My gloriously long two week summer break – trust me compared to the one or two days I have taken off here and there over the last year of frantic work, it is indeed epically long – is so close I can almost it (if you must know it tastes of popcorn, Lindt chocolate and big tender piece of roast pork … with apple sauce naturally).
And as always I will be spending a sizeable chunk of my precious vacation time in an air-conditioned cinema watching all the movies that the powers that be in Hollywood have deemed it worth my time to view.
So what are these movies of which you speak, you ask in breathless anticipation?
Why I appreciate you asking.
After thoughtful consideration, the five movies I most want to see this summer break are (the one caveat to all this is that some of these movies will be out much later in the summer and won’t necessarily fall within my precious time off):
There’s not an explosion or vampire to be seen in this movie and thank the popcorn gods for that.
Instead what we get in this masterpiece from Steven Spielberg is as accurate a portrayal of Abraham Lincoln (Daniel Day-Lewis) as we are ever likely to get with equally masterful performances from Sally Field (Mary Todd Lincoln) and Tommy Lee Jones (the radical Republican Congressional leader Thaddeus Jones).
Lincoln covers Lincoln’s frantic efforts in the dying days of the Civil War in January 1865 to convert his unilateral 1863 Emancipation Proclamation abolishing slavery into the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which couldn’t be struck by the courts and would stand as an enduring legacy to his time as President.
By all accounts, pinpoint historically accurate, it is one of those stirring movies that makes you understand what it takes to truly change a society for the better.
*opens in Australia 7 February 2013
SILVER LINING PLAYBACK
Take two great acting talents in Bradley Cooper (who is far more than the goofy guy from The Hangover franchise as The Words more than ably demonstrated) and Jennifer Lawrence (The Hunger Games) – with amazing supporting performances from the legendary Robert De Niro and Australia’s own Oscar-nominated Jackie Weaver – and a fearless screenplay that doesn’t flinch from showing the highs and lows of lives lived with the constant presence of mental illness, and you have a romantic comedy-drama like no other.
And that I think is what’s exciting me.
I love the idea of two people finding each other, falling in love and establishing a future together after navigating enough obstacles and pitfalls for two lifetimes but how much more satisfying is it when the characters aren’t your usual together career types who add a relationship on like it’s just another accessory, and instead must fight tooth and nail, both against society and their own inner demons to seize their moment?
Way more satisfying that’s what and that’s why I can’t wait to see this film from David O. Russell (based on the book of the same name by Matthew Quick)
*opens in Australia 31 January 2013
THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY
How can you go wrong with this movie?
Based on the book by J. R. R. Tolkien, written and directed the team that brought us The Lord of the Rings trilogy (arguably the most impressive franchise in movie history) and with Martin Freeman perfectly cast as Bilbo Baggins who both craves and fears adventure, and the return of Sir Ian McKellen as Gandalf and Andy Serkis as Gollum, it has once again made Boxing Day a day that must be spent in the cinemas.
Here’s a nice pithy rundown of the story from imdb.com:
“Bilbo Baggins is swept into a quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor from the fearsome dragon Smaug. Approached out of the blue by the wizard Gandalf the Grey, Bilbo finds himself joining a company of thirteen dwarves led by the legendary warrior, Thorin Oakenshield. Their journey will take them into the Wild; through treacherous lands swarming with Goblins and Orcs, deadly Wargs and Giant Spiders, Shapeshifters and Sorcerers. Although their goal lies to the East and the wastelands of the Lonely Mountain first they must escape the goblin tunnels, where Bilbo meets the creature that will change his life forever … Gollum. Here, alone with Gollum, on the shores of an underground lake, the unassuming Bilbo Baggins not only discovers depths of guile and courage that surprise even him, he also gains possession of Gollum’s “precious” ring that holds unexpected and useful qualities … A simple, gold ring that is tied to the fate of all Middle-earth in ways Bilbo cannot begin to know.”
Just reading this synopsis has me counting the days till I go on the adventure with him and thrilled that their two more movies on the way, The Desolation of Smaug (2013), and There and Back Again (2014)
*opens in Australia on Boxing Day (26 December) 2012
Affectionately referred in the Antipodes as “The Glums”, Les Miserables seems to be the movie that everyone is talking about (with the exception of The Hobbit, of course).
And it’s no surprise since the movie has a huge amount going for it.
For starters, a powerful, soul-stirring story that will only leave you emotionally untouched if you’re made of concrete.
Who can fail to be moved by the heroic story of Jean Valjeans’ rags-to-riches story and his attentive care of Cosette, child of the ill-fated Fantine, all the while evading the long and seemingly non-exhaustive hand of Inspector Javert?
The songs capture the spirit of this highly emotional narrative perfectly and I have to admit that Anne Hathaway’s (she plays Fantine) rendition of “I Dreamed a Dream” is gut-wrenchingly sad and quite the most apt musical accompaniment to a trailer I have ever heard.
And finally the cast.
Everyone from Hugh Jackman (Jean Valjean) to Russell Crowe (Inspector Javert) and Amanda Seyfried as Cosette, and of course the magnificent Anne Hathaway – not to forget to mention Sacha Baron Cohen and Helen Bonham Carter as the Thenardiers – has a part in this movie and while the trailer is not a definitive guide by any means, look like they acquit their parts well.
This has been designated an event movie and I have a feeling it will more than live up to the hype.
*opens in Australia on 10 January 2013
Bumped from a September release to a worldwide one in January because of the tragic events in Aurora, Colorado, Gangster Squad looks every inch a film noir thriller.
It tells the story of a tight knit group of LAPD detectives fighting to keep L.A. free of East Coast gangsters during the 1940s and 50s and stars a slew of big names including Ryan Gosling (who was dynamic in Drive), Josh Brolin, Nick Nolte, and two-time Academy Award-winning Sean Penn (for Mystic River and Milk).
Given the subject matter (and the studio’s reluctance to release in the aftermath of the Aurora shootings due to one key scene in the trailer, which may or may not be reshot), I am expecting this won’t ever feature as the Hallmark Channel’s movie of the week.
After all, you don’t usually fend off the mafia with stern words and threats of detention.
I am hoping though that they manage to balance the violence and the political machinations and it simply doesn’t devolve into a wantonly violent gunfest. (The trailer seems to be indicate that they have managed to do the former rather the latter.)
I would expect though that with the calibre of talent attracted to it, it is more likely to be in the vein of L.A. Confidential, and that is an exciting prospect.
*opens in Australia on 10 January 2013
Which movies are you looking forward to watching over the Christmas/New year period?