Introduction

Fall Movie Preview

Yesterday, we announced the official end of Summer Movie season with Diego Crespo’s Summer Recap.  Today, we’re pulling the team together and welcoming the transition into Autumn with our collection of bold film predictions for the rest of 2014.

David Shreve, Jr.

Release Date: Oct 17, 2014  Regency Enterprises, Fox Searchlight Pictures

Regency Enterprises, Fox Searchlight Pictures

Prediction for Best Movie:  Birdman, Release Date: Oct 17, 2014

Alejandro González Iñárritu’s first four films– Amores Perros, 21 Grams, Babel, and Biutiful— have all been brutal opuses of human tragedy, movies so unrelentingly heartbreaking and draining that Steve McQueen wouldn’t be able to view any two of them in quick succession.  However, each of those films exhibits masterful command of razor-straight storytelling language and insight into the human condition.  Early indications suggest that Birdman will carry over those qualities but it will not be without inventiveness and levity.  It will also not be without the indisputably great Michael Freaking Keaton, who seems poised to launch a comeback off of this performance.

Prediction that Gambles My Film Critic License:  Shia Lebeouf will give an Oscar caliber performance in Fury.

After the dreadful Sabotage, released earlier this year, I can’t say confidently that I expect that Fury will be a good movie.   I can confidently announce that Brad Pitt will be amazing in this, as he is in everything, and that will surprise no one.  However, I think this movie may have a second contender for Awards season.  Since A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints, I have been proclaiming that there’s a raw, organic energy to Shia Lebeouf’s acting approach, and I’ve readily offered predictions that someday the right director would harness this into a powerful performance.  The perfect vehicle to deliver my prediction’s accuracy may prove to be a giant tank.

Beth Reynolds

Prediction for Best Movie: Gone Girl, Release: October 3, 2014

Gone Girl

20th Century Fox/Regency Enterprises

I devoured Gillian Flynn’s breakout novel at the beach the month it hit shelves, and I almost fell out of my chair the day it was announced that Gone Girl was being adapted for the big screen.  When the director was announced, I had a minor heart attack.  Then when the casting was confirmed, I suffered a stroke.  Ben Affleck is the perfect Nick Dunne, and I’ve had a crush on Rosamond Pike’s icy beauty since she played Miranda Frost in Die Another Day.  It sounds so good I’m almost worried, but the trailer is one of the best I’ve seen in years.  As a book nerd, a Fincher fan, and a lover of all things mystery and suspense, I couldn’t ask for anything more.  Also a word of advice, if you’re a Gone Girl fan, be sure to check out Flynn’s earlier books as well, which are just as twisted.

Prediction for the Biggest Sleeper Hit: St. Vincent (release: October 24, 2014)

I saw the trailer for St. Vincent at the theater before the movie What If, and I was surprised no one was talking about this movie yet.  It looks like a funny and endearing  Gran Torino without the cars and the racism and the violence.  This is the perfect role for Bill Murray, as the cranky, slightly crazy old man who takes a 12 year old boy reluctantly under his wing.  We also get to see Melissa McCarthy stretch her acting chops more in what hopefully promises to be a more dramatic and sincere character for the comedian who’s pigeonholed herself into raunchy comedy recently.  I’m hoping to laugh, cry, and leave the theater feeling all kinds of warm and fuzzies after this one.

Josh Rosenfield

Foxcatcher

Annapurna Pictures/ Sony Picture Classics

Prediction for Best Movie: Foxcatcher, Release: November 14, 2014

Is Bennett Miller the most underrated director currently working? His films are always warmly received, but no one ever seems to talk about him otherwise. Capote left me cold, but Moneyball was fantastic, so I’m on board for whatever his next project is. Foxcatcher looks like a film that has the quality of craft necessary to back up its grim, serious tone. The fact that it stars Channing Tatum, Steve Carrell (in prosthetics!) and Mark Ruffalo is just a bonus.

Movie You’ll Forget About Until It Shows Up On Cable In A Few Years: The Judge, Release: October 10, 2014

You’ll forget about this film by the time you’re done reading this paragraph. The Judge looks to be the kind of misguided Oscar bait that thinks a good cast automatically makes for a good movie. I was bored to tears by the trailer, so I can’t imagine how dull the film itself must be. In a couple years you’ll be channel-surfing and see The Judge on TBS and think, “Oh yeah, that movie.” And then you’ll move on.

