The Great Movie Jackpot, Fall 2009

I don’t know if anyone else is aware of this, but we have an embarrassment of riches in theaters this fall. Virtually every one of my favorite working directors has a film coming out before the end of the year, and it’s an exciting time to be alive. This is karmic repayment for all those years in the past where there were no interesting new movies.

This season will therefore mark a brief return to my ugly habit of reviewing movies on The Internet. I’m doing away with star ratings or any kind of metric, because that’s stupid. Instead I’ll just discuss them—this time around in 300 words or less.

Here’s a gloss of all the legendary directors with new movies I’m planning on seeing this fall:

A Serious ManThe Coen Brothers: A Serious Man (limited release opened October 2)

I already watched this one, and a review is forthcoming. Minnesota’s own best-loved sons made the movie right here in Minneapolis last fall, and it is thrilling to finally watch it (and get to see some actors I’ve worked with, out-of-focus in the background!).

Where the Wild Things AreSpike Jonze: Where the Wild Things Are (opens October 16)

Spike Jonze earned my respect and admiration with Adaptation, and now here comes another adaptation. The internet is alight with a joyous frenzy over this movie. If you can’t understand why, watch the trailer. If you still can’t understand why, you are just no fun.

The BoxRichard Kelly: The Box (opens October 30)

Kelly has only made two other features, but both of them were astounding: Donny Darko and Southland Tales. His next film is a period piece with a much more respectable pedigree, but judging from the trailer, the freaky crazy is still there, simmering quietly under the surface.

Fantastic Mr. FoxWes Anderson: Fantastic Mr. Fox (opens November 13)

It’s tough to lose with a stop-motion Roald Dahl adaptation. Even more intriguing is the fact that this is the first time Anderson has tried his hand at directing animation.

Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New OrleansWerner Herzog: Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans (limited release opens November 20)

This is the legendary badass director’s adaptation of a movie made in 1992. I know nothing about the original film, and I know barely more about Herzog’s version, other than that it stars Nicholas cage and contains imaginary iguanas. Really I’m looking forward to Herzog’s other film, My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done? which was executive-produced by David Lynch, stars Willem Dafoe and looks abjectly freaky. Unfortunately, that one doesn’t have an American release lined up just yet.

The Imaginarium of Doctor ParnassusTerry Gilliam: The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (opens December 25)

Gilliam has spent some time in the wilderness—the last really exceptional movie he made was Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, over a decade ago. Brothers Grimm and Tideland were both disappointing in very different ways. But look out, because Imaginarium looks like it could be Gilliam’s most imaginative work since Brazil.

So those are my picks. Any other movies I should be breathlessly awaiting?

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