Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Films to See in 2011: October

It's strange that September may indeed end up the highlight of my motion picture autumn, as October slows things down a considerable bit with stale comedy, Oscar bait, and amateur horror. That may be a degenerative statement, but it's a highly degenerative month. Last year kicked the month off with "The Social Network" and "Let Me In", which are both equally good films, though perhaps not as great as imagined. This year it's George Clooney's Academy hopeful "The Ides of March", crashing metal hybrid between kids flick and fight film "Real Steel", and off-path indie comedy "Dirty Girl". Which of those catches my interest best? Oddly enough "Dirty Girl". It has one more Juno Temple than its competitors.

Then there's the obvious mixture of pathetic horror-remake "The Thing", pathetic not-really-a-musical remake "Footloose", and whatever the hell "The Big Year" is supposed to be. "The Skin I Live In" is opening in limited release, but my interest in that one is rather restrained. "Paranormal Activity 3" and "The Three Musketeers" follow, pushing me deeper into my own hole that weekend. And then things pick up considerably in that last weekend of the month. Disregarding "Johnny English" of course.

"Anonymous" has gotten some strong buzz out of Toronto, though don't expect me to invest a second of my time in that. Nothing against director Roland Emmerich, but I'm just not that interested in a Victorian era dramatic piece one week after "The Three Musketeers" comes out. And in limited release there are two films that everyone has more vested interest in than myself. "Like Crazy" got a ton of buzz out of Sundance, but it just looks like an illogical romantic story with a simple solution. And I just don't entirely see the point of "The Rum Diary". Given what films are left out of this recap, it may be all too easy to guess my most anticipated three. That comes either way, so take a look after the jump!

3. "Miss Bala"

I'm not entirely sure when it's going to actually hit theaters, but I got a few well-placed hints that it would be coming to domestic theaters this October through 20th Century Fox. I immediately got a buzz from that bit of news, because it's far better than the prognostication of some obscure indie distribution chain pushing it forward. "Miss Bala" played to Cannes with general acclaim, and the eventual trailer for the film hit all the essential marks of interest, while still leaving me somewhat in the dark. Sexy, violent, action packed, and Mexican might not sound like such a strong placement of confidence, but I'll gladly check this out more than the mainstream action blockbusters polluting the market.

2. "In Time"

Speaking of mainstream action blockbusters, I have a rare interest for "In Time", because I'm not usually into this kind of overt sci-fi premise, but I just think this could be a pretty exciting piece of escapist cinema. Sure, my interest was only piqued by Roger Deakins' announcement that the film would be his first in the digital format. He looks to be having a blast with it, at least from what I've seen in the marketing. Timberlake and Seyfreid look to be rebounding from regrettable appearances in "Bad Teacher" and "Red Riding Hood", and they look fine. I'm more interested in the bountiful supporting cast, including Vincent Kartheiser from "Mad Men". It has less chance for success than "Miss Bala", but for some reason I'm looking forward to it more.

1. "Martha Marcy May Marlene"

I think I called this as the Sundance flick I was waiting for with most heated anticipation. Sorry, but something about "Like Crazy" felt a bit wrong, and the trailer tells me that I was right. "Martha Marcy May Marlene", on the other hand, looks like that combination of intensity and brilliant performances that made "Winter's Bone" so interesting, but perhaps somewhat more cohesive a piece. There was something slightly missing about "Winter's Bone", and I can hope that it won't be missing here. I also hope the hype surrounding Elizabeth Olsen isn't overblown, and it doesn't look like it from the trailers. I'll probably have to wait till later in November to see it, but I've still got an unmatched amount of excitement for this one.

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