Monday, September 9, 2013

KPC Column: Promising movies still slated for 2013

This column was originally published in the KPC Media Group newspapers and online at Read the original column here. Republished on The Pop Tarts with permission. 

About this time every year, I get a little sad.
When September rolls around, summer movie season is officially over.
But despite the fact that the theaters aren’t showing blockbuster after blockbuster anymore, there is still a lot to look forward to before the curtain falls on the year 2013.
And so, I’ve chosen 10 of the best bets for your movie needs during the next four months. Although I can’t vouch for whether these movies will be good or not, these are the ones I’ll be lining up to see, and their scheduled release date.
“Rush” (Sept. 27): Ron Howard directed this movie, based on a true story, about the rivalry between Formula One driver Niki Lauda (Daniel Bruhl), who was involved in a bad crash during the 1976 German Grand Prix, and driver James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth, of “Thor” fame) as the men pursue the 1976 World Championship. Despite my apathy toward sports in general, I do love a good sports movie, and I hope that “Rush” delivers. I am comforted by the fact that I’ve enjoyed the majority of Howard’s movies. And, I figure that if the movie isn’t as good as I’m hoping it will be, I’ll still be able to watch the gorgeous Chris Hemsworth on the big screen for a couple of hours. (That’s how I made it through the dull and lifeless “Snow White and the Huntsman,” after all.)
“Gravity” (Oct. 4): I can barely breathe when I watch the previews for this movie, which follows two astronauts, played by George Clooney and Sandra Bullock, who are involved in an accident in space. I adore the actors, but even better, it’s directed by Alfonso Cuaron, who was responsible for one of my all-time favorite movies, 2006’s haunting “Children of Men.” Yes, I’ll probably need a paper bag to breathe into and some anti-anxiety drugs to make it through this movie, which almost assuredly will be tense and terrifying, but it should be worth the pain — it’s already getting rave reviews at film festivals, and James Cameron, director of one of the best space films ever, “Aliens,” has called it “the best space film ever done.”
“Carrie” (Oct. 18): I don’t usually go for remakes, especially remakes of movies that are pretty close to perfect to begin with, but I’m going to make an exception for this big-budget remake of the 1976 classic “Carrie,” based on Stephen King’s excellently creepy novel. Yes, Sissy Spacek is an icon in the role of Carrie White, the tortured 17-year-old who unleashes her latent telepathic powers on her peers, but if anybody can make the character her own, it’s the incredibly talented 16-year-old actress Chloe Grace Moretz. I’m also excited that the movie will be more faithful to King’s original novel, which is a classic.
“Ender’s Game” (Nov. 1): Another movie based on a book slated for 2013 release is “Ender’s Game,” based on the award-winning sci-fi novel by Orson Scott Card. The movie follows Ender Wiggin (Asa Butterfield), a gifted child enrolled in a military school in space. I’m cautious in my excitement for this movie, though. I’m in the midst of reading the novel, so I can’t comment on whether it will make a good movie adaptation. However, while my husband and mom both liked the book when they read it, they’re both unsure whether it can be adapted well. Still, I’m excited about the prospect of some good science fiction on the big screen.
“Thor: The Dark World” (Nov. 8): If you miss “Rush” on Sept. 27, never fear — Chris Hemsworth will be back on big screens again in November, this time as superhero/demigod Thor in the next big Marvel-Avengers movie. Once again, Thor reunites with his human love, Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) to face off against even bigger and badder villains that threaten both his home of Asgard and the Earth. While the “Thor” movies are probably the weakest of the Avengers movies, I still appreciate the undercurrent of humor that surrounds the character, and I’ve been loving what Marvel has been doing with all of the Avengers-related movies and TV shows. And, once again, it has the Chris Hemsworth factor going for it — if nothing else, he’s easy on the eyes.
“The Book Thief” (Nov. 15): Another movie draws inspiration from a book; this time, it’s “The Book Thief,” an acclaimed and popular novel about a girl in Germany (played by Sophie Nelisse) who, in the midst of World War II, steals books and shares them with others. Not only does this movie take place during a time in history that interests me, but it also centers around something else I love — books. I haven’t read the novel it’s based on yet — don’t worry, I will! — but the previews make it look thrilling, sweet and touching. Although I’d be surprised if the movie was as good as the book it’s based on — movies never are — I do think it looks like an excellent film.
“The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” (Nov. 22): I am a huge fan of the “Hunger Games” series of books, and the second novel in the trilogy just may be my favorite. The books follow Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson), the winners of the Hunger Games, a fight to the death between pre-teens and teens forced by their oppressive government. In this movie, Katniss and Peeta must deal with the fact that they’ve become the unwilling sparks to ignite a revolution, and the effect that has not only on them, but on their family and friends as well. The book features several new characters who quickly became my favorites in the whole series, so I’m excited to see them, and their stories, on the big screen.
“The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” (Dec. 13): I almost didn’t include this movie on my list of movies I’m excited to see yet this year, but despite the fact that last winter’s “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” was a bit uneven, I’m still pretty excited about another foray into J.R.R. Tolkein’s Middle Earth. “The Desolation of Smaug” follows the continuing adventures of hobbit Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellan) and a party of dwarfs as they try to get the dwarfs’ gold from the famed and feared dragon Smaug (voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch). Considering how much I’ve enjoyed the bulk of director Peter Jackson’s movies as well as “The Hobbit” novel, I’m going to give this one the benefit of the doubt.
“Saving Mr. Banks” (Dec. 20): One of my favorite movies from my childhood is “Mary Poppins,” so I’m intrigued by “Saving Mr. Banks,” a movie chronicling what the great Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) did to get the rights from author P.L. Travers (Emma Thompson) to make the movie. As a movie lover, a Disney fan and a writer, I’m excited to see how so many different factors came together to make such a beloved, classic movie. In the hands of any other actor, I would be worried about somebody portraying Walt Disney well, but if anybody can do it, it’s Tom Hanks. This movie ought to be a nostalgic treat.
“American Hustle” (Dec. 25): A crop of great actors — Christian Bale, Jennifer Lawrence, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, Robert DeNiro and Jeremy Renner — star in this movie about a con man who works with the FBI, loosely based on the ABSCAM operation of the 1970s and 80s. Director David O. Russell has found a lot of success with great movies including “The Fighter” and “Silver Linings Playbook,” and I expect that this movie will be good as well. I know what I’ll be doing this Christmas!

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