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Post by Admin on Sun Sep 04, 2011 4:46 am

http://moviebuffs.livejournal.com/3344537.html

fabfunk ([info]fabfunk) wrote in [info]moviebuffs,
@ 2011-08-30 00:28:00

My 100 Most Anticipated Movies For 2012 - 20-1
20. THREE MISSISSIPPI
Who’s In It: Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg, Rob Riggle, Jeremy Renner
What’s It About: Two men from rival towns host a winner-take-all tackle football game.
Opinion: I’m going to say a little more about this later, but I think Adam McKay, right now, is our greatest comedy director. I think his four films so far - “Anchorman,” “Talladega Nights,” “Step Brothers” and “The Other Guys” - have been quite perceptive paeans to American Exceptionalism, and this one, about a big-time feud between small-time guys using football, is another golden opportunity.
Fun Fact: McKay is also trying to adapt the Ferrell-less comic book “The Boys” from Garth Ennis, reportedly with Russell Crowe. I’m guessing funding on that one is pretty difficult to manage.

19. LIBERACE
Who’s In It: Matt Damon, Michael Douglas
What’s It About: The true story of Liberace’s younger lover, and the lengths both went to keep the affair under wraps.
Opinion: Honestly, it takes a lot to get me interested in Liberace. He was a
cheeky entertainer of a different era who somehow hid his homosexuality
through an extremely foppish stage persona? I had to research Liberace
extensively when I was younger. During my childhood, he was regarded as a
punchline (still is, I assume), and checking the archives, I can
totally see why. But then you’ve got this intriguing lead actor pairing,
matched with SODERBERGH, who has carried the torch for this project for
years now, and you have to think that this is going to be something
special, something unexpected.
Fun Fact: The “Date Movie” jerks were trying to use their cachet to make a straightforward Liberace biopic themselves. Their choice for the lead? Nicolas Cage!

18. ALPS

Who’s In It: I dunno? It’s all Greek to me.
What’s It About: A service provides people emotional stand-ins for the loved ones they‘ve recently lost.
Opinion: This is such a wonderfully bizarre premise, the idea of grief stand-ins, that it seems almost Charlie Kaufman-esque. And from Yorgos
Lanthimos, the perverse director of my favorite movie of 2010, “Dogtooth,” it’s
hard not to think I won’t spend this entire movie covering my mouth in shock and laughter. That movie is a total dirty bomb of sick
brilliance, and to think the director simply went right back to work (this is just beginning to make the festival circuit, I’m making a loose
assumption it won’t be a commercial release until next year) suggests a guy eager to push the envelope even farther than before.
Fun Fact: Not enough of you have seem the wickedly funny, sick “Dogtooth.” Seriously, see “Dogtooth.” You’ll never forget it.

17. SOUTHERN RIVALS
Who’s In It: Will Ferrell, Zack Galifianakis
What’s It About: Two very different men end up vying for the Presidency.
Opinion: What’s interesting is the combination of these two very specific comic
personalities. Both have comic personas that rely on a very specific
political understanding of their audience and material. Ferrell, of
course, is the more broad of the two, fashioning characters that are
often deluded, willfully dense and nonetheless aware of how to curry favor
with other dullards and create a cult of personality. No surprise
that he would gain so much traction from poking fun at President Bush, as
he’s made four movies with collaborator Adam McKay (sadly not
involved with this film) that specifically target the significance of the
American Dream and the essence of American Exceptionalism. Yes, I
think Ferrell/McKay is one of the great modern cinema collaborations. Then
you have someone like Galifianakis, who prides himself on a more
abstract politicism, fracturing the audience’s concept of a joke and punchline
through deconstruction. It’s a borderline cruel way to remind
people that they’re a cog in a system, an attention to conceptual aesthetics
that allows a sense of edge and lawlessness to pervade even
his most mundane Hollywood roles. Pairing these two together, both with a sense
of cultural criticism, and featuring them as characters running for the
country’s highest office, has the potential to be one of the richest and most revealing films of the year. Or, let’s face it, one of the worst, since neither of these guys is a guarantee of a good, or even watchable movie.
Fun Fact: Galifianakis’ Rolling Stone profile is incredible, and a must-read. It reveals, in immaculate detail, how he manages to piss off and
alienate a number of hugely famous celebrities that are, let’s face it, probably full of s$#!. Is it a huge surprise after seeing “Due Date”that apparently Galifianakis almost immediately started treating Downey with contempt after meeting him?

