It’s been roughly six months since I posted my article Film OverSaturation, meaning it’s a new film season with a new upcoming film crop. And that means, in turn, it’s about time for me to unveil my new list of most-anticipated movies of the next few years!
I say next few years because some of these projects haven’t even finished casting, much less bearing release dates. In fact, many of the movies from my past two lists (To the Wonder, Ender’s Game, Gangster Squad, Knight of Cups and the Untitled Terrence Malick Project) have yet to hit theaters. And an even greater amount that have long since come and gone from cinemas are still diligently awaiting to be reviewed by yours truly (my bad).
Anyways, without further adieu, here is the unveiling of my newest semi-annual films-to-watch-for list.
Foxcatcher is based on the true story of multimillionaire and schizophrenic John du Pont, who murdered his friend and Olympic wrestler David Schultz. It will be directed by Bennett Miller, responsible for the award-garnering Moneyball and Capote. The premise promises drama, but most intriguing is the casting: Mark Ruffalo as David Schultz and Steve Carell as killer John du Pont, who replaced original choice Gary Oldman. There’s been a lot of talk regarding the comedian’s ability to play such a serious role, but I’ve many a-time been pleasantly surprised by comedians in dramatic turns; Jim Carrey in The Truman Show and Eternal Sunshine, Adam Sandler in Punch-Drunk Love, and Bill Murray in Lost in Translation, to name a few. Foxcatcher mainly makes my list because I’m so curious to see how Carell’s performance plays out. The film will also feature Sienna Miller, Channing Tatum and Vanessa Redgrave.
10. The Wolf of Wallstreet
Wolf of Wallstreet is a buzzed-about upcoming drama again pairing director Scorsese and leading man Leonardo DiCaprio. Leo will play real-life swindler Jordan Belfort, who was sent to jail for stock market manipulation and fraud, and the film will take an unsparing look at his drug addiction and hard-partying ways. Not gonna lie, this one’s giving me a bit of a ‘look how hard I’m trying to be deep, edgy and relevant’ sort of vibe, but then again, it shows potential. The cast is rounded out by Jonah Hill (who proved his dramatic acting chops with Moneyball and beat out Chris Evans and Joseph Gordon-Levitt for this role), Matthew McConaughey, Jon Favreau, Walking Dead’s Jon Bernthal and Ethan Suplee.
9. Twelve Years a Slave
Director Steve McQueen may bring to mind images of a talking red racecar every time I hear his name, but he is nonetheless being heralded as one of the next great directors of his time. Having helmed previously lauded films Hunger and Shame, he will be teaming up with the incredibly-talented Michael Fassbender a third time for the film adaptation of Twelve Years a Slave, about a black man living in New York who is kidnapped and finds himself sold into slavery. The film will star the underrated and unpronounceable Chiwetel Ejiofor as Solomon Northup, and will feature Sherlock’s Benedict Cumberbatch, Brad Pitt, Paul Dano, Paul Giamatti and Raising Hope’s constantly overlooked Garret Dillahunt.
8. Sexy Evil Genius
A smaller-scale indie that happens to bring together three of my favorite geekdoms under one roof, this film will center around “a group of strangers brought together in a downtown Los Angeles bar by their mutual ex-girlfriend.” This ex-girlfriend, the titular Sexy Evil Genius, will be played by Battlestar Galactica alum Katee Sackhoff, with a cast rounded out by Buffy‘s Michelle Trachtenberg and Seth Green, as well as Lost‘s Harold Perrinau Jr. . I’m not exactly expecting the most original of story lines in this tale of love and revenge, but I’m expecting a lot of fun and a lot of heart.
7. The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: His/Hers
All I know about the plot is it chronicles “A New York couple’s relationship”. That’s literally it. And judging by the title, their might be some sort of Beatles tie-in. What strikes me is that the story is being told in two separate films: one from the husband’s point of view (His) and one from the wife’s (Hers). While this partly just sounds like a cheap ploy to sell more tickets, the parties involved make me think this is less about audience manipulation and more a legitimate exercise in story-telling. It will star Jessica Chastain as Eleanor Rigby and James McAvoy as Conor Ludlow (the husband, I assume) while also including Ciarán Hinds, Viola Davis, Bill Hader, William Hurt and Isabelle Huppert. Whatever exactly this experimental two-parter reveals itself to be about, count me as among the intrigued!
