Let's play blockbusters
It’s that time of year again: DONALD CLARKEcasts his eye over the potential legends – and stinkers – of the fall (that’s autumn to you and me)
WE’VE BEEN HERE before. We all know the drill. As the leaves fall, Hollywood goes into brief hibernation, before flinging an array of Oscar fodder at us in the last few weeks of the year. Christmas also brings a couple of big fat blockbusters.
Well, it’s not quite that way this year. The Hobbit seems to have scared all the other flashy marquee movies into hiding. Moreover, such potential Oscar contenders as Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln, Tom Hooper’s Les Misérables and Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained have all been kicked into the New Year. Last weekend, US cinemas registered their lowest three-day take in more than a decade. You’d think Hollywood would pump a little more adrenaline into the bloodstream.
Never mind. Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master has, against the odds, been attracting early reviews comparable to the raves he received for There Will be Blood. Leos Carax’s mad Holy Motors (featuring a turn from Kylie) and Ben Wheatley’s madder Sightseers (featuring rural murder to the strains of Jerusalem) won deserved raves at Cannes. Michael Haneke’s Amour is a bit of a masterpiece. And Liam Neeson is slicing up more evil foreigners in Taken 2. We’ve had worse winters.
More shenanigans in the former East Germany. Christian Petzold, director of the underestimated Yella, follows a doctor as she is located to a remote country hospital.
Already had enough of American politics? Well, tough. Jay Roach’s comedy finds Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis running against one another for a seat in congress.
Can a film develop a cult following even before it goes on worldwide release? That happy fate seems to have befallen Leos Carax’s extraordinary, deranged, hilarious portmanteau piece concerning mad goings on in Paris.
Rian Johnson’s thriller concerning a hoodlum who eliminates villains dispatched from the future has already picked up deserved degrees of buzz. You really will believe that Joseph Gordon-Levitt could grow up to be Bruce Willis.
RESIDENT EVIL: RETRIBUTION 3D
Hang on. Are these things still going? Indeed they are and they make a fortune. As ever, Paul WS Anderson directs Mila Jovovich, his good lady wife, in zombie mayhem.
PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER
The jury is still deliberating – indeed it’s been arguing in a luxury hotel for a decade – as to whether Emily Watson can become a star. Hermione’s latest adapts Stephen Chbosky’s novel about adolescent jiggery-pokery.
You’ll never guess what happens. Oh, you already have. Liam Neeson must once again hunt down villains who have captured some members of his immediate family.
Surprisingly effective horror film with a very familiar plot: Ethan Hawke moves into a house where a terrible murder once took place. The child-abducting monster looks eerily like Michael Jackson. No, really.
WHAT RICHARD DID
Lenny Abrahamson, director of Adam and Paul, returns with a hugely impressive, consistently troubling drama concerning a well-off Dublin teenager whose comfortable life is threatened following a sudden act of violence.
HIT & RUN
Both literally and figuratively, Dax Shepard, director and star, gets plenty of mileage from the post-Tarantino chatter thriller in this comic chase movie.
Genndy Tartakovsky, the hugely gifted animator, wanders into gothic territory with a family film focusing on a resort that welcomes a selection of classic monsters. Adam Sandler is Dracula. Cee Lo Green is The Mummy. If you say so.
ON THE ROAD
Jack Kerouac’s puzzlingly lauded stream of funky non-sequiturs finally becomes a film. Walter Salles propels Sam Riley and Kristen Stewart across the great tumble-weeding sprawl of night-stretching, blood-bleeding, heart-defying death limbo that . . . And so on.
Pat O’Connor directs an adaptation of Michael Morpurgo’s novel concerning a soldier looking back on his experiences in the first World War. Sure to be seen as a companion piece to Spielberg’s take on the same writer’s War Horse.
It’s taken a while but, whether or not we want it, we finally have an English-language version of Nicolas Winding Refn’s gritty Danish thriller. Richard Coyle stars as the titular unauthorised pharmacist.
Where have Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris been hiding? The folks behind Little Miss Sunshine finally return with an offbeat romantic drama featuring (and written by) the prodigiously talented Zoe Kazan. Paul Dano is also on hand.
Tim Burton is back in (very) familiar territory with a full-length, stop-motion remake of his short film about a boy who brings his late dog back to life.