Best Actor

Best Actor NomineesAlthough you will likely recognize each and every Oscar nominee in the Best Actor category this year, four of the five nominees are receiving their very first Academy Award nomination. The only veteran to the prestigious ceremony: Bradley Cooper (receiving his third consecutive Oscar nomination this year). Despite the fact that Cooper was stellar in American Sniper, there are two other actors that will be duking it out on Oscar night, meaning the winner will be taking home his first Academy Award. The following is my Oscars ballot for this category, Best Actor in a Leading Role:

WINNER: Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything)

RedmayneEddie Redmayne proved in 2014 that he is a rising star in the film business and will be a force for years to come—his breakout performance in The Theory of Everything (portraying Stephen Hawking) was absolutely captivating. Although the other nominated acting performances this year were brilliant and deserved of critical acclaim, nothing compares to the physical demands required of Redmayne for his portrayal of Hawking. With every passing moment after the character is first diagnosed with ALS, Redmayne handles the physical deterioration with meticulousness. The best way to explain the complexities of this performance and Redmayne’s superb acting comes from my post earlier this week about The Theory of Everything: “He manages Hawking’s real-life mannerisms almost effortlessly, and with every bodily hunch and contortion, Redmayne evokes a visceral likeness to the British theorist in ways never thought possible.” Redmayne was incredible, and his performance in this movie will go down in film history as one of the most remarkable portrayals of a physically disabled character since Daniel Day-Lewis in My Left Foot (side note: Daniel Day-Lewis won the Oscar for his aforementioned performance—here’s hoping that Redmayne will join him in that elite fraternity). Redmayne has never previously been nominated for an Academy Award.

  1. Michael Keaton (Birdman)

KeatonLeading up to the Oscar ceremony in two days, critics and experts have been torn in their Best Actor predictions between Eddie Redmayne and Michael Keaton (it is considered the tightest race in all of the acting categories). Even though I am personally hoping for a Redmayne victory, there will be no disappointment from me if Keaton ends up taking home the coveted statue. Michael Keaton rediscovered his own personal acting career with a tour-de-force portrayal in Birdman of Riggan Thompson, a once-relevant film actor turned Broadway performer hoping to attain critical success again. If it were not for Redmayne’s incredible performance this past year, Keaton would blow the rest of the nominees out of the water—in most years, this performance wins an Oscar 99.9% of the time. Keaton depicted his character with outstanding dynamism, exuding a magnificent blend of serious drama and black comedy. He is miles away from his Batman days with this painstaking depiction, and I hope this newfound Keaton comes back in the near future with equally magnificent performances. Keaton has never previously been nominated for an Academy Award.

  1. Bradley Cooper (American Sniper)

AMERICAN SNIPERBradley Cooper has established himself as the most decorated actor in the business in recent years (this is his third consecutive trip to the Academy Awards for an acting nomination), and although his performances in Silver Linings Playbook (2012) and American Hustle (2013) were unmistakably deserved, I would argue that his portrayal of the real-life Chris Kyle in American Sniper is the greatest of his career. In order to more accurately inhabit the late-Navy SEAL (the most lethal sniper in American military history), Cooper notably consumed 6,000 calories per day, while also lifting weights—his physique in the film is representatively colossal. Bradley Cooper’s physical transformation is only part of the noteworthiness of his role—he additionally delivers a rigorous, inspired performance as a brooding man with hidden vulnerabilities. Chris Kyle will forever live on as a legend in the hearts of America (except Michael Moore—but nobody cares about him anyways), and Cooper’s depiction of Kyle in American Sniper does the late-SEAL complete justice on the screen. Bradley Cooper has been previously nominated twice in acting categories at the Oscars: Best Actor (Silver Linings Playbook) and Best Supporting Actor (American Hustle). 

  1. Steve Carell (Foxcatcher) 

CarellIn Foxcatcher, Steve Carell plays the real-life multimillionaire John du Pont, the heir to the E.I. du Pont family fortune, who recruited US wrestling Olympic gold medalist brothers Mark and Dave Schultz to train at his family’s Foxcatcher Farm. As the ill-fated story goes, du Pont murdered Dave Schultz in cold blood in 1996. If you have not seen this film, you really need to—it will not be the most amazing movie you ever see, but it is well worth it for the acting performances alone. Channing Tatum is astonishingly good, as is Mark Ruffalo; however, Steve Carell is the showstopper. The character of John du Pont is inexplicable, menacing, and gripping, but not in ways that make anyone feel physically intimidated by him—instead, he is just flat out creepy! Carell, the career funny man of The Office and The 40-Year-Old Virgin fame, is completely unrecognizable in this role (in fact, according to Entertainment Weekly, Carell spent five months with an Oscar-winning makeup designer to develop du Pont’s look prior to shooting). Carell wholly submerges himself into this complex dramatic role, and the result is one of the better performances I have ever seen—I almost wish this year’s category were weaker because Carell would surely take home the Oscar. Carell has never previously been nominated for an Academy Award. 

