Back in January, I did a sneak peek at some of this year’s most anticipated movies. Surprisingly, the post is still getting lots of hits and I’ve received requests to do another one focusing on fall movies. I’ve previously written about some of these but now the titles are together on one list—though it’s hardly comprehensive—for your easy reference.
I’ve broken it down into categories, with release dates and links to trailers (click on the titles). I’ll likely see many of these before their official release (studios provide free advance screenings during awards season) so check back often for my reviews.
Let the Oscar prognostication begin!
Bright Star (Sept. 18)—Ben Whishaw plays the poet John Keats and Abbie Cornish is his muse Fanny Brawne in Jane Campion’s movie about their passionate but short-lived romance. Judging from the trailer, the leads seem to have good chemistry and Cornish’s performance has garnered some buzz. (UPDATE: Read my review here.)
An Education (Oct. 9)—Carey Mulligan is another young actress getting good heat for her performance as a ’60s London schoolgirl trying decide if she should continue her studies to get into Oxford or run off to Paris with an older playboy (Peter Sarsgaard) “and have fun.” The ridiculously talented cast also includes Alfred Molina, Olivia Williams, Rosamund Pike, Dominic Cooper, and the divine Emma Thompson. Oh, and it’s written by Nick Hornby based on Lynn Barber’s memoir. (UPDATE: Read my review here.)
The Road (Nov. 25)—Viggo Mortensen and Charlize Theron headline this adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s novel about a man and his son trying to survive after the apocalypse. I like both actors but not sure something this depressing will be high on my must-see list. (UPDATE: Read my review plus notes from Q & A with filmmakers here.)
Amelia (Oct. 23)—I’ve seen a rough cut of this movie and but will wait until I’ve seen the final version to review. I think it’s okay to say, though, that Hilary Swank is perfectly cast as Earhart. (UPDATE: Read my review here.)
Precious (Nov. 6)—Newcomer Gabourey Sidibe stars as a Harlem teen trying to cope with her second pregnancy and an abusive mom, played by Mo’Nique. This film won both the Grand Jury and Audience Award at this year’s Sundance and features an almost unrecognizable Mariah Carey in mousy wig and makeup. (UPDATE: Read my review here.)
Broken Embraces/Los Abrazos Rotos (Nov. 20)—Pedro Almodovar’s latest collaboration with Penelope Cruz, who plays an actress obsessed with a famous director. Hmm, is this based on their relationship? Nope, Cruz said in Entertainment Weekly that she was more obsessed with Almodovar when she first met him.
Nine (Dec. 18)—I could sum up the trailer in one word: steamy. And I don’t even like musicals. But I’d watch Daniel Day-Lewis and all those gorgeous women even if they’re singing about a bucket of beans (you can hear Kate Hudson & Marion Cotillard perform two numbers here). For the record, though, this is the movie version of the musical stage adaptation of Federico Fellini’s classic movie 8 1/2. Got that?
Brothers (Dec. 4)—Tobey Maguire plays a Marine who goes missing in Afghanistan and is presumed dead. Jake Gyllenhaal plays his brother who starts hanging out with Maguire’s wife (Natalie Portman) and ends up falling for her. Of course, this is exactly when Maguire’s character turns up very much alive. I tend to stay away from war movies but this one is directed by Jim Sheridan (In America), whose work I revere.
The Lovely Bones (Dec. 11)—Peter Jackson, whose Oscar shelf is probably threatening to collapse, directs the movie adaptation of Alice Sebold’s bestselling novel. The trailer looks creepy, intense, and I’d put money on this movie to get at least acting, adapted screenplay and art direction noms. (UPDATE: Read my review here.)
COMEDIES FOR GROWN-UPS
The Informant! (Sept. 18)—Steven Sodebergh directs Matt Damon in a movie based on a true story about an executive at an agricultural firm who blows the whistle on his employers’ price-fixing policy. Turns out he’s also embezzling from the company. The subject sounds The Insider-ish but the trailer looks hilarious.
The Invention of Lying (Oct. 2)—I apologize to my regular readers since I’ve written about this movie a couple times already; I just can’t wait to see it. It looks sublimely silly and has not one but three comic geniuses in the cast: Ricky Gervais, Tina Fey and Christopher Guest. A bunch of other really good actors—Jennifer Garner, Patrick Stewart, Jason Bateman and many more—also contribute to the hilarity. (UPDATE: Read my review here.)
