Where are the Oscar Movies?

What's going on? Usually by now, we're drowning in a schedule of awesome Oscar-bait movies and fun holiday-event films. Is it me, or is this November a little… weak?



What's going on? Usually by now, we're drowning in a schedule of awesome Oscar-bait movies and fun holiday-event films. Is it me, or is this November a little… weak? Maybe it's because Harry Potter begged off until next year, but most of the Thanksgiving films strike me as very minor. Still, there are a few buzzed-about films. Here, a rundown:

Quantum of Solace
(opens 11/14)
Following the success of Casino Royale, Daniel Craig returns as (the blond) James Bond for more pitch-black mayhem. The film picks up immediately where the previous one left off, and Casino Royale was pretty great, so I have high hopes.

 

scene from "Slumdog Millionaire"

Slumdog Millionaire
(opens 11/14)
This film is getting the Little Miss Sunshine/Juno treatment in the press, meaning that film writers believe that it's the small film that will break out for big success. I saw it already at a screening with director Danny Boyle—at the Jacob Burns Film Center for you Lower-Valley folks—and it definitely lives up to he hype. Some scenes are violent, but apart from that I would recommend this to everyone I come across (and, indeed, I have).

Twilight
(opens 11/21)
Twilight probably isn't your bag unless you're into sparkly teenage vampire romances, but, believe me, there are enough fans of the YA book series out there to fill theaters 18 times over. (A California mall recently canceled a meet-and-greet with the cast because the mall only expected around 500 fans, and thousands showed up.) I don't see Oscars on the horizon, but this will probably have the biggest box-office numbers of November.

Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman, in "Australia"

Australia
(opens 11/26)
I love director Baz Luhrmann (Moulin Rouge), and he's back with Nicole Kidman for another sweeping romantic epic, so normally I'd declare this a winner. Unfortunately, rumor has it that the movie still isn't finished, and that Baz may even be changing the ending, so now I'm officialy worried.
 

Transporter 3
(opens 11/26)
Wait, how did this movie make it on to the list? Fine, you found me out: I love Jason Statham! Seeing trailers for Transporter 3 only makes me more excited for Crank 2.

Sean Penn in a scene from "Milk"

Milk
(opens 11/26)
Finally, an honest-to-goodness Oscar movie! Milk, about the life of Harvey Milk, the first openly gay elected official, has everything you need for awards buzz: serious actors, a dramatic subject, and an award-winning (but strange) director. The good news is that the film actually looks pretty good, too.

 

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Marisa LaScala

Marisa LaScala
Elmsford, NY


Associate Editor Marisa LaScala joined Westchester magazine in 2003, and ever since she's blown every paycheck at the Greenburgh Multiplex. She also staunchly defends Richard Kelly, doesn't mind spoiling the endings of trashy movies you're curious about but don't want to pay to see, wishes the Hold Steady would come back and rock out Westchester, misses Arrested Development more than anyone can imagine, and still watches cartoons and Saturday Night Live. You can find more of her cultural criticism at www.popmatters.com, where she is a staff writer.

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