2011 Fall Movie Preview

Real Steel – October 7th

Real Steel

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

I’ve been rather impressed by some of the recent offerings of original science fiction films recently (Inception, Source Code), which is why I’m excited for this next offering.

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 Wangberg

Continue reading our 2011 Fall movie preview.