Things slow down considerably in the rush to Turkey Day, including the latest from Danny Boyle, the House of Mouse, and the always formidable Harry Potter.
By all accounts, 2010 has been a pretty mediocre year for movies… so far. In the eight months that have transpired, we’ve seen the lingering effects of Avatar‘s billion dollar success (translation: more 3D titles than ever before), a surprise vote of confidence for intellectually challenging, cinematically spectacular popcorn fare (read: Inception), and more than a few miscues (Kick-Ass) and misfires (Scott Pilgrim vs. The World). In between, the same filmic flotsam and jetsam ebbed and flowed. The RomCom and CG family genre both underperformed, while action spectacles aimed at the easy to please PG-13 demo keeled over and died. In fact, if the last two-thirds of the calendar have taught us anything, it’s that Hollywood no longer cares about pleasing the masses. While it would be nice, a few micro-managed, focus grouped hits will do just as well. [READ FULL INTRODUCTION]
Will Ferrell, Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill, David Cross, Justin Long, Tina Fey
No cinematic season is complete without a CG family comedy, and this time out, Will Ferrell, Jonah Hill, Tina Fey, and Brad Pitt are on board for this superhero spoof. Unfortunately, the man behind the horribly mediocre Madagascar films—Todd McGrath—is directing, which means the pointless pop culture references will be flying fast and heavy. Strangely enough, the synopsis sounds a lot like this Summer’s solid animated hit, Despicable Me—without the cloying cutesy orphans, that is. Surely, Dreamworks hopes a little of that movie’s moneymaking magic rubs off on this otherwise questionable effort.
Danny Boyle takes his massive Oscar cred from Slumdog Millionaire and channels it into this true story of an adventurer (James Franco) who ends up trapped under a boulder inside a mountain gorge. For those who remember the much publicized case of climber Aron Ralston and the five days of anguish, followed by the pen knife to arm act that finally saved his life, it seems like a solid idea for this equally audacious director. Apparently, Boyle has been waiting four years to get this project off the ground. Funny what a few gold statues will do to your ability to get difficult ideas greenlit.
Robert Downey, Jr., Zach Galifianakis, Michelle Monaghan, Juliette Lewis, Jamie Foxx
While Old School promised gratuitous greatness, director Todd Phillips didn’t really deliver until last year’s comedy smash The Hangover. Now he’s dragging break out star Zach Galifianakis along for another bit of levity, this time co-starring Robert Downey Jr. Michelle Monaghan, and Jamie Foxx. The plot deals with an expectant father and a failed actor on a cross country road trip. While logically it makes little sense, one hopes there will be enough of a rationale to keep Downey and Galianakis riffing and retorting all the way to the laugh bank. Otherwise, this could be one very long jokeless journey.