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The Criticwire Survey: Fall's Must-See Movies

Criticwire By Matt Singer | Criticwire August 27, 2012 at 10:05AM

This week, the critics tell us what movies they're most looking forward to this fall. They have a clear favorite, too.
3
"Looper."
"Looper."

Jette Kernion, Slackerwood:

"I'm looking forward to 'Looper.' I like Rian Johnson, I like Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and if all else fails I like watching movies shot in New Orleans to see if I recognize anything (I grew up in the NOLA suburbs). I saw 'Butter' at Austin Film Festival last year but I'm looking forward to the chance to see it again with friends who I think will be amused."

Chris Klimek, Washington Post:

"I am hoping that Steven Spielberg will let someone else direct the last 10 minutes of 'Lincoln,' so he doesn’t dilute it with a terrible coda they way he always seems to with his 'important' films. I further hope Sam Mendes will restrain himself from the fancy-pants visual pretension that made the prior 007 joint, Marc Forster’s 'Quantum of Solace,' such a headache to watch. I’m reasonably hopeful that Kathryn Bigelow’s 'Zero Dark Thirty' won’t reduce the murky ambiguities of U.S. foreign policy to a coffee table action film a la 'Black Hawk Down.' Hope abounds! But the fall film I have the most confidence I will enjoy without reservation is Martin McDonagh’s 'Seven Psychopaths.' His feature debut, 'In Bruges,' was one of my favorite movies of 2008, and his latest play, 'A Behanding in Spokane' -- which I saw Christopher Walken, Anthony Mackie, and Sam Rockell perform on Broadway, twice, in 2010 -- saw him operating at the peak of his powers. I’ve also seen superb productions of his earlier plays 'The Pillowman' and 'The Cripple of Inishmaan.' Whether he’s writing for the screen or for the stage, McDonagh has yet to do anything to shake my faith. So if you take PTA and QT out of the mix, it's MM for me this fall all the way."

Dan KoisSlate:

"'Looooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooper.'"

Peter LabuzaLabuzaMovies.com/The Cinephiliacs:

"This may be something of a cheat, because it is playing a fall film festival and not necessarily going to be released this year, but for me it has to be Abbas Kiarostami's 'Like Someone In Love.' I'd have no problem declaring Kiarostami's last film, 'Certified Copy,' as perhaps the best film made since 1994, and I'm excited that he is continuing his trend of examining identity in foreign landscapes. But what most excites me is the film's truly polarizing response (Mike D'Angelo: 'If this were an unknown director, I’d just assume incompetence;' Glenn Heath Jr.: 'Far more disturbing and cagey than anything Kiarostami has done before')."

Joanna LangfieldThe Movie Minute:

"I'm psyched for 'The Sessions.' I love John Hawkes and can't wait to see what Helen Hunt is doing with the role of the surrogate. The group behind 'Lincoln' is irresistible: Spielberg, Kushner, and Day-Lewis? Attention must be paid! And I'm very curious to see 'Argo,' Ben Affleck's take on another part of American history we probably should, but haven't known about."

Josh LarsenLarsenOnFilm.com/Filmspotting:

"I wish that it had come out of Cannes with more fanfare, but I'd still put Andrew Dominik's 'Killing Them Softly' at the top of my list. 'The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford,' his previous film with Brad Pitt, still lingers in mesmerizing ways. 'Assassination' existed just this side of pretentiousness, so I'll be curious to see if Dominik continues in that vein or goes off the deep end."

Will LeitchDeadspin:

"'Zero Dark Thirty.' No reason to think Kathryn Bigelow can't deliver a lean, mean, gripping true-life tale of incredibly recent history. Feel like this could be a 'United 93'-type thing. Plus, I want to see Mark Duplass in military fatigues."

John LichmanFreelance:

"On one hand, 'Holy Motors' seems like an easy answer for the fall's most anticipated film since it blew so many minds at Cannes. Even stranger is how, for New York, it'll premiere at Film Forum, which may be even more of a surprise that Leos Carax' film coming stateside. But that's not the film I'm most excited for -- 'Consuming Spirits' premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival earlier this year and is making the art house rounds this fall. It's undoubtedly a labor of love for writer/director Chris Sullivan, who hand-crafted this small-town drama that happens to be assembled by hand and shot in a blend of stop-motion and cel animation. It's a warped morality tale that is as redeeming as it is haunting, like if Tom Waits found out he could partner up with Nick Cave and they took to making stop-motion films together. If you like your holidays dark and ultimately proving even the most fucked up family situations can overcome history, 'Consuming Spirits' is one of this year's best films, hands down."

