Seven Psychopaths (October 12)
Silver: Why is my excitement for this at The Hobbit and new episodes of Arrested Development levels? Because, in my opinion, writer/director Martin McDonagh is as close to a literary savant as my generation has ever had. He’s a playwright turned filmmaker whose first feature, In Bruges, was nominated for a Best Original Screenplay Oscar. With that film, he skillfully appropriated his highly engaging, engrossing, and often disturbing style and humor from the stage with such plays as The Leenane Trilogy, The Aran Islands Trilogy, The Pillowman, and A Behanding in Spokane. And similar to In Bruges, Seven Psychopaths seems like it will ground itself in a simple genre (Bruges is to British Gangster Flick as Psychopaths is to Caper Comedy), but will inevitably play within that construct by utilizing multiple dramatic forms and tools to create a film that is truly distinctive. Onstage or onscreen, actors like Farrell, Rockwell, and Walken have all proven themselves to be as comfortable with McDonagh’s method, and are to his work as William H. Macy and Rebecca Pidgeon are to David Mamet’s. And if none of this has convinced you that Seven Psychopaths is worth seeing, will the promise of Tom Waits casually sitting on a brick fence petting a rabbit do it for you?
I’d also like to state that the following bit, as delivered by Christopher Walken (@ 1:45), is now my favorite string of dialogue in the last 10 years.
Man: Put your hands up.
Man: But I’ve got a gun.
Walken: I don’t care.
Man: That doesn’t make any sense.
Walken: [Laughing.] Too bad.
Browne: You get the feeling after watching this trailer that they had so much fun making this film. I want to see it because it looks awesome, but, in that very Ocean's 11 way, it's also fun transporting yourself to the set and imagining that you're there, too, pulling pranks between takes and having a jolly old time.
This blooper reel better be 90 minutes long.
Red Dawn (November 21)
Silver: Seeing starkly lit football action juxtaposed with shots of Tyra Collette in a bar got me hoping that Red Dawn was actually the return of Coach, Tami, and the rest of the Dillon regulars into our lives. Alas, it's the long-shelved remake of John Milius’s 1984 teen-actioner of the same name — with this go-around swapping out Patrick Swayze, C. Thomas Howell, Lea Thompson, Charlie Sheen, Jennifer Grey, and the Soviets for Chris Hemsworth, Adrianne Palicki (Tyra!), Josh Hutcherson, Josh Peck, Connor Cruise, and North Korea.
Red Dawn’s trailer contains all the signs that the final product will be a paint-by-numbers Hollywood offering. The film’s inciting event coincidentally unfolds directly next to the main characters (plane crashing into a house @ :45); instead of concerning themselves with the larger task at hand (taking over the country), the “bad guys” feel it’s more important to threaten (and in this case kill) a loved one connected to protagonists (dad’s head goes boom @ 1:10); and of course, there's the obligatory bit of plot exposition loaded with generalities (“There’s a new class of weapon. It went offline and never came back. It’ll wipe us out. Including U.S. Central Command” @ 1:20).
I’m not feeling confident about this one, but we’ll see how much fight Red Dawn actually has when it’s released up against Life of Pi and Silver Lining Playbook this Thanksgiving.
Browne: I love how Red Dawn is the hi-tech story of Columbus and the Americas? I LOVE THAT.
How to Survive a Plague (September 21)
Silver: I got chills watching this. The best compliment I can give this trailer is that it motivated me to seek out more context. Not specifically for this post, but because I was a little too young to appreciate the significance of these events, and regrettably only have vague memories formed by a quasi-unaware teenager watching the evening news. I’m now compelled to know more, and even though a single documentary won’t fill my curiosity bucket on its own, the inspiration I’m sure to gather from my experience will certainly be the fuel I need. Again, chills.
Browne: "This isn't going to be cured for years and years and years. I'm going to die from this."
I had to pause the clip after this. How to Survive a Plague is going to be tough to sit through, but I'm eager to see the whole piece. This is important.
