THE OBENSON REPORT

Covering Cinema From All Across The African Diaspora

What's On Your Must See List?

6 months to go until 2009 and there's been very little I've enjoyed at the cinema thus far into the year. Of course, Oscar-bait season is near, so, I expect we'll see some much stronger material in coming months. But I'm not holding my breath.

I'd like to get some idea of what films you all are excited about seeing over the next 6 months. Not just studio films, by the way. They could be microcinema viewings, festival screenings, or even at-home rentals! And not necessarily "black cinema" either. What's on your "must-see" list, if anything?

I had difficulty coming up with a solid list of my own, but here are a few that I'm definitely eager to feast my eyes on wherever I can catch them:

- I've already mentioned The Dark Knight.
- The Coen brothers follow-up to No Country For Old Men, titled Burn After Reading, with an all-star cast, including George Clooney, Brad Pitt, John Malkovich and Tilda Swinton.
- Spike's Miracle at St Anna which I've talked about quite a bit on this blog.
- Lakeview Terrace with Kerry Washington and Samuel Jackson, directed by the usually caustic Neil Labute, and produced by Will Smith. I haven't heard much about this, even though it hits theatres in 3 months. The fact that Screen Gems is the distributor concerns me a little, because they are Sony's "specialty films" division, known for distributing such genre films like the Resident Evil series, Prom Night, Boogeyman, the Hostel movies, Ultraviolet, and a few of what they call "ethnic films," like You Got Served, 2 Can Play That Game, This Christmas and First Sunday. So, Lakeview Terrace is not exactly in very good company here. Is it going to be a schlocky B-movie or something much deeper? We'll find out in September. But I'm definitely curious given the names involved. I posted a trailer months ago, which you can see HERE.
- W, Oliver Stone's farcical look at our wonderful president.
- The next James Bond film - Quantum of Solace. I didn't particularly care for the last one, and I probably wouldn't bother with this one either if it weren't for the director helming the production this time - Marc Foster, who I thought was a very interesting choice, given that all of his previous works have been much lower budgeted films, known more for their critical acclaim than their box office numbers. It's almost like when I heard that Ang Lee was directing Hulk a few years ago. The results weren't well received, but I definitely raised my eyebrows when I heard that he'd been brought on as director. Let's hope that Foster's Bond is a welcomed surprise.
- Jamie Foxx and Robert Downey Jr in The Soloist. This one has Oscar written all over it, for both actors.
- Will Smith's second attempt this year, Seven Pounds, directed by the same dude who directed him in The Pursuit of Happyness. This is another award-baiter
- The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, with Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett starring, and Taraji P Henson as Pitt's mother, with David Fincher directing. Brad Pitt's first Oscar?
- Religulous. Bill Maher's documentary on the state of religion in the world.

That's it for the studio or studio-affiliated pictures. There are a few festival favorites that I've yet to see, and that got picked up for distribution, so I'm hoping they reach a theater near me before 2009. They are:

- A Good Day To Be Black And Sexy which played at Sundance this year and was picked up by Magnolia Pictures. Its IMDB page says it will be released this year, but I've heard nothing specific.
- Medicine For Melancholy. I've mentioned it enough times on this blog.
- Charles Burnett's Namibia epic. I've heard mixed reviews from trusted sources, but I want to see it myself.

Some that have been announced and are still in production, but are supposed to be released this year...maybe:

- Lars Von Trier's next since Mandalay, called Antichrist. It's a horror movie. The idea of Von Trier doing a horror movie excites me. This is something I have to witness for myself. Probably won't be released until next year, likely a Cannes debut, but who knows!

That's about it!!! I might be forgetting some, or there might be a few that'll show up on my radar in coming months, which I'll certainly announce once they do.

So, what about you? What are you looking forward to seeing? Or What do you think SHOULD BE on my list that I'm omitting?

3 comments:

  1. Invisible Woman said...
     

    I have zero hope that Lakeview Terrace will be anything more than B material.

    Sadly, I am only checking for 2 on that list; The Curious Case Of et al... and A Good Day To Be Black and Sexy.

  2. Qadree said...
     

    I've been trying to see the third part of The Apu Trilogy for a while now. I've seen the trilogy on ebay for $300.00, too much for me. I've seen the first two and I'm on a mission to see the third one.

    Two films that I missed when they screened in Chicago are The Price of Sugar, a documentary about the sugar business and it's apparent corruption along with racism amongst Hatians and Dominicans. Then theres Chop Shop, directed by Ramin Bahrani. I've heard nothing but good things about Chop Shop, but even if I didn't hear good things I'd still want to see it.

  3. UK Black Chick aka Wendy said...
     

    I'd be lying if I said I had a 'must see' list. Maybe I'm just going through a particuarly cynical phase, but nothing's really making me chomp at the bit.

    Having said that, I'll probably give a couple of the movies you've mentioned time of day if they're showing in my neck of the woods - notably 'The Curious Case...' and 'Miracle at St Anna.'

    By the way, 'Antichrist' isn't LVTs next outing after 'Manderlay.' 'The Boss of it All' caused a minor stir earlier this year (well, among movie critics, anyway) for its seemingly unprofessional cinematography.

    LVT defended his jerky framing and jump cuts by saying he'd used a new technique he called Automavision...! The jury's still out as to whether he was just trying to pull a fast one or taking the whole dogme thing a little to far.

    Apparently the film's was quite funny though (which is good, as it's a comedy). It's about a guy who can't face sacking or disciplining his employees so he hires an actor to pretend to be the boss - and the 'boss' starts to take his role a little too far. I'll be catching it on DVD as I don't think it was in any theatres for longer than a few days.

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