Fall Movie Preview: The 30 Most-Anticipated Films

  • Publish Date: September 6, 2011
  • Comments: ↓ 3 user comments

Sep. 9: The movie Wanderlust, listed on the next page as an October 7 release, has been postponed until February 24, 2012.

Below, we pick out the 30 most noteworthy films heading to theaters this fall. And, for good measure, we've added short descriptions of all of the other films also scheduled for release between now and early November (that's over 90 movies in all).

Friday, September 9

Contagion Watch Trailer

It's been two years since we've seen a non-documentary film from Steven Soderbergh, a relatively long gap for a director known for his prolificacy. But Contagion looks like it will kick off a new fruitful period (which will also include January's Haywire as well as three additional films now in various states of pre-production) with a bang. Or, at least, with a cough. The new thriller portrays a world taken over by a new, lethal airborne virus that kills anyone infected within days, as a team of international doctors rushes to find a cure. The ensemble cast is—dare we say it—sick, topped by Matt Damon and Kate Winslet and also including Marion Cotillard, Laurence Fishburne, Gwyneth Paltrow, Bryan Cranston, and Jude Law. If there's any cure to the lackluster end-of-summer lineup at your local cineplex, this could be it.

Warrior Watch Trailer

Tom Hardy (Inception) and Joel Edgerton (Animal Kingdom) star in this story of two brothers who seek redemption in the MMA octagon only to have to face off against each other in the championship fight. Hardy plays an ex-Marine who seeks the help of his father, a former alcoholic played by Nick Nolte, and Edgerton plays a former fighter who’s struggling to support his family as a teacher. Gavin O’Connor (Pride and Glory 45, Miracle 68) directs the action-filled drama, which has been receiving surprisingly strong early reviews.

Also out this week:

Nick Swardson stars as a buck-toothed, poorly endowed wanna-be porn star in Bucky Larson: Born to be a Star, a comedy from Adam Sandler’s Happy Madison productions .... John Landis’ first feature film in more than ten years, Burke and Hare LIMITED is a dark comedy starring Simon Pegg and Andy Serkis as two bumbling grave robbers. ... In Shaolin LIMITED, Andy Lau stars as a disgraced general who seeks refuge with Shaolin monks. ... The documentary We Were Here LIMITED looks at the impact of AIDS in San Francisco during the 1980s ... Creature LIMITED is a low budget horror tale set in the Louisiana Bayou, where legend has it that a half-man, half-alligator once lived ... Kevin Hart's recent stand-up comedy tour comes to the big screen in Laugh at My Pain LIMITED ... Love in Space LIMITED is a Chinese romance about three sisters who each find love in different countries ... Pulitzer winner Horton Foote chronicles the struggling Main Street LIMITED of Durham, North Carolina in a drama starring Orlando Bloom, Colin Firth, and Patricia Clarkson ... Thanks to the growing popularity of star Rooney Mara, the once-shelved girls boarding school drama Tanner Hall LIMITED will reach theaters two years after originally planned ... Documentary Where Soldiers Come From LIMITED follows three National Guard soldiers deployed to Afghanistan ... Mere Brother Ki Dulhan LIMITED is a rom-com, Bollywood style ... China's My Kingdom LIMITED is a tale of opera and revenge set in 19th century Shanghai ... Documentary The Black Power Mix Tape: 1967-1975 LIMITED uses archival footage to tell the story of Swedish journalists covering the black power movement in America.

Friday, September 16

Drive Watch Trailer

A Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn (Bronson 71, Valhalla Rising 61), a couple of rising stars (Ryan Gosling and Carey Mulligan) and a strong supporting cast (Albert Brooks, Bryan Cranston, Ron Perlman, Christina Hendricks) come together for this story of a stuntman/getaway driver whose decision to help his neighbor’s husband makes him the target of some very dangerous men. Winding Refn’s Hollywood debut was already a hit at Cannes 2011, where he won the Best Director prize, so expectations are high for this gritty, violent crime drama based on James Sallis’s 2005 novel.

I Don't Know How She Does It Watch Trailer

Sarah Jessica Parker stars as a working mother trying to keep her husband, kids, and bosses happy in this comedy based on the novel by Allison Pearson. Douglas McGrath (Infamous 68) directs a cast that also includes Greg Kinnear as Parker’s husband, Pierce Brosnan as an intriguing new client, and Seth Meyers, Kelsey Grammer, Olivia Munn, Jessica Szohr, Sarah Shahi, and Jane Curtin in supporting roles.

