a pro script reader ponders movies, reading, writing and the occasional personal flashback

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

And In The Fall, The Directors Come Out To Play

Now that summer popcorn movie season is almost finally over, it's time to look forward to the fall, when the real movies come out.

It's no coincidence that many of the more-interesting ones are director-driven. Generally, when Hollywood decides to take a chance on the kind of movie that needs to be very good or it won't make a dime, they turn to the best directors, who thus tend to get first crack at the best material.

Anyhow, it's turning out to be a potentially-solid rest of the year. Among the directors with movies coming out in the next four months are:

MARTIN SCORCESE. His movies are no longer automatic slam dunks, but "The Departed", a remake of the Hong Kong police thriller "Infernal Affairs", stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon and Jack Nicholson (Oct 6).

STEVEN SODERBERGH. "The Good German" stars George Clooney, Cate Blanchett and Toby Maguire, and was written by Paul Attanasio. I don't even care what it's about, I'm there (Dec 8).

RICHARD LINKLATER. "Fast Food Nation" is an ensemble drama loosely based on the non-fiction book of the same name, about the abuses of the fast food industry. Looks good (Oct 20).

CLINT EASTWOOD. "Flags of Our Fathers" is about the soldiers putting the flag on Iwo Jima. Eastwood has proven that he knows how to direct, while this could be three Best Picture Oscars in a row written or co-written by Paul Haggis (Oct 20).

CHRISTOPHER NOLAN. "The Prestige", with Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale as magicians circa 1900, is another trailer that looks great (Oct 20).

SOFIA COPPOLA. Sue me, but I love "Lost in Translation", and she's one of the few female writer-directors getting any real respect nowadays. "Marie Antoinette" got mixed reviews at Cannes, but I'll be there (Oct 20).

ROBERT DENIRO. "The Good Shepherd" stars Matt Damon, Angelina Jolie and DeNiro, who is directing for the first time in 13 years, since "A Bronx Tale". Eric Roth wrote it (Dec 22).

DARREN ARONOFSKY. "The Fountain" is one of the more memorable trailers I've seen in a while, and hopefully the movie works, because it could easily be terrible. Still, his track record is good enough to give one hope, as is the fact that this has a prime release date (Nov 22).

ANTHONY MINGHELLA. "Breaking and Entering" stars Jude Law and Juliette Binoche (Oct 6).

BILL CONDON. "Dreamgirls". Beyonce Knowles, Jamie Foxx, Eddie Murphy, Jennifer Hudson Dec 21).

ALFONSO CUARON. "Children of Men" looks like a thoughtful futuristic thriller, with Clive Owen and Julianne Moore (Sept 29).

MICHEL GONDRY. I was underwhelmed when I read the screenplay for "The Science of Sleep" (Gondry wrote it, not Charlie Kaufman), but the trailer looks trippy (Sept 22).

ALEJANDRO GONZALEZ INARRITU. Inarritu directed "21 Grams"; his new film, "Babel", stars Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett and Gael Garcia Bernal (Oct 27).

MARC FORSTER. "Monster's Ball" and "Finding Neverland" were both solid, so it's interesting to see what he can do with "Stranger Than Fiction", in which Will Ferrell hears a voice narrating his life (Nov 10).

EDWARD ZWICK. "Blood Diamond" deals with the strip-mining of Africa for diamonds. Leo DiCaprio, Djimon Hounsou and Jennifer Connelly (Dec 15).

PEDRO ALMODOVER. "Volver" toplines Penelope Cruz; the female cast shared the best actress prize at Cannes (Nov 3).

RIDLEY SCOTT made "A Good Year", with Russell Crowe and Albert Finney, a gentle comedy set in France. The trailer looks predictable, but Scott and Crowe could make it work (Nov 10).

TONY SCOTT took "Deja Vu", a script that sold for $5 million, and word is that he screwed it up. But it has Denzel Washington, so we'll see (Nov 22).

BRIAN DEPALMA. DePalma has been more than a little spotty too, but with "The Black Dahlia" (written by Josh Friedman, from the novel by James Ellroy), he might have a solid script to work from for once (Sept 15).

BARRY LEVINSON. As much as I love Barry Levinson, "Man of the Year" stars Robin Williams, Christopher Walken and Lewis Black, so who knows. Hopefully it's not "Toys" (Oct 13).

CURTIS HANSON. "Lucky You" is a poker movie, with Eric Bana, Drew Barrymore, and Robert Duvall. (Oct 27).

PHILLIP NOYCE. "Catch a Fire" is a serious South African prison tale, starring Derek Luke and Tim Robbins. (Oct 27).

STEVE ZAILLIAN wrote and directed the remake of "All The King's Men", starring Sean Penn, Jude Law and Kate Winslet. The trailer looks great (Sept 22).

TODD FIELD. "Little Children" is his first film since "In the Bedroom"; it stars Kate Winslet, Patrick Wilson and Jennifer Connelly (Oct).

LASSE HALLESTROM. "The Hoax" stars Richard Gere as Clifford Irving, who faked a book on Howard Hughes (Nov 17).

NANCY MEYERS. "The Holiday" stars Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet, Jack Black, and the ever-present Jude Law; does he ever spend time at home? (Dec 8).

RYAN MURPHY. Though "Running With Scissors" is his first movie (he wrote it, too), he got the shot based on his work on "Nip/Tuck", and the trailer looks great (Oct 27).

MARTIN CAMPBELL. Hopefully "Casino Royale" will do something interesting with the Bond canon, though the fact that they changed baccarat to Texas Hold 'Em feels like heresy (Nov 17).

