Django Unchained Nothing says Christmas Day like a blood-soaked Civil War-era revenge drama from writer/director Quentin Tarantino. Django stars Jamie Foxx in the title role as a slave who teams with Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz) for a violent showdown with a criminal gang and the sadistic plantation owner (Leonardo DiCaprio) who owns Django’s wife (Scandal’s Kerry Washington). Tarantino’s last film was the fabulous Inglorius Basterds, which only flirted with the fertile spaghetti Western ground that QT seems neck deep in here. Dec. 25.
Lincoln Director Steven Spielberg takes Doris Kearns Goodwin’s sprawling Abraham Lincoln biography Team of Rivals and focuses on the last four months in the life of the 16th president of the United States. That’s enough to get me into the theater, but Spielberg has upped the ante by casting screen chameleon Daniel Day Lewis as Lincoln. Lewis is known for disappearing into characters both in front of and behind the camera (Spielberg reportedly called him “Mr. President” between takes), and the early peeks at the actor in character are startling. Spielberg has a late-period masterpiece in him yet. Could Lincoln be it? Nov. 16.
Film festivals Though spring is known as the prime of festival season, fall still offers a few can’t-miss film affairs. First up is the 19th annual Independents’ Film Festival, held from Sept. 6-8 at the Wyndham Westshore in Tampa. Organizers promise 12 screenings, seven workshops, two parties, a trade show, location tours of Tampa Bay for filmmakers, dozens of local, national and international filmmakers and “hundreds of film-crazed fans.” (More info at independentsfilmfest.com.) Following IFF is the Tampa International Gay & Lesbian Film Festival, which runs from Oct. 5-13 in Tampa but kicks off early with a launch party on Sept. 21 at the Tampa Museum of Art. (More info at TIGLFF.com.) And finally, we’ll be back for a third year of CL’s Reel Terror Film Festival on Sat., Oct. 20 at CL Space in Ybor City. A celebration of all things horror, Reel Terror will include panel discussions with filmmakers, screenings of short and feature-length horror films made in Florida, and some ghastly surprises. See you there.
Also on the radar…
Raiders of the Lost Ark: The IMAX Experience Spielberg’s Grade A 1981 blockbuster gets converted for the giant picture and sound of an IMAX theater. Starts Sept. 7 and screens for one week at local theaters.
The Master Director Paul Thomas Anderson (There Will Be Blood) maybe takes on the early days of Scientology with Philip Seymour Hoffman kinda-sorta (but not really) playing L. Ron Hubbard. Out in limited release Oct. 12.
Argo Ben Affleck directs and stars in this true tale of Americans holed up in Iran during the 1979 hostage crisis and the bizarre plot to get them out. Oct. 12.
Wreck-It Ralph Disney’s animated feature about a video game villain who decides he wants to be the hero. The “cameos” by classic game characters look like a riot. Nov. 2.
The selling of the last Twilight Couldn’t care less about Breaking Dawn: Part 2, but I can’t wait to see how the marketing department hypes the flick now that R.Patz and K.Stew had their very public meltdown. Nov. 16.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Peter Jackson returns to the shire for part one of three, and brings back a movie shot in a whole new way (48 frames per second). Dec. 14.
Zero Dark Thirty Director Katherine Bigelow follows up The Hurt Locker with this dramatization of the raid that killed Osama Bin Laden. Dec. 19.
This Is 40 The new Judd Apatow movie. Enough said. Dec. 21.