  1. Benedict Cumberbatch (The Imitation Game)

CumberbatchIn the Best Picture-nominated film The Imitation Game, Benedict Cumberbatch portrays the real-life British cryptanalyst—Alan Turing—who led a team during World War II that cracked the Nazis’ infamous Enigma code. In my opinion, The Imitation Game as a whole is vastly overrated. Although I do contend that it is a good film, it is far from great. Part of my feeling that the movie is merely average is due to Cumberbatch’s performance. In parts of the film (specifically when the war is over and Turing is being punished—by chemical castration—for being gay), Cumberbatch boasts riveting acting abilities—in these scenes, the unearthing of Turing’s cold vulnerabilities is done so in an emotionally fueled manner. However, in the bulk of the film, which deals with the actual cracking of the Enigma code, I was not overly blown away by his performance—it did not leave me in awe whatsoever (i.e., it simply was not memorable to me). I do admit that Cumberbatch is a great actor (I was immensely impressed with him in 2013’s August: Osage County), but for me, his spot amongst the others in this category is more deserving for Jake Gyllenhaal, who I believe was gravelly snubbed by the Academy this year for his role in Nightcrawler. Cumberbatch has never previously been nominated for an Academy Award.

Actors snubbed in this category: Jake Gyllenhaal (Nightcrawler), Jack O’Connell (Starred Up), Matthew McConaughey (Interstellar), Brendan Gleeson (Calvary), Miles Teller (Whiplash), Tom Hardy (Locke), Brad Pitt (Fury), Channing Tatum (Foxcatcher), and Timothy Spall (Mr. Turner).

Best Director

Best Director NomineesIn this year’s Best Director category, only one nominee is receiving his inaugural Oscar nomination (Morten Tyldum). The other four directors have combined for ten previous Academy Award nominations; however, only two of those ten nominations were in the Best Director category (Alejandro G. Iñárritu for Babel and Bennett Miller for Capote). The following is my Oscars ballot for this category, Best Director:

WINNER: Richard Linklater (Boyhood)

Boyhood8Richard Linklater is an American filmmaker with credits that include Dazed and Confused (1993) and the Before Trilogy (Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, and Before Midnight). Linklater has already garnered 31 Best Director awards at various film festivals and award shows for his work in Boyhood. Linklater was previously nominated twice at the Oscars in the Best Adapted Screenplay category (Before Sunset and Before Midnight).

  1. Alejandro G. Iñárritu (Birdman)

Birdman2Alejandro G. Iñárritu is a renowned Mexican filmmaker—he is the visionary behind the celebrated “Death Trilogy” (Amores perros, 21 Grams, Babel). Iñárritu has been previously nominated for four Oscars: twice for Best Foreign Language Film (Amores perros and Biutiful) once for Best Director (Babel), and once for Best Picture (Babel).

  1. Bennett Miller (Foxcatcher)

Bennett MillerBennett Miller is an American film director—he previously directed Capote (2005) and Moneyball (2011). At the 67th Cannes Film Festival in May 2014, Miller won the Best Director award for his work on Foxcatcher. Miller was previously nominated in the Best Director category at the Oscars for 2005’s Capote.

  1. Morten Tyldum (The Imitation Game)

Morten TyldumMorten Tyldum is a Norwegian film director, renowned internationally for his critically acclaimed, BAFTA-nominated thriller Headhunters (2011). Tyldum has never previously been nominated for an Academy Award.

  1. Wes Anderson (The Grand Budapest Hotel)

Wes AndersonWes Anderson is an American filmmaker—he is the creative genius behind movies like Rushmore (1998), Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009), and Moonrise Kingdom (2012). Wes Anderson has been previously nominated for three Oscars: Best Original Screenplay for The Royal Tenenbaums (2001) and Moonrise Kingdom (2012) and Best Animated Feature for Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009).

