Fall movies to see

By Jason Wojciechowski on August 23, 2003 at 5:42 AM

What am I excited for in the theatres for the coming months? First, Return of the King, of course. I'll still have to rent Two Towers, but I'll get around to it. The internet buzz for a LotR movie to actually win Best Picture has to start now.

More imminent is Once Upon a Time in Mexico, Robert Rodriguez' conclusion of his Mariachi trilogy. I should also rent El Mariachi, by the way, and maybe go ahead and re-watch Desperado to prepare for the final chapter. I absolutely cannot wait to see Johnny Depp in this movie. Anytime you cast Depp, you've made an inspired choice. Besides which, there's something about Rodriguez. Maybe it's the fact that he did everything on his Spy Kids movies, from writing to directing to producing to editing to the music to the special effects ... everything. It's amazing, especially considering how fun and just generally good the first two movies turned out. This'll be September 12.

Woody Allen's new movie, Anything Else, comes out the next weekend. People might be rightfully a little wary, after his last couple of mistakes, but the cast looks good, at least: Christina Ricci, Danny DeVito, Jimmy Fallon. Jason Biggs plays the lead, a writer mentored by Allen's character, and that makes me a little wary. When your entire resume is essentially the American Pie movies and Loser, I'm going to reserve predictions about your wild future successes for a little while. That said, if I'm going to live in Manhattan, isn't it sort of a requirement that I watch Woody Allen's movies?

Lost in Translation is Sofia Coppola's latest effort, starring Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson. We saw a preview for this when we saw The Secret Lives of Dentists this weekend, and it looked pretty good. Tokyo has its own beauty, as usual, and that will add to things, but more importantly, I have faith in Murray to pull off his role magnificently. Who knows, maybe some Adam-Sandler-in-Punch-Drunk-Love-type buzz might be generated. Need another reason to see it? Giovanni Ribisi.

Party Monster, of course, starring Seth Green and Macaulay Culkin, making his return to the big screen. Does anyone realize exactly how long it's been since Culkin's last movie came out? Here's a hint: it was Richie Rich. That was 1994. It's a little hard to believe that Culkin is only 22 (he'll turn 23 later this month) and could still have a good career ahead. He actually has two more movies coming out this year, one called Saved alongside Jena Malone and Mandy Moore, and the other called Jerusalem, which IMDB has basically no information about.

Back to Party Monster: I saw the documentary of the same name while I was at Hampshire, and was semi-intrigued. This time around, the same guys who made that documentary are behind the camera again, so at least we'll have consistency. Physically, Culkin is probably perfect for the part. Pale, somewhat tall, skinny ... he looks like a drug abusing party promoter in the '80's, so that's a good thing. Talent-wise, he's a big-time wait-and-see.

Intolerable Cruelty is George Clooney's newest, and it's also a Coen brothers production. He'll play a sleazy lawyer trying to cheat Catherine Zeta-Jones out of her alimony. Despite that description, many people's first reactions to the posters and publicity for this movie are goint to be the same as Austen's: "He's really trying to be Cary Grant." From the suit to the hair to the facial expressions in the two pictures I've seen from the film, I agree with that impression. If nothing else, this will be interesting for watching Clooney's unique career progression. As Entertainment Weekly notes, though, the big question is, "Will the Coens' style-over-substance approach finally conquer the mainstream?" First, that's a great sentence. They totally dissed the Coens while phrasing their question in this "industry trends" sort of way. But I agree with the sentiment. The Man Who Wasn't There, for example, had lots of style, might even be called pretty, but ... it wasn't really about anything.

My final two for October: Speaking of style over substance, The School of Rock, Richard Linklater's new movie, written by Mike White (of Chuck & Buck fame). It looks much more promising than Waking Life or Slacker, both of which I hated. Lastly, Shattered Glass, about Stephen Glass, the disgraced New Republic writer caught fabricating stories.