16. RED HOOK SUMMER
Who’s In It: Spike Lee, Heather Simms, Limary Agosto
What’s It About: A young man from Atlanta spends the summer in Red Hook, Brooklyn.
Opinion: Most of the details regarding the latest from Lee, one of the world’s
greatest filmmakers, remain under wraps. But it is encouraging to see
him damning the torpedoes after a few of his passion projects couldn’t
get funding, going ahead and shooting a no-budget cheapie in New York
City. The interesting wrinkle about the film is that Lee will be
reprising his role of Mookie from “Do The Right Thing.” When we last saw
him over two decades ago, he was fanning the fire at Sal’s Pizzeria. Who
has Mookie grown up to be? I wouldn’t count on this being some sort
of “Right Thing” sequel, since most of Lee’s movies have callbacks to his
earlier work, with many overlapping characters. But if he can
recapture a shred of the magic that made “Do The Right Thing” one of the great
American movies of the last three decades, this is sure to be an
exciting film.
Fun Fact: Among Lee‘s aborted projects are films about Joe Louis and James Brown, as well as a sequel to “Inside Man“ and a block party film called “Brooklyn Loves MJ.” But the one project that sounded most interesting was a true story about Ronald Mallett, an African
American scientist who saw his father die when he was eight and, since then, dedicated his entire life to exploring the physics of time travel
and, apparently, becoming the leading expert in the field.

15. THE AVENGERS

Who’s In It: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson, Samuel L. Jackson, Jeremy Renner, Tom
Hiddleston, Stellan Skarsgaard, Colbie Smulders
What’s It About: Loki, the Norse God of Mischief, procures the reality-altering Tesseract, leading government agency SHIELD to unite a
team of super powered metahumans to combat the threat.
Opinion: We still don’t know exactly what Loki plans to do with the Tesseract, which
he obtained at the very end of “Thor.” Some rumors have suggested he
uses it to gain mastery over the Nine Realms, pitting warring aliens the
Skrulls and the Kree against each other. Others have hinted that he
will summon the mad Titan Thanos, who seeks the end of all things with
the control over the Infinity Gauntlet, housed in the Norse treasury.
Whatever the case, most of the conflict in this film will likely emerge
from the characters. No doubt there will be some friction between
Captain America and Iron Man, given their clashing worldviews. And will
the prideful Thor take too kindly to not being as powerful as the Hulk?
What of ground-level field agents Hawkeye and the Black Widow, their
territory co-opted by costumed superheroes? I feel as if Marvel, in
their intense micromanaging combined with their need to keep bridging
gaps to future films creates a ceiling for how good these movies can be,
and while Joss Whedon’s a smart guy in the director’s chair, he’s never
handled something of this size before, so it’s probably not going to be
a feast for the eyes, exactly. But strip away all the superhero stuff
that happens to be catnip to someone like myself - how do you ignore a
movie with that cast?
Fun Fact: Marvel’s tagline for the trailer was “Some Assembly Required.” Which I think is a nice play on “Avengers Assemble” but also a bit of a disappointing reminder that, hey, these characters are toys.

