Finally getting excited about 2008…

Posted by · 1:09 pm · September 19th, 2008

Sean Penn in MilkNot a whole lot has piqued my cinematic interest this year. “The Dark Knight,” “Iron Man” and “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” are the happy pre-festival-season exceptions. But even with Toronto not yielding a whole lot in terms of Oscar frontrunners, I am finding more and more to be excited about in the coming months and expect an intense race for that little golden guy. Here are the six (well, seven…you’ll see) most anticipated of the year for me, at this stage…

“The Road” (John Hollcoat)
Is anyone else as pumped for this as I am? After reading the book in three days, imagining Viggo Mortensen in a number of the scenes and Robert Duvall as the old man, I can’t wait. If Mortensen does justice to the character (and I think he will), he is in for an Oscar nod, the second in a row for the actor.  And the film itself could be a dark horse contender for Best Picture and Best Director. The Academy has shown some courage these last few years embracing dark subjects, and this one is certainly dark.  Though the book ends with a ray of hope for humanity. Here’s hoping they capture the intensity and raw realism of the novel.

“Frost/Nixon” (Ron Howard)
I’ve probably read every book every written about Richard Nixon, including the many he wrote himself. Anthony Hopkins did a superb job portraying him in Oliver Stone’s outstanding film “Nixon” and character actor Lane Smith did a knockout job in the TV film “The Final Days” back in the late 1980s. Like Hopkins, actor Frank Langella neither looks nor sounds like Nixon, (more so than Hopkins though) but the trailers seem to make it clear he has captured the man to perfection, and I am hoping the film is as good as the play was. Langella and Michael Sheen have the chops to bring two dynamic characters to life, provided director Ron Howard allows the film to have the edge it needs.

“Doubt” (John Patrick Shanley)
I keep hearing that this film is shaky, but the trailer looks terrific, and this is Meryl Streep, people! The greatest actress in the history of the cinema, in a role that looks like it demands her talents…all of them. She is surrounded by a strong cast, no less than Philip Seymour Hoffman and the wonderful Amy Adams (who so deserved a nod last year for “Enchanted”).  My gut tells me this film is going to quite something. Like everyone else I am concerned with the director, but he has been around the industry long enough to know with a fine script you let the actors go.

“Milk” (Gus Van Sant)
Any one who reads the site is well aware of my admiration for Sean Penn and I have every confidence that “Milk” will land him in the nominees circle again.  It might just lead the way to Oscar number two. The part is a huge challenge for him, and he responds well to challenge, not to mention being surrounded by a strong supporting cast and an excellent director.

“Revolutionary Road” (Sam Mendes)
I like Sam Mendes as a filmmaker.  “American Beauty” was excellent, of course, and I thought “Road to Perdition” was an unappreciated masterpiece. “Jarhead” had problems but still gave us some of the most startling images in a modern day war film. “Revolutionary Road” is so much more than a chance to see Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet together again, though that indeed is enough for most. The film offers two of the finest actors of their generation, perhaps the best two in their age group, portraying adults this time, not star crossed kids thrown together by fate. Here they are a married couple struggling with the times in a film based on the Richard Yates novel.  I am expecting something very special.

“Changeling” and “Gran Torino” (Clint Eastwood)
And finally (I cheated with a tie here), there is Clint Eastwood’s “Changeling,” which I expect to be among the year’s best, and “Gran Torino,” which I have a hunch may land the old gentleman in the Best Actor race. The Academy loves him, and is there another director nearing 80 so incredibly active and consistently excellent these last few years?

So after a disappointing first three quarters of the year, a few films aside, here we go with the “good stuff.”  What are your most anticipated films for the rest of 2008?  Tell us in the comments below!




→ 31 Comments Tags: , , , , , , , | Filed in: Daily

31 responses so far

  • 1 9-19-2008 at 1:31 pm

    Daniel said...

    Definitely The Wrestler. I’ve been hoping someone who hop on that subject matter in a more dramatic fashion ala Beyond the Mat and Bigger Stronger Faster.

    1. The Wrestler
    2. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
    3. Milk
    4. The Road
    5. The Good, the Bad, and the Weird

  • 2 9-19-2008 at 1:39 pm

    Liz said...

    My top five are:

    1. Australia
    2. Frost/Nixon
    3. Changeling
    4. Slumdog Millionaire
    5. The Road

  • 3 9-19-2008 at 1:41 pm

    Nicolas Mancuso said...

