Sunday, October 20, 2013

Fall Movie Preview

Can you say Oscar? It’s that time of year when squirrels gather their nuts for winter and movie studio executives instead put their nuts on the line, hedging their bets on releasing what they think will be this year’s surefire Oscar contenders. I haven’t seen any of these movies, so I can’t yet offer an opinion on their worthiness or not (I'll post movie reviews once I actually see them), but these select few have captured my interest through mere buzz, stellar casts and compelling storylines. So while they might not all share in Oscar glory come March, with names like Redford, Streep and Pitt in the mix, I have no doubt they’ll each at least give the competition a run for its money. In addition to the big names, I threw in one small Indie film (The Inevitable Defeat of Mister & Pete) which, Oscar nomination or not, I’m really looking forward to seeing.

August: Osage County (Limited Release December 25, 2013)
From the official website: “AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY tells the dark, hilarious and deeply touching story of the strong-willed women of the Weston family, whose lives have diverged until a family crisis brings them back to the Midwest house they grew up in, and to the dysfunctional woman who raised them. Letts’ play made its Broadway debut in December 2007 after premiering at Chicago’s legendary Steppenwolf Theatre earlier that year. It continued with a successful international run.”

12 Years A Slave(Limited Release October 18, 2013)
From the official website: “TWELVE YEARS A SLAVE is based on an incredible true story of one man's fight for survival and freedom. In the pre-Civil War United States, Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a free black man from upstate New York, is abducted and sold into slavery. Facing cruelty (personified by a malevolent slave owner, portrayed by Michael Fassbender), as well as unexpected kindnesses, Solomon struggles not only to stay alive, but to retain his dignity. In the twelfth year of his unforgettable odyssey, Solomon’s chance meeting with a Canadian abolitionist (Brad Pitt) will forever alter his life.” I'm almost done with the book on which this movie is based, and if the movie is anywhere near as good as the book, then I'm sure it will be a hit.

Her (NY & LA December 18, 2013)
From the official website: “Set in the Los Angeles of the slight future, “Her” follows Theodore Twombly, a complex, soulful man who makes his living writing touching, personal letters for other people. Heartbroken after the end of a long relationship, he becomes intrigued with a new, advanced operating system, which promises to be an intuitive entity in its own right, individual to each user. Upon initiating it, he is delighted to meet “Samantha,” a bright, female voice, who is insightful, sensitive and surprisingly funny. As her needs and desires grow, in tandem with his own, their friendship deepens into an eventual love for each other.” Starring Joaquin Phoenix as Twombly and Scarlett Johansson as the voice of Samantha.

The Inevitable Defeat of Mister & Pete (Limited Release October 11, 2013)
From the official website: "During a sweltering summer in New York City, 13-year-old Mister’s (Brooks) hard-living mother (Hudson) is apprehended by the police, leaving the boy and nine-year-old Pete (Dizon) alone to forage for food while dodging child protective services and the destructive scenarios of the Brooklyn projects. Faced with more than any child can be expected to bear, the resourceful Mister nevertheless feels he is an unstoppable force against seemingly unmovable obstacles. But what really keeps the pair in the survival game is much more Mister’s vulnerability than his larger-than-life attitude.”

All is Lost (NY & LA October 18, 2013; Nationwide October 25, 2013)
From the official website: “Academy Award® winner Robert Redford stars in All Is Lost, an open-water thriller about one man’s battle for survival against the elements after his sailboat is destroyed at sea… Deep into a solo voyage in the Indian Ocean, an unnamed man (Redford) wakes to find his 39-foot yacht taking on water after a collision with a shipping container left floating on the high seas. With his navigation equipment and radio disabled, the man sails unknowingly into the path of a violent storm. Despite his success in patching the breached hull, his mariner’s intuition, and a strength that belies his age, the man barely survives the tempest… with the sun unrelenting, sharks circling and his meager supplies dwindling, the ever-resourceful sailor soon finds himself staring his mortality in the face.”

The Book Thief (Limited Release November 8, 2013)
From the official website: “Based on the beloved bestselling book, THE BOOK THIEF tells the inspirational story of a spirited and courageous young girl who transforms the lives of everyone around her when she is sent to live with a new family in World War II Germany.” One interesting note about the young adult novel on which this movie is based is that the story is uniquely narrated by death.

Tune in Thursday, January 16, 2014 when Oscar nominations are announced to see if any of my picks make the list. The 2014 86th Academy Awards (Oscars) are scheduled for Sunday, March 2, 2014.