All this weekend! 5 movies I’m psyched for in December and 5 reasons why. No. 3: Valkyrie [opens in the U.S. on December 25, and in the U.K. on January 23, 2009].
1. Bryan Singer. He’s one of the great filmmakers of Generation X — The Usual Suspects, X-Men, Superman Returns — and I’m highly intrigued by the prospect of his spin on one of the great stories of World War II that Hollywood has yet to give much attention to. Screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie (who also wrote Usual Suspects) is an Xer, too. In my dreams, I see this 65-year-old story connecting in a particular way that speaks to Xers today.
2. That great almost-untold story. “Good” Nazis who plotted to kill Hitler? Excellent.
3. That roving release date. The first bounces saw the release date moving around Summer 2008, but then production delays pushed it back to February 2009, the kind of date that is the kiss of death, at least as an indication of quality (studio films that get released in the first few months of the year are almost entirely crap). But then test screenings convinced United Artists to move the film back to Christmas Day, which probably indicates UA thinks it has the potential to attract the interest of awards voters in the 2008 awards season.
4. That cast! Kenneth Branagh, Bill Nighy, Tom Wilkinson, Carice van Houten (who previously kicked Nazi ass in Black Book), Thomas Kretschmann (who was so cute in King Kong), Terence Stamp, and utterly worshippable Eddie Izzard. I’m swooning at the prospect of all this talent onscreen all at once.
5. Tom Cruise. Yeah, I know. But every time I think the same thing you’re thinking, I then think, But Collateral… Cruise was amazing in Collateral… which means he could be amazing again. I’d love to be surprised like that again.