Fall Movie Preview Spectacular! Part 1 – The Films of September

Screen Shot 2012 08 29 at 9.32.40 PM 670x314 Fall Movie Preview Spectacular! Part 1   The Films of September

Having wrapped up our Summer 2012 film coverage with the End of Summer Movie Awards earlier this week, it is time to look forward to Fall and the rest of what 2012 has in store. This has been an extremely enjoyable year for cinema so far, but when one looks at the absolute mountain of titles the industry has coming over the next few months, one has to imagine studios have been saving the best for last.

There are so many films coming out through the end of the year, in fact, that we thought it would be a good idea to put together this handy, four-part guide to the films of the Fall. This preview, publishing throughout the week, is divided into four parts, each exploring one remaining month of the year. Today, we examine the films of September, with a guide to release dates, casts, story information, trailers, and my analysis of how each individual movie may stack up.

It’s our Fall Movie Preview Spectacular! Part 1. Enjoy…

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The Words

Release Date: September 7th

Directed by Brian Klugman and Lee Sternthal; Starring Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Irons, Dennis Quaid, Olivia Wilde and Zoë Saldana

wordsstill1 Fall Movie Preview Spectacular! Part 1   The Films of September 

I find it tough to get a read on this film. The extremely messy trailer tries selling it, at various points, as a literary drama, a romance, a mystery, and an intense thriller. What it actually is remains to be seen, but the story – Bradley Cooper’s character achieves success by plagiarizing Jeremy Irons’ writing – has potential, and the cast is filled with spectacular performers. These are the kinds of actors I could watch read the phonebook, so I suspect their talent shall carry the film a long way. If there’s actually a strong, thoughtful narrative as well, this could turn out to be a very pleasant surprise.

Raiders of the Lost Ark: The IMAX Experience

Release Date: September 7th

Directed by Steven Spielberg; Starring Harrison Ford, Karen Allen, Paul Freeman, John Rhys-Davies and Denholm Elliot

radiers of the lost ark Fall Movie Preview Spectacular! Part 1   The Films of September 

What could possibly be cooler than seeing Raiders of the Lost Ark on IMAX? This is one of my all-time favorite films, the best adventure movie ever made and the greatest project Spielberg has ever directed. With a brand new, painstaking restoration done to ready the film for its upcoming Blu-Ray debut and a 7.1 Surround Sound audio track rebuilt from the ground up by original sound designer Ben Burtt, Raiders will have never looked or sounded this good…and that’s before one factors the sheer size and sonic clarity of IMAX projection. While there are plenty of interesting looking new movies hitting screens this fall, I doubt any of them will be quite as fun as Raiders.

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Resident Evil: Retribution

Release Date: September 14th

Directed by Paul W.S. Anderson; Starring Milla Jovovich, Sienna Guillory, and Michelle Rodriguez

 Resident Evil Retribution 5 Fall Movie Preview Spectacular! Part 1   The Films of September

You have to hand it to the Resident Evil team. Even if none of their films have ever set the box office on fire, sequels keep getting greenlit, to the point where the franchise has become one of the longest running sci-fi series in film history. Retribution is the fifth installment, if you can believe that, and in addition to the continued presence of franchise bedrock Milla Jovovich, it sees the return of Michelle Rodriguez, who co-starred in the first feature a full ten years ago. I have no major investment in this series, but they seem to please their fans just fine, and I’m sure Retribution will be no different.

 The Master

Release Date: September 14th (Limited)

Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson; Starring Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Joaquin Phoenix, and Amy Adams

The Master image Fall Movie Preview Spectacular! Part 1   The Films of September 

P.T. Anderson’s first feature since the masterful There Will Be Blood is one of the most exciting propositions of the season. A mysterious story about a dangerous religious leader, The Master features an incredible ensemble, and every bit of footage seen so far looks positively spectacular. As with Blood, I suspect we will have no clear sense of what this movie actually is until we have actually sat down to watch it, but that’s what makes Anderson such a fascinating filmmaker.

He packs his films to the bursting point with grand ideas, characters, and imagery, but always with a precise and thoughtful simmer. Shooting on 70mm film seems like a natural step forward to his craft, and early reactions to screenings in the format indicate the film is indeed a visual and psychological powerhouse. I cannot wait to see what Anderson has in store.

Finding Nemo 3D

Release Date: September 14th

Directed by Andrew Stanton; Starring Albert Brooks, Ellen DeGeneres, and Alexander Gould

Finding Nemo 3D1 Fall Movie Preview Spectacular! Part 1   The Films of September

With Pixar having chosen to move in a more overtly commercial direction in recent years, a 3D re-release of Finding Nemo – which was, until Toy Story 3, their highest grossing film – is a no brainer. It is one of the greatest of all American animated features, a triumph of heart, comedy, and characterization that pushed CGI as an artistic medium several steps forward.

