Friday, October 7
Based on the Beau Willimon play Farragut North, The Ides of March looks at the back-room dealings of a modern day presidential campaign. Ryan Gosling plays an ambitious press secretary faced with a series of difficult choices involving his candidate (George Clooney), a rival candidate’s campaign manager (Paul Giamatti), an intern (Evan Rachel Wood), and a reporter (Marisa Tomei). George Clooney directs for the first time since 2008’s lackluster Leatherheads 56, but maybe collaborating with writer Grant Heslov, with whom he wrote Good Night, and Good Luck 80, will help him return to form. The early word out of the Venice Film Festival (where the film premiered last week) is somewhat encouraging, with critics mostly praising the film as a solid mainstream thriller, though nothing more than that.
Shawn Levy (Night at the Museum 48) departs from his usual comedy template to direct this drama about boxing robots and family bonds starring Hugh Jackman as a washed-up fighter trying to survive by building low-end robots for underground boxing events. After bottoming out, he teams up with his estranged son (played by Dakota Goya) and a robot named Atom to try for one last comeback. The film also stars Anthony Mackie, Hope Davis, and Lost’s Evangeline Lilly and Kevin Durand. Expectations are high: a sequel is already in the works.
Wanderlust Postponed until February 24, 2012
Married couple Paul Rudd and Jennifer Aniston leave their cushy New York lifestyle behind for life in a Georgia hippie commune in a Judd Apatow-produced comedy that also stars Justin Theroux, Malin Åkerman, Lauren Ambrose, Joe Lo Truglio, and Alan Alda. David Wain (Wet Hot American Summer 42, Role Models 60) directs from a script he co-wrote with fellow The State alumnus Ken Merino.
Also out this week:
Sam Shepard plays an aging Butch Cassidy living in seclusion in Bolivia until he embarks on one last adventure in Blackthorn LIMITED ... Juno Temple stars as the titular Dirty Girl LIMITED, who, along with her gay best friend, travels from Oklahoma to California to find her father in writer/director Abe Sylvia’s feature debut ... Anyone who thought the first Human Centipede film was too tame will not be disappointed by The Human Centipede 2: Full Sequence LIMITED, at least as far as sheer depravity goes ... Emilio Estevez directs dad Martin Sheen, who plays a grieving father on a pilgrimage in Spain, in the drama The Way LIMITED ... Servants and socialites mix in The Woman on the 6th Floor LIMITED, a French comedy of manners set in 1960 ... Though relatively unknown in the States, the internationally famous Belgian comic series Largo Winch serves as the source for The Heir Apparent: Largo Winch LIMITED, a French-language action thriller starring Kristin Scott Thomas as the villain.
Friday, October 14
Fall's only comedy about competitive birdwatching stars Owen Wilson, Steve Martin, and Jack Black as participants in a year-long contest to spot the most rare birds in North America. That, by the way, is a real annual event, as chronicled in Mark Obmascik's 1998 book The Big Year: A Tale of Man, Nature, and Fowl Obsession, which serves as the source for the film. Directed by David Frankel (The Devil Wears Prada 62), the comedy is the first produced screenplay for Howard Franklin (Quick Change) in a decade. During the film, see if you can spot all of the stars who show up in supporting roles; the list includes Jim Parsons, Joel McHale, Anjelica Huston, Rashida Jones, and Tim Blake Nelson.
Craig Brewer (Hustle & Flow 68, Black Snake Moan 52) directs this remake of the classic 1984 dance film that starred Kevin Bacon as Ren McCormack, Lori Singer as Ariel, Chris Penn as his best bud Willard and John Lithgow and Dianne Wiest as Reverend Moore and his patient wife Vi. This time, we get Kenny Wormald as Ren, Julianne Hough as Ariel, Miles Teller as Willard, and Dennis Quaid and Andie MacDowell as Reverend Moore and his wife. From the looks of it, this updated version doesn’t stray too far from the original, but is that good or bad?
The Skin I Live In LIMITED Watch Trailer
Pedro Almodóvar’s latest film is an adaptation of Thierry Jonguet’s 2003 novel Mygale (translated into English and titled Tarantula in 2005), and it is the first collaboration between the director and star Antonio Banderas since 1990’s Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! 54. In the film, Banderas plays a plastic surgeon haunted by the deaths of his wife and daughter and obsessed with creating an indestructible synthetic skin. Themes common to other Almodóvar works—sexual identity, betrayal, revenge—pop up again in this psychological thriller, but when it premiered at Cannes in May, the film received mixed reviews. Critics complained about an inconsistent tone (a mix of melodrama and horror) but, for some, that might be part of its charm.
