Most Anticipated Movies of 2020

As with all of my posts, and perhaps all posts in general written by people afraid of being held to their word, we will begin with a short disclosure.

Movies that are given release dates tend to be bigger budget studio films, i.e. the films I’m generally less interested in.  Many of the films that were on my 2019 most anticipated list I never even bothered watching (Looking at The Curse of La Llorona) and many of my big loves were films I had no knowledge of at this time last year.

But there’s something like 30+ films that have already caught my eye, so I figured out list them out and give quick descriptions, probably stolen from IMDb.  And at the same time I’ll add them to my private ‘to watch’ list (it’s 40+ pages and you will never see it).

  • The Invisible Man: When Cecilia’s abusive ex takes his own life and leaves her his fortune, she suspects his death was a hoax. As a series of coincidences turn lethal, Cecilia works to prove that she is being hunted by someone nobody can see.
    Oh look, an adaptation of the only HG Wells story I give a damn about. The director (Leigh Whannell) also did Upgrade, so that’s a big plus. As is Elisabeth Moss.
  • A Quiet Place II: Following the events at home, the Abbott family now face the terrors of the outside world. Forced to venture into the unknown, they realize the creatures that hunt by sound are not the only threats lurking beyond the sand path.
    I liked the first one, it’s that simple.
  • No Time To Die: James Bond has left active service. His peace is short-lived when Felix Leiter, an old friend from the CIA, turns up asking for help, leading Bond onto the trail of a mysterious villain armed with dangerous new technology.
    If the ‘one good, one bad’ pattern continues, this will be a good Bond. Also always here for Ana de Armas, Lea Seydoux, and Rami Malek.
  • Antlers: A small-town Oregon teacher and her brother, the local sheriff, become entwined with a young student harboring a dangerous secret with frightening consequences
    Based on the trailer my guess is that his Dad is a wendigo.
  • Antebellum: Successful author Veronica finds herself trapped in a horrifying reality and must uncover the mind-bending mystery before it’s too late.
    She would appear to have been time swapped to a slave plantation, which is no place for anyone, let alone Janelle Monae.
  • Soul: A musician who has lost his passion for music is transported out of his body and must find his way back with the help of an infant soul learning about herself.
    Looks much more interesting than Onward, in terms of Pixar offerings, tbh.
  • Saint Maud: Follows a pious nurse who becomes dangerously obsessed with saving the soul of her dying patient.
    I love movies about dangerously obsessed people. Also: focus on women, directed by a woman!
  • Candyman: A “spiritual sequel” to the 1992 horror film ‘Candyman’ that returns to the now-gentrified Chicago neighborhood where the legend began.
    I’ve never seen the original, but I’m excited for this- not least because there are a lot of great names attached to it including Nia DaCosta, Jordan Peele, and Yahya Abdul-Mateen.
  • Tenet: An action epic revolving around international espionage, time travel, and evolution. Possibly about a man trying to prevent World War 3 through time travel and rebirth.
    Nolan with an exciting story and packed cast. Come on.
  • Last Night in Soho: A young girl, passionate about fashion design, is mysteriously able to enter the 1960s where she encounters her idol, a dazzling wannabe singer. But 1960s London is not what it seems, and time seems to fall apart with shady consequences.
    Edgar Wright is finally back post- Baby Driver, with Thomasin McKenzie (Jojo Rabbit) and Anya Taylor-Joy (Thoroughbreds, The Witch).
  • The French Dispatch: A love letter to journalists set in an outpost of an American newspaper in a fictional 20th-century French city that brings to life a collection of stories published in “The French Dispatch” magazine.
    Isle of Dogs really pissed me off so I’d like a good Wes Anderson.
  • Benedetta: A 17th-century nun in Italy suffers from disturbing religious and erotic visions. She is assisted by a companion, and the relationship between the two women develops into a romantic love affair.
    Oh look, a psychologically twisted costume/period drama with lesbian overtones. I am predictable.
  • The Lodge: A soon-to-be stepmom is snowed in with her fiancé’s two children at a remote holiday village. Just as relations begin to thaw between the trio, some strange and frightening events take place.
    Similarly, I am also a sucker for strange and frightening events.
