Fall/Winter Movie Preview
By Bert Ehrmann
November 20, 2009
It seemed as if a lot of good movies came out last spring/summer. Be it an indie gem like Moon or a more mainstream film like Inglourious Basterds – from May until August I found myself to be quite entertained at the cineplex. However overflowing with interesting movies the first two-thirds of the year might have been, latter third of 2009 seems to be a bit more bleak. Don't get me wrong, there are some interesting movies due out later this year/early next, but I get the feeling that the majority of movies on my top ten list this year will be ones from earlier ‘09.
The Road is a post-apocalyptic thriller that is set to be released Thanksgiving Day (11/26). In The Road, the actual apocalypse happened a few years before the start of the movie, in effect wiping all life off the Earth save a few people and scarring the planet to a state of permanent winter. The story of The Road follows a man (played by Viggo Mortensen) and his son as they make their way down the empty roads of a shattered US towards some warmer southern coastline. But they must take care as all forms of people willing to do whatever it takes to survive also travel these roads. And when I saw "whatever it takes" I mean WHATEVER IT TAKES. Cormac McCarthy wrote the novel the film The Road was based on and he also wrote the novel the film No Country for Old Men was based on too. So I'm assuming the producers of The Road are hoping some of the No Country magic rubs off on their film.
On December 18 almost twelve years to the day when his last film was released,* the next film of writer/director James Cameron entitled Avatar is set to hit theaters. In Avatar, it's the future and Jake Sully (Sam Worthington), a disabled veteran, is given the chance to walk again on far off planet. The catch is in order to do this; his consciousness will need to be placed in an alien "avatar," essentially a cloned shell of one of the native peoples of this planet. Sully’s job is to infiltrate these aliens in order to move their village away from a cache of valuable minerals. Over the course of the movie, Sully falls for one of the natives and he decides to join their struggle against the human oppressors.
It seemed as if most who had heard of this movie over the past few years, myself included, were extremely excited about it. That is until the first trailer hit the Internet last August. The visuals looked good enough and the story seemed intriguing. But overall, the trailer didn't much live up to the hype surrounding Avatar that had built over the previous decade.*
(*Did I mention that Cameron's last film was Titanic that earned an estimated $1.8 billionworldwide? So I should really shut-up already.)
Sherlock Holmes, with director Guy Ritchie and star Robert Downey Jr., looks to reinvent the title character for modern audiences on Christmas Day. This time, rather than being the traditional proper pipe smoking English gentleman, in Holmes, the title character is a genius brawler who gets himself into scrapes and needs the help of equally tough Dr. Watson (Jude Law) to get out of said scrapes. Out February 12 is the remake Wolfman starring Benicio del Toro.
While both Holmes and Wolfman look interesting enough, I've never been much of a fan of director's Ritchie's films and from what I've seen of Wolfman hasn't made me all that excited about this gloomy looking movie.
The film I’m most excited about this winter is Up in the Air, also out Christmas Day. Directed and co-written by Jason Reitman who also directed the 2007 smash hit Juno, Up in the Air stars George Clooney as Ryan Bingham, a corporate downsizing expert companies bring in when they’re too scared to fire employees themselves. Bingham’s a guy who’s spent most of his adult life in between places, crisscrossing the country going company to company, who realizes that the life he’s created for himself is void of any real connections.
Sounds like an interesting Christmas Day box-office battle, Sherlock Holmes vs. Introspection. Count me in!