Tag Archives: Jennifer Lawrence

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Comet

Don’t Look Up

by George Wolf

Since Adam McKay shifted into “political” comedy with The Big Short and Vice, it’s become most convenient to label him a satirist. But Don’t Look Up, his latest as writer/director, is more proof that pure satire isn’t quite McKay’s forte.

Not that his work isn’t funny, or astute, or politically charged – it’s all of that. But what McKay does best is his own special blend of outrage, farce, skit-based comedy and yes, moments of satire. The best of the modern satirists – Armando Iannucci, for example – are almost always commenting on one thing by talking about something else. McKay, though, fires slings and arrows that are so often on-the-nose they toe the line between shedding light and making it.

Climate change and disinformation are in McKay’s sights this time, and it isn’t hard to imagine Don’t Look Up being inspired by some exasperated bit of conversation.

“What if some giant, cataclysmic comet were heading straight for Earth? Would that get somebody’s attention?”

Astronomy PhD candidate Kate Dibiasky (Jennifer Lawrence) discovers just such a comet, and along with her anxiety-prone professor Randall Mindy (Leonardo DiCaprio), calculates it will destroy the Earth in precisely 6 months and 14 days.

Sounding the alarm proves harder than they realize.

President Orlean (Meryl Streep, a bit too SNL) and her chief of staff son (Jonah Hill, in pitch perfect Don, Jr. mode) want to “sit tight and assess,” so Kate and Randall take their message to the people. But after an appearance on vapidly positive morning cable news chat, Kate is vilified for her severe bangs and shrill warnings while Randall gets tagged as a PILF and starts getting cozy with TV host Brie Evantee (Cate Blanchett, glorious).

Meanwhile, weird tech CEO Peter Isherwell (Mark Rylance) determines the comet could really be a good thing! It’s composition could be worth billions, so he pushes the administration toward a Star Wars-worthy plan to break it up in pieces small enough to harvest, as uber-angry broadcaster Dan Pawketty (Michael Chiklis) instead wants to focus on the real problem of topless senior caregivers.

What’s left for the little people to do except take sides?

With the clock ticking and the comet now visible overhead, the anti-science crowd preaches “don’t look up” while pop diva Riley Bina (Ariana Grande) belts out a soaring (and surprisingly tuneful) plea to “get your head out of year ass, just look up, turn off that shit FOX News.”

The fertile ground of current pandemic disinformation makes McKay’s mash of Dr. Strangelove and Mars Attacks! seem a little extra urgent. And while Don’t Look Up never matches the satirical majesty of Kubrick, McKay is able to nicely cop the disinformation industry’s circular strategy of reframing evidence against it as evidence supporting it. He knows how his film’s worldview will be attacked, but also how some calculated ridiculousness can be a pre-emptive strike.

But is McKay’s film going to change anyone’s mind? Seriously? No, no it’s not, but he knows that, too.

Hey, if you think our current situation is too dire to have fun with, that’s understandable. But if you can relate to Grande singing, “Celebrate or cry or pray, whatever it takes,” then this is funny stuff. Just don’t mistake the laughs in Don’t Look Up – and there are plenty of them, including a priceless running gag about expensive snacks – for a lack of outrage or conviction. McKay and one of the year’s best ensembles find space for all three.

Sit tight for mid-credits and after-credits stingers, too. And trust me on the snacks thing.

Sexy Collusion

Red Sparrow

by Hope Madden

Jennifer Lawrence could use a hit.

Though few could throw shade at the film star’s talent—one Oscar and two nominations in a three year span!—she’s made a series of critical and commercial missteps. The slide began with David O. Russell’s weak biopic Joy, then wallowed in all that can be wrong with a superhero movie in X-Men: Apocalypse before hurtling through space with the underwhelming Passengers, and ending with the flaming disaster (though bold and compelling) mother!

Can her sexy espionage thriller Red Sparrow turn that luck around? Doesn’t seem likely, does it? I mean, come on—you’ve seen the trailer.

And yet, surprisingly enough, the film has some style, some queasying violence and unrepentant perversions, and Jennifer Lawrence. It could be worse.

