Anticipated Upcoming Movies (8/22/11)

I find it hard to look far into the future when scanning the upcoming movie releases. Like the weather, movies that look promising can suddenly suffer an onslaught of terrible reviews that make you doubt your interest in it, and other films that you stumble upon by accident can be pleasant surprises. Here are three films that I’m looking forward to in the coming weeks that I think deserve more recognition than they’ve been getting so far.

Take Shelter – Sept. 30th

This is clearly a movie that is about more than it is technically “about.” Michael Shannon plays a midwestern father irrationally obsessed with building a storm shelter for his family, but the eerie soundtrack and dark mood pervading the trailer hints at a lot of thematic depth here. This looks like a movie with a lot of atmosphere, which I always love, and the shot of hovering furniture in particular suggests a blurring between reality and fantasy (or insanity) that ought to be wonderfully unnerving. Despite the heavy tone it also seems quite understated, which should make it all the more powerful. IUltimately, the pains clearly taken to make this film more an experience than a simple telling of a story look promising– there’s a lot more here than meets the eye.

50/50 – Sept. 30th

So, cancer is a hard topic to do right. Trying to make a comedy about cancer seems like a recipe for belittling the plights of thousands of people. Fortunately, however, 50/50 seems to know what the boundaries are, providing an optimistic mood and genuine humor while acknowledging the real threat and horror of the disease. There’s no melodrama here; just enough seriousness so that the humor doesn’t come off as disrespectful. Instead, this movie truly seems like the impossible: a motivational film about fighting cancer that doesn’t make you want to roll your eyes at the film’s naïveté.

Weekend – Sept. 23rd

I’m biased: I really love films with same-sex romances and I think there ought to be more of them. Maybe I like them simply because they’re not in the “mainstream” and therefore haven’t been subjected to the industry tropes and clichés for romance that take all the heart out of a lot of Hollywood opposite-sex romances. In any case, this movie looks like a subtly heartbreaking look at an unexpected romance with a ticking clock, which could be just rough and imperfect enough to be really beautiful. But maybe I’m just swayed because I really like the song used in the trailer (“I Don’t Want Love” by The Antlers. Tell your friends!). I actually really love having my heart trounced by a movie, so hopefully this one will have me in paroxysms of bittersweet despair by the end. We’ll see!

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