The Gawker Guide to Fall MoviesS

With the Labor Day holiday approaching, it's becoming sadly clear: Summer is over. It's time to turn to autumnal things. That's not all bad, though! Fall movies, for example, are usually the year's best. Let's take a look at this year's selection, shall we?

From literary adaptations to awards-gunning performances, the fall (and early winter) is the prestige movie season. In that spirit, this year we have politics both American and British, a sad zoo owner, a story about September 11th, and a look into the early days of the FBI. There is also some silly stuff, including the return of everyone's favorite sparklevamp and Garry Marshall's latest holiday catastrophe. Let's go explore!


September


The Gawker Guide to Fall Movies

Contagion

What It Is: Jude Law, Kate Winslet, Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow, and a million other celebrities (Marion Cotillard, Jennifer Ehle, Laurence Fishburne, Bryan Cranston, John Hawkes, Sanaa Lathan, Elliot Gould) run around screaming like assholes during a worldwide plague outbreak. So it's like Outbreak except there seems to be no monkey and Rene Russo probably does not show up at any point. Too bad. Nah, instead this is one of Soderbergh's gritty-real looking movies, rather than an Ocean's-esque trifle.
Should You See It: Well, if the idea of watching Gwyneth Paltrow get sick and die gets you going, then yes. It's hard to tell from the previews and ads if the film's low-to-the-ground, serious tone will actually work. Some of it is chilling (Kate Winslet worrying about who's been touching her sheets) and other parts are silly, like Matt Damon saying "OK. Can I talk to her?" after being told his wife is dead. Oops, accidentally embarrassing scriptwriting! (I'm sure they were going for intense shellshock. It just comes off silly.) But mostly, sure, see this. It looks dark and paranoid and scary in the kind of way that makes you think about how fragile everything on this stupid old rock is. And what better time to mull over that idea than during the first melancholy days of Indian Summer. (9/23)


The Gawker Guide to Fall MoviesS

Abduction

What It Is: 160 some-odd pounds of boymuscle comes flyin' at ya in the form of Taylor Lautner in this Parkouring, jujitsuing, stuff-exploding action movie. The whole gambit here is determining whether Lautner, known to boywatchers everywhere as the pup-mugged werewolf Jacob in the Twilight movie series, is in fact a bigtime movie star. Who knows if he is! The story, if you're concerned about that, deals with a kid who was raised to be a spy or something, but didn't know it, and goes on the run after his fake parents (Maria Bello and Jason Isaacs) are killed. Sigourney Weaver shows up as his love interest shadowy friend and Alfred Molina pursues him as the villain. There's a young lady involved too, because of course there is, one who's pretty but bland enough to work as a stand-in for everyone watching sadly in the theater, tugging at various parts of themselves and wishing they could get abducted into a whole 'nother life too.
Should You See It: Does that sound fun to you? It could be kind of fun! It could also be kind of awful. Whether or not he's a movie star may remain to be seen, but it's already been pretty fairly determined that Lautner is not so good in the ol' acting department. John Singleton, strangely, directed this movie, so there could be some sort of interesting flair to distinguish it from every other secret spy movie over the years. If you're bored and the movie you wanted to see is sold out, sure, why not. Just know that Lautner will likely give you funny feelings of shame, guilt, revulsion, pity, and, strangely, gas. (9/23)


The Gawker Guide to Fall MoviesS

Moneyball

What It Is: Brad Pitt teams up with Capote director Bennett Miller to tell the real-life story (with some tweaks, naturally) of the Oakland A's general manager who tried to change how baseball recruiting works by using statistical devices like sabermetrics to pick players, rather than, I dunno, however else they pick players. So it's an actual literal "inside baseball" movie, but there's also like heart and a precocious kid and stuff. I don't know. I don't know anything about baseball! Are the Expos still playing? Have they won a Heisman Cup yet this year? How's Larry Yastrzemski doing these days?
Should You See It: Originally Steven Soderbergh was supposed to direct this, but he wanted it to be almost documentary-style, featuring interviews with real players and stuff, and the studio (understandably) balked at that. Is the director and structure switch a good thing? I'm not sure. The trailer is fetching, as is Mr. Pitt, looking better than he has in a few years with some scruff and tired, sandy hair. Philip Seymour Hoffman is in this thing, and he's always good. Plus Jonah Hill looks to be doing a bit of heavy lifting (acting wise, not weight wise, anymore!) which is interesting. I say yes, go see this and learn something about baseball. And please tell me if you learn anything about the whereabouts of Wayne Strawberry. (9/23)