Lawrence plays Dominika Egorova, a Bolshoi ballerina (yeah, right) who breaks the wrong leg, is related to the wrong uncle (the always welcome Matthias Schoenaerts), makes the wrong compromise and winds up in a nasty state.

Writer Justin Haythe, working from Jason Matthews’s novel, has never written a film worth seeing. This is no masterpiece, but it is the kind of material director Francis Lawrence (no relation) manages well.

The helmsman of the last three Hunger Games films knows how to take what amounts to dreary, ugly, mean tales of human bondage and slick them up with a plucky female lead, good costuming, a talented supporting cast and smooth camera movement.

The ugly, demeaning sexuality, though, that’s mostly just Red Sparrow.

Lawrence’s steely, emotionless mask of an expression suits this performance even more perfectly than it did her Hunger Games franchise, but the lacking chemistry between the star and her co-stars keeps the film from ever reaching the sexy thrills it hopes to achieve.

Joel Edgerton, playing the good-hearted American, can’t generate any believable connection with Lawrence’s Russian sparrow, and the crissing and crossing of teams and tales and sides and stories feel forever superficial and convenient.

It might at least be a fun time waster if Charlize Theron hadn’t done that better with last year’s Atomic Blonde.

So, no, this won’t be the film to point Jen’s career back toward true north. But she does have another X-Men coming up. That’s sure to be a winner, right?





Many Mansions

mother!

by Hope Madden

Darren Aronofsky is grappling with some things.

For those of you who know the writer/director primarily for his streamlined, intimate films like The Wrestler, mother! may come as a bit of a surprise.

For the rest of us, mother! may come as a bit of a surprise.

How do you feel about metaphor?

Jennifer Lawrence stars as the very young wife of a middle-aged poet with writer’s block (Javier Bardem). While he stares at a blank piece of paper, she quietly busies herself restoring every room and detail in his remote, fire-damaged home—now their home.

Their peace is disturbed by a man (Ed Harris) knocking at the door, soon followed by a woman (Michelle Pfieffer—look for her name come Oscar time). The poet is only too happy to offer the strangers a place to stay, and this is bad news for the poet’s wife.

Between Aronofsky’s disorienting camera and his cast’s impeccable performances, he ratchets up tension in a way that is beyond uncomfortable. This is all clearly leading somewhere very wrong and the film develops the atmosphere of a nightmare quickly, descending further and further with each scene.

Many a horror film has been built around writer’s block, but Aronofsky has more on his mind than that. The larger concept of creation and all its complications: male versus female, celebrity, consumption, art and commerce. Also maybe the self-destructive nature of humanity as well as its tendency toward regeneration and rot. And being God.

Aronofsky picks up many of the themes that have run through his work, from Requiem for a Dream to The Fountain through Black Swan and Noah.

God as creator, god as creation. Gender politics and the nature of man.

Or is it all just one man’s frustration at not being able to give birth?

Hard to say, really. It’s a big stew, and it’s equal parts self-indulgent and self-pitying. Aronofsky is a daring filmmaker and an artist that feels no compulsion to hide his preoccupations.

Like most of the filmmaker’s work, mother! will not be for everyone. But if you’re up for an allegorical descent into hell, meticulously crafted and deftly told, and if you like your metaphors heavy and your climaxes absurd, this mother! is for you.





Lost In Space

Passengers

by Hope Madden and George Wolf

If there’s one thing we’ve learned from romantic comedies, it’s this: as long as two people are attractive enough and have no entanglements – no jobs, no family, no social obligations to speak of – then only the most ludicrously contrived and easily surmountable of obstacles can keep them apart.

What if we applied this concept to SciFi? Well, if you can cast the two most bankable actors in Hollywood, you might be onto something.

That something is Passengers.

Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt are the pair of stupidly good looking actors playing Aurora and Jim, two of the 5,000 some odd hibernating passengers on a flight to Homestead II – a colony planet about 120 years from Earth. One convenience leads to another and they both wake up a lifetime too early.