Deadfall (November 2 — VOD / December 7 — Theaters)
Silver: Desolate landscapes, a dynamic car crash, large amounts of stolen cash, Olivia Wilde and Charlie Hunnam hooking up, Eric Bana playing a psychopath, and a trailer exuding a vibe that feels like a mix of A Simple Plan and Blood Simple. I actually got a slight cold shiver while watching this. We’ll have to wait to see if Deadfall can live up to its trailer, but for now, this definitely looks like one worth watching.
Browne: I get why Eric Bana, hunky strong man, was a thing for a while (Troy, Hulk), but I'd much rather watch him be a crazy, deranged guy. He's extremely captivating as a psycho. Also, in the never-ending "Do we cast Munn or Wilde" game, kudos to Deadfall for making the right choice. Well done.
Side by Side (August 22 — VOD)
Browne: Silver, teach me things. Teach me things and use the world "celluloid" more than twice.
Silver: Drew: The Man Behind the Poster still reigns supreme as this year’s geekiest doc, but Side by Side should at least be allowed a piece of the thrown. Maybe it can sit on one of the arm rests. This Keanu Reeves–led exploration of cinema’s transition from celluloid to digital filmmaking could easily be a bore, but based on the names/faces seen in the trailer, producer Reeves and director Christopher Kenneally appear to have been able to sit down with all the right folks: the hard-core celluloid shunners (Cameron and Lucas); the converts (Scorsese, Soderbergh, and Fincher); the independents (Dunham); and the celluloid holdouts/lovers (Nolan and Pfister).
End of Watch — Red Band (September 21)
Silver: Based on its IMDb logline — "Two young officers are marked for death after confiscating a small cache of money and firearms from the members of a notorious cartel, during a routine traffic stop" — End of Watch sounds like just another L.A. crime story. But the visuals in this red band trailer intrigue me. Is this a found-footage movie? What’s with the lockdown cameras on the weapons and bodies? Aside from a few establishing shots and a helicopter shot of a police car, the majority of the visuals contained in this trailer are executed up close, hand-held, or in some kind of unique way. Could End of Watch be one of the rare scenarios where the imagery raises a film’s overall appeal by enhancing its somewhat pedestrian narrative?
Browne: The only thing I'm sure of from this trailer is that End of Watch is going to be very, very loud. I'm sure it'll be watchable and borderline-good, but just bring earplugs.
Raiders of the Lost Ark — IMAX Re-release (September 7)
Silver: Yes! Yes! Yes! I’ve never even seen Raiders on 35mm, so why not go full IMAX for the first time on the big screen? I sincerely hope this IMAX remastering and releasing of classic films becomes a new trend. If I were lucky enough to oversee this endeavor, the next five films would be Aliens, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, The Shining, Apocalypse Now, and Star Wars — Episode IV.
Rem, your five, please.
Browne: I have nothing to say about ROTLA except "Yes, I will pay 80 dollars to see this in IMAX." As for the actual important topic of conversation: Blank Check, Little Giants, Richie Rich, A Kid in King Arthur's Court, and Dial 'M' for Murder.
The Last Stand (January 18, 2013)
Silver: Forget his appearance in the retro-bouillabaisse that is The Expendables 2; The Last Stand is the return to the big screen we all wanted from The Governator. He's the lone lawman in a small border town who's called upon by the U.S. government to stop a cartel before they flee into Mexico. It's a perfectly absurd twist on the Gary Cooper/High Noon formula, which perfectly sets Arnold up to quip and kick ass. Both of which are nicely featured in the trailer (I just love the "I'm the sheriff" line). There's really not much else. The Last Stand is Arnold in a straight-up, cheeky, hard-core action film. For those of us who can remember what that means, that's kind of all that needs to be said.
Browne: A quote about Arnold, from Wikipedia:
"He bought the first Hummer manufactured for civilian use in 1992, a model so large, 6,300 lb (2,900 kg) and 7 feet (2.1 m) wide, that it is classified as a large truck and U.S. fuel economy regulations do not apply to it."
If that's not a reason to support this man's comeback, I don't know what is.