The Gawker Guide to Fall MoviesS

Red State

What It Is: Fart-boy comedy auteur Kevin Smith takes an interesting detour into the horror genre with this grim send-up of religious fundamentalism. The setup is slasher boilerplate: horny teen guys looking for action head out into the boonies to get some tail, only to be abducted and tortured and, presumably, murdered because of their wicked carnal sinning. But then there's a whole police standoff plot and the film maybe veers from seedy slasher to polemical action thriller. Which is fine by me!
Should You See It: Well, based on the trailer, Melissa Leo and the great, sadly unheralded Michael Parks look to be terrifically scary, so that's a plus. Even if the movie is ultimately a bust, it will be interesting to see how Kevin Smith handles this entirely new genre. And hey, John Goodman's always fun. On the negative side, there's the whole unpleasantness of watching young people get murdered for two hours, a theme which has, personally, lost its allure as I've grown older. But should you see it? Sure! If teen murder doesn't bother you, this movie looks like something that people might talk about, at least a certain kind of person. And if you're that kind of person or are friends with that kind of person, it's probably worth the $12.50. (9/23)


Everything Else:

...Nick Swardson does weird Prince Valiant-haired porn shtick in Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star (9/9) ... Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton make quiet love to beat the shit out of each other in Warrior (9/9) ... Ryan Gosling drives cars well in the strangely titled Drive (9/16) ... A thoroughbred working woman struggles to hold the reins of her crazy life in I Don't Know How She Does It (9/16) ... Disney releases The Lion King in 3D because Disney is not rich enough (9/16) ... Gus van Sant wanders into teen quirk with the dreadful looking Restless (9/16) ... A bunch of Brits have finally seen too many Coachella photos and decide to kill Kate Bosworth in a remake of Straw Dogs (9/16) ... Ryan Reynolds tells us the real-life story of a whale that likes people in the documentary The Whale (9/16) ... Eddie Vedder and the gang celebrate twenty years of being a gang in Pearl Jam Twenty (9/20) ... Everyone spends thousands of dollars and hundreds of man hours developing incredible medical technology to help a wounded soldier fucking dolphin in Dolphin Tale (9/23) ... The sure-to-be dynamic duo of Richard Gere and Topher Grace tackle a spy mystery in The Double (9/23) ... For once in their pacifist lives Jason Statham and Clive Owen shoot at things in Killer Elite (9/23) ... Machine Gun Preacher just may be Gerard Butler's Hobo With a Shotgun (9/23) ... Two British men, yes men, meet and fall in love over a Weekend (this looks good!) (9/23) ... If Joseph Gordon-Levitt needed a shoulder to cry on he should have come to me, but instead he chose Seth Rogen in 50/50 (9/30) ... The Christian movie Courageous will teach you important lessons about how not to make movies (9/30) ... Though their house is terribly haunted, Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz did fall in love during the shooting of this movie, so buying their Dream House was probably worth it (9/30) ... The long-delayed Kenneth Lonergan movie Margaret finally gets a release (9/30) ... If you weren't feeling paranoid enough after Contagion, Take Shelter oughta do it (9/30) ... Anna Faris is worried she's a bit of a slut in What's Your Number? (9/30)


