You may have noticed that most of the movies this past summer were not quite…up to par. Out of all the films that that Tor.com reviewed, I think the only one that I personally want to see again is Iron Man 3, and the only one that I truly loved was Upstream Color.
I think most of us found this summer’s movies forgettable (I had actually forgotten that After Earth happened until we did our summer movie wrap-up.) or exhausting—there was no reason for Lone Ranger and Pacific Rim to reach Terence Malick proportions—or, in the case of Man of Steel, actively enraging.
As the temperatures drop and my Facebook feed fills with enthusiastic football fans I turn, with hope and trepidation, to the fall movie season. Please, fall. Please have some decent movies in you? Or maybe even better than decent? Is that so much to ask? I promise to ingest nothing but pumpkin spice beverages for the next three months if you give me some good movies, okay?
Gravity, October 4
Okay, fall, you’re coming out of the gate strong. I have heard nothing but great things about Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity, and I’ve kept myself almost totally ignorant about what happens in the film. I’ve just seen the one (amazing) trailer. I am so so so excited about this one. I already have a ticket to see it in IMAX 3D, which is something I never do, and I will be posting a review on this very site tomorrow. I’m hoping that this is an intelligent, character-driven space movie, where people use their brainmeats to solve problems and stay alive in the void of space.
Carrie, October 18
A reimagining of the classic horror tale about Carrie White, a shy girl taunted by her peers and tormented by her deeply religious mother. There is a lot of thematic blood, some knives, and a fairly unsuccessful prom. I am not a fan of remakes (unless the new team comes up with an interesting spin, or a modernization that actually works) and my worry here is that they’re going to drench this sucker in so much blood that it loses all meaning. Buuuut, Chloe Grace Moretz is cool, and Julianne Moore is one of my favorite actors, and there’s Judy Greer! So if everything goes to hell I can just close my eyes and pretend all of her lines are being said by Cheryl Tunt.
Ender’s Game, November 1
From the trailers it looks like Asa Butterfield has the perfect mix of well-meaning innocence and sociopathy for Ender, which I think is the most important element of the film. If we’re not able to get into Ender’s head the whole movie will collapse around him. Plus, Harrison Ford looks like he’s going to reach new heights of gruffness! Pissed-off Harrison Ford is one of my favorites, right after snarky Han Solo Ford and comically baffled Indiana Jones Ford.
Thor: The Dark World, November 8
Now that I know they’ve added more Hiddleston, I’m even more excited, but I was already looking forward to seeing Jane fulfill the fish-out-of-water trope by visiting Asgard. I kind of want them to dwell on that? Like, maybe an awkward family dinner with Odin and Frigga, told from multiple viewpoints so that when Jane thinks of how Frigga sees her, she’s a tiny insignificant human in a touristy “I Heart Asgard” T-shirt, and then Tyr takes her upstairs to look at his old college track trophies…Okay, maybe don’t focus on that so much. But Christopher Eccleston as Malekith should be great, and I generally approve of dark and broody action films.
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, November 22
So, speaking of dark and broody action films… Jennifer Lawrence does such an amazing job as Katniss, showing how her District’s poverty has beaten her down, but also how resilient she is—I was really pleased with the way the first film didn’t sand her edges down. Most interesting, though, is how she shows Katniss’ willingness to play along with the unwritten popularity contest part of the Games. I can’t wait to see how they deal with the social repercussions of her performance, and, obviously, the relationships between Katniss, Peeta, and Gale.
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, December 13
I was disappointed by the first one. I disagree with the decision to split the book into three films. I found the mix of slapstick and sudden portentious somberpants monologues really frustrating. I have no interest in Azog the Defiler.
Having said all that, that scene of Bilbo in the tree, laughing at the butterflies, has already made me love this movie. I mean, look at that. If the whole movie was two hours of him in that tree, giggling madly, this would be my favorite film of all time. And Benedict Cumberbatch’s Smaug can only make me love it more. Dammit.
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, December 25
Does Christmas Day still count as fall? Well, whatever, I’ve been onboard with this film since I saw the first trailer. Since I liked the original Danny Kaye film, I shuddered when I heard Ben Stiller was remaking it, as I am a stalwart opponent of the reboot fever that’s swept Hollywod over the last decade. But I’m also an unrepentant sucker for the reign of the Anderson/Jonze/Gondry school of whimsicality, so the minute that Icelandic pop song kicked in, I was willing to follow Stiller on any journey of unlikely redemption and against-all-odds love of his choosing.
So…the fall movie line-up looks way more substantial than this summer’s did, but obviously the jury is still out until we actually see the films. What do you think? Are all the really interesting high profile movies from this year hiding out in the next couple months?