6. At Swim-Two-Birds
I’ll say right now, I’ve always loved all things Irish. The landscape, the literature, the folklore, and the accents. Good lord, those accents. Originally a book by Irish author Brian O’Nolan, At Swim-Two-Birds is a rather curious novel composed of student sharing three different stories. These stories eventually begin to intertwine, interspersed with information about our college-attending narrator, as the fictional characters created by the author’s fictional character begin to turn on their creator. How to even begin converting such a story into a coherent film is beyond me, but the cast features the crème de la crème of Irish actors: Cillian Murphy (swoon), Colin Farrell (double swoon), Jonathan Rhys Meyers (fainting), Michael Fassbender (officially unconscious), and Gabriel Byrne (…. I appreciate your work). So basically this all sounds like one big tribute to our beloved Emerald Isle (notice the use of the words our; I have a problem). And it just so happens to be directed by Brendan Gleeson, my favorite crotchety teddy-bear of cinema. I’m stoked.
5. Black Wings Has My Angel
Elliot Chaze’s 50’s crime novel, Black Wings Has My Angel, is undergoing the arduous journey to the big screen. The novel follows the escapades of escaped prisoner Tim Sunblade and his intensive love/hate relationship with call girl and partner-in-crime Virginia. The two partner together to rob an armored truck, and the story follows them through capture and escape, as well as detailing how their ill-gained fortune impacts their character. I like that the familiar plot is being paired with a 50’s setting and southern flavor, and the fact that producer Christopher Peditto fought for ten years to secure rights to the out of print novel suggests it’s a story worth seeing play out. But it’s mostly the cast that piqued my attention: The film will star Tom Hiddleston (The Avengers’ Loki) as Sunblade, Anna Paquin as the backwoods belle, and Elijah Wood in a supporting role.
4. X-Men Days of Future Past
Okay, I’ll start by saying this might be the worst movie title I’ve ever seen. I know sequel subtitles don’t tend to make a lot of sense (they’re generally just impressive looking words nonsensically strung together), but really? Days of Future Past? Your writing team sits down to brainstorm at the conference table and this is all they can come up with? Anyways, despite the title, if you’re at all a fan of superhero movies you have to get excited about this. Involving all our favorite X-men on a time-traveling quest to alter history, the film will combine the casts of both the original X-men trilogy as well a 2011’s prequel, X-Men: First Class. The current cast boasts Jennifer Lawrence as young Mystique, Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, Ian McKellen and Michael Fassbender as both old and young Magneto, James McAvoy and Patrick Stewart as young and old Professor X, plus a slew of other characters and a possibility of Halle Berry and James Marsden stepping back into their roles as Storm and Cyclops. Yeah-ha-ha. Get excited.
3. Zero Theorem
Slated for 2013, this upcoming film directed by Terry Gilliam (Monty Python, Dr. Parnassus, Tideland, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Twelve Monkeys, Brazil, and all other manner of delightfully insane projects) caught my eye, thanks to its attention-grabbing premise and top-notch cast. The current imdb summary reads, “A computer hacker’s goal to discover the reason for human existence continually finds his work interrupted thanks to the Management; this time, they send a teenager and a lusty love interest to distract him.” The story will take place in a 1984-style environment, and it appears ‘the Management’ is a single entity acting as an instructor to our angst-ridden protagonist. This protagonist, Qohen Leth, will be played by one of my top five actors, German import Cristoph Waltz, with Matt Damon as Management and Mélanie Thierry as the ‘lusty love interest’. Zero Theorem will also feature David Thewlis, Tilda Swinton and Ben Whishaw.
2. Winter’s Tale
Winter’s Tale is a film based on a novel by Mark Helprin, set in a mythical, Victorian-style version of New York City. I haven’t read the book but the general gist seems to be an orphaned boy winds up joining a gang, making enemies of the leader, falling in love with a girl suffering from consumption and happens to come across a flying white horse. The film will be directed and written by Akiva Goldsman, who has served as the screenwriter for TV show Fringe, films I Am Legend and Cinderella Man. The movie will star Colin Farrell, as well as Goldsman’s go-to-boy Will Smith, Russell Crowe, the always-beautiful Matt Bomer, and Jennifer Connelly.
