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 July 5, 2015
It shouldn't have come as a surprise to see the Marcus Amphitheater a maybe generous 50 percent full - albeit an extremely enthusiastic and appreciative 50 percent - on Saturday night for The Avett Brothers. But while the bluegrass folk rock band had apparent problems filling the venue with fans, the band had no problem whatsoever completely filling the venue with strong, soulful music on the Fourth of July.
Published July 3, 2015
In fact, other than some busy confetti cannons - and I mean very busy - OK Go's 90-minute set pushed aside any sign of the viral video prop-heavy gimmickry the band is most famous for and instead relied on its power pop rock music and some charming banter to click with the Summerfest crowd. And, as it turns out, that was more than enough to deliver an awesome and entertaining evening.
Published July 2, 2015
Barely two years after his first show in 2013, WebsterX is now living his dream world he created of being a rap star. The 22-year-old rapper has risen to become one of the Milwaukee music scene's biggest stars, grabbing local and national headlines and, most recently, opening for global superstar Lupe Fiasco at the Miller Lite Oasis on Friday, July 3 at 8 p.m.
Published July 2, 2015
During his Amphitheater performance Wednesday night, Kendrick Lamar noted the last time he was here, "the energy was so motherf*ckin' loud," and if that was a 10, he wanted this show to hit a 12. Well, it certainly felt like a 12, with the packed crowd bobbing their heads, swaying their arms and just generally going crazy for every verse. And even though it barely lasted 60 minutes, Lamar's vigorous fireball of a set gave them plenty to go crazy about.
Published July 1, 2015
I'll admit it; before Tuesday night's Marcus Amphitheater show started up, one of those people was me. I wondered why a band, whose last seemingly notable moments came at the service of three-fourths of Michael Bay's "Transformers" franchise, was a Big Gig Amp headliner. Well, one large serving of crow, please, cooked medium rare.
Published June 30, 2015
Most bands desperately hope that their music videos will go viral. For pop rockers OK Go, at this point, it's almost expected. With a Summerfest headliner set scheduled for the Uline Warehouse on Thursday, July 2, I chatted with bassist/vocalist Tim Nordwind about the band's stories behind some of their viral sensations.
Published June 30, 2015
After traveling the globe in support of its star-making self-titled debut album, PHOX's tour is bringing the band right back to where its journey started in the first place: Wisconsin. Before it heads home to Baraboo, the band is dropping by its "home away from home" of Milwaukee to play Summerfest, opening for Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros on Thursday, July 2. Before then, we talked to Matt Holmen about his own fond Big Gig memories.
Published June 29, 2015
According to, well, herself, DJ Paris Hilton is one of the top paid DJs currently working. Unfortunately, much like the "Transformers" movies, her Summerfest set was one of those situations where the amount of the money involved was inversely proportionate to the amount of skill on display. Also like the "Transformers" films, it was loud, clunky, sporadically dull despite all of the noise, unnecessarily lengthy and, by the end, left me in a little bit of pain.
Published June 28, 2015
If you've seen Disney/Pixar's latest animated hit "Inside Out," there's a good chance a certain song has been rattling around in your mind ever since. No, not that TripleDent gum jingle, but the chorus to "Lava," the brief and beautifully rendered short about a volcanic island looking for love. While the short takes plenty of inspiration from Hawaii, as it turns out, Murphy's journey to get there made a stop right here in Milwaukee.
Published June 28, 2015
As clearly proved Saturday night at the U.S. Cellular Connection Stage, "Shut Up And Dance" pop rockers Walk The Moon can now draw a packed house. The only question: Would they put on a show worthy of the face painted mob they gathered? Most certainly.