Restless LIMITED Watch Trailer

Gus Van Sant’s first feature since 2008’s Milk 84 is a love story between Mia Wasikowska’s terminally ill Annabel and Henry Hopper’s Enoch, who frequents the funerals of people he doesn’t know and happens to talk to the ghost of a WW II Japanese kamikaze pilot. Restless premiered at Cannes earlier this year, where some reviewers found it to be an affecting and tender romance, while others thought it a bit too precious.

Also out this week:

From Tom Tykwer, the director of Run Lola Run, comes 3 LA/NY, a screwball drama (if there is such a thing) about a married couple who celebrate their 20th anniversary by each falling in love with the same other man ... Straw Dogs is a remake of Sam Peckinpah's violent 1971 classic, starring James Marsden and directed by Rod Lurie (The Contender) ... Disney's 1994 blockbuster The Lion King will be screened in 3D for the first time when it returns to theaters nationwide for a two-week run preceding its Blu-ray release ... Gerard Depardieu stars as a simple handyman who learns about the pleasures of literature from 96 year-old Gisèle Casadesus in My Afternoons with Margueritte LIMITED ... The Mill and the Cross LIMITED (9/14) stars Rutger Hauer in a dramatic depiction of some of the characters seen in Pieter Bruegel's 1564 painting The Way to Calvary ... Documentary Granito: How to Nail a Dictator LIMITED (9/14) looks at the case against a former Guatemalan dictator responsible for genocide ... Jane's Journey NY 9/16, LA 9/23 explores the life and work of famed primatologist Jane Goodall ... Russian road trip drama Silent Souls NY looks at the traditions of the ancient Merja people ... R&B musician and X-rated rapper Clarence Reid is the subject of documentary The Weird World of Blowfly LIMITED ... Back Door Channels LIMITED revisits the peace negotiations between Israel and Egypt leading up to their 1979 treaty ... A friendly killer whale is the focus of doc The Whale LIMITED, narrated by Ryan Reynolds ... Muran LIMITED is a Tamil-language thriller from India that's loosely based on Hitchcock's Strangers on a Train.

Friday, September 23

Abduction Watch Trailer

Taylor Lautner tries to break out of the Twilight box with this thriller about a young man who must unravel the mystery of his life after noticing his photo on a missing persons website. John Singleton returns to directing for the first time since 2005’s Four Brothers 49, and the strong supporting cast includes Lilly Collins as Lautner’s love interest, Jason Isaacs and Maria Bello as his parents (or are they?), as well as Alfred Molina, Sigourney Weaver, and Michael Nyqvist.

Killer Elite Watch Trailer

This action film is based on Ranulph Fiennes’ book The Feather Men, which itself claims to be based on actual events involving a hit squad named “The Clinic” that targeted members of the British Special Air Service. Jason Statham stars as a man forced into action after his mentor, played by Robert De Niro, is taken captive. Clive Owen plays the leader of the assassination squad, while Chuck’s Yvonne Strahovski and Lost’s Mr. Eko, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, get some time on the big screen. Director Gary McKendry makes his feature film debut.

Moneyball Watch Trailer

While Michael Lewis' 2003 nonfiction book about Oakland A's general manager Billy Beane and his statistics-oriented approach to assembling a baseball team was a home run, it's a little more difficult to envision how the book will translate to the big screen. And a checkered production history—Steven Soderbergh replaced David Frankel as director, but was himself fired days before shooting was to begin when the studio didn't like his vision for the film—doesn't add to our confidence level. But Moneyball still boasts quite a lineup of talent, from director Bennett Miller (Capote 88) to screenwriters Aaron Sorkin and Steven Zaillian to stars Brad Pitt (who plays Beane), Jonah Hill, and Philip Seymour Hoffman.

Also out this week:

Political thriller The Double stars Richard Gere, Topher Grace, and Martin Sheen ... Yes, the title of Dolphin Tale is a pun; the 3D family drama centers on the relationship between a boy and an injured dolphin who needs a new tail ... Gerard Butler stars in Machine Gun Preacher LIMITED, the true story of Sam Childers, a former drug-dealing Hells Angels biker who found god and opened an orphanage in Sudan. ... With the documentary Pearl Jam Twenty LIMITED (9/20), director Cameron Crowe chronicles the rise, stardom and survival of the the band Pearl Jam ... Drug-addicted lawyer Chris Evans investigates a pharmaceutical industry conspiracy tied to one of his clients in Puncture LIMITED, based on a true story ... Limelight LIMITED looks at the rise and fall of the legendary New York City nightclub ... Houston's Kashmere High School Stage Band became funk legends in the 1970s; documentary Thunder Soul LIMITED catches up with band members 35 years later ... A one-night stand at a gay club turns into something more lasting in the British drama Weekend LIMITED, an audience award winner at SXSW.

