It’s hard to believe but it’s already that time of year again, the Fall movie season. It feels like just yesterday I was sitting in the theatre watching films like The Social Network, The King’s Speech, Black Swan etc. We’re on the heels of the best time for movies and the best time to be a movie fan.
This is when we get to see all the Awards films. From September to November (and sometimes December), studios put up their best shots for the little gold statue. If you’re going to see a really good film this year, it will be in the next few months.
And so, with that being said, we’re here to give you a quick overview of what you can expect to see come the Fall. Not all of these are Oscar worthy titles but instead, we decide to look at blockbusters, sequels, remakes and anything else that we thought you may be interested in.
So without further ado, check out our Fall movie preview!
Contagion – September 9th
If true, Steven Soderbergh is coming to the end of his directorial career. Contagion kind of marks the beginning of the end for Soderbergh’s stint in the director’s chair and it could prove to be one of the most interesting and entertaining films of his career. The director has not intention of leaving quietly either.
The film is about a virus epidemic which kills people after a certain amount of days. It sees Soderbergh reunite with The Informant! scribe Scott Z. Burns for a thrill ride which has been promised to be a grueling affair.
A lot of virus thrillers are pretty dire, from Outbreak to Mission: Impossible II, no one ever seems to get it right. There needs to be a balance between character, action and politics, and the films depend on how well those factors are managed. From the look of a very intense trailer, that balance mentioned before is what we’ll be getting, the film is also supposedly going to be fairly hardcore.
Contagion has one of his finest ensembles with more Oscar winners and nominees than you can shake a stick at. That coupled with Soderbergh behind the camera makes this one a shoe-in come Awards season. Support this piece of intelligent, bracing cinema when it gets released. – Will Chadwick
Straw Dogs – September 16th
I haven’t seen the original Straw Dogs with Dustin Hoffman, but the trailer for the remake ensures me that this will be nothing short of a thrill ride, starring attractive human beings such as James Marsden, Kate Bosworth, and Alexander Skarsgard.
Most horror film fans are already pleased with typical D-list actors cast in their favorite genre, but Straw Dogs is really stepping it up with the talent. Specifically, they are going in a more beautiful direction, with Swedish God, Alexander Skarsgard.
Skarsgard embodies the cold, snarky character Eric on True Blood, and in the most recent season, he has perfected a meek, innocent version. Clearly, Sweden’s hottest man alive will be fantastic as the bad guy in Straw Dogs.
Based on the trailer, Straw Dogs is looking a lot like a less terrifying version of The Strangers, with more drama and a bit less horror. This balance in conjunction with the actors is what really has me looking forward to the film. – Emily Estep
Drive – September 16th
Ryan Gosling continues to impress me as an actor. While I did enjoy The Notebook, I like how the actor is able to expand his acting realm outside of mainstream romantic dramas. Blue Valentine featured one of his best performances to date and Drive looks to show off his acting chops again. This looks like a different kind of role for him as it’s more of a gritty neo-noir drama but I still do hope to see an Oscar nomination for him.
While Gosling may be leading the charge, he’s backed by a fantastic supporting cast that includes Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston, and Christina Hendricks, among others. Early reviews from the film’s time on the festival circuit have been tremendously positive and so far, I have yet to hear one negative thing about Drive. – David Wangberg
Moneyball – September 23rd
Moneyball is a movie based off of the well known novel of the same name by financial writer Michael Lewis. It chronicles the unlikely rise of the Oakland Athletics, where they start as a low salary cap team that is at the bottom of league standings and become winners through ingenuity, perserverence and very, very clever scouting.
The book focuses on using Sabermetrics, a highly complicated statistical system used to evaluate players. If you think a book about mathematical formulas is going to be boring, then you obviously haven’t read this one. Lewis brings drama, emotion and humor in his writing, which I am hoping will translate well onto the big screen.
The only worry I have is that they will try to saturate the film with personal drama rather than focus on the fascinating events leading up to the A’s fairytale season. I’m sure Sabermetrics will not test well with sample audiences who haven’t read the book, so finding a happy medium between movie drama and staying true to the book will be a difficult proposition that I am praying works out.
From a box office standpoint, Moneyball could be in the same category as The Blind Side, another Lewis novel. The football themed movie was a huge success, but did what I hate most about book to movie translations. It condensed all of the intriguing parts of the novel into the first three minutes, and then spending the rest of the movie focusing on the more emotional, but less interesting (at least to me) human interest angle . I
understand this is how you get an audience, but as a fan of the book, this was very disappointing. Let’s hope Moneyball can improve on the formula and fix what ailed The Blind Side.
