Now that we've returned from a little post-Labor Day getaway, it's time to accept that facts are facts. It's fall, y'all, and summer's not coming back.
While we may miss the sunny weather, carefree spirit, and hot garbage smells of the past few months, we're entering an even more exciting time for cinephiles: prestige film season! It's a problem that seems to get worse every year: studios release their awards ponies later and later in the year, until the last trimester is so full of must-sees that no one has time to see or make sense of them all. And when it comes time for awards voters to vote? It's that much harder to remember anything before early September. Final trimester films get the votes, and the cycle continues.
Despite our qualms about studios' release date shenanigans, a bevy of (mostly) quality movies is a bevy of (mostly) quality movies. AND WE SHALL SEE THEM ALL.
Below, check out our most-anticipated films for the remainder of 2014, and let us know what films are on your list!
The Skeleton Twins (Sept. 12)
I'm a sucker for a good trailer, and this one delivers. Two stellar comics serving up dramatic performances with an undercurrent of melancholy? I'm sold. Seems like just the right mood with which to kick off fall and lead us into the start of a months-long awards season.
Of course my obsession with trailers has led me astray before. It's no coincidence my two favorite trailers of the last decade—Godzilla and Little Children—ended up as two of my more disappointing moviegoing experiences. Here's hoping this one exceeds expectations!
Lilting (Sept. 26)
I mean, it stars Ben Whishaw. What more do you want?
I make a point of not reading reviews or feature articles about movies before seeing them, but from what I've gathered this is the kind of movie—simple, emotionally-driven, and dialogue- rather than action-based—that should be less rare.
I'm also loving the idea of these two strangers (Ben Whishaw and Pei-pei Cheng) struggling to understand each other as they express their mourning in different languages and from different perspectives. (Both have lost the same man, and both loved him, but in different ways.)
Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (Oct. 17)
Another excellent trailer, maybe even on par with some of the greats. There's just so much promise coursing through this film: the return of director Alejandro González Iñárritu, the compelling casting of Batman himself—Michael Keaton—as a washed-up former superhero, Emma Stone, Emma Stone, and Emma Stone.
The cinematography is sure to be great, too. The movie is reportedly filmed to look like one continuous shot, and the elements of magical realism in the trailer certainly look, well, magical.
Insterstellar (Nov. 7)
Because I'll always be looking for the next 2001, Alien, and A.I.
Because I'm still staunchly pro-Anne Hathaway, even though she makes it harder for me with each passing year. (Is the promise of the Rachel Getting Married Hathaway finally dead?)
Because it promises to be a trip, and that's what great movies are.
The Imitation Game (Nov. 21)
This one's a no-brainer for me. The father of artificial intelligence, who designed one of the first (if not the first) computers and helped the Allies win World War II, also happened to be gay? It would be a thrilling enough conceit even if it were fictional.
Admittedly, Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch are not my favorite actors, but advance buzz has been positive for both, and after watching the trailer I say so far, so good.
Also looking forward to: St. Vincent, Horns, Unbroken
Gone Girl (Oct. 3)
At this point, it's clear director David Fincher makes little black dresses. His films are sleek, stylish, and necessary. He is a man in total control of his craft, consistently operating near the top of his game. We can expect the film version of Gillian Flynn's mega-successful novel to be, at the very least, a totally solid, worthwhile effort. I've just started the book, and I'm stoked. Plus, I'm more than ready for the rest of the world to catch on to the awesomeness of Rosamund Pike.
Fury (Oct. 17)
War movie + Brad Pitt being serious + no major female characters = not a film that I'd normally be very interested in. Chalk this one up to my growing respect of/love for/obsession with Logan Lerman.
Nightcrawler (Oct. 31)
Jake Gyllenhaal has always been one of my favorite actors. I fell hard after October Sky, was ready to propose after Donnie Darko, and then Brokeback Mountain was a blissful honeymoon. He's been making exciting acting choices in roles that have challenged his range lately, and Nightcrawler looks to continue his hot streak.
Foxcatcher (Nov. 14)
Bennett Miller has proven to be a gifted and consistent filmmaker (Capote, Moneyball). I think Steve Carell is a fantastic, underrated dramatic performer. Mark Ruffalo is one of our most reliably excellent actors. The true story is fascinating and captivating enough even if it weren't based on true events. But really, Channing Tatum in a singlet.
Big Eyes (Dec. 25)
My fingers are tightly crossed in hopes that Tim Burton is able to get back to making films like the amazing Ed Wood (hell, even something closer to Big Fish). The lack of Johnny Depp or excessive CGI is a great start. Maybe this will be the role to bring Amy Adams her first Oscar after five losses?
Also looking forward to: The Theory of Everything, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1, Wild
And a (dis)honorable mention:
Into the Woods (Dec. 25)
We're both nervously anticipating the arrival of Rob Marshall's and Disney's film adaptation of one of our favorite musicals. We tend to be glass-half-empty gentlemen, so expectations are low. We'd be over the moon if it ended up like Marshall's Chicago—in other words, nowhere near the train wreck of Nine.