To writer Jon Spaihts’s credit, his screenplay opens up many a moral conundrum. Between his existential questions and the film’s needed action sequences, Passengers feels like a good fit for director Morten Tyldum (Headhunters, The Imitation Game).

And yet, there is no easy out these two won’t take.

Big fans of Kubrick (clearly), Tyldum and Spaihts borrow not only from the obvious source of 2001, but even more liberally from The Shining – as well as one certain foreign film that will go unnamed for fear of spoiling the early plot twist.

Intriguing? Not for long.

Passengers also nabs bits and pieces from Gravity, Titanic and Alien (none of the good parts from Alien – although since Spaihts wrote Prometheus, maybe some of this should have been expected).

So it looks good. And the characters are likeable – troublingly likeable, which ends up becoming the anchor this film can’t escape. Potentially fascinating questions are raised, then abandoned, as if it’s too dangerous to risk upsetting some focus group who came to see love at light speed.

Pratt has no problem with likability, but he again finds it hard to veer from his comfort zone of Chris Pratt. This is even more evident next to Lawrence, who can always find small ways to craft a new character, even when hamstrung by a less than challenging script such as this.

You’ll get some how-do-you-do’s to sustainability and corporate greed, but by then the course for Passengers has long been set.

Look at these two! Don’t you like them together?

Verdict-2-5-Stars





Fright Club: Oscar Nominee Skeletons in the Closet

The Oscar nominations are out, and – as is the case every year – the nominees with horror movie skeletons in their closets are fully accounted for. We’ve discussed the great Mark Ruffalo’s not-so-great The Dentist in previous podcasts, so we’ll leave that one in the closet this week. Rooney Mara just missed the cut, as well, with only a cameo in her sister Kate’s Urban Legends: Bloody Mary. The only problem with Tom Hardy was basically determining which bad horror movie to choose (which basically means Tom Hardy is filling in for George “Oh So Many” Clooney this year.)

Who made the grade? Who might take home an Oscar regardless of this horrific offense in their background? Provocative!

Listen to the whole podcast HERE.

5. House at the End of the Street (2012)

Jennifer Lawrence starred in three films released in 2012 – The Hunger Games (maybe you’ve heard of it?), Silver Linings Playbook (winning her first Oscar), and House at the End of the Street. One of these is not like the others.

Lawrence plays Elissa, high school badass who moves into a secluded new house with her single, doctor mother (Elisabeth Shue). Legend has it, out in the woods behind the house roams the crazy-ass, murdering sister of the cute if damaged neighbor boy, Ryan (Max Thieriot).

House at the End of the Street is a smorgasbord of ideas stolen from better films and filmmakers, although it is not a god-awful mess. Whatever success it has is thanks to Lawrence, whose talent knows no bad screenplay, no clichéd character, and cannot be overshadowed by a tight, white tank top.

4. Blood Creek (2009)

What would be more compelling viewing than Superman Meets Batman? Henry Cavill’s run-in with a Nazi zombie played by Michael Fassbender. Clearly.

A Nazi scientist finds a Viking runestone on a West Virginia farm, where blood sacrifice turns him into an ageless monster, and a weird, runestoney ritual keeps him bound in the farmer’s basement. That guy – that Nazi zombie – is played by Michael Fassbender. Whose mind is blown?

Cavill comes into the picture when his character Evan reunites with long lost and presumed dead brother Victor (Dominic Purcell). Some crazy farmers have had him locked up all this time, taking his blood for god knows what purpose.

Truth be told, Cavill offers a fine turn full of longing and regret, and Fassbender is mesmerizing. The guy cannot turn in a bad performance. He’s completely feral, totally unhinged. It’s like he has no idea that the movie he’s in is so, so, so very bad.

The effects are terrible, the medieval Viking hocus pocus is beyond ludicrous, Purcell cannot act, and the script’s lack of logic actually makes you long for director Joel Schumacher’s better efforts, like Batman and Robin or 8MM.

Seriously, that’s how bad this is.

3. Critters 3 (1991)

Long before Django Unchained, Titanic, or even What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, a barely pubescent Leo DiCaprio donned a day-glow t-shirt and a pre-teen scowl to battle Gremlin rip-offs in Critters 3.