14. JIM JARMUSCH’S VAMPIRES
(not the real title)
Who’s In It: Michael Fassbender, Mia Wasikowska, Tilda Swinton, John Hurt
What’s It About: Vampires… no official plot released.
Opinion: Nobody knows anything about this so far. And what would you need to
know? Jarmusch, The King Of Cool, claims he’s wanted to make a vampire
movie for a very long time, and it’s availability of this cast that’s
kept him away from it thus far. Might not even be horror-themed. But
with this cast, it’s sure to be sexy as HELL. Filming will be underway
soon in Germany, Morocco and Tangiers, giving this a pretty exotic vibe so far.
Fun Fact: With Fassbender and Wasikowska, consider this a “Jane Eyre” re-teaming. That was a superb movie, and they make a fetching couple, no?
13. PROMETHEUS
Who’s In It: Charlize Theron, Stringer Bell, Michael Fassbender, Dragon Tattoo Lady, Guy “I Deliver Every Time” Pearce, Lance Henriksen, Rafe Spall, Patrick Wilson, Ben Foster
What’s It About: The Weyland-Yutani Group discovers a distant alien race that has pioneered terraforming technology and send a search party into deep space with plans to steal it. But, um… XENOMORPHS.
Opinion: We’re in the “Alien” timeline here, but apparently this began life as a
script with only a tenuous connection to that mythology. Instead it’s
the story of human scientists in the deep future who have blurred the
line between discovery and outright theft, pillaging technology from, as
the title suggests, the gods. That’s a wonderfully exciting premise,
and I love the idea of Ridley Scott returning to the series he began,
since he really knew how to make the xenomorphs, genuinely, the scariest
f#%@#&! blood-sucking creatures in cinematic history. You have no idea
how many times I’ve been sitting alone in my apartment in the darkness,
wondering if I would hear that familiar clicking sound, only to see a
xenomorph emerge from the shadows, tail first, my butt hole clenching
like Zeus’ fist.
Fun Fact: Apparently they’re planning this to be the first of two movies, though the second movie chatter has been quieter as of late, especially with Scott attached to a billion other projects. Including “Monopoly.” Yes, MONOPOLY.

12. COGAN’S TRADE
Who’s In It: Brad Pittleston, ROCKWELL, Ray Liotta, ‘Lil Affleck, Richard
Jenkins, James Gandolfini, Garret Dillahunt, Scoot McNairy, Ben
Mendelsohn, Sam Shepard, Max Casella
What’s It About: A high stakes card game is broken up by a heist, drawing the attention of the mob’s number one enforcer.
Opinion:
That Pittster. Always picking interesting and exciting projects, even
if he is more Movie Star than Actor. When I say that, I mean that he is
an attentive, smart and committed actor, but he gets to the places he
needs to go (particularly his penetrating work in “The Tree Of Life”) in
spite of his natural limited range. Which is fine - good actors are not
created equal, but good acting is undeniable no matter where it comes
from. Keanu Reeves is a terrible actor, but he’s a generous and attentive
one, and while he has even less talent than Pitt, he is
similarly dedicated.
Anyway, I’m trying to say that, in addition to his dedication to his craft,
Pitt puts the stamp of quality on his work, and you shouldn’t expect
anything else from his second collaboration with the brilliant Andrew
Dominik. Dominik avoided Director Jail for the absolutely brilliant “The
Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford,” a film that
remained a colossal achievement even after Warner Bros. reportedly cut
the picture to shreds in the editing room. “Jesse James” deserved it’s
repeated mention on those many best-of-the-aught lists a couple of years
ago, but Dominik also brought us the funny, sickening “Chopper,” a
gritty true crime story about convicted murderer Mark Read, a picture
which I’m sure “Cogan’s Trade” will bear many similarities.
Fun Fact: Max Casella represent! Yes, I know, everyone is about Doogie Howser, but I was always a fan of Doogie’s wisecracking Italian friend Vinnie. So cool that he’s popping up over the last few years in this, and movies directed by George Clooney and Sam Mendes. Yo Vinnie!

