by Coop Cooper
With blockbuster season over, Hollywood will release their holiday and wild card films to get audiences into theater seats. Here are a few that have potential…
“Gravity” (releasing Oct. 3rd) – Sandra Bullock plays a medical engineer on her first space mission with a soon-to-be retiring veteran astronaut played by George Clooney. On a routine spacewalk while the two are tethered, their shuttle explodes, hurling them far away from the space station leaving them stranded and helpless, floating in the vacuum. I wasn’t quite sure where a story like this could go (other than certain death for main characters) but unfortunately the TV spots promoting the film give far too much away. However, early word from critics has been overwhelmingly glowing and many are saying this film could sweep the Oscars.
“Captain Phillips” (releasing Oct. 11th) – Based off of the harrowing true-life story of Captain Richard Phillips whose cargo ship was hijacked by Somali pirates in 2009, prompting a daring rescue by the infamous Seal Team Six who is also credited for killing Osama Bin Laden. Few actors are held in such high esteem as Tom Hanks and with this role he is once again poised for an Oscar nomination. The marketing for this film has been phenomenal as the trailers offer up a few extremely intense scenes. Those who followed this ordeal when it happened will remember how the story turned out, but the film looks so compelling, I predict it will be a big hit.
“Ender’s Game” (releasing November 1st) – In the future, Earth has built a massive defense force to repel alien invaders who nearly destroyed the planet in the first attack. The hope of Earth’s survival falls upon a new generation of child geniuses who can strategically out-think the superior alien armada. The front-running recruit is young Ender Wiggin (Asa Butterfield) who excels in every aspect of combat and command. His predecessor Mazer Rackham (Ben Kingsley) and commanding officer Colonel Graff (Harrison Ford) groom Ender to become the new commander of the Earth forces. This beloved young-adult novel series has nearly been adapted to film several times in the past. If the studio markets it correctly to the right demographic (like reminding sci-fi fans that Harrison Ford is finally in another space movie!), it could be a success. If not, it could be the “John Carter” of 2013.
“Thor: The Dark World” (releasing November 8th) – After the battle of New York City in “The Avengers,” Thor (Chris Hemsworth) returns to Asgard to discover his home world and Earth are menaced by an evil force older than the universe itself. As he battles to save both realms, he is reunited with his human love, Jane Foster (Natalie Portman). The first one was fun but details on this sequel are slim and the odd release date almost signals a lack of confidence by the studio. Here’s to hoping this film strengthens the mythology set up by “Iron Man,” “Captain America” and “The Avengers” instead of dragging it down like the “Hulk” films.
“The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” (releasing Nov. 22nd) – The sequel to the 2012 box office hit continues with the Hunger Games winner Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) on her victory tour, struggling with her role as a shill for the totalitarian government while the oppressed masses celebrate her a symbol of rebellion. Meanwhile the dictator, President Snow (Donald Sutherland) plans to make an example of Katniss by putting her back in the games. With the popularity of the novels and the first film, this one is a guaranteed blockbuster, but hopefully it improves upon the cinematography and style of the original film adaptation.
“Oldboy” (releasing Nov. 27th) – Based of the highly-acclaimed Korean film of the same name, a boorish ad exec. (Josh Brolin) is kidnapped and held captive in complete isolation with nothing but food, a TV and fantasies of revenge to keep him occupied. After 20 years he is freed without explanation, prompting him to track down his captors to discover the reason behind his imprisonment. The Korean version is the finest film ever made in the country, but also one of the few foreign films I think could benefit from an American update. While this violent and disturbing thriller seems like a no-brainer to adapt, some fans of the original have expressed concern at Spike Lee directing it as he often polarizes viewers by injecting his trademark race-related grievances into his films even when race does not factor into the plot. I just hope they do the infamous ‘hammer fight’ scene justice.