Fall Movie Preview (2012)

daniel cohen looks at his ten most anticipated films coming out of the film…

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Dust off the Oscar monocles…it’s time for the Fall Movie season! And even though this is usually a time for drama and period pieces, there is still plenty of high octane action and people wearing costumes that weren’t able to make the summer cut. We definitely have an eclectic mix of drama, sci-fi, presidents, hobbits, and Ben Affleck coming soon to our local cinemas. And while it was tough to fill out a top ten this season, there’s definitely a ‘quality, not quantity’ feel in the air.

But enough vamping…let’s count it off – My Top Ten Most Anticipated Fall Movies:

10.) The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Release Date: December 14th

Cast: Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Benedict Cumberbatch
Directed by: Peter Jackson (The Lord of the Rings Trilogy)
Yup…#10. Sorry. I like the Lord of the Rings trilogy quite a bit, but I don’t worship it. And to be honest, I’m over it. This movie was in production hell with Guillermo ‘I’m attached to 500 projects’ Del Toro for so long that I just stopped caring. Eventually Peter Jackson was dragged back, but it doesn’t even feel like he wants to do this. Should we also ignore Jackson’s last two movies (King Kong and The Lovely Bones)? These weren’t exactly considered classics. And the fact that this is being stretched into three parts makes me sick, but that’s a story for another day. And quite frankly, the trailers look goofy. The last trailer especially was completely underwhelming, and almost feels like a damn comedy. I guess I’m still looking forward to it, but my expectations are insanely low.

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9.) Jack Reacher

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Release Date: December 21st
Cast: Tom Cruise, Rosamund Pike, David Oyelowo, Richard Jenkins

Directed by: Christopher McQuarrie (The Way of the Gun)
Say what you want about Tom Cruise, but I still think the guy is a dedicated and charismatic actor who at any given moment can take a movie by storm. Yeah, he jumped on Oprah’s couch and acted crazy. Get over it. Does that mean we can’t enjoy his movies? At age 50, the guy can still bring it. Now am I saying Jack Reacher is going to be some great movie…no. But I guess what has me intrigued about this film from the trailer is that it could be really cool, or a glorious failure. Either way, I’m curious.

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8.) Taken 2

Release Date: October 5th
Cast: Liam Neeson, Maggie Grace, Famke Janssen
Directed by: Olivier Megaton (Colombiana, Transporter 3)
Liam Neeson kicking ass. What else is there to say? I have a few concerns though. First of all, it seems like Neeson’s daughter (Maggie Grace) plays a larger role. Who wants to see her kicking ass? We want Neeson! The trailer also indicates that Neeson himself gets taken. How long do we see him captured? Doesn’t this limit the Neeson ass kicking time? I don’t want to see that. Even with these concerns, I loved the original, and I’m hoping for something just as cool.

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7.) Flight

Release Date: November 2nd
Cast: Denzel Washington, Kelly Reilly, Don Cheadle, Bruce Greenwood, John Goodman, Melissa Leo
Directed by: Robert Zemeckis (Castaway, Forrest Gump)
Yes! Robert Zemeckis back where he belongs — directing live action movies with great actors, and not messing around with lame motion capture animation that nobody cares about. The cast is fantastic, and the story looks as dramatic as they come. I’m pumped.

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6.) Django Unchained

 

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Release Date: December 25th
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Samuel L. Jackson, Don Johnson, Jonah Hill

Directed by: Quentin Tarantino (Inglorious Bastards, Kill Bill)
It’s Quentin Tarantino. It’s a Western. Look how awesome that cast is…I’m in.

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5.) Lincoln

Release Date: November 9th
Cast: Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field, Tommy Lee Jones, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, James Spader, John Hawkes
Directed by: Steven Spielberg
Let’s see…its Steven Spielberg directing a biopic about Abraham Lincoln with Daniel Day-Lewis as the title role, and not to mention Sally Field and Tommy Lee Jones thrown into the mix. This film basically has to be a giant piece of shit not to be nominated for multiple Oscars. All jokes aside though, this really is a dream line-up. The only caution I have is that the trailer looks too ‘Oscarey,’ much like Spielberg’s War Horse, the most forgettable awards pandering film I can remember in a long time.