Though the visuals are now nine years out of date, the film’s beautiful, timeless art design will no doubt hold up spectacularly on the big screen, and one can always trust Pixar to perform a respectful and immersive 3D conversion. Would I personally prefer to see the film in 2D? Of course, but 3D is the current standard for animation, and if the additional dimension means a new generation of children get to discover this masterpiece, that’s a fair price to pay.


Release Date: September 14th (Limited)

Directed by Nicholas Jarecki; Starring Richard Gere, Brit Marling, Susan Sarandon, and Tim Roth

 Arbitrage movie image Richard Gere Brit Marling Fall Movie Preview Spectacular! Part 1   The Films of September

Many things about Arbitrage intrigue me, but none more so than the presence of Brit Marling, a brilliant young actress whose work in Sound Of My Voice still stands as one of the most gripping performances of the year. Will she have room to impress that much in this film? Probably not, given that this is a showcase for Richard Gere, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

This looks like a strong part for the seasoned thespian, and I’m equally excited to see some of the other performers at work, including the often underutilized Tim Roth. The trailer hints at an effective, slow-burn thriller atmosphere, but it’s also narratively unclear. Is Gere playing a bad guy who pretends to lead a good life? Or is he a good guy caught up in bad events? How exactly does his legal firm work into all this? I have no clear sense of the story after watching the trailer, which is fine so long as the film itself knows what it’s doing. In any case, this is one I’ll be watching out for.

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The Perks Of Being a Wallflower

Release Date: September 21st (Limited)

Directed by Stephen Chbosky; Starring Emma Watson, Ezra Miller, Logan Lerman, Nina Dobrev, and Paul Rudd

the perks of being a wallflower movie image emma watson logan lerman 03 Fall Movie Preview Spectacular! Part 1   The Films of September 

While the trailer makes this look like a fairly dull, calm little coming-of-age tale, I understand that the original novel – written by director Stephen Chbosky – is a fairly frank and inventive account of teenage life. If Chbosky can translate that to screen, we may have the first interesting entry in this sub-genre in a long while.

The cast is certainly impressive. I’ve liked Logan Lerman a lot in the past, Ezra Miller was fantastic in last year’s We Need to Talk About Kevin, and Emma Watson was, of course, the most talented young actor in the Harry Potter franchise. It will be especially interesting to see what she does with a role that is decidedly not Hermione Granger. Color me cautiously optimistic about this one.

End of Watch

Release Date: September 21st

Directed by David Ayer; Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Peña, Anna Kendrick, Natalie Martinez, and America Ferrera

End of Watch 03 Fall Movie Preview Spectacular! Part 1   The Films of September

Open Road has been running their trailer for this one all summer, and it’s a fairly compelling piece of marketing. We’ve seen the story of two best-friend cops going after the big drug cartel plenty of times before, but End of Watch seems like it truly means business, and may have a lot of heart to boot.

Gyllenhaal and Peña are a clever pairing, and they’re surrounded be a quality cast (though that could be colored by my undying love for Anna Kendrick). I don’t know if the film has what it takes to truly reinvigorate the police drama formula, but it appears to be a noble effort, and I’m looking forward to checking it out.

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Dredd 3D

Release Date: September 21st

Directed by Pete Travis; Starring Karl Urban, Olivia Thirlby, and Lena Headey

dredd 01625 Fall Movie Preview Spectacular! Part 1   The Films of September 

Oh hell yeah. I simply cannot wait to land my eyes on this one. I have no major attachment to the comics or earlier Stallone adaptation, and admittedly found myself scoffing like everyone else when this ‘reboot’ was originally announced, but then the trailer came out, and I was simply blown away. That is as confident, collected, and bombastic a preview as I’ve seen all year, one that makes me eager to see the finished product no matter how it turns out.

As for the cast, Urban is an inspired pick for the title role, and though Thirlby and Headey aren’t as instantly recognizable, they are both very intriguing performers in their own right. Headey’s stupendous work on Game of Thrones has certainly proven she can play an intimidating antagonist.

Reactions out of Comic-Con, where the film screened in full, has been nothing but positive, only heightening my anticipation. I am wary, as always, of the 3D process, but other than that, this one has me very excited indeed.

Trouble With The Curve

Release Date: September 21st

Directed by Robert Lorenz; Starring Clint Eastwood, Amy Adams, Justin Timberlake, John Goodman, Robert Patrick, Matthew Lillard, and Joe Massingill

Trouble with the Curve2 Fall Movie Preview Spectacular! Part 1   The Films of September 

Clint Eastwood comes out of acting retirement for this drama about an aging baseball scout taking one last recruitment trip with his daughter, played by Amy Adams. That’s a lovely pairing, one I hope shall be used to its fullest potential.