Whether you call it a prequel or a reboot (officially, it's the former), the 2011 version of The Thing will have a hard time escaping the large shadow cast by John Carpenter's 1982 sci-fi monster movie classic of the same name (itself a remake of a 1951 film). Rather than run from the challenge, relatively unknown filmmaker Matthijs van Heijningen Jr. has chosen to use Carpenter's film as a template, striving to get every last detail right so that the two films match up. Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Scott Pilgrim vs. The World) heads an otherwise mostly Norwegian cast. While the early buzz isn't bad, we're a little disappointed that Ronald D. Moore's (Battlestar Galactica) script for the film was mostly scrapped and rewritten by Eric Heisserer (who penned the disappointing recent Nightmare on Elm Street 35 remake).
Also out this week:
Sam Worthington and Chloe Moretz star in true crime drama Texas Killing Fields LIMITED, directed by Ami Canaan Mann, daughter of Michael Mann ... Nicolas Cage and Nicole Kidman play husband and wife in Trespass LIMITED, director Joel Schumacher’s home invasion thriller ... Comedy Father of Invention LIMITED traces the rise, fall, and redemption of a billionaire inventor played by Kevin Spacey ... A family reunion turns tragic in the long-delayed drama Fireflies in the Garden LIMITED, which stars Ryan Reynolds, Willem Dafoe, Emily Watson, and Carrie-Anne Moss ... A dark comedy from Britain, The Understudy LIMITED centers on a struggling actress seeking to ascend to stardom through any means necessary ... Drug gangs battle DEA agents, with an innocent, aspiring beauty queen caught in the middle, in the Mexican crime thriller Miss Bala LIMITED, which screened at Cannes earlier this year.
Friday, October 21
Margin Call LIMITED Watch trailer
Zachary Quinto stars as an analyst who discovers some disturbing financial information about his firm in this fictional look at a 24-hour period during the 2008 financial crisis. J.C. Chandor’s debut feature received solid reviews after its debut at Sundance, and if the strong cast featuring Kevin Spacey, Jeremy Irons, Stanley Tucci, Demi Moore, Simon Baker, Paul Bettany, and Penn Badgley is any indication, this will be a limited release worth seeking out.
Eventually, the formula is going to get old. Some moviegoers would argue that already happened with 2010's Paranormal Activity 2 53, though that low-budget film, like its 2009 predecessor, grossed over $150 million worldwide. Though many details are being kept under wraps, the third film in the series will be set in the 1980s and serve as an origin story that focuses on a young Katie and Kristi. Paranormal Activity 3 brings in yet another new director—or, rather, directors—in Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman, who helmed the controversial "documentary" Catfish 65.
Saying this latest film version of The Three Musketeers is only loosely based on the Alexandre Dumas novel of the same name seems more than fair. Logan Lerman stars as D’Artagnan, while the Musketeers are played by Matthew Macfadyen (Athos), Ray Stevenson (Porthos), and Luke Evans (Aramis). The roles of the villains are filled by Christoph Waltz and Orlando Bloom, while Milla Jovovich plays a wildcard assassin. Milla’s husband, Paul W.S. Anderson (Resident Evil: Afterlife 37) directs. The film, floating battleships and all, will be released in 3D.
Also out this week:
Elizabeth Olsen earned praise at Sundance for her performance as a woman trying to re-assimilate with her family after leaving a cult headed by John Hawkes in Martha Marcy May Marlene LIMITED ... A documentary about the puppeteer beneath the famous Sesame Street character, Being Elmo NY was a crowd-pleasing hit at Sundance; it will roll out to other cities in November ... The director of the documentary Who Killed the Electric Car is now happier to report on the Revenge of the Electric Car LIMITED, which examines the recent surge in plug-in vehicles around the world ... Carla Gugino stars as the head women's basketball coach at a tiny Catholic university in the 1970s in The Mighty Macs LIMITED, a sports drama based on a true story.
Friday, October 28
Disaster king Roland Emmerich (2012 49) apparently needs to destroy something in every film. With the planet safe this time around, he aims to lay waste to the reputation of William Shakespeare instead. Who wrote all of Shakespeare's plays? In Anonymous, Emmerich posits that Edward De Vere, Earl of Oxford, played here by Rhys Ifans, was the man with the pen in his hand. John Orloff (A Mighty Heart 74) wrote the screenplay (or did he?), and the cast includes Vanessa Redgrave as Queen Elizabeth I, Rafe Spall as Shakespeare, and David Thewlis as William Cecil. If you like a good conspiracy theory and British costume dramas, this one might be right for you.
Director Andrew Niccol (Gattaca 64) offers another bleak vision of the future in his latest film, which takes place in a world where people stop aging at 25, the currency is time, and the rich can live forever while the poor must work to extend their lives. Justin Timberlake plays Will Salas, a regular guy who wakes up mysteriously owning more than a century of time, which makes him a wanted man. The cast includes Olivia Wilde as Timberlake’s mom, Amanda Seyfried as his love interest, Cillian Murphy as a member of the police force known as “timekeepers,” with support from Vincent Kartheiser, Matt Bomer, and Alex Pettyfer.