Sara Grasberg (Redhead at the Movies)

Gone Girl 2

20th Century Fox

Prediction for Best Movie:  Gone Girl, Release Date: October 3, 2014

My most anticipated release of the fall, despite there being a plethora of worthy and exciting choices (particularly within the indie film world–from Birdman to The Skeleton Twins), has to still be Gone Girl. As a devoted (aka obsessed) fan of both the novel and of David Fincher, I have been prematurely praising the film for months already. I’m nervous, of course. But, with Gillian Flynn penning her own adaptation and Fincher directing, I have extremely high hopes.

Prediction for Horror Satisfaction Built from Extraneous Animal PartsHorns (October 31) and Tusks (September 19)

Speaking of adaptations, the film I’m most curious-but-skeptical about is Horns–Alexandre Aja’s take on Joe Hill’s novel of the same name. This film, which stars Daniel Radcliffe as the devilish protagonist, looks like it could be fun. But as someone who read and surprisingly didn’t love the book, I wonder precisely how the campy-but-sentimental tone will translate for various audiences. My pick for craziest (in a good way) genre movie of the fall is, in fact, Kevin Smith’s Tusk. Having previously seen his first horror endeavor, Red State (2011), I was really pleased when I saw the first trailer for Tusk, which seemed to promise an even zanier, campier and Kevin-Smith-ier horror flick; I absolutely cannot wait.

Jon Miller

Paramount Pictures/Legendary Pictures

Paramount Pictures/Legendary Pictures

Prediction for Best Movie (No One Saw THIS Coming):  Interstellar, Release Date:  Release Date: November 3, 2014

Very excited about this one.  Nolan is one of my favorite directors and McConaughey is following a very successful string of television and movie roles.  But, I’ve already covered this in detail here.

Prediction I’m Way Too Old to Make:  Maze Runner (September 19) Will Be a Fun Movie to Watch.

Chalk this one up to guilty intrigue.  I watched the trailer to this one while waiting on Guardians of the Galaxy to begin, and I must say, it looks interesting.  Knowing nothing about Maze Runner, a quick investigation reveals what I had suspected:  Maze Runner is based off a young adult novel, the same categorical gene pool that includes hits like Twilight, Hunger Games, etc.  Not exactly a favorite genre of mine, but, Maze Runner has a post-apocalyptic setting (good), and science fiction elements (also good).  This one could go either way.  It could be a great film, or it could be as easy to write off as Divergent.  But I’m going to hedge my bets toward the first.

Sean Fallon

Focus Features

Focus Features

Prediction for Best Movie:  Boxtrolls, Release Date: September 26, 2014

Laika, the production company behind Boxtrolls, were responsible for a recent favourite movie of mine, ParaNorman. ParaNorman is a gorgeously rendered stop-motion animation film that dealt with issues like mortality, absent fathers, group think, homosexuality, and the dangers of a fear-addled community with maturity and grace, never trying to dumb it down for its young audience. Laika film their animation at 100 frames a second giving it a polished look that makes you go “Oooohhhh” and “Damn, being an animator must be super hard.”

Prediction for a Movie I Will Sit Through in a Cinema and Vehemently Dislike:  The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies, Release Date: December 17, 2014

I thoroughly enjoyed the Lord of the Rings films and actually thought the first Hobbit was pretty good. Desolation of Smaug though was a huge disappointment which I found boring and pointless and I don’t have high hopes for this third one. If they can avoid adding more subplots and knowing winks to LOTR it could be a fun action-packed romp, but I have a sneaking suspicion it will be another boring CGI spectacle lacking the heart and wit of the films it is a prequel to. Either way, I’ll be sat in the cinema, 3-D glasses on, angrily eating a bag of chocolate covered pretzels on opening night.

J.S. Shreve

inherent vice

Annapurna Pictures; Warner Bros.

Prediction for Best Movie: Inherent Vice, Release Date: December 12, 2014

Paul Thomas Anderson is the best working American director. For the rest of my days, any film that Anderson is directing will automatically be my most anticipated film of that year. I know nothing about this film other than it’s directed by P.T. Anderson, it stars Joaquin Phoenix, and it’s based on a novel I’ve never read. I don’t want to know anything else. I was sold at “P.T.”

Movie That May Not Even Release This Year, But I’m Going To Mention Regardless: Tomorrowland

I’ve heard this will release in December, and I’ve also heard it will release next summer. Whatever. Brad Bird. Sci-Fi. Yes, please.

