The sound of summer fun is fading away into the distance, taking a slew of blockbuster tentpole films along with the sunny days, cookouts, beach vacations and (hopefully) those summer pop music anthems that we’re all kind of sick of by now.
Of course, recent years have seen a major shift in the landscape of seasonal releases: whereas Fall used to be a sort of plateau between the peaks of summer blockbusters and winter awards season contenders, we now find that Fall has become “blockbuster season part two,” and this year will offer some pretty big genre fare.
We’ll get superheroes (Thor: The Dark World), sci-fi thrills (Gravity, Ender’s Game, Catching Fire), horror (Insidious 2, Carrie), crime drama (The Counselor) – and that’s all happening BEFORE we get to the go-for-broke holiday movie season with The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug, Jack Ryan, 47 Ronin and more!
In fact, by the time you’re done with our 2013 Fall Movie Preview, you too may agree that Fall is starting to look a lot more appealing than summer – as far as movies are concerned.
Cast: Rob Corddry, Leslie Bibb, Keegan-Michael Key, Riki Lindholm, Thomas Lennon, Robert Ben Garant
Director: Thomas Lennon, Robert Ben Garant
Jack (Rob Corddry) and Vanessa (Leslie Bibb) are an expectant couple that moves into the most haunted fixer-upper in New Orleans — a house with a deadly demonic curse. Things soon spiral out of control for Jack and Vanessa, as well as their-not-so-helpfulneighbor F’Resnel (Keegan-Michael Key), Vanessa’s friendly psychiatrist (Michael Ian Black), Vanessa’s Wiccan sister Marjorie (Riki Lindhome) and the detectives assigned to look into the rising body count (Rob Huebel and PaulScheer). Only the Vatican’s elite exorcism team (Garant and Lennon) san save them — or can they?
OUR TAKE: With a tagline like “From the Creators of Reno 911!” Hell Baby is automatically buying itself a certain amount of comedic street cred. Probably worth a look (if only on home video).
1 hr 43 min – R | Some Sexual Content/Nudity, Language and Strong Violence
Cast: Vin Diesel, Karl Urban, Jordi Mollà, Matt Nable, Katee Sackhoff, Bokeem Woodbine
Director: David N. Twohy
Left for dead on a sun-scorched planet, fugitive Riddick (Vin Diesel) fights for survival against alien predators more lethal than any human he has yet encountered. His only hope for escape is to activate an emergency beacon, but that brings with it a different problem: mercenaries. The first ship carries an especially violent and lethal group; the second is led by a man from Riddick’s past. With time running out, Riddick realizes that neither group will leave without his head as trophy.
OUR TAKE: By now you know if you’re in or out for this third chapter of that other Vin Diesel franchise – and we’re in. Hopefully Riddick is the 2013 Dredd.
1 hr 51 min – R | Brief Sexuality, Violence and Language
Cast: Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer, Tommy Lee Jones, Dianna Agron, John D’Leo
Director: Luc Besson
The Manzonis, a notorious mafia family get relocated to Normandy, France under the witness protection program. While they do their best to fit in, old habits die hard and they soon find themselves handling things the “family” way.
OUR TAKE: At first glance, we’d say something along the lines of “The American meets Meet the Parents,” but then you throw in the curveball that this film is directed by Luc Besson, and suddenly we’re wondering if comparisons to The Professional wouldn’t be more fitting. We’ll soon see.
PG-13 – Intense sequences of terror and violence, and thematic elements.
Cast: Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, Lin Shaye, Ty Simpkins, Barbara Hershey
Director: James Wan
INSIDIOUS: CHAPTER 2 follows the haunted Lambert family as they seek to uncover the mysterious childhood secret that has left them dangerously connected to the spirit world.
OUR TAKE: Wan is coming off a big win with The Conjuring, but Insidious was a much more divisive movie. With the director dropping hints that the sequel will be more psychological thriller than ghost story – and that it will involve time-travel – we’re more intrigued than spooked about what Chapter 2 will offer.
