Monday, December 5, 2011

Movie Wish List

The Descendants Cast

      Right now, there are three movies we really want to see.  The first is Alexander Payne’s The Descendants.  Yep, he’s been compared to just about every serious and seriously funny director in American film history and some comparisons (Owen Gleiberman’s shout out to Preston Sturges, especially) make sense.  Actually, Payne’s intelligence and sense of ambiguity remind me of Paul Mazursky’s work because both of them find the humanity in all of their characters even as they might behave appallingly.  Mazurksy had a great run of films from Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice through Down and Out in Beverly Hills.  He tripped artistically and then commercially and he hasn’t directed a
major movie in about twenty years.  Payne isn’t exactly a commercial director, partly because his over-riding theme is the terror and revelation of middle age, but he’s realized his artistic ambitions impeccably.  All of his films have worked so far and his six-minute section of Paris, je t’aime starring a wondrous Margo Martindale is as deep and poignant as a Chekhov short story.  Here’s hoping George Clooney provides some box-office sizzle to the mix and gets the chance to deliver a performance on the level of Reese Witherspoon and Matthew Broderick in Election, Jack Nicholson and Kathy Bates in About Schmidt, and the entire cast of Sideways.

Meryl Streep as Magaret Thatcher
      Meryl Streep nailed Julia Child a couple of years ago.  What will our generation’s Olivier make of Margaret Thatcher in Iron Lady?  Who knows, but I can’t wait to see.  

Michelle Williams
as Marilyn Monroe 

Michelle Williams is already on screen in My Week with Marilyn and, yet again, she disappears into this role and I can tell that from ten-second previews.  Williams is so eloquent and grounded as a person – her interviews are always witty and moving.  Like Marilyn, I want to protect her.  However, with Marilyn it was about her vulnerability and magic; with Michelle, it’s about her intelligence and humanity.

      It’s hard to suggest movies that haven’t been seen, and especially difficult to recommend films when everyone responds to them differently.  How many times has a movie been highly touted to only be a big disappointment?  With that in mind, here are some other movies that have had a bit of buzz about them.  A few are already playing, while others will be released throughout the holiday season.  Here are our picks, with a couple added in that would not necessarily appeal to us but you might find entertaining.

The Artist
The Muppets Movie
J. Edgar
Young Adult
We Bought a Zoo
War Horse
The Adventures of Tintin
The Girl With a Dragon Tattoo
In the Land of Blood and Honey
Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows
Albert Nobbs
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
We Need to Talk About Kevin

I'm still waiting for the guys to take me to see Puss In Boots!

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