Now that the Avengers have kicked alien booty across Manhattan and Batman done rised, it’s time to look forward to fall, when the studios will actually release movies that cost more than fifteen dollars yet somehow don’t feature costumed superheroes as leads. Yeah, I know … go figure. And this fall looks particularly juicy for cinephiles, as some familiar cool-weather franchises are complimented by a number of original stories told by the industry’s greatest directors. Here’s the seven flicks I’m most looking forward to seeing this fall and holiday season …
1. DJANGO UNCHAINED
Release date: December 25
Why I’m excited: Because Quentin Tarantino is my favorite working director. Because his favorite film is The Good, The Bad & The Ugly (nice pick!) and Django promises to be his version of a Spaghetti Western. Because while I’ve never really gone for Jamie Foxx, it looks like Tarantino may have pulled an iconic performance out of him. Because I’m betting Leonardo DiCaprio wins his Oscar for this. Because Christoph Waltz is a badass. Because of Walt Fucking Goggins.
2. THE MASTER
Release date: September 14
Why I’m excited: Because its the first film Paul Thomas Anderson has made since the monumental There Will Be Blood (and only the fourth since he broke through with Boogie Nights). Because rumor has it this movie is a thinly veiled attack on the sketchy origins of Scientology, and that’s a group that deserves to be poked. Because I’m ready for Joaquin Phoenix to be great again. Because Amy Adams is as talented as she is pretty. Because Philip Seymour Hoffman can do no wrong.
3. THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY
Release date: December 14
Why I’m excited: Because even though I’m awfully unsure about this split-into-three-parts thing, it’s still Peter Jackson returning to Middle-Earth for the first time since 2003′s The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. Because Martin Freeman is perfectly cast. Because the novel, while lighter than Rings, has a number of set pieces and emotional moments that I can’t wait to see played out on the big screen. Because Howard Shore never fails in making me all teary-eyed.
4. CLOUD ATLAS
Release date: October 26
Why I’m excited: Because that trailer … oh, man … that trailer. Because the Wachowskis have always been deep thinkers, and this thing looks like the most beautiful mind-fuck I’ve ever seen. Because it’s time for Tom Hanks to be in something epic again. Because the great Keith David is given prominent billing.
5. SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS
Release date: October 12
Why I’m excited: Because this is playwright Martin McDonagh’s second movie following In Bruges, which was one of the best debut films in recently memory. Because one of that movie’s stars, Colin Ferrell, is back to play the lead in this one. Because he’s joined this time around by no less than Christopher Walken, Woody Harrelson and Sam Rockwell. Because you know the dialogue is going to be endlessly quotable.
Release date: November 9
Why I’m excited: Because Daniel Craig needs another great Bond film besides Casino Royale to secure his spot as my all-time favorite 007, and this could be it. Because Sam Mendes (American Beauty, Road to Perdition) is an inspired choice for director. Because the trailer makes it look like they took Javier Bardem’s Anton Chigurh character from No Country For Old Men, threw him into a Convert-To-Bond-Villain machine and then put Christopher Walken’s A View to a Kill wig on him … which is awesome. Because watching Craig kick ass never gets old.
Release date: November 9
Why I’m excited: Because “starring Daniel Day-Lewis” is enough by itself to guarantee my butt in a theater seat. Because the cast of this thing is unreal. Because Steven Spielberg hasn’t made an instant classic since 2005′s Munich, so he might be due. Because I’m a sucker for well-done American historical fiction. Because of WALT FUCKING GOGGINS.