Friday, September 30

50/50 Watch Trailer

50/50? Judging from the early buzz, we think the odds of this film being good are even better than that. Based on screenwriter Will Reiser's own cancer survival story, this dramedy finds Joseph Gordon-Levitt playing a character based on Reiser, while Reiser's real-world friend Seth Rogen takes that same role in the film. Yes, we did say dramedy, and how well 50/50 navigates that middle ground between tearful human drama and R-rated laughs will be the key to its critical success; that balance worked for Terms of Endearment, but not as much for Funny People. Still, with a strong supporting cast (Anna Kendrick, Anjelica Huston, Matt Frewer, Philip Baker Hall), the film, like its lead character, has a fighting chance.

Dream House Watch Trailer

Jim Sheridan, who most recently helmed the 2009 remake Brothers 58, directs this long-delayed thriller starring Daniel Craig, Rachel Weisz and Naomi Watts. The newly married (in real life) Craig and Weisz play a couple who move into a new home with their two daughters only to find out that the family who lived in the house previously were murdered. Watts plays a woman with knowledge of the horrible incident. Unfortunately, buzz isn’t very good considering the wealth of talent behind the film, but maybe it will surprise viewers.

Margaret LIMITED Watch Trailer

In 2000, playwright Kenneth Lonergan’s film, You Can Count on Me 85, which he wrote and directed, was released to almost universal praise. Eleven years later, his fans are still waiting for a follow-up. That second film will finally arrive six years after wrapping principle photography and going through multiple editors, producers, and lawsuits. Margaret revolves around a bus accident witnessed by Anna Paquin’s Lisa Cohen and tells the story of how it impacts the lives of those involved, including the bus driver, played by Mark Ruffalo (who in an interview earlier this year called the film a “love story to a post-9/11 America and New York City”). Matt Damon, Matthew Broderick, Kieran Culkin, Jean Reno, and Olivia Thirlby also star.

Tucker & Dale vs. Evil LIMITED Watch Trailer

This horror/comedy mash-up stars Alan Tudyk (Firefly) and Tyler Labine (Reaper) as Tucker and Dale, two peaceful rednecks who, while vacationing at their run-down cabin, are mistaken for killers by a bunch of college kids. The mistaken perception is only reinforced as each young, nubile teen meets an unfortunate accidental death as they attempt to rescue their friend who doesn’t need rescuing (30 Rock’s Katrina Bowden). After receiving positive reviews at Sundance in January, director Eli Craig had to wait for his feature debut to get U.S. distribution; luckily for movie fans, it was picked up by Magnolia.

Also out this week:

Praised at Sundance and Cannes, Take Shelter stars Michael Shannon as a husband and father haunted by apocalyptic visions. ... In the romantic-comedy What’s Your Number?, Anna Faris stars as a woman who decides to revisit her sexual past to find Mr. Right; think of it as High Fidelity without the good music ... Computer-animated samurai western Bunraku LIMITED features the voices of Josh Hartnett, Woody Harrelson, and Demi Moore ... If you can't already tell from the title, Sarah Palin - You Betcha! LIMITED isn't exactly a hagiography; instead, this documentary from Nick Broomfield (Kurt & Courtney) looks to be highly critical of the former Alaska governor ... Two small-town cops search for a killer when four teenagers go missing in the thriller Munger Road LIMITED ... My Joy LIMITED is a dark Ukrainian drama about two nightmarish days in the life of a truck driver ... Documentary Benda Bilili! LIMITED traces the journey of a group of homeless handicapped musicians in Kinshasa who become worldwide stars ... Bollywood action thriller Force LIMITED is a remake of the 2003 film Kaakha Kaakha ... Four police officers examine what it means to be a father in the Christian drama Courageous LIMITED ... A young woman finds love and gains the courage to break free from her domineering father in the indie drama Around June LIMITED.

Continue reading ...

On the next page, we preview films due out in October and early November.

Comments (3)

  • Xavygravy  

    Don't like the new format... I prefer being able to see the videos on the same page, preferably from YouTube as I can add it to my watch later playlist.

  • 06Morrow  

    On Film Friday, It said Tinker Tailor Soilder Spy has been put back from November 20th or something to December 9th. I assume they'll include it as the first in the Winter or Christmas Preview if there is one.
    Looks like the best films will be at the start and end of September.
    Warrior and Drive has Tom Hardy and Nicholas Winding Refn respectively, who both did Bronson which was brilliant. Been looking forward to 50/50 since the trailer was released and Contagion and Moneyball looks too good to fail, but then it looks like it'll be till Christmas till anything else truly good or exciting comes out.

  • JeffLebowski  

    What the hell, where is Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy?

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