The Hollywood High Rise Begins
Sometimes it’s uncanny how often movie seasons parallel each other. The 2012 summer movie season produced a few big hits, but ultimately remained inconsistent in terms of overall quality. Fast-forward to the 2013 summer movie season, and that exact description can be applied again. Fortunately, there is one positive thing these two years have in common: they have both built up extravagant features for the fall season. 2012’s line-up mostly lived up to its high expectations, so it’s safe to predict that trend will continue.
Closing the last weekend of September on a high note is “Rush,” a true story drama that chronicles the exhilarating 1976 Formula 1 season. Mainstream audiences will certainly flock to see this film because Chris Hemsworth, aka “Thor” himself, headlines it. It also promises a welcoming return to film for acclaimed director Ron Howard. Furthermore, the strong reception from its premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival is lending a huge hand in building up its hype.
October on the other hand will have a pair of big releases that have serious buzz for awards season. The first is “Gravity,” a stuck-in-space thriller that has received rave reviews from several film festivals, and is being touted as one of the best science fiction movies of the past decade. The other big awards contender is “12 Years a Slave,” the true story of Solomon Northrup, a free black man who was kidnapped and sold into slavery for a period of 12 years during the mid-19th century.
However, the biggest mainstream release for October will be “The Counselor,” which is written by one of my favorite authors, Cormac McCarthy. The previews for the movie have kept the story a real mystery, but its grade-A cast and director make it look as though not a lot can go wrong.
For the month of November, mainstream blockbusters will have several opportunities to shine with audiences. The first of those films will be “Ender’s Game,” the long-awaited film adaptation of Orson Scott Card’s beloved science fiction novel of the same name. Releasing one week later will be the “Thor” sequel, “Thor: The Dark World,” which has been dropping hints of taking the series in a more unique, darker direction.
However, there is no competition for what will be the biggest blockbuster to release that month — “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.” The sequel is set to be bigger in terms of both its scale and stars, plus the rising stardom of Jennifer Lawrence enhances the potential of the film passing the commercial success of its predecessor.
In terms of the several Oscar frontrunners for November though, the indie productions “Nebraska” and “Dallas Buyers Club” will certainly draw attention. On the other hand, they can’t quite compare to Martin Scorsese’s “The Wolf of Wall Street,” which marks the director’s fifth collaboration with Leonardo DiCaprio. The movie’s account of a ’90s Wall Street stockbroker who led a raucous lifestyle both on and off the job is a new entry for Scorsese’s storytelling abilities, but he’s always proven that he can work well with almost any genre presented to him.
December has such a huge lineup of movies that it’s better to break them into a few categories. You have your Oscar contenders (“Inside Llewyn Davis,” “American Hustle” and “Foxcatcher”), ambitious science fiction fantasies (“Her” and “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”) and sequels for which many people have been waiting (“The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug” and “Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues”). Whew, that is a lot of movies to see right there.
Overall, it’s very hard to imagine this fall movie season being anything short of amazing. It has a near-perfect balance of mainstream, independent and Oscar-worthy buzz to create enough excitement for the next three months, in addition to depleting the money supply of many bank accounts, mine included. With all that laid out, all I can say to this movie season is “bring it on (again).”