The summer movie season is over. It’s time to look forward to the rest of the year. The Venice film festival will be underway soon and more will follow. Popcorn flicks are about to give way to more prestigious offerings.
The season can’t come soon enough. This summer has been a major disappointment–other than The Avengers and a few non-blockbusters, the movies have been mediocre–ParaNorman helped it go out on a high note. Nevertheless, the future looks much brighter.
The following are the 25 films I am most looking forward to for the rest of the year, in order. I won’t like them all and I might not see them all either, but right now, this is what I want to see. Mark your calendars and hope for the best.
Starring: Russell Crowe, Lucy Liu, RZA
Why: I don’t usually get excited about rappers/singers crossing over into movies, but RZA is super-talented and going about it the right way. For years he’s been following around people like Quentin Tarantino, Jim Jarmusch, and Eli Roth, learning and taking notes. He’s also popped up as an actor and a composer here and there. I think he’s ready, and his directing/writing debut looks like lots of fun. Who doesn’t want to see something like Kill Bill with more Wu-Tang influence? Plus, Russell Crowe ain’t nuthing ta fuck wit.
Director: Julia Loktev
Starring: Gael Garcia Bernal
Why: Planet has been bouncing around from festival to festival for over a year now and is finally seeing a stateside release. Which means a lot of people have seen it already, and I like what I’ve heard. It’s about a couple backpacking in Georgia (not the U.S. state) and their guide. That set-up could be for a horror film, but it looks like an interesting cross between relationship study, thriller, and something more existential and environmentally related. Also, ever since Y Tu Mama Tambien (My #1 film from last decade) I’m a Gael Garcia Bernal fan for life.
23. Beyond the Hills
Director: Cristian Mungiu
Starring: Cosmina Stratan, Cristina Flutur
Why: From the director/writer of 4 months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days. That’s about it. The story is something about two girls at an Orthodox covenant in Romania and maybe an exorcism. The film also won two awards at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. It won one for the screenplay, and a shared best actress prize for the lead actresses, both newcomers. I really wouldn’t care had I not seen Mungiu’s previous film. If you have, you know why I want to see this. If you haven’t, go rent it immediately.
22. Cloud Atlas
Director: Lana & Andy Wachowski and Tom Tykwer
Starring: Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent, Hugo Weaving
Why: It’s a massive creative gamble that could burst into flames or end up something truly special. There are 3 directors, a massive cast, plus a plot that spans the past, present, and future. Not to mention every actor is playing multiple parts in multiple genres. A rare 5-minute trailer was released with a special introductory explanation from the directors and I still don’t know what the movie is about. I can’t believe a major studio is releasing something so hard to sell, but I’m definitely curious to see this big budget passion project.
Director: Olivier Assayas
Starring: Lola Creton
Why: From the director/writer of Carlos. Seriously, go watch Carlos. Assayas’ latest will be showing at Venice this week and it sounds fantastic. Starring Lola Creton who was really good in Goodbye First Love earlier this year. Air is about the French youth scene in the early 1970s. Politics, art, sex, and retro fashions. I’m sure it will be personal while saying something about the world today (Just like that other film you should watch, Carlos).
Check back tomorrow for five more films I’m excited about seeing. And stay tuned all week to get the full list.