The holiday movie season is a crowded beast. So we asked filmmaker Hilton Carter, a MICA grad who now lives in Los Angeles, to give us his picks for what he can't wait to see. Carter, 31, whose dark short film "Moth" aired earlier this year on HBO, cut his teeth directing music videos for the likes of Blaqstarr and E Major. His latest project, heist comedy "One Last Run," will tentatively begin filming in Baltimore in mid-December (read more about the project and contribute on kickstarter.com). Here, Carter shares what he calls his "top five fils to finish the year." Shockingly, his list does not include "Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked."
If I were forced to only have the option to view one film this year, "Shame" would be it. Directed by visual artist Steve McQueen, "Shame" merges a beautiful cinematic style with powerful storytelling and unbelievable performances, to give you what will be hands down the film of the year. McQueen's talent is rare and inspiring and it clearly shines bright in his work. Leading the way is actor Michael Fassbender ("Hunger"), who is easily becoming one of the most talented actors out there. And lets not forget to mention the work of Nicole Beharie ("American Violet"). Believe me when I say this: "Shame" will not disappoint. Oscar watch. (Out Dec. 16*)
2. "TINKER, TAILOR, SOLDIER, SPY"
First off, the title of this film alone is enough to make any filmgoer curious. Couple that with the film's trailer, which not only shows the power of talent, (Gary Oldman, Colin Firth) involved, but the creativity that has gone into the framing and structure of the film. Directed by Tomas Alfredson, the director of what I believed was the film of the year in '08 ("Let the Right One In"), "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" could easily be the best spy film ever. (1/6)
3. "A DANGEROUS METHOD"
One word: Cronenberg! Three words: Fassbender, Mortensen, Cassel. If this isn't enough to sell you, I'm not sure what will. For one, David Cronenberg made "The Fly"! "THE FLY," people! Enough said. OK, more said: "A History of Violence" and "Eastern Promises." Both of which are deeply dark and compelling films that focus closely on the relationships between individuals and the society they live in. "A Dangerous Method" is a period piece that will likely do the same. (1/13)
Described as "A beautiful movie about the end of the world", "Melancholia" is one of my most anticipated films this holiday season. Helmed by controversial director Lars Von Trier, whom I believe is a true auteur, "Melancholia" will follow where his last film "Antichrist" left off and continue to push the boundaries of filmmaking and storytelling. (11/23)
This could be my most bias pick of all, given I know the main actress in the film, Adepero Oduye. From the moment I met her, I felt like I was looking at a star in the making. But "Pariah" would have grabbed me by its allure and buzz alone. This is a film that will be the quiet surprise of the season and will become bigger as word-of-mouth of its power is passed along. Dealing with some important and brave issues (Oduye plays a Brooklyn teen struggling with her sexual identity), "Pariah" takes on what most films this season are hesitant to confront. Oscar watch. (Tentatively 1/20)
"Young Adult" (12/16)
"The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" (12/21)
*All release dates are for Baltimore and subject to change