Best Original Screenplay

Best Original Screenplay Nominees

This year, similar to the Best Adapted Screenplay category, nearly every singe nominee will be attending the Academy Awards for the first time in a screenwriting capacity. Only two writers out of the nine nominated writers have received Oscar nominations previously: Richard Linklater and Wes Anderson. The following is my Oscars ballot for this category, Best Original Screenplay:

Dan GilroyWINNER: Dan Gilroy (Nightcrawler)

Dan Gilroy has never previously been nominated in any screenwriting categories at the Academy Awards.

  1. Richard Linklater (Boyhood)

Richard Linklater 2Richard Linklater was previously nominated twice at the Oscars in the Best Adapted Screenplay category (Before Sunset and Before Midnight).

 

  1. Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Jr., and Armando Bo (Birdman)

72nd Annual Golden Globe Awards - Press RoomAlejandro G. Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Jr., and Armando Bo have never previously been nominated for an Academy Award in a writing category.

 

  1. E. Max Frye and Dan Futterman (Foxcatcher)

Foxcatcher writersE. Max Frye has never previously been nominated for an Academy Award. However, Dan Futterman has been previously nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay for Capote (2005).

 

 

  1. Wes Anderson (The Grand Budapest Hotel)

Wes AndersonWes Anderson has been previously nominated for Best Original Screenplay twice: The Royal Tenenbaums (2001) and Moonrise Kingdom (2012).

Best Supporting Actor

Best Supporting Actor NomineesThis year’s category features five very familiar faces. Other than the veteran Robert Duvall (receiving his sixth Oscar nomination), the other four men have varying experience at the Academy Awards, escalating from zero previous nominations (J.K. Simmons) to one (Mark Ruffalo) to two (Edward Norton) and to three (Ethan Hawke; only one previous acting nomination). The following is my Oscars ballot for this category, Best Actor in a Supporting Role:

WINNER: J.K. Simmons (Whiplash)

JKIn my opinion, J.K. Simmons delivered the most extraordinary acting performance of any kind in 2014. I have been eagerly awaiting the release of my “Best Supporting Actor” ballot simply because of Simmons’s tour de force in Whiplash as Terence Fletcher, the conductor of New York’s most prestigious music school. Fletcher is totalitarian, bullying, and without any charismatic quality, and Simmons breaks free from his seemingly charming persona (as depicted in most of his films) to breathe life into this despotic conductor—for the sake of cinema, Simmons thrives in this newfound “asshole” role. Never once did I say, “I just cannot buy into Simmons as this tormenting, crass character,” which would be easy to do considering he is the Farmers Insurance guy. From the moment Fletcher stepped into his first scene, I was completely on board with Simmons’s harrowing portrayal. He owns every single scene that he is featured in, and I would watch Whiplash (an absolutely spellbinding film unto itself) over and over again just to see Simmons. His terrifying nature in this film had me on the edge of my seat, and this is almost exclusively due to one of the best acting performances of the past decade. Simmons has never previously been nominated for an Academy Award.

  1. Edward Norton (Birdman) 

EdIn Birdman, Edward Norton plays Mike Shiner, a volatile method actor that is hired at the last minute to play a key role in failing actor Riggan Thompson’s Broadway adaptation of Raymond Carver’s What We Talk About When We Talk About Love. This movie is about as odd as it gets, but it succeeds in more ways than one—one of those ways is via Norton’s hilarious performance. Shiner is one of the cockiest SOBs you will ever see on the big screen, and Norton delivers this not-so-subtle swagger with ostentatious vigor. Some of the film’s most hilarious scenes are a result of Norton’s spirited performance. During the Broadway show’s preview before opening night, Shiner gets so “method” that he actually gets drunk (his character is seen drinking alcohol in this particular scene) and embarks on an inebriated rant in front of the crowd. In another scene, he is supposed to be pretending to engage in “coitus” with Naomi Watts’s character, but instead of “acting,” Shiner attempts to actually have intercourse with her on stage. These scenes are downright hilarious, and Edward Norton’s performance is spot-on. With a long career featuring amazing performances, this is by far one of his best. Norton was previously nominated for Best Actor for Primal Fear (1996) and for Best Supporting Actor for American History X (1998).

