Fall Movie Preview
Well here we are, halfway through August, the last month of the summer movie season. All the big movies have been released for the most part. I somehow doubt Fright Night, Our Idiot Brother, or Colombiana will make much of a stir even if they are good. So now is the time to look forward again, this time to the last major movie season of 2011. You can expect more of the same this year: horror movies surrounding Halloween, holiday and fantasy movies surrounding Thanksgiving and Christmas, and Oscar movies spread throughout trying to get whatever attention they can. In this preview I will break down each of the four months left in the year and then pick 5 films not to miss amongst the 3D extravaganzas and sub-par attempts at horror.
September is rarely a good month to go to the movies. Mainly because the kids are back in school. Usually there’s slim pickings this month. However, a few gems can be found. Last year Ben Affleck’s great film The Town hit theaters in September and garnered an Oscar nomination for Jeremy Renner. Here are my five picks for the month.
The plot isn’t the most original but just take a look at the cast: Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, Laurence Fishburne, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jude Law, and Marion Cotillard. Out of all of them you can bet that at least one will give a worthwhile performance, if not more. The film is about a virus outbreak that destroys the planet. It is directed by Steven Soderbergh who previously directed all three of the Oceans movies. Contagion‘s main struggle will be juggling all of its stars into the plot but with a cast this great it sounds like something worth seeing. (Sept. 9th)
This movie basically looks like Paranormal Activity on the moon. However the trailer is actually pretty terrifying. The recent “found footage” sub-genre of horror has proven to be effective and has produced very few duds. Also this one takes place on the moon, which is a much scarier place than a house or even the woods. The movie has no big-name stars and no well-established director, but Paranormal Activity came out of nothing as well. The potential is there for a horror classic but horror movies are never a sure thing. (Sept. 2nd)
Brad Pitt is always a good man to have on board, but the movie also stars Jonah Hill, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Robin Wright. The film is based on the true story of Billy Beane, the general manager of the Oakland A’s who assembled a team of no-name players on a small budget and proved his players’ worth. Brad Pitt is a great choice for a baseball manager as well as a man beating the system. Knowing nothing about the story or the man I think this sounds like an interesting film. It should definitely be worth checking out. (Sept. 23rd)
Watch the trailer for this one, it looks very interesting. Michael Shannon is a good actor and can clearly play a good deranged person as we saw in Revolutionary Road. The plot of this film follows a man obsessed with his tornado shelter as he sees “visions” of the apocalypse. Who doesn’t like a good mental breakdown movie? Prepare for a very dark film with wonderful performances from Michael Shannon and Jessica Chastain, who recently gave a great turn in The Tree of Life. (Sept. 30th)
I plan to see this one at the first opportunity that I get. Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a cancer patient? Seth Rogen as his funny side-kick friend? The director of The Wackness? This movie can’t be bad. Positive buzz is all around as special screenings continue to “wow” audiences. I am honestly looking forward to this film more than anything else coming out this year. It just has no chance at being a bad film, just check out the trailer. (Sept. 30th)
October is an interesting month when it comes to movies. It has a holiday that the industry can milk every year, but it also is when some Oscar buzz starts to come around. The Social Network came out one of the first weekends of October last year. It’s an exciting month at the movies, one where history could start to be made, or one where you’ll scream with terror, and in some rare cases both.
Johnny Depp starring in a film based on a Hunter S. Thompson novel? Haven’t we heard this story before? Based on the plot summary, this film seems to be very much in line with the tone of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Johnny Depp’s character moves to Puerto Rico to work for a newspaper due to fatigue with New York City. The residents of the island really seem to like rum and find themselves on a self-destructive path. Sounds like an interesting enough story, plus Johnny Depp and Aaron Eckhart are in it. Note: no trailer has been released at this time. (Oct. 28th)
Set in the future, this film takes place in a world where robots are pitted against each other in combat for sport. It just sounds cool, plus Hugh Jackman is in it and who doesn’t love Hugh Jackman? (Dr. Cox) This movie is coming to IMAX and that is how people should see it. Real Steel is definitely one of the movies that action fans will want to check out this fall. Plus, from the trailer it looks to have a cute father-son story. (Oct. 7th)
Last year one of Halloween’s biggest surprises was how good Paranormal Activity 2 was. It wasn’t better than the original but was miles ahead of any other horror sequels I’ve seen in a long time. Can lightning strike thrice? The trailer is creepy enough to have me excited again. The plot follows the sisters from the previous two films when they were children. These events have been mentioned in the other movies but now we will get to see them first hand. How exciting! I’m really rooting for this one to be good. (Oct. 21st)
On paper this sounds like your typical romance, but watch the trailer, something seems…off. The trailer strips down love and shows the sadness of the consequences. Something about the trailer reminds me of last year’s great Blue Valentine. The movie also has a great young cast with three up and coming stars: Anton Yelchin, Felicity Jones, and Jennifer Lawrence. The reason I didn’t put this film as number one for the month is because trailers can be deceiving. However the film did win the highest honors at Sundance. (Oct. 28th)
This movie has “Oscar” written all over it. It’s a political thriller directed by George Clooney who directed the wonderful Good Night, and Good Luck. Also this is the cast: Ryan Gosling, George Clooney, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Marisa Tomei, Paul Giamatti, and Evan Rachel Wood. The trailer looks great. This may just be Ryan Gosling’s year. I have a feeling this is going to be great. (Oct. 7th)
November at the movies is about two things: kids and awards. Thanksgiving weekend is always packed with movies to take the whole family too. Meanwhile big awards movies make their presence known. The Oscar race begins to become clear. Great performances are seen along with the best directing of the year. November is a great month at the movies and based on how much trouble I had picking only five films to recommend, its a month to look forward to.
