Pop-Ed: 2013 Fall Movie Preview

fallheader

Crime dramas. Period pieces. Pretentious Art House Movies. Martin Scorsese. I smell the Fall Movie Season…

As we battle through the doldrums of September, it’s time to start reflecting on those Oscar hopefuls. And while we’ll certainly touch on a lot of that, I just wanted to toss in my two cents on what I’m personally looking forward to the most this Fall as we begin to close out the 2013 movie year. We got a good mix of Oscar fare, some leftover summerish type movies, and so many great actors, I can’t even keep track. Enough jibber-jabber though, let’s get into to some potentially awesome movies with my Top 10 Most Anticipated Fall Films!

10. Dallas Buyers Club

Release Date: November 1st
Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Jared Leto, Jennifer Garner
Directed By: Jean Marc-Vallee (The Young Victoria)

When 2013 is all said and done, what a year Matthew McConaughey will have turned in. He’s already got a potential Oscar bait performance with Mud, he’ll be in a Scorsese film later this year, and then there’s Dallas Buyers Club. Dallas Buyers Club takes place in 1986 and follows Ron Woodroof (McConaughey) after he is diagnosed HIV-positive. He seeks out alternative treatments with a group of other HIV-positive patients. While the plot is interesting, I’m really only into this film for McConaughey’s performance. He supposedly lost a lot of weight, and the trailer just screams “Best Actor.” McConaughey is my very early pick to take that award.

9. Out of the Furnace

Release Date: December 6th
Cast: Christian Bale, Zoe Saldana, Woody Harrelson, Casey Affleck, Forest Whitaker, Willem Dafoe, Sam Shepard
Directed by: Scott Cooper (Crazy Heart)

Anytime Christian Bale is in a movie, I pay attention. And as much as I loved him as Batman, now that he’s freed up to do other films, I think we are about to experience just how talented he really is. The rest of the cast is also fantastic, but it’s the plot that really intrigues me about this one. When Russell’s (Bale) brother (Casey Affleck) goes missing, Russell takes it upon himself to get him back. The trailer is very impressive…great musical choice.

8. Gravity

Release Date: October 4th
Cast: Sandra Bullock, George Clooney
Directed by: Alfonso Cuaron (Children of Men, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban)

I’ve been looking forward to this film for a long time, and if you were to ask me a few months ago this may have been in my top three, but I’ve been souring on it a little bit. The trailers have not impressed me. It’s a shot of Sandra Bullock floating in space…again. I get the feeling this is a movie that everyone is going to absolutely explode over except me. The little blurb reviews I’ve read on Rotten Tomatoes so far all basically say the same thing – it’s visually stunning, tense, and amazingly filmed. That’s fine…but for me, no matter what genre it is, I still need good characters, or I simply won’t care. That’s why movies like Avatar, for as amazing as those special effects are, I just don’t care about. I’m worried I won’t care about Sandra Bullock’s character in this film, therefore I can’t simply throw myself at the “visual mastery” that is Gravity. I’m definitely excited…but we’ll see.

7. Don Jon

Release Date: September 27th
Cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Scarlett Johansson, Julianne Moore, Tony Danza
Directed by: Joseph Gordon-Levitt

I want Joseph Gordon-Levitt to be in every movie. This guy is just pure talent, and now we’re about to see what he has up his sleeve as a director. This film looks funny, clever, charming, and whatever other great adjective you want to throw at it. And Tony Danza?!? I’m in.

6. Thor: The Dark World

Release Date: November 8th
Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Anthony Hopkins, Idris Elba, Christopher Eccleston
Directed by: Alan Taylor (Game of Thrones)

I’m very sour on the Marvel cinematic universe right now. I think their films are getting waaaaaaaaaaay too much credit, and the over saturation is just unbearable. Do we really need this TV show? Come on. But the one Marvel movie I truly thought was great was 2011’s Thor, so I have been looking forward to this one for quite a while. BUT there are significant red flags. Red Flag # 1 – No Kenneth Branagh. The biggest reason Thor worked was because of Kenneth Branagh, and he’s gone. It’s great Alan Taylor has done some Game of Thrones work, but he’s not Kenneth Branagh, I’m sorry. Also, there’s been rumors of re-shoots and re-edits, and I get the feeling Loki (Hiddleston) is going to be forced into more scenes because of how much the fanboys like him. I like Loki too, but enough already. The main villain Malekith (Eccleston) is non-existent in the marketing, and for superhero movies to work, you NEED a great villain. I’m excited, but very, very nervous.

5. Her

Release Date: December 18th (limited)
Cast: Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, Olivia Wilde, Rooney Mara, Chris Pratt, Scarlett Johansson (voice)
Directed by: Spike Jonze (Where the Wild Things Are, Adaptation, Being John Malkovich)

I didn’t know to much about this one until I saw the trailer, and now I am completely fascinated. The story of a guy falling in love with an artificial intelligence is certainly intriguing enough, but it’s the casting of Joaquin Phoenix why this film vaulted to my top five. I’m still thinking about his role in The Master, and still believe it was the best performance of 2012. Phoenix goes way under the radar, but he may just be the most talented actor working in Hollywood today. The director (Jonze) is also an interesting choice. I’m very curious to see how this one turns out.

