New CD’s from Ben Folds, Elvis Costello, Belle & Sebastian and Lucinda Williams will hit the shelves over the next few months — an embarrassment of riches.
But I’ll find time to go to the movies in between listening to all those albums, and below is a list of the ones I want to see the most.
Looking back at my 2010 Summer movie preview, I see I only wound up watching five of the 10 films I listed. One (The Adjustment Bureau) was bumped to 2011. Another (The Killer Inside Me) never made it to theaters near me, though I plan to catch up with it on video. And I just never got around to the other three (Dinner for Schmucks, The Karate Kid and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World).
My two most anticipated Summer films, however, currently sit at the top of my list of the year’s best films. Toy Story 3 and Inception each lived up to their hype and promise to remain among my favorites at year’s end. I don’t anticipate anything unseating Toy Story 3 at this point, but I’m hoping to be pleasantly surprised.
Here are the films due to be released between September 1 and year’s end that I’m most eager to see.
1. True Grit (Dec. 25)
Merry Christmas to me! The Coen Brothers’ latest (following the wonderful A Serious Man, which topped my 2009 list) is a remake of the John Wayne classic (more accurately, it’s a more faithful adaptation of the source novel). Jeff Bridges plays Rooster Cogburn, marking his first reunion with the Coens since he immortalized The Dude in The Big Lebowski. Nothing on this list comes close to this one.
2 The Social Network (Oct. 1)
David Fincher tells the sordid tale of the birth of Facebook, and how a young punk became a billionaire by antagonizing and alienating his closest friends in a quest to bring the whole world together. Fincher has a great track record (despite the disappointing Benjamin Button) and I love the idea of him tackling such a contemporary topic.
3. How Do You Know (Dec. 17)
Bull Durham meets Broadcast News? James L. Brooks writes and directs this romantic comedy starring Reese Witherspoon as a softball player, Paul Rudd as a troubled businessman who falls for her and Owen Wilson as a hot-shot baseball pitcher who she’s currently dating. Brooks has been in a slump since his classic Broadcast News but this could be the one that returns him to glory.
4. The Town (Sept. 17)
Ben Affleck’s Gone Baby Gone was an under-appreciated gem, and this film looks like a return to similar territory. I’m glad to see Affleck finding his niche behind the camera after taking so many undeserved shots for his work in front of it.
5. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 (Nov. 19)
Hard to believe the little kids we watched inhabit J.K. Rowling’s characters back in 2001 are now finishing off the series as young men and women. Potter is first and foremost a literary phenomenon, but it’s quite impressive how splendidly the story has been told onscreen.
6. Unstoppable (Nov. 12)
Speed on a train is no doubt how this Tony Scott action film was pitched, and that’s sufficient to get me into a seat with a bucket of popcorn, especially with Denzel Washington and Chris Pine as the railway workers tasked with stopping a runaway train.
9. Morning Glory (Nov. 12)
This is one of those that could be horrible or wonderful. It’s great to see Harrison Ford in a comedy, and Diane Keaton is perfect for the role of a bubbly morning show anchor forced to work with his curmudgeonly Tom Brokaw-type. Topping it off is Rachel McAdams as the young producer trying to make their show work.
9. Somewhere (Dec. 22)
Sofia Coppola is back in Lost in Translation territory, following another melancholy Hollywood star (Stephen Dorff in the Bill Murray role) as he reunites with his daughter (Elle Fanning). Coppola is a remarkably gifted director whose films are light on plot and heavy on atmosphere. When she nails it, she really nails it.
10. Due Date (Nov. 5)
I had several candidates to round out the list, including Woody Allen’s You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger, George Clooney as The American, Emma Stone in Easy A and the Keira Knightley sci-fi period piece Never Let Me Go. But I can’t resist the prospect of Robert Downey Jr. and Zach Galifianakis on an awkward, antagonistic road trip.