Three or four days ago The Cinemaholic posted a checklist piece called “The 25 Most Awaited Movies of the Second Half of 2016.” I’ve been meaning to get into this but putting it off. Here are seven reactions, starting at the back at the line. I won’t finish the whole thing until tonight or more likely tomorrow morning, especially in lieu of the death of Michael Cimino:
25. John Cameron Mitchell‘s How to Talk to Girls at Parties (A24). Featuring: Elle Fanning, Nicole Kidman, Ruth Wilson. Synopsis: Female alien (presumably Fanning) hooks up with two earthling girls in London suburb of Croydon. HE suspicion/presumption: 21st Century Earth Girls Are Easy without the music? Bottom line: Iffy, don’t count your chickens.
24. Alexandros Avranas‘ True Crimes. Brett Ratner‘s RatPac among the producers. Featuring: Jim Carrey, Kasia Koleczek, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Marton Csokas. HE suspicion/presumption: Shot late last year in Krakow (i.e., November and December) and based on a 2008 New Yorker article by David Grann, film turns on a crime novel offering clues to a real-life murder of a businessman. I’m not saying I’m hugely concerned about a Ratpac film costarring Csokas, but I am a little bit. Bottom line: I’m not saying “forget it” but at the same time I’m not feeling the right kind of vibes.
23. Scott Derrickson‘s Doctor Strange(Disney, 11.4). Featuring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams, Michael Stuhlbarg, Mads Mikkelsen, Tilda Swinton. HE suspicion/presumption: Same old Marvel bag of tricks. No, thanks. Bottom line: I’m sure it’ll be hugely popular, but this list isn’t about popcorn films.
22. Justin Chadwick‘s Tulip Fever (Weinstein/Paramount, 7.15). Featuring: Alicia Vikander, Dane de Haan, Christoph Waltz. HE suspicion/presumption: Another film in which a pretty young wife betrays by an older husband played by Waltz? Water For Elephants meets Girl With A Pearl Earing. Bottom line: Not a chance.
21. Peter Berg‘s Deepwater Horizon (Summit, 9.30). Featuring: Mark Wahlberg, Dylan O’Brian, Kurt Russell, John Malkovich, Kate Hudson. HE suspicion/presumption: The chances of this film being really something else went out the window when Lionsgate/Summit execs showed original director J.C. Chandor the door. Bottom line: Probably a better-than-decent disaster film as far as this kind of goes, but Wahlberg making goo-goo eyes at his little daughter in that first trailer scared the living crap out of me.
20. Amma Asante‘s A United Kingdom (Pathe, no domestic release date). 2016’s other interracial union movie alongside Loving. British period biopic about true-life marriage between the future Botswana president Seretse Khama (David Oyelowo) and Ruth Williams Khama. HE suspicion/presumption: The decision to open A United Kingdom at the 60th London Film Festival constitutes a slight “uh-oh” in my book. Bottom line: My hopes are not high given that Asante also directed Belle, which I found staid and under-energized.
19. John Lee Hancock‘s The Founder (Weinstein Co., 8.5). The story of manipulative go-getter Ray Kroc (Michael Keaton), who maybe wasn’t the sweetest or kindest guy but who made McDonald’s into an empire. Featuring: Keaton, Laura Dern, Nick Offerman, John Carroll Lynch, Patrick Wilson. HE suspicion/presumption: I’ve read a draft of Robert Siegel‘s script, and my impression was basically “hmm, yeah…not bad. Sometimes it takes a shit who’s willing to step on toes to build a business.” Bottom line: Something in the research obviously persuaded the Weinsteiners to open this in early August rather than send it through the award-season meat grinder.