Adam LowesHey U Guys:

"I’m really excited to see what the makers of 'Dredd' have managed to do with the character this time around. Months before the 1995 Sylvester Stallone incarnation hit the big screen, fanboy alarms bell were already ringing loudly. It was inconceivable that a huge-budgeted, A-list take on Mega City One’s most revered (and feared) lawman could ever do real justice to that world and the character. Sadly, the end product confirmed those suspicions. Free from the constraints of a major studio, and with a medium-sized budget (particularly for the scope of the project) where the makers can get down and dirty, 'Dredd' should hopefully right those previous wrongs, and we may finally see the Joe Dredd (helmet intact) we’ve been waiting for, in all his boot-stomping, law-dispensing, pseudo-fascist glory."

Scott MacDonaldToronto Standard:

"I think I'm most looking forward to 'The Silver Linings Playbook.' I hate the title -- it sounds like a sequel to 'Eat Pray Love' or something -- but David O. Russell is one of my favorite writer/directors, and he hasn't made a less-than-worthwhile movie yet ('Three Kings' is, I think, one of the great American films). Based on the trailer, this looks a bit like Russell's 'Flirting With Disaster,' and if it comes anywhere close to that sorely underrated movie I'll be a very happy man. I also have high hopes for 'Killing Them Softly.'"

Joey MagidsonThe Awards Circuit:

"There's literally no movie that I'm looking forward to more this fall than Ben Affleck's third directorial outing 'Argo.' Both of his previous films have wound up on my Top 10 lists for those years, with 'The Town' especially a modern classic in my eyes, so this is #1 in my book. The potential is there for a really great flick, so count me in there in a really big way. I'm also really looking forward to 'The Place Beyond the Pines,' but 'Argo' takes the top spot for me."

Mike McGranaghanThe Aisle Seat:

"So we can't pick 'Django Unchained' or 'The Master,' and 'The Oogieloves Big Balloon Adventure' is technically a summer movie. What are you doing to us here?! Actually, even without the Tarantino and Anderson films, there's plenty from which to choose. It looks like a promising season with much to anticipate. Personally, one of the films I'm most excited for is 'This is 40.' Judd Apatow's movies are always so smart and funny, and I can't wait to see what he does with the topic of middle age. As I am a few years into my own forties, married and with a child, I suspect there will be a lot here I can identify with. The trailer makes the film look like it has that irresistible Apatowian mix of insight and big, raunchy laughs. Plus, with a cast that includes Paul Rudd, Leslie Mann, Jason Segel, and Albert Brooks, how could any self-respecting comedy buff NOT want to see it?"

Scott Meslow, The Week/The Atlantic:

"Tough question -- I recently wrote an article which included no less than 20 movies that I’m looking forward to seeing this fall (which included, of course, the two we’re barred from using here). But out of an unusually strong fall lineup, I’m probably most excited for 'Looper.' I’m a huge fan of 'Brick,' director Rian Johnson’s last collaboration with Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and I’ve been hoping to see a studio brave enough to take a shot at making the next great wholly original sci-fi movie after 'Inception' became such a smash. My hype meter shot up even more when Bruce Willis, who’s normally pretty reserved in promotional interviews, commented that 'Looper' is 'the best thing [he’s] ever done' -- period. It's a tall order, but if 'Looper' actually manages to be a stylish, hyper-original sci-fi thriller that’s better than 'Die Hard,' I'll be in cinematic heaven."

Jenni MillerJenniMiller.com:

"I'd say my number one movie I'm looking forward to this fall is 'Looper.' I am also psyched to see 'Frankenweenie,' 'Seven Psychopaths,' 'Argo,' 'Cloud Atlas,' 'Anna Karenina,' 'This is 40,' and 'Zero Dark Thirty.' 'ZDT' is probably my most anticipated of all. I won't lie, I'm looking forward to 'Taken 2' as well."

