1999 Fall Preview
Once again, the best time of year for film lovers has rolled around. The year has
been rather unassuming up to this point. However, the final four months of the year
are the time when the studios crank out their best bets for award consideration.
Looking at the selection, things promise to be more interesting as Y2K approaches!
Without more further ado, here are the top thirty films to which I am looking
forward this season. As of mid-August, all of these films are scheduled to
premiere sometime in the next few months...however, schedules are always subject
to change. In addition, I'm sure there are a few good films I have missed (on last
year's list, I omitted my future top-10 entries:
Life is Beautiful,
Shakespeare in Love.) But, at this
time, the following are the most promising prospects of the fall:
- 30. Jakob the Liar
- Strangely, this Robin Williams led Holocaust drama has been sitting on
the shelf for an entire year. Timing is everything, and this one may
suffer from comparisions to Life is Beautiful.
- 29. Flawless
- Robert De Niro showed he has great comic chops in this year's Analyze This.
Flawless should allow him room for his dramatic skills as well. Philip Seymour Hoffman has long
been a talent worthy of recognition, and he may earn it in this film. However, writer-director Joel Schumacher
is the wild card here, having botched most of his recent outings.
- 28. Breakfast of Champions
- A great cast and a great book...but will it make a great movie? Both Bruce Willis
and Nick Nolte have been having good streaks lately, and hopefully Breakfast of Champions
will continue the trend.
- 27. Stir of Echoes
- Supernatural horror is the ticket right now as millennium fever mounts.
While Stir of Echoes borrows a bit too much from Poltergeist and
Close Encounters, it manages to be consistently creepy in a way that
The Sixth Sense never achieved.
- 26. Random Hearts
- It's time for Harrison Ford's yearly project, but no, this isn't
an action-adventure. However, Kristen Scott Thomas may be the one to click
with Ford as a romantic lead.
- 25. Anna and the King
- Jodie Foster, Chow Yun Fat, and loads of gorgeous scenery. The story's
overly familiar, but those three factors may help to lift this one.
- 24. Ride With the Devil
- Ang Lee doesn't seem like the perfect director for a Western, at first.
However, he didn't seem likely for a '70s coming-of-age film (The Ice Storm,
or a Jane Austen adaptation (Sense and Sensibility),
and he exceled in both cases.
- 23. The Insider
- Michael Mann has always been a director to watch...but what is he
doing directing this TV-movie material? Pacino and Crowe may liven things
- 22. Bicentennial Man
- This one should please the touchy-feely Robin Williams crowd,
but will Robin actually act in this one?
- 21. Angela's Ashes
- A strong cast, a moving memoir. However, this tale will need
a strong marketing push to be heard in the crowded holiday season.
- 20. End of Days
- What's Arnold Schwarzenegger doing in a supernatural thriller?
We can only hope the material will elevate his typical performance,
rather than devolving into a Terminator vs. Satan brawl.
- 19. Toy Story 2
- Yes, it's a sequel. But, it's a sequel to Toy Story!
It will be hard to live up to the original, but at least it looks like
better quality than the traditional Disney direct-to-video garbage.
- 18. Girl Interrupted
- Director James Mangold was impressive with Cop Land,
and he has a strong cast to work with here.
- 17. The Messenger
- The Joan of Arc story doesn't seem very fresh, but Luc Besson
is a great director, and is gifted with a talented cast.
- 16. Mystery, Alaska
- Finally, a feel-good hockey movie that doesn't involve The Mighty Ducks!
- 15. Guinevere
- Sarah Polley has been impressive in everything she's done. Here's
a chance for her to really shine.
- 14. Dogma
- The script is quirky, but not as strong as it should be. However,
Kevin Smith's offbeat casting choices may save the day.
- 13. Three Kings
- Great buzz abounds on this apparently routine Gulf War story.
Still, George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg and Ice Cube may have a chance to shine.
- 12. The Story of Us
- This one has a moving trailer (that apparently shows all of the
key moments, however), a good cast and a strong director.
- 11. Any Given Sunday
- This football drama has a spectacular cast, but can Oliver Stone
tone down his headache-inducing editing style?
- 10. Sleepy Hollow
- It seems like the perfect adaptation for Tim Burton to work on
(much more suited to Burton than Superman).
However, this one has a weak script, and will come under fire for
not following the Irving story at all. Still, Burton's imagery
and eccentric cast should still make this one worth a peek.
- 9. Being John Malkovich
- Perhaps the strangest movie of the season. This one looks loopy
- 8. The Green Mile
- There's lots of buzz around The Green Mile, and any Tom Hanks
film is going to attract attention. Frank Darabont worked wonders with
The Shawshank Redemption, but now he's buttonholed himself as the
director of period prison movies based on the works of Stephen King.
- 7. American Beauty
- Advance word has been terrific on this film, which may turn out
to be the sleeper hit of the Fall. A great cast can't hurt.
- 6. Magnolia
- Paul Thomas Anderson moves from Boogie Nights
to a strange film in the style of Short Cuts. This one promises
to be interesting, if perplexing.
- 5. Man on the Moon
- Jim Carrey may finally get his Oscar nod, according to the buzz
surrounding this Andy Kaufman biopic.
- 4. Cradle Will Rock
- In just his third outing as a director, Tim Robbins promises
to deliver an interesting (and probably controversial) film. He's
lined up a terrific ensemble, and has a great premise to work with here.
- 3. Bringing Out the Dead
- Martin Scorsese is back on the streets of New York. Nicolas Cage
is back in a worthwhile drama. Does any more need to be said?
- 2. The Talented Mr. Ripley
- Director Anthony Minghella has landed a trendy (and talented) cast
for his follow up to The English Patient.
He's got good source material here, and may strike gold twice in a row.
- 1. Fight Club
- David Fincher struck gold four years ago with Se7en.
Fight Club brings him back to the same bleak style (as well as reuniting him
with Brad Pitt). Edward Norton has enlivened every film he's been in,
and it looks like no exception here. But is the world ready for a filmed
adaptation of Chuck Palahniuk's anarchistic novel? I certainly am...
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