October


The Gawker Guide to Fall MoviesS

The Ides of March

What It Is: An adaptation of Beau Willimon's play Farragut North, this is a George Clooney-directed look at a presidential campaign threatened by scandal. Clooney plays the candidate and Ryan Gosling is his talented young press secretary. It's the kind of thing that's right up Clooney's alley; a dark and determined tale about the annals of American power, but not one that's devoid of popcorn entertainment value. Because everyone loves George Clooney, he's assembled a marvelous supporting cast, including Philip Seymour Hoffman, Marisa Tomei, Paul Giamatti, Jennifer Ehle (though she's not credited on IMDb...), Evan Rachel Wood, and Jeffrey Wright.
Should You See It: Well, is that the kind of thing you like? I personally feel a bit of political fatigue on a, y'know, huge and general spiritual and psychological scale, but that doesn't mean this couldn't still be interesting! Clooney's "smart" movies tend to tread a pretty thin line between savvy and smug, so hopefully he's careful about that. But yes, all in, you should probably see Ides of March if only because it's a likely Oscar contender in various categories, and lord knows it's required to be up on all the Oscar movies! (10/7)


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Footloose

What It Is: Because they are godless heretics, over the years the weirdos of Hollyweird have gone to the hallowed cemetery of cinema and grave-robbed many a film, desecrating them forever. The latest corpse they've dug up and defiled is the 1984 dance classic Footloose, about a rural community where dancing is banned until a rebellious young city-slicker teen comes to town. The original is great! This one moves the action from Utah to Tennessee (the actual town the movie is based on is in South Central Oklahoma) and amps up the Step Up-style street dance. And they cast dancers (Kenny Wormald, Julianne Hough) instead of actors who could dance, so don't expect any Oscars.
Should You See It: Are you offended by reconfigured and reanimated corpses? Does the very idea of the Hough Twins (I know they're not twins, but still) terrify you to your very core, as if two science experiments from the Disney child labs somehow escaped and became sexual beings? Do Kenny Wormald and his Boston accent make you feel uncomfortable feelings in your no-no special places? Does sawdust interest you more than the acting stylings of Andie MacDowell? If you answered yes to all these questions, then yes, absolutely yes you should see this movie. (10/14)


The Gawker Guide to Fall MoviesS

Martha Marcy May Marlene

What It Is: Mysterious younger Olsen sister Elizabeth makes her big debut in this indie about a girl (Olsen) who escapes a cult and goes to live with her sister and her husband (Sarah Paulson, Hugh Dancy). But of course the cult and its creepy leader (John Hawkes) still haunt her, so something of a psychological thriller emerges. Lots of folks liked this thing at Sundance, and it could be Elizabeth Olsen's big break into the big leagues!
Should You See It: Eh, some people at Sundance weren't as thrilled with this movie, which seems to fit into a lot of indie conventions. Olsen seems charming enough, but do we really want to put more money in the pockets of the great and terrible Olsen family?? If you're in the mood for a dark and dreary indie populated with beautiful people, but don't want to have to think too hard, this could be the picture for you. See it, then go for a drink with whomever you brought along, and by the time you've killed the first bottle of wine, you'll be done talking about it and that will be that. (10/21)


The Gawker Guide to Fall MoviesS

Like Crazy

What It Is: A romantic weeper that made Sundance swoon, Like Crazy is the simple story of young college love and the destruction that time and distance can do to the daily mechanics of said love. The trailer will make you blub like a fool, if you're into this sorta thing, and hey the critics and audiences at Sundance totally adored this little movie, so it's got that goin' for it. Plot wise, it's about two kids who meet at school in LA, but the girl's visa runs out so she goes back to England and they try to navigate their relationship as a long distance one. You're already crying, aren't youuuuu.
Should You Go See It: Yes, absolutely yes. Go see it on some wistful autumn afternoon when you've decided you need a good cry or at least a satisfying bout of that melancholy sadness that's cozy in its way, especially during the fall. Maybe see it by yourself if you're feeling really daring, and take a walk afterwards, and go sit by a window at some small place and have a glass of wine and watch the sun set, earlier and earlier now, and maybe contemplate sending him or her a text message but it's been so long and you're so far away now, so forget it and put your phone away and walk off down the street into the night and later at your friend's party tell everyone you spent your Saturday doing laundry. (10/28)


Everything Else:

