Swimsuits have been put away. The weather is finally cooling off (well, a little bit). Kids are grumpily waking up at seven in the morning to get packed up and ready for class. Yes, it seems summer has run its course, and fall is upon us.
Most importantly, though, the arrival of fall brings a collection of new movies hoping to entertain audiences and be in the conversation for end of the year awards. Here are five highly anticipated movies that make waving goodbye to summer a lot less painful.
Writer/director Paul Thomas Anderson only makes a movie about once every five years, but when he does, it leaves an impact. His films are more like experiences, filled with unforgettable imagery and characters. With their long running times (only "Punch-Drunk Love" is under two hours) and often-strange moments, they can be a test for audiences. But they're always tests worth taking.
Five years after "There Will Be Blood," one of my favorite movies of all time, Anderson is finally returning to the screen with "The Master." The film follows a writer/philosopher who creates a cult-like religion that most definitely isn't Scientology. Controversy aside, "The Master" looks fascinating and it has brought together arguably Anderson's best cast so far, with Philip Seymour Hoffman, Joaquin Phoenix and Amy Adams in the lead roles. Combined with Anderson's typically mesmerizing images and Jonny Greenwood's uniquely hypnotic score, "The Master" has the potential to be the filmmaker's masterpiece.
Rian Johnson impressed a lot of people in 2005 with his debut feature, the high school detective noir "Brick." He impressed significantly fewer people with his sophomore effort, "The Brothers Bloom." If "Looper" is the writer/director's attempt at reconciliation, he seems to be on the right track.
The film follows a hit man (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) as he attempts to kill the future version of himself, who comes in the form of Bruce Willis. The plot, according to the trailers, seems to be an exciting combination of gangsters, time travel, future dystopias and some pretty sweet-looking action sequences. It could be wildly intricate and possibly confusing ("Brick" certainly was), but after a long summer of generic mindless blow-'em-ups, it'll be refreshing to see a movie that has some brains to go with its explosive booms.
Despite his past reputation as a massive superstar, Ben Affleck's career as a director has been comprised of very modest, but very effective, thrillers. "Gone Baby Gone" showed he could tell an emotionally complex story, and "The Town" flaunted his abilities with a larger cast, a larger budget and larger action. Now, Affleck has "Argo," a thriller that takes him out of his comfort zone of Boston and into the global universe of espionage. The film hasn't been insanely hyped, but the cast (featuring Bryan Cranston and "Friday Night Lights"' Kyle Chandler) is beyond solid, and the early festival buzz is full of praise. If the chatter is accurate (we'll find out Oct. 12), Affleck might finally push the memories of "Gigli" and "Daredevil" out of audiences' minds.
It's hard to believe there was a time when making another Bond movie seemed completely unfeasible. MGM, the franchise's studio, was bankrupt, and after "Casino Royale" seemed to resurrect Bond, the far less intelligent "Quantum of Solace" killed much of the buzz surrounding the new, grittier take on the character.
The world's most famous secret agent has proven himself difficult to kill in the past, however, and he's proven it again with this November's "Skyfall." The cast looks terrific, especially Javier Bardem as 007's nemesis (Bardem already owns the honor of being one of cinema's greatest bad guys thanks to "No Country for Old Men"), and the visuals look vivid and exciting. Surprising, considering director Sam Mendes has never done a conventional action movie. He has, however, won an Oscar, so I suppose that merits a good deal of trust.
It's not very often that people are more excited for a Disney animated film than one by Pixar. However, now that "Brave" has come and gone from theaters with surprisingly subdued praise and clamor, the table is set for Disney's video game-themed "Wreck-It Ralph" to become the cream of the animated crop.
The film, set for release Nov. 2, follows a video game villain (voiced by John C. Reilly) tired of being the bad guy who goes on a quest through several game universes to find his true calling. "Wreck-It Ralph" might not have the emotional depth of Pixar, but with great animation, clever jokes and a surprisingly large number of cameos by beloved video game characters (Q-Bert, Pac-Man ghosts and Bowser, just to name a few), it has the potential to be rich in entertainment and nostalgia.
No Talkbacks for this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Matt Mueller
Published Sept. 17, 2014
In 2010, Mark Clements arrived in Milwaukee and, in his first act as artistic director, brought something to the Milwaukee Rep's main stage that oddly it had never seen in its impressive history: a musical. Several years later, Clements has made it a bit of a tradition to feature a musical in the Rep's main house schedule. 2014 is no different and the Powerhouse opens up with "The Color Purple."
Published Sept. 15, 2014
The title of The War on Drugs' latest album is "Lost in the Dream," fitting for a record - and a moment in time - that utterly enveloped front man Adam Granduciel. The band is now taking the final product on the road, including a stop at The Pabst Theater on Sunday, Sept. 21. Before then, Granduciel chatted with OnMilwaukee.com about becoming a real band on the road, the process behind the album and the inner battles that went into it.
Published Sept. 14, 2014
It's hard to imagine there was much clamoring for a sequel to "Dolphin Tale." The first film was a modest early fall success back in 2011, but even then, the story of Winter the dolphin was already fairly thin dramatic material, serving as little more than a nice pleasant aside. Still, somebody thought it was a good idea to head back to the well, and surprisingly - judging from "Dolphin Tale 2" - that person wasn't wrong.
Published Sept. 12, 2014
The Brewers are desperately trying to pull themselves out of a devastating tailspin. Even when they win, they seem to lose - as evidenced by last night's Giancarlo Stanton debacle. Sounds like a good time to get baseball's favorite canine Hank the Dog back in the spotlight!
Published Sept. 10, 2014
The country-tinged rock duo of Phil Leavitt and Joie Calio worked together for years in the band Dada. 7Horse, however, marks a fairly new project for the guys. And there are certainly worse things to put on an early band's resume than being associated with an Oscar-nominated Scorsese film. OnMilwaukee.com got a chance to chat with Leavitt about the band's origins, its Milwaukee connection and getting the rare Scorsese Stamp of Approval.
Published Sept. 9, 2014
For fans of the late '90s, names like the Sugar Ray, "TRL," Surge and Chris Gaines will sound very familiar (OK, maybe not that last one). For local music fans around in the era, another name might sound a little familiar: The Buzzhorn.
Published Sept. 8, 2014
The good news? As with every year, the lineup of movies are the Milwaukee Film Festival is overflowing with terrific options. The bad news? Unfortunately, save for some kind of planetary revolution halt, divine intervention or new time machine development, there are only so many hours in the day. So here are some picks for the film festival selections you should definitely make the time to see.
Published Sept. 5, 2014
After slowly teasing its complete lineup for the past several weeks, the 2014 Milwaukee Film Festival finally revealed the entire cinematic buffet it's assembled for film fans - both hardcore and casual - this morning. And my friends, it looks absolutely delicious.
Published Sept. 4, 2014
Driving down Grange Avenue around the border of Hales Corners and Greendale, the two towns look like typical pleasant suburbs, with assorted shops, strip malls, small businesses and parks mixed in between the cozy subdivisions and homes. And then you come across Trimborn Farm, a seven-and-a-half-acre time machine back to the 1800s, providing a glimpse at the history of the two towns and the city of Milwaukee.
Published Sept. 3, 2014
The main draw of the Milwaukee Film Festival is right there in the title: the films. But every year, just off to the side of the main event, Milwaukee Film also wrangles together some really awesome people from the world of cinema, hands them a stage and pays fitting tribute to them. This year's lineup is no less spectacular, bringing in a diverse group of accomplished people in the business to share their film expertise and their love of movies.