Either way, Moneyball definitiely has the right pedigree with Brad Pitt in the starring role as general manager Billy Bean and Philip Seymour Hoffman in a supporting role as the team manager, Art Howe. Funnyman Jonah Hill also lends his talents as the catalyst for the teams upward momentum, playing the statistical genius Paul DePodesta. - Daniel Harper
Abduction – September 23rd
Taylor Lautner looks to breakthrough the Twilight bubble with the thriller Abduction. Directed by John Singleton, Abduction stars Twilight’s Jacob the Werewolf as Nathan, a teenager who finds out his parents are not really his parents, that he was abducted as a child and that there is more to his fake parents’ treachery than just his abduction.
Taylor Lautner doesn’t exactly get the juices flowing as a leading man; thus far his career consists mostly of training his abs and pining for Kristen Stewart. However, John Singleton has a particular talent for B-Movie action flicks; check out his remarkably underappreciated Four Brothers as proof.
So while I’m not terribly confident in the acting abilities of Lautner, I think Singleton’s direction can turn this into an acceptable if not forgettable thriller. Or at least I hope. - Sean Kernan
Dream House – September 30th
Daniel Craig is having a rough 2011. First, the next film in the James Bond franchise was delayed. Then, his Cowboys & Aliens struggled to top The Smurfs at the box office on its opening weekend.
Craig hopes to turn his year around with Dream House, a supernatural thriller from the brilliant director Jim Sheridan. The elements of Dream House are familiar; Craig plays a man who finds that his family has been killed shortly after moving into their titular Dream House.
Did he kill them? Are they really dead? Is the killer coming for Craig? Dream House compares quite well with The Others, The Sixth Sense and Cold Creek Manor. Considering I enjoyed all of those horror flicks, I’m willing to give this one a shot. – Sean Kernan
Take Shelter – September 30th
Take Shelter looks like the perfect mix of my two favorite things: unpredictable horror movies and pure Oscar bait. It stars Michael Shannon as a husband and father who’s losing his mind in the time leading up to an impending apocalypse.
I trust Shannon, who’s most known for his Oscar-nominated supporting role in Revolutionary Road, in which he played a flawlessly creepy genius, to pull off this role with flying colors. He seems to be on a fantastic career path, and Take Shelter is just unusual enough to add something intriguing to his budding resume.
Take Shelter seems like a totally original story with eerie undertones and a dark journey into the human psyche. The film has very good reviews so far, having already screened at Sundance and honestly, any movie having to do with the apocalypse is usually pretty entertaining. – Emily EstepNext
Real Steel – October 7th
Hugh Jackman stars in what we are told is not, IS NOT, an adaptation of Rock’Em, Sock’em Robots. Jackman plays a washed up boxer turned washed up fight promoter who gets talked into training a robot boxer by the son he did not know he had. Can the ex-champ get back on top?
Shawn Levy directs Real Steel and his mastery of massive special effects, as demonstrated by the two Night at the Museum movies, is a plus for the film. Then again, Levy’s resume also includes such trash as Pink Panther, Cheaper By the Dozen and the two aforementioned Night at the Museum movies. Whether Real Steel turn out to be a plus or negative for Levy’s career remains to be seen. - Sean Kernan
Wanderlust – October 7th
The last time Paul Rudd worked with director David Wain, the result was the very funny Role Models. On the other hand, the last time Paul Rudd worked with Jennifer Aniston the result was the dopey, drippy Lifetime Movie-esque chick flick The Object of My Affection.
Wanderlust stars Rudd and Aniston as a New York City power couple who lose everything and end up taking refuge at a hippie commune. Rudd co-wrote the screenplay with Ken Marino and the film is produced by Judd Apatow, which gives me some hope. Plus, Aniston is said to have a nude scene in the film. I’ll let you ponder that one. – Sean Kernan
The Ides of March – October 7th
Amid recent political events, it’s difficult for many people not to be cynical about the current state of government around the world. With various conflicts in the Middle East, interior conflict with cabinet members and revelations about the relationship with the press (News International in particular), politics is not at its most popular point. With that in mind George Clooney, completely by accident, has chosen the most perfect time to release The Ides of March.
This is Clooney in ultimate control, he directs, writes, produces and stars in the film which sees a press spokesperson (Ryan Gosling) to presidential candidate (George Clooney) getting involved in dirty political games during the campaign for the White House. With a recent trailer, The Ides of March has catapulted itself into the Oscar race as a leading contender. Gosling looks on top form and Clooney is a proven talent behind the camera.
