Saturday, August 1, 2009

Preview: 5 Movies That Could Kick Ass This Fall

District 9 (August 14th)

What is it: A new, documentary-style take on the classic invasion story, where mysterious beings from unknown origins begin to suck resources from an impoverished South African community. These 'illegal' aliens show no initial signs of aggression, but the tension grows as humanity struggles to understand their motives.

Why it could kick ass: With what began as a project to make a big screen adaptation of the 'Halo' series, executive producer Peter Jackson struggled to get the studio, Bungee, and Microsoft to see eye to eye, especially after handpicking a relatively unknown South African filmmaker named Neill Blomkamp to direct. After hopelessly trying to please the many vested parties, Jackson and Blomkamp decided to abandon the project, and make a feature-length version of his 2005 short film Alive In Joburg. The talent and concept seem to be all lined up for this project, and after viewing some promising initial reviews, a solid execution has this film coming full (crop?) circle.

Update: It looks like the critics aren't the only ones raving. Just saw the movie last week and loved it. Definitely Dang-Worthy. Full review coming soon.

9 (September 9th)

What is it: In an alternate version of Earth, a scientist creates 9 sentient rag dolls to help protect the legacy of humanity from the very machines that have helped to destroy them. Each of unique merit, the so-called 'stitch punks' (sadly, I'm not making this up) hope to mercilessly hunt down the last of the machines.

Why it could kick ass: Although Tim Burton's name is being thrown around on this one, he's only signed to produce, with Lord of the Rings animator Shane Acker making his big directorial debut. There are certainly reasons to be skeptical, but with Elijah Wood, Jennifer Connelly, John C. Reily, and weirdest guy alive Crispin Glover on board for character voices, this movie could deliver a memorable adventure. And hey, a movie called 9 coming out on 9/9/09 when Hugh Grant turns 49 has to be a big deal.

Where The Wild Things Are (October 19th)

What is it: In this ambitious adaptation of Maurice Sendak's beloved bestselling children's book by the same name, a young boy named Max escapes a crumbling domestic life to an imaginary world of monsters who decide to crown him as their ruler.

Why it could kick ass: Director Spike Jonze doesn't have the kind of blockbuster notoriety of some of the other October releases, but anyone who has seen the 1999 best picture nominated Being John Malkovich knows that Jonze knows how to do weird. I'd also like to add that the title song Wake Up by Canadian indie-rockers Arcade Fire is one of the best songs I've heard in the year 2009, and is getting a special remake version for the film. Just avoid eye contact with their somewhat busted female singer.

The Fantastic Mr. Fox (November 13th)

What is it: The classic 1970 novel by Roald Dahl about a sly fox who pushes farmers to their wits end by stealing their poultry is brought to life in a full-length stop motion animated adventure.

Why it could kick ass: American director Wes Andersen, the creative mind behind the hysterically smart Royal Tenenbaums and The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou, is rejoined by actors Bill Murray and Merryl Streep for voice support. To boot, the film's casting hits one out of the barnyard as the slick and sleek Mr. Fox is played by George Clooney. Expect a solid mix of quick witted adult comedy and fast-paced agricultural adventure (agriventure?) that the whole foxhole can enjoy.

Sherlock Holmes (December 25th)

What is it: The first film featuring Arthur Conan Doyle's original super sleuth in over two decades, Sherlock Holmes must foil an underground conspiracy to destroy Britain. The film opens with a promise of revenge from the grave by an insane cult leader (Mark Strong) as he is lead off to the gallows.

Why it could kick ass: Isn't it great to have Robert Downey Junior back from the brink of alcoholism? Although I've got my qualms with Guy Richie (the man behind the Jason Statham movies that you find in every frat boy DVD rack. You know, the ones where everyone is English and the dialogue is relentless), I'm still anxious to see a recharged RBJ as he joins Jude Law (Dr. Watson) for a much more raw interpretation of the classic character. Rachel McAdams as Irene Adler might make it worth the 10 bucks too. I'm just sayin.

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