Fall 2014 Film Preview, and the Reign of Reese Witherspoon
At last!!! After a summer of countless remakes, annoying sequels, and altogether let-downs at the box-office, it’s finally that time of the movie year when films that actually matter are released, giving you something worthy witness, and hopefully stay in your thoughts. Only a few films have stuck to my memory in 2014 so far – Under the Skin, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Snowpiercer, Boyhood, and Guardians of the Galaxy. Some of the films released this season, however, have the potential to really entertain and move you, along with having a shot at the Oscar Gold.
Oh, and in case you haven’t noticed, Reese Witherspoon is making a major comeback during this season. While producing the highly-anticipated adaptation of Gone Girl, look out for her starring in three other major award contenders, those being Inherent Vice, and The Good Lie. But the real Oscar talk for her is for comes for her performance in Jean-Marc Valle’s Wild, the director’s follow-up film to his Oscar-winning Dallas Buyers Club.
We’ve got over a hundred of these babies coming out in the next three months. Can anything top Boyhood? Here are nine upcoming films I think might have a chance –
Gone Girl, directed by David Fincher, October 3rd
Who better to direct the film adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s ultra-dark novel about a marriage gone horribly wrong, than David Fincher? This guy knows what to do with this kind of pitch-black material. For those who don’t already know, the plot focuses on a man(Ben Affleck) trying to find his missing wife(Rosamund Pike), when suddenly all of the evidence at the scene of the crime points to him, making him the prime suspect. With Trent Reznor once again producing the score, lets all hope this Fincher film will lean more towards his classic work in Fight Club and The Social Network, and not so much on his disappointing Americanized version of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.
Whiplash, directed by Damien Chazelle, October 10th
As someone with a percussion background, I couldn’t be more excited for Whiplash, the much buzzed about Sundance darling about a student jazz drummer(Miles Teller) going through hell by the hand of an intense conductor(Oscar-bait J.K. Simmons). I’ve seen early clips of the film. Prepare to be wowed.
Fury, directed by David Ayers, October 17th
I’m not big of war films, especially the countless ones that have been done about WWII. But writer-director David Ayers says that his film will stand as a “corrective” to the Hollywood war genre. The story revolves around a WWII tank crew(Brad Pitt leads Shia LeBouf, Michael Pena, Logan Lerman, and Jon Bernthal) who decide to take on the last remaining Nazis at the near-end of the war, eventually putting them in an outnumbered situation. I read that the actors would get into fist-fights to prep for shooting each day. That alone makes me intrigued.
Nightcrawler, directed by Dan Gilroy, October 17th
With the coolest trailer I’ve seen all year, Nightcrawler looks to be the 2014 version of Drive. Lets hope so. Jake Gyllenhaal, who has been on an acting role lately(End of Watch, Prisoners, Enemy) plays a super-creepy video journalist, who gets involved filming bloody crime scenes and selling them to TV news. Expect laughs laced with violent menace.
Birdman, directed by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, October 17th
One of the most award-buzzed films of the season, Birdman marks director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s first time doing comedy, following the heavy-dramatic material in his past work(Babel, 21 Grams). From what the trailers and posters suggest, it looks like we’re in for one of the most absurd and surreal films around. It stars a return performance with Michael Keaton, who plays a washed-up actor(fittingly) who rose to fame playing superhero Birdman, and is now making a career comeback by producing and acting for a Broadway show. It is said that Michael Keaton is the one to beat for the Best Actor Oscar. What has me jazzed to see it, is that cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki(Gravity) has supposedly shot the thing to look like it is one long, continuous take. One of the screenwriters, Armando Bo, said in an interview for another site I work for, MyFirstShoot.com, that the set was unlike anything he had ever seen before. All the better.
Interstellar, directed by Christopher Nolan, November 7th
After capping off his fantastic Dark Knight Trilogy, director Christopher Nolan has finally returned to personal projects. Not much has been found out about his latest spectacle, except that it focuses on space engineers(Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway) who explore other galaxies to save their own. Considering that the film also focuses on wormholes and theoretical physics, expect this to be just as mind-boggling as Inception. Bring it on.
Foxcatcher, directed by Bennett Miller, November 14th
It has been said that it will be a head-on clash between Birdman and Foxcatcher this Oscar season. But my bet is that Foxcatcher will reign supreme. This true crime story, about a wrestler(Channing Tatum) who is taken under the scary-wing of millionaire John E. du Pont(an unrecognizable Steve Carell), leading to the eventual murder of the young wrestler’s brother(Mark Ruffalo). Director Bennett Miller, in his third film following his fantastic Moneyball and Capote, should be the front runner for the Best Director Oscar. Expect this film to take up most of the best acting prizes as well.
Wild, directed by Jean-Marc Vall’ee, December 5th
As mentioned before, this is director Jean-Marc Valle’s followup to his highly-praised Dallas Buyers Club, which ended up scoring Matthew McConaughey with a Best Actor Oscar. The same thing might be happening with Reese Witherspoon, who plays a drug addict who plays a drug addict hiking the Pacific Crest trail in order to cope with the death of her mother. It’s safe to say this will pull at your heart.
Inherent Vice, directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, December 12th
No fall film has me sweating more than Paul Thomas Anderson’s adaptation of author Thomas Pynchon’s classic novel, Inherent Vice. This will mark the first time anyone has been able to adapt one of Pynchon’s novels, who’s books are written in a way that is damn-near impossible to film. That’s why is seems fitting that rock star director PT Anderson would take on the challenge. One of the finest modern filmmakers around, Anderson makes films that you have to actually take in and think about, in order to fully appreciate them for the classics that they are. It’s also a major upside that all of them are entertaining as hell. The plot for his new film? Anderson’s latest opus focuses on a stoner P.I.(played by the great Joaquin Phoenix) who tries to solve the kidnapping case of his ex-girlfriend, eventually unraveling plenty of conspiracies and sub-plots, all while taking place in a haze of pot-smoke and psychedelia during the 70’s, in a paranoid Los Angeles. Following his masterful and divisive The Master, and There Will Be Blood, expect many audiences to scratch their heads when watching this one as well, since Pynchon and Anderson are both the king of divisive art. But come on, with all of the play it safe crap at our multiplex, you’ve got to take the risk. I would say that if you are a true lover of cinema, then you won’t even think of missing this. And get ready to be knocked on your head sideways.