Will be away from the computer for most of the weekend, so here’s an early edition of Openings for the holiday masses! Featuring some of the biggest-profile releases left this year, to boot:
A Dangerous Method (trailer)
Director: David Cronenberg (eXistenZ, Spider, A History of Violence, Eastern Promises)
Personal Interest Factor: 7
Don’t get me wrong, I’m looking forward to this and I don’t want to prejudge it too harshly, but it’s clear that Keira Knightley is going to be a problem for me in this movie. She’s a very limited actress, and any time she has to dial up the intensity (e.g., the “IT EXCITED ME!” line in the trailer), she looks utterly ridiculous. On the other hand, I genuinely look forward to watching Viggo Mortensen ham it up as Sigmund Freud. Meanwhile, the ubiquitous Michael Fassbender defied all odds by getting through the year without being in a movie with Jessica Chastain. How’d that happen?
Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (trailer)
Director: Brad Bird (The Iron Giant, The Incredibles, Ratatouille)
Personal Interest Factor: 7
Main appeal here is Bird directing and a half-decent title, even though I’ve never been that excited about the M:I franchise. Paramount, curiously, is rolling this out nice and slowly, hitting only 425 screens before expanding wide for Christmas. Apparently, they’re planning the same thing with Tintin and War Horse. The strikes me as a more notable development than Universal’s pointless flirtation with VOD, because unlike Uni’s aborted VOD plan, it’s an experiment that directly challenges the “milk the first weekend for all it’s worth” conventional wisdom that took over Hollywood for good sometime around the release of Batman Forever. Plus, by necessity it actually incorporates word-of-mouth as a marketing strategy, and when’s the last time that happened with a big-studio franchise movie? Never, that’s when. It’ll be interesting to see how it works out for them.
Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (trailer)
Director: Guy Ritchie (Swept Away, Revolver, RocknRolla, Sherlock Holmes)
Personal Interest Factor: 5
WB taking the opposite tack from Paramount here, offering up a sequel with a director I don’t care about and an awkward title. This strikes me as an unnecessary sequel anyway, since the first movie was passable at best and AFAIK there aren’t a whole lot of people out there who were a whole lot more taken with it than I was. Is there real excitement out there about this one? I have my doubts.
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (trailer)
Director: Tomas Alfredson (Let the Right One In)
Personal Interest Factor: 8
Sounds like a movie about a legendary turn-of-the-century infield combo and it has a somewhat uninspiring trailer, but a John Le Carre adaptation starring Gary Oldman sure sounds like a winner to me. I’m really glad to see the reviews to strong, because I was a little worried about that trailer when it first came out.