...Milla Jovovich and William H. Macy play the improbable parents of Juno Temple and her weird American accent in Dirty Girl (10/7) ... The robot boxing movie you've not in any way shape or form been waiting for is here and it's called Real Steel (10/7) ... Jennifer Aniston and Paul Rudd try to break out of the mainstream in David Wain's Wanderlust (10/7) ... Emilio Estevez directs his dad in the schmaltzy lookin' movie about Emilio Estevez dying, The Way (10/7) ... Steve Martin, Jack Black, and Owen Wilson are dogged bird watchers in The Big Year (10/14) ... Kevin Spacey accidentally kills a bunch of people with an invention in Father of Invention (10/14) ... Julia Roberts dies screaming in Fireflies in the Garden (10/14) ... Antonio Banderas invents new skin in Pedro Almodóvar's The Skin I Live In (10/14) ... The Texas Killing Fields is not about Haing S. Ngor going on a trip to Houston (10/14) ... Another horror classic is pointlessly remade given a prequel in The Thing (10/14) ... Nicole Kidman shrieks and shrieks as she realizes she's married to Nicolas Cage in Trespass (10/14) ... Everyone struts around talking all finance-cool in the economic disaster flick Margin Call (10/21) ... Carla Gugino coaches basketball in The Mighty Macs (10/21) ... Paranormal Activity 3 will be the go-to movie choice for teen boys looking to get felt-up by their scared dates (10/21) ... Ed Begley Jr. leads his bloodthirsty army of automobiles across the lands and sea in Revenge of the Electric Car (10/21) ... Logan Lerman takes another stab (literally!) at stardom in The Three Musketeers (10/21) ... Sean Astin and Cheri Oteri deal with horses in And They're Off... (10/28) ... Did Shakespeare really write his plays? Only Roland Emmerich knows for sure, and he's going to reveal the truth in Anonymous (10/28) ... In Time is the next step in Justin Timberlake's attempt to become a Serious Actor (10/28) ... Rowan Atkinson confuses American audiences once more with Johnny English Reborn (10/28) ... The Rum Diary gives Johnny Depp an excuse to drive a tiny car (10/28) ... Jason Statham, presumably, shoots things in Safe ... Sleeping Beauty is all weird and sexy-like, mostly because of Charlotte Rampling (10/28)


November


The Gawker Guide to Fall MoviesS

J. Edgar

What It Is: Leonardo DiCaprio plays everyone's favorite cross-dressing G-man in Clint Eastwood's look at J. Edgar Hoover, the great gay daddy of the FBI. Well, actually, was he gay? This movie is said to touch on that a bit (Social Network sex-hammer Armie Hammer plays Hoover's trusted right-hand man and rumored lover), but the main focus is on all the, y'know, FBI stuff. Joining DiCaprio are Naomi Watts as Hoover's devoted secretary and Josh Lucas as Charles Lindbergh. Ed Westwick pops up as well, as does, thrillingly, Lea Thompson. Way to go, Lea!
Should You See It: Again with the Oscar movie thing. The Academy loves Eastwood's decidedly square movies, whether it's Get Off My Lawn or Baby Tearjerk, so it's a good bet this will end up on some year-end lists. Otherwise, go for the ecstatic moment of Leo DiCaprio kissing Armie Hammer, sure to be buzzed about drunkenly for a few minutes at your local gay clurb. (11/11)


The Gawker Guide to Fall MoviesS

Melancholia

What It Is: The latest from sadist-auteur Lars von Trier, Melancholia tells a tale of the end of the world, and a sad woman, Cannes Best Actress winner Kirsten Dunst, who watches it all go down during her wedding. There's a whole Another Earth parallel here, as the world's doom comes from the discovery of a previously unknown planet. Everyone stares at the sky and says starkly profound things and then, poof, we're gone.
Should You See It: Lars von Trier is an irascible jerk sometimes, to be sure, but he does make some pretty interesting movies. If you live in the bobo-ier corners of this nation, your Cambridges or your Williamsburgs or your Berkeleys, you'll probably want to see this just so you have something to talk about at your "Friends Thanksgiving" in between gulps of wine (lotta wine in this movie preview, huh?) and pangs of guilt that you're not home with your real family. Some will declare it overwrought, others will deem it the movie of the year, and you can just nod and agree either way and say something about the cinematography, all the while making a solemn vow to yourself that next year you're definitely flying home, but in the meantime you're going to try to make some less annoying friends. (11/11)


