Friday, November 21, 2008

The 5 Best-Looking Movies of the End of 2008

The year itself may be winding down, but there are still a handful of good-looking movies coming out before January 1, 2009. Here are my picks for the best-looking films that haven’t come out yet – so, in other words, they all still have the potential to turn out really well or really poorly. I’ve included the theatrical trailers for all of them so you can see for yourself whether they look interesting. Enjoy!

5. Revolutionary Road

Revolutionary Road reunites Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet for the first time since the highly overrated Titanic, but unlike that movie I think RR stands a chance at being a really good drama. Both Winslet and DiCaprio have grown significantly as actors since their last outing together, and having a story with real character drama rather than straight-up sappiness will hopefully help this movie to stand out.

4. Milk

Movies about people struggling for their rights are almost a dime a dozen these days, but Milk seems like it will rise above the crowd. By focusing on a different community than the ones we usually see in these types of movies, as well as by having an excellent cast, I think Milk is bound to make waves, win some awards, and hopefully, find itself a decent audience.

3. Defiance

Defiance was almost pushed back to 2009, but at the last minute the studio decided to put it on track for a December 31 release. I’m glad they did, because this movie looks great. Daniel Craig’s accent is perfect, and I don’t think I’ll have any problem buying into his character – unlike the protagonists in other WWII-themed movies coming out this year (read: Valkyrie). The film’s subject matter may be serious, but there is one thing I find rather funny about it: Craig has about as much dialogue in the trailer as he does in the entirety of Quantum of Solace.

2. The Wrestler

This movie has come seemingly out of nowhere and impressed a whole lot of people, myself included. A few days ago, who would have thought that Mickey Rourke, of all people, would be on the verge of staging a major career comeback? Whether or not you’re a fan of professional wrestling (I, for one, am not), this movie looks like it could be something truly great.

1. Gran Torino

I’ve posted this trailer before, but it’s so good that I think it bears watching again. It’s hard for me to pin down exactly what has me so fired up about this movie, but I think it has mostly to do with Clint Eastwood’s character, who is gruff and temperamental but somehow still seems endearing. There’s also something to be said for the fact that I haven’t seen Eastwood in a movie I’ve enjoyed in a really long time, and I’d like to see him in at least one more good role before he retires from filmmaking.

Well, those are my top five, but there are still other movies that look worthwhile as well. Honorable mentions for the list include Doubt, Last Chance Harvey, and Seven Pounds (click the titles to watch their respective trailers). So what movies are you looking forward to seeing before the year ends? Are they the movies in this list, or are there other ones you think will be worth your time and money?

Leave a comment below, and don’t forget to come back later this weekend, when I’ll have my picks for the worst-looking movies for the rest of this year!


Like A said...

While not an avid movie goer, I'll try to watch at least two of those. I'm boycotting Milk, Hollywood's newest condescending liberal love-fest BS. Watch it sweep the Oscars and even win some awards invented on the spot.

Marc said...

I doubt it. I see Milk getting nominated for Best Actor and Best Original Screenplay awards at the Oscars, and maybe Best Picture if some others end up being significant disappointments, but I don't think it will win any. The Academy proved it wasn't really as liberal as it pretends to be in 2005, when Brokeback Mountain lost for Best Picture despite being favored to win.

The reason I'm interested in Milk is because I don't think it will be the kind of movie you seem to think it will be. As I said in my post, movies about people fighting for their rights and/or against social injustice seem to be a dime a dozen these days, but there's enough talent involved in Milk that I think it could rise above the rest.

Anonymous said...

what's bs is conservatives wanting to deny the rights of any other human being.

what's a liberal love fest? being with the person you're attracted to and loving them? or marrying a woman, keeping her at home, and consistently impregnating her until she hits menopause?

what's condescending is comments like those posted above that seem to imply that "liberal people" are not only arrogant but also don't deserve to have a voice or do as they please.

if it sweeps the oscars, it's not because the "gays" have taken over. it's because people have been fed up with your conservative bs and have found elected something to win that actually deserves to win.

Anonymous said...

In response to the above post by Like A, the film does not seem to resemble anything of a "liberal love-fest", but rather appears to be a biopic of an individual who fought for human rights. It's not as if this film is about the first homosexual porn star. No, it's about a man who questioned the legality of firing people based upon sexual orientation. It is a perfectly legitimate subject for a biopic. Moreover, the film goes beyond political ideologies, insofar as no legitimate political stance advocates the denial of basic human rights, like the right to employment, to another human being based upon something which is outside of that individual's control. Even actions that an individual has taken are not cause enough to deny them the right of employment. And that is what this movie is about. It's about a man who became an elected official and challenged the legitimacy of denying people the right to work.

Andy said...

Ignoring the usual conservative/liberal smack talk above, I just wanted to say that I finally made to this blog. Marc, your opinions are fun to read, but do you think you could put up a post on the five crappiest looking movies of the end of 2008? I think I might enjoy that even more.

Andy said...

I now see my lack of close reading the original post, and that you are way ahead of me in already planning a worst movies. Happy Thanksgiving!

Like A said...

.insofar as

A friend of mine said to me "People can't criticize anyone anymore. Everyone can do what they want and that's okay. We've rejected the idea of better-or-worse, everything is just good and if you don't like it, then, well, you're pretty much a bigot. Ironically, you can do everything you want besides criticizing people." Don't take this to the extreme, it's meant to be humorous.

While I would define myslef as politically conservative, I personally am apathetic regarding homosexuality, and am somewhat of an environmentalist, among other moderate stances. However, I do NOT appreciate that those involved in the film industry constantly slant their movies with their biases, and that would include Milk, Brokeback Mountain, anything by Michael Moore, An Inconvenient Truth, the 2007 anti-war movies, ect.

