Between 9.22 and 12.15, or in less than twelve weeks’ time, Columbia will open six films with high-pedigree profiles that could figure in the year-end award cycle — a high-powered political melodrama, a bloodless period costume drama, and three-and-a-half heart/relationship movies of an upscale bent. And although it’s not currently discussable, the studio may release still another relationship flick (a good one) before the year’s end. That’s a lotta refinement.
Steven Zallian‘s All The King’s Men, a reputedly feisty political melodrama with Sean Penn in the lead role, will be first out of the gate on 9.22.
Sofia Coppola‘s Marie-Antoinette, which I hated after seeing in Cannes (although I respected the craft and discipline that went into making it) opens on 10.20. It’s probably a lock to land the same kind of tech Oscars that Memoirs of a Geisha wound up with last March.
The heart/relationship flick of uncertain strength (i.e., the halfer) is Ryan Murphy‘s R-rated Running with Scissors (10.11), about a young man’s tumultuous relationship with his self-centered, bipolar mom (Annette Bening).
The first full-on relationship flick (i.e., one with a clever-cat stylistic approach) is Mark Forster‘s Stranger Than Fiction (11.10). I tried reading Zach Helm ‘s script last year and found it clever (maybe too clever), but I’ve been told by someone who’s seen it that it plays quite nicely. The cast includes Will Ferrell, Emma Thompson, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Queen Latifah and Dustin Hoffman.
On 11.24 The Holiday , a relationship drama written and directed by Something’s Got to Give‘s Nancy Meyers, will open with a cool-sounding cast (Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet, Jude Law, Jack Black, Ed Burns) and a story about a kind of swap deal — an American girl (Diaz) with relationship woes and a British woman (Winslet) going through the same shit.
The last entry in the heart-relationship cavalcade is Gabriele Muccino‘s The Pursuit of Happyness (12.15), a father-son relationship drama with Will Smith as a beleagured dad.