Movies I Wanna See Most: Fall 2011

The Summer movie season is coming to an end and though it hasn't been the best year for big Hollywood productions we have certainly had a few quality films that might stand a chance against all the award-type films that will be opening as the year draws closer to an end. That is what we are here to talk about today. The films of Fall 2011 and the ones I am personally looking forward to the most. Though I am excited to see if Eddie Murphy is funny again in "Tower Heist" and am glad to see we will have two Spielberg films this December ("The Adventures of Tintin" and "War Horse") as well as there being plenty of star studded vehicles like Steven Soderbergh's "Contagion", Roman Polanski's "Carnage", and Johnny Depp's "The Rum Diary" I have not placed any of them on my list because there are a few blockbusters, a few smaller films, and some definite award contenders that I am absolutely anticipating. Most of the trailers for these films have only added to the excitement and some I am just eager to see on their subject matter alone. Take a look at the list and see if you share some of my excitement and hey, if not, leave a comment and let me know what movies you are most excited to see this fall.  

10. Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol




Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt.
It is easy to say this is an unnecessary movie. I thought the same even though I really enjoyed JJ Abrams third installment back in 2006. It seems Tom Cruise is unable to let this franchise go though and I guess we can't blame him, it is the only one he has. There was plenty of doubt around whether this would be worth a trip to the cinema but with the release of the first trailer last month I think everyone was impressed and took a second to re-think there pre-conceived notions of how bad this movie was going to be. With director Brad Bird (The Iron Giant, The Incredibles, Ratatouille) taking on his first non-animated film this was destined to be an experiment that could have gone one of two ways. It is clear Bird is a talented director and it appears his skills have transferred flawlessly to live action film. If the teaser is any indication this could be the best "Mission" of the whole series. Bird and his crew shot select scenes with IMAX cameras and if the glimpse of Cruise hanging from Dubai's Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest building, gives us any indication as to how well Bird took advantage of the technology it looks as if we'll be in for a pretty amazing action/adventure flick. This time around the story concerns the IMF being shut down when it's implicated in the bombing of the Kremlin, causing Ethan Hunt and his new team to go rogue to clear their organization's name. Returning cast members include Ving Rhames and Simon Pegg as well as featuring a slew of new players being inhibited by such actors as Paula Patton, Lost's Josh Holloway, Tom Wilkinson, and Jeremy Renner of "The Hurt Locker" and "The Town" will no doubt add to my hopes that this installment proves all the doubters wrong, including myself. See the trailer here. See it in theaters December 21

9. The Muppets

I have never seen a Muppet film. I'm the first to admit that and I'm not really ashamed of it either. I am of the generation The Muppet Show missed. I have always known about Kermit and Miss Piggy but never found any interest in sitting through an hour and a half feature with them. There is literally only one reason I am interested in seeing this new film that will attempt to catapult these clearly beloved characters back into the limelight. That reason being "Forgetting Sarah Marshall". I loved the 2008 film featuring Jason Segel that clearly demonstrated his love of muppetry(?) and when it was announced he would be helping put together a new vehicle to revitalize the Muppet franchise I was intrigued and thought it time I made myself more familiar with this strange world that always seemed more Sesame Street than genuine slapstick humor. Thus I find myself eager to see what Segel and his team have done to introduce these characters to a brand new audience as well as appealing to those of their generation that grew up with the TV show and the movies. Segel and "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" director Nick Stoller collaborated on the screenplay and hired director James Bobin of Flight of the Conchords fame as well as series regular Bret McKenzie to co-write some of the movie's musical numbers with Segel. All this and not to mention that Amy Adams co-stars as Segels girlfriend and a whole roster of stars including Mila Kunis, Jack Black, Zach Galifianakis, Ricky Gervais, Neil Patrick Harris, Katy Perry, John Krasinski, Rashida Jones, Billy Crystal, and Chris Cooper as the evil oil magnate who is out to destroy the Muppet Theater all make appearances. Sign me up. See the trailer here. See it in theaters  November 23

8. Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows




Jude Law and Robert Downey Jr. re-team for the sequel to
"Sherlock Holmes".
What began in 2008 as Downey Jr. domination continues into this holiday season as he follows up his second successful franchise with its first sequel. In 2009's "Sherlock Holmes" set the bar rather high in terms of re-inventing a classic piece of literature. Director Guy Ritchie (Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrells, Rock-N-Rolla) brought his gritty underground style to 19th century England and portrayed the infamous detective as a smooth-talking, handsome hero-type character rather than the anti-social man of Doyle's original stories. Ritchie, Downey, and all others involved didn't stray too far from the source material though re-storing Watson back to his original form as a former Army surgeon and a competent medical doctor. "Game of Shadows" drops the super natural element brought to the first film by villian Marc Strong though and adds Holmes's greatest archenemy Professor Moriarty. Mad Men's Jarred Harris portrays the criminal genius. The new film gives us Downey's Holmes coming to the aid of a fortuneteller (Noomi Rapace in her American film debut) who is threatened by the aforementioned Moriarty. The first trailer for the film released last month makes this sequel out to be just as action packed and quick witted as the first if not being a little underwhelming due to the fact this one is missing the presence of Rachel McAdams as Holmes estranged lover Irene Adler. Jude Law is of course returning as Watson and despite threatening to leave Holmes it is clear, and of course inevitable, that they must reunite to outwit and bring down Moriarty all amidst Watsons wedding and what looks to be a pretty exciting train sequence. I enjoyed the first film enough to be looking forward to this one with a pretty high excitement level. It doesn't hurt all the people included in bringing one of my favorite classic stories to the screen seem a perfect fit to allow those stories to make a new mark in pop culture society. See the trailer here. See it in theaters December 16

7. The Iron Lady




Meryl Streep as former British prime
minister Margaret Thatcher.
I am a real sucker for bio-pics. No matter the subject matter, if I am familiar with them or not, I usually find some element of them interesting if not entertaining through their movie incarnation. I was raised with a mother whose entire side of the family hails from Britain. I enjoyed this influence for many reasons, the chocolate, the hot tea, the fish and chips on Friday's, the comedy, but with these perks came a little knowledge as well and thus I am eager to see "The Iron Lady". As the former British prime minister, Meryl Streep takes on the task of bringing her story to the screen that is said to chronicle seven decades but will mainly focus on Thatcher at the peak of her power in the 1980's. There has been no trailer release for the movie yet, so I have little to go on as far as what to expect in tone and direction but I will say it makes me a little nervous that Streep's "Mamma Mia!" director is at the helm here as well. Though the story will no doubt touch on the price Thatcher paid for her power and the ways in which it affected her family channeling themes of love and loss. Still I am a little on edge and anxious to see the first teaser for the film with hopes that it justifies me going ahead and placing it on this list. Oh, who am I kidding, I'm a 24-year-old guy who enjoys Streep's work so much that I loved "Julie & Julia" enough to profess it on here and the subject matter alone would have me in line on opening night. See it in theaters December 16

6. Hugo




Chloe Moretz and Asa Butterfield in
Martin Scorsese's "Hugo".
Every year on Thanksgiving my family ventures out to the movie theater to see a film together. This is the only time all year this ever happens and is most likely the only film my dad will see all year. Though I doubt "Hugo" is something he would choose to see on his own it seems like the kind of crowd-pleasing family film we usually end up in. What separates this film from other holiday fodder is the fact it is directed by Martin Scorsese. Yep, you read that right, the guy who made "Taxi Driver", "Goodfellas", and "The Departed" has made a movie about a young boy who inherits a broken robot from his late father. The magic lies in the inventor of the robot which turns out to be real-life toymaker and French director Georges Melies as portrayed here by Ben Kingsley. Not to mention this is also Scorsese's first 3D film and features Sacha Baron Cohen as a goob of some kind of police officer. I am mainly interested in seeing this simply for the fact that it is a Scorsese film, but the thought of him spinning a tale that will enchant youngsters is no doubt, well, enchanting. The cast is top notch, the director will certainly make good use of the 3D technology rather than using it as a pawn to make a few extra bucks and when the trailer was released last month it looked like nothing short of a fun time. I'm not sure if my dad will like it, but who knows, he may enjoy the storytelling that a Scorsese film is sure to possess and what more could you ask for when it comes to holiday family entertainment? See the trailer here. See it in theaters November 23

