Posts filed under ‘Wes Anderson’

Top Six: Most anticipated movies of 2009

logo222I’m home from school, and, while I can’t do my Top Six movies of 2008 because I have yet to see “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” and feel like I’ll really enjoy that flick, I need something to do. That’s pretty much why this blog has been started back up, even after such a long hiatus.

Hopefully, I’ll be able to keep Movie Chutzpah up through next semester, but you never know. But, let’s all just enjoy it while it lasts.

Let’s be honest; 2008 was an incredible year for movies. “The Dark Knight,” “WALL-E,” you name it — there were some amazing movies that hit theaters this year, and I think it showed at the box office. Even with the industry worried about home theaters, netflix and pirating movies taking away from the in-theater sales, “The Dark Knight” made an insane amount of cash, and even smaller flicks like “Mama Mia” did quite well in their runs. So will the studios be able to keep it up with their 2009 lineups?

We’ll see. The lasting effects of the writers’ strike might put a damper on things — especially in the comic book movie genre, which could lose a lot of the steam it picked up with “The Dark Knight” and “Iron Man.” But even so, there’s plenty to be excited about, I promise. Without further ado, here are the six movies I can’t wait to see next year.

6. “Terminator Salvation,” May 22, 2009

title-for-terminator-4-gets-terminated“1984” is my favorite book, “Brazil” is one of my favorite movies and so-on — I love dystopian literature. I always have and a I probably always is. There’s just something very intriguing to me about the different ways government and society could go to absolute shit. And, with the entire human race being beaten in a war versus man-like machines, it doesn’t get any more dystopian and depressing than the Terminator series. I know that, no matter how many of these films McG decides to pop out (he apparently already has plans for a fifth installment after “Salvation”), nothing will ever top “Terminator 2,” but I still enjoyed the third one. “Salvation,” even though Arnold isn’t going to be in it, is exactly what Terminator fans have wanted since the beginning; we’ve heard about the Great War between man and machine for three movies. Now we get to see it. I’m really excited that Christian Bale is playing John Connor, too — I think he’s going to be a really good addition to the franchise. Check out the trailer here:

5. “Monsters vs. Aliens,” March 27, 2009

monster_vs_alienI have yet to see a Disney 3-D movie, but I’ve heard very good things about it — like, the innovations that have been made in this new generation of 3-D movies are good enough to remove the kitsch label from the technology. This will most likely be the first one I see, because it looks amazing. Action, humor and crazy character designs — I really think this has the potential to be one of, if not the, best non-Pixar CGI-based film yet. It looks as if it has a tiny bite of satire, and it definitely doesn’t take itself too seriously, blatantly making fun of the classic genres its borrowing from. I love, love, love b-level 1950s sci-fi movie like “Attack of the 50 foot Woman,” “The Blob” and especially “Plan 9 From Outer Space,” so I’m assuming that a lil’ throwback-parody action in “Monsters vs. Aliens” (it looks as though the 5o-foot woman actually makes an appearance in the flick) will be fantastic. This is going to be a good one.

4. “The Fantastic Mr. Fox,” Nov. 6, 2009

9220__wes_lSome people love him; some people think he’s a no-talent assclown who hides under the “indie” label to slip crappy movies into American pop-culture. Wes Anderson is a very polarizing director, and I happen to be in the former category. I adore all of his movies, and “The Fantastic Mr. Fox,” which is reportedly using the stop-motion animation that Anderson tinkered with in “Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou,” is definitely one of the most intriguing endeavors of 2009. Although the settings of his movies are drastically different, I think the core of every one has been the same — dealing with disappointment, family issues and general disfunction. I can’t tell you how excited I am to see Anderson try to work out of his element with this project. “The Fantastic Mr. Fox,” is based on a classic childrens’ novel by Roald Dahl and will a great lineup of voice actors, including George Clooney, Bill Murray, Cate Blanchett, Jason Schwartzman and Anjelica Huston. Here’s a clip from “The Life Aquatic” that showcases the stop-motion animation that could be used in “Mr. Fox,” too:

3. “Inglourious Basterds,” June 2009

tarantino-sipaFirst of all, let me say something: I know both “Inglorious” and “Bastards” are spelled wrong in the title — but that’s the way director Quention Tarantino wants it. And at this point, I’m ready to let him do whatever he wants, just as long as this movie finally gets finished. He’s been talking about this project, I believe, since the early 1990s after the completion of “Reservoir Dogs.” No after all the speculation, hype and rumor, we finally know that it’s finally going to get made — with a killer cast that includes Brad Pitt, B.J. Novak (from “The Office”) and Samuel L. Jackson. From what I’ve heard about this flick, including script reviews and such, this could be Tarantino’s coupe de grace, his masterpiece. And that’s with”Pulp Fiction” — one of the best movies of all time — hanging over this project’s head. Maybe I’m getting a little carried away on the hype train, but, I think it’s safe to say that, if there’s this much buzz around a movie this earlier, it’s going to be pretty darn impressive. Here’s a fan-made video of the shooting set of the flick:

