November is usually a month rife with Oscar bait, and this November is no different. With the exception of November 13th (uncoincidentally the week the new Twilight movie is released), every coming week promises to bring a new Oscar-worthy film to a theater neaer you. Here are my most-anticipated.
While this may look like Hollywood fluff and I LOATE Cameron Diaz, it has a few things going for it.
1. It is scored by the Arcade Fire
2. It is helmed by Richard Kelly, director of the cult-classic Donnie Darko.
3. It is based on a popular Richard Matheson short story titled Button, Button.
The Men Who Stare At Goats
While this screams Coen Brothers, it is actually directed by Grant Heslov, the Academy-award nominated screenwriter behind Good Night and Good Luck. Based on a Non-fiction book of the same name which explored the US Army's exploration of the paranormal as a military force. Starring George Clooney, Kevin Spacey, Ewan McGregor and Jeff Bridges.
Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans
Incorrectly labeled as a remake of a 1992 film starring Harvey Keitel, this film features Nicholas Cage as a New Orleans police Lieutenant who develops a painkiller addiction following an accident and finds himself investigating a drug dealer. Directed by Werner Herzog (Rescue Dawn, Aguirre, the Wrath of God, Nosferatu) it supposedly features Cage's "best performance in years". I'll believe it when I see it. But I will see it.
The Fantastic Mr. Fox
From the inexhaustible creative mind of Wes Anderson (Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums, The Life Aquatic) comes a stop-motion animated feature based on the beloved Roald Dahl children's book of the same name. I have very fond memories of this book as a child, and am glad that Wes Anderson is trying his hand at a wholly animated film as he clearly has an eye for the art direction it requires. After making a name for himself with the brilliant Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums, it seemed as though he lost a bit of focus with The Life Aquatic, offering more style than substance. Many consider his most recent film, The Darjeeling Limited to be a return to form, I personally think he is at the point in his career where he needs to stop deconstructing genres and instead embrace an established one and make it his own.
Based on the Cormac McCarthy novel and directed by John Hillcoat (The Proposition), The Road takes place in a post-apocalyptic world where roving bands of cannibals roam the terrain and a man and his son struggle to reach the coast. A heartwrenching, grimy book, I hope that Hillcoat can do it justice. I've seen a couple trailers for it, making it seem like a movie about the apocalypse (it isn't), a horror movie (maybe, but not exactly) and a triumph of the human spirit (puh-lease). Although advertising it as the morbid character study may not make for hefty box office receipts, I think that it's a bit more accurate. This movie has been finished for over a year, and has been pushed back nearly 5 times, normally a death knell for a film like this, but reviews have been quite solid thus far.
The Princess and the Frog
Disney has done quite a number on themselves in the past decade, releasing one great film (The Emperor's New Groove), a couple mediocre ones (Lilo and Stitch, Enchanted, Bolt) and a TON of crap (all CGI films not associated with Pixar + all cash-grab straight-to-video sequels of Early-Mid 90's hits). Directed by the same team as The Little Mermaid and Aladdin, this is advertised as Disney's return to form, promising hand-drawn animation, a full-fledged score and an all-star voice cast. I have my concerns but I hope 2D animation can make a comeback, because it relies on the plot and characters rather than flashy animation to drive the story.