The 2012 PopMatters Fall Film Preview - Part 1

September

by Bill Gibron

3 September 2012

 

21 September


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Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel

Director: Lisa Immordino Vreeland, Bent-Jorgen Perlmutt, Frederic Tcheng
Cast: Diana Vreeland
21 September
Diane Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel


Fall is often the dumping ground for documentaries. This isn’t meant as a slam, but as a sign that Awards Season is just around the corner. In this case, we have an offering from 2011 just making the meaningful film society rounds. As the editor of Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue when they were dictating the fashion sense of an entire planet, we are introduced to Vreeland and her forward thinking approach to couture and lifestyle. It may seem like an EPK (there’s an accompanying book being released) but it’s really more of a heartfelt celebration.

 

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Dredd 3D

Director: Pete Travis
Cast: Karl Urban, Olivia Thirlby, Wood Harris, Lena Headey
21 September
Dredd


At the time, Sylvester Stallone seemed like the perfect choice to play the beloved British comic book character (whose stories have been around since 1977). When fans saw the mess that was made of their favorite future shock law enforcement official, it seemed to signal the end of the line for this particular cult character. Now Karl Urban is taking over as the title tyrant, a man who is judge, jury, and executioner all in one. Fans are hoping that this take on the material stays truer to the original. With Danny Boyle collaborator Alex Garland handling the script, there’s hope.

 

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End of Watch

Director: David Ayer
Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Peña, Anna Kendrick, Natalie Martinez, America Ferrera, Frank Grillo, David Harbour
21 September
End of Watch


Judging by the trailer, we apparently have the story of two seasoned LA street cops who stumble upon a “secret” so devastating and damning that the Mexican drug cartels will stop at nothing to see these two silenced… permanently. The resulting narrative has lots of showdowns with guns—both legal and illegal—blazing. Writer/director David Ayer made his name with this kind of stuff, earning kudos for crafting the Denzel vehicle Training Day as well as the Cali cop thriller Street Kings. Everything is in place for something kinetic and exciting. Let’s hope Ayer can pull it off.

 

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House at the End of the Street

Director: Mark Tonderai
Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Max Thieriot, Gil Bellows, Elisabeth Shue
21 September
House at the End of the Street


Now that she has indie cred, Oscar accolades, and massive commercial success (as Katniss Everdeen in the hugely popular Hunger Games franchise), what more could actress Jennifer Lawrence want? Well, chances are, she’d like another chance at rejecting her agent’s advice to take this particular spook show script. With a story by U-571 and Surrogate‘s Jonathan Mostow and direction by British unknown Mark Tonderai, we are left wondering if this will be another PG-13 piffle, or as some prescreening viewers have claimed, an intriguing tale poorly sold by its fright flick inspired trailer. Who knows.

 

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How to Survive a Plague

Director: David France
Cast: Bill Bahlman, David Barr, Gregg Bordowitz, Jim Eigo, Mark Harrington
21 September
How to Survive a Plague


AIDS isn’t the death sentence it was two decades ago. Today, many people both successful and silent are living with the disease and making definitive steps to see it eradicated in our current lifetime. Director David France focuses his damning documentary on the faces of actual activists, those involved in ACT UP, as well as TAG (Treatment Action Group). Given unbelievable access to private camcorder footage from the earliest days of the epidemic, he showcases the heroes who fought to get the issue recognized, as well as those who’s intolerance lead to at least two decades of unnecessary death.

 

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Trouble with the Curve

Director: Robert Lorenz
Cast: Clint Eastwood, Amy Adams, Justin Timberlake, Matthew Lillard, John Goodman
21 September
Trouble with the Curve


Clint Eastwood stars as an aging baseball scout with failing vision. Amy Adams is the daughter determined to help him through one more stint exploring prospects for the Atlanta Braves. With John Goodman as Eastwood’s boss and friend and Justin Timberlake as a rival who has eyes for Ms. Adams, we seem set for anything from an in-depth character study to a schmaltz, maudlin dramedy. You can never really tell with Eastwood. Here’s hoping there are no empty chairs in his lagging line of sight. Just saying.

 

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The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Director: Stephen Chbosky
Cast: Logan Lerman, Emma Watson, Ezra Miller
21 September
The Perks of Being a Wallflower


Wow! Someone must really have faith in author Stephen Chbosky and his epistolary novel (read: in letter form). Not only was he hired to adapt the book into a screenplay, but he was then handed the directing reins as well. Granted, his resume does include the script for the movie version of Rent, as well as a stint in TV with Jericho. Still, to put so much belief in someone whose yet to make a significant mark in the Hollywood hit factory shows one of two things: the brilliance of the coming-of-age story Chbosky wants to tell, or the lack of vision from those writing the checks.

 

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War of the Buttons

Director: Christophe Barratier
Cast: Laetitia Casta, Guillaume Canet, Kad Merad, Gerard Jugnot, Francois Morel, Marie Bunel, Jean Texier, Clement Godefroy, Theophile Baquet
21 September
War of the Buttons


Let’s see if you can follow this: way back in 1912, Louis Pergaud wrote a novel called La Guerre des boutons. Five decades later, it became a film by Yves Robert. Then, in 1994, an English language version was made. Now, in 2011, there are two more competing entries in the adaptation race. This is the one set during the Nazi Occupation, for your information. In all cases, the anti-war allegory has competing bands of children “fighting” for certain battle “souvenirs” (shoelaces, buttons, etc.). Naturally, things quickly turn violent, thus the meaning and the message.

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