They are furry, toothy, ravenous beasts from outer space and, until episode 3, they were content to terrify rural folk. But now they’re in the big city, and (in a clear rip off of the not-quite-as-terrible film Troll), they are pillaging a single apartment building and terrifying all those trapped inside. It’s a comedy, really, the kind with farting furballs and dunderheaded people. Which is to say, one that’s not particularly funny.

Serving up the same derivative comedy/horror pap you can find in one out of every three films made that decade, Critters 3 has a lot of hair in scrunchies, oversized blouses belted over colorful leggings, stereotypes, and actors on their careers’ last legs. And Leonardo DiCaprio, which will forever be the only reason this movie was released to DVD.

2. Minotaur (2006)

Oscar nominee Tom Hardy is truly one of the most talented actors working today, and I’m sure he’s proud of all his films. Except maybe this one.

The film plays like Jabba the Hutt’s palace set in Middle Earth, except in place of Jabba we have Candyman (Tony Todd, whose actual character name is Deucalion, but he’ll always be Candyman to us). Todd is king of the realm, and beneath his castle lives a Minotaur who requires a blood sacrifice. Periodically he rounds up youngsters from Theo’s (Hardy) village and drops them down below.

Hey – just like the Rancor!

Theo secretly takes the place of one of the sacrificial lambs and hits the underground to slay the Minotaur and reclaim his (probably long dead) love. Hallucinations, danger, and stilted medieval dialog await below the castle, while up above, Deucalion wants to get it on with his sister, who wants to get it on with Theo.

The sets are pretty terrible, as are the accents, props, costumes. Oh, and the Minotaur! He’s like an angry Muppet. But Hardy acquits himself reasonably then quickly goes on to better things.

You will, too, but why not indulge?

1. Dead Space (1991)

A distress signal from a research lab on the planet Fabon draws in maverick space cowboy Steve Krieger (Marc Singer, from such superior films as Beastmaster 3) and his cyborg shipmate Tinpan. Oscar nominee and billion-time Emmy winner Bryan Cranston plays an infected scientist more sympathetic to the creature he’s created than to the crew this merciless muppet feeds upon.

Jesus God this movie is bad.

The story is utterly nonsensical. No, not that scientists removed from earth have unwittingly created a monster. But why do they feel obligated to share all their secrets with some rando space ranger, why does he take charge of the vessel, why does everyone wear blue unitards underneath their lab coats, who on earth thought Laura Mae Tate could act – well the unanswerable conundrums are legion.

But Cranston tries. He tries to create a character, tries to generate chemistry with other actors, tries to be both villain and victim, tries not to look like a mannequin when the giant mutant tears his head clean off. He totally fails, don’t get us wrong, but damnit, he tries.





Miracle Worker

Joy

by George Wolf

Joy professes inspiration from “stories of daring women everywhere.” It was written and directed by a man. How’s that go down?

Pretty smooth, thank you.

It doesn’t hurt that the writer/director is David O. Russell, his headliner is the no-time-for-b.s. Jennifer Lawrence, and much of the story is true.

Lawrence is Joy Mangano, the inventor and home shopping guru who was a struggling single mom when she came up with the idea for the “Miracle Mop” in 1990. Deep in debt from startup and production costs, her tenacity won over an exec at QVC, and..how you like her now?

Of course, Joy’s actual path to success is a bit more complex, and it’s presented with a more high concept approach than we’re used to from Russell (Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle). Some amusingly cast fantasy sequences help introduce us to the various players in Joy’s wacked-out family, including a soap opera obsessed mother (Virginia Masden), a father jumping into online dating (Robert DeNiro) and an ex-husband (Edgar Ramirez) who dreams of being the next Tom Jones.

They all rely on Joy for a place to live, and for seemingly every answer to any daily problem. Though Russell flirts with kitschy excess in letting us into Joy’s world, the tone eventually strikes a relatable nerve. The respect for hard-working single mothers seems genuine, and the breezy reminder that we all have crazy-ass families is hard to resist.