    1. Revolutionary Road
    2. The Wrestler
    3. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
    4. Australia
    5. Lovely, Still (any word on this being picked up?)

  • 4 9-19-2008 at 1:42 pm

    Barry said...

    1. Revolutionaruy Road
    2. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
    3. Changeling
    4. Doubt
    5. The Reader
    6. The Road
    7. The Wrestler

  • 5 9-19-2008 at 1:49 pm

    Joshua said...

    Yea…there hasn’t really been anything great in the year except for The Dark Knight and let’s not forget about Wall-E folks :). I expect alot of excellent films these coming months. Here’s what I’m anticipating for the rest of 2008.

    Changeling
    The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
    Doubt
    Frost/Nixon
    I Loved You So Long
    Milk
    Rachel Getting Married
    The Reader
    Revolutionary Road
    The Road
    The Wrestler

  • 6 9-19-2008 at 1:57 pm

    Daniel said...

    Yeah, this year, while not quite as good as last year at this point, still has some rather solid films. My top 5 of the year is something like:

    1. Bigger, Stronger, Faster
    2. Wall-E
    3. Snow Angels
    4. Vicky Cristina Barcelona
    5. Pineapple Express

  • 7 9-19-2008 at 2:00 pm

    Patrick said...

    Milk
    Doubt
    The Wrestler
    The Road
    W

  • 8 9-19-2008 at 2:08 pm

    Guy Lodge said...

    I have an answer to your last question, John: Manoel de Oliveira. The man is incredible. He turns 100 this year, still produces at least one film a year, and they’re wonderful. He’s an inspiration.

    I think there was more to the first half of the year, particularly in non-American cinema: In Bruges, Summer Hours, Happy-Go-Lucky, Heartbeat Detector, etc. And what about The Visitor?

    My personal five most anticipated:

    Australia
    Gomorrah
    The Wrestler
    Revolutionary Road
    The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

  • 9 9-19-2008 at 2:27 pm

    Aaron said...

    The Road
    Changeling
    Slumdog Millionaire
    The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
    Australia
    Frost/Nixon

  • 10 9-19-2008 at 2:30 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    My list would be:

    1. The Wrestler
    2. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
    3. Milk
    4. Synecdoche, New York (T-minus 90 minutes)
    5. Revolutionary Road

  • 11 9-19-2008 at 2:32 pm

    Speaking English said...

    You didn’t even mention the two best films of the year so far, “WALL-E” and “Burn After Reading.”

    As for movies I’m anticipating, everything has been mentioned. “Milk,” “Benjamin Button,” “The Road,” and “Revolutionary Road” are at the very top though.

  • 12 9-19-2008 at 2:59 pm

    John Foote said...

    Fair enough I should have mentioned “Wall-E” and ‘The Visitor” but “Burn After Reading” though hugely enjoyable is hardly, HARDLY, among the years best…come on now. I just recently saw’Happy Go Lucky” and the performances are wonderful, so yes Guy, I agree, though it is just getting here now.

  • 13 9-19-2008 at 3:03 pm

    Guy Lodge said...

    Oops, keep forgetting about Happy-Go-Lucky’s release date over there. Glad to hear you liked it, though.

  • 14 9-19-2008 at 3:03 pm

    Roger said...

    I agree with you… The Road might be quite Something…

    The Wrestler
    The Road
    Australia
    Changeling
    Defiance
    Benj Button
    Revolutionary Road
    Milk
    Frost/Nixon
    Slumdog Millionair
    Doubt

  • 15 9-19-2008 at 3:16 pm

    Troy said...

    My two favorite to this point are In Bruges and Wall-E.

    As for my top 5 anticipated:

    1. Synecdoche, New York
    2. The Road
    3. Milk
    4. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
    5. Slumdog Millionaire

  • 16 9-19-2008 at 3:18 pm

    Jonathan Spuij said...

    I don’t think I’ll have much to add to the films already listed above except perhaps Quantum of Solace.

  • 17 9-19-2008 at 3:24 pm

    Blake Rutherford said...

    John,

    My list:

    1. Milk
    2. The Road
    3. Che
    4. Slumdog Millionaire
    5. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
    6. Synedoche, New York
    7. The Soloist
    8. The Wrestler
    9. Frost/Nixon
    10. Australia

  • 18 9-19-2008 at 3:32 pm

    Jacob said...

    I’m really looking forward to Doubt, especially after the trailer. 2008 seems to be a strong year.

    Doubt
    Changeling
    Milk
    The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
    Defiance
    W.
    Revolutionary Road

  • 19 9-19-2008 at 3:45 pm

    mike said...

    No Ben Button?

    That is my #1
    then Wrestler, Che, Slumdog, Milk, Zack and Miri, James Bond

  • 20 9-19-2008 at 4:03 pm

    KB said...

    1. Milk
    2. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
    3. Doubt
    4. Revolutionary Road
    5. The Road
    6. The Wrestler
    7. The Reader
    8. Slumdog Millionaire
    9. Frost/Nixon
    10. Australia

  • 21 9-19-2008 at 4:22 pm

    Mr. F said...

    1. Australia
    2. The Wrestler
    3. Benjamin Button
    4. Revolutionary Road
    5. The Road
    6. The Brothers Bloom
    7. I’ve Loved you so Long
    8. Happy-Go-Lucky
    9. Changeling
    10. Quantum of Solace

  • 22 9-19-2008 at 4:59 pm

    N8 said...

    1. Australia
    2. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
    3. Slumdog Millionaire
    4. Revolutionary Road
    5. Milk
    6. Changeling

    And you’re right about Amy Adams; she DID deserve a nomination last year!

  • 23 9-19-2008 at 7:57 pm

    Speaking English said...

    LOL I guess I’m “Burn After Reading”‘s #1 advocate cause I WOULD honestly call it one of the year’s best films and I’ll be surprised if it’s not on my end of the year Top 10 list. I absolutely fucking loved every second of that movie and think it’s one of the Coens’ greatest movies.

    Oh well. A screenplay nomination will make me ecstatic!

  • 24 9-19-2008 at 8:49 pm

    Alfredo said...

    Happy-Go-Lucky was NOT one of the best films of the year so far and I will be really shocked if this film gets any kind of recognition here in the States. Sally Hawkins’ character “Poppy” has to be one of the most annoying characters on film since last year’s Juno. Anyway I digress…

    I cannot wait to see Benjamin Button, Revloutionary Road (I’m half way through the book and love it), Milk, Changeling, and The Road.

  • 25 9-19-2008 at 9:42 pm

    Troy said...

    Speaking, I’m with you, as I loved Burn After Reading as well. It definitely deserves a screenplay nom, but I doubt it will receive one as the Academy seems to ignore their less serious material.

  • 26 9-19-2008 at 11:07 pm

    Zan said...

    5 best films so far: Vicky Cristina Barcelona; In Bruges; The Dark Knight; Redbelt; Transsiberian.

    Most anticipated: Synecdoche, New York; Milk; The Road; The Curious Case of Benjamin Button; Appaloosa.

  • 27 9-20-2008 at 12:12 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    “Happy-Go-Lucky was NOT one of the best films of the year so far and I will be really shocked if this film gets any kind of recognition here in the States. Sally Hawkins’ character “Poppy” has to be one of the most annoying characters on film since last year’s Juno.”

    Yeah, and look how little recognition “Juno” got ;)

    Each to their own, Alfredo. There’s no need to express your opinion as if it were fact! I think the fact that Poppy is so polarising is part of what makes the film really interesting to me.

  • 28 9-20-2008 at 3:07 am

    Mack said...

    Where’s your Oscar pony T.C.C.O.B.B. Kris Tapley?! :D

  • 29 9-20-2008 at 3:09 am

    Mimi Rogers said...

    My most anticipated.
    1. Australia (because of Nicole Kidman)
    2. Revolutionary Road (because of Kate Winslet)
    3. Doubt (because of Meryl Streep)
    I think Kidman, Winslet and Streep will fight to the very end in the Best Actress race.
    My predictions:
    Kidman will win the Oscar
    Winslet will win the BAFTA
    Streep will win the Golden Globes

  • 30 9-20-2008 at 3:19 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    Kris didn’t write the article, Mack — more than one voice on this site. If you check further up in the comments, Kris has “Button” in his own most-awaited list.

  • 31 9-20-2008 at 3:28 pm

    Marvin said...

    I’ve Loved You So Long
    The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
    The Soloist
    The Wrestler
    The Road
    Australia
    Burn After Reading
    Gomorra
    Milk
    The Argentine/Guerrilla (CHE?)
    Doubt
    Blindness
    The Young Victoria
    Appaloosa
    Adoration
    Revolutionary Road
    Brothers
    Synecdoche, New York
    W.
    The Changeling