The Gawker Guide to Fall MoviesS

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1

What It Is: What is it?? What is Breaking Dawn - Part 1? What are you, ancient? What're you, 30 or something? Jeez. This is the penultimate movie adaptation of Stephenie Meyers' hit book series about vampires waiting until marriage to get freaky. And guess what, dear readers. In this movie? Vampyr Edward and his mumbling mortal bride Bella finally get freaky. Quite freaky. Break the bed freaky. Pillow feathers everywhere freaky. So freaky, in fact, that this movie is rated X. OK, no, actually not that freaky, but pretty freakin' freaky! Hard PG-13 freaky. Edward and Bella make the vampire beast with two backs while, presumably, werewolf Jacob looks on from the eye holes of a portrait, furtively weeping and, shamefully, pleasuring himself. I'm pretty sure that's how it goes down in the books? Pretty sure. Get into it!
Should You See It: Did you read the above paragraph? Of course you should go see it. Mind you, it will be incredibly uncomfortable to sit in a movie theater with a bunch of teenage girls who are, at that exact moment, arriving at sexual maturity, much in the same way Leo DiCaprio did for an older generation in Romeo + Juliet, but it will still be fun to see how these clunky, uniformly terrible movies handle the dirty deed. On the other hand, these movies are clunky and uniformly terrible, shapeless snoozers that try to sustain a whole movie on a couple smoldering looks and near zero narrative thrust. (Though there will be thrusting in this one!) So maybe you don't want to see it. But if you're a sad gnarled sex monster like some of us, get thee to Breaking Dawn - Part 1! (11/18)


The Gawker Guide to Fall MoviesS

The Descendants

What It Is: The great and wonderful Alexander Payne directs America's cool uncle in this Hawaii-set tale of a family coming apart and, presumably, coming back together. George Clooney is a wealthy landowner who discovers that his wife was cheating on him, but only after she's in a boating accident that puts her in a coma. He must reconcile with his neglected daughters at the same time, and interact with a host of quirky character actors, including Mary Birdsong, Robert Forster, Judy Greer and, incredibly, long lost Matthew Lillard.
Should You See It: Probably! What a good director Alexander Payne has proven to be over the years, from the swoony-woozy Sideways to the utterly heartbreaking About Schmidt. (And who can forget his masterful "14 Arrondissement" segment in Paris Je t'aime?) The trailer for Descendants makes the movie look sad and pointy, like the bulk of Payne's work, so that's good. And I dare you to dislike George Clooney, especially when he plays just ever so slightly against type by amping up the rumple and letting his hair get a bit mussed. This movie has much to recommend it! And it could be, as is always notable in the autumntime, an Oscar contender. (11/23)


Everything Else:

... The tired old joke gets dragged out yet again in A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas (11/4) ... Recent Tony winner Ellen Barkin is getting Oscar buzz for her harried mom role in Another Happy Day (11/4) ... Julie Taymor lives out her revenge fantasy or something in Killing Bono (11/4) ... My Week With Marilyn features Michelle Williams as America's answer to Aphrodite (11/4) ... The tired old joke gets dragged out yet again in Puss in Boots (11/4) ... Channing Tatum stars in the Sundance turkey The Son of No One (11/4) ... Brett Ratner rears his ugly head again with the Madoff revenge comedy Tower Heist (11/4) ... Mickey Rourke scratches his head and tries to figure out just what the hell kind of picture he's signed up for in Immortals (11/11) ... Comedy approaches its nadir with Adam Sandler's Jack and Jill (11/11) ... The tired old joke gets dragged out again (this is getting meta!) with Happy Feet Two (11/18) ... The classic British spy story Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy gets a revisit (11/18) ... Scary British people do scary things in Paddy Considine's Tyrannosaur (11/18) ... Michael Fassbender and Viggo Mortensen are determined to get Keira Knightley off in A Dangerous Method (11/23) ... James McAvoy sounds adorable as usual in the animated romp Arthur Christmas (11/25) ... The Artist is the French silent movie that inexplicably features John Goodman (11/23) ... Martin Scorsese is going after your children with the whimsical period piece Hugo (11/23) ... Let's find out if Jason Segel can successfully revive The Muppets (11/23) ... The tired old joke gets dragged out again in Piranha 3DD (11/23)