1. Don Jon’s Addiction
I am hopelessly in love with actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and have been since his Mysterious Skin days. So the fact that he is writing, directing and starring in 2013’s Don Jon’s Addiction is more than enough to get me excited. It sounds like a typical redemption tale about a modern Don Juan and his attempts to reform. Gordon-Levitt convinced some pretty heavy-hitting actresses, Scarlett Johansson, Julianne Moore and Brie Larson, to get on board, so I’ve got pretty high hopes. And even if it doesn’t turn out that well, at least I get to stare at Joseph Gordon-Levitt for a few hours.
Oz: The Great and Powerful
Not gonna lie, I’m ambivalent towards this new let’s-mess-with-The-Wizard-of-Oz craze (See Tin Man, Dorothy of Oz, 2014’s The Wizard of Oz, Drew Barrymore’s Surrender, etc.). I’m a fervid lover of Broadway’s Wicked (not so much the book…), but how many let’s-explore-the-history-of-Oz-and-darken-everything-up stories do we need? But the cast is killer and, gotta be honest, I’m intrigued.
This Is The End
Why hello there again, James Franco! The 60’s had the Rat Pack, the 80’s the Brat Pack, early 2000’s the Frat Pack, and in this decade has emerged what I like to refer to as the Hash Pack, our favorite gang of stoners/comedians. And they’re reunited once again in This Is The End, starring Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, James Franco, Danny McBride (not a fan, not gonna lie), Jay Baruchel (huge fan, not gonna lie) and Craig Robinson, all as themselves. Over the course of the movie a celebrity party is crashed by the impending apocalypse, and the actors must resolve their differences and fight for their lives. The comedy will include cameos by Emma Watson, Paul Rudd, Jason Segel, David Krumholtz, Michael Cera, Martin Starr, Mindy Kaling, Aziz Ansari and Rihanna. It’ll either be Pineapple Express-caliber hilarious, or Your Highness brand of godawful.
Devil In the White City
I never actually got through this book. My friend had it for required reading in high school and told me to look at a passage involving late 1800’s serial killer Dr. H. H. Holmes, a historical figure, and the fictionalized account of one of his many very real murders. I got too queasy to finish and haven’t picked the book up since. But if just a few paragraphs of this unsettling story can leave pictures that vivid in my mind, a properly-done film might be able to blow audiences out of the water. And since Leonardo DiCaprio is on board as Holmes, I think we can expect good things. Or horrifying things. But in a good way?
Films I Plan to Avoid:
Romeo and Juliet
I’ve got my 1968 Romeo and Juliet if I feel like being a purist, and Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet if I want something artsy and feel like bawling my eyes out. I don’t need any more. How many times has Romeo and Juliet been done? And the majority of those have been straight, like the upcoming 2013 time-appropriate version. We’ve seen it so many times before, not just through different versions of Shakespeare’s classic but through pretty much every story/film romance since it was penned. Do we need to see it again? The film will star True Grit’s Hailee Steinfeld as Juliet, pretty boy Douglas Booth as Romeo (untried, but he has been cast as Pip in an adaptation of Great Expectations and Shem in Noah, which almost made this list…), with Paul Giamatti, Gossip Girl’s Ed Westwick and Stellan Skarsgard.
In the Justice League vs. Avengers debate I’ve always sort of placed myself in the DC camp, mostly because I didn’t really know about The Avengers existence until the movie was announced. But even though I’ve got a place in my heart for the Justice League, any attempt at a film kinda just seems like a cheap attempt to compete with The Avengers (and I use ‘cheap’ as a turn of phrase, I don’t even want to think about how much money’s gonna get poured into this). Plus, while Avengers made a bold move and combined a collection of previously-established superhero film franchises, Justice League plans to ignore all previous installments (that means Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy and the upcoming Man of Steel) and supplant both with new versions of and background story for Batman and Superman. I mean, we’re already on our second Superman reboot within a seven-year span, and Dark Knight was so fantastic, do we really want to see either of these characters redone so soon?
Untitled Batman Reboot
Speaking of which, there’s already a Batman reboot planned for 2015. Because if there’s any superhero franchise that really needs an update, it would be Batman.