  1. Robert Duvall (The Judge)

BobDIn The Judge, Robert Duvall portrays the titular “judge.” Judge Joseph Palmer, a respected man in a small town, is thrust into a nightmarish whirlwind as he is arrested and charged with murder. Robert Duvall is clearly one of Hollywood’s most enduring performers, and with a career (spanning over 50 years) full of memorable roles, the 84-year-old veteran adds another spectacular performance to his already incredible filmography. Judge Palmer is a complicated character. He has just lost his wife, is suspected of murdering a local man, and is battling illness—this is by far the most trying time in his life. I could not imagine anyone else making this performance work as well as Duvall. In recent years, he always plays the smart-mouth, grumpy character well, but it is in the most emotional of Judge Palmer’s scenes that Duvall most flourishes. I was not a massive fan of this movie, but I was more than impressed by the way Duvall carried the story throughout. Robert Duvall has been previously nominated five times in acting categories at the Oscars, winning the Academy Award for Best Actor for Tender Mercies (1983). 

  1. Mark Ruffalo (Foxcatcher) 

MarkIn Foxcatcher, Mark Ruffalo plays the real-life Olympic champion Dave Schultz. I enjoyed Foxcatcher (not as much as I was hoping for, though), and it is most due to the remarkable acting performances from Steve Carell, Channing Tatum, and Mark Ruffalo. Carell plays the consistently mysterious and disturbing John du Pont and Tatum plays the macho, but unassuming Mark Schultz; however, the most intriguing character is Dave Schultz. He is by far the most levelheaded of the film’s main cast, and Ruffalo portrays the character amazingly. According to Ruffalo in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, the physical and emotional preparation for Foxcatcher was intense: “I’ve never done anything harder in my life[.] I’ve never been pushed more. It was literally blood, sweat, and tears on this movie. Every part of it.” In some of the most vexing scenes of this movie, it is Ruffalo who delivers the most truthful of performances, and it is part of the reason Foxcatcher is so good from an acting standpoint. Ruffalo was previously nominated for Best Supporting Actor for his role in 2010’s The Kids Are All Right.

  1. Ethan Hawke (Boyhood)

EthanIn Richard Linklater’s 12-year epic Boyhood, Ethan Hawke portrays Mason, the divorced father of Samantha and Mason, Jr. Boyhood is an unbelievable film, but I have Hawke in last place in this category because I do not agree with his nomination. Yes, he gives a great performance, but it was nothing memorable in my opinion—he is merely serviceable in his role. Fresh off of his Oscar nomination for 2001’s Training Day, Hawke’s performance in those initial scenes (filmed first back in 2002) is stellar. He is everything you would expect from an Oscar nominee. However, like his acting career since 2002, his performance seems to go downhill throughout the rest of the film. It never borders on a “bad” performance, but it is not anything that sticks out as Oscar-worthy. He seems like he is just playing Ethan Hawke, which is not compelling enough for me to believe his inclusion in this category is justified. Although Hawke has received two Oscar nominations for screenwriting, his only previous nomination in an acting category was for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Training Day (2001).

Actors snubbed in this category: Shia LaBeouf (Fury), Jon Bernthal (Fury) Riz Ahmed (Nightcrawler), Ben Mendelsohn (Starred Up), and Chris O’Dowd (Calvary)

Fall Preview 2014: No. 5 – No. 1

Fall Preview 2014 1-5 Photo

Happy Friday, film fans! The conclusion to my “Fall Preview 2014” is finally here. Over the past couple of days, I have shared with you my five Honorable Mentions and No. 10 – No. 6 on the list of my most anticipated fall film releases. But now it is on to the big reveal. So, without further ado, I give you films No. 5 – No. 1 on my Fall Preview 2014 list.


No. 5 – A Walk Among the Tombstones

A Walk Among the Tombstones (based on the 1992 novel of the same name) follows Matthew Scudder, an ex-cop turned private investigator that is hired to find the people that abducted and murdered a high-end drug dealer’s wife.

A Walk Among the Tombstones 3Although the plot and the beginning of the trailer initially make it seem like the film is vastly similar to Neeson’s acclaimed Taken, director Scott Frank wants fans to know that it will not be the same movie. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Frank stated, “It’s not Taken. It’s not an action movie—it’s a very different sort of thing.” And when you watch the trailer in its entirety, it is more than evident that Frank is absolutely on point—this movie is way more of a thriller noir than Neeson’s modern action flicks.

A Walk Among the Tombstones 2Speaking of the trailer, it is incredible. My future sister-in-law turned me onto this film a few months ago by pointing me to its trailer, and ever since, I have considered this to be one of the movies that I absolutely cannot miss out on. The trailer is dark, chilling, thrilling, vengeful, and violent—and with Neeson on the screen, this superfluity of cinematic emotions will surely be presented with veteran fluidity and seasoned passion. Although average film fans may only accredit Neeson’s modern relevancy in film to action movies like Taken, Taken 2, and Non-Stop, I truly believe that he is an actor with noteworthy range (given his major award-nominated performances in Schindler’s List, Michael Collins, and Kinsey); this performance appears likely to cement Neeson as an acclaimed dramatic actor in this modern era, as opposed to a mere action star. A Walk Among the Tombstones is set for a theatrical release on September 19, 2014.