Like Crazy LIMITED Watch Trailer
This intimate look at young love won the Grand Jury Prize for Best Picture at this year's Sundance as well as a Special Jury Prize for Best Actress for Felicity Jones. Written by Ben York Jones and Drake Doremus and directed by Doremus (Douchebag 56), the drama traces a long distance love affair between Jacob, an American played by Anton Yelchin, and Anna (Jones), a British college student who loses her visa and is forced to leave the country. Jennifer Lawrence and Charlie Bewley tempt Jacob and Anna when they are apart, and Alex Kingston and Oliver Muirhead play Anna’s parents.
Johnny Depp was originally signed to star as alcoholic journalist and Hunter S. Thompson stand-in Paul Kemp in this adaptation of Thompson's "lost" 1961 novel (which wasn't published until 1998) back in 2000, but production stalled, and the project shifted through various producers, directors, writers, and stars until finally going before cameras with Depp again in the lead role. Set in Puerto Rico during the 1950s, the drama was written and directed by Bruce Robinson (best known for the excellent cult comedy Withnail and I), marking his first directorial effort since 1992's Jennifer 8. Amber Heard and Aaron Eckhart also star.
Also out this week:
Rowan Atkinson (Mr. Bean) returns as the bumbling spy in Johnny English Reborn, a sequel to the 2003 spoof ... Novelist Julia Leigh makes her feature writing and directing debut with Sleeping Beauty LIMITED, which stars Emily Browning as a university student who performs a special service at a high end brothel ... Janie Jones LIMITED tells the story of a fading rock star (Alessandro Nivola) who suddenly gains custody of the teenage daughter (Abigail Breslin) he never knew he had ... Mockumentary And They're Off LIMITED stars Sean Astin as a failed racehorse trainer seeking to get back in the game.
Friday, November 4
Last year, Michelle Williams earned her second Oscar nomination for portraying a woman in a crumbling marriage in Blue Valentine. This year, she could earn her third for taking on the challenge of playing icon Marilyn Monroe. Set in 1957 during the filming of her movie The Prince and the Showgirl, My Week with Marilyn focuses on the relationship between Monroe and assistant director Colin Clark (played by Tony-winner Eddie Redmayne), who spent a week touring Britain with the star. Kenneth Branagh co-stars as Showgirl's star and director Laurence Olivier, while Dougray Scott plays Monroe's then-husband Arthur Miller. Emma Watson, Julia Ormond, and Judi Dench round out the cast.
Chris Miller (Shrek the Third 58) directs this spin-off from the Shrek series. The story takes place before Puss meets Shrek and revolves around our sword-fighting hero protecting his town from the outlaws Jack and Jill, and his attempt, along with his friend Humpty Dumpty and master-thief Kitty Softpaws, to steal the goose that lays the golden eggs. Antonio Banderas provides the voice for Puss in Boots (as he did in Shreks 2-4) while Salma Hayek voices Kitty Softpaws, Zach Galifianakis voices Humpty Dumpty, and Billy Bob Thornton and Amy Sedaris voice Jack and Jill.
In this action-comedy, Ben Stiller leads a group of condominium workers—including Matthew Broderick, Casey Affleck, Michael Pena, and Gabourey Sidibe—as they try to take revenge on the financier who lost their pension, a very Bernie Madoff-like Alan Alda. Brett Ratner returns to feature film directing for the first time since 2007’s Rush Hour 3 44 (we know you missed him), and Eddie Murphy attempts to be in a live action film that people can actually enjoy for the first time since 2006’s Dreamgirls 76.
John Cho and Kal Penn are back for a third go as stoners Harold and Kumar—as is Neil Patrick Harris, as "Neil Patrick Harris"—in this 3D Christmas comedy. Set six years after the events in Escape from Guantanamo Bay 57, Christmas finds a down on his luck Kumar showing up at happily married Harold's house with a mysterious package that leads to an adventure through New York City. Todd Strauss-Schulson makes his feature directing debut, working from a script by H&K creators Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg.
Also out this week:
Dito Montiel's crime thriller The Son of No One LIMITED stars Channing Tatum, Al Pacino, Juliette Binoche, and Tracy Morgan ... Sundance dramedy Another Happy Day LIMITED is the directorial debut for Sam Levinson, son of Barry; Ellen Barkin, Thomas Haden Church, and Demi Moore star.
What do you think?
Which films are you looking forward to this fall? (Or does the lineup lack anything that interests you?) Let us know in the comments section below. In early November, we'll return with a preview of films arriving during the holiday season. For a frequently updated listing of all upcoming film releases by date, visit our Movie Calendar.