From the Archives: 4 Non-Mainstream Films to be Excited About This Fall

From the Archives: 4 Non-Mainstream Films to be Excited About This Fall

In the interest of getting “hard” copies of my work under one roof, I plan to spend the next few weeks posting the entire archive of my film journalism here on ScullyVision. With due respect to the many publications I’ve written for, the internet remains quite temporary, and I’d hate to see any of my work disappear for digital reasons. As such, this gargantuan project must begin! I don’t want to do it. I hate doing it. But it needs to be done. Please note that my opinions, like everyone’s, have changed a LOT since I started, so many of these reviews will only represent a snapshot in time. Objectivity has absolutely no place in film criticism, at least not how I do it. 

Without further ado, I present to you: FROM THE ARCHIVES.
Originally posted on Cinema76.

We’re coming down to the final months of 2015. The blockbuster season is coming to a close, Oscar season is still a few weeks away, and we’re oh-so close to a new Tarantino flick and a promising new entry into the canon of Star Wars. We’ve seen a franchise reborn (Mad Max: Fury Road), killed (Terminator: Genysis), and redefined (Furious 7). We’ve revisited Jurassic Park, seen the first signs of wear and tear on the output of Marvel Studios, and watched lovingly as Oscar Isaac and Chris Pratt became household names. It’s been a wild year for name-brand entertainment, with a little something to please as well as disgust all types of moviegoers. I love every minute of it. But for every explosive piece of studio cinema, there are numbers of less broad-minded films vying for your time and money. This is why I wanted to highlight a few lesser known movies slated for release in 2015 that I’m super excited about. 

The Lobster (dir. Yorgos Lanthimos)

Festival screenings have garnered much praise for this artsy screwball comedy about a world where humans are given 45 days to find a romantic partner, and if they fail, are subsequently transformed into animals and released into the wild. Featuring Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz, John C. Reilly, and Léa Seydoux, this oddball take on the rom-com is already drawing comparisons to Dogtooth and Holy Motors, which is about as strong of an advocation one can offer.

Entertainment (dir. Rick Alverson)

Alverson’s previous film, The Comedy is a challenging piece of cinema. Equally hilarious as it is appalling, most folks I’ve spoken to about it have the same response: they like it, but really didn’t enjoy it, nor would they ever watch it again. Sounds about right to me. But like it or not, it is undeniably a work of art. Entertainment appears to be a bit more accessible, but not at all lacking in the anti-comedy department. It aims to be a fictionalized biopic of anti-comedy hero, Neil Hamburger. If you’re familiar with the work of Hamburger, it’s easy to see how Alverson’s sensibilities mesh with Hamburger’s dry non-wit. I hope that it’s a bit less mean-spirited than The Comedy, but maintains the ugliness inherent in Alverson’s niche.

Macbeth (dir. Justin Kurzel)

Fassbender doing Shakespeare. That alone is enough to get my butt into a theater – er, theatre – and the addition of director Justin Kurzel who’s film The Snowtown Murders is about as harrowing as they come, should result in a tone properly fitting of Shakespeare’s terrifying tale of raw ambition. Marion Cotillard, Sean Harris, and Elizabeth Debicki round out the stellar cast. The film received a 10-minute standing ovation at Cannes. Could this be the ultimate Willy Shakes adaptation?

Crimson Peak (dir. Guillermo del Toro)

My thoughts on Pacific Rim aside (liked it, didn’t love it), Guillermo del Toro’s name is synonymous to quality filmmaking made with love. To this day, The Devil’s Backbone and The Orphanage remain two of the outright scariest films I’ve ever seen, and his return to fantasy/horror looks just as pants-wettingly terrifying. Starring the inimitable talents of Mia Wasikoska, Jessica Chastain, and Tom Hiddleston (as well as Charlie Hunnam, who I’m waiting to see prove himself), and receiving rave reviews from critics (including Stephen King), Crimson Peak could be the horror film that puts the genre back into the good graces of the Academy. An entire house was built from scratch to serve as the haunted setting of the film, drawing from the work of Mario Bava as inspiration. We should all be thankful that del Toro bailed on The Hobbit, and hopefully Crimson Peak will vindicate this notion.

It’s interesting to think that with an impending Star Wars flick, the big studios likely wanted to get their tentpole films out of the way early, which leaves this fall open for films without such broad appeal. No matter what the quality of the above referenced films, this far from comprehensive list goes to show that in a world where a lot of films seem to be self-cannibalizing retreads, there’s still plenty of room for artistic flourish. What did I miss? Are there any films that you want to see that I didn’t touch upon? Let’s talk about it! Hit up the comments.

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