His handling of a real political situation in Good Night, and Good Luck was a sublimely crafted and extremely intelligent piece of work. This looks like it could be very similar, a high brow and well crafted film that could easily end up on numerous “Best Films of the Year” lists. – Will Chadwick
The Thing – October 14th
Despite the title, The Thing is not a remake of the John Carpenter horror classic from 1982. Rather, this version of The Thing is a prequel to Carpenter’s horror flick. Mary Elizabeth Winstead, last seen charming all as the object of Michael Cera’s affections in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, stars as a scientist called to Antarctica to investigate alien phenomena.
Naturally, said alien phenomena escapes from its icy tomb and begins eating people leaving only Winstead’s scientist and Joel Edgerton’s big handsome love interest guy to fight for their lives. The Thing is the debut feature from Swedish director Matthijs Van Heijningen. While it likely won’t be as good as its predecessor, I think it will provide decent horror amidst the flock of Oscar dramas that we’ll be bombarded with this Fall. – Sean Kernan
The Skin I Live In – October 14th
Making a return to American screens this fall is one of Europe’s most celebrated contemporary filmmakers. Yes, Pedro Almodovar is back with a scintillating return to form after the let down that was Broken Embraces. The Skin I Live In is a departure from his more mature works of the past decade. It’s solely a genre piece that is very close to full blown horror but with that special Almodovar twist.
A deeply disturbed and twisted film it is too. Reuniting Almodovar with former muse Antonio Banderas, who plays a plastic surgeon named Robert Ledgard who seeks revenge after his daughter is raped. The less you know the better as the film inverts and twists expectations several times as it goes on. Banderas’ performance is etched with creepiness and is the best thing he’s done in years, Ledgard is an entirely loathsome screen presence and played with striking zeal and lust.
Almodovar is also at his very best, he’s supremely stylish and beautifully ratchets up the tension. It is a wonderful cross between Hitchcock and Cronenberg, which probably gives away more than I should, and this is so far, the best film I’ve seen this year. – Will Chadwick
Footloose – October 14th
The Thing may not be a remake but Footloose surely is. In fact, if the trailer for the film is any indication, director Craig Brewer (Hustle and Flow, Black Snake Moan) has been exceptionally faithful to the 1984 Kevin Bacon classic.
Unknown actor Kenny Wormald takes the lead in the remake alongside Dancing with the Stars pro Julianne Hough. The story remains as you remember it: Four students from a small Texas town are killed leading the local reverend, Dennis Quaid taking up John Lithgow’s bunched undies, bans dancing within the city limits. Enter Ren MacCormack, a big city outsider who moves to town and immediately sets about cutting loose, Footloose. – Sean Kernan
The Three Musketeers – October 21st
The Three Musketeers has seen its fair share of movie translations. Almost all of these versions have been mediocre, with the most recent one starring Charlie Sheen and Kiefer Sutherland being very underwhelming.
Director Paul W.S. Anderson (Resident Evil) wants to change this trend with his remake of the Alexander Dumas classic. Starring Percy Jackson lead Logan Lerman as D’Artagnan, the movie will follow the adventures of the young swashbuckler, along with three down on their luck Musketeers, Athos (Matthew Macfayden), Porthos (Ray Stevenson) and Aramis (Luke Evans), as they come together to prevent a beautiful double agent and her villainous employer from seizing the French throne and engulfing Europe in war.
The film brings with it a large supporting cast of popular actors including Milla Jovovich as Milady de Winter, Orlando Bloom as the Duke of Buckingham, Juno Temple as Queen Anne and the always excellent Christopher Waltz as Richlieu.
Considering the difficulty in translating classic novels into something even relatively close to the source material is a lofty proposition, Anderson and company have a big challenge with this one. But from what has been shown, this movie seems to take advantage of a big budget and newly implemented 3D technology to help it tell the narrative in a fresh and interesting way.
That being said, this reliance on big action sequences and new tech can be a double edged sword which could make or break the movie. If the plot and characters are kept true to form and the action is at a high quality level, then this could be the best version to come out yet.
Sharpen your rapier and be ready to duel when The Three Musketeers releases on October 14th. – Daniel Harper
Paranormal Activity 3 – October 21st
Paranormal Activity divided audiences when it was released, leading some to claim it the scariest movie they’d ever seen and others to point out that there’s nothing scary about a door moving in the middle of the night.