4. Saving Mr. Banks

Release Date: December 13th (limited)
Cast: Tom Hanks, Colin Farrell, Emma Thompson, Jason Schwartzman, Paul Giamatti
Directed by: John Lee Hancock (The Blind Side)

I have been clamoring for another great Tom Hanks movie for years! Enough with this Cloud Atlas, Larry Crowne, Angels & Demons crap. Yeah, he was great in Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, but it was a very small role. You are so much better than this, Hanks! When I saw the trailer for Saving Mr. Banks, I finally said, “Thank you.” He looks fantastic as Walt Disney, this is a story everybody can get on board with, and it just looks like an all around great movie. I know Hanks has done more producing, directing, and whatever else in recent years, but I think it’s time for another vintage Hanks performance where he’s not voicing a toy. Hopefully this is it.

3. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Release Date: December 25th
Cast: Ben Stiller, Kristen Wiig, Kathryn Hahn, Adam Scott, Sean Penn, Patton Oswalt, Shirley MacLaine
Directed by: Ben Stiller (Tropic Thunder, Zoolander)

This is by far the movie I’m most intrigued by. I can see this being absolutely brilliant, or a complete pile of shit. But let’s talk about Ben Stiller for a moment. Stiller is a legit actor when given the right situation (The Royal Tenenbaums). Even in Greenberg a few years ago, while that movie was horribly written, he was still able to carry it to being passable. Now let’s look at his directing resume – Reality Bites is the only directorial effort I have not seen of his. His other directed films include The Cable Guy, Zoolander, and Tropic Thunder. All those films are pretty solid, even The Cable Guy which has become a cult classic. While these films are certainly more on the goofy side, I can definitely tell the talent to move towards dramedy is there. I really like the trailer for this, but I can also feel a looming disaster. There is a little Tree of Life/Cloud Atlas vibe, and the fact that Sean Penn is in this raises the pretentious potential about 900%. From everything I’ve read, this has been a real passion project for Stiller, so I’m hoping to really love this film.

2. American Hustle

Release Date: December 13th (limited)
Cast: Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams, Jennifer Lawrence, Jeremy Renner, Robert De Niro
Directed by: David O. Russell (Silver Linings Playbook, The Fighter)

The cast for this movie is the equivalent to the roster of this year’s Denver Broncos. Holy matza ball soup. I think the director, cast, and trailer speak for itself.

1. The Wolf of Wall Street

Release Date: November 15th
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Matthew McConaughey, Jonah Hill, Jon Favreau, Kyle Chandler, Jean Dujardin
Directed by: Martin Scorsese

Yup…Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese. Is there anything better in Hollywood? Okay, so Scorsese got Hugo out of his system, and now he’s back doing something more Marty. And honestly, I can’t remember the last time I saw a bad DiCaprio performance. He’s the best working actor in Hollywood right now. Period. Add in hot streak McConaughey, and Jonah Hill actually looks really good in the trailer as well. Speaking of the trailer, it just looks like movie heaven. No doubt this is my most anticipated film of the Fall.

Well, there you have it. But just a couple more house cleaning items before we end this bad boy.

My Insanely Early Oscar Pick For Best Picture Is…

12 Years a Slave

Release Date: October 18th (limited)
Cast: Benedict Cumberbatch, Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Paul Dano, Paul Giamatti
Directed by: Steve McQueen (Shame)

Pre-Civil War piece about slavery…any more questions? This one just missed out on my top ten as the cast includes Benedict Cumberbatch and Michael Fassbender, two actors who are certainly about to explode. It also has Brad Pitt who needs to repent for World War Z. The main protagonist though is actually a someone known mainly as a character actor, Chiwetel Ejiofor (Serenity, American Gangster, Love Actually), which is certainly interesting. But just look at this trailer – I think I saw an Oscar statue floating in the background.

Other Quick Oscar Potentials: Nebraska (Alexander Payne), Inside Llewyn Davis (Coen Brothers), The Monuments Men (George Clooney)

The Worst Movie of the Fall Will Be…

Last Vegas

Release Date: November 1st
Cast: Robert De Niro, Michael Douglas, Morgan Freeman, Kevin Kline
Directed by: Jon Turteltaub (National Treasure)

I hate to put the words “Worst Of” on a film that stars Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman, Michael Douglas, and Kevin Kline, but I’m sorry, this movie looks absolutely painful. Are you kidding me with this? Look, good for these guys who I’m sure just wanted to hang out together and have a few laughs…fine. But can’t they just all fly to Vegas together? What, they don’t have the money? Come on. And I know De Niro got his mojo back a little bit with last year’s Silver Linings Playbook, but the movies he’s been in the last 10 years overall is just hard to watch. Please…stay away from this one.

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.