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4.) Dredd

Release Date: September 21st
Cast: Karl Urban, Olivia Thirlby, Lena Headey

Directed by: Pete Travis (Vantage Point)
If you were to ask me before the year started on whether I would have Dredd on a top ten list, I would have responded with ‘Verdict…no way.’ See what I did there? But seriously, this trailer looks bad ass. Karl Urban gives me chills of a RoboCop-esque performance. And while he has some really cheesy lines, Urban is doing a great job of selling them in the trailer. What I also love is that so many action movies use the slow motion technique for no apparent reason, but here it feels like there’s a legit excuse for it. I don’t know if it’s the brutal action, or the Legend of Zelda: Ocarina-type music at the beginning of the trailer, but I have a really good feeling about this one.

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3.) Wreck-it Ralph

Release Date: Novmeber 2nd

Cast: John C. Reilly, Jack McBrayer, Sarah Silverman, Jane Lynch
Directed by: Rich Moore
-he concept for this is absolutely brilliant. This film has every right to be the Who Framed Roger Rabbit for video game characters. I have some concerns though. I’m not blown away by the voice acting. John C. Reilly…eh. I’m also not happy about Jack McBrayer as a major character. There has to be someone better out there. And as great as the concept is, the trailers look ‘meh.’ Yes, I love the villain support group scene, but I just feel like with such a great idea in place, the trailers come off as to underwhelming. It doesn’t feel like they are totally embracing this story. I pray the trailers are holding back on purpose, because my expectations are pretty high for this film.

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2.) Argo
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Release Date: October 12th
Cast: Ben Affleck, Alan Arkin, Bryan Cranston, John Goodman
Directed by: Ben Affleck (The Town, Gone Baby Gone)
This will be the film that gets Ben Affleck a directing nod, something he should have had for the Town. This is actually my very early front runner for the Best Picture Academy Award. The story feels very Oscar, there’s a strong cast in place, and it just has that tension filled tone of Munich or the Departed. Maybe it’s because they play ‘Dream On’ in the trailer, which certainly adds an extra level of awesomeness, but I get great vibes all around for this one.

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1.) Looper

Release Date: September 28th
Cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Paul Dano, Emily Blunt, Jeff Daniels 
Directed by: Rian Johnson (The Brothers Bloom, Brick)
I’ve been excited for Looper for quite a while now, but what ultimately propelled this to #1 is reading all the recent positive reviews. People are absolutely glowing about this thing. And even though it’s being released in September, which is a notorious ‘whatever’ month, I have a feeling this is going to reach the same level of popularity with other great sci-fi flicks like Inception or The Matrix. It’s already being compared to the Terminator. If there’s anybody out there who still doesn’t know who Joseph Gordon-Levitt is, they will after this. While it’s certainly not going to get Oscar buzz, this will be the movie this year that people go ape shit over.

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With so much great stuff to look forward to, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention one more film…

The Worst Movie of the fall will be…

Cloud Atlas

Release Date: October 26th

Cast: Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugh Grant, Hugo Weaving, Susan Sarandon, Jim Broadbent
Directed by: Tom Tykwer, Andy & Larry Wachowski
This has Tree of Life written all over it – a pretentious piece of shit blinded by pretty images with no narrative structure. And what makes this even worse is that it’s directed by the Wachowski Brothers. While I give them credit for The Matrix, we unfortunately have to also give them credit for The Matrix sequels. These aren’t exactly the guys I want making this type of film. They are going to try and fool us into thinking we aren’t smart enough to ‘get it,’ when in reality, there’s nothing to get. I know it has Tom Hanks, but let’s not forget Tree of Life also had Brad Pitt and Sean Penn. This looks like a complete train wreck of a movie, and I will be there to document every minute of it.

Daniel Cohen is the hard-boiled Film Editor for the Pop Break. Besides reviews, Daniel writes box office predictions, Gotham reviews and Oscar coverage. He can also be found on the Breakcast. If Daniel was sprayed by Scarecrow's fear toxin, it would be watching Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen on a non-stop loop.