Cast: Josh Holloway, Laz Alonso, Josh Peck, Caity Lotz, Chris Brown
Director: Benson Lee
Battle of the Year is an international dance crew tournament that attracts all the best teams from around the world, but the Americans haven’t won in fifteen years. Los Angeles Hip Hop mogul Dante (Alonso) wants to put the country that started the Sport back on top. He enlists his hard-luck friend Blake (Holloway), who was a championship basketball coach, to coach his team. Armed with the theory that the right coach can make any team champions, they assemble a dream team of all the best dancers across the country. Inspired by an actual competition in France.
OUR TAKE: This one is for the Step Up crowd. You know who you are.
PG-13 | for crude and sexual content, comic violence, language and partial nudity
Cast: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, James Gandolfini, Catherine Keener, Toni Collette, Ben Falcone
Director: Nicole Holofcener
A divorced and single parent, Eva (Julia Louis Dreyfus) spends her days enjoying work as a masseuse but dreading her daughter’s impending departure for college. She meets Albert (James Gandolfini) – a sweet, funny and like-minded man also facing an empty nest. As their romance quickly blossoms, Eva befriends Marianne (Catherine Keener), her new massage client. Marianne is a beautiful poet who seems “almost perfect” except for one prominent quality: she rags on her ex-husband way too much. Suddenly, Eva finds herself doubting her own relationship with Albert as she learns the truth about Marianne’s Ex.
OUR TAKE: It’s one of Gandolfini’s final film roles. That’s enough for us.
2 hr 33 min – R | Disturbing Violent Content, Torture and Language Throughout
Cast: Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Melissa Leo, Paul Dano, Maria Bello
Director: Denis Villeneuve
Keller Dover (Hugh Jackman) is facing every parent’s worst nightmare. His six-year-old daughter, Anna, is missing, together with her young friend, Joy, and as minutes turn to hours, panic sets in. The only lead is a dilapidated RV that had earlier been parked on their street. Knowing his child’s life is at stake, the frantic Dover decides he has no choice but to take matters into his own hands – but in doing so, he may lose himself.
OUR TAKE: A great cast, but the director is something of an unknown quantity – and the release date has us worried that this movie with potential could turn out to be less compelling than it initially seems.
Cast: James Franco, Jim Parrack, Tim Blake Nelson, Danny McBride, Ahna O’Reilly
Director: James Franco
As I Lay Dying is adapted from the 1930 classic American novel by William Faulkner. The story chronicles the Bundren family as they traverse the Mississippi countryside to bring the body of their deceased mother Addie to her hometown for burial. Each character’s personal turmoil and inner commotion at times threatens the fabric of the family more than any outside force.
OUR TAKE: Franco taking on literary greats? If nothing else, we have a morbid curiosity to see how this turned out.
PG | for mild rude humor.
Cast: Bill Hader, Anna Faris, James Caan, Will Forte, Kristen Schaal, Terry Crews, Andy Samberg, Neil Patrick Harris, Benjamin Bratt
Director: Cody Cameron, Kris Pearn
Inventor Flint Lockwood thought he saved the world when he destroyed his most infamous invention — a machine that turned water into food causing cheeseburger rain and spaghetti tornadoes. But Flint soon learns that his invention survived and is now creating food-animals – “foodimals!”
OUR TAKE: The guys behind 21 Jump Street got their start by turning the first film into something wittily unique and fun. With them gone, the sequel looks rather bland.
1 hr 29 min – R | Strong graphic sexual material and dialogue throughout, nudity, language and some drug use.
Cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Scarlett Johansson, Julianne Moore, Tony Danza, Brie Larson
Director: Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Jon Martello (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is “Don Jon” due to his ability to “pull” a different woman every weekend, but even the finest fling doesn’t compare to the bliss he finds alone in front of the computer watching pornography. Barbara Sugarman (Scarlett Johansson) is a good old fashioned girl raised on romantic Hollywood movies about Prince Charming. Together, Jon and Barbara struggle against a media culture full of false fantasies to try and find true intimacy.
