I'm really down to the wire on this one, but I've been behind on a lot of things. I've been struggling to fit all of the things I want to do, or else need to do, into a schedule that's tight enough for me not to be staring at the ceiling in cynicism. I must admit that this month is hardly as exciting as I would have hoped for it to be. In the first week, all we get is the Brett Ratner comedic venture "Tower Heist" and "A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas", neither of which I feel any temptation to see. I can't say that the following week is much of an improvement either, only providing "Jack and Jill" (Yes, it's an actual film, and not just an abysmal trailer.), and "Immortals", which I am so dismally surprised to see that people are actually looking forward to it.
Not to say there isn't some good with the bad. "Melancholia" comes into limited release on the 11th, so I'd recommend you check that out if you can. There's also "J. Edgar", which opens wide that weekend, and it will likely get favorable Academy attention. I still maintain myself as unmoved, but I'll see it nonetheless. And also worthy of note is "Into the Abyss", Werner Herzog's upcoming documentary which was a sizable hit at Telluride this year. It almost made my list of most anticipated, but just missed out.The following week brings two films I'm not likely to support in any way, but one which I'm likely to see anyway, sadly.
I don't have the same enthusiasm for "Happy Feet Two" that I did for its predecessor, which was overrated at best. This one is simply to make bank, and looks as typical as you could've possibly hoped for. Then there's "Breaking Dawn: Part 1", which I'll only see out of desperation for something to make fun of. "The Descendants" is also going limited that weekend, but I still don't have much interest in that one. Then the following weekend brings Martin Scorsese's "Hugo", animated film "Arthur Christmas", typical British drama "My Week with Marilyn", and the odd bastard of my Telluride by the Sea viewings, "A Dangerous Method". There are three other films coming that weekend, but you'll have to follow after the jump to find them out.
3. "The Artist"
This Cannes hit has had an up-and-down momentum throughout the season, with high buzz out of its premiere festival, but less buzz from its Toronto audiences. The fact that there's been a slight backlash doesn't at all deflate my expectations for the film. I always likened it to "The Illusionist" in the array of classicism being left behind in lieu of the new. Sure, the film has everything that would get the Academy motivated to see it, but there's an honesty to it as well, not to mention an important liveliness. If they can rise above simple gimmickry in their silent treatment, I'll be pretty well pleased.
2. "The Muppets"
No, this is not likely to be better than "The Artist", and not by a longshot, but I'll be damned if I'm not going to get excited about "The Muppets". What kind of taunted childhood must you have had not to be in total love of the Muppets? They were the strongest and most beloved presence in my childhood, and they simply transcend that fact of being simple puppets. It'd be truly haunting to see them stowed away in a closet. I like that somebody is making an effort to keep them alive, and this just looks like the sort of fun we're accustomed to. Don't look for aesthetic brilliance. Look for the simplest definition of fun at any outlet.
Oddly enough, my top pick for this month is a film I haven't seen a bit of footage from, and it only just recently got placed in the landscape of the this month. It's the latest film by Oren Moverman, who most recently wrote and directed "The Messenger", which also stars Woody Harrelson. The film got at first apprehensive responses from its Toronto audiences, but those have left me only more intrigued by what it could potentially be. I think the world of Harrelson, who has backed the resolve of dramatic work like this with ridiculous work like he does in "2012", "Zombieland", and "Friends with Benefits". Sure, it's all sight-unseen for me, but that's part of what makes it so exciting.