Would anyone here appreciate a biopic on the life of Karl Rove? He's a man that questioned the intelligence of liberal ideologies and their political orientation. It would appear to be a perfectly dandy biography for a docudrama. Furthermore, this movie would go beyond political boundaries, because no lawful political campaign should stand for the negation of essential civil liberties, like the right to run a a great campaign with smear, which should not be controlled by the Democratic adversary, who now has control.

First Anonymous--I am terribly sorry to have offended you, but the gays have taken over. Ever see Brokeback Mountain? They're everywhere!!!

"what's bs is conservatives wanting to deny the rights of any other human being."

Yes, immaculately well said, your judgement is impervious, I wish to terminate the rights of any non-conservatives, as do all other conservatives. Think about this, since women, blacks, Irish, the non-landed, ect. have had suffrage, they have suffered. Thus, don't you think we should end their suffrage? Liberals would not do such a thing. They lack the mettle and therefore would perpetuate the suffering.

"what's condescending is comments like those posted above that seem to imply that "liberal people" are not only arrogant but also don't deserve to have a voice or do as they please."

This has greatly pleased me. You have correctly specified which civil liberty conservatives would take away--the right to their vocal cords. It will happen shortly.

"if it sweeps the oscars, it's not because the "gays" have taken over."

Don't you see it!!! They already have!!!! (see above)

"it's because people have been fed up with your conservative bs and have found elected something to win that actually deserves to win."

I see why they may have found elected to do something, I myself find elect all the time. In fact, I did that with this blog, I found it, then I elected it. Your logic is without flaw, my conservative bs is the direct matrix of the liberal bent of Hollywood, and the Academy purposely picks movies which are not outwardly conservative to thwart the onslaught of Megatron (aka Dick Cheney).

The influence that you attribute to my political viewpoints (such as the fact that the Oscars are given to spite my opinions) flatters me, but trust me, I'm not that powerful. Yet.

You are also correct in believing that, up until now, the Academy has failed to righteously doll out their Oscars. Thankfully, that will end, as something which "actually deserves to win" will win. I couldn't take it anymore!

and to the user "Andy". . . why so abrasive man?

insofar as.

Anonymous said...

What I find most interesting about the above post is that the poster makes assertions that a number of films are slanted and biased. This implies that the films remove part of the factual nature of an event and instead promote another aspect of it. Yet, the poster provides absolutely no evidence as to how the movie Milk has a bias to it. Exactly which part of the trailer depicts something in a positive light which should be negative or vice versa? Which aspects of the movie are slanted?

In regards to Karl Rove having a biopic, has anyone here said that conservative figures cannot have biopics made about them? You seem to be assuming that there has been a proposed biopic of a major conservative figure but some shadowy liberal group has prevented it from occurring. If you're going to imply things like this, please provide evidence for it, and please make it stronger than convincing circumstantial evidence. Otherwise, there's no reason to say that Milk is a bad movie because it's about a figure that for some reason seems to be opposed by Conservatives, and that it exists as a part of a liberal agenda. I'm also not sure how much of an essential civil liberty libel is.

I enjoy your intentional misinterpretation of the meaning of the word suffrage. Quite entertaining.

I'm hoping that your comments about the "gays" (are you using this as a blanket term for homosexuals or do you not feel that lesbians are a threat?) are sarcastic, in that there is no evidence that they have "taken over". If this were true, then it would imply that they would have some sort of physical power over society. At which point in time there is no way that California would have banned homosexual marriage. As such, no they have not taken over. In regards to them being "everywhere", sure that makes sense a certain portion of the populace is homosexual, and thus there will be homosexual people in any large group. But the real question is, is that a problem?

Marc said... about that Wrestler movie, eh? :P

But seriously, though. I think if I'm understanding Like A's point correctly, his problem is with movies he thinks get undeserved attention because of their perceived political content. If he has seen Brokeback Mountain or other critically acclaimed movies with more "liberal" messages/themes and he legitimately didn't like them and feels they only received attention because of their subject matter, then his point is valid. I don't completely agree with it because I thought Brokeback Mountain was a good movie, but I can see where he's coming from if he didn't enjoy it - I think it IS true that the movie got more attention than it really deserved simply because of its content.

There is always the chance with any movie about a controversial figure or subject that the film will be lauded simply for "showing up to class," as it were. That's just the way the media works in America. However, I don't think that's any reason to write off a controversial movie before you've seen it, even if you think it might follow the trend of not living up to the hype, and especially when the trailer looks as good as Milk's does.

As for the biopic question, I doubt there is anyone who would object to a movie about Karl Rove or any other major conservative figure, as long as it's well done. In fact, Rove was pretty prominently featured in Oliver Stone's W., which itself was a movie about the highest-ranking conservative figure in America. And, surprisingly enough based on Stone's track record, that movie did not paint all that negative a picture of George Bush (Sr. or Jr.). So in that regard, I don't see there being any sort of liberal slant against making movies about the lives of conservatives.

Milk is obviously not a movie about the life of a conservative figure. But that doesn't mean that the movie itself is anti-conservative, or that the press it's getting is unwarranted. Granted, those things could be the case, but it's impossible to say without seeing the movie. Personally, I believe the reviews I have read saying these things are not the case with Milk, and I also have enough faith in the people behind this project that I don't think they would stoop to making such a film.

As far as the Oscars themselves go, I think people put far too much stock in them. It's no secret that they've made some pretty poor decisions in the last few years, a number of them motivated by politics, and that the "right" film does not always win. Again, though, the attention that a movie receives, be it from the media or from the Academy, does not make the movie. An award does not make a movie better or worse than it already was. But while awards may not always be given for the right reasons, that doesn't mean we should dismiss movies that hope to win a few. At the end of the day, even the brightest student in a classroom would like some form of acknowledgment.