This is the time of year when movie lovers start wondering who will be nominated for those gold statuettes named Oscar. As the fall months roll in, the most serious (and seriously considered) films of the year show up in cinemas, along with the most ambitious and critically-discussed performances.
There is already talk about Sandra Bullock’s work in last weekend’s box office champ, Gravity, and there is little doubt that the film’s mind-blowing visuals will be nominated. There have also been rumblings about Hugh Jackman’s strong performance in Prisoners, and it’s pretty hard for Tom Hanks to step onto a film set without having a nomination tossed his way. Prisoners is still in cinemas if you haven’t seen it yet, and Hanks will play the titular Captain Phillips at the end of the week.
Plus, is it too much to hope that the late, beloved James Gandolfini might get a nod for Enough Said or that Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s Don Jon might earn him a chance?
Oscar season is beginning, folks. Start making your predictions.
Here’s What to Watch.
Gravity (Savoy 16 IMAX): This latest Alfonso Cuaron visual masterpiece revolves around two astronauts who become separated in outer space due to an accident on their space module.
Why to Watch: Sandra Bullock and George Clooney are not hard actors to root for. As the protagonists of Gravity, they must find a way to survive in the face of extraordinary odds. The visuals in this film make it a spectacle to behold, but without the grounded performances of Bullock and Clooney this film would not hold the wonder that its trailer suggests.
Shows in regular old 2D @ 2:20 p.m. and 6:40 p.m.; in 3D @ 11:00 a.m., 12:10 p.m., 1:10 p.m., 3:20 p.m., 4:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m., 7:40 p.m., 8:50 p.m., and 9:50 p.m.; and in glorious IMAX 3D @ 12:40 p.m., 2:50 p.m., 5:00 p.m., 7:10 p.m., and 9:20 p.m.
Enough Said (The Art Theater Co-Op): This film serves as the grace note in James Gandolfini’s impressive but all too short career. In the movie, Julia Louis-Dreyfus plays Eva, a newly divorced woman who develops a relationship with a man and then unknowingly becomes friends with hisex-wife.
Why to Watch: I have a confession… I have never been a fan of actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus; I just don’t find her funny. However, I could not be a bigger fan of the late James Gandolfini. One thing I loved about Gandolfini was his understated charm in pretty much everything I have seen him in. Gandolfini was always able to draw the audience in, whether he played a thug, a mob boss, a politician, or… well, I’m just repeating myself. Let’s hope Louis-Dreyfus exhibits some likability in this film to match her late, great costar.
Showing pretty much constantly this week. Check the Art website for specifics.
The Art Theater Co-op’s SHOCKTOBER: The Art’s Halloween-month celebration continues this week with John Carpenter’s creature feature The Thing. Later on in the week, audiences will be treated to a return trip to Joss Whedon’s Cabin In The Woods. Check out the Art’s website for more information on upcoming scary movies, including some cult classics.
The Thing shows Thursday @ 10:00 p.m.; Cabin in the Woods shows Friday at midnight.
Don Jon (Savoy 16 IMAX): Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s directorial debut tells the story of Jon (played by JG-L), his addiction to porn, and how his addiction influences his view on relationships and what love is to him.
Why to Watch: JG-L wrote, directed, and stars in this film about what love means to someone who finds more enjoyment in porn than he does in actual intimacy. This film is superb because it carefully explores how women and men view love differently. No sides are taken; everyone is equally justified and absurd, right and wrong. This film reveals what ticks both genders’ boxes without suggesting that every person requires the same thing to be happy. Scarlett Johansson pulls off a great performance as Barbara, Jon’s “chick flick”-obsessed girlfriend. This film is a great date movie and will surely have you either valuing what you have with your significant other or questioning why you’re in the relationship to begin with. See it.
Shows @ 12:35 p.m., 2:55 p.m., 5:05 p.m., 7:15 p.m., and 9:30 p.m.
Rush (Savoy 16 IMAX): The story of the Formula 1 rivalry between Niki Lauda and James Hunt.
Why to Watch: This film is first Ron Howard film in a while not based on a book by Dan Brown, which is a nice change of pace. (Although, to be fair, I understand a director’s impulse to make a sequel, and it’s not like Howard was going to make Apollo 14…) I think Rush is about so much more than a rivalry between two high-profile racers. The ideas of seeking glory and the emotional toil that losing can take on highly competitive people are fascinating to see. Expect exciting racing action as well as powerful turns by both Chris Hemsworth (as Hunt) and Daniel Bruhl (as Lauda).
Showing @ 11 a.m., 1:50 p.m., 4:40 p.m., 7:25 p.m., and 10 p.m.
Prisoners (Savoy 16 IMAX): Hugh Jackman plays Keller Dover, an ordinary husband and father on a quest to find his kidnapped daughter and her friend.
Why to Watch: This film is incredibly tense and a great thriller. I absolutely love Jackman’s performance as well as Paul Dano’s work as prime suspect Alex Jones. Gyllenhall continues to define (and redefine) his acting career with more interesting role choices. In the case of this film, Gyllenhall plays a tortured cop who heads the investigation into the kidnapping. This film is definitely worth seeing especially if you think you can solve the case before everyone else.
Showing @ 11:35 a.m., 3:15 p.m., 6:45 p.m., and 9:55 p.m.
Captain Phillips (Savoy 16 IMAX): A real-life drama about real-life people under the gun when confronted with piracy.
Why to Watch: Aside from its riveting premise, there is the presence of Tom Hanks. Hanks is such an interesting fellow…. So well known for playing “good guys” and yet so unafraid of challenges and darkness. Hot on the heels of the extremely ambitious Cloud Atlas, Hanks leaps into this gritty, high-stakes hostage drama and will likely emerge with another Oscar nomination for Best Actor. I’ve chafed at the idea of Hanks as the modern-day successor to Jimmy Stewart, but then I think about what it would be like to see Jimmy Stewart held at gunpoint by pirates, and it doesn’t seem so far off.
National Theatre Live: Othello (The Art Theater Co-op): The Art once again presents the best of London’s theatre scene as Shakespeare’s tale of jealousy andrevenge gets a modern military update. There will be more coverage of this and other NTLive productions in the coming weeks, and this one looks like an emotional powerhouse. This production stars Adrian Lester (a regular on the London stage and in Kenneth Branagh’s film repretory company) as Othello and Rory Kinnear as the sinister Iago. National Theatre Live’s performance of Othello will take the stage at the Art Theater Co-op on October 20.