BOP 25 of the Holiday: Selections 20-16

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20. After the Sunset

Pierce Brosnan, you have just been fired from the James Bond series for having the audacity to put together four consecutive quality outings and re-solidify the flagging franchise. What do you do? As any wrestling fan knows, whenever a good guy gets kicked around, the only choice is to turn heel. Brosnan is poised to do just that in After the Sunset, a movie that treads semi-familiar territory for the actor.

As with The Thomas Crown Affair, Brosnan is portraying a master thief being doggedly pursued by someone who wants to catch the felon with his hand in the cookie jar. In addition, he once more attempts to seduce his tracker into the lifestyle of vicarious thrills through nefarious acts. The difference is that it’s friend of hemp, Woody Harrelson, rather than the lovely and vivacious Rene Russo that is being lured to the dark side. And it helps that Salma Hayek and BOP fave Don Cheadle are along for the ride.

Whether the movie turns out to be as good as Crown is yet to be determined, but the combination of cast and de facto sequel subject matter have us giddy with anticipation.

19. Kinsey

Let's talk about sex. When Alfred Kinsey published Sexual Behavior in the Human Male in 1948, the effect was compared to that of the atom bomb. A zoologist specializing in the study of gall wasps, Kinsey was surprised to discover a complete lack of scientific study on the subject of human sexuality while teaching at Indiana University. He and his team of researchers refined an interview technique so that interviewees would be comfortable revealing intimate details that led to his 1948 publication and a subsequent publication on female sexuality in 1953. While his studies are seen as precursors to the sexual revolution in the 1960s, at the time they were considered an obscene attack on traditional values by many. Critics still doubt his studies, claiming they were trumped up to justify his own sexual behavior which included a complicated marriage to his wife and homosexual affairs. Biopics are often most successful when they can shed light on the world as well as simply telling the story of an individual's life, and Kinsey would seem to fit that mold perfectly, seeing as we are still grappling with many of the same issues he brought to light 50-some years ago. The film is also in capable hands as writer/director Bill Condon (Gods and Monsters) works with an incredible cast including Liam Neeson as Kinsey, Laura Linney as his wife, Peter Sarsgaard, John Lithgow, Dylan Baker, Oliver Platt, and Lynn Redgrave.

18. The Polar Express

Robert Zemeckis is a master when it comes to creating movie magic. From Back to the Future to Who Framed Roger Rabbit to Forrest Gump, the director has created memorable characters and stories backed up with effects that are truly special. He once again teams up with Tom Hanks for The Polar Express, an animated adaptation of the beloved Chris Van Allsburg children's book. Perfectly set for a holiday season release, the story should capture the attention of both children and adults despite the fact that the characters look just ever so creepy. Either way, the animation technique employed is new and unique when compared to other CGI films out on the market, so eyes will definitely be on the film's performance at the box office.

17. In Good Company

After finding surprise success with American Pie, director Paul Weitz moved on to adapt the popular Nick Hornby novel About a Boy. The results were spectacular. Now, Weitz will do an even more grown-up project from a screenplay he wrote. Starring Dennis Quaid, Topher Grace and BOP fave Scarlett Johansson, the film examines what happens to disenfranchised middle-aged workers when they find themselves being replaced by younger folks. It's a vibrant-looking comedy with a measured, subtle trailer. It might just be the film to get Grace some more mainstream notice, too.

16. Spanglish

Director James L. Brooks returns behind the camera with a film that looks to exemplify his style and story-telling ability. Adam Sandler stars as a talented chef who lives in an affluent L.A. neighborhood with his wife (Tea Leoni). A Mexican housekeeper (newcomer Paz Vega) is hired to live and work with the family, and she could never have imagined the perils that might await her as they come to embrace her as one of their own.

When Adam Sandler is in "serious actor mode" (see: Punch-Drunk Love), he's actually quite charming and low-key. The trailer for the film certainly brings the tone and atmosphere of As Good As It Gets to mind, and that film was a solid performer for the storied director, both box office-wise and at awards time. We'll look forward to watching him work with a new generation of actors.

Read selections 25-21
Read selections 20-16
Read selections 15-11
Read selections 10-6
Read selections 5-1



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Sunday, July 22, 2018
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