11. COSMOPOLIS
Who’s In It: SPARKLY VAMPIRE, Juliet Binoche, Giamatti, Samantha Morton, Sarah Gadon, Mathieu Almaric
What’s It About: A multi-billionaire finance guru spends an afternoon
traveling through Manhattan by limo, looking for a proper barber while
cheating on his wife and avoiding death threats.
Opinion: I think it’s a little questionable that people don’t think David
Cronenberg isn’t working at the top of his game right now. I do love
that, after a brief flirtation with the big time (a Robert Ludlum
adaptation with Denzel Washington and Tom Cruise), he would follow the
sizzling biopic “A Dangerous Method” with this, a Don DeLillo story that
mostly takes place from inside a limousine. Given the source material, I
bet this lays on the kink pretty hardcore. RPatzz, Cronenberg is about to make you a star.
Fun Fact: Colin Farrell was originally supposed to play the lead. Though I
admit, I’m more curious to see someone like Pattinson in this. Not only
does he have something to prove as an actor, and not only does he get to
embrace his more perverse side, but I also like how,
with Cronenberg, nobody can lose, as he's made some of the stiffest actors of all time look interesting.
10. KILL BIN LADEN
Who’s In It: Joel Edgerton (possibly)
What’s It About: A worldwide search ends in Seal Team Six locating and chasing Osama Bin Laden.
Opinion:
Look, I’m a pretty humanist person. That being said, a little bit of
murder is unavoidable. It’s in our human nature to both create and
destroy.
So what we must do is come to terms with our own bloodlust, to find a
way to justify it while remaining above animals. Death does
something terrible to our spirits, to our loved ones, to us. But Osama Bin Laden
had to die. And, while more bloodshed doesn’t help the bottom
line (Al Queda is more than just one man), his death provided a huge
catharsis for our country, for those who sought some form of closure to
an ongoing war that had no visible end and an abstract goal.
I think director Kathryn Bigelow is smart enough to emphasize that the Bin Laden killing was only a metaphorical victory,
not worth celebrating as much as accepting. But aren’t we all hoping to see
the director of “Point Break” unleash a movie where a bunch of
badass soldiers storm the Bin Laden mansion set to Metallica’s “All Nightmare
Long” to pump some lead into the Most Wanted Man In The World? Super
capable soldiers going after the world’s worst boogeyman? Really, who
doesn’t want to see that?
Fun Fact: This was being developed long before Bin Laden was captured, so I wonder how extensively that original project was written and developed, from the pen of “Hurt Locker” writer Mark Boal.

9. HAYWIRE

Who’s In It: Gina Carano, Ewan McGregor, Bill Paxton, The Channing Of Tatum, Michael Fassbender, Antonio Banderas, Michael Douglas, Michael Angarano, Mathieu Kassovitz
What’s It About: A female black ops agent gets her burn notice and sets out to find her double-crossers. There’s kicking.
Opinion: It’s the first of potentially three Steven Soderbergh pictures in 2012,
which is just an embarrassment of riches. We’ve all been waiting on
this for a long time, hoping Soderbergh would be re-inventing the wheel.
But, in actuality, the trailer seemed to showcase a pretty
straightforward, gritty, low-fi actioner, the type no one makes anymore
because people are in love with CGI, or shaking the camera, or grooming
action stars from sitcoms and fashion magazines.
Here, an all-star cast is led by the sexy, beefy, ass-kicking Gina Carano, an MMA
combatant who not only is pretty goddamned gorgeous, but she also looks
like she could easily beat the s$#! out of any men in this movie. Can
she act? Let’s just put it this way: Soderbergh, for one hot minute,
made Jennifer Lopez into Hollywood’s most exciting leading lady thirteen
years ago.
Fun Fact: Soderbergh is working with screenwriter Lem Dobbs, whom he last collaborated with on “The Limey.” While “The Limey”
was, arguably, one of the all-time greatest movies of all-time ever in history, on the DVD commentary, Soderbergh and Dobbs constantly get
snippy with each other over just how much Soderbergh fractured and re-edited Dobbs’ script. Wonder how they got along this time.