OUR TAKE: On paper this might seem like the same tricky subject matter that made “The Girl Next Door” and “Zack and Miri Make a Porno” cult-hit comedies instead of mainstream successes; but we faith that Joseph Gordon-Levitt has both the wit and insight to pull off a smart and relevant rom-com.
2 hr 3 min – R | Sexual content, nudity, language, some disturbing images and brief drug use.
Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Daniel Brühl, Olivia Wilde, Alexandra Maria Lara, Stephen Mangan
Director: Ron Howard
Set against the sexy and glamorous golden age of Formula 1 racing, Rush portrays the exhilarating true story of two of the greatest rivals the world has ever witnessed — handsome English playboy Hunt (Hemsworth) and his methodical, brilliant opponent, Lauda (Brühl). Taking us into their personal lives on and off the track, the two drivers push themselves to the breaking point of physical and psychological endurance, where if you make one mistake, you die.
OUR TAKE: This is the sports drama WE want to see this fall, as it will undoubtedly offer something new and refreshing by exploring the Formula 1 world.
1 hr 27 min – Rated R
Cast: Adam Scott, Richard Jenkins, Jane Lynch, Catherine O’Hara, Amy Poehler
Director: Stuart Zicherman
Having survived the madness of his parents’ (Richard Jenkins and Catherine O’Hara) divorce, Carter (Adam Scott) now has a successful career and supportive girlfriend (Mary Elizabeth Winstead). But when his younger brother (Clark Duke) gets engaged, Carter is forced to reunite his bitterly divorced parents and their new spouses (Amy Poehler and Ken Howard) for the wedding, causing the chaos of his childhood to return including his wacky therapist (Jane Lynch).
OUR TAKE: The cast has some top-notch talent from both the old school (O’Hara, Jenkins) and new (Poehler, Scott, Lynch) – but this is also the directorial debut of the guy who wrote Elektra, so there is a bit of skepticism that needs to be overcome before we can say this will be a slam-dunk comedy hit.
1 hr 31 min – PG-13 | Intense perilous sequences, some disturbing images and brief strong language
Cast: Sandra Bullock, George Clooney
Director: Alfonso Cuarón
Two astronauts (Sandra Bullock and George Clooney) find themselves stranded on a space station after a disastrous accident wipes out the crew and most of the structure. Alfonso Cuarón directs from his own script, which was co-written by his son, Jonas Cuarón.
OUR TAKE: This project is a bold undertaking, but it is not for nothing that some early reviews are already hailing Gravity as a modern masterpiece: after all, Alfonso Cuarón is directing it. Who better to turn the story of two astronauts drifting in space into something poignant, poetic and pulse-pounding?
1 hr 32 min – R | Language and Some Violent Content
Cast: Dane DeHaan, Metallica, James Hetfield, Kirk Hammett, Lars Ulrich, Robert Trujillo
Director: Nimród Antal
Starring Metallica, a cast of thousands of their fans and breakout star Dane DeHaan (Chronicle, The Amazing Spider-Man 2), Metallica Through the Never marries groundbreaking footage and editing techniques with a compelling narrative, in which a band crew member (played by DeHaan) is sent out on a mission during Metallica’s roaring live set in front of a sold-out arena. While on this mission, he unexpectedly has his life turned completely upside down.
OUR TAKE: Sounds pretty cool – if you’re a Metallica fan.
R | Language and some sexual content
Cast: Ben Affleck, Justin Timberlake, Gemma Arterton, Anthony Mackie, Oliver Cooper
Director: Brad Furman
When a poor college student (Timberlake) who cracks an online poker game goes bust, he arranges a face-to-face with the man he thinks cheated him, a sly offshore entrepreneur (Affleck).
OUR TAKE: Good cast, but this looks like a B-movie thriller destined for Sunday afternoon TV glory.
PG-13 | For sustained intense sequences of menace, some violence with bloody images, and for substance use.