Jana J. MonjiThe Demanders/Pasadena Art Beat/Examiner.com:

"Having lost people I knew in grad school to the so-called 'plague' (including one who was forced into supporting his medical 'habit' by doing gay porn) and having spent many hours seeing impassioned plays -- some good and some downright indulgently bad -- about AIDS, I'm looking forward to the documentary 'How to Survive a Plague.' It sounds like a very American take on the situation, but I hope it doesn't forget that what in America was a supposed 'gay plague' was in other countries a black or African plague. On the lighter side, I'm also looking forward to seeing, 'Hotel Transylvania' because I hope the animated feature will bring back the fun to vampires -- something we saw in George Hamilton's 1979 'Love at First Bite.' 'Buffy' had a sense of humor despite a lot of drama and teen-related love and social issues, but 'Twilight' has turned the teen angst aspect to a deafening decibel opera that doesn't have the benefit of good music. Did I mention I loved 'The Addams Family' and 'The Munsters?'"

Scott Neumeyer, Movies.com/ScottWrites.com:

"Not even close... If I can't choose PTA's 'The Master' or QT's 'Django Unchained,' my next choice is Rian Johnson's 'Looper.' After his work on 'Brick,' 'The Brothers Bloom,' and two of the very best 'Breaking Bad' episodes, Johnson has become one of my favorite directors to watch."

Tony NunesDreaming Genius/Fangoria:

"'Cloud Atlas.' With Tom Tykwer and the siblings Wachowski behind it I was intrigued before even seeing the trailer. Then, having no clue what the film was really about, I saw that 5-minute long trailer, dreading at first that it would reveal the whole story, as many trailers nowadays do. Instead, I was left wonderfully perplexed and wanting more."

Scott NyeRail of Tomorrow:

"Even with the consideration of 'The Master' and 'Django Unchained,' the film I'm most excited about this fall is easily Joe Wright's 'Anna Karenina.' Wright has proven an incredible filmmaker over the past few years, bringing a visual passion to cinema that was mostly left behind in the 1950s. His films are bold, beautifully wrought works, and the tease of a single-location, experimental approach to his latest is almost overwhelmingly tantalizing."

Rudie ObiasShockYa.com:

"I'm looking forward to checking out 'The Perks of Being a Wallflower.' It's my 2nd favorite book of all-time and I've always been interested to see what it would be like as a movie. I find it interesting the book's author, Stephen Chbosky, is also the writer and director of the film adaptation. That usually isn't a good thing but I remain optimistic about the film. A close second would be the Wachowskis and Tykwer's 'Cloud Atlas.'"

Jordan RaupThe Film Stage:

"After the astounding trailer, 'Cloud Atlas' easily comes in right before 'The Master' for me. It could very well be a mess, but you can't deny the ambition of the project. After that, I can't wait for Andrew Dominik's 'Killing Them Softly,' considering his last film, 'The Assassination of Jesse James...,' is one of my favorites. And if we're going with strictly festival titles that haven't been picked up yet I'm dying to see 'To the Wonder,' 'The Place Beyond the Pines,' 'At Any Price' and 'Something in the Air.'"

Katey RichCinema Blend:

"'Cloud Atlas,' easily, and I might have picked that over 'The Master' and 'Django' anyway. I'm fully aware it could turn out to be a giant disaster, but I love the book so much I can't wait to see the Wachowskis and Tykwer try to wrangle it into a feature-length movie. At the very least it's going to be one of the most unusual-looking movies of the fall, and maybe the most ambitious."

Andrew RobinsongmanReviews:

"Well since you deny me the answer of Paul Thomas Anderson or Quentin Tarantino's films I must defer to the brilliant looking Rian Johnson film, 'Looper.' Ever since I 'accidentally' popped in 'Brick' on DVD one boring summer morning (while I was still in college and enjoyed summer vacation) I've been in love with this man's films, and even more so after seeing his follow-up film: 'The Brothers Bloom.' I'm so happy to see him taking a chance on a bigger budget science-fiction film and I can't wait to see his version of (and I use this as loosely as he did in his AMA on Reddit) 'The Terminator.'"

Josh SpiegelMousterpiece Cinema/Sound on Sight:

"Now that 'The Master' is out of the equation, I’m going with 'Looper.' Though 'Skyfall,' 'Lincoln,' and (I suppose) 'The Hobbit, Part 1: The Quest for More Money' come close, I am immensely excited to see what Rian Johnson can do with a bigger budget than what he had with 'Brick' and 'The Brothers Bloom.' I’m also hopeful to see if Bruce Willis can have another excellent science-fiction film to add to his resume, after '12 Monkeys' and 'The Fifth Element' (OK, one of those is better than the other). So as much as the fall has plenty of prestigious releases, I’ve got my hopes up for 'Looper' to be a breakout success."