Director: Scott Frank (The Lookout).

Starring: Liam Neeson (Taken, Non-Stop), Dan Stevens (Downton Abbey, The Fifth Estate), and Boyd Holbrook (The Host, Out of the Furnace).

Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O6Ttj9tXzCA

No. 4 – Interstellar

Interstellar is set in the not-so-distant future on an Earth that has ceased to produce enough food for the population to survive. On a mission to save humanity, widowed engineer Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) leaves his family and joins a group of scientists to travel to planets past our own solar system in hopes of finding a solution or even a new place for humans to call home.

Interstellar 3This film is this high on the list for one reason: Christopher Nolan. The 44-year-old genius director has a limited but illustrious history as a filmmaker, and every movie fan has been waiting on pins and needles for his newest project. Nolan has incredible range as a director, creating a neo-noir psychological thriller (Memento), a superhero trilogy of innovative proportions (The Dark Knight trilogy), and a heist taking place in a sequence of interconnected dreams (Inception); but in Interstellar, he dives into his first full-blown science-fiction space narrative. His films are interesting, captivating, thrilling, and cinematically brilliant, and I am more than looking forward to this renowned director’s bright new adventure.

Matthew McConaughey (aka “I’m in everything lately, and I’m absolutely killing it”) leads this ensemble in what looks like an emotionally dedicated role, and once again, he will probably be the substance of many Oscar conversations this fall. Interstellar 2He is joined by a posse of critically acclaimed performers, namely Jessica Chastain, Anne Hathaway, John Lithgow, Casey Affleck, Michael Caine (he’s now been in each of Nolan’s last six films), and Ellen Burstyn. The director is inimitable. The trailer is entrancing. And the cast is extraordinary—Oscar buzz will most assuredly be following the Interstellar ship no matter how many light-years away it is, and I sure hope it lives up to the expectations that have been set for it. Interstellar is set for a theatrical release on November 7, 2014.

Director: Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight trilogy, Inception).

Starring: Matthew McConaughey (Mud, Dallas Buyers Club), Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty, Mama), and Anne Hathaway (The Dark Knight Rises, Les Misérables).

Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ePbKGoIGAXY

No. 3 – Fury

Fury is a war film set during the final month of World War II. The film follows a five-man crew of American soldiers that command a M4A3E8 Sherman tank named “Fury.” The leader of the crew is an Army sergeant called “Wardaddy” (Brad Pitt), and in the face of the Nazis, he and his outnumbered crew are forced to overcome improbable odds in order to survive.

Fury 3If Brad Pitt is in a movie, I am already sold. Yes, Brad and Angelina (newly married now—Mazeltov) are an odd pair of humans, wearing an unparalleled pop-culture crown, but at the heart of one of the most popular men in the world is an actor with an unbridled commitment to continually perfecting his art—for this, I am grateful. I was hooked on this film from the very moment I first watched its trailer. It looks dark and dreary. It looks cold and exhausted. But a narrative such as this about a group of men at the point of no return is just the kind of story that reeks of power and persistence. The tank itself appears to play a major role in the film, and with Pitt leading his men into the depths of hell in this monstrous machine of mayhem, filmgoers everywhere will most likely be well-rewarded for the experience.

Fury 2I am also looking forward to seeing Pitt’s supporting cast alongside him in the battlefield. Logan Lerman is a budding young star with immense potential. Shia LaBeouf, although weird as $&*#, is still determined and focused on growing as an actor. Jon Bernthal impressed in The Wolf of Wall Street, and it will be great to see him branch out into this role. And lastly, Michael Peña is continually one of the better supporting actors on the Hollywood circuit, and the film will greatly benefit from his veteran presence. Fury is set for a theatrical release on November 14, 2014.

Director: David Ayer (End of Watch, Sabotage).

Starring: Brad Pitt (World War Z, 12 Years a Slave), Logan Lerman (The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Noah), Shia LaBeouf (Lawless, Nymphomaniac), Jon Bernthal (Snitch, The Wolf of Wall Street), and Michael Peña (End of Watch, American Hustle).

Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-OGvZoIrXpg

No. 2 – Foxcatcher

Foxcatcher takes a look into the real-life events surrounding the 1996 shooting of Olympic gold-medal wrestler David Schultz (Mark Ruffalo). The film follows the relationship of eccentric millionaire John du Pont (Steve Carell) with Olympic brothers David and Mark Schultz (Channing Tatum) in anticipation for the 1988 Summer Games in Seoul. John’s desire to attain the respect of his disapproving mother leads him into a dark spiral of obsession and compulsion, and his rage casts a wide net of derivative effects on Mark and his career. Furthermore, John’s disturbing pathology seems to steer the film in one direction, and that direction is tragedy.

Foxcatcher 2This movie looks menacing. Absolutely, unequivocally, frightening. And obviously I do not mean it the sense of a horror film; rather, I refer to it in the mold of a film that you already know the ending to but refuse to look away, hypnotized by the mystery and thrill. I am drawn to this film because both Steve Carell and Channing Tatum almost unrecognizable in their respective roles—that is what makes this work. Carell is always the 40-Year-Old-Virgin funny guy, while Tatum is the ripped ladies’ man. Director Bennett Miller (of Capote and Moneyball fame) has shredded those stereotypes and created a haunting level of eccentricity and enigma—one that earned him the Best Director award at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival.

Foxcatcher 3I love sports, I love drama, and I love film. Mix these three ingredients, and all of a sudden I have a pleasant cocktail to consume. But this is no ordinary drink. This is top-shelf. This is the kind of film that surpasses all others of its kind to reach a pinnacle of critical success. I have high Oscar hopes for this film, its director, and the cast he assembled, and I cannot wait to see it for myself very soon. Foxcatcher is set for a theatrical release on November 14, 2014.

Director: Bennett Miller (Capote, Moneyball).

Starring: Steve Carell (Despicable Me 2, Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues), Channing Tatum (White House Down, 22 Jump Street), and Mark Ruffalo (Now You See Me, Begin Again).

Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lG4QoyC8L_Y

No. 1 – Gone Girl

Gone Girl 4In Gone Girl (based on the best-selling novel of the same name), Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) reports his wife missing on their fifth wedding anniversary. An intense police investigation and a modern day media frenzy ensues, and quickly, the marriage of Nick and his missing wife Amy (Rosamund Pike) begins to crumble under the nose of the nation. As more and more of Nick’s lies and deceit become readily apparent, the world begins to wonder if Nick himself is at fault for Amy’s disappearance.

If you have been following the writing in my Fall Preview closely, you probably think that I believe every movie in my Top 10 could be No. 1; if so, you are almost correct. I definitely do think my Top 10 consists of commendable films with untapped potential, but I saved Gone Girl for my No. 1 spot for a reason—it is clearly the film to watch out for this fall season!

Gone Girl 3Like Inherent Vice and Interstellar before it, Gone Girl has received an immense amount of hype due to its director; here, that visionary filmmaker is the legendary David Fincher. Fincher has such a unique style of filmmaking, and his innate capability to create mystery and thrill is evident by renowned films like Se7en, Fight Club, Panic Room, and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (all of which I own personally). And in recent years, he has mastered the art of drama, too, with successful ventures in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and The Social Network (both of which I also own). I list Fincher’s eminent résumé to make the point that he is clearly one of the most talented and thriving filmmakers around today. Everyone who loves film is always anxiously awaiting the next picture from Fincher, and even though that wait is always carried out with a particular degree of impatience, it is always well worth it.

David Fincher’s film can only succeed with a carefully crafted cast, and in Gone Girl, he has assembled a diverse group of heavy hitters, bubbling stars, and relatively unknowns. From the early reports, it appears this interesting dynamic works exceptionally well, and I cannot wait to see those interactions play out on the big screen. Gone Girl 2Ben Affleck leads the film as the mysterious Nick Dunne, and his missing bride is played by Rosamund Pike, an experienced actress that finally gets the chance to make a huge impact on the screen. Affleck and Pike are joined by the traditionally comedic Neil Patrick Harris, the usually-in-a-female-outfit Tyler Perry, the former SNL cast member Casey Wilson, and the oft-topless “Blurred Lines” music-video star Emily Ratajkowski. It is a fascinating choice for an assemblage of characters in such a serious, dramatic film, but I believe it will pay off tenfold in the end. Gone Girl is set for a theatrical release on October 3, 2014.

Director: David Fincher (The Social Network, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo).

Starring: Ben Affleck (The Town, Argo), Rosamund Pike (Jack Reacher, The World’s End), and Neil Patrick Harris (The Smurfs 2, A Million Ways to Die in the West).

Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UTaeg-sGw9k