Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Best & Worst of Upcoming Movie Releases, According to My Favorite Film Critic

By Steve Crum

These are my lists. Everyone has his or her own tastes, his or her own quirks and nuances regarding what is humor, what is horror, what is music, what is acting, what is entertaining. My tastes certainly influence films I review, but they are not all encompassing. A film review is a matter of balance as well as personal preference. I try to perceive what a movie’s audience would think of the film being reviewed. And I want my reader to know what I thought. Objectivity and subjectivity level out if a review succeeds. 

However, back to this piece, these are my lists. I have not yet seen any of the movies opening from September to December, 2015, so no objectivity is required. They reflect my personal tastes based on 68 years of living, including the viewing of thousands of films, many of which I have written reviews. I don’t have to justify my choices, but then again, I might. From 75 films being released over the next four months, these are the ones I can’t wait to view…and ones I could care less to see. [They are listed in no particular order. Opening dates are noted.]
Crum’s Top 15 Most Anticipated Fall Movies [out of 75 releases]

1. STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS…Dec. 18: The franchise relaunches, and I am an entrenched fan. The definition of a true movie event. 

2. OUR BRAND IS CRISIS…Oct. 30: The premise engages me. Sandra Bullock plays a political strategist hired to get a Bolivian president re-elected. Add Billy Bob Thornton to the mix.

3. SUFFRAGETTE…Oct. 23: The struggle to get women’s voting rights in England, circa 1912, hooks me. Baiting the hook are Meryl Streep and Carey Mulligan.

4. TRUTH…Oct. 16: Depicting the 2004 “60 Minutes” scandal that prompted the firing of a CBS producer and degradation upon Dan Rather, the movie stars Robert Redford and Cate Blanchett. 

5. STEVE JOBS…Oct. 9: Most enticing is that Aaron Sorkin wrote the screenplay. It’s also about the creative process, Mac computers, and Jobs himself. Michael Fassbender (as Jobs), Jeff Daniels, and Kate Winslet star. 

6. ROCK THE KASBAH…Oct. 23: American rock music manager Bill Murray backs an unknown singer on Afghanistan TV. Barry Levinson directs. 

7. BRIDGE OF SPIES…Oct. 16: Three reasons this is highly anticipated. First is its director, Steven Spielberg (his 29th feature film). Secondly, it stars Tom Hanks. Hanks portrays the lawyer who tries to free an American U-2 spy plane pilot from the Soviets during the Cold War. That plot description is reason 3.  

8. SPOTLIGHT…Nov. 6: Based upon the Boston Globe’s reporting of child sex-abuse allegations involving the Catholic Church in 2002, this could be a a powerhouse film. Co-writer Tom McCarthy directs Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, and Mark Ruffalo.

9. TRUMBO…Nov. 6: Bryan Cranston stars as Dalton Trumbo, an award winning screenwriter branded a Communist and blacklisted during the paranoid 1950’s. Helen Mirren and Elle Fanning are featured. 

10. SPECTRE…Nov. 6: James Bond movies are more than a guilty pleasure for me, and here comes Daniel Craig (again) as 007…but in a Bond backstory. Proven elements reinforce the franchise, including director Sam Mendes and actor Christoph Waltz. 

11. JOY…Dec. 25: David O. Russell. There, that is enough motivation for viewing. He directs his favorite actors Jennifer Lawrence and Robert De Niro in a story of…who cares? I’ll be there. 

12. THE REVENANT…Dec. 25: I became an Alejandro G. Iñárritu groupie after seeing his brilliant “Birdman” last year. This time it is a true adventure set in the 19th Century about a trapper left for dead in the wilderness, but manages to survive. Leonardo DiCaprio stars. 

13. IN THE HEART OF THE SEA…Dec. 11: Ron Howard directs Chris Hemsworth in this 19th Century sea tale based on a story that inspired “Moby Dick.”

14. BONE TOMAHAWK…Oct. 23: OK, I am a sucker for westerns. This is one of two released this season—and both star Kurt Russell. His hero reportedly battles cannibals. Savvy, Kemo? 

15. THE HATEFUL EIGHT…Dec. 25: Even the title of Quentin Tarantino’s western take is a layered joke. A follow-up to “The Magnificent Seven” it is not, however. It stars Kurt Russell, Samuel L. Jackson, and Jennifer Jason Leigh, among others.

Crum’s Bottom 10 Least Anticipated Fall Movies [out of 75 movies]

1. THE INTERN…Sept. 25: The cast is great (Robert De Niro and Anne Hathaway), but this comedy looks trite and predicable. 

2. MAZE RUNNER: THE SCORCH TRIALS…Sept. 18: The second in what appears to be a franchise is not up my blind alley. Dylan O’Brien is back as the young man desperate to manipulate a labyrinth. Its cousin “Hunger Games” doesn’t appeal to me either. 

3. BLACK MASS…Sept. 18: Here is Johnny Depp looking and acting psychotic mean, which is a major career move. (Yes, he once played John Dillinger.) I gave up hope on Depp 10 movies ago. 

4. THE LAST WITCH HUNTER…Oct. 23: Protect me from watching movies about dungeons, dragons, witches, and games of thrones. Add this Vin Diesel fantasy-adventure wherein he battles evil forces in present day New York City after killing off the Queen Witch.

5. CREED…Nov. 25: Is another Rocky Balboa movie worth it? Probably not, but that did not stop Sylvester Stallone reprising his Italian Stallion persona (now elderly) to train Apollo Creed’s son, Adonis, to box. I throw in the towel ahead of time on this one. 

6. THE NIGHT BEFORE…Nov. 25: Just in time for the holiday season comes another “comedy” about arrested development young men. This time some buddies are going on one last bender in the Big Apple before having to settle down and behave like adults. Seth Rogen is the poster boy for a movie like this, and he stars. 

7. ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS: THE ROAD CHIP…Dec. 23: I’ll pass, even though this newest Chipmunk installment is probably OK for my grandkids. 

8. DADDY’S HOME…Dec. 25: Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg play dad and stepdad, respectively, who compete for the attention of two children. Once again, two adults suffer arrested development. 

9. PARANORMAL ACTIVITY: THE GHOST DIMENSION…Oct. 23: This sixth movie of the never ending series is supposedly the finale. If it makes money, which it probably will since it promises even more brutality, the franchise will continue to bump in both the night and box office. 

10. JEM AND THE HOLOGRAMS…Oct. 23: “Based on the neon-pop ‘80s animated TV series….” Stop there. 

1 comment:

  1. Nice overview and comments, Steve...pretty much in accord with my own thoughts...I'd have probably included 'want to see's' on Secret in Their Eyes, By the Sea, and Crimson Peak, but...