Monday, November 29, 2010

3 To See In December

We're finally getting to the end of the year, and whatever hasn't been seen by the critical masses will soon be unveiled. It's definitely a worrying time of year, especially this year when we still could use more truly spectacular films to fill up the major slots in the Oscar competition. I'm still not sold on The Fighter, because I just can't shake my general dread that comes with the name of Mark Wahlberg. The actor does good whenever he's playing an edgy sort of character like the one he had in The Departed, but when he takes on a sympathetic character, he falls flat. On top of that, I'm just unsure that the premise will be something that's truly captivating.

Personally, I wish that the three films I'm most looking forward to were more commercial fare, but with most of the great limited release films still to be seen, I have to put my confidence in them. Still, I am going to be checking out some of the big budget films like TRON: Legacy, which looks like a success in terms of visuals and music, but could likely fail in most other areas. Voyage of the Dawn Treader doesn't look as bad as it did before, and I'll check it out on general principal. I'd like to see what they do with better visuals and a shorter runtime. The Tourist really doesn't look too interesting anymore, but depending on how critics react, I may see it for Johnny Depp's performance. For the record, I'm also highly anticipating Sofia Coppola's Somewhere and Jim Carrey in I Love You Phillip Morris, but you just can't fit everything into your list. For that reason I've decided that next year I'm going to be putting up an extended version of this list at the start of each trimester, showcasing everything I'm most anticipating in that given time period.

3. Another Year

In some ways, Mike Leigh's new drama is the first and last film out of the gate in terms of Oscar consideration. It debuted at Cannes to spectacular reviews and was the sole standout of the festival, whereas other films failed to captivate audiences. Another Year seems like your standard Mike Liegh drama, focusing on the everyday lives of slightly more than everyday people. A great handful of reviews have definitely caught my interest, but the film has recently been jumping in and out of the Best Picture race. The critical adoration has been almost universal, so I'm not sure why it's having so many problems. I think that once the film officially hits then people will take notice, but it doesn't hit until the last day of the year. So it's going to be a long wait.

2. True Grit

This is actually the only real contender in the Oscar race that has yet to be seen, and I'm not exactly sure why that is. It may be that the Coen brothers are simply trying to save the excitement until release, or it may be that the film isn't as good as what the famous duo usually bring out. I'm tempted to believe the latter, because the trailers pose this film as more mainstream and commercial than their films of the past, and that may work against them. It really depends on how well they convey the story and the emotion of it all. I personally don't believe it will do too well in the acting categories, but with some luck, it could do especially well in the Best Picture race. I don't think it will steal the spotlight, but it will get some attention.

1. Black Swan

I know that this won't be the film that takes home the top prize at the Academy Awards this year, and it's going to be an uphill battle for the film to even get nominated. It's very much a genre film, and that's the sort of picture that I take the most interest in. The film isn't going to get raves as big as The Social Network or The King's Speech, but I don't think anyone will be able to deny that they found it intriguing. The trailer for the film was so strange and captivating and when it came out, it was all anybody could talk about. It was disturbing and visionary, and it made me hope the film would be playing at Telluride by the Sea, which I consider something of a loss. Darren Aronofsky is one of the major contenders for a nomination in the director race for the same reason as Christopher Nolan. They both display distinct and powerful visions in front of their audiences. That and the amazing cast they've put together place Black Swan as the film I've been anticipating most this fall.

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