December is always a big month for the movies. The studios in their last-ditch efforts to win Oscars are pumping out some of their best offerings of the year. While there are a whole host of likely candidates for good films, there are only three that I really care much about. The first of these is probably the most obvious to those that know me well: Peter Jackson’s return to Middle Earth filmmaking, The Hobbit. I’m unsure that The Hobbit contains enough story or is worthy of an entire trilogy all to itself, but I have faith in Peter Jackson to deliver something compelling and wholly engrossing. I’m quite interested in checking this one out in 3D too, as it will be the first major film to be released in 48 frames per second, and according to Jackson, this will change the game for filmmaking quite a bit. 24 frames per second has suited everyone just fine for over a hundred years, though, so perhaps this is just Jackson at his most Lucas-like. We’ll see, but I’m very excited regardless.
The second film is Tarantino’s latest: Django Unchained. This one I know far less about than The Hobbit, but as soon as it was announced I was on-board. While Tarantino doesn’t hold the same place in my heart that he did when I was 16 or so, I can’t deny that I still greatly enjoy his work. Inglourious Basterds was my favorite film of 2009, and I think it’s easily Tarantino’s best film as well. So that, coupled with the fact that this looks to be another great tale of revenge, leads me to be pretty sure that Django Unchained will be fucking awesome. And honestly, Tarantino had me with the title. As soon as I heard it, I knew he was making a “character name only” Django clone, just as countless Italian filmmakers had done in the wake of Corbucci’s original film, and regardless of how the actual film is, I love that he is actually did that.
But neither of these films can hold a candle to the epic excitement I have for the third film on my agenda. Part of my fervor might be because while it releases at the end of this year overseas, I have no idea when I’ll be able to see it in the US. I fully plan to pick up a Hong Kong DVD or Blu-ray of it the moment it’s available, barring some legitimate US release before that. I am of course talking about the latest Jackie Chan film: Chinese Zodiac. Billed as the long-awaited third entry in his Armour of God series, Chinese Zodiac looks to be everything Chan has promised it will be. A return to the high-stakes, stunt-filled action, Chinese Zodiac is a globetrotting movie made as one last hurrah for Jackie Chan fans. He’s directing, writing, starring and choreographing it all, just like many of his greatest films from the ’80s, and I cannot fucking wait. Bring it on, Jackie! That all being said, there are some worrisome elements, such as the presence of Oliver Platt and Kenny G in the cast, but there’s also Ken Lo so I guess we can still hope for one last battle between Jackie and a super-kicker!