8. LINCOLN
Who’s In It: Daniel Day Lewis, Sally Field, Joseph Gordon Levitt, Tommy Lee Jones, James Spader, John Hawkes,
David Straithairn, Tim Blake Nelson, Hal Holbrook, Walton Goggins, Lee Pace, Bruce McGill
What’s It About: The story of the nation’s sixteenth President, who, oddly enough, kills no vampires.
Opinion: There are very few actors who inspire that sort of “gotta see it” heat
that Daniel Day-Lewis does. The guy works so rarely, and
every time out, he’s a compelling, often scary, on-screen presence. He’s the
Michael Jordan of the screen right now, bobbing in and out of brief
retirements, showcasing a near-demented dedication to his craft. Seeing him as the
Great Emancipator is one of those perfect marriages of
character and actor that you fantasy cast constantly - it’s just too perfect.
Spielberg is behind the camera for this, and with Tony Kushner,
he’s been slowly developing this project for years now, so you wonder what
kind of scope this is going to have, but Spielberg has surely never
worked with a better actor. This could be special.
Fun Fact: Sally Field is playing Mary Todd, though she’s a good twenty years older than her character at the time of death. Mary Todd,
for the record, was considerably younger than her husband, though Field has more than a few years on Day-Lewis. Also, Field is such a ham.

7. MOONRISE KINGDOM

Who’s In It: Edward Norton, John Diehard, Owen Wilson, Harvey Keitel, Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton, Frances McDormand, Jason Schwartzman, Bob Balaban
What’s It About: Two children fall in love, putting a whole town in disarray. John Diehard!
Opinion: 2007 was a spectacular year at the movies. However, I remember during
that period of dark, darker and darkest films, I felt a
little rundown by the particulars of all these bleak movies, and took in a late
showing of “The Darjeeling Limited,” almost reluctantly,
considering how lukewarm I, and everyone else were, towards “The Life Aquatic With
Steve Zissou” (I’d like to think we’ve all changed with
time). And, suddenly, I remembered what made Anderson such a vital, exciting
filmmaker, that unapologetic sunshine bursting through the
clouds, that overwhelmed the mise-en-scene that riles up his detractors and
created a powerfully humanist reading of the perils and pratfalls of
being human. “Darjeeling” rescued me from a funk I didn’t even know I was in,
and “The Fantastic Mr. Fox” solidified him as one of my favorite
filmmakers, not merely the guy who essentially changed my life in 1998 with “Rushmore.” In short, I’m onboard no matter what Anderson does,but… this cast is also a massive thrill, isn’t it?
Fun Fact: People who talk s$#! about Wes Anderson in 2011 are assholes.

6. GRAVITY
Who’s In It: Sandra Bullock, George Clooney
What’s It About: A deep space mission goes horribly wrong, and the lone survivor has to make it back to Earth to see her young daughter.
Opinion: Really, it’s the backstage drama that’s been as fun as whatever the
movie will end up to be. Alfonso Cuaron (“Children Of Ma’ f@&#$%!’ Men”) has been laboring to get this big budget space thriller set up at
Warner Bros. for a few years now, but even with Robert Downey
Jr. long attached as the other major astronaut role, the studio wouldn’t
commit without a major name as the leading actress, since all studios
are gunshy about genre projects when a woman is the lead. Angelina Jolie
declined, then Natalie Portman turned it down and while a shortlist of
potential leading ladies was leaked, it really seems clear that the WB
simply kept offering it to Jolie repeatedly. My favorite story is that
Blake Lively not only seduced Ryan Reynolds on the “Green Lantern” set under
Scarlett Johansson’s nose, but also swiped the script from
Johansson’s personal stuff in order to sneakily score an audition. CATTY!
Cuaron’s pitch for this film involves a special effects-intensive approach that
would apparently revolutionize 3D. When the guy how made
“Children Of Men” talks about groundbreaking new 3D technology, I think it’s time to listen.
Fun Fact: Take a look at Sandra Bullock’s filmography. Is this really going to be her first watchable movie in a decade and a half? Jesus, Sandy.