  • Promising Young Woman: A young woman, traumatized by a tragic event in her past, seeks out vengeance against those who cross her path.
    Based on the trailer it looks like she tricks men into thinking they will get to have sex with her extremely inebriated self and then wreaks bloody vengeance. Cathartic. I hope Carey Mulligan doesn’t kill Bo Burnham.
  • Nightmare Alley: A corrupt con-man teams up with a psychiatrist to trick people into giving them money.
    I can’t remember if I’ve seen the original 1947 film noir, but regardless I am here for Guillermo del Toro and Cate Blanchett.
  • Undine: Undine works as a historian lecturing on Berlin’s urban development. But when the man she loves leaves her, the ancient myth catches up with her. Undine has to kill the man who betrays her and return to the water.
    I love the Undine myth and I would love to be able to turn into a seal. I get few opportunities to live vicariously as a seal. Plus the main actress and director have worked on other projects that I need to get to.
  • Deep Water: A well-to-do husband who allows his wife to have affairs in order to avoid a divorce becomes a prime suspect in the disappearance of her lovers.
    After Knives Out, I want to follow Ana de Armas’ work. Especially because this is based on a Patricia Highsmith (Strangers on a Train, The Talented Mr. Ripley, The Price of Salt) story.
  • The Last Duel: King Charles VI declares that Knight Jean de Carrouges settle his dispute with his squire by challenging him to a duel.
    Adam Driver, Ben Affleck, and Matt Damon in period French clothes having a duel? What?
  • Palm Springs: When carefree Nyles and reluctant maid of honor Sarah have a chance encounter at a Palm Springs wedding, things get complicated as they are unable to escape the venue, themselves, or each other.
    Someone already gave away the twist to this and I’m kind of pissed.
  • Mulan: A young Chinese maiden disguises herself as a male warrior in order to save her father. A live-action feature film based on Disney’s ‘Mulan.’
    I’m on the record as being vigorously anti-live-action-remake. But I’m vaguely interested in a Mulan that hews closer to the original legend and incorporates wuxia traditions. And Donnie Yen.
  • Mank: Follows screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz’s tumultuous development of Orson Welles’ iconic masterpiece Citizen Kane(1941).
    Probably Oscar bait, but could be quite good. I like film history.
  • I’m Thinking of Ending Things: An unexpected detour causes a woman who is trying to figure out how to break up with her boyfriend to rethink her life.
    It’s listed as a drama horror thriller and it’s starring Toni Collette and Jessie Buckley. Give it to me.
  • Annette: A stand-up comedian and his opera singer wife, have a 2 year old daughter with a surprising gift.
    A musical with Adam Driver and Marion Cotillard.
  • Rebecca: A young newlywed finds herself in living in the shadow of her wealthy husband’s previous wife.
    I’m interested to see how far this adaptation is from measuring up to Hitchcock’s.
  • Next Goal Wins: Adaptation of the 2014 British soccer documentary which follows Dutch coach Thomas Rongen who attempts the nearly impossible task of turning the American Samoa soccer team from perennial losers into winners.
    Taika Waititi, Elisabeth Moss, and Armie Hammer sounds good to me (especially because AH is in Rebecca and I feel bad).
  • Ammonite: 1840s England, an infamous fossil hunter and a young woman sent to convalesce by the sea develop an intense relationship, altering both of their lives forever.
    Saoirse Ronan, Kate Winslet, period drama with lesbian overtones.
  • The Hunt: Twelve strangers wake up in a clearing. They don’t know where they are, or how they got there. They don’t know they’ve been chosen – for a very specific purpose – The Hunt.
    Famously controversial film originally slated for 2019. Google it.
  • Da 5 Bloods: A group of veterans from the Vietnam War return to the jungle to find their lost innocence.
    Chadwick Boseman and Spike Lee.
  • Into the Deep: A Swedish journalist disappears near Copenhagen and is discovered to have been brutally murdered by Danish inventor Peter Madsen aboard his homemade submarine.
    It’s not every day you get a Swedish submarine murder. Oh, and by the way, it’s a documentary.

The Trailer for Tim Burton’s Dumbo is Heresy

I feel like the internet at large has turned into a howling/stomping ground of enraged fans (or maybe it’s just what you run into once you start getting into following film news)- and I hate to be the one to add to that mess.  But I get so few chances to be an angry neckbeard (given that I’m pretty flush with estrogen) I figured that this was my moment.