Scariest movie ever seen is a stretch, but I did greatly enjoy the first film, which is currently inspiring a whole genre in American cinema of “home movie” type films. Paranormal Activity 2 fit in almost perfect with the first movie, working as an effective prequel that was scary without being too over-the-top.
So what’s going to happen in Paranormal Activity 3? I love scary movies, and any scary movie that manages to really get into the lexicon of everyday Americans is committing an impressive feat. Horror films tend to be ignored and under-appreciated but I’m proud to support this franchise and I’ll be there on day one to see this. – Emily Estep
Anonymous – October 28th
Did Shakespeare really write all of those remarkable plays? The conspiracy theory about the true origins of the writer’s genius has endured for centuries and now, director Roland Emmerich (Independence Day, 2012) is bringing the conspiracy to the big screen in Anonymous.
Rhys Ifans stars as Edward De Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford. Allegedly, it was De Vere who wrote all of Shakespeare’s classics but lost credit when he was banished from Queen Elizabeth’s court. Vanessa Redgrave plays the Queen while David Thewlis plays William Cecil, one the Queen’s advisors.
While this material may not exactly be up Emmerich’s alley, it’s sure to be an interesting story and one that will have people giving second thought to some of their favorite plays. – Sean Kernan
In Time – October 28th
In Time looks to be another promising effort in the genre. Andrew Niccol directed one of my favorite sci-fi films from the ‘90s called Gattaca, and he returns to the genre with In Time, which has Justin Timberlake, Amanda Seyfried, Cillian Murphy and Olivia Wilde.
I like the concept of the film, which has the characters stop aging at 25 and have to work in order to buy more time for their lives. I also love the fact that it’s not based on a previously published story. In fact, that right there is enough to get me into a theater for this one. – David WangbergPrevious Next
A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas – November 4th
They made it to White Castle and Escaped from Guantanamo Bay and now they are ready to celebrate with Santa. Harold & Kumar, the modern Cheech & Chong, are back and no doubt have their one hitters at the ready.
Neil Patrick Harris is back as well once again in the role of, well, Neil Patrick Harris. If you’re thinking to yourself that NPH was killed off in Escape from Guantanamo Bay, congratulations for retaining a few brain cells but you’re asking a little too much continuity from a film directed by Todd Strauss-Schulson, whose resume includes a short called Sorority Pillow Fight and a TV series called Gaytown. – Sean Kernan
Puss in Boots – November 4th
Since Mike Myers has far too much integrity to keep treating the Shrek series as an ATM machine, Dreamworks talked Antonio Banderas into doing it for them by spinning off his Puss in Boots character for an origin story. Few people asked for it but we may not regret seeing the film, at least not if the surprisingly cute trailer is to be believed.
Shrek the Third director Chris Miller is at the helm of Puss in Boots and landed Hangover star Zach Galifianakis for the supporting role of Humpty Dumpty. More importantly, Puss in Boots offers a vocal reunion of the Desperado duo Salma Hayek and Antonio Banderas. – Sean Kernan
Tower Heist – November 4th
Eat your heart out Bernie Madoff. This is comedy ripped from the headlines as Ben Stiller leads a band of ticked off working stiffs who aim to rob the hedge fund manager (Alan Alda) who stole their pensions. Needing a criminal mastermind to lead the way, Stiller turns to a former classmate turned criminal played by Eddie Murphy.
Brett Ratner directs Tower Heist from a screenplay that features a polish from Noah Baumbach, Ted Griffin (Matchstick Men), Leslie Dixon (Limitless) and Rawson Thurber Marshall (Dodgeball). On the bright side, the supporting cast includes Matthew Broderick, Casey Affleck and Gabourey Sidibe. That is a bright side, right? – Sean Kernan
Immortals – November 11th
If you thought the Starz cable network had cornered the market on Greek drama you would be mistaken. Artsy fartsy director Tarsem Singh is taking a swing at Greek stuff in Immortals, with future Superman Henry Cavill leading a cast that includes John Hurt, Mickey Rourke and Freida Pinto.
The story involves a shirtless ab model named Theseus (Cavill) who attempts to reclaim the throne of Athens, once held by his late father. To do this he must battle the guardians of the underworld, take their weapons and deliver his father’s arms, weapons not actual arms, to the King in order to claim his birthright. Go in expecting 300 on crack and you’ll come out pleased. - Sean Kernan
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – November 18th
Bella is pregnant and Edward is in for a shotgun wedding as we return to The Twilight Saga in Breaking Dawn Part 1. Bill Condon is at the helm this time around picking up where David Slade left off, though how he will work a Dreamgirls style music montage in between all of the Vampire and Werewolf stuff is unclear.