December


The Gawker Guide to Fall MoviesS

New Year's Eve

What It Is: Remember when you saw Garry Marshall's ensemble romcom Valentine's Day and you thought, "Gee, I wish there could be more of this"? Well, here's more of that. The night the year changes is the backdrop this time, and we've moved from LA to New York, but everything else is mostly the same: a gaggle of people, played by a sprawling cast of big names, fall in and out of love over the course of one day, all in the hopes of recreating Love Actually's bizarrely magical sentiment and sweep.
Should You See It: Good grief. In case you couldn't tell, that whole thing above about "Remember when you thought..." was sarcasm. Because no one thought that! Because Valentine's Day was horrible! Absolutely scum-suckingly horrible, a cynically slapped-together piece of gunk offered up to us as a sparkly and, beneath the sheen, romantically honest story about men and women and the ways they interlock. But no, it was not that. It was a miserably fake and cheap appeal to the same brain receptors that tell us to want Hostess snack cakes and to enjoy lying on the couch for hours on end. A lazy, truly insulting piece of shit Valentine's Day was. And there's no evidence that New Year's Eve will be any different. It even has some of the same actors, and those actors are Ashton Kutcher and Jessica Biel. This will likely be an offensively terrible piece of work that shames the entire movie industry. So yes, you should absolutely see it. (12/9)


The Gawker Guide to Fall MoviesS

The Iron Lady

What It Is: Meryl Streep goes hard for Oscar number three in this biopic of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, a cruel old Tory who loved her pearls and didn't much care for poor people. Well, some would say that. Others would say that she's their beloved Ronnie Reagan in a smart skirt suit. So she's polarizing and thus a pretty fascinating subject. And though many balked at the idea of an American playing this most British of women, if there's any Yankee up to the task it's the undauntable accent prodigy Meryl Streep.
Should You See It: This would be another movie to check off your Oscar viewing to-see list, if you're the type. Meryl Streep has had an amazing string of successes of late, so it will be interesting to see if she can keep it going with this, a decidedly less marketable movie than, say, It's Complicated or Julie & Julia. The director here is Phyllida Lloyd, which makes me a bit nervous as she's the person who directed Streep in the joyless, off-tone Mamma Mia! movie. But this here is maybe a smaller world to wrangle than dance breaks in Mykonos (or wherever). Lloyd is mostly known for her work in the theater and, though Mamma Mia! is, obviously, based off a stage play, Iron Lady seems a better fit for someone from that world. It's likely to be interior and still. There's less elaborate camerawork to focus on and more actors in spaces. Or something! It's Meryl Streep, guys. You can't say no to Meryl Streep. (12/16)


The Gawker Guide to Fall MoviesS

We Bought a Zoo

What It Is: It's been six long years since Cameron Crowe brought us a narrative feature, this being his first since the mind-bogglingly awful Elizabethtown. This tale is based on a real one — a depressed husband to a cancer-stricken wife decided to, well, buy a zoo and in the process save his ailing family. Crowe has moved the action from England to Northern California, but the story's bones remain the same. The zookeeper here is Matt Damon, with Scarlett Johansson as an employee and Stephanie Szostak as the sick wife.
Should You See It: Well, it will definitely be interesting to see if Crowe can redeem himself. I mean, Elizabethtown was really, really bad. Like really bad. Read this. That is how bad it was. Zoo's story seems a little more solid than E-town's, so that's good. And Matt Damon is certainly better in almost all ways than Orlando Bloom. But if this is just another goddamned mixtape, it could be terrible. The adventure is in finding out! It being the holidays when this comes out, this could be a good see-with-the-folks movie, the kind of thing you'll complain about after the fact, to which your mom will say "Well, I don't know, I liked it. I thought it was sweet." And you'll roll your eyes because mom likes everything, except of course for that time you made her watch eXistenZ and she didn't talk to you for the rest of the day. So go! Make mom happy. It's Christmas. (12/23)