That, and the fact that this trailer is blasphemous.

Why? You ask?

I’m no big fan of the original Dumbo. Actually, if you’ve read this blog for any period of time you might be aware that I can’t heard the song Baby Mine without sobbing.  And that’s not the only seen of the movie that drives me to tears.  Add to that the not-so-subtle racism with the jazzy crows and laborer roustabouts, and I can’t really say that the film is vindicated by excellent songs such as ‘Casey Junior’ (the train song), ‘Song of the Roustabouts’ (kind of hardcore for the House of Mouse), and ‘Pink Elephants on Parade’ (in which Dumbo gets drunk and hallucinates). No lie, I like all these songs.

But this film promises to one-up (one-down?) my feelings about the original Dumbo with a response of disgusted and mildly enraged ennui.

  • Disney needs to stop making live action remakes. I haven’t liked any of them (maybe you have, if so, sorry) because they’re such bare-faced and obnoxious cash grabs that lose any sincerity of the originals in favor of extensive CGI and poor writing.
  • Where is TIMOTHY MOUSE?!
  • What the fuck is Colin Firth doing in here?
  • Why are these humans… sympathetic? The human world of Dumbo is supposed to be harsh and foreign.
  • Get rid of these simpering children.
  • What on earth is this 50 Shades of Grey-esque cover of Baby Mine?
  • This is a teaser trailer and it’s full trailer length.
  • Ugh, it looks so Tim Burton. The only thing that would make it more Tim Burton is Helena Bonham Carter and Johnny Depp.

Guys, I’m not going to go see it. I only made it through Beauty and the Beast because I was on a plane. I failed to make it through The Jungle Book and Cinderella. Haven’t seen Maleficent.

Not-So-Friday Links

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I’m mid-viewing of There Will Be Blood and mid-studying after a kind of abortive trip to Paris.  Never trust weather.com when it predicts no precipitation. Always bring your umbrella.  Because if you don’t it will rain in the morning and snow in the afternoon.

  • The top Welsh names in Wales.  There’s something intriguing about Welsh names- from the enigmatic (to me) spelling and pronunciation to the Lord of the Rings- vibes.  Not to mention names like Angharad and Gwilym- characters from one of my favorite films, How Green Was My Valley.
  • Speaking of movies- an enjoyably extra idea for creating memorable movie nights for the family- themed invitations and menus.
  • Remembering Hubert de Givenchy, a brilliant couturier and the designer most associated with Audrey Hepburn‘s rise as a sartorial star.
  • This movie looks insane-in-a-good-way. Also excited to see Lakeith Stanfield in another role post-Get Out.
  • I would watch a Jared Kushner musical.
  • A visually beautiful article about the production of roses for Chanel No. 5. Via my Mom. (Also, I’ve been to Pegomas just this year!)
  • Am I the only person who’s thought about what I want done with my body when I eventually and inevitably kick the bucket? This natural burial ground in Tennessee is actually closest to what I’ve imagined.  Except god forbid my final resting place be Tennessee.
  • Surprise surprise: A huge MIT study finds that fake news stories are much more likely to spread and go ‘viral’ than real news stories on Twitter. Kind of expected but no less scary for that.
  • Having never been married and having no children of my own, I can’t realistically vouch for any of this advice- but I do like it.
  • The mysteriously adorable allure of maternity overalls.
  • Are intimately subtle, barely there perfumes having a renaissance?
  • Taking down the single versus spoken for binary. “Does the idea that people have to “love” — or simply feel any specific way about being single — give the concept of romantic attachment too much power?”
  • This French food waste law is changing how grocery stores approach excess food.

Some Good French Films

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It’s been a weird weekend. And it’s only Saturday. Hopefully grocery shopping is uneventful tomorrow.  One minute you’re sitting on the train and the next you’re disembarking and for some reason your right hip isn’t letting you walk?
Weird stuff.
Pretty sure I’m too young for hip replacement.

SO I was talking to some friends yesterday and said I would send along a list of recommended French films. And SO I figured I would post it since it’s a list.

That said, full disclosure: I haven’t seen every French film ever so this is a superbly and spectacularly incomplete list.