The Men Who Stare at Goats (Nov. 6)—Like The Informant!, this is another absurdist take on a supposedly true story. Based on Jon Ronson’s book, that title alone cracks me up, and then there’s the cast, which includes George Clooney, Ewan McGregor, Kevin Spacey, Stephen Lang and Jeff Bridges (in Dude mode!). Clooney plays a man claiming he’s a military psychic spy who can kill animals by just looking at them. Just watch the hilarious trailer; you’ll put it on your must-see list, too.
Did You Hear About the Morgans? (Dec. 18)—Hugh Grant and Sarah Jessica Parker play a couple on the verge of divorce who must go into witness protection after they witness a murder. If you’re going to do a fish-out-of-water movie, you can’t do much better than putting Grant in a rugged environment like Wyoming and watching him chop wood and deal with bears.
It’s Complicated (Dec. 25)—Nancy Meyers writes and directs Meryl Streep, Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin in a comedy about a woman (Streep) who has an affair with her ex-husband (Baldwin), who has remarried. Martin plays an architect who wants to horn in on the action with Streep’s character. Love all these actors; as far as Meyers is concerned, I hope this will be closer to Something’s Gotta Give than The Holiday.
Fantastic Mr. Fox (Nov. 13)—George Clooney voices a wily fox who tries to protect his family and animal friends from evil farmers who want them gone. I think the stop-motion animation looks, er, fantastic. Based on the Roald Dahl book, directed by Wes Anderson and also featuring the voices of Meryl Streep, Bill Murray, Owen Wilson and Jason Schwartzman.
Planet 51 (Nov. 20)—An astronaut lands on Planet 51 and finds a race of green aliens already living there. He then becomes the alien in the ironically human-looking environment. Featuring the voices of Dwayne Johnson, Justin Long, Jessica Biel, Gary Oldman and John Cleese.
The Princess and the Frog (Nov. 25 in NY & LA., Dec. 11 everywhere)—This time, when the princess kisses the frog, she turns into one, too. The movie features Disney’s first animated African-American heroine (voiced by Anika Noni Rose) and is the studio’s first hand-drawn animated movie in five years.
Surrogates (Sept. 25)—Based on graphic novels, the futuristic plot is about people virtually interacting with others via surrogate robots. When these robots start getting killed, Bruce Willis’s character has to actually enter the real world to solve the mystery. I’d think this movie was cheesy if it weren’t for the respectable cast, which also includes Rosamund Pike, Ving Rhames and Radha Mitchell.
Couples Retreat (Oct. 9)—Jon Favreau and Vince Vaughn do their Swingers thing, only this time they’re married (to Kristin Davis and Malin Akerman, respectively). They agree to go on a idyllic retreat with two other couples to work on some of their marital issues. Not sure if this will be good but the scenery is breathtaking.
Law Abiding Citizen (Oct. 16)—Gerard Butler plays a man who turns to vigilante justice after a prosecutor makes a deal that lets his family’s killers go free. Looks kind of generic but Butler is super intense in the trailer and with Jamie Foxx as his prey, things could get interesting.
The Box (Nov. 6)—Cameron Diaz and James Marsden play a cash-strapped couple visited by a stranger with a disfigured face (Frank Langella) who makes them a mysterious offer: If they push a button on a box, they’ll receive $1 million but someone they don’t know will die. Yeeks. Here’s when the audience screams “Don’t do it!” but I assume someone does or else there would be no movie.
The Blind Side (Nov. 20)—Sandra Bullock always manages to make me laugh doing comedy but I think she’s underrated as a dramatic actress (remember her bitchy turn in Crash?). She gets a chance to show off her serious side again in this true story about a tough Southern woman who takes in an African-American homeless teen, helps him overcome obstacles and become an All-American football star. (UPDATE: Read my review here.)
The Twilight Saga: New Moon (Nov. 20)—Is there anything I can say about this movie you haven’t already heard ad nauseam? Didn’t think so. Let’s move on.
Sherlock Holmes (Dec. 25)—Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law, and Rachel McAdams in a movie about the first detective I ever idolized. It’s all good.
Which movies are you most excited about? Which have already put you to sleep with its description alone? Anything not on the list you can’t wait to see?