It’s that time of year again. We have left the summer blockbuster season behind us, thank god, and we are slogging our way through September and October, which actually hasn’t been that bad so far (knock on wood). There is about to be a serious uptick in the quality of film in the coming months. There are quite a few movies I am very excited for, but I want to discuss a few upcoming films that I don’t think are as high on most people’s radars.
Jackie Chan seems to be breaking out of his usually comedic performances with The Foreigner. This film stars Chan as a quiet man who loses his daughter in a terrorist attack. He attempts to find out who the killer is by asking a ranking government official, played by Pierce Brosnan. The trailers imply that Brosnan is hiding something about the attack, and Chan will stop at nothing to avenge his daughter’s murder. The Foreigner stands out from the other generic old-guy action movie for two reasons. First, Chan is an incredible martial artist. In movies like the Taken trilogy, the main actor has little martial arts experience and must either use stunt doubles for fight scenes or the movie must cut the fight scenes into oblivion. The second reason is that Martin Campbell is directing the film. He is the mind behind Casino Royale, Goldeneye, and The Mask of Zorro. While he was also the director of Green Lantern, the man clearly has talent. If he decides to bring it with The Foreigner, viewers could be in for a great serious action movie.
The newest movie from my favorite studio, A24 Films (Get Out, The Lobster, Moonlight) is The Killing of a Sacred Deer. The film stars Colin Farrell (The Lobster) and Nicole Kidman (unfortunately not The Lobster). From what I can glean from the trailer, Farrell plays a surgeon that makes a no-win decision regarding the life of a teenage boy’s father. When Farrell’s family takes the boy under their wing, he begins to act in a sinister way, tormenting his wife and daughters. A24 seems to have a knack for picking movies that can be classified as horror or are horrific in parts, but that are very well-done (It Comes At Night, Good Time, Ex Machina) and The Killing of a Sacred Deer is no different. It is also directed by Yorgos Lantimos (guess what … The Lobster) who has a good track record with these art-house films.
The Academy loves biopics. There’s at least one Best Picture finalist every year that is based on someone’s life story or on true events. This year, the upcoming biopic I am most excited for is All the Money in the World. This is based on the kidnapping of J. Paul Getty’s grandson. Getty was, at one point, literally the richest private person in the world. When his grandson was kidnapped and held for ransom, the captors asked for $17 million (in 1970s money). When Getty was questioned by a reporter as to how much he would pay to get his grandson back, he replied “Nothing.” What makes this movie stand out further is the casting. Michelle Williams plays the kidnapped grandson’s mother, Mark Wahlberg plays the agent tasked with finding the captors, and most importantly, J. Paul Getty is played by Kevin Spacey. Spacey has already proved his ability to climb into a historical figure with Elvis & Nixon and—he is almost unrecognizable as Getty.
To round out the genres on display here, Downsizing is a sci-fi comedy coming out in December. The film stars Matt Damon in a world in which overcrowding has become a real problem. To solve this, people have to option to be shrunk down. The process is permanent, but there are a great deal of incentives to undergoing the process. The tiny houses and neighborhoods are extraordinarily nice and the money you have as a regular person goes much further as a tiny person. The film looks like a funny look at a really interesting sci-fi concept. Damon definitely has the acting chops for comedy and science fiction (The Martian). Downsizing is also directed by Alexander Payne, who directed great films like Sideways, Election, and Nebraska.
Oscar season is my favorite movie season of the year, mostly because the quality of movies increases, but also because there is a lot more risk and experimentation with the concepts and actualization of these films. Oscar season is the time when films like Arrival, Moonlight, La La Land, and Birdman can come out and be appreciated by those who see them. The problem lies in their visibility. Typically, people go to the movies less often now, and are less willing to experiment with their movie choices because summer is over and most people below the age of 20 are going back to school. Summer also contains movies that are much “safer” to go see. Superhero movies, big-budget comedies, and action romps are pretty straightforward, so those who go to see them know what they are getting into. Meanwhile, I look forward to practically every movie that comes out because I just like movies, but these four are films that I am actually excited to see. I’ll be at Regal Fenway on opening night with my Coke slurpee and small popcorn.
Featured Image by A24 Films