Let’s Start with animated:

  • Ernest and Celestine: Bears and mice and based on a lovely children’s book series that I want to buy for my potential offspring.
  • Nocturna: Amazing world building. So much imagination. Cats.
  • The Boy with the Cuckoo Clock Heart: I walked in on dad playing music from this. He’s never seen it.
  • A Monster in Paris: There’s a giant bug and it’s a beautiful heartwarming story. Also beautiful music.

Also kid-focused but not animated:

  • Le Petit Nicolas: This is what being a child is like. But kind of more so.

I’ struggling with categorizing all the rest so I’m just going to throw them at you in one big lump:

  • Belle de Jour: Catherine Deneuve is bored and fantasizes about BDSM so she decides to be a prostitute. Also her name is Severine, which is an excellent name.
  • La Vie en Rose: Marion Cotillard is Edith Piaf and it’s as amazing as it sounds.
  • Les Trois Couleurs: Three movies which you can kind of trace from the Nouvelle Vague style. Loosely connected, all individually perfect as stand-alones. I think Blue was my favorite.
  • La Double Vie de Veronique: For some reason this hangs out with Les Trois Couleurs in my mind. Some lovely music.
  • Huit Femmes: A Christmas musical murder mystery with a who’s who cast of great French actresses.
  • Les Choristes: A teacher positively affects students lives through music. But it’s actually a good film.
  • Bonjour, Tristesse: The book is better but this is nice and light and summery. Still not a huge Jean Seberg fan.
  • The Intouchables: I always confuse this with The Untouchables, a film about taking down Al Capone. This is great too.
  • Elle: Isabelle Huppert is bae and this Oscar nominee (did it win? I don’t remember) from last year is fantastic.
  • Tous Les Matins du Monde: Music again. But also period drama stuff and sex.
  • La Pianiste: Isabelle Huppert being sexy again. But this time even more mentally off-kilter.
  • La Piscine: Romy Schneider and Jane Birkin and Alain Delon are all fabulously attractive people.  And the film is suitably sexy.
  • Les Enfants du Paradis: A long film that flew by. It’s actually a work of art and quite possibly one of the best films I watched last year. It is inspiring me to fall in love with a mime.
  • Eyes Without a Face: French New Wave does Hitchcock. I am obviously a fan.
  • Diabolique: More Hitchcockian stuff. A wife and mistress conspire to kill the guy. Then come strange events.

Weird stuff that I’m not sure I can recommend:

  • Last Year at Marienbad: I will never forget the word ‘couloir’.
  • Triplets of Belleville: What…?

New to Me: Best Movies Watched in 2017

Most of my movie watching is not new releases, so much as catching up on films that were once new releases but haven’t been from somewhere between a year to a century.
And they’re none the worse for that.

To be eligible for this list, the film must be one of my favorites that I watched in 2017 but NOT released this year.

  • Shall We Dance (1937)
    I can’t say enough about this film- one of the most beautiful Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers vehicles that I’ve ever seen.  Highlights: Slap That Bass and Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off (roller-skates!)
  • Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014)
    I’ve already talked tons about Kingsman so I’ll keep this short. You’ll never think of Free Bird the same way again.
  • 3:10 to Yuma (1957)
    While the more recent version is good (particularly for a modern remake, that most justly maligned of categories) it still doesn’t really hold a candle to the absolutely masterful original- the frustrating but heroic town drunk (completely cut from the modern version), Van Heflin’s scrappy portrayal of Dan Evans, and above all Glenn Ford’s suave outlaw Ben Wade. Plus the song.
  • Django Unchained (2012)
    Tarantino’s films are very hit or miss for me, but Django Unchained was very much a hit.  The cast is excellent, the plot is fun and exciting. Tarantino does his fun soundtrack thing.
  • The Piano Teacher/ La Pianiste (2001)
    This movie is beautifully repulsive. Basically a piano teacher (Heyyy Isabelle Huppert) conducts and affair with one of her students who believes that she is falling in love with him, essentially misreading the symptoms of her rapidly deteriorating sanity as signs of romantic obsession.
  • The Hurt Locker (2008)
    I had pretty much decided not to watch this because it looked a bit testosterone-heavy for me, but a confluence of circumstances led to me watching it and discovering that it is in fact a thoughtful and well-paced film with interesting characters and developments.
  • La Piscine/ The Swimming Pool (1969)
    Alain Delon is beautiful. So is Romy Schneider. So is Jane Birkin. So is summer.
  • Les Enfants du Paradis/ Children of Paradise (1945)
    This film had me absolutely spellbound for all 3+ hours of runtime.  A theater mime is in love with a courtesan who is also beloved by three other, very different men- a pretentious actor, a conniving thief, and a rich count.
  • Contracorriente/ Undertow (2009)
    Contracorriente is my most recent addition to this list, having just watched it I think the day before yesterday. It’s a surreal and poignant ghost story in which a married fisherman has to find a way to reconcile two aspects of his life: his more conventional family life with his pregnant wife and his devotion to his male lover, a painter and town outcast.

