Hello there, film fans! Well, the conclusion to my “Fall Preview 2013” is finally here. I have compiled a list of the Top 10 fall movie releases that I am most anticipating, and over the past couple of posts, I have shared with you my five honorable mention films, as well as No. 10 – No. 6 on my list. Even though I have hinted at Oscar buzz for the films outlined in those past two posts, these final five movies are almost assured some Oscar nominations, and they are most definitely the films I am most excited about seeing this fall. So, without further ado, I give you films No. 5 – No. 1 on my Fall Preview 2013 list.
No. 5 – The Monuments Men
The Monuments Men is a true story about an Allied group during World War II called the “Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives program.” According to director George Clooney, the film concerns itself with “[…] the greatest art heist in the history of the world.” The real-life group worked during WWII to protect cultural property, such as art and monuments, from war damage. Something about this story line, coupled with the on-screen rapport Clooney and Matt Damon have developed since their days on the Oceans franchise, sparked my interest in this project. Two of my favorite movies in recent memory are The Ides of March and The Descendants, and the common denominator between these two films is Clooney. I expect great things from the established writer/director/actor, and with a strong supporting cast, including Damon, Bill Murray, and John Goodman, this film is sure to shine. The Monuments Men is set for a theatrical release on December 18, 2013.
Director: George Clooney (Good Night, and Good Luck, The Ides of March)
Starring: George Clooney (The Descendants, Gravity), Matt Damon (We Bought a Zoo, Elysium), Bill Murray (Moonrise Kingdom, Hyde Park on Hudson), John Goodman (Argo, Flight)
No. 4 – American Hustle
American Hustle, according to Entertainment Weekly, tells the fictionalized story about a “[…] real-life 1970s federal investigation into political corruption known as Abscam.” Not too many more details about specifics within the film have been released to the public yet, but the trailer (listed below) is more than enthralling and is sure to capture your immediate curiosity. Two of the more critically acclaimed and successful films of the past few years, specifically at the Oscars, were 2010’s The Fighter and 2012’s Silver Linings Playbook. David O. Russell was at the helm for each of these films, and in American Hustle, he brings back some of the more celebrated performers from his past work. The movie’s leads are Christian Bale and Amy Adams (co-stars on The Fighter), as well as Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence (co-stars on Silver Linings Playbook), and I cannot wait to see this group of stars together on the silver screen for the first time. The film has another intriguing casting choice: Jeremy Renner. Renner has achieved superstar status ever since his Academy Award-nominated performance in 2010’s The Town, and his place on this ensemble cast will most definitely strengthen the film’s core. American Hustle is set for a wide theatrical release on December 25, 2013.
Director: David O. Russell (The Fighter, Silver Linings Playbook)
Starring: Christian Bale (The Dark Knight Rises, Out of the Furnace), Amy Adams (Man of Steel, Her), Bradley Cooper (Silver Linings Playbook, The Place Beyond the Pines), Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire), Jeremy Renner (The Avengers, The Bourne Legacy)
No. 3 – Saving Mr. Banks
Saving Mr. Banks is a film about the life of Australian-born author P.L. Travers (Emma Thompson), specifically her meetings with Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) as he relentlessly pursued to obtain the rights to Travers’ critically acclaimed story Mary Poppins in hopes of adapting it onto the silver screen. Ironically enough, Walt Disney Pictures is actually producing this film, just as it produced the original film adaptation of Mary Poppins. Even though the Mary Poppins film we all know and love is a remarkable piece of cinematic history, earning five Oscars from thirteen nominations, the behind-the-scenes story of the battle to produce the film is almost as riveting. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Emma Thompson speaks about the hostile nature of the original negotiations between Disney and Travers, saying, “What’s so wonderful are the frustrated reactions of the guys who are writing and creating this film to the negativity and sheer beastliness of this fantastically recalcitrant woman, who wouldn’t be having any of it.” Even though two-time Oscar winner Tom Hanks is associated with the film, it is Thompson who is racking up the entire pre-release Oscar buzz for her performance. The film will surely be heartwarming and emotional, and for Mary Poppins fans everywhere, it will be quite the spectacle to see this story play out on the screen. Saving Mr. Banks is set for a theatrical release on December 13, 2013.
Director: John Lee Hancock (The Alamo, The Blind Side)
Starring: Emma Thompson (Brave, Beautiful Creatures), Tom Hanks (Cloud Atlas, Captain Phillips)
No. 2 – The Counselor
The Counselor, according to Entertainment Weekly, is a film about a lawyer (Michael Fassbender) who is drawn into a drug-running operation by some more than ignominious characters. This prospective film lured me into its web on multiple fronts. For starters, it has an amazing ensemble cast. Brad Pitt, Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz, and Cameron Diaz join Fassbender, and there is no doubt regarding the abilities of this elite group of performers. Second, Ridley Scott is sitting in the director’s chair. Scott is easily one of the most successful directors in Hollywood, and he has directed some of my favorite films (e.g. Gladiator, American Gangster, and Prometheus); thus, I bestow a high level of deference onto his work. The last and most significant reason I am eagerly anticipating this film’s release, though, is its screenwriter: Cormac McCarthy. McCarthy is a highly praised author, penning significantly classic novels, such as The Road and No Country for Old Men. This dark, sinister literary work of McCarthy has lent itself to Oscar-winning film adaptations in the past, and I am more than excited to see his first produced screenplay on the big screen next month. The Counselor is set for a theatrical release on October 25, 2013.
Director: Ridley Scott (Robin Hood, Prometheus)
Starring: Michael Fassbender (Prometheus, 12 Years a Slave), Brad Pitt (Killing Them Softly, 12 Years a Slave), Javier Bardem (Skyfall, To the Wonder), Penelope Cruz (Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, To Rome with Love)
No. 1 – The Wolf of Wall Street
The Wolf of Wall Street is a film surrounding the true story of Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio), a Wall Street stockbroker in the early 1990s who made millions of dollars via securities fraud and money laundering. My intrigue with this film is by way of multiple factors: DiCaprio, Martin Scorcese, and that incredible trailer. If I had to come up with a list of my favorite actors of all time, Leo would most definitely be right near the top, if not the very pinnacle of the list. I truly feel an injustice was evident during the most recent Oscars season when the Academy did not even nominate DiCaprio for his supporting role in Django Unchained, but I am hoping this performance will bring him back into the Oscars fold. I am also excited about DiCaprio joining forces again with Scorsese for their fifth collaboration. Scorsese’s films, dating back to 1974, have accounted for 75 Academy Award nominations and 20 wins, and I expect his involvement to result in yet another wave of widespread critical acclaim. Aside from DiCaprio and Scorsese, my enthusiasm for this film’s release is a direct product of watching the trailer that was released in mid-June. This is by far my favorite trailer to date, and if you have not seen it before, I encourage you to use the link below to check it out. With Kanye West’s up-beat “Black Skinhead” playing throughout, captivating images pervade the trailer, including footage of sports cars, yachts, money, cocaine, women, DiCaprio pop and locking, Matthew McConaughey beating his chest while humming, and even a midget being thrown towards a bullseye. “Epic” is one of the only words I can find to describe the trailer, and it may be the single-most significant reason I am so passionate about the film’s release. The Wolf of Wall Street is set for a theatrical release on November 15, 2013.
Director: Martin Scorsese (Shutter Island, Hugo)
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio (Django Unchained, The Great Gatsby), Jonah Hill (The Watch, This Is The End), Matthew McConaughey (Mud, Magic Mike)