It’s been a good year so far in the world of cinema. I usually like to break up the calendar year into three movie phases. First, there is the Oscars hangover phase that usually deliver films that didn’t screen well for the awards season (like Monuments Men) and then films that didn’t want to compete with the summer blockbusters. There’s usually one film that sneaks in the first phase and comes out a real winner, but this year we had two: Captain America: The Winter Soldier and The LEGO Movie.
The second phase is the summer blockbuster phase, and it’s the season that makes all the money. Guardians of the Galaxy is on its way to becoming the biggest film of the year, and movies like Transformers: Age of Extinction, Maleficent, and X-Men: Days of Future Past aren’t too far behind. This phase also has its fair share of independent gems, such as this year’s Boyhood. For the public, this is the phase of movies they’ll remember the most, even though almost every films is some kind of sequel or reboot.
And finally, the third phase (and my favorite phase) the awards season. Typically, the awards bait films are released towards the end of the calendar year so these specific films remain fresh in Academy members’ minds. But after being brainwashed by a million ads from expensive movies all summer long, it’s easy to have no idea what films are coming out this fall/winter. That’s what I’m here for! Below are the films I’m looking for:
The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby (9/12)
The trailer intrigued me the first time I saw it. Starring Jessica Chastain and James McAvoy, this film revolves around this young couple and how they try to will themselves to stay together after a tragedy strikes. This isn’t going to be a romantic-comedy, but instead a powerful film focused on their relationship. Last year at the Toronto Film Festival, two separate films in the perspective of the two characters were released and both were well received. This version will be a collaboration of both films, but if you want to check out the two separate films they will be released in October.
Gone Girl (10/3)
How many times has David Fincher done us wrong? Not many, and Gillian Flynn’s crime thriller is a perfect match for Fincher’s style. Sure, Ben Affleck wouldn’t be at the top of my list to play Nick Dunne, but he is a superstar and will surely fill the seats with those who haven’t read the best-selling novel. Can this be the film where Fincher finally wins an Oscar?
Miles Teller is arguably my favorite young actor in the business and in Whiplash he’ll take on a whole new territory in acting. He plays a young drummer who is pushed to the limit by an abusive instructor at a prestigious music school. That instructor is played by JK Simmons. The trailer captures the intensity of the plot and you can already see the chemistry that Teller and Simmons have in the movie. This one should definitely be on your radar.
Starring Brad Pitt, Logan Lerman and Shia LaBeouf, this is a period war film that has a lot of potential. Written and directed by David Ayer, this film follows his acclaimed movie End of Watch from 2012. Ayer seems to be at home with cop-thrillers as he’s written films like Harsh Times, S.W.A.T., Training Day, and The Fast and the Furious. If anything, Fury should be entertaining.
One of my favorite directors is Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (Babel, 21 Grams, Amores Perros). His new film stars Michael Keaton as a washed up superhero trying to reclaim his fame. Let’s forget that Keaton did play Batman back in the day, this film seems odd but just odd enough for Inarritu to really dig his teeth into. Also, rounding out the film’s cast are Ed Norton, Zach Galifianakis, Naomi Watts and Amy Ryan.
St. Vincent (10/24)
If you’re looking for a good laugh, St. Vincent might be the perfect option. Starring Melissa McCarthy and Bill Murray as neighbors, Murray winds up babysitting McCarthy’s 12-year-old son. Yes you guessed it, Murray plays a hedonistic, war veteran. This one will most certainly have a handful of hilarious moments, though I’m skeptical if it will be well-received by all.
Chris Nolan. Is there anything else that needs to be said? But there’s more… a pretty well-known actor named Matthew McConaughey! Though I’m not sure what the movie is about yet, it does have something to do with space. Chris Nolan and a space movie? Who wouldn’t be excited about that?! Plus Anne Hathaway and Jessica Chastain are in the film. After Gravity’s major splash at last year’s Oscars, will Interstellar receive the same praise?
A Most Violent Year (11/12)
Set during the winter of 1981 in New York City, this thriller is sure to grab your attention once it’s released. Once again, Jessica Chastain is starring (does she ever take a break?!) alongside Oscar Isaac, who was brilliant in Inside Llewyn Davis. Directed by J.C. Chandor, I loved the first two films he’s directed (Margin Call, All is Lost) and I’m hoping this makes it three.
This film received plenty of praise at the Cannes Festival, but was pushed away from last year’s Oscar season. This year it’s looking to be a serious contender about the U.S. wrestler Mark Schultz and the schizophrenic John du Pont. Starring Steve Carell and Channing Tatum, and directed by Bennett Miller (Moneyball, Capote), this is one drama you won’t want to miss.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 (11/21)
I don’t know about you, but I love The Hunger Games series. It performs at the box office like a summer blockbuster, but it’s more than that. With as all-star cast led by the beautiful and talented Jennifer Lawrence, it has action, drama, suspense, and political messages to boot. This is the beginning of the end, with the last book being split into two. I’m ready for the rebellion!
Are you ready for a tour de force bio-pic starring Reese Witherspoon? Wild is the story of a woman’s solo journey traveling over 1,000 miles. And while I love Witherspoon in her Legally Blonde days, she’s much better when tackling challenging roles like June Carter in Walk the Line and Juniper in Mud. Oh, did I mention this is directed by Jean-Marc Vallee (Dallas Buyers Club). As you can see, this has a lot of potential.
Inherent Vice (12/12)
One of my favorite directors is Paul Thomas Anderson, so his new film is obviously one that I’m looking forward to. He’s re-teaming up with Joaquin Phoenix again, which is even better news! The film is set in 1970’s Los Angeles and is about a P.I. investigating the disappearance of an ex-girlfriend. Yeah, this one is going to be good.
Into the Woods (12/25)
This is a classic musical that won Tony awards not only for its original Broadway show, but also for its revival. If that’s not impressive enough for you, the screen-adaptation is directed by Rob Marshall, known for directed musicals such as Nine and Chicago. On top of that, it’s starring Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt, Anna Kendrick, Johnny Depp, Chris Pine, and James Corden. Now are you interested? You should be!
Here’s a true story about an Olympic runner who enlists in the army and is captured and tortured for years. It’s not going to be your family-friendly Christmas movie, but with Angelina Jolie as director, with a screenplay by the Coen brothers and the cinematography by the legendary Roger Deakins, this has all the working parts in becoming an Oscar favorite.
The Interview (12/25)
In case you want to take a break from all the heavy dramas during awards season, James Franco, Seth Rogen, and Evan Goldberg have just the movie for you. The Interview is about a celebrity TV host and his producer who go undercover by the CIA to assassinate Kim Jong Un after he gives them rights to an exclusive interview. Yes, it sounds ridiculous, but with Superbad, Pineapple Express, and This is the End, shouldn’t we all just be really excited for this film? Because I am!