Here’s to another year of good films!

Links not Words

Look at me doing two posts two days in a row like I don’t currently have 134 raw materials to study and an illness to recover from! 😀

No excuses, I have reaped enough links from the inter webs now to share them and I’m missing sharing my thoughts more often, so I’m going to work on making time for this blog/diary/list compendium more of a priority.
For the children, you know.

  • Pixar’s released a TEASER TRAILER FOR INCREDIBLES 2! I’ve been waiting so long. And I am so ready for destructive apocalyptic Jack Jack and stay-at-home Mr. Incredible. (And Edna Mode. Please, Edna Mode).
  • One of my favorite makeup artists (Violette, check out her youtube channel) has released a trio of lip colors with Estee Lauder. I’m sorely tempted.
  • A scholarly discussion of Rankin & Bass Christmas specials; the good, the bad, and the ugly. Finally convinced me to finally watch Jack Frost, which I had somehow missed during all of my childhood ABC Family’s 25 Days of Christmas. Here are some highlights.
  • A program to help you find the word that’s just on the tip of your tongue.
  • Guys, there’s a new horse movie coming out, Lean on Pete.
  • The American Film Institute has released their list of top 10 films of 2017. It’s a pretty good list. I’ve seen 4/10 so far, time to get cracking.
  • Yale’s released a new admissions video, “That’s Why I Toured Yale”, replacing cult icon “That’s Why I Chose Yale”. The weirdest thing? I recognize people in the video. (I see you at 9:26-9:33, ballroom team!)
  • NPR’s guide to the best books of 2017. Be right back, adding about 20 to my list. have you read any?
  • New York Times film critics on the best movie performances of 2017. So much agreement and so much anticipation for films I haven’t seen yet (like Ladybird, The Shape of Water, and Call Me By Your Name).
  • The magic of big cities, an illustration.

Two seconds with Russell Crowe

I watched the remake of 3:10 to Yuma last weekend and really enjoyed it much more than I was expecting to (insert horrible pun about eating crow/Crowe here).  And it made me realize that Russell Crowe is actually a pretty good actor? And one that I kind of enjoy watching?

So I took a trip through his IMDb page to take a quick account of the films he’s done, what I’ve seen, and my final plus/minus sheet.

Watched and enjoyed:

  • 3:10 to Yuma: Don’t get me wrong, this film is NOT as good as the original. And they change the ending.  But it’s a good film, a good modern Western (and there are so few) (GUYS I CAN’T WAIT TO SEE HOSTILES), and the fact that he plays outlaw Ben Wade with a capability even approaching that of the legendary Glenn Ford… good on you Russ.
  • A Beautiful Mind: Math O.O
  • Gladiator: “ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?!” Reader, I was.
  • LA Confidential: Yep, sure.

Watched and didn’t enjoy so much:

  • The Nice Guys: Like LA Confidential, but irritating and worse.
  • Les Miserables: Les Miserables is a great book. Les Miserables is a great film (1998, Liam Neeson, Geoffrey Rush). Les Miserables is a great musical. Les Miserables should not be a book turned into a musical turned into a film. It’s not sustainable. Hefty and overdone, tbh.
  • The Insider: This was too ‘manly’ for me, honestly. Kind of like Se7en. That should be a separate list. I need to think about what it means to me when I call a film ‘too manly’. Because that’s not a helpful description, but maybe you get me?