Lawrence completely sells it, because that’s just what she does. The bone-tired exasperation of ambitions trumped by responsibility is evident early on, but Lawrence never lets the flicker of defiance to completely leave Joy’s eyes. When her fortunes begin to turn, the dreamlike elation over sudden success feels sweetly authentic.

Russell again shows his touch with actors is among the best in the business. Yes, he’s working with some of his favorites (Lawrence and DeNiro are joined by Bradley Cooper as the QVC exec giving Joy her big chance), but Russell’s entire ensemble seems both perfectly cast and completely invested, all carving out distinct characterizations.

Trimming twenty minutes would be ideal, but Joy has plenty on its mind. It throws a bit of magic at one woman’s success story, taking effectively subtle digs at consumerism, sexism and reality TV in the process.

Daring women, hear Joy roar.

Verdict-3-5-Stars

 

 





Five More Remakes in Need of an All Female Cast

Rumors of an all-female Ghostbusting team got us A) excited for the reboot, and B) thinking of other movies we’d love to see reimagined with women in the lead. Here are the 5 films we think could benefit from some gender-retooling, along with our dream casts.

Jaws

Steven Spielberg’s 1975 great white classic benefitted from one of the best buddy trios in cinema with Roy Scheider’s reluctant shipmate Sheriff Brody, Richard Dreyfuss’s on-board scientist, and salty sea dog Quint played to perfection by Robert Shaw.

Who has the gravy to run nails down a chalkboard, frighten the locals and bark that she’ll find the shark for $3000, but “catch him, and kill him, for 10”? Nobody but Jessica Lange. We’d flank her with Anne Hathaway as the transplanted cop who wants a bigger boat and Emily Blunt as the oceanographer willing to take the risk when the cage goes in the water.

Easy Rider

How fun would this be? Let’s rework the classic American outlaw motorcycle ride! Who’s the laid back badass looking for an unsoiled America? We’d put the great Viola Davis in Peter Fonda’s role. For the thoughtful square up for an adventure, we swap Amy Adams in for Jack Nicholson. And who could fill legendary wacko Dennis Hopper’s motorcycle boots? We want Melissa McCarthy. (Come to think of it, she’d give Blue Velvet an interesting new take as well.)

Glengarry Glen Ross

Who on this earth could take the place of Alec Baldwin with perhaps the greatest venomous monologue in film history? Jennifer Lawrence – can you see it? We really, really want to see a movie with JLaw chewing up and spitting out this much perfectly penned hatred.

“Put that coffee down!”

And at whom should she spew? The wondrous Meryl Streep should take Jack Lemmon’s spot as loser Shelley Levine. We’d put Kate Winslet in Pacino’s slick winner Ricky Roma role and Kristin Scott Thomas in Ed Harris’s shadowy Dave Moss spot. Then we’d pull it all together with the magnificent Tilda Swinton in the weasely role worn so well by Kevin Spacey.

Predator

We knew we needed an action film, but who could be the new Schwarzenegger? Our vote: Michelle Rodriguez. We then put the ever formidable Helen Mirren in the Carl Weathers boss role. Obviously. The ragtag group of soldiers sent to, one by one, to be skinned alive? Scarlett Johansson, Kerry Washington and Gina Carano. Done.

Reservoir Dogs

Picture it:

Ms. Orange (Tim Roth): Rosamund Pike

Ms. White (Harvey Keitel): Julianne Moore

Ms. Blond (Michael Madsen): Charlize Theron (Cannot wait to see her get her crazy on.)

Ms. Pink (Steve Buscemi): Lupita Nyongo

Ms. Brown (Tarantino): Shailene Woodley

Nice Guy Eddie (Chris Penn): Cate Blanchett

Joe Cabot (Lawrence Tierney): Kathy Bates

 

All right, Hollywood. We’ve done the hard part. Now get on it! All we ask is executive producer status and points on the back end.





Rebel Rebel

The  Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1

by Hope Madden

What makes the Hunger Games franchise so much stronger than the rest of the adolescent lit series out there? Perhaps more than anything – more than a compelling hero’s quest, more than the peril and drama, more than director Francis Lawrence’s eye for action and sense of pacing – it’s that each new film expands the profound talent in this pool of actors.