2. “Watchmen,” March 6, 2009

watchmenMy first experience with the graphic novel “Watchmen” came as soon as I could find the book after I saw the mysterious trailer linked to “The Dark Knight.” I don’t like comic books, but this was different, and it completely blew me away. Reviews — even ones from cynical comic book fans who have seen bits and pieces of the film — are crazy-good already, headed by a glowing review by indie-film guru and mega-nerd Kevin Smith. Zack Snyder’s movie is one of the only big-name comic book adaptations that will hit theaters next year, but it’s a good one. If done right, and from all accounts it has been, Snyder continue setting the bar higher for comic book movies, a trend that started with “Spider-Man” and has continued through “The Dark Knight.” I don’t want to get my hopes up too high, but I really can’t wait until I can see this — in the IMAX Experience, of course.

1. “Where the Wild Things Are,” Oct. 16, 2009

where_the_wild_things_areflvThis movie just has to freakin’ come out already! Shoots and edits and reshoots and re-edits and test audiences and so on — this movie has gone through a lot, even the release date being pushed back over a year. It seems as though everything is on the right track now, with — apparently and hopefully — the majority of Spike Jonze’s original, darker view in tact. The studio has backed him 100 percent, even after children were scared and adults calling the lead character, Max, “unlikeable” in test screenings. I, for one, desperately want to see Jonze’s version hit the screens; his work on movies like “Adaptation” and “Being John Malkovich” is simply amazing, and bringing that gritty, realistic style to one of the most surreal and famous childrens’ novels of all time … well, I’m just just excited to see it. The video posted below is very, very early test footage — the sound isn’t synced and the kid isn’t actually Max Powers, who will be playing Max — but the angles, lighting, cinematography and general feel of the movie is exactly what I expect. October 16th cannot come soon enough:

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December 22, 2008 at 10:08 pm 2 comments

Fantastic Mr. Fox adds new songs to its soundtrack

The ball is rolling on Wes Anderson’s first attempt at a children’s movie, “The Fantastic Mr. Fox.” Not much has been leaked so far about the ongoing project, and even this news was found pretty indirectly; In an interview with Timeout Chicago, Pulp lead singer Jarvis Crocker began talking about how he’s trying to reach out to a new generation, specifically through songs in kids’ movies. And it just so happens that Crocker has apparently been enlisted to pen a few songs for “Mr. Fox.” Although it seems odd he would spill this now, especially considering how tight-lipped the project has been otherwise, I think you can accept it as true. I mean, it came directly from Crocker himself:

TOC: Yet you wrote songs for Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, appearing in the film as the frontman of the Weird Sisters. Do kids recognize you?
Jarvis Cocker: I had a very specific look going on in that film—giant fur jacket, snakeskin trousers—that I wouldn’t normally wear down the street. That would get me attention, but probably the wrong kind of attention. I’ve been doing some stuff for a children’s film Wes Anderson is doing, an animated feature.

TOC: The stop-motion adaptation of Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Mr. Fox?
Jarvis Cocker: I’ve written three, four songs, and some of that might become bits of the score.

Yes. Anderson always, always has a great soundtrack (although I don’t recall anyone writing music specifically for one of his movies), and I’m sure if this is true, “Mr. Fox” will be no different. “Royal Tenenbaums” has one of my favorite soundtracks of all time — I dare you to not be moved during Elliot Smith’s “Needle in the Hay” in that flick — and “Darjeeling Limited” is no different. It’ll be interesting to see how Wes Anderson incorporates his musical preferences into a movie for kids.

I’m really excited for this project for two reasons in particular:

1. Anderson’s stop-motion animation style.

We haven’t seen any screen or test shots from “Mr. Fox” yet, but I’d be willing to bet that the style used for the animation will closely resemble what was used in “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou,” like the above video. In that flick, just a few of the scene, namely the shark encounter at the end, were created using stop-motion animation, and while they weren’t really realistic-looking, they were visually creative and interesting. I think “Mr. Fox,” regardless of story, characters and whatever else, will be a worth-while viewing experience just for the visuals it presents. I’m really glad Anderson is wiling to think outside the animated-movie box for this, and not just pump out another CGI-based film. Although stop-motion animation will inevitably be a more strenuous and painstaking process, the end result will be more than worth it.

2. The influx of good directors taking on kids’ movies.

Anderson’s “Mr. Fox” and Spike Jonze’s “Where the Wild Things Are” (if that every gets out of Development Purgatory) are a huge step in the right direction for thoughtful, intelligent and good kids’ movies, instead of just a lot of bright colors, poop jokes and merchandising opportunities. I think it’s a great idea that Anderson wants to reach an audience he’s never played to before, especially with a stop-motion animation (most kids nowadays really haven’t been exposed to anything like that. The last one I can think of is Tim Burton’s “Corpse Bride,” which was several years ago.

July 22, 2008 at 4:36 pm 5 comments