Travis Losh

Bold Films/Open Road Films

Bold Films/Open Road Films

   Prediction for Best Movie: Nightcrawler, Release Date: October 31, 2014

Jake Gyllenhaal  is a gifted man who has recently proven himself to be a top talent. His performance in Enemy (my favorite film so far this year) is demanding balanced, and stirring. It seems Gyllenhaal is bringing some of the same energy to Nightcrawler with an added manic touch as Lou Bloom. Also, this is Dan Gilroy’s directorial debut. He is the mind behind the screenplay for The Fall, a bit of trivia that brings me even more joy than I felt after watching the trailer. Watch out for this film.

Prediction that Denzel Washington Will Receive Credit for Doing the Exact Same Thing… Again:  The Equalizer, Release Date: September 26, 2014

Denzel is so one note in almost every movie in which he’s ever starred.  Change his look slightly, ask him what kind of mood he is in, and how much time he has to work. The outcome: The same “intense” acting we have seen for many years. The very same brand.  The Equalizer will just be another movie to allow Denzel to play that character.

 

Katherine B. Shelor

Focus Features

Focus Features

Prediction for Best Movie:  Boxtrolls, Release Date: September 26, 2014

The book is zany and charming, and based on what I’ve read and seen, the film will be, too. I’m excited to see this imaginative world come to life, and spend a little time feeling as though I have a child’s limitless ability to play–and to believe in their play–which is the experience I expect this film to deliver. I predict many Boxtroll costumes, come Halloween!   

Prediction for the Movie that Will Perfectly Suit Nic Cage:  Left Behind, Release Date: October 3, 2014

Left Behind is the film adaptation of a series of novels about what happens to those left behind (get it?) when the true believers are “raptured”(taken directly to Heaven at the end of days). Folks disappear mid-task, causing pandemonium and generally tense situations world-wide. A speculative thriller based on literal interpretations of historical texts? Of course Nicolas Cage is in this one. Because how could he not be? (Confession: I can’t help loving Mr. Cage…and I’ll probably find a way to see this one, too, if I haven’t been raptured, first.)

Diego Crespo

Paramount Pictures/Legendary Pictures

Paramount Pictures/Legendary Pictures

Prediction for Best Movie: Interstellar, Release Date November 7, 2014

We finally got another great space adventure movie this in year in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy but how about a great space science fiction movie? Okay, so we had Gravity last year, but this is Christopher Nolan. He’s not perfect. I think his weakest film, The Dark Knight Rises, has major issues on a structural narrative level but strongest in the trilogies thematic level, along with his best direction yet. I’m someone who still stood in majesty as he closed out one of the great trilogies with a closing scene that gives me chills to this day. His weakest film gives me chills. I can’t say that for every director. The trailer made me recall this euphoric feeling I had while watching Gravity.

Prediction for Movie That I’m Least Likely to Watch While Eating: Wetlands, Limited Release Date: September 5, 2014.

Wetlands is actually being released here this week in limited release. It’s being billed as “the most NSFW movie of the year,” and I need to see if it’s truly that explicit or if it’s an overreaction, like Boyhood’s R rating. It’s probably the former, as the trailer made me cringe several times. For those who don’t know: Wetlands is about a girl who doesn’t care about hygiene (SHE DOESN’T CLEAN HER WHAT?), ends up in the hospital after she has an accident while shaving (SHE CUTS HER WHAT?), and recalls her explicit experiences. Someone said it reminded them of Amelie but with a lot more NSFW material. I can’t help but be intrigued.

 

Grace Porter

The Weinstein Company

The Weinstein Company

Prediction for Best Movie: The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Them, Limited Release Date: September 12, 2014; The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Him/Her: October 10, 2014.

To shed light on both sides of a couple’s perspective of their disintegrating marriage, Director Ned Benson breaks up The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby into two films (The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Him/Her), telling the same story through the eyes of  both Conor (James McAvoy) and Eleanor (the ever-perfect Jessica Chastain). The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Them combines the two-part movie into one narrative, giving the audience three different versions of the film. I’m a sucker for anything that breaks the mold of traditional storytelling and in awe of anyone who manages to capture the nuances of authentic relationships in a worthwhile story.

Prediction for the Movie I Will Feel Most Obligated to Like That I Already Hate: The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, December 17, 2014.

I hated every Lord of the Rings film. I hated every Hobbit film. When I was forced into the first Hobbit film viewing, I was naive enough to think that it was a one and done deal. (Did I not know or was it denial?) Cut to six years later, and I’m still suffering through them. It’s only been two years? Really? I actually looked it up. And I’m still a little sure I’ve been enduring this exercise in making each film substantially worse much longer than that.

Wrap Up

There you go.  Who’s right?  Who’s wrong?  We’re all pretty confident and willing to place bets on these.  So give us some feedback or lay down a wager.