Fall movie preview

Psychos, survival, spirit and love gone bad— it must be fall

I don’t have a lot of space for preamble, so let’s get right to it: the top five films I’m most excited to see this fall movie season. The following does not include December. That’s the holiday movie season, and we’ll get to that another time.

1 No Country for Old Men
The Coen brothers do Cormac McCarthy, and I am so there. Javier Bardem stars as a very, very bad man. A not-so-bad man (Josh Brolin of Grindhouse) finds a bunch of drug money and gets stalked by a psycho killer (Bardem). We know the Coens do crime dramas well (Blood Simple, Fargo), but now we get to see them do one with the likes of Bardem, Brolin and Tommy Lee Jones. Woody Harrelson and Kelly McDonald also star.

2 American Gangster
Denzel Washington gets bad again as a drug lord in director Ridley Scott’s latest. Russell Crowe costars as the detective looking to take Washington’s character down. The stylish trailer has me excited, and the pairing of Washington and Crowe (who worked with Scott on Gladiator) is promising. Crowe’s fake New York accent is a little grating in the trailers, but I’ll probably get past that.

3 The Heartbreak Kid
For many of us, the best Ben Stiller performance came in There’s Something About Mary, a Farrelly brothers concoction. Nine years after his breakout comedy, Stiller teams with the brothers again for a new romp. This time, Stiller plays a commitment-phobe who finally ties the knot with his dream girl (Malin Akerman) only to find out that she is a nightmare. On his honeymoon, he meets his real dream girl (Michelle Monaghan), and the nightmare goes into overdrive. With the success of R-rated comedies like Superbad and Knocked Up, I’m hoping Paramount Pictures allows this remake to be raunchy, bettering the chances of repeating Mary‘s success.

4 Into the Wild
Sean Penn hasn’t necessarily shown himself as a great filmmaker yet. He’s certainly gifted, as his Jack Nicholson-starring The Pledge and The Crossing Guard have proven. Perhaps this adaptation of Jon Krakauer’s book about a young man (Emile Hirsch) who abandons his possessions and disappears into the Alaskan wilderness will establish Penn as a director to be reckoned with. Or, perhaps it will suck. I’m curious to see which way it goes. Hirsch is an interesting actor, but he’s failed to capitalize on his talents thus far.

5 The Darjeeling Limited
Wes Anderson is one of the more exciting directors on the scene today, and his latest about three brothers (Adrien Brody, Jason Schwartzman and Owen Wilson) on a spiritual journey in India looks to be another visual treat. Wilson is having some difficulties right now, but I’m expecting great things from him in this film. He’s always at his best when working with pal Anderson. (Get well, Owen!) It features appearances by Bill Murray and Natalie Portman.