Fall Movies Light Up Late Autumn
3D has now flatlined with both critics and the general public, and Martin Scorsese hopes to be its defibrillator with his take on a family movie, involving an orphan boy who encounters a variety of bizarre characters as he lives a secret life in a Paris train station. If anyone can revive the increasingly annoying gimmick that audiences were promised would revolutionize movies, it’s Scorsese, who has directed (very) arguably the best movie of the ‘70s (Taxi Driver), ‘80s (Raging Bull) and ‘90s (Goodfellas). I would watch “G’s to Gents” if Scorsese was behind the camera.
Around 18 people on campus will see this drama/art house/mystery/sci-fi/psychological disaster movie by Lars Von Trier, who probably didn’t gain a lot of mainstream fans when he made the proudly repulsive Antichrist, about a couple’s dead child and their descent into complete depravity or when he was indefinitely banned from the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year when he told a room of international reporters that he sympathized with Hitler. Still, his controversial movies are undoubtedly well-made, and this one looks to have achieved originality in a way that only Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life has done this year.
This movie obviously deserves attention with Leonardo DiCaprio starring and Clint Eastwood directing, but what I’m most excited for in this bio-pic of one of America’s most interesting figures is the screenplay by Dustin Lance Black. Black was a relative unknown before his Oscar-winning screenplay for 2008’s Milk, which was entertaining and irreverent where most biographies are dry and skimmed-over. J. Edgar will be a big movie that tries really hard during a time in which movies that try anything other than to make money only come along a few times a year.
Jack and Jill
Whoever coined the phrase “don’t judge a book by its cover” never had to sit through You Don’t Mess with the Zohan. If there’s one thing I’m not ashamed to admit I love, it’s a funny Adam Sandler movie. The problem is that Adam Sandler isn’t the same Adam Sandler that made ridiculous premises like Big Daddy and Water Boy likable on effort alone in the ‘90s. He has made more mature movies over the last decade, but he seems to be content with letting his default persona be the same gibberish-talking goof that threw sticks at roller skaters in Big Daddy and punched Bob Barker in the stomach in Happy Gilmore. Sandler dressing up in drag to play his own twin sister at the age of 45 is a more obvious ploy to cash in on past relevancy than Newt Gingrich’s presidential campaign.
Jason Reitman and stripper-turned-Oscar-winning screenwriter Diablo Cody, the duo behind the instant classic Juno, reunite for another smarmy and smart comedy starring Charlize Theron, Patrick Wilson and Patton Oswalt. Reitman’s post-Juno movie, last year’s Up in the Air, did everything Juno did right—the likable and conflicted characters, interesting dialogue and unconventional plot—in a more restrained way. Meanwhile, Cody wrote the painfully annoying Jennifer’s Body, where the quirky dialogue got so quirky that it ended up out-hipstering itself (Jealous=lime-green Jello, beautiful=salty?). It will be interesting to see if Reitman can mold Cody’s self-conscious dialogue into something great again.
We Need to Talk About Kevin
I would advertise the fact that critics have been calling Tilda Swinton’s performance in We Need to Talk About Kevin the best of her career, but the truth is that critics say that with almost every movie she releases. Swinton and John C. Reilly star here as the parents of a high schooler who carries out a Columbine-like massacre. Swinton’s character must then contemplate what made her son commit such an atrocity and how much he was responsible for his actions. Be ready for a bleak, tiring and ultimately rewarding movie.
Arkansas’ own David Gordon Green continues his strange shift from individualistic art-house movies to low-brow comedies with The Sitter. Let’s hope that this one is more like Pineapple Express and less like Your Highness. Jonah Hill stars as a terrible babysitter. Usually I have an aversion to child actors, but Max Records, the kid from Where the Wild Things Are, doesn’t oversell everything. Plus, the idea of Jonah Hill, one of the greatest ever at stringing together lines of creative profanity, directing his angry and sarcastic jabs at children is funny in a Bad Santa kind of way.