Sept. 1 2015 04:58 PM

Highlights of the upcoming season's odd ducks

Leonardo DiCaprio in The Revenant
The next four months will bring the final Hunger Games, a new and revamped Star Wars entry, Steven Spielberg's latest historical drama, and “the eighth film by Quentin Tarantino.” Those are big time players in the movie world by any standard, but frankly I'm more excited to see Jem and the Holograms. Hold your horses, fanboys. Give me a moment to explain.

Anticipation is an entirely personal beast. We look forward to things based on our past experiences and tastes. When it comes to big budget goliaths or tentpole franchises, my first inclination is to walk the other way. I'd rather take a chance on a smaller genre film made by directors or starring actors who are working on the fringes of Hollywood and the indie circuit.

So, instead of providing free promotion for the industry elite, this Fall Movie Preview will sway toward the eccentric, shining a light on the films that deserve consideration. A few of them might turn out to be major.


The Perfect Guy (9/11): It's not a good sign the studios aren't screening it early for press, but the pedigree behind this low-rent Fatal Attraction rip-off is too good to ignore. Michael Ealy stars as the eponymous lothario who woos Sanaa Lathan's heartbroken lass only to hint at multiple psychological red flags once things get hot and heavy.

Both actors are capable of transcending trashy material and getting at something deeper. Finally, director David M. Rosenthal previously made the crafty and tense mountain noir A Single Shot with Sam Rockwell, which bodes well for the suspense factor.

Of Interest: The Visit (9/11), Everest (9/18), Black Mass (9/18), Sicario (9/25), Queen of Earth (9/25).


Jem and the Holograms (10/23): Based on the 1980s animated television show, this girl-power rock opera could be a subversive look at our social-media-crazed culture. In the hands of director Jon M. Chu (Step Up 3D), it will certainly be a gorgeous, crisp and brazen celebration of style and artistic expression.

Here's hoping the bonkers-looking subject matter translates well to the big screen and Chu is capable of recapturing the magic he was able to achieve with his previous dance films.

Of Interest: The Martian (10/2), The Walk (10/9), Yakuza Apocalypse (10/9), Steve Jobs (10/9), Bridge of Spies (10/16), Victoria (1016), Crimson Peak (10/16), Our Brand is Crisis (10/30), The Keeping Room (10/30).


Carol (11/20): Todd Haynes' luminous adaptation of Patricia Highsmith's novel subtly dissects the emotional compromises felt by a closeted lesbian couple living in 1950s New York City. Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara deliver powerful performances as the two women struggling to be together in an era where their love is deemed taboo.

The film downplays melodrama to provide a quiet and deeply personal examination of belief systems suppressed by the status quo. One should expect Haynes and his performers to be highly lauded come awards time.

Of Interest: Spectre (11/6), By the Sea (11/13), The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 (11/20), Creed (11/25), The Good Dinosaur (11/25).


The Revenant (12/25): The Western I'm most looking forward to in December is Alejandro González Iñárritu's grimy and brutal revenge epic. It's based on Michael Punke's 1820s-set novel about a fur trapper (played by Leonardo DiCaprio) crossing dangerous terrain to hunt down those men who left him for dead.

An early trailer proves that the Academy Award-winning filmmaker and his great cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki will once again use long takes to explore tormented men under constant attack from the elements. Supposedly there isn't much dialogue in the film, putting more pressure on the actors to convey a myriad of emotions through performance.

Of Interest: Youth (12/4), Star Wars: The Force Awakens (12/18), Joy (12/25), Snowden (12/25), The Hateful Eight (12/25), Concussion (12/25).


See all events on Wednesday, Dec 7