The great Julianne Moore joins ranks that include 2-time Oscar nominee Woody Harrelson, consummate bad guy Donald Sutherland, genius character actors Jeffrey Wright, Jena Malone, Elizabeth Banks and Stanley Tucci, and the greatest actor of his generation, Philip Seymour Hoffman. And who can forget the lead – a performer with an Oscar and two additional nominations under her belt at the ripe old age of 24? Let’s be honest, these humans could elevate any script that fell into their collective grasp. They could make a decent film out of Fifty Shades of Grey, for God’s sake.

Lucky for us, instead they collaborate on the third of four episodes in the program, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1.

Reluctant hero Katniss, having destroyed the games and been rescued by rebel forces, agrees to be the face of the rebellion in return for the rescue of her beloved friend Peeta (Josh Hutcherson).

Gone is the Battle Royale nightmare and excitement of the games themselves, replaced with the broiling drama of a budding revolution. Gone, too, are the writers that mined Suzanne Collins’s novel Catching Fire for its underlying political maneuverings. They are replaced by Collins herself, who adapts her novel, as well as Peter Craig (The Town) and Danny Strong (The Butler). Their treatment lacks much of the excitement of earlier installments, spending more time with the brooding, dramatic Katniss than with the arrow-wielding badass.

They don’t write down to their audience, though, touching upon the helplessness and compromise of political manipulations, finding similarities between the behavior of the rebellion and that of the dread Capitol.

Credit Lawrence (the director) for keeping a quick pace though saddled with more exposition and fewer action sequences, more heavy drama and less bloodshed. But honestly, the magic of the film is in Stanley Tucci’s disingenuous TV interviews, in Moore’s subtle evolution, in Hoffman’s every bemused chuckle, and in Jennifer Lawrence’s ability to transform into a skulking, unlikeable, single minded teen who happens to carry a revolution on her shoulders.

Verdict-3-5-Stars





Counting Down Holiday Must-Sees

Both Whiplash and Rosewater open this weekend at the Drexel and Gateway Film Center respectively. Both are must-see independent films with Oscar buzz aplenty, but they also signal the end of the fall films. Next weekend, things move toward holiday hoopla, and the awards-baiting indies flow alongside giant blockbuster contenders – indeed, the two sometimes even intersect. What are the holiday films to look out for?

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 (11/21)

Not every adolescent novel series turns into quite this strong a film franchise. Much credit goes to the boundless talent of Jennifer Lawrence, whose surly heroine goes beyond games and into real revolution in the third of four installments.

Horrible Bosses 2 (11/26)

Will it garner Oscar nominations? No. But early word on the sequel to the surprisingly hilarious Horrible Bosses looks to have upped its game, and I want to play.

The Theory of Everything (11/28)

Get to know Eddie Redmayne. This guy can do no wrong, and he may finally get the notice he deserves in this film. Redmayne plays young Stephen Hawking in the magnificent James Marsh’s dramatization of Hawking’s relationship with his first wife, Jane (Felicity Jones).

The Imitation Game (12/5)

Benedict Cumberbatch is impressing early audiences in his turn as Alan Turing, an Englishman who helped break the Enigma code during WWII. Director Morten Tyldum’s last film Headhunters was too enthralling to miss his follow up.

Wild (12/19)

Reese Witherspoon is already the frontrunner in a an Oscar race not yet underway, but her turn as a woman who walks 1100 miles alone to get her head straight is impressing early audiences that much.

Unbroken (12/25)

Angelina Jolie goes behind the camera again, this time to direct the biopic of Olympian and POW Louis Zamperini. Actor-to-watch Jack O’Connell stars, but what’s more impressive is that Joel and Ethan Coen adapted Laura Hillenbrand’s nonfiction text.