Cast: Tom Hanks, Barkhad Abdi, Catherine Keener, Michael Chernus, Corey Johnson
Director: Paul Greengrass
The film focuses on the relationship between the Alabama’s commanding officer, Captain Richard Phillips (Tom Hanks), and his Somali counterpart, Muse (Barkhad Abdi). Set on an incontrovertible collision course off the coast of Somalia, both men will find themselves paying the human toll for economic forces outside of their control. Based upon the book, A Captain’s Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALs, and Dangerous Days at Sea, by Richard Phillips with Stephan Talty.
OUR TAKE: Director Paul Greengrass made a gut-wrenching true-life dramatic thriller with the 9/11 film United 93 – not to mention those heart-pounding Bourne films – so there’s little reason to doubt that Captain Phillips will provide the same sort of experience. WARNING: there will be shaky-cam.
Cast: Danny Trejo, Michelle Rodriguez, Sofía Vergara, Amber Heard, Charlie Sheen
Director: Robert Rodriguez
In MACHETE KILLS, Danny Trejo returns as ex-Federale agent MACHETE, who is recruited by the President of the United States for a mission which would be impossible for any mortal man – he must take down a madman revolutionary and an eccentric billionaire arms dealer who has hatched a plan to spread war and anarchy across the planet.
OUR TAKE: This looks even more outrageously trashy and exploitative than the first film – which is exactly why it could be that rare superior sequel.
Cast: Hailee Steinfeld, Douglas Booth, Ed Westwick, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Paul Giamatti, Stellan Skarsgård, Christian Cooke
Director: Carlo Carlei
Romeo and Juliet, William Shakespeare’s epic and searing tale of love, is revitalized on screen by writer Julian Fellowes (Downton Abbey) and director Carlos Carlei (The Flight of the Innocent). This adaptation is told in the lush traditional setting it was written, but gives a new generation the chance to fall in love with the enduring legend. Every generation deserves to discover this lasting love.
OUR TAKE: Every so often we need a new Romeo and Juliet story for a new generation. While we personally thought that Warm Bodies‘ zombified version of the Shakespeare classic was a nice departure, this film looks like it will try to something more straightforward – only without the visual flare or creativity of Baz Luhrmnn’s Romeo + Juliet.
R | Violence/cruelty, some nudity and brief sexuality
Cast: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Giamatti, Sarah Paulson
Director: Steve McQueen
Chiwetel Ejiofor stars in the true story of Solomon Northup, a free man in 1800s New York State, who was kidnapped and forced into slavery on a plantation near New Orleans, and his subsequent fight for freedom with the help of a Canadian abolitionist (Brad Pitt). Steve McQueen (Hunger) directed from a script he co-wrote with John Ridley, based in part on Northup’s memoir.
OUR TAKE: While we’ve admired McQueen’s work on films like Hunger and Shame, they’ve been more rumination on humanity than actual statements about it. We’re not sure the same approach will work in this case. But the cast is certainly in place to achieve greatness, so Oscar noms will likely be in the future.
Cast: Chloë Grace Moretz, Julianne Moore, Gabriella Wilde, Alex Russell, Ansel Elgort
Director: Kimberly Peirce
A reimagining of the classic horror tale about Carrie White (Chloë Grace Moretz), a shy girl outcast by her peers and sheltered by her deeply religious mother (Julianne Moore), who unleashes telekinetic terror on her small town after being pushed too far at her senior prom.
OUR TAKE: We love the two lead actresses (Moretz and Moore) and Pierce looks to be exploring the psychic powers of Carrie in greater depth, but otherwise this remake feels a bit too much like a more spectacle-minded version of Brian De Palma’s 1976 film.
Cast: Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, James Caviezel, Vincent D’Onofrio, Vinnie Jones
Director: Mikael Håfström
Ray Breslin (Stallone), the world’s foremost authority on structural security, agrees to take on one last job: breaking out of an ultra-secret, high-tech facility called “The Tomb.” But when he is wrongly imprisoned, he must recruit fellow inmate Emil Rottmayer (Schwarzenegger) to help devise a daring, nearly impossible plan to escape from the most protected and fortified prison ever built.
