Summer is now officially over, the leaves are getting ready to turn, and the Oscar bait movies have begun showing at various fall film festivals around the world. But just because the Oscar train is getting ready to leave the station, that doesn’t mean that every upcoming release is going to be a 3-hour long heavy-handed drama. There are still plenty of must see movies — plenty of action, plenty of comedy and plenty of popcorn butter-flavored goodness. And to get you ready to tackle the rest of 2008 at the movies, we’ve assembled our list of the Ten Remaining Must See Movies of 2008.
10. Twilight (November 21)
Yeah, I know that it’s a teenie-bopper movie. It is all over the programming schedule of MTV and it looks like it could play on The CW, but Twilight is more than just another teen romance, it is becoming a pop culture phenomenon in the same way that Harry Potter did back in the early 2000s. Aside from that, I hear that the book is actually pretty good, no matter who you are. So prepare yourself for the brooding and the vampy sap-story, because you really shouldn’t miss Twilight when it hits theaters.
9. The Spirit (December 25)
This list is about “must see” movies, not necessarily “sure to be great” movies. Sure, Frank Miller’s adaptation of the classic Will Eisner comic may have all the makings of a massive, bloody, CNN headline-grabbing train wreck — but like all great train wrecks and epic disasters in history, there is the distinct possibility that we won’t be able to look away.
8. RocknRolla (October 31)
Guy Ritchie returning to form, delivering another classic London gangster film with tons of energy and bullets flying everywhere? Yeah, I think we can get into that. On top of all that, it was clear at Comic-Con that the cast, which includes Gerard Butler, Idris Elba and Jeremy Piven, had a boat load of fun making this movie — and if it comes off half as fun as it sounds, we’re in for a real treat.
7. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (December 25)
Of all the fall and winter Oscar Bait movies, this one might just be the most peculiar. How do you effectively tell the story of a man who is born old and ages in reverse? For starters, you bring in David Fincher and a stellar cast that includes Brad Pitt, Tilda Swinton, Cate Blanchett and Julia Ormand. The only problem we’ve heard so far is that it is long, very very long. That’s okay though, no matter how long it is, it can’t feel longer than Spike Lee’s latest film.
6. Choke (September 26)
You’ve seen the commercial: “Sexy, Devious and Fun.” I’m not sure who said that exactly, but give that guy a medal, because that assessment of Choke is spot on. From the mind that brought us “Fight Club” comes a movie that tackles a topic that all men, including David Duchovny, can relate to: sex addiction. As well, it also deals with our addiction to Kelly Macdonald and Bijou Philips — which, coincidentally relates back to the aforementioned sex addiction — man, this Chuck Palahniuk guy is good.
5. Body of Lies (October 10)
After the miserable showing last year of movies that dealt with the War on Terror, we thought we might not ever see one that was worth its weight in popcorn butter. Then, just like that, two longtime favorite directors come along and make their own, explosive dramas, both set to be released in late 2008. But while we will have to wait and see when Kathryn Bigelow’s The Hurt Locker will actually be released, we will definitely get a good showing from Ridley Scott’s Body of Lies. From The Departed writer William Monahan and starring Russell Crowe and Leonardo DiCaprio — yeah, that should work just fine.
4. The Wrestler (December 19)
The clear winner of the “most buzzed about” title from the Toronto Film Fest is Darren Aronofsky’s The Wrestler. It could have been, in part, because of the memorable performance of Mickey Rourke, an actor who’s been a little more than out of the spotlight for a long time. Either way, we know what the critics have said about it, and we know that we need to see it.
3. The Road (November 26)
Last year, the film that won the Academy Awards for Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay was based on a novel by Cormac McCarthy. And from what I hear, McCarthy’s novel “The Road” is just as good, if not better than the novel “No Country for Old Men.” Combine that with a cast that includes Viggo Mortenson, Charlize Theron, Robbert Duvall and Guy Pearce, and this becomes a no-brainer. See it when it hits theaters in November, because you might need to remember it come February.
2. Zack and Miri Make a Porno (October 31)
All of the festival reviews from Toronto and Austin’s Fantastic Fest have just confirmed what some of us already knew — Kevin Smith is at the top of his game, and he’s bringing the comedic talents of Seth Rogen, Elizabeth Banks and Craig Robinson along for the ride. Some fans have missed this Kevin Smith, and others are convinced that he never left — either way, everyone will be rubbing their lucky “Buddy Christ” statue on the way out the door when Zack and Miri’s Porno rolls into theaters.
1. Quantum of Solace (November 14)
Back in 2006, Daniel Craig gave us a taste of what he could do as James Bond, successfully rebooting the iconic character and giving him new grit. Now, he takes Bond to the next level, coming out in Quantum of Solace with guns blazing. Hmm, I seem to remember another iconic character who recently had a franchise restart and delivered a bigger and better sequel in 2008 — and that seemed to work out quite well. And while it’s unclear yet whether Bond’s fate will be similar to that of The Dark Knight, we certainly shouldn’t miss the opportunity to find out.
Which movies are you most looking forward to in between now and the start of 2009?