JOEY LAUREN ADAMS wrote and directed "Come Early Morning", with Ashley Judd; festival word is good.

MIKE JUDGE. Sometimes, you just need to laugh. "Idiocracy", with Luke Wilson, is about a guy who wakes up 500 years in the future, when everyone is stupid (Sept 1).

CHRISTOPHER GUEST satirizes the Oscars will a lot of his usual cast members, in "For Your Consideration" (Nov 17).

EMILIO ESTEVEZ. I know; what's he doing here? But "Bobby" (which he wrote, too) is getting some good buzz, and it has a big, impressive cast (Nov 22).

JOHN GULAGER. "Feast" is finally supposed to open. We'll see (Sept 22).

SYLVESTER STALLONE. "Rocky Balboa". Yes, Stallone is 60. Yeesh (Dec 22).

MEL GIBSON. "Apocalypto" is supposed to be brutal, I hated "Passion of the Christ", and turns out he's an anti-Semite, too. So he gets the bottom slot (Dec 8).

Release dates are subject to change, and I'm sure some of these movies will get bounced until next year; 8 of these films are scheduled to open in the last two weeks of October alone.

Still, there's some potentially-good stuff here. Plus. like Bill Martell, I'm also looking forward to "Jackass 2".


At 11:13 AM, Anonymous Aaron said...

It's going to be a fun fall. Can't wait. I'm really looking forward to Soderbergh, Coppola, Aronofsky, and Inarritu.

Oh, and don't forget, Levinson directed Wag The Dog... so as long as that film was more than Mamet, maybe his newest offering will be good.

At 11:31 AM, Blogger Brett said...

I keep hoping the next JACKASS movie will be titled something like "JACKASS RETURNS" or "JACKASSER"

At 12:50 PM, Anonymous Joe Valdez said...

It's a good time to be a film geek.

It would take a lot to keep me away from seeing the Eastwood, Nolan, Scorsese, DeNiro, Soderbergh and Aronofsky movies this fall; they all look terrific. So does The Black Dalhia but modern logic dictates the less you expect from Brian DePalma, the better.

I'm pulling for Sofia Coppola and Nancy Meyers. I'd like to see more women directing good, successful movies and these two women have a lot of people in their corners. Casting Jack Black in your rom/com is a step in the right direction, but my expectations are not really high.

The poker movie with Eric Bana could be a sleeper. And isn't David Fincher's new movie coming out this fall?

At 12:56 PM, Blogger Scott the Reader said...

Fincher's next film is Zodiac, which imdb has coming out next year.

At 2:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks way better than the year so far, but I am missing one film in your list:

Guillermo del Toro's "Pan's Labyrinth"



At 2:22 PM, Blogger Systemaddict said...

The Prestige and the Fountain get top billing for me...

Nolan personally gave me a signed copy of Memento and wished me well in my future career- Not only that- but if this man continues to put out movies like Batman and the aforemention Memento...well...I'll keep watching.

And Aranofsky was one of the coolest people I spoke to last year at the San Diego Comicon-

Both trailers are solid- and from the extra amounts I saw of THe Fountain- it looks like my thing.

At 6:01 PM, Blogger Chesher Cat said...

"MIKE JUDGE. Sometimes, you just need to laugh. "Idiocracy", with Luke Wilson, is about a guy who wakes up 500 years in the future, when everyone is stupid "

So, am I wrong to assume that the guy was living in 1506, went to sleep and woke up in 2006?

At 8:40 PM, Blogger Patrick J. Rodio said...

Levinson also directed JIMMY HOLLYWOOD. Yikes! But I hope Man Of The Year is good.

Idiocracy got moved off of Sept 1st, no date announced. Sucks, cause I like the concept and it looks like fun.

At 11:29 PM, Anonymous George said...

I'm very excited to see most of these, but my hunch is I've already seen the best film of the year — United 93.

At 6:24 AM, Blogger Spanish Prisoner said...

I eagerly await "Black Dahlia".

At 1:53 PM, Blogger EllieTee said...

I'm really hoping Sofia Coppola pulls it off, too; I thought Lost in Translation was absolutely wonderful, so I'll be rooting for her.

Canucklingly yours,

At 5:37 AM, Blogger Jacob Sager Weinstein said...

I agree about PAN'S LABYRINTH. I saw it at Cannes, and it was wonderful. Highly recommended.

By the way, the script for STRANGER THAN FICTION is absolutely fantastic, and I have high hopes for the finished film. But if at all possible, do NOT watch the trailer for it. As with so many trailers, it gives away a lot of the movie. Fortunately, it's not a heavily plot-twist-dependent movie, so it's not really spoilable in that sense--but, still, you'll enjoy it more without seeing the trailer.

At 7:41 AM, Blogger Scribe LA said...

Looking forward to "Lucky You."
I have just a simple note for Scorcese: please make this one SHORTER. It's called an editor.... with all due respect! I wish he would go back to his roots, bigger does not always make better.

At 8:18 AM, Blogger Not A Winner said...

Nice list.

I'm particularly looking forward to Gondry's The Science of Sleep.

Stallone? Yeesh. That's gonna be one train wreck so cataclysmic that I think I'll have to see it. Some people just don't know when to bow out (Rocky and Rambo sequels being examples).

At 9:30 AM, Blogger MaryAn Batchellor said...

Feast will be in 100 markets and show at two theaters in each at midnight on Friday and Saturday, with no further screenings scheduled. Not much of a release.

At 8:02 PM, Blogger suzbays said...

Thanks for the previews, Scott. As a writer, I wish you'd mentioned the writers of these movies. Oh, wait, I've directed a short so now I'm a director...screw the writers!


At 9:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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