With a mostly disappointing summer season (and that includes you Cannes Film Festival) its time to quit complaining and start looking forward. There is a multitude of new directors to watch our for and some surprisingly daring studio fare.
Many of the films on the list are just being speculated to be released by the end of the year. Its a good chance that many of them will end up opening in 2011 but I can still hope.
Here are my most anticipated films for the rest of 2010:
After a stellar 2008, with the release of the acclaimed Paranoid Park and Milk, Gus Van Sant filmed one of the most bizarre screenplays floating around Hollywood. Jason Lew’s incredibly strange and surreal Restless follows a terminally ill teenage girl (Mia Wasikowska) and her relationship with a teenage boy (Henry Hopper) obsessed with death and their frequent visits from the ghost of a Japanese kamikaze pilot from WWII (Chin Han). Will be fascinating to see how this one plays during awards season.
44) Due Date
It does look like a rip-off of Planes, Trains, and Automobiles but its director Todd Philips and Zach Galifinakis’ follow up to the The Hangover. And there’s Robert Downey Jr. in it too. And the trailer looks damn funny. Its gonna take a lot to screw this one up.
43) 127 Hours
The follow up to Danny Bolye’s massive Oscar-winning hit (if a bit overrated) Slumdog Millionaire is just about on every film fans’ must-see list. It tells the true story of an outdoor adventurer, Aron Ralston (James Franco), who miraculously saved himself after a falling boulder crashed on his arm and left him trapped and alone in an isolated Utah canyon with no sign of outside help. During the next five days he pulls off a miraculous escape. Now talk about a fascinating one-man show.
While the trailer is a bit underwhelming (feels a bit like Lost in Translation only set in Hollywood), I’m still interested to see Sophia Coppola latest. With 2006’s brilliant but misunderstood Marie Antoinette she proved to be the most original directors working in the studio system today. Here we follow a hard living Hollywood actor (Stephen Dorff) and his 11 year-old daughter (Elle Fanning) who unexpectedly pays him a visit. The story is said to be based her on memories of her father (Francis Ford Coppola in case you didn’t already know) as a young girl in the late 70’s. Michelle Monaghan and Benicio Del Toro also costar. The French indie band Phoenix will be providing new music for the soundtrack. Recent word out of the Venice film fest is a bit mixed but encouraging.
41) Four Lions
It might be the breakout comedy of the year in the UK, yet it has created hardly a peep in the US outside of its Sundance premiere. British comedian Christopher Morris’ directorial debut has been called everything from a new comedy classic to controversy lightning-rod. The terrorism satire follows four bumbling British jihadists as they plot an ill-conceived terrorist attack.
40) The Future
Performance artist Miranda July made one of my favorite movies of the decade, 2005′s Me and You and Everyone We Know. Not much is known about her sophomore effort other than filming has completed. It follows a 30-something couple as they slowly begin drifting apart. I know that’s a scarce description but her films are not about story they are about atmosphere and human emotion. Lets hope his one is able to slide onto some last minute slots at Toronto or Telluride.
39) Lovers of Hate
This dark sibling rivalry comedy by Bryan Poyser made a lot of waves this year at SXSW. We follow two writer brothers, Paul is a successful author of fantasy novels, and Rudy is broke and reduced to living in his car. Tensions begin to ignite when Rudy separates with his wife Diana and Paul begins making the moves on her. Rudy begins planning an elaborate sabotaging of Paul making for some wonderfully uncomfortable comedy.
38) Night Catches Us
Tanya Hamilton’s latest opened at this years Sundance Film Festival, but it hasn’t seemed to have gotten a distribution deal yet. The film (set in 1976) is a tender and melancholy love story between two former Black Panthers who return home to a race-torn Philadelphia where they come of age in the Black Power movement.
Davis Guggenheim’s (An Inconvenient Truth) doc examines the disaster of today’s public school system. The film follows a handful of promising students who have to navigate their way through a system that “inhibits” rather than “encourages” growth. Hopefully this will stir up debate as much as its predecessor.
36) The Turin Horse
Bela Tarr (Werckmeister Harmonies, The Man from London) is one of the greatest, most-daring filmmakers working today, but have you heard of him? His works are challenging and experimental in nature, and this one seems no different. Turin Horse is inspired by the famous episode that marked the end of Frederick Nietzsche’s career. The IONCINEMA synopsis is fascinating:
“The film is freely inspired by an episode that marked the end of philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche’s career. On January 3, 1889, on the piazza Alberto in Turin, a weeping Nietzsche flung his arms around an exhausted and ill-treated carriage horse, and then lost consciousness. After this event, the philosopher never wrote again and descended into madness and silence. From this starting point, The Turin Horse goes on to explore the lives of the coachman (Miroslav Krobot), his daughter (Erika Bók) and the horse in an atmosphere of poverty heralding the end of the world”
I told you this guy is a true original. On a sad note, it’s rumored to be Tarr’s final film, making it essential to see it on the big screen.
35) Inside Job
Heres a doc that you might be hearing a lot about in the coming months. Its a detailed and highly researched account of the 2008 financial meltdown and those who was responsible. Wall Street, greedy CEO’s, our elected officials; no one is off the hook here. The director Charles Ferguson’s previous film No End in Sight gave us the definitive doc about the disastrous outcome of the Iraq war. Its obvious this one is going to be explosive upon its release and a shoo-in for the Best Documentary Oscar.
If you are an aspiring filmmaker than you have every right to hate Xavier Dolan. At just 21 years old he has wrote, directed and starred in two acclaimed and popular feature-length films (and in less than two years). He is currently beginning production on a third. After his last year’s Cannes entry I Killed My Mother a painful and confrontational coming of age film, his latest is a light and stylish romantic comedy. It follows the lifespan of a love triangle (incidentally involving people with very pretty hair). On the technical side the film features some of the most eye-popping cinematography I’ve seen this year. The reasons to hate Dolan just keep adding up.
With a track record that includes Before Night Falls and The Diving Bell and the Butterfly,director and painter Julian Schnabel has a reputation for making some of the most beautiful films of recent years. The IMDB synopsis for Miral: “A drama centered on an orphaned Palestinian girl growing up in the wake of the first Arab-Israeli war who finds herself drawn into the conflict.” The international cast includes Hiam Abbass (The Visitor, The Limits of Control) as the great Hind Husseini, Willem Defoe, Vanessa Redgrave, Alexander Siddig (Syriana, Cairo Time) and Freida Pinto (Slumdog Millionaire) as Miral .
For the longest time I thought the Bruce McDonald (Hard Core Logo, Pontypool) directed Broken Social Scene movie was just a rumor. It indeed real and has been getting serious buzz from the festivals its played at. Like 2004′s 9 Songs the film fuses a romantic plot line with a concert film. Now I’m waiting for that Hard Core Logo sequel.
One of France’s most celebrated actors Mathieu Amalric (Quantum of Solace, A Christmas Tale, Wild Grass) won the Best Director prize at Cannes for this wild road trip docudrama. On Tour follows a troupe of unusual American Showgirls. Each have a unique talent all their own and they mostly perform to empower women rather than tantalize men. All the ladies in the film are the real thing, performing their real acts. Amalric stars as the neurotic manger of their European tour. The film features all the the usual backstage melodrama (affairs, betrayal, ect.) and the film has been taking a hit from critics who see it as unnecessary. The main draw here is the ladies. None of them are cookie-cutter blondes with spray tans. They are all individuals and conformable in their own bodies. There are too few films these days willing to portray that.