The trailer, however, worries me. It’s tonally bipolar, jumping back and forth between lighthearted and sappy without effectively illustrating what the final product may look like. The movie could be fantastic regardless, but a lot of disappointing, lazy prestige pictures are marketed this way, and I hope Trouble With The Curve is actually something special.

House at the End of the Street

Release Date: September 21st

Directed by Mark Tonderai; Starring Jennifer Lawrence, Max Thieriot, Gil Bellows, and Elizabeth Shue

 House at the End of the Street Fall Movie Preview Spectacular! Part 1   The Films of September

At this point, I would watch Jennifer Lawrence read the friggin’ phone book; she’s simply a tremendous young actress, and her presence alone makes this horror film an intriguing prospect. Who knows if this is something she would have signed on for now, after The Hunger Games catapulted her to international stardom, but the trailers are effectively atmospheric, if nothing particularly fresh.

Mother and daughter move into a house. The house next door was once home to a brutal double homicide. Daughter begins investigating. Bad things happen. We’ve seen plenty of variations on this movie before. But the trailer I’ve embedded below is an undeniably clever one, taking the typical horror preview format and doing it all in reverse. If the film itself is that creative, it could be a pleasant surprise.

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Release Date: September 28th

Directed by Rian Johnson; Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Paul Dano, Emily Blunt, Noah Segan, Jeff Daniels, Piper Perabo, and Garrett Dillahunt

looper Fall Movie Preview Spectacular! Part 1   The Films of September 

This is easily one of the four or five films I am most excited for this fall. Every last thing about Looper sounds fantastic. The premise is that in the future, hired guns called ‘loopers’ carry out kills by gunning down enemy agent sent back in time for execution. Levitt’s character recognizes one of his targets as his future self (played by Bruce Willis), and accidently lets the man go, causing a major catastrophe.

That set-up alone is incredibly inspired, and with the truly wonderful director Rian Johnson at the helm, I know none of it is a gimmick. The cast is entirely comprised of excellent character actors, but casting Levitt and Willis in the same role is a true stroke of genius. Early test screenings last year had wildly positive reception, and assuming Johnson has only perfected his film since then, I say we’re in for one hell of a treat.

Hotel Transylvania

Release Date: September 28th

Directed by Genndy Tartakovsky; Starring Adam Sandler, Selena Gomez, Steve Buscemi, Andy Sandberg, Kevin James, David Spade, Fran Drescher, Jon Lovitz, Molly Shannon, and Cee-Lo Green

Hotel Transylvania 2 Fall Movie Preview Spectacular! Part 1   The Films of September 

My general distaste for the American animation industry notwithstanding, absolutely nothing about Hotel Transylvania looks appealing to me. First and foremost, the premise – Dracula runs a luxury hotel for legendary monsters – doesn’t seem suited for a kid’s film at all. I would think the fun part of such a concept would be to explore all the variant horror iconography involved, but that would take fairly copious levels of adult content, and the trailer indicates this one is strictly for kiddies, who probably aren’t overly versed in horror history to begin with.

I am also never fond of the idea of large, celebrity vocal casts. Most Hollywood actors, even if they’re extraordinarily talented, simply aren’t good at voice acting, because they are entirely different skill sets. The only element that piques my interest is Genndy Tartakovsky’s name; he’s a wildly talented, truly subversive filmmaker, and he could absolutely do something special. Unless this project is as blatant a commercial cash-grab as it appears to be, in which case there may be nothing he can do for it. We shall see.

What films are you most excited for? Sound off in the comments, and make sure to read PART TWO of our FALL MOVIE PREVIEW SPECTACULAR! 

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  • obloodyhell

    So far:

    The Master looks like a thinly veiled attack on the inception of Scientology. I’d be a lot more impressed if they actually did a movie about Scientology’s inception….

    Arbitrage looks like a lame, trite, cliche’d potboiler. The only hope it has of rising above the dreck concept is if the actors in it pull off magnificent performances. Possible but unlikely.

    Wallflower: Yeesh… save me from the senselessly obligatory gay character in anything like this. Need a third wheel for it? Less see, a nerd? No. A music geek (of any kind, not necessarily “band”) No. An artistic type that WASN’T gay? Naww… Why be original, and use any of a number of possible third wheel types… No let’s go with the GAY outlier… Especially one that has to be flamingly so. “Ezra Miller was fantastic”… so much so that his only way to play a gay teen is to be so obviously gay that he’s going to regularly get beat up for it? I mean, really? Seems to me that the fantastic way to play a gay person would be one that WASN’T obviously gay from 100 paces. Because THAT is a heck of a lot more like most gays than the ones who look like they’re getting tooled up for a career in the ballet.

    Looper looks good. Dredd might surprise (though releasing either in September, the “dead zone” for movies, is a bad sign for the studio’s opinions of them both).