Surprisingly, Hollywood is very accepting of stars who reinvent themselves. After the bomb that shall not be named (but I’ll do it anyway: “Gigli”), Ben Affleck established himself as a fine director with “Gone Baby Gone” and “The Town.” In “The Town,” he showed that he also isn’t bad in front of the camera. And now comes “Argo,” which has earned rave reviews at the Toronto Film Festival. “Argo” takes Affleck out of Boston, as he makes his first foray into historical drama. It’s about the recently uncovered CIA mission to use a fake movie as a way to get into Iran and free the Americans taken hostage in 1979. It’s a story that sounds almost too fascinating to be true. “Argo” looks like a smart political thriller that I’ll enjoy because it speaks in a language that I can understand: movies. Also, Bryan Cranston is in it. Unless he decides to star in “Rock of Ages 2,”* he can do no wrong in my book.
Coming To Theaters: October 12
Director Rian Johnson is skilled at toying with genre conventions (“Brick”). I can’t wait to see what he has in store for science fiction. The concept of “Looper” is already boggling my brain, yet the idea of Joseph Gordon-Levitt playing a younger Bruce Willis is kind of brilliant.** I am always prepared for disappointment but I am envisioning this being a film along the same line as “Blade Runner” and “Minority Report.” Both of those films were misunderstood upon their original releases, but gained future followings. I am hoping that “Looper” breaks through in a big way, because Hollywood still needs to see that original ideas can succeed. No matter what happens, I believe “Looper” is the kind of film that will get better and make more sense upon repeated viewings.
Coming To Theaters: September 28
4. Seven Psychopaths
It’s been four long years since Martin McDonough’s brilliant debut feature “In Bruges.” His sophomore effort, “Seven Psychopaths,” looks just as twisted and funny but with less existential dread. “Seven Psychopaths” takes us into the underworld of dognapping, which I didn’t even know existed. While its poster is very similar to the poster for “Snatch,” I believe this one will be nowhere near the same, as McDonough isn’t just constantly trying to rip off Tarantino. Plus, it boasts a nearly perfect cast that includes Colin Farrell, Christopher Walken, and Sam Rockwell. No word on whether or not, like “In Bruges,” this one will also include a midget being karate chopped. I will say that I have no idea what will happen in this movie, and that unpredictability is what will make it so fun.
Coming To Theaters: October 8
See the top 3 after the jump:
“Lincoln” is the kind of film that so many have dreamed, but never thought would actually exist. It has Spielberg at the helm and Daniel Day-Lewis playing Honest Abe. Hopefully, Spielberg will appeal to his darker side and this one won’t end with the family’s house totally intact despite the fact that the entire city has been destroyed by aliens (I’m still mad about the end of “War of the Worlds”). However, recounting history is one of the things Spielberg does best. Also, did I mention that Daniel Day-Lewis is playing Lincoln? Just from one glance of the first headshot of him as Lincoln, I could already tell that this will be the closest to the real thing that we will probably ever get.
Coming To Theaters: November 9
After the Bond series reinvented itself with a vengeance with “Casino Royale,” it did a spin in the wrong direction with the disappointing “Quantum of Solace.” However, I will see a Bond movie whenever it comes out, a tribute to how timeless 007 is. Thanksgiving never feels the same without him. Plus, Sam Mendes (“American Beauty,” “Road to Perdition”) is directing and should be able to breath some new life into it. And Javier Bardem, who has a talent for playing villains (see: “No Country for Old Men”) will play Bond’a new nemesis. If Mendes can infuse the wit of classic Bond movies with the grittiness of “Casino Royale,” minus the technological lunacy of the Brosnan years, then “Skyfall” could be the best blockbuster of the second half of 2012.
Coming To Theaters: November 9
1. The Master
Only Paul Thomas Anderson could make a film that’s already being hailed a masterpiece based on its trailer alone. Trailers are usually misleading, but I have a good feeling that what we saw (at least in tone) is what we will get, plus much more. Seriously, I could watch that trailer on repeat. Anyway, I am beyond excited to see Anderson’s latest take on false prophets. There has been controversy about the film’s blatant Scientology inspirations, which I don’t think will stop anytime soon. Anderson’s films haunt me long after I leave the theater. After the end credits for “There Will Be Blood” abruptly came up, I sat there glued to my seat, as if I had been shot with a stun gun. Such visceral reactions are an exciting thing that have been missing from movies lately. “The Master” is that jolt of cinematic awe that I’ve been waiting for.
Coming To Theaters: September 14
*I really hope this never gets made.
**As long as it’s not “The Kid.”