5. The Sitter




Jonah Hill isn't the gold standard when it comes
to babysitting in "The Sitter".
I almost put "Tower Heist" on this list as the big comedy of the fall I was most looking forward to, but even the idea of an Eddie Murphy/Ben Stiller team-up couldn't convince my inner-conscious that I would be more excited going into that film than "The Sitter". As a completely unfit babysitter and college dropout Jonah Hill winds up taking three kids out on an adventure after his what seems to be tease of a girlfriend (the always awesome Ari Graynor who has had countless small, but hilarious roles in comedies over the past few years. Though she is probably most recognizable as the girl from "Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist".) asks him to buy drugs for her. The recently released red band trailer features handful of classic Hill moments. It doesn't hurt this is also directed by David Gordon Green. Green, a director who started out doing smaller indie films but moved on to big broad comedies with the success of 2008's "Pineapple Express" made a stinker earlier this year with "Your Highness". He is clearly looking to redeem himself here and if that trailer is any indication he has done so with flying colors. I have always enjoyed Hill as a comedic persona whether he be co-headlining ("Superbad", "Get Him to the Greek") or just playing a supporting role ( "Knocked Up", "Funny People", "Cyrus") but to finally have the chance to see this guy take the lead and carry a movie all by himself, while at some point surely feels a little odd, it also feels perfect. It is about time is the least I can say and this is not the only time you will see Hill mentioned on this list. He is looking to end 2011 on a great note. See the red band trailer here. See it in theaters December 9

4. J. Edgar




Leonardo DiCaprio and Clint Eastwood
collaborate on the set of "J. Edgar".
It was after seeing 2009's "Public Enemies" and afterwards purchasing the book on which it was based that I became more interested in the life of J. Edgar Hoover. The man who oversaw the creation of the FBI, helped initiate fingerprinting and other forensic evidence devices. The man who was the face of law enforcement for nearly 50 years. He was feared and admired, but this Clint Eastwood production looks to take a deeper look at the life of a man who no one seemed to know very well at all. The synopsis for the film states that behind closed doors, the man held many secrets that would have destroyed his image, his career and his life. One of these secrets that is sure to be investigated is the much discussed rumor that Mr. Hoover was gay. Though historians have never found any definitive proof about his sexuality, it is true that he was a very private person and that he never married or had children. Not, by any means, does that conclude a man to surely be gay but as the film was scripted by Dustin Lance Black (who won an Oscar for penning "Milk") I expect that aspect to be one that is certainly not sidestepped. the main attraction to this project though, besides the fact that it was penned by Black, directed by Eastwood and is another bio-pic of a figure I have great interest in is the fact Leonardo DiCaprio will be portraying him. If there is one actor from our generation I believe will go down in cinematic history as a Bogart or Grant type figure it is DiCaprio. He is a fully committed actor, one who brings a certain credibility and intensity to every role. I expect this to be nothing short of one of his better performances and we can almost but go ahead and count him in as a leading contender for the best actor Oscar this year. See it in theaters November 9

3. Moneyball




Bard Pitt and Jonah Hill star in the inspirational
baseball story that is the basis of "Moneyball".
Though some have labeled this Brad Pitt's "Blind Side" It is clear from the trailer that no matter how inspirational a tone this film might have that it isn't as centered around one central figure and his challenges as "The Blind Side" was. Sure Pitt's Billy Beane is struggling to re-invent his money-low Oakland A's by rejecting some of the game's most fundamental rules, but this is not a story of social issues. This is a story about people more than it is a person. At least that is how I want to take it. I personally feel this will probably be a much better all around film than "The Blind Side". Not that I disliked that film, I found it very moving, but it had it's moments or corniness as well as Tim McGraw who I wouldn't put in my film. "Moneyball" is a completely different tone, "Social Network" screenwriter Aaron Sorkin shares the screenplay credit with Steven Zaillian and it features a strong supporting cast with Robin Wright as Beane's ex-wife and Philip Seymour Hoffman as A's manager Art Howe as well as, you guessed it, Jonah Hill. Hill plays an up and coming A's exec who along with Beane decide to change the game and the way it has been played and perceived since its inception. Along with Hill's character, Beane begins to build a team based on statistics not status and if the trailer is any indication of how not only inspiring, but all around good this movie is going to be I'm pumped. Pitt may get more Oscar talk for "Tree of Life" but he is probably not hurting his chances of getting a nod at all by throwing this film into consideration as well. See the trailer here. See it in theaters September 23

