I guess, but not worth it for anyone else.
Dead Snow 2: Red vs. Dead
Norwegian director Tommy Wirkola made Dead Snow, a Nazi-zombie splatter flick that got him a job making Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters for Paramount. So that should tell you something about the overall quality of Tommy Wirkola movies. If you’re into cheesy splatter-gore on the cheap, with terrible dialogue and indifferent acting at best, you MIGHT like Dead Snow 2. Otherwise, pass.
Oh God I hope I have time to squeeze this in. It looks delightfully terrible.
I Am Ali
A documentary about Mohammed Ali, drawing from his personal archives and audio recordings.
RDJ is gunning for an Oscar, y’all.
Kill the Messenger
Jeremy Renner burned a lot of favors to get this movie made, based on the true story of Gary Webb, the journalist who broke the story of the CIA’s complicity in the importing of cocaine to the US during Iran-Contra. It’s a tragic story, and one worth telling, and while Renner is the best he’s been since The Hurt Locker, overall the movie falls a little short.
Starring James Corden, the new host of CBS’ Late Show, One Chance is based on the true story of Paul Potts from Britain’s Got Talent. I have a soft spot for weirdoes doing well on talent show auditions. I won’t have time for this in October, but I can see myself going for it later in the year when it’s too cold to go outside.
The movie looks formulaic, but it also looks like the kind of thing that can be elevated by strong performances, and this is a helluva cast, featuring Bill Murray, Melissa McCarthy, and Naomi Watts. I’m picking it up at CIFF and can’t wait.
Miles Teller and JK Simmons star as a budding jazz percussionist and his tyrannical instructor. It’s been getting raves since Sundance and is one of my must-sees for the month.
The Best of Me
It’s a Nicholas Sparks adaptation—I wonder how the evil bitch woman manages to screw over the perfect, angelic man this time.
I had a dream that I went to see this but it was a horrible performance art installation instead. I am super looking forward to this one, bizarre dream aside.
The Book of Life
Guillermo Del Toro produces this animated movie from director Jorge R. Gutierrez—he’s Tim Burtoning for Gutierrez. It looks really beautiful and charming, and I want to see it, but not enough to prioritize it during my 31-31 challenge.
Kristen Stewart is going back to her roots as a dramatic actress in character-driven dramas, and she’s getting the best reviews of her career out of it. I hope I have time for this one, but if I don’t catch it in October, I definitely will next month.
Dear White People
ALL THE YES.
I find it interesting that both Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are fielding World War II movies with Oscar hopes this year.
The Tale of Princess Kaguya
A Thumbelina-esque fairytale from Studio Ghibli, and very possibly their last commercial feature for a while, if ever. A must for animation fans.
This Swedish film about a vacationing family caught in an avalanche has been getting raves on the festival circuit all year. I’m seeing at CIFF and cannot wait.
Keanu Reeves is FIFTY.
Keira Knightley and Chloe Grace Moretz star in Lynn Shelton’s latest about a woman (Knightley) enjoying a prolonged adolescence. Co-starring Sam Rockwell, which means it’ll get watched eventually.
Reminds me strongly of Final Destination, in that it’s about watching a group of kids get picked off for a couple hours.
White Bird in a Blizzard
On demand since September.
ABCs of Death 2
A horror anthology of 26 short films.
Before I Go To Sleep
It’s Memento, but boring and starring Nicole Kidman.
Jake Gyllenhaal pulls out all the stops as a sleazy, down-on-his-luck crime reporter in Los Angeles. Reviews at TIFF were decent, with most critics citing the strength of Gyllenhaal’s and Rene Russo’s performances more than the movie itself as a total effort.