Both for his skillful portrayals of life on the lunatic fringe, and his capacity for playing dual roles on the screen – at once the architect of his own delirious demise and a bemused spectator to it – Johnny Depp has become Hollywood’s designated stand-in for the late Hunter S. Thompson, and rightly so.
Thompson, whose hedonistic exuberance and wry self-awareness inform the hard-living alter egos that people his fiction, returns, at least in spirit, in The Rum Diary, Bruce Robinson’s cheerfully meandering adaptation of the author’s second novel.
Summer is officially over, but Hollywood is still churning out enough remakes (Footloose, The Thing), tech-savvy adventures (Real Steel) and physics-defying thrillers (In Time) to make the adjustment that much smoother. With the first weekend of October about to begin, let's take a look at what the month has to offer.
Real Steel (Oct. 7)
The fighters: Hugh Jackman, Evangeline Lilly, Kevin Durand, Anthony Mackie
Calling the shots: Shawn Levy
After Independence Day, Skyline and the repeated doomsday threats imagined by TV’s 24, you’d think Los Angelenos would have tired of watching their city reduced to so much smoldering rubble. Christopher Bertolini, author of the alien-invasion thriller Battle: Los Angeles, obviously hasn’t.
The stars of Rabbit Hole, Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart, play mourning parents eight months removed from the death of their son, each so consumed by individual grief that neither is attuned to the other’s emotional and physical needs.
It’s the kind of domestic melodrama Hollywood studios rarely make anymore, and perhaps the last man you’d expect to direct it is John Cameron Mitchell, best known for 2001’s Hedwig and the Angry Inch, his seminal comedy about a transsexual punk rocker, and the 2006 bohemians-in-heat drama Shortbus.
With 2010 about to fade into our rearview, it's time to pay our respects to a year that produced its share of very good movies, but precious few great ones. It was a year dominated by memorable performances in supporting roles – Christian Bale as a crack-addicted burnout in The Fighter, John Hawkes as a rough-and-tumble hillbilly in Winter's Bone, Jacki Weaver as an insidious matriarch in the overlooked Australian import Animal Kingdom – and the visual bravura of Inception, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and TRON: Legacy.