2. The Ides of March

George Clooney is among a few actors that I will watch in just about anything. Especially in these last few years where he has made it to the point that he can hand pick whatever he wants to make and then does it. That streak continues with his fourth directorial effort "The Ides of March". The film is about an idealistic staffer played by the suddenly everywhere Ryan Gosling for a newbie presidential candidate (Clooney) who gets a crash course on dirty politics during his stint on the campaign trail. The first trailer was released just a few weeks ago and I literally got chills after watching it. It looks that good. The cast alone sounds like an Oscar ballot. Not only do you have Clooney and Gosling in the lead roles but the film also stars Philip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giamatti, Jeffrey Wright, as well as Marisa Tomei and Evan Rachel Wood. Though Clooney's last directorial effort, "Leatherheads" back in 2008 didn't fare well with fans or critics this film is clearly a drastically different subject matter that looks to be right up Clooney's aisle. The distinction of the cast, the prestige of the director and the relevance of this story offer what is sure to be one of the leading films at the 2012 Oscars. Though I would like to think DiCaprio is most likely to take home best actor for "J. Edgar" I wouldn't doubt that "The Ides of March" will be a front runner in the best picture category if it turns out to be anything like the amazing trailer hints at. See the trailer here. See it in theaters October 7

1. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo





Clockwise from top left: Rooney Mara as Lisbeth Salander,
Daniel Craig as Mikael Blomkvist, Christopher Plummer as
Henrik Vanger, and Robin Wright as Erika Berger. 
I came across the Swedish adaptation of Steig Larsson's "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" last year and was completely blown away by the grand murder mystery of the plot. It was completely unexpected seeing as the buzz around both the book and the film had been mainly concerning this punk-rock looking chick who was a computer hacker. As portrayed by Noomi Rapace (see "Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows") Lisbeth Salander is a no holds barred tough girl. She doesn't put up with anything and her past as well as her current situation land her in some pretty extreme situations. This first installment was definitely my favorite of the Swedish films trilogy. And so, when it was announced that one of my personal favorite directors, David Fincher ("Fight Club" and  "Seven" make him perfect for handling the violence and "Zodiac" as how the intrigue of personal aspects when dealing with heinous crimes) would be taking the reigns on the American adaptations  I was more than ecstatic. Not only did he direct the aforementioned films but he also has films like "Benjamin Button" and last years "The Social Network" on his amazing resume. What is best about Fincher though, and this is clear from the first trailer and teaser poster, is that he won't hold anything back. he isn't scared of public consensus. he is going to do justice to the written word and if that trailer is any indication this version seems as if it will match the intensity of the Swedish version bit for bit if not surpassing it. If you are unfamiliar with the story it revolves around journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig) who is aided in his search for a woman who has been missing for forty years by Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara), a young computer hacker. That quick summary doesn't nearly do the story justice though. Having Craig, Christopher Plummer, and Robin Wright surrounding the young Mara in the title role makes for an even more credible film and one that hopefully won't be looked down on by the Academy members for its graphic violence and sexual attitude, but instead give Fincher and his cast and crew the recognition they will hopefully deserve instead of blowing him off as they did at last year's show. It remains to be unseen if the movie will be a quality film at this point, but seriously, with Fincher in the directors chair, this story holding as subject matter and a cast that seems to have done justice to the roles there is no way this can fail. Thus, my anticipation for this is sky high. See the trailer here. See it in theaters December 21