5. DJANGO UNCHAINED
Who’s In It: Jamie Foxx, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kevin Costner, Samuel L. Jackson, Christoph Waltz, Kerry Washington
What’s It About: An escaped slave becomes a bounty hunter and attempts to track down his enslaved wife.
Opinion: The last few times Tarantino saddled up to make a movie, the script
leaked online. Each time, I downloaded it. Each time, I never
actually ended up giving it a read. The reason for this was kind of complicated,
but it boiled down to this: Tarantino speaks the language of cinema.
Even though he pens the scripts himself, to read a Tarantino script
would be to see how Einstein gardens - it has no bearing on his
greatest achievements. Cinema, do you speak it? He does.
Aside from that, there’s the compelling genre cross-pollination going on
here. Tarantino is making a spaghetti western, but he’s also working
with racism on a broader level, in a way that most filmmakers seem too shy
to pursue. This is exploitation, sure, and that’s one of the few
ways to actually understanding the black eye that was slavery on this
country. Wallow in it, present it as scummy and upsetting as it is, and
show how, in Tarantino’s preoccupation with the scars of revenge, it’s
merely part of a cycle of dehumanizing violence. This is never
overwhelmingly nihilistic or misanthropic because of the small moments, the brief
seconds, minutes even, of release in Tarantino pictures, the
brief periods where they breathe, surprise, and instill laughter. He’s working
at the top of his game, and this won’t change that one bit.
Fun Fact: My favorite theory that I had heard as to why Will Smith turned down this role is that it’s set up at The Weinstein Company, currently bankrolling “The Master,” which is being viewed as an anti-Scientology movie. And Smith isn’t cool with that because, secretly, he’s part of The Church. Fresh Prince, L. Ronning it up!

4. THE DARK KNIGHT RISES

Who’s In It: Batman, Commissioner Gordon, Alfred, Ra’s Al Ghul, Lucius Fox,
The Mayor!, Tom Hardy, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard, Anne
Hathaway, Juno Temple, Matthew Modine, Christopher Judge, Brett Cullen
What’s It About: Batman has to protect Gotham from the rise of the League of Shadows, now controlled by a murderous maniac addicted to a
strength-enhancing drug.
Opinion: And so we come full circle. How will Nolan combine the themes of “Batman Begins” with those of “The Dark
Knight”? By revisiting the culture of fear and institutionalized
corruption (first film) through the prism of freakshow escalation
villains (second). I remember being a Doubting Thomas about that second
film, only for Nolan and company to blow me away, so I am trying to curb
my pessimism towards theinclusion of nineties-centric villain BANE, a
musclebound genius with near-superhuman strength and size.
I still consider “The Dark Knight” one of the finer pictures of 2008 (an
admittedly weak year), and likely the best of all the superhero pictures
thus far. How will Nolan top this? With finality: the trailer promises
this will be the “conclusion” to this saga, a spectacular claim
considering how big this franchise can be for Warner Bros. Do things end
well for Batman? The original storyline that introduced Bane into the
Batman mythos involved him breaking Batman’s spine, and spirit, and
while it’s doubtful this will be a film that features Bruce Wayne
breaking, and healing, a broken back, there has to be some sort of
allusion to Bane being the final nail in the coffin for Batman’s thus-far ill-fated vigilante quest.
Fun Fact: And yet the WB are still discussing a team-up picture with Superman, not to mention a Justice League film. While the talk is that the Batman wouldn’t be Christian Bale, the actor is signed on for three Batman movies AS WELL as a team-up picture.

3. THE MASTER
Who’s In It: Philip Seymour Awesome, Amy Adams, Laura Dern, Joaquin Phoenix, Jesse Plemons, David Warshofsky
What’s It About: After World War II, a man in desperate need of faith decides to form his own religion and belief system and attracts a legion of acolytes.
Opinion: It’s interesting how the “official” synopsis for this film explicitly
mentioned the religion’s similarity to Scientology before being
drastically re-written and submitted to the press in dramatically more
vague terms. This is Paul Thomas Anderson’s highly-anticipated followup
to “There Will be Blood” and I’ll bet that while it will be a barbed
attack on religion as a whole (and probably onthe profiteering,
brainwashing elements of Scientology), it’s bound to be an even-handed
observation on the nature of faith. Anderson’s film feel theistic, from
the technical details of the excessive crane shots, to the consequences
of the morality of some of his characters - there’s even the suggestion
that, at the midpoint of “Blood,” Daniel Plainview isn’t necessarily
dismissive of Eli Sunday and his preachings, though of course that fades
with old age.That same illustration of the effect of good living over
faith is something that appeals to me with this film. I think there’s
reason to belief this movie takes place over the course of many years,
but what affect does that have on PSH’s character? Does he grow
disillusioned? Is he forced out of his own house of worship? Does he
eventually expose his own false-prophet status? Is he murdered, and does
he die a martyr’s death? I’d like to know where Anderson takes such a
ripe topic and story, particularly with Hoffman.
Fun Fact: This is one of several 2011 films that are at least partly the influence of billionaire Megan Ellison. Ms. Ellison is also responsible for the latest Charlie Kaufman film, a new “Terminator,” “The Wettest County In The World,” the latest from Wong Kar-Wai (already made, though she did buy the rights), “Kill Bin Laden,” “Cogan’s Trade” and our future child.

