Films I’m most jazzed about
Few things excite me as much as the dawn of awards season, which is quickly approaching, though seasonal coffee flavors like gingerbread do come close. The onslaught of award-worthy films is both overwhelming and exhilarating. Because there are so many “good” films coming out in the next few weeks, I’ve narrowed it down to the five that have me squealing in excitement.
Opens Nov. 6
If you’re a fan of “High Fidelity” or “About a Boy,” “An Education” is sure to please, as the clever Nick Hornby penned the screenplay. “An Education” takes place in suburban London in 1961, as brainy 16-year-old Jenny (Carey Mulligan) falls for the older, dapper suitor, David (Peter Sarsgaard). Jenny is an excellent student who has been striving to get into Oxford, but when she meets David, who introduces her to a world of culture that involves running off to Paris for the weekend or going to hip jazz bars, Jenny must decide what is most important to her. Emma Thompson and Alfred Molina also star.
Opens Nov. 13
“Pirate Radio” already came out internationally a few months back under the name, “The Boat that Rocked.” Like “An Education,” this film takes place in England in the 1960s (I must have a thing for this period in history) and centers around eight DJs who broadcast rock ‘n’ roll from a boat in the middle of the Northern Atlantic. Breaking British laws for their love of music, these DJs defined a generation and drove the government mad along the way. Phillip Seymour Hoffman leads the pack playing The Count and Bill Nighy stars as Quentin, Radio Rock’s owner. This comical band of rebels plays the best of classic rock and tells an interesting tale of sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll at the same time.
Opens Dec. 4
A film that stars Tobey Maguire, Jake Gyllenhaal and Natalie Portman has already done right by me. But just to be sure, Jim Sheridan directs this remake of Susanne Bier’s 2004 film “Brødre.” Decorated Marine Sam Cahill (Maguire) goes missing overseas, and his troubled yet charismatic younger brother, Tommy (Gyllenhaal), moves in to take care of his brother’s wife, Grace (Portman), and his children at home after leaving jail. Grace comes to care for Tommy, and when Sam miraculously arrives home, most likely with an extreme case of PTSD, it makes for an uncomfortable dinner table.
Opens Dec. 18
Even though I didn’t love “Chicago,” I’m eager to see Rob Marshall’s latest musical feat, partly because the late Anthony Minghella helmed the screenplay. Inspired by Federico Fellini’s autobiographical film “8 ½,” “Nine” is sure to be a lavish experience. Few films this year could even conceive of putting the cast together that “Nine” has assembled. Daniel Day-Lewis stars as film director Guido Contini, who faces a midlife crisis that is repressing his creativity and causing him to become entangled in a web of romantic affairs. He struggles to complete his latest film and is forced to balance the many women in his life, including his wife Luisa (Marion Cotillard), his mistress Carla (Penelope Cruz), his muse Claudia (Nicole Kidman), his confidant and costume designer Liliane (Judi Dench), an American fashion journalist (Kate Hudson), a prostitute from his youth (Stacy Ferguson) and his mother (Sophia Loren). This is sure to be a major contender for the Oscars.
Opens Dec. 25
Aside from the fact that I am a huge Meryl Streep devotee, “It’s Complicated” is appealing, as it’s directed by Nancy Meyers, master of the rom-com, who brought us “Something’s Gotta Give” and “The Holiday.” Streep stars as Jane, a divorced mother who owns a successful bakery. Though she has been divorced from Jake (Alec Baldwin) for a decade and has three grown children by him, Jane and Jake still have chemistry that is difficult to deny. This is difficult for Jake, who had an affair with the much younger Agness (Lake Bell) and left Jane to marry his mistress. Jane also falls for her architect, Adam (Steve Martin), who complicates this triangle. Acting alongside the triumvirate of talent that is Streep, Baldwin and Martin is John Krasinski, Rita Wilson and Hunter Parrish.