Martin Scorsese is taking on the task of a 3D kid’s movie, and boy does it look good. It is an odd choice for Scorsese but definitely something to be excited for. The cast is pretty incredible too. Aside from the children we have Sacha Baron Cohen, Ben Kingsley, Jude Law, and Christopher Lee. The movie looks like so much fun and it appears to be beautifully shot. See this one in 3D, my guess is Scorsese is going all out on this one and that the technology will be pretty good. (Nov. 23rd)
Clint Eastwood directing with Leonardo DiCaprio starring, you can bet on this one making it to awards season. The movie is a biography on former FBI director J. Edgar Hoover. Naomi Watts and Judi Dench have supporting roles. This film is going to be brilliantly directed and acted, no doubt about it. However, the subject matter may be a bit too boring for mainstream audiences which could hurt its chances at the box office, but that doesn’t hurt it’s chance at the Oscars. Note: no trailer has been released yet. (Nov. 9th)
Come on, how great does this look? Kermit’s right, it is really great to have the gang back together again. Jason Segel and Amy Adams don’t hurt either. The movie is going to have cameos galore and is clearly the go-to film for parents Thanksgiving weekend. Also, the marketing has been hysterical. For a few summer blockbusters they released short trailers starring the Muppets spoofing them (the Green Lantern one was particularly funny). This is the family movie of the fall and there is no question of how great it will be. (Nov. 23rd)
This movie just flat out looks bizarre. Kirsten Dunst stars as a bride unhappy with the life she has chosen. Also, some object from outer space seems to be coming closer and closer to annihilating Earth. Somehow these two things are going to mix. Regardless the trailer has a lot of beautiful and delicate imagery. The style of the film is certainly unique. My question is whether Kirsten Dunst can carry a film like this. It’s so intriguing though… (Nov. 11th)
Gary Oldman stars in this 1960s set British spy thriller. I love that Gary Oldman is getting a starring role like this, he’ll be great. Also it comes from the director of Let the Right One In. That’s right, that amazingly creepy Swedish vampire movie. Oh, and the supporting cast includes Colin Firth, Tom Hardy, and John Hurt. Excited yet? If not you have no idea what makes for a great film. (Nov. 18th)
December is the final month of the year, and therefore the final month that studios can pump out their movies for awards season. However, the holidays also usually provide a few blockbusters for the kids. Sometimes we see the lines between blockbuster and awards movies blurred in this month. For example, the Lord of the Rings trilogy came out in December. This year has some interesting movies coming out, including two from director Steven Spielberg. Although neither of them will make it to this list as neither trailer really impressed me. Anyway, here are the five films from December I am excited for.
There hasn’t been a bad Mission: Impossible movie yet and the fourth entry might just be the best. Tom Cruise returns as Ethan Hunt and is joined by Jeremy Renner and Simon Pegg. The plot involves Ethan and his team having to go rogue once their organization is shut down. Brad Bird is directing. Know what else he directed? The Incredibles. Yeah, this movie is going to be awesome. (Dec. 21st)
This movie is based on a memoir by author Benjamin Mee and how his family bought a zoo. The cast includes Matt Damon, Scarlett Johansson, and Thomas Haden Church. The director, Cameron Crowe, directed the amazing Almost Famous. Between the story, the cast, and the director, I would say that this film is going to be great. The title alone already gives the movie a certain charm. Note: no trailer has been released yet. (Dec. 23rd)
Roman Polanski returns to the director’s chair yet again despite the scandals that surround him. The film is about two sets of parents who meet to discuss their childrens’ fight at school. Kate Winslet, who stars in the film loved the play so much claiming she “peed her pants”. It sounds like a funny concept and the cast is brilliant. Aside from Winslet, the film also stars Jodie Foster, John C. Reilly, and Christoph Waltz. I can’t wait to see these four great actors compete for the audience’s laughs. As long as the film is well written and well acted, it has the makings of a comedy classic. Note: no trailer has been released yet. (Dec. TBD)
The movie is about a nine-year old boy searching New York City for the lock his father who died on 9/11 left him the key for. Crying yet? Tom Hanks plays the father and if you think he will do anything less than knock this role out of the park you’re crazy. The movie also stars Sandra Bullock, James Gandolfini, and Viola Davis. It’s directed by Stephan Daldry who also directed The Reader back in 2008. I don’t even want to think about the meaning of the title. Bring tissues, this is likely going to be the saddest movie of all time. And it’s coming out on Christmas. Note: no trailer has been released yet. (Dec. 25th)
As the trailer says, this will be the “feel bad movie of Christmas”. Can’t wait. An edgy thriller directed by David Fincher is something I will never skip out on. Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara star in the film based on the popular Swedish novel. Nothing about this movie screams “take the kids!”. Just look at the poster. This movie is going to be nothing short of awesome because of David Fincher. It looks like Se7en or Fight Club on steroids. (Dec. 21st)
There you have it folks! My picks for the best of the rest of 2011. Did I miss any movies you would have liked to see on here? Sound off in the comments section!