Fans of Taylor Lautner’s shirtlessness need not worry; Jacob and the Wolfpack are back for Breaking Dawn Part 1, though don’t expect Jacob to be hitting up Bella and Edward’s wedding registry for a ladle or some dust ruffles. And then there is the matter of the Vampire bundle of joy. The scene in the book was said to be bloody, yet sexy. Eww. – Sean Kernan
Happy Feet 2 – November 18th
You’re right; the original Happy Feet did leave far too many questions unanswered. Thankfully, there is Happy Feet 2 to answer all of those questions you had about singing and dancing penguins. Questions such as which pop songs can Robin Williams really, really ruin or just how much more damage can LL Cool J’s street cred take before it dissolves completely?
Did you know that Happy Feet and Happy Feet 2 were directed by George Miller? Mad Max creator George Miller? Lorenzo’s Oil auteur, George Miller?
I’m not making this up; George Miller, director of Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome directed both Happy Feet movies. Are we in some kind of crazy, backwards upside down universe? Why didn’t someone tell me? – Sean Kernan
The Muppets – November 23rd
Fans of Forgetting Sarah Marshall (I know I’m not the only one), know that star Jason Segal has a way with Muppets. So, it can only be good news that Segal took time away from his terrific sitcom How I Met Your Mother to bring the actual Muppets out of moth balls and back to the big screen.
Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzy and the whole gang are back and looking to rebuild their showbiz careers after years away. Segal is out to help along with the cute as a button Amy Adams and guest stars galore including Katy Perry, Zach Galifianakis, Emily Blunt and Neil Patrick Harris. – Sean Kernan
Tinker, Tailor, Solider, Spy – November 18th
Despite already being immortalized on television by Alec Guinness in a BBC miniseries, Tomas Alfredson and Gary Oldman are bringing something wholly new to Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and the iconic spy George Smiley. The film is based on John le Carre’s intense, deeply complex surveillance novel about ex-agent Smiley who is hired back out of retirement into the service to hunt down a Russian mole in MI6.
With a late fall release date, the distributors are hoping for it to pick up some awards momentum and all eyes will hopefully be drawn to Gary Oldman. Smiley as a character is classic Oscar bait, a troubled figure with a disturbed past, a stoic and unpretentious man who is way past his best days.
After being under appreciated for most of his career, mainly due to his chameleon like nature really hiding him in roles, the various circles and academies will finally realize what a great actor they have in Oldman.
From the evocative trailer and stills, we can see that Alfredson really has captured the paranoia of the post Cold War world as well as the smoke infused grain of 1970’s office space. The supporting cast is also very impressive with Benedict Cumberbatch, Colin Firth, Tom Hardy, John Hurt and many more. – Will Chadwick
Hugo – November 23rd
Martin Scorsese is a legendary director, creating many films that are now considered classics. He’s made some of the most violent, plot-twisted, and dramatic films in American cinema, and now he’s making a kids’ film. And you know what, already this movie has won me over.
As if I needed more reason to look forward to Hugo, the films’ leads are my two favorite young actors, Asa Butterfield and Chloe Moretz. Butterfield broke my heart in The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, and then when it had finally mended itself, he stole it in Nanny McPhee 2. His giant green eyes and stark, black hair make him a more adorable version of Harry Potter and he has the talent to back up this doppelganger status.
Moretz needn’t even be mentioned, as the entire movie-seeing world has fallen for her, thanks to her killer role as “Hit Girl” in Kick-Ass. With each foul world and brutal vigilante murder, she inched her way slowly into our hearts. She even popped up on 30 Rock, proving to be an equal match to the likes of Alec Baldwin.
Who better to advance the careers of these lovable young’uns than the man himself, Martin Scorsese? – Emily Estep
The Descendants – November 23rd
Sideways was one of my favorite comedies of the last decade and I couldn’t be more excited to see Alexander Payne return to the director’s chair with The Descendants, starring George Clooney. This seems to be in the same realm as the former film with it being a comedy and a drama.
Payne is great with his screenplays and direction so I expect him to do well here. Plus, with leading man George Clooney taking charge on screen, I can’t see much going wrong with this one. – David Wangberg
That does it for our Fall Movie Preview, we hope you enjoyed it. Let us know in the comments which films you’re looking forward to this Fall.Previous