But what we also have during this time are typically some of the best movies of the year hitting theaters. And thanks to Entertainment Weekly's timely Fall Movie Preview that came out recently, here are some of the films I have marked.
|George Clooney (Focus Features)|
Clooney playing a brooding hitman hiding out in the Italian countryside and falling for a gorgeous woman, while trying to come to terms with what he's done and wanting out after one last assignment ... Where's the downside? Director Anton Corbijn says Clooney "plays the darkest character I've ever seen him play." My kind of movie.
Danny Trejo, Jessica Alba, Michelle Rodriguez, Robert DeNiro, Robert Rodriguez (dir.)
Trejo and DeNiro teamed up as bank robbers in "Heat" and now they're enemies. What's cool about this one is that it was a fake trailer in Rodriguez's "Grindhouse," but it played so well that they made a full-length movie out of it. It's all about revenge and carnage ... and stylized for your enjoyment! Be there, sucka!
Ben Affleck (also directs), Jeremy Renner, Jon Hamm
Yes, another gritty Boston drama, but I don't care. I've yet to be let down by one. Affleck plays the leader of a gang of bank robbers, who repeatedly terrorize a particular section of Boston ... and he falls for a bank manager they took hostage, who doesn't recognize him ... Nice. Plus, it'll be cool to see Don Draper as the pursuing federal agent.
Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps
Shia LaBeouf, Michael Douglas, Josh Brolin, Oliver Stone (dir.)
I'm not the world's greatest LaBeouf fan, but I've been waiting for this one for a while ... from the opening scene in the trailer where Gordon Gekko gets his archaic cell phone back on his way out of prison. The original, so quintessentially 80's, is so cringe-worthy (in a good way!) and I'm interested to see Gekko, once the absolute representation of greed and power, as a fallen man and how he adapts to the way things are now. Plus, apparently Bud Fox makes an appearance.
Edward Norton, Robert DeNiro
Norton and DeNiro squaring off in a prison movie. Why write anything else? But I will, only to add the sleazy plot twist ... Norton's character, a convicted arsonist, uses his girlfriend to manipulate DeNiro's correctional officer to grant him parole. I think this will end well for everyone, don't you?
I still can't get the final scene of the original out of my head. While watching it in the theater, I thought it was just OK ... then I got home and started thinking about it, and it gradually started working on me and really creeping me out. Judging by the chills I have after watching the trailer for the sequel, I'm not sure I can handle it -- A dog sleeping next to a baby in a crib ... you hear footsteps ... the dog starts growling menacingly at the door while the baby stands up and looks at the door ... a shadowy figure appears, and both dog and baby are gone... but you can still see the baby in the mirror... Jeez..
The Company Men
Ben Affleck, Chris Cooper, Tommy Lee Jones, Kevin Costner
I wonder if Affleck will start to get on a roll with decent movies. Seems like he's been making good choices lately. And how about this cast? Affleck plays a family man whose life falls apart after he's laid off and, as he says with a great quote in EW, "has to face the fact that the American dream is about accumulating things and titles -- and isn't about developing yourself as a person." Love that. So sad, so true.
Matt Damon, Bryce Dallas Howard, Clint Eastwood (dir.)
Damon and Eastwood team up again, which is enough to get me there, but the plot itself sounds excellent. It follows three different people who have been affected by death, and touches on near-death experiences and people searching for answers. Eastwood calls it his chick flick movie, "but one that men will like, too. Or at least one that won't make them want to stick a Swiss Army knife into their leg."
Rachel McAdams, Harrison Ford, Diane Keaton
I have high hopes for this one, because the premise cracked me up. McAdams (known at my place as the future Mrs. Smith) recruits Ford, a former "serious national newsman" to co-host one of those cheesy morning TV news shows. Classic! And I also saw Modern Family's Ty Burrell in the trailer as one of the hosts, which has to be gold.
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
From what I remember reading the books, this was my favorite of the series, along with the polarizing "The Last Battle." While the movies haven't quite exactly captured the feeling I had reading the books as a kid, I'm relieved they've done a classy and respectful job with the first two movies, and I'm interested to see how they adapt this one. Plus, I think it'll be in 3D, which could add that little extra element.
|Jeff Bridges, Hailee Steinfeld (Paramount Pictures)|
Matt Damon, Jeff Bridges, Josh Brolin, Barry Pepper, Joel and Ethan Coen (dir.)
Now, we're talkin'! I knew about this movie months ago, so this has been and will continue to be an excruciating wait, but chances are more than fair I'm going to be in a theater on Christmas Day for this one. All you really need to do is look at the cast and look who's directing ... add in the fact that it's a western and I think you already have a Best Picture nominee, sight unseen. I never saw the original, but apparently this is a completely different retelling. Now, let's get that trailer produced, puh-leese.
Also piquing my interest:
9/24 -- Ryan Reynolds spends the majority of the movie buried alive in a coffin and trying to escape. It sounds like a helluva suspense thriller, but I'm wondering how long it will take for claustrophobia to set in and make this one too uncomfortable.
The Social Network: Trailer
10/1 -- I'm just not into Facebook at all, but the story behind how it was created might be interesting ... and it's been generating some major buzz.
10/15 -- This one has potential. Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich and, yes, Helen Mirren play retired CIA operatives who are forced back into action. The preview cracked me up, and even has an Ernest Borgnine appearance. I might be more enamored with seeing the type of audience this movie will bring to the theater, though.
11/5 -- This one might have a similar feel as "Buried." James Franco plays the hiker back in 2003 who cut his own arm off to free himself from a boulder. Very intriguing, but, again, you wonder how uncomfortable this one will get.
Fair Game: Trailer
11/5 -- Looks like a complicated spy thriller involving Sean Penn and Naomi Watts as a husband and wife drawn into the CIA's dealings in Iraq. The preview confused me, so I'll just say that hijinks ensue.
The Next Three Days: Trailer
11/19 -- Russell Crowe plays a guy who's trying to break his wife out of prison, and Liam Neeson is involved. I think we've all been there ...
12/1 -- Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis play rival ballet dancers, and things get dark. It looks like there are great performances throughout, and there's something mesmerizing about Portman's makeup job.
12/10 -- Mark Wahlberg plays boxer Irish Micky Ward and Christian Bale plays his brother/trainer, a drug addict. Love the Ward story and fights, but this one will depend on which Wahlberg will show up. I was not happy after "The Happening."
TRON: Legacy: Trailer
12/17 -- I remember watching "TRON" years and years and years ago and loved Jeff Bridges in it, but I never really was part of that cult following it's garnered over the years. But it may be worth another viewing, because the trailer for this looks incredibly trippy, and the fact that it's going to be in 3D could make it quite a ride.
Little Fockers: Trailer
12/22 -- "Meet the Fockers" didn't really do it for me, but there looks to be some really funny bits in the trailer for this one. It feels like it might get back to the stuff that made the original so funny. Plus, Harvey Keitel is in it.
So here's to these movies, and the ones that I won't see comin'. Enjoy the rest of the summer, but good stuff awaits.