2. THE BURIAL

Who’s In It: Affleck, Rachel McAdams, Rachel Weisz, Jessica Chastain, Javier Bardem, Olga Kurylenko, Barry Pepper
What’s It About: A man tries to recover from the death of his girlfriend.
Opinion: It’s such a thrill that Terrence Malick should take twenty years off
from filmmaking between “Days Of Heaven” and “The Thin Red Line,” then
another seven between that and “The New World” and then BAM, two
straight, with this following the year’s best film, “The Tree Of Life.”
What’s recharged him? Who knows? The prickly perfectionist, who
re-invented his own cinematic vocabulary, is returning with a film about
grief and longing, a picture that wrapped early next year but may not
even be finished for 2012, given Malick’s propensity for tinkering in
the editing room. Affleck is the lead, but that’s pretty amorphous in a
Malick film, given that apparently word is this will be more abstract
than “The Tree Of Life” (OMG ART FILMS YUCKY!). With that one-two punch
of “The New World” and “The Tree of Life,” it’s easy to say no filmmaker
is working at Malick’s level right now.
Fun Fact: He’s also working on his IMAX companion piece to “The Tree Of Life,” a documentary called “Voyage Of Time” that utilizes the extensive nature footage found in “Tree.” There can never be enough Malick.

1. CHARLIE KAUFMAN AND SPIKE JONZE PROJECT / FRANK OR FRANCIS

Who’s In It: Joaquin Phoenix / Jack Black, Steve Carrel, Nicolas Cage, Kevin James
What’s It About: The Jonze/Kaufman project concerns an annual meeting held by the world’s movers and shakers to determine the next year’s biggest events, celebrations, successes and tragedies. The latter film details a brewing feud between a filmmaker and a spiteful blogger.
Opinion: It’s still early, so these may be relegated to 2013, which would MAKE ME THE ANGRIEST f#%@#&! PERSON IN THE WORLD. But the idea these films are actually happening puts a big ole potato in my pants. The first film, currently untitled, sounds positively “Strangelove”-ian, an exciting possibility in Kaufman’s hands. This will be the third collaboration between Jonze and Kaufman, and the first two produced “Being John Malkovich” and “Adaptation” so, hm, I think it’s entirely reasonable to expect a classic, don’t you?
“Frank Of Francis” was a script that was bouncing around for a few years before Our Lady Of Cinema Megan Ellison swooped down with financing, and it appears as if it will be Kaufman’s next directorial effort following the titanic, misunderstood “Synecdoche, NY.” And he’s got quite a cast linked to the material, though nothing is official - James might be the least likely to sign onto the project, since apparently he would be playing a slightly more pathetic version of himself.
Charlie Kaufman is a writer that changed my life. I was fifteen, and had no apparent grasp of the potential of cinema to embrace the absurd when I saw “Being John Malkovich.” I laughed, I cried a little, I marveled at the film, but, more importantly, it finally made me more aware of the role of screenwriter-as-architect of some of my favorite movies. Jonze has become an exciting voice in directing, but there’s no doubt the dominant voice in his first two films was Kaufman (confirmed by “Synecdoche,” written and directed by the Oscar-winner). With the exception of “Human Nature” (let down by a not-particularly-clever script and a weak cast), his films routinely rank as transformative experiences for me, helping me understand the connections between the artist and his art, and how it’s what separates us all from the animals, but only barely.
Fun Fact: This is the end of the list. Thanks to all one of you for reading!
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