Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Top 10 films I'm looking forward to, latter half of 2011

In order of excitement:

1. Lars Von Trier - Melancholia

After the neurotic, unnerving, and at time nauseating, but flawless Anti-Christ (I've seen it twice, never again), Von Trier follows up with a film titled Melancholia (God, the implications scare me) starring Kirsten Dunst. Not a big Dunst fan, but like Aronofsky did with Portman in Black Swan, I have a feeling Trier can sculpt Dunst into an academy award performance. My most anticipated film of the year.

2. David Cronenberg - A Dangerous Method

Another of my favorite modern directors, a great screenwriter, 2 of my favorite actors (Viggo and Cassel), and the pulchritudinous Ms. Knighley. I love directors who have the propensity to change their style and subject with every new film they make.

"A Dangerous Method is an upcoming historical film, directed by David Cronenberg and starring Viggo Mortensen, Michael Fassbender, Keira Knightley and Vincent Cassel. The screenplay was adapted by Academy Award-winning writer Christopher Hampton from his 2002 stage play The Talking Cure, itself based on the 1993 non-fiction book by John Kerr, A Most Dangerous Method.

The film marks the third collaboration between Cronenberg and Viggo Mortensen (after A History of Violence and Eastern Promises). This is also the third film British film producer Jeremy Thomas has made with Cronenberg, after together completing the William Burroughs adaptation Naked Lunch and the J.G. Ballard adaptation Crash."

Seeing as both Naked Lunch and Crash are my two favorite Cronenberg films, this collaboration makes me very excited about this film. My second most anticipated film coming out this year.

In no particular order...some others

David Fincher - The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Can't say much about this because I haven't read the books or seen the original, nor have I read anything about the plot, but Fincher is a very talented, diverse director who has proven time and again his craftsmanship for making inventive, thrilling and powerful films. Much like Cronenberg and Lars Von Trier he also has the innate ability to change his style and subject with each subsequent film. I can't say I'm fully excited about this, because I don't know much about it, but from the trailer, it looks to be quite a good movie.

Takeshi Koike - Redline

Nerd alert on this one: it's an anime. I'm into anime (well, -good- anime), so sue me for looking forward to this. Don't really know much about it but it seems like a Speed Racer for adults and 10x more badass. The trailer sold me immediately. The animation and style look to be the best Madhouse (one of the most prominent animation studios in Japan) has ever done. Really looking forward to this.

Gorō Miyazaki - Kokurikozaka kara

Another nerd alert. Coming from Studio Ghibli, veritably the greatest animation studio ever (suck it, Pixar), and the Hayao's son, Gorō's sophomore directorial film, this has some real potential to be a down to earth (think Whisper of the Heart) coming of age piece on par with Ghibli's best. Although his debut as a director with Tales of the Earthsea was somewhat mediocre, I have faith that he can live up to his fathers brilliance, who is overlooking and co-writing the film. Based on a Japanese manga series by Tetsurō Sayama and Chizuru Takahashi, the story is set in 1963 in Yokohama, Japan. The main character, Umi Komatsuzaki, is a high school girl who has to grow up quickly when her father goes missing. Sounds boring, but c'mon, it's Studio Ghibli. Fingers crossed this will turn out to be a classic.

Kelly Reichardt - Meek's Cutoff

IMDB tersely sums this up as "Settlers traveling through the Oregon desert in 1845 find themselves stranded in harsh conditions." But beyond that the trailer shows gorgeous cinematography, a suspenseful script, a suiting and dramatic score, and top-notch acting. It's also garnered very positive reviews by the press and has won a number of awards at various film festivals. Based on everything I've heard an seen about this film, it might turn out to be one of the year's best.

Monte Hellman - Road to Nowhere

Much like Wim Wenders' The State of Things, and Fellini's 8 1/2, this movie-in-a-movie-in-a-movie blurs the lines between fiction and reality. Again, I'll use IMDB's short summary: "A young filmmaker gets wrapped up in a crime while shooting his new project on location." I have a particular penchant for these type of films, and a slight crush on Shannyn Sossamon. Another potential great coming out later this year.

Wim Wenders - Pena

Speaking of Wenders, comes an exquisitely choreographed film about some of the most noted dance pieces by Pina Bausch in the Tanztheater ("dance theater") style.

"Bausch is a leading exponent of Tanztheater, and the film consists of her work, but she is rarely seen in the film, and died prior to the film coming out. The four pieces are titled Le sacre du printemps (The Rite of Spring), Café Mueller (a café in the German town of Solingen, where Bausch grew up), Kontakthof, and Vollmond. These are complemented with interviews and further dance choreographies, which were shot in and around Wuppertal, Germany."

Not my usual style of film, but c'mon, it's Wim Wenders, one of my favorite directors. It's bound be a beautifully shot and compelling piece of work. Be on the lookout for this one, coming out in a couple months

Nicolas Winding Refn - Drive

Based on a 2005 novel by the same name, Drive is (I'm assuming) essentially one big thrilling chase film, starring up and comer Ryan Gosling. Hossein Amini wrote the screenplay for the adaption. And this is set to be released to select theaters later this year. Much like Meek's Cutoff, the film has gotten various positive reviews from festival showings, including the prestigious award of Best Directors prize at the Cannes Film Festival. Another highly awaited release for 2011.

I'm sure there are others, but these are just the main ones off the top of my head. If I think of anymore, or any of you reading this have any anticipated films, let me know and I'll add them to the list.

Edit: Oh, and how can I forget...

Álex de la Iglesia -The Last Circus

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