Sunday, September 6, 2015

2015 FALL MOVIE PREVIEW

Another fall movie season is almost upon us. With well over one hundred films and documentaries set to be released through the end of the year, that is almost too much of a good thing. There are so many I can't wait to see but I have narrowed down to the ten films that have particularly caught my attention.

All release dates are subject to change:

"SICARIO"

Release date: September 18, 2015

In "Sicario" (which in Spanish means "hitman"), Emily Blunt plays a FBI agent recruited by a government official (Josh Brolin) to join a task force to help track down a Mexican drug lord. Benicio Del Toro is a Mexican mercenary working with the team but where his loyalties lie seem unclear. Denis Villeneuve ("Prisioners", "Enemy") directs.



"LEGEND"

Release date: October 2, 2015

It's always a thrill seeing Tom Hardy on the big screen but in "Legend" we will see two. The actor will play both identical twins, Ronald and Reginald Kray in writer/director Brian Helgeland's film about these notorious gangsters who put London on edge throughout the '50's and '60's.



"CRIMSON PEAK"

Release date: October 16, 2015

Guillermo del Toro gets back to the roots of his early film career with another Gothic horror tale, "Crimson Peak". Set in 19th century London, Mia Wasikowska is a young author who falls for a handsome suitor (Tom Hiddleston). After they wed, she moves in to his crumbling estate where she encounters dark secrets, mysterious entities and the biggest scare of them all, his very intense sister (Jessica Chastain).



"BROOKLYN"

Release date: November 6, 2015

Based on the book by Colm Tóibín, "Brooklyn" tells the story of a young Irish woman (Saoirse Ronan) coming to America to start a new life in the New York borough. She meets and falls in love with an American boy (Emory Cohen) but a family emergency forces her back to Ireland, leaving her torn between the two countries. The film made an impressive splash at Sundance with the performance of Ms Ronan receiving plenty of high praise.



"CAROL"

Release date: November 20, 2015

"Carol", finally brings filmmaker, Todd Haynes back to cinema for the first time since "I'm Not There", his highly unconventional 2007 Bob Dylan bio-pic. Based on the Patricia Highsmith novel, "The Price of Salt", Cate Blanchett plays the title character, a wealthy, married woman who finds herself attracted to Therese (Rooney Mara), a young shop girl. While this wouldn't raise too many eyebrows today but back in the 1950's when this story is set, it would be a complete scandal. The film was a critical sensation at this year's Cannes and Mara tied for the Best Actress prize.



"THE DANISH GIRL"

Release date: November 27, 2015

Last year's Best Actor Oscar-winner, Eddie Redmayne is back in a role that could potentially earn him another award. In "The Danish Girl", Redmayne plays Einar Wegener, a man living in 1920's Copenhagen. It begins innocently enough with him standing in as a female model for his artist wife (the very busy, Alicia Vikander) before realizing that he wants to start living life as a real woman. Wegener, now called Lili Elbe, becomes the first known person to have sexual reassignment surgery. Tom Hooper, the Oscar-winner for "The King's Speech", directs this timely story.



"STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS"

Release date: December 18, 2015

Although I was extremely disappointed with the three "Star Wars" prequels (Jar Jar Binks? REALLY??!), I'm much more optimistic about "Star Wars: The Force Awakens". The main reason is because of the involvement of J.J. Abrams who brought the "Star Trek" franchise back to life with films that honored the history of the series yet were also creatively innovative with strong storytelling. The trailer for "The Force Awakens" indicates the spirit of the original films (with Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford all back on board) while taking us on an exciting new adventure. I can't wait!



"JOY"

Release date: December 25, 2015

David O. Russell, whose last three films, "The Fighter", "Silver Linings Playbook" and "American Hustle" each received Best Picture nominations, has a gift for taking offbeat stories and making them appealing to a mass audience. With his latest, "Joy", Jennifer Lawrence stars as Joy Mangano, a single mother of three who becomes a successful entrepreneur due to her invention of the Miracle Mop. In addition to Lawrence, Bradley Cooper and Robert DeNiro appear to re-team with the director. Édgar Ramírez, Virginia Madsen, Diane Ladd and Isabella Rossellini also star.



"THE HATEFUL EIGHT"

Release date: December 25, 2015

Due to Quentin Tarantino's temper tantrum over his script being leaked, "The Hateful Eight" almost didn't make it to the screen. Thankfully, a calmer mind prevailed and this western about a bounty hunter (Kurt Russell) with his captured outlaw (Jennifer Jason Leigh) ridding out a blizzard in a cabin filled with a gang of shady characters will be able to be seen in a glorious 70MM film format. Tarantino regulars Samuel L. Jackson, Tim Roth and Michael Madsen also make an appearance. The legendary composer, Ennio Morricone, who hasn't composed a score to a western in forty years, will be creating original music for this film.



"THE REVENANT"

Release date: December 25, 2015

Inspired by a true incident, "The Revenant" features Leonardo DiCaprio as a fur trapper that is mauled by a bear. Left to die by his thieving crew, the trapper miraculously survives and sets out to track down the men (Tom Hardy, Will Poulter and Domhnall Gleeson) to seek revenge. Although this gruesome plot sounds very much like a Tarantino movie, it's actually the follow-up to Alejandro Iñárritu's Oscar-winning Best Picture, "Birdman".