Friday, April 26, 2013

Looking Ahead (brief thoughts and trailer round-up)

Just a quick note to convey my brimming enthusiasm and optimism about movies this year, even as we are headed into summer blockbuster season, a time that often has disadvantages for strong, well written films. This years crop looks outstanding.

The year 2013 is shaping up to be quite a fine one for film. Already I've seen an ambitious and epic indie in "The Place Beyond the Pines" and a genuine brain-teaser from Shane Carruth (of "Primer") in "Upstream Color," which I feel remarkably unqualified to write about (Mr. Overstreet, a critic I greatly respect, appears to have liked it more unequivocally than I did). Like "Primer," I understood on first viewing only the broadest brushstrokes of plot and emotion. (Let me put it this way: Pigs and bugs and sound effects and mind control are involved.) I'm not even sure I can say whether I liked it or not. Perhaps, like with "Primer," I'll be more clear on such basic things if I see it again. And this weekend sees the limited release of another indie that looks promising to me: "Mud," from Jeff Nichols, director of the wonderful "Take Shelter" and "Shotgun Stories."

I've also watched a big and bold, but also intelligent and beautiful sci-fi picture, "Oblivion," which I'll touch on briefly here. (I might write a full review eventually, but certainly not before I see it again.) It stars Tom Cruise, who despite being an actor I'm not particularly drawn to, has undeniably been on a roll with this and the spectacular "Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol" last year. It also is the rare modern science fiction movie that throws in interesting ideas and real emotions along with its superb visuals and high-flying chase scenes. And it has an honest-to-goodness real live third act, one which is not given away by the trailer. I walked in thinking I had the movie basically figured out, and was pleasantly surprised to discover otherwise. Also in the sci-fi department, we will soon have the newest J.J. Abrams "Star Trek" film, the interesting casting of which I wrote about here.

There's also been a new Terrence Malick film released, less than two years after "Tree of Life," which is really something considering Malick has been known to on occasion go twenty years between movies. I've yet to see Malick's "To the Wonder," so I clearly can't recommend it point blank, but on the strength of "Tree of Life" and "Days of Heaven," I'm certainly interested.

Joss Whedon will be revealing his take on Shakespeare, filmed entirely in and around his own house with handpicked actors who will be familiar to those familiar with Whedon's past work. Whedon and Shakespeare seem like a splendid match, so their "Much Ado About Nothing" could be one to keep an eye on.

We'll also be getting what looks to be a fantastic summer (and fall) full of superhero movies:

-"Iron Man 3"

-"Man of Steel"


-"Thor: The Dark World"

Also, this Christmas season we will get the second part of Peter Jackson's lengthy adaptation of The Hobbit, for which there is no trailer yet.

You'll notice quite the array of different types of movies here. It is a good time to be a movie lover. I for one am incredibly, perhaps unreasonably, excited.

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