Andreas Stoehr, Pussy Goes Grrr:

"The remainder of 2012 promises riches -- 'Looper!' 'Cloud Atlas!' 'Lincoln!' -- but one upcoming release strikes me as by far the most tantalizing: Michael Haneke's 'Amour.' It won the Palme d'Or, it's been garnering Haneke some of the best reviews of his illustrious career, and given the subject matter, I know it's going to break me. A tearjerker rendered by Haneke's icy hand? That's a catharsis I'm dying to experience."

R. Emmet SweeneyMovie Morlocks:

"'Resident Evil: Retribution' would be my choice, even if 'The Master' and 'Django Unchained' were also options. I'm looking forward to all of them, but Paul W.S. Anderson needs more critical support, to put it mildly. One of the few directors who has wholeheartedly embraced the visual possibilities of 3-D instead of just using it as a marketing tool, both 'The Three Musketeers' and 'Resident Evil: Afterlife' are honest-to-goodness spectacles that hugely benefit from being seen LARGE. The latest 'Resident Evil,' probably the last with both Anderson and his wife/muse Milla Jovovich on board, promises to be an extension and amplification of his experiments with depth effects and how Jovovich's angular athleticism bounds through them."

Scott WeinbergTwitch/Movies.com:

"'Wreck-It Ralph' -- Looks like a perfect storm of nostalgia-based cleverness and cross-generational geekiness."

Andrew Welch, Adventures in Cinema:

"Well, since I can't go with 'The Master,' I guess I'd have to go with 'Lincoln.' This one's been on my radar for as long as there have been rumors about it -- so, a few years, at least. But really, any movie by Spielberg, no matter the subject, would be high on my list. I wouldn't have the passion for cinema I do now were it not for the early jolt I got from movies like 'Raiders of the Lost Ark,' 'Jaws,' 'The Color Purple,' 'Schindler's List,' 'A.I.,' and the list could go on and on. In the particular case of 'Lincoln,' the cast looks amazing and the story is important, but those are just icing on the cake. For me, it's all about Spielberg."

Chase WhaleNext Movie/Twitch/Film.com:

"Since I'm chained up and can't choose Tarantino's 'Django Unchained' or Anderson's 'The Master,' the obvious choice would be Rian Johnson's 'Looper.' This would be my first pick even if I could choose the first two. Both QT and PTA have wowed me countless times. Johnson got my attention with his first film, 'Brick' (where it deservingly won the Special Jury Prize for originality of vision at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival). That's when I thought, 'Imagine what this guy could do with a big budget.' 'Looper' is that movie."

Stephen WhittyThe Star-Ledger:

"David Chase's 'Not Fade Away' is towards the top of my list -- looking forward to seeing it at New York Film Festival."

Mark YoungSound on Sight/New York Movie Klub:

"I'm psyched for 'Looper,' the third film from Rian Johnson. Johnson's debut 'Brick' was my favorite film of that decade (yes, above 'There Will Be Blood' and 'No Country For Old Men') and star Joseph Gordon-Levitt is in the midst of a fantastic hot streak. Plus, the time-travel storyline received some technical assistance from Shane Carruth, director of the cult hit 'Primer.' Basically everything in this picture is right in my wheelhouse."

Alan ZilbermanBrightest Young Things/Tiny Mix Tapes:

"I am most looking forward to seeing Martin McDonagh's 'Seven Psychopaths' this fall. After 'In Bruges,' McDonagh wrote the Broadway play 'A Behanding in Spokane,' which starred Christopher Walken and Sam Rockwell. The play was incredible, so I'm eager to see him collaborate with the same terrific actors."

The Best Movie Currently In Theaters on August 27, 2012:

The Most Popular Response"Compliance"
Other Movies Receiving Multiple Votes"Cosmopolis," "Beasts of the Southern Wild,"The Imposter," "Killer Joe," "Moonrise Kingdom," "ParaNorman," "The Dark Knight Rises," "Premium Rush," "Searching For Sugar Man," "Sleepwalk With Me."

This article is related to: Criticwire Survey


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