Seems like a good enough time as any …
In the not too distant future, there exists time travel technology, and the mob has access to it. When they need to eliminate someone, they make them disappear into the past where a hitman (Joseph Grodon-Levitt) executes the person; an arrangement which becomes complicated when one of his victims is his future-self (Bruce Willis). Joseph Grodon-Levitt has been doing some critically acclaimed work of late, and I thought his work on The Dark Knight Rises was a major plus. Bruce Willis has had his share of bad films, but has been able to put in good work too.
Anthology horror films are usually not good (even The Twilight Zone: The Movie was not a home run film). However, V/H/S has been getting some strong reviews ever since it debuted at the Sundance Film Festival … especially after a member of the audience reputedly fainted during one of the scenes that some viewers claimed wasn’t even the scariest moment in the film. The premise: a team of thieves are sent to a home to steal a rare videotape. When they arrive, they find a large collection of tapes, and start viewing them to decide which is the one they were sent for. What they find are five stories of terror (and they are in the home of the person who videotaped all of it). The trailer above is the standard trailer. The red band trailer was a fair bit gorier.
I have been looking forward to this film, based on the true story of the Canadian Caper, where the CIA and Canadian government teamed up to protect and rescue six Americans who managed to escape the capture of the U.S. embassy in Tehran in 1979. The whole plan hinged on getting agents into Iran undercover as a film crew filming a science fiction film. The film will undoubtedly be fictionalized, but based on what I read about the real event, I’m not sure that they could make this even more strange than the real event. Ben Affleck directs himself along with John Goodman and Bryan Cranston.
Based on the Booker Prize-finalist novel by David Mitchell, the film is a literal epic spanning centuries of time from the distant past into the future, examining the concept that while human nature does not change much, people will change to fit the circumstances of their era, with each character in a different era reading about the character of a previous era, and being affected by them (or are they really all the same person). The Wachowski Brothers last epic (The Matrix) was good for one film, so this could be a winner (let’s hope this isn’t Speed Racer). Some of the book reviews I read said that the book is so complex that it may be unfilmable. Tom Hanks, Susan Sarandon, Halle Berry, Hugh Grant, and Hugo Weaving all star).
Unlike many previous James Bond films, the plot of this film has been kept under relatively tight wraps, but the release of the trailer sent instant buzz across the world. After Bond’s apparent death in an operation gone wrong, the identities of every British agent gets out into the open. With “M” (Judy Dench) under attack from the government and MI6 literally under attack from the outside, Bond discovers that “M” is in serious trouble from a former associate who is behind the plot to bring down MI6. In addition to Daniel Craig returning for his third outing as 007, Javier Bardem, Helen McCrory, Ralph Feinnes, and Albert Finney all make Skyfall the most star-studded cast of any Bond film, and old timers like me await Ben Whishaw bringing the character of “Q” back after John Cleese briefly took the role in the wake of Desmond Llewelyn’s retirement and passing. After the slight disappointment of Quantum of Solace, this film seems to have a ton to look forward to.
I’ve already written a bit on this film, so I won’t say too much more.
No trailer available yet … but take a good look at that poster. That may not look like Alfred Hitchcock, but I was shocked to read that this was Anthony Hopkins!
The film focuses on the Master of the Macabre during the filming of Psycho, with Helen Mirren playing Hitchcock’s wife, Alma Reville, and noted Joe Machota client Scarlet t Johansson playing the role of Janet Leigh. If you have ever read about the real Alfred Hitchcock, you know that he was as creepy as the movies he made, and he gained some particularly twisted form of self-satisfaction by torturing actresses. I’m not sure Anthony Hopkins can play a creepy guy with morbid fixations on professional women?
Hyde Park on Hudson
It is June, 1939, and war in Europe is scant months away. So concerned is everyone, that the king of England and his wife decide to make the first visit of any British monarch to the United States in an attempt to secure assurances of greater aide from the United States. Meanwhile, President Roosevelt, already fairly stressed from rescuing the U.S. from the Depression, now must try and convince an overwhelmingly isolationist nation to back the Brits when all Hell breaks loose in the near future. With Franklin and Eleanor not really seeing eye-to-eye, Franklin calls for his cousin Margaret Suckley to come in and offer him comfort (what was it with FDR and his cousins??) in a highly stressful time. Billed as a dramedy, Laura Linney plays Margaret and Bill Muray plays FDR. I didn’t think it was entirely possible for Bill Murray to pull this off, but a glance at the trailer convinced me that he really performs well as the former president.
The Hobbitt: An Unexpected Journey
Peter Jackson is back. Ian McKellan is back as Gandolf, and Martin Freeman takes on the role of Bilbo Baggins in the year’s most anticipated film. From the looks of things, this film will at least cover up to the discovery of the One Ring. Several other old characters will make appearances (despite not being in the book). Until Peter Jackson proves he can drop the ball, I will believe that he can get this right!
Zero Dark Thirty
From the most anticipated to the most controversial film of the year. Zero Dark Thirty is the Kateryn Bigelow’s dramatic retelling of the manhunt and eventual attack that led to the death of Osama bin Laden. There have been lawsuits flying as Bigelow’s production may or may not have been given access to classified documents related to tortured detainees and the actual attack by SEAL Team-6 on bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan. I suppose after this film’s release we will still be as in the dark as before as to what the real story is. That doesn’t mean the story is necessarily any less compelling.
A bounty hunter (Christoph Waltz) frees a slave (Jamie Foxx) and partners up with him to bring down his latest bounty (Leonardo DiCaprio): a slave owner who happens to own the wife of the now-freed slave.
Quentin Tarantino has already proven that period pieces are no problem (Inglourious Basterds was a major hit). In addition to the slew of Tarantino repeat actors (Samuel L Jackson makes a required appearance), Don Johnson (yes, Don Johnson of Miami Vice fame) and Tom Wopat (yes, Luke Duke himself) have roles.
While there have been many adaptations of Victor Hugo’s classic, this is the first attempt to film the Schönberg-Boublil musical, which while I am not an enormous fan of musical theater, easily ranks as my favorite. Hugh Jackman plays Valjean, but I am really interested in seeing Russell Crowe as Javert. I am also impressed with Anne Hathaway as Fantine. Much like the real musical, there is a possibility that the roles of the Thénardiers stealing the show (Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter).