selected by: Alan Zilberman, Jeff Spross, Svetlana Legetic, Brandon Wetherbee, Toni Tileva, Ross Bonaime, Kaylee Dugan and Emily Catino
Welcome back cinephiles and voyeurs! Yes indeedy, it’s the start of BYT FALL/WINTER GUIDE WEEK. And what better way to beat the impending sweater weather than by letting the BYT film team guide your screening choices? Award bait season is on the horizon—we’ve got those covered, along with indies, documentaries, mindless action and comedies. On top of that, we’ve laid out a neat menu a Best Worst Movies list, home entertainment must sees and all of the best DC film events.
- Spark: A Burning Man Story (VOD-theatrical release TBD) – This documentary by Steve Brown rekindles the bright-eyed dreamer ethos that we want to believe is what the giant festival in the desert is all about. In recent years, Burning Man has been much maligned for its seeming descent into the dreaded c-word (commercialization) and for no longer being the counter-cultural celebration of a Mad Max-like dystopia it once was. Spark will make a believer out of you, a celebration of the artists who toil assiduously at making the giant sculptures that end up destroyed in a pyre of glory, it is a true roots revival of what Burning Man is still really about. –Toni Tileva
- Gravity (October 4) – I’m a big fan of films with a simple and elemental premise, and that’s definitely Gravity: Sandra Bullock and George Clooney are two astronauts on shuttle mission to the International Space Station, and during a space walk a hail of debris wrecks the station and shuttle, leaving them stranded. Just two human beings with limited air and damaged equipment, facing the unimaginable twin physical tasks of not dying in orbit and surviving the atmospheric descent. Every movie of the survivor genre grapples on some level with the unspeakable smallness of human life in the face of the vast and unfeeling universe. But by actually suspending his characters between Earth and open space – the gorgeous vista of all known life on one side and the absolute abyss on the other – director Alfonso Cuarón illustrates the point rather literally. There’s an aching sublimity to it; note the use of Arvo Part’s “Spiegel Im Spiegel” in the trailer. And with Children of Men, Cuarón showed there isn’t a filmmaker alive more adept at communicating raw physical desperation through how he places his camera. Every year, I think, we hope for at least one movie that goes beyond high entertainment to offer a kind of cleansing or absolution. My bet’s on Gravity. –Jeff Spross
- All Is Bright (October 4) – First of all, this is a Christmas tree movie that is being released in October. That, off the bat, is not showing too much confidence the studio has in it. But, Paul Morrison has waited eight years to bring us the follow up to his lovely debut “Junebug”, Paul Rudd and Paul Giamatti (as Canadian Xmas Tree selling immigrants) and Sally Hawkins (As a Russian HouseSitter) round out the cast, and what is the fall/winter movie season without a seasonoal dark comedy to keep us grounded? – Svetlana
- Runner Runner (October 4) – The trailer for Runner Runner, the newest guy-tries-to-cheat-the-gambling-system-and-regrets-it drama from the writing team that bought us “The Rounders” starts out very strong (sex! beaches! money! Ben Affleck playing smarmy! Justin Timberlake in suits that keep fitting better and better as he ascends the criminal ladder) but then it turns a little too long and to some, this may be worrisome. Still the Affleck/Timberlake jawline chemistry is strong, and director David Furman, who did wonders with the seeming predictability of John Grisham’s The Lincoln Lawyer, is on the helm and all in all, this could turn into a pretty fun run for everyone. – Svetlana
- A.C.O.D. (October 4) -Comedy fans rejoice, your “Party Down,” “Parks and Recreation,” “Step-Brothers” reunion is here! Adam Scott stars in “A.C.O.D.” (short for Adult Children of Divorce) Amy Poehler plays his step-mom. Richard Jenkins plays his dad. Catherine O’Hara plays his mom. Whatever happens in this movie is irrelevant. I will buy the super-deluxe 3-disc version on DVD as long as there’s days upon days of extras. I want this foursome to be best friends and hang out. They could tour the country and just have casual conversations on stage. Early reviews aren’t too promising, but based on this cast, it’s going to be impossible to live up to its potential. If you go in with Mike Judge film level expectations, you’ll probably leave pleased. Brandon Wetherbee
- Mademoiselle C (October) – Simply (and oversimply) put, Mademoiselle C is the French version of The September Issue, the 2009 documentary about Vogue’s Anna Wintour. But this time, audiences will get a glimpse into the glamorous life and career of French Vogue’s former editor-in-chief Carine Roitfeld. This documentary promises a little less dragon lady and a lot of reverence from some of fashion’s finest. After all, the only thing more cool and style street-cred worthy than a film about the guiding force behind Vogue is to put a French twist on it. Plus, why not learn a little something about fashion from a kick ass French lady? –Emily Catino
- Great Expectations (October 11) – What is a winter/fall movie season without a little Dickensian sadness sprinkled in. Mike Newell (“Four Weddings and a Funeral”, “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” and “Donnie Brasco”) is at the helm and the cast looks ready and as game as any this fall. Helena Bonham Carter as Miss Havisham and Ralph Fiennes as Magwitch are on hand to chew any scenery (or wigs) left lying around, and Robbie Coltrane, Sally Hawkins round out the grown up cast, while Jeremy Irvine and Holliday Grainger as they young lovers in the midst of it all look beautiful and tortured and petulent as can be. Sure, we’ve seen this all before, but if it is done well, there is no reason not to look forward to it all again – Svetlana
- All The Boys Love Mandy Lane (October 11) – Back in 2007, Mandy Lane was the belle of the film festival circuit ball, causing a bidding war and more. Still, six years have passed before she got her chance at mainstream audiences and if for nothing else, the BYT reader should be intrigued enough to see what we’ve been not-knowingly waiting for all these years. Amber Heard, as the titular character, heads on a weekend getaway with a bunch of “friends”, only for all of them to start dropping dead one by one. This may not sound like much but around Halloween, a pretty good, funny, smartly executed slasher film goes a long way-Svetlana
- CBGB (October 11) -This is a tough one. It’s sorta bullshit to see a bunch of actors lip-synch (sing?) a bunch of punk rock classics from the Ramones, Blondie and Iggy. It’s also sorta bullshit to see the Ramones do it in “Rock and Roll High School.” So it’s sorta a wash.
This movie might be good. Alan Rickman doesn’t star in garbage. Then again, the drummer from the Foo Fighters is playing Iggy Pop and looks like garbage in the trailer. It might be best to wait until this is on Spike or the Esquire Network or VH1 every Saturday afternoon for a year beginning in six months. You’ll feel slightly less dirty watching very pretty actors portray very ugly musicians.- Brandon Wetherbee
- Gambit (October 11) – Coen Brothers wrote this funny/dry caper set in the art world and while they didn’t do the directing honors (Michael Hoffman of “Soapdish” and “Midsummer Night’s Dream” has the honors) all signs still point to a good time. For one, Colin Firth is the smart, desperate lead, art curator Harry Dane. Alan Rickman is his client and nemesis. Cameron Diaz is a brassy American who Dane hires to help pull this sting off, and Stanley Tucci and the always reliable Tom Courtney make appearances too. Add to that: a jet setting schedule, gorgeous parties and a fair amount of Japanese businessman and you have yourself an hour and a half spent in very good, very witty company.-Svetlana
- Romeo and Juliet (October 11) -Every generation deserves their own version of this perfect vision of teenage love. The last one got Mr. Titanic, the lady from “Homeland” and +. This generation gets Pig Vomit from “Private Parts,” the fella from “Homeland” and &. The film appears to have more in common with the 1968 version than the 1998 version, other than the new music from Zola Jesus. If you’re under 18 you’ll enjoy it. If you teach an English class to teenagers, you’ll be able to watch it without cringing. If you’re neither of these things, it’s probably best to stay away.- Brandon Wetherbee
- Effie Gray (October 12) – the name of Euphemia Chalmers Millais doesn’t meant too much to gossip mongers or theatre goers of 2013, but back in the 1800s Effie Gray was at the very center of one of the most talked about, dramatic AND romantic Victorian love triangles/affairs/scandals. Now, under the knowing producing hand of Emma Thompson, she gets her day in the big screen spotlight. Dakota Fanning plays Effie, and Tom Sturridge as painter John Millais and Greg Wise as theatre critic John Ruskin are the two men she ends up being tied with. Expect: gorgeous settings, intelligent conversations and the kind of love that inspires and destroys great men -Svetlana
- Kill Your Darlings (October 16) – The year was 1944 and Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, William Burroughs and Lucien Carr were all a bunch of bright, young, caution-to-the-wind things living in NYC, studying, loving and finding themselves at the center of a murder mystery. Sadly, and predictably for 2013 “Kill Your Darlings” in these pre-release days is mostly known as the movie in which Daniel Radcliffe (as Ginsberg) has gay sex on the big screen with Dane DeHaan (as Carr) but we, for one, hope it turns out to be so much more than that. A case study in the original cool which we never quite got with “The Road” adaptation, and a look at an artist as a young man done well, for starters. – Svetlana
- Camille Claudel 1915 (October 16) – Juliette Binoche has always had the kind of face that always does her best service when left alone and unsurrounded by other distractions. The kind of face that is capable of carrying a story all by itself, the kind of face that haunts you, words unsaid. Revisit “Blue” if you need a reminder. Now, in this heartbreaking, intimate biopic she gets to do it again. Set completely in an asylum, where Claudel’s family has exiled her, the wonderful, tortured sculptress (who will never create art again) sits and thinks and waits, in anticipation of a visit from her brother Paul. And all there is left for us to do is stare – Svetlana
- 12 Years A Slave (October 17) – As far as Oscar bait goes the Steve McQueen helmed tale of slavery, freedom, courage and compromise is leading the way, anticipation wise. McQueen (previously of such fare as “Shame” and “Hunger”) reunites with Michael Fassbender and adds a cast worth writing home about. Chiwetel Ejiofor, as titular character Solomon Northrup, has all but already been handing the Academy Award for his role, and the fact that he stands out in a group that also involves Benedict Cumberbatch, Brad Pitt, Paul Dano AND Paul Giamatti speaks volumes. Add to that McQueen’s non-compromising filmmaking style and unavoidable intensity, and we probably have on our hands the most talked about movie about human rights of the last decade (or more) – Svetlana
- All Is Lost (October 18) – J.C. Chandor follows us the smart, effective, ensemble “Margin Call” with a tale of one man’s battle for survival. The fact that that man is played by the one and only Robert Redford, in a role both contemplative and deeply physical, and that the survival involves a sea so wild and scary not even a big whale could make it more prohibitive, leads us to only one conclusion: Mellville would have no choice but to approve. -Svetlana
- The Fifth Estate (October 18) – The perfect movie for the television fan that finds “The Newsroom” subtle. Sherlock, aka Benedict Cumberbatch, plays the role of WikiLeaks founder/guy with silver hair/42-year-old (wow) Julian Assange. The film chronicles the rise and possible fall of the influential whistle-blower. It also includes lines like, “If we had someone like you, the Berlin Wall would have come down years before.” This looks bad. But it has an excellent cast (Cumberbatch, Stanley Tucci, Laura Linney) so maybe some steller performaces of exagerated real people will make it more than a caricature of a hero.- Brandon Wetherbee
- Blue is the Warmest Color (October 25) – This movie was the surprise winner of the Palme d’Or at Cannes Film Festival and ever since it won there has been a slew of amazing reviews. Directed by Abdellatif Kechiche and based on the graphic novel “Blue Angel,” the movie follows the life 15 year old Adèle as she falls in love with Emma, a college student with blue hair, and struggles with her homophobic friends as well as their tumultuous relationship. If the trailer is any indication then it’s going to be absolutely beautiful, incredibly gut wrenching, and totally rated NC-17. –Kaylee Dugan
- The Counselor (October 25) – The star power behind “The Counsellor” is BLINDING. Brad Pitt, Michael Fassbender, Penelope Cruz, Cameron Diaz AND Javier Bardem are just the tip of the Hollywood iceberg roaming the streets of Cormac McCarthy’s screenwriting debut (directed by Ridley Scott, just for good, heavy handed measure). Expect: nightmarish scenarios only McCarthy could dream up, a fair dose of glamour and of course, a storyline where EVERYTHING IS RISKED and a lot is lost. I am keeping my fingers crossed. – Svetlana
- Spinning Plates (October 25) – In a world where chefs are stars and restaurant reservations are the new status symbol, comes a documentary following three very different dining operations and food fans should be excited. A 150 year old family restaurant is juxtaposed with a fledgling, commercial Mexican operation and finally with Grant Achatz’s Alinea in Chicago, a three Michelin star/thee ring circus-the cuisine. Come hungry – Svetlana
- Diana (November 1) Making a major motion picture about one of the most beloved women of the 20th century was always going to be a challenging task and 2013 brings us two such films (see below for “Grace of Monaco”-ed). In this edition, Princess Diana is played by Naomi Watts, prosthetic nose and all, as she navigates the final few years of her must-watch life. The fact that the directorial chair has been occupied by a German and that the British people’s princess is played by an Australian implies that the English were too afraid to touch this project in case they didn’t do a noble enough job, which is a shame, because Di deserved a love song sung by her own. – Svetlana
- Dallas Buyers Club (November 1) – This movie looks like it’s going to be one of those films that’s super hard to watch, but in the best and most important ways. Of course no one is chomping at the bit to see a movie where the main character is homophobic, misogynistic, and dying of AIDS but that doesn’t mean that they won’t. Dallas Buyers Club chronicles the end of Ron Woodruff’s life when he goes to extremes to find illegal AIDS medication first for himself and then others. The film is based on a true story and took over 10 years to be agreed to make, so you pretty much know that people really weren’t sure how this plot would play. Hard to imagine with such a sunny storyline, right? But despite everything the movie was put into production, and Ron Woodruff’s actions changed the face of HIV-AIDS treatment. This film appears to be an important piece in the history of HIV-AIDS in the United States and is likely significant viewing. –Emily Catino
- Philomina (November 1) – Are you one of those jaded movie goers who turns your nose up at a heart-wrenching human interest story? Well STOP IT, because of you are then you’re seriously gonna be missing out on some prime filmmaking (not to mention likely Oscar bait) in Stephen Frears Philomena. The film, which stars Judie Dench (excuse me, DAME Judi Dench), follows the true story of a woman who was forced to sell her child into adoption through the Catholic Church 50 years later as she tries to find her lost son with the help of a disgraced journalist, played by Steve Coogan. What emerges from this tragic, yet uplifting tale is a true gem of a film and is generating serious buzz wherever it is played. –Emily Catino
- Ender’s Game (November 1) – In a deep, dark future, decades after the aliens have destroyed Earth as we know it, a young, gifted man enters a military training academy in anticipation of even worse things to come. Based on the wildly popular novel of the same name, “Ender’s Game” could be yet another attempt Hollywood makes to cash in on the “Hunger Games” madness surrounding us, but the cast flicks a light switch in my movie going mind. The kids are played by three of the most promising, smart young actors working today (Asa Butterfield, Abigail Breslin and Hailee Steinfield), and the grown up corner is held by Harrison Ford and Ben Kingsley, both of whom have a great track record in terms of knowing which epic to get involved with on the ground level. Fingers crossed- Svetlana
- The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology (November 1) – If you don’t know who Slavoj Zizek is, well, he is probably the coolest academician around at present, even if you won’t find him giving TED Talks. The irreverent and brilliant Czech philosopher/ideology-unraveler follows upThe Pervert’s Guide to Cinema with yet another thoroughly engrossing and entertaining film (and don’t call this a documentary…it’s a one-man show). By joining forces with filmmaker Sophie Fiennes, it runs like a cultural studies student’s wet dream, a parsing out of ideology in the most gloriously hilarious way. –Toni Tileva
- Thor: The Dark World (November 8) – I’m a firm defender of the first Thor. It certainly wasn’t amazing, but after Iron Man it was the second-best of the pre-Avengers Marvel films. DIrector Kenneth Branagh anchored a truly ludicrous narrative world in a character-driven story about a young man’s moral shallowness in being willing to embrace war, and the reckoning that followed. Chris Hemsworth’s approach to an equally ludicrous character was endearingly yeoman-like, and Natalie Portman, Stellan Skarsgard, Kat Dennings, Anthony Hopkins and Tom Hiddleston all acquitted themselves with panache. So by my lights Thor: The Dark World has been set up well for success. The premise and the forces arrayed against Thor this time appear more ominous and threatening, and the trailers have dropped the bracing hint that Portman’s character may not live to see the end credits. There’s also the deliciously amoral glee at seeing the endearingly indefatigable Loki released from prison to offer what help or complications he may. The movie is being helmed by Alan Taylor, who’s been working in TV until now, so let’s hope he remembers Branagh’s formula: seek to break Thor, only to discover the meat-and-potatoes nobility that lies underneath that lurid Shakespearean exterior. –Jeff Spross
- About Time (November 8) – From the man who brought us “Love, Actually” comes a tale of love, time travel, missed and regained opportunities and adorable British accents. Rachel McAdams is there in all her toothy, dream girl glory (is there an actress working today who has been more type-cast as a girl worth risking everything over?) and Bill Nighy shows up to keep things dry and funny, as needed. In my mind, my girlfriends and I already have bought tickets to this opening weekend, are going to have a glass of red wine beforehand and a hot toddy after it, and we are definitely sneaking in some serious chocolate into the movie theatre. And we’re not ashamed of it AT ALL. – Svetlana
- The Wolf of Wall Street (November 16) – Given all his accolades, it is easy to forget that Scorsese’s films can be hilarious. Goodfellas has its share of gallows humor, and the opening hour of Casino is so matter of fact about crime that it’s funny.After Hours is a terrific dark comedy, and even The Departed has its moments of levity. The Wolf of Wall Street, based on the real-life exploits of Jordan Belfort, does not look like a morality tale in the vein of Oliver Stone’s Wall Street. Instead, it appears to have more in common with American Psycho: it’s a descent into gleeful, amoral madness that also serves as a commentary on excess in Wall Street culture. I doubt Scorsese will have DiCaprio’s character feed a stray cat to an ATM and The Wolf of Wall Street focuses on the early nineties, not the eighties, so the comparisons to American Psycho are mostly in tone, not content. Still, I’m certain there will be plenty of over-the-top moments where we laugh at Belfort’s audacity. –Alan Zilberman
- Hunger Games: Catching Fire (November 22) – Considering how terrible most of the YA-based films of recent years has been, The Hunger Games stands out as a darker, more disturbing take on this trend, less interested in creating romantic entanglements than creating political allegories and having children kill each other. Catching Fire has Katniss Everdeen dealing with the repercussions of her actions in the last Hunger Games, while also preparing for possibly reentering the arena. This second outing also ups the star-power with Oscar-winning writers Michael Arndt (Little Miss Sunshine, Toy Story 3) and Simon Beaufoy (Slumdog Millionaire,127 Hours) penning the sequel, and with Jena Malone and Philip Seymour Hoffman joining the cast. Catching Fire seems set to be better than the original, while setting up for the shocking conclusion. –Ross Bonaime
- Nebraska (November 22) – Alexander Payne (The Descendants, Sideways) is back with another movie set in his home state. This time it’s about the adventures of an alcoholic father (Bruce Dern) and his estranged son (Will Forte) traveling from Montana to Nebraska in order to claim a million dollar sweepstakes prize. It’s filmed entirely in black and white, and its limited will give an opportunity to appreciate its modest ambition deeply. It also has Bob Odenkirk (Breaking Bad, SNL) playing Forte’s brother, which will impress your TV and comedy addicted friends. It’s an all around friend pleaser. –Kaylee Dugan
- Oldboy (November 27) – I know, I know, you can almost hear the groan every time someone brings up that the now classic Korean film Oldboy is getting remade. Look, we all knew there would eventually be an American remake, and at least it’s not the god-awful sounding Will Smith/Steven Spielberg version that was in the works. From the first trailer, it looks like Spike Lee might have nailed the mood and disturbing nature of the original with a pretty great cast that includes Josh Brolin, Elizabeth Olsen and Samuel L. Jackson. Lee’s directed the story of a man dealing with the consequences of imprisonment before (The 25th Hour), so if this was going to happen, it’s probably in the best hands possible. Lee’s Oldboy just might be one of the few examples of a remake living up to the original. –Ross Bonaime
- Grace of Monaco (November 27) – Making a major motion picture about one of the most beloved women of the 20th century was always going to be a challenging task and 2013 brings us two such films (see above for “Diana”-ed). Once again, an Australian (this time around Nicole Kidman) takes on the iconic role and the costumes look lovely, and the settings look lovely, and Parker Posey pops up. Unlike “Diana” though, this biopic is brought to us by a man who knows a thing or two about making a movie about famous women. Oliver Dahan previously helmed the lovely, heartbreaking “La Vie En Rose” and hopefully he brings that hand on board here too. – Svetlana
- Out of the Furnace (December 6) -Rumor has it that Christian Bale re-arranged his whole schedule in order to be able to make this revenge thriller. Written and directed by Scott Cooper (who proved he knows a thing or two about tortured men with “Crazy Heart”) the film is a relatively straightforward tale of brotherly love, bad decisions and not being able to escape the consequences of said bad decisions, but the cast it attracted (on top of Bale, Casey Affleck, Woody Harrelson and Zoe Saldana are also around) it could be greater than the sum of its collective parts – Svetlana
- The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (December 13) – Peter Jackson won’t and, apparently, can’t quit. You know what you’re getting yourselves into here, you don’t need me to explain it. – Svetlana
- The Monuments Men (December 18) – I’m in the minority in thinking that George Clooney’s directorial efforts so far haven’t been that strong. Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, Good Night and Good Luck and The Ides of March all felt close to being something great, but each came up lacking. And let’s not even talk about Leatherheads. That all could change in The Monuments Men, which looks sort of like Clooney making a cross between Inglourious Basterds with Ocean’s 11, coupled with one of the best casts this year. Clooney leads a group that includes Matt Damon, Bill Murray, John Goodman, Jean Dujardin, Bob Balaban, and Hugh Bonneville (THE EARL OF GRANTHAM!) to save priceless works of art before Hitler destroys them. But Clooney had me at Bill Murray vs. Hitler. –Ross Bonaime
- Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues (December 20) – As much as it was desired, it’s sort of insane to think that Adam McKay would even consider making a second Anchorman. The daunting task means basically trying to create a sequel every bit as good as the original, which has become one of the most quoted and beloved comedies of all time. It’s basically impossible to believe The Legend Continues will be a great as the original, but man, it’s going to be wonderful to see the return of Brian Fantana, Brick Tamland, Champ Kind and Ron Burgundy as they enter the 80s. –Ross Bonaime
- Inside Llewyn Davis (December 20) – The Coen Bros have covered a lot of ground by this point. But I don’t think they’ve done anything quite like Inside Llewyn Davis before, if the trailer is any indication. Like O Brother, Where Art Thou? it’s anchored in a particular musical genre and cultural moment; in this case, it’s New York City’s folk scene in the early 1960s. And like The Big Lebowski it features a ragtag crew of oddballs all searching for some form of purpose or peace. But Inside Llewyn Davis’ absurdism seems toned way down from those predecessors. It’s still there, but sharper and more focused. The Coens’ observation this time looks built around the quiet looks and the empty space of pauses, and the heart-rending look of exhaustion on Oscar Isaac’s face as a he faces another day. His Llewyn Davis doesn’t appear to be a creature of broad slapstick or whimsical counter-cultural throwback; he’s just a moderately talented artist who’s also a fuck-up in his personal life and a bit of a prick. His fellow characters appear just as cracked in their own ways, with Carrey Mulligan in particular utterly exasperated by him yet unable to cut ties. Even the wintry setting and reminiscently gauzy film stock feel more unforgiving. In short, Inside Llewyn Davis looks like the Coens’ first ground-level drama in their post-No-Country-For-Old-Men-era: more hard-bitten and honest about our inability to transcend our flaws, yet with the lyricism and the grace still buried somewhere under the surface. –Jeff Spross
- Saving Mr. Banks (December 20) – Tom Hank as Walt Disney. One of the greatest character actors playing the man who created some of the most beloved characters of all time. AND just in time for Christmas. Need I say more? Saving Mr. Banks tells the story of how Walt Disney came to convince the writer of the popular tale of Mary Poppins to allow him to make her novel turn into film gold for the generations. I think everyone with a childhood has seen Mary Poppins, but most probably don’t know how her story came to be. With a truly awesome cast (Tom Hanks, Emma Thompson, Paul Giamatti, and Jason Shwartzman to name a few) and with an already established lovable tale, I don’t know where this movie can go wrong. I love Disney movies and I’m not afraid to admit it. I think this movie has the opportunity to open doors to more films about the inner-workings of Disney (as long as Disney puts its stamp of approval on it) and could showcase the equally important players behind the mega-hit apart from Disney, himself. Or it could just be another “ignore all the bad publicity about Disney, he was such a perfect specimen that even Tom Hanks will play him!” Either way, this movie looks super cute. And we DO mean it as a compliment-Emily Catino
- August: Osage County (December 25) – I realize this one could be hit or miss. Working from his own Tony and Pulitzer-winning play, Tracy Letts adapts his sprawling three-act dramedy for the big screen. Letts’ plays have been filmed before, both times by William Friedkin: Bug is a disturbing descent into madness, while Killer Joe is a disturbing decent into depravity. Letts applies the same relentlessness to August, except instead of on-screen violence he showcases a family who’s miles beyond the point of reconciliation. This is the kind of material that actors relish, and the cast is full of A-listers: Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Ewan McGregor, Benedict Cumberbatch, and several others round out the cast. The problem is the director: John Wells does not match the qualifications of his cast. Plays can be difficult to adapt, particularly when the playwright confines the action to one setting, so this one runs the risk of feeling too stagey. But given the strength of Letts’ dialogue and the reputation of the actors, there’s the chance August: Ossage County can traverse into another medium to become the year’s most memorable dark comedy. –Alan Zilberman
- Jack Ryan: Shadow One (December 25) – Taking on the role of Tom Clancy’s super spy Jack Ryan (a spot previously held by Harrison Ford, Alex Baldwin and Ben Affleck) is a daunting task but Chris Pine has never shied away from stepping into some major shoes (“Star Trek” anyone?) and mostly coming out alive. In “Shadow One” Ryan is young, cocky and ready to take on the Russians as if the last twenty years have never happened. Keira Knightly and Kevin Costner join in on the globe trotting, terrorist-attack-preventing fun and Kenneth Branagh in the director’s chair will hopefully have enough intelligence and sensibility to execute this beyond the expected franchise tropes. – Svetlana
- American Hustle (December 25) – David O. Russell’s last two films, The Fighter and Silver Linings Playbook, have an addictive quality for me. I saw both a combined seven times in theaters, and I probably could’ve gone more. That’s because this period of Russell’s work hasn’t necessarily been groundbreaking, but rather refining genres that we already know (sports films, romantic comedies), and just making them really good. His latest film, American Hustle is like a cast mash up of his last two films (also with Jeremy Renner & Louis C.K. thrown in for good measure) about a con man teaming up with an FBI agent to take down the underworld powerhouses of 70s Jersey. Even if it’s terrible, I’ll probably see it about nine times. –Ross Bonaime
- The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (December 25) – I will maintain that maybe the best thing I’ve seen in theaters this year is the first trailer for The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. The last decade has led Ben Stiller to directing more straight-forward comedies like Zoolander and Tropic Thunder, but Walter Mitty seems to have Stiller in more of a morose, Noah Baumbach inspired attitude. Slightly depressed Stiller is always greater than the neurotic Stiller that audiences loved him for, so having him as Walter Mitty – a character who escapes into his dreams to get away from his everyday life – looks like a perfect combination for Stiller. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is by far my most anticipated film of 2013, now it just has to be greater than that trailer. –Ross Bonaime
- Her (January 10) – Technology compounds loneliness. Even if you have roommates or live with your significant other, imagine an evening where no one is home and you have nothing to do. What do you do? Check Facebook and Twitter, right? Your friends are posting about their weekend weddings, or posting yet another gorgeous Instagram of the New York skyline. The irony is that all these tools and social networks are meant to bring us closer together, when the opposite is far more common. Spike Jonze’s Her takes that premise to its logical conclusion: it imagines a personalized operating system that’s like a cross between2001: A Space Odyssey’s HAL and a sexy new girlfriend. Joaquin Phoenix stars as Theodore, the lonely guy and question, and Scarlett Johansson provides the voice of the operating system. The trailer suggests that Jonze follows his idea with inexorable logic, to the point where Theodore inadvertently shatters his idea of reality. Jonze’s other films dealt with similar approaches to science fiction, so while loneliness is the subject, I’m certain he’ll handle his characters with bizarre reserves of empathy. –Alan Zilberman
- Labor Day (January 31) – Jason Reitman has really stuck with comedy since Thank You For Smoking in 2005, following it up with Juno, Up in the Air and Young Adult. All of these were comedies infused with drama that were what made them work, but Labor Day looks like it’s going to be a great departure for Reitman. Starring Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin, Labor Day involves a mother and child unknowingly giving an escaped convict a ride as the police search for the wanted man. It’s a complete 180 for the man who once directed a scene where an actual human being said the line “one doodle that can’t be un-did Homeskillet.” I know, dumb, right? –Ross Bonaime
- Machete Kills (October 11) – Truth in advertising. Goodbye, Lindsay Lohan. Hello, Amber Heard (The Rum Diary), Alexa Vega (Spy Kids), Vanessa Hudgens (could have been in Spy Kids), Sofía Vergara (could have played a mom in Spy Kids) and Lady Gaga (should have been in Spy Kids). Welcome back, Jessica Alba and Michelle Rodriguez. To make this fun romp even more absurd, Mel Gibson and Charlie Sheen are welcomed into the fold.
I will enjoy this work of art because Machete catches a knife and then wields that knife at the man that threw that knife. That’s very cool. I am a teenage boy. If you’re a fan of Danny Trejo taking a 90-minute victory lap, an unhealthy amount of fake blood and naked flesh, you will enjoy Robert
Rodriguez’ newest celebration of losing life on film. – Brandon Wetherbee
- Carrie (October 18) – Stephen King’s Carrie is back on the big screen and while it’s probably going to be terrible we’re all definitely going to see it. The bad news is that the incredibly pretty Chloë Moretz is our leading lady. While I’m sure Moretz is really nice, she’s just not weird looking enough to play the shy, bullied, ugly, murderous, psychic Carrie we all know and love. The good news is that Kimberly Peirce (Boys Don’t Cry) is in the director’s chair. The best news is that the amazing Julianne Moore is playing Carrie’s crazy religious mother! If that’s the only reason you go see it that’s a pretty good reason. –Kaylee Dugan
- Paradise (October 18) – Diablo Cody, bless her erratic heart has a pretty questionable track record these days and her directorial debut “Paradise” (originally known as “Lamb of God”) could really go either way, with strong signs (Julianne Hough) pointing in the disaster direction. Still, a tale of a young Catholic girl named Lamb, who suffers a crisis of faith after a car crash and embarks on a journey of sin in Las Vegan could be good, old-fashioned trashy fun, and Russell Brand and Nick Offerman are there to help. Still, early reports imply a distinct lack of irony in the proceedings which, on top of Hough, could be the final nail in the “Paradise” coffin – Svetlana
- Escape Plan (October 18) – This is a movie set in prison, starring Arnold Schwarzenneger and Sylvester Stalone. 50 Cent and Vinnie Jones add the muscle. I assume there is a plot, and that it involves the two words mentioned in the title. The end.- Svetlana
- Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa (October 25) – You know what you’re getting with this. You’ll laugh and regret laughing. Or not laugh and hate people that are laughing. Either reaction is perfectly fine. Warrant’s “Cherry Pie” is in the trailer. That’s never a good sign. In this case, a bad movie that knows its a bad movie may mean “Cherry Pie” is a good sign.-Brandon Wetherbee
- Last Vegas (November 1) – Okay. This movie has already been (in my opinion) aptly dubbed as “The Geriatric Hangover.” If that doesn’t kill whatever cool factor this movie may have once held because of the cast (Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman, Michael Douglas, and Kevin Kline), then I really don’t know what will. It was bad enough to see thirty-somethings engaging in juvenile debauchery (fine, I didn’t completely hate the first Hangover, but still) but it’s a hell of a lot more disturbing when sixty-somethings engage in said debauchery. Most of all, all of these actors can/have/should be doing so much better! All I can do is pray that it’s not what it’s rumored to be and has even a puddle’s depth to it. –Emily Catino
- Delivery Man (November 22) – Hey guys, Vince Vaughn is playing a loser-type in a movie, THIS IS UNHEARD OF! Wait, he almost exclusively plays that character? Well then, Delivery Man is a movie about a guy who donated a lot of sperm to a fertility clinic and finds out he has fathered 533 children then tries to find them. Maybe you shouldn’t see this movie if you don’t want your brain to sink to your bowels. Based on a true story though…not actually. But it is based on a 2011 French-Canadian film called Starbuck and if this premise catches your eye, you’re probably better off seeing that version. – Emily Catino
- Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas (December 13) – Love him or hate him, it’s undeniable that Tyler Perry has excellent posters for his movies. The poster for this 2013 holiday film is nearly as good as the alternate version of the Madea Goes to Jail poster.
I’m not going to see this film. I’ve seen a few scenes of each Tyler Perry film while looking through basic cable on the weekends. It’s not for me. I know it’s not for me. It’s absurd to skewer a film that I haven’t seen based on the few moments from Perry’s film that don’t deliver. But I sure do like the posters. Perry has a great eye for graphic design. Wait a second, Chad Michael Murray from “One Tree Hill” stars in this. And Larry the Cable Guy. What the fuck? And why would Madea work as a department store Santa if she doesn’t like kids? Who would hire her? What the fuck is this? Who sees these? – Brandon Wetherbee
- 47 Ronin (December 25) – Just in time for Christmas, Hollywood has decided to bring us a much delayed (original release was supposed to be over a year a go), big, expensive (to the tune of $175 million) samurai revenge movie with a mostly novice, all Asian cast AND Keanu Reeves, directed by a guy who’s never directed a major motion picture before. This is OBVIOUSLY going to end well.- Svetlana
- Grudge Match (December 25) – Apparently this is the year in which Robert De Niro made all the wrong career decisions, and Sylvester Stallone all the right ones. – Svetlana
With Halloween AND the holidays around the corner a strong focus on the scary, the suspensful AND the ties that bind us all. Enjoy:
- The Awakening – A haunted boarding school story, just in time for Halloween. From our original review: :The Awakening belongs to the same subgenre of supernatural thrillers as The Orphanage and The Others: Low-tech and compact ghost stories that rely on intelligent writing and well-crafted atmospherics to deliver their thrills.While not as existentially horrific as the former, or as gothic as the latter, The Awakening delivers substantive characters (and a great cast, natch, spearheaded by Rebecca Hall, Dominic West and Imelda Staunton-ed), several nerve-wracking sequences, and a twist ending with enough coherent connective tissue to the rest of the story to send you home satisfied”. – Jeff Spross
- Cold Comfort Farm – “Every pre-holiday season could use a touch of family dysfunction in it, and in 1995 John Schlesinger (the man behind such classics as “Darling” and “Marathon Man”) directed a perfect trifle of British sophistication and family manners to be consumed while tucked into a warm blanket, enjoying a glass of sherry. “Cold Comfort Farm” is based on Stella Gibbons’ funny, sharp novel of the same title and tells the tale of an orphan Flora who arrives to stay with her relatives in the English countryside, as a last resort. The house and the movie are populated with the kind of characters the British have built their movie empire on: eccentric, funny, over-sexed in a very proper way, completely delusional and utterly unforgettable. The cast is top notch: Kate Beckinsale, Joanna Lumley, Ian McKellan, Rufus Sewell and Stephen Fry pop up, among others, and the dialogue crackling. What makes this different than some other nugget you may choose randomly off your queue? The fact that there is a big, fat, sloppy heart beating underneath it all” – Svetlana
- Headhunters – A deftly thriller goes a long way, and this stylish twist-within-a-twist-within-a-twist Scandinavian nugget of sex, lies, art stealing and murder (based on a novel by master thriller writer Jo Nesbo) is a perfect cool drink for a cold day. From our original review: “Headhunters has high demands for its audience. I don’t mean to say this thriller has a impossibly labyrinthine plot, or unlikable characters. Norwegian filmmaker Morten Tyldum is demanding when he escalates the action into the extreme, forcing us to trust whether he can pull this off. And with an infectious strain of unexpected dark humor, he nearly does” -Alan Zilberman
- OUR IDIOT BROTHER – what our original review said: Lets face it, “Our Idiot Brother,” the new Park Slope based comedy about siblings written and directed by the well-heeled sibling offspring of the man that created “The New Republic”, which stars all sorts of actors well-heeled people love to see on the screen (Emily Mortimer, Paul Rudd, Steve Coogan, Adam Scott, Zooey Deschanel and Elizabeth Banks for starters), has equal likability and instant backlash potential. I mean, the film may as well be be called “White People Problems”. Blessedly, it is fully aware of everything it is, so much so that I, in fact, not only liked it BUT ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT. There, I said it (and what it says about me, I don’t want to know).
- THE SILENCE – for those on a tear now that “The Killing” and “Top Of The Lake” AND “Broadchurch” are over. Note: not a miniseries, BUT A FILM. A FILM! From our original review: -“When it’s at its worst, grief does not come in waves. It’s more like a flood, or a torrent: relentless and inescapable. There are few solaces – a lover, maybe, or an obsession – but even then the grief pushes harder and harder until there’s no alternative beyond acceptance. All the characters in the German film The Silence are experiencing some degree of grief. Some yearn for a lost relative, whereas others cannot get over their failures or primal urges. For all its misery, director Baran bo Odar avoids manipulation at every turn, and instead constructs a melancholy thriller about two horrendous crimes.” Alan Zilberman
- HEARTBREAKER – A perfect vacation of a movie. Romain Duris (whom you may remember from L’Auberge Espagnole) stars as a break-up artists, a guy you hire to open the eyes of women in your lives (sisters, daughters, friends…) to the fact that the relationship they are in is simply not good enough for them. His operation is neat and elegant, a SWAT style team drop-in/seduce/evacuate operation until he fall for his next mark. The fact that she is played by the always elegant and lovely Vanessa Paradis explains a lot and the two face off across fancy beaches, gorgeous stores and lovely hotel rooms. A whole lot of winks to “Dirty Dancing” are included. Pour yourself a bubbly cocktail and enjoy. –Svetlana
- SIDE EFFECTS – from our original review: “Most ads for prescription drugs are baffling. When the pleasant sounding voice actor obediently lists all the unpleasant, unintended consequences, they invariably sound worse than the condition that’s being treated. That uneasy tension is a part of Side Effects, the new thriller from Steven Soderbergh. While prescriptions are the catalyst for the plot, Soderbergh and screenwriter Scott Z. Burns are not so interested in pharmaceutical industry. Instead, their movie is downright Hitchcockian, with themes and shots that the Master of Suspense loved. Despite the inspiration, Soderbergh still makes the movie his, and his cold distance from his actors creates an unusual kind of suspense.”-Alan Zilberman
- LOVE ACTUALLY – Literally a case of a Christmas come early For the first time in recent history, Netflix has gone and made sure that the ultimate holiday movie is ready and just a push of a button away for all your holiday viewing needs. Don’t forget.
- Joan Crawford Retrospective @ National Theatre – now through Nov 25th. Joan gets her day in the DC movie sun, finally. From “Mildred Pierce” to “Grand Hotel” to the inevitably popular “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?”, we are about to get an education in what it meant to be a TRUE movie star. ALL FREE.
- Landmark Theater Midnight Movies: – every Friday and Saturday Landmark hosts a great series of midnight movies. While some are expected and happen with some frequency throughout the year (The Room and Rocky Horror Picture show), there is always a great rotating batch to still take into account. Save the dates for: Beetlejuice (Oct. 4 & 5), A Nightmare on Elm Street (Oct 11 & 12), Shaun of the Dead (Oct 18 & 19), and An American Werewolf in London (Nov 1 & 2), among others
- Angelika Mosaic Hitchcock-tober – Angelika is celebrating October with midnight Hitchcock movies every Thursday. ON THE DOCKET: Oct 3rd: North by Northwest; Oct 10th: Rear Window; Oct 17th: Rope; Oct 24th: The Birds; Oct 31st: Psycho.
- Union Market Drive-In Encore Series – October 4th – November 1st – the wildly popular summer free drive-in series gets an encore edition this October. Each screening is tied to a holiday (October 4th is National Golf Day, so you get Caddyshack) and the films are still free, and still first-come-first served based. Also on the roster: Julie & Julia, Good Will Hunting and more…
- Pages of Beauty and Madness: Japanese Writers Onscreen @ Freer Gallery of Art – through October 20th
“Film adaptations from Japan, the United States, Korea, and Cambodia offer a cross-cultural exploration of the rich history of Japanese literature, from classic novels to modern manga.”
- Spooky Movie Festival @ AFI Silver Spring – October 10th-19th- One of BYT’s favorite pre-Halloween traditions returns with teen sex horrors, French body horror, a BOBCAT GOLDTHWAIT RETROSPECTIVE, midnight screenings of Blacula and more. All the gore you can handle and then some.
- Arabian Sights @ AMC Mazza Gallerie – Oct 25th – Nov 3rd
“The 18th Annual Arabian Sights Film Festival returns October 25 – November 3 with the best in contemporary cinema from across the Arab world. Arabian Sights will present two jammed packed weekends of the newest and most captivating films of the year.”
- Pier Paolo Pasolini Series @ National Gallery of Art – Nov 2nd – Nov 30th – to celebrate Pasolini’s 90th birthday the National Gallery of Art is showcasing some of his most beautiful, unsettling work (much of it freshly restored). Stop by for a dose of gorgeous discomfort and “Oedipus Rex”, “Madea”, “The Decameron” as well as lesser known short films and beyond. ALL FREE.
- Anchorman: The Exhibit @ the Newseum –Nov 14th – Aug 31st
“On November 14, 2013, the Newseum, in partnership with Paramount Pictures, will open “Anchorman: The Exhibit,” featuring props, costumes and footage from the 2004 hit comedy “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy,” prior to the release of its highly anticipated sequel “Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues” from Paramount Pictures on December 20.”