The Interview, (12/25)

This Is the End proved that Seth Rogan and Evan Goldberg were solid comedic filmmakers. The two return to their spot behind the camera and pen, with Rogan and BFF James Franco starring as two shoddy journalists who head to North Korea to interview/assassinate Kim Jong-un. No taboo shattering there! It should prove to be uncomfortable, but smart money says it’ll be funny as hell.

Big Eyes (12/25)

Perennial Oscar contenders Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz star in Tim Burton’s biopic of artist Margaret Keane. Early predictors put Adams in the running for best actress, but if this is the film that returns Burton to solid directorial ground, it’s a victory already.

Into the Woods (12/25)

Rob Marshall brings the Sondheim musical to the screen, spinning a yarn that knots Brothers Grimm tales together and sees Meryl Streep, Johnny Depp, Emily Blunt, Anna Kendrick and Chris Pine playing recognizable fairy tale characters. Early word is that the cinematic version boasts inspired performances, particularly from Depp and Streep as The Wolf and The Witch, respectively. We’re in.

Come January we can expect a couple late-running heavy hitters including Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice and Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper before the winter blahs hit theaters. Foxcatcher’s been a moving target, but it looks like local audiences will finally get a chance to see that by mid-January. But you know what? As far as we know, the Browns may still be in contention in January, so we may still have something to watch!

Wait, did we just jinx us?





Fall Preview Countdown

 

Football, honey crisp apples, leaves to rake – you know what that means? It means the cinema will turn from alien invasion bombast to thought provoking, character driven awards bait. Hooray!  Here are the ten fall movies we are most excited to spend time with between now and the holidays.

 10. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1

Sure, it’s another blockbuster and hardly the kind of adult, autumnal fare you’ll find on the balance of the list, but we don’t care. We’re as geeked for Katniss’s next step as any 13-year-old girl. Director Francis Lawrence took the franchise into ingenious new territory with Catching Fire and we are eager to see where JLaw and team can take the political maneuvering next.

9. Fury (October 17)

Brad Pitt returns to Nazi Germany, but don’t expect the dark comedy of Inglourious Basterds. Writer/director David Ayer (End of Watch) is at the helm of what is being described as a brutal but honest look at WWII.

8. Whiplash (October 23)

The always spectacular J. K. Simmons and talented, young Miles Teller join forces in a cymbal-crashing boot camp for musicians. Buzz for this one is great, and we love Simmons, so we’re ready to rock and roll.

7. Men, Women & Children (October 17)

Jason Reitman made his first major misstep this year with the syrupy mess Labor Day, but we are optimistic he will recover with this ensemble drama about how technology is changing our personal landscapes. Co-writer Erin Cressida Wilson (Secretary) should help.

6. Rosewater (November 7)

Jon Stewart writes and directs this true story of a journalist imprisoned and tortured for simply reporting on Iran’s 2009 election. Clearly a topic close to Stewart’s heart, we are eager to see if he can do at the helm of a film what he’s managed to do with his comedy show: articulate the people’s need for unencumbered journalism.

5. Birdman (October 17)

Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu takes a break from heady, heartbreaking drama (Biutiful, 21 Grams, Amores Perros) for something lighter and a bit more meta. Onetime Batman, current struggling actor Michael Keaton plays a struggling actor once known for his role as a superhero. We are in.

4. Foxcatcher (November 14)

Steve Carell has gotten notice for an unforgettable and surprising turn in a true crime drama co-starring Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo. Director Bennett Miller (Capote, Moneyball) has done no wrong so far in his career, and we are intrigued to see where he takes us next.

3. Interstellar (November 9)

Because Christopher Nolan. If he’s directing, we’re in line for tickets, so this space exploration/wormhole business starring Matthew McConaughey (hey, he’s been a good bet lately, eh?) sounds like time well spent.

2. Gone Girl (October 3)

Who else would we line up to see no matter what? David Fincher, who helms this gritty crime drama about a missing wife and a husband who looks guilty. Ben Affleck stars, which is not always his strongest suit, but we’re betting on Fincher.

1. St. Vincent

Bill Murray plays the aging, boozy whoremonger next door who lends a hand to the neighborhood’s new single mom (Melissa McCarthy) in need of a babysitter. What could go wrong? We will be on hand to find out.