The Gawker Guide to Fall MoviesS

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

What It Is: Stephen Daldry helms this adaption of Jonathan Safran Foer's history-spanning novel about love and grief. In the contemporary time period, a little boy whose father died in the September 11th attacks (he may or may not have been one of the solitary plummeting figures photographed after jumping from the towers' windows) embarks to find the lock for a mysterious key he believes belonged to his father. In the past, we learn the history of the boy's grandparents, mostly through a series of letters. Parallels are drawn between 9/11 and the bombing of Dresden, weird-kid quirkiness is pushed to the max, and, in the movie at least, Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock (as the boy's parents) show up to do their thing.
Should You See It: If you like your too-soon 9/11 grief porn with a twist of Brooklyn twee, sure. Safran Foer's book is certainly exquisitely written in parts, but it's also strangely and plainly manipulative and too, I don't know, gimmicky. A movie version, even one directed by the adept Daldry, seems destined for hushed allusions to "that bright Tuesday morning" and irksome stabs at melancholy whimsy. I worry too, always, about movies with a child in the lead, but Daldry showed in Billy Elliot that he can cast and work with kids well. Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock's characters must have been considerably expanded from what they are in the book, so it will be interesting to see how much they now intrude on the story. As Liev Schrieber's Everything Is Illuminated proved, Safran Foer's literary acrobatics are pretty hard to put onto celluloid. Though not a fan of the book, I'm definitely curious to see how Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close fares. (12/25)


Everything Else:

... Ralph Fiennes directs and stars in Coriolanus, an adaptation of one of Shakespeare's (right, Roland Emmerich?) lesser produced plays (12/2) ... Tilda Swinton struggles to deal with her increasingly scary and sociopathic son (the rising Ezra Miller) in the Cannes hit We Need to Talk About Kevin (12/2) ... Rob Lowe and Jeremy Piven, among others, get together and do a lot of drugs with Sasha Grey in I Melt With You (12/9) ... Jonah Hill says swear words to little children in The Sitter (12/9) ... Madonna directs the multiple time period romantic drama W.E., which is partly about lovable Nazi sympathizer Wallis Simpson (12/9) ... The great demon of screenwriting Diablo Cody and her cruel accomplice Jason Reitman drag Charlize Theron into their web of hip-talk in Young Adult (12/9) ... Good lord they made another one, and this one is called Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked (12/16) ... Jodie Foster, John C. Reilly, Hope Davis, and Christoph Waltz are yuppie parents at war in Roman Polanski's Carnage (12/16) ... Guy Ritchie's surprisingly zippy and enjoyable Sherlock Holmes movie gets a sequel called A Game of Shadows (12/16) ... It'll be like you're at an airport bookstore when you settle in to watch David Fincher's adaptation of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (12/21) ... Tom Cruise hands the reins to Jeremy Renner in Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol (12/21) ... Motion capture ruins yet another part of your childhood in The Adventures of Tintin (12/23) ... Angelina Jolie directs a tale of tragedy in the Balkans called In the Land of Blood and Honey (12/23) ... Emile Hirsch and friends try to defeat invisible aliens who are destroying Moscow in The Darkest Hour (12/25) ... The lady from I Don't Know How She Does It heads into battle (I think?) in War Horse (12/28) ... Glenn Close pretends to be a man in the movie that could finally win her an Oscar, Albert Nobbs (TBD) ... Christian Bale plays a priest helping women in Heroes of Nanking (TBD)


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