OUR TAKE: It looks like thick cheese, the only question is: Is it YOUR type of cheese? After lackluster solo comeback vehicles, here’s hoping Sly and Arnold get a bit more box office mojo back with their team-up flick.
Cast: Benedict Cumberbatch, Daniel Brühl, Laura Linney, Anthony Mackie, David Thewlis
Director: Bill Condon
Following Daniel Domscheit-Berg (Brühl), an early supporter and eventual colleague of Julian Assange (Cumberbatch), “The Fifth Estate” traces the heady, early days of WikiLeaks, culminating in the release of a series of controversial and history changing information leaks. The website’s overnight success brought instant fame to its principal architects and transformed the flow of information to news media and the world at large.
OUR TAKE: Well, The Social Network got plenty of attention; Benedict Cumberbatch is gaining major notice (see: Star Wars 7); and WikiLeaks is still one of the more interesting stories of the digital information age. But will this movie be great? With Condon (Dreamgirls) at the helm, it definitely could be.
Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Dane DeHaan, Ben Foster, Michael C. Hall, Jack Huston, Elizabeth Olsen
Director: John Krokidas
KILL YOUR DARLINGS is the previously untold story of murder that brought together a young Allen Ginsberg (Daniel Radcliffe), Jack Kerouac (Jack Huston) and William Burroughs (Ben Foster) at Columbia University in 1944, providing the spark that would lead to their Beat Revolution.
OUR TAKE: Did anyone end up seeing On The Road? Because if that film was any indication of current interest in Beat Generation movies, it does not bode well for Kill Your Darlings.
Cast: Johnny Knoxville, Jackson Nicoll
Director: Jeff Tremaine
86 year-old Irving Zisman (Knoxville) is on a journey across America with the most unlikely companion, his 8 year-old Grandson Billy (Nicoll). Along the way, the duo will encounter male strippers, disgruntled child beauty pageant contestants (and their equally disgruntled mothers), funeral home mourners, biker bar patrons and a whole lot of unsuspecting citizens. Real people in unreal situations, making for one really messed up comedy.
OUR TAKE: Are you a fan of the Jackass camp? If so, this is a film you will definitely want to check out. For the general viewing audience: we’re not expecting the next Borat out of this one.
R | For graphic violence, some grisly images, strong sexual content and language.
Cast: Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt, Javier Bardem, Cameron Diaz, Penélope Cruz
Director: Ridley Scott
Award-winning author Cormac McCarthy (No Country for Old Men) provides his first original screenplay with this Ridley Scott-directed thriller starring Michael Fassbender as a lawyer who dabbles in trafficking drugs only to realize just how dangerous a situation he’s gotten himself into.
OUR TAKE: McCarthy is a god on the page, but will his unique brand of prose and violent imagination create an exciting cinematic thriller? No Country for Old Men was an almost word-for-word translation of McCarthy’s book, so take that how you will.
Cast: Naomi Watts, Naveen Andrews, Douglas Hodge, Juliet Stevenson, Charles Edwards, Geraldine James
Director: Oliver Hirschbiegel
On the occasion of the 16th anniversary of her sudden death, acclaimed director Oliver Hirschbiegel (Downfall) explores Diana’s (NAOMI WATTS) final rite of passage: a secret love affair with Pakistani heart surgeon Hasnat Khan (NAVEEN ANDREWS, “Lost,”), the human complications of which reveal the Princess’s climactic days in a compelling new light.
OUR TAKE: If we’re betting on one prestigious biopic for 2013, this one is it. Watts always shines (no pun), and this is the sort of Oscar-bait the twice-nominated actress could use to finally secure her awards glory. (Or at the very least, her next nomination.)
Cast: Asa Butterfield, Harrison Ford, Hailee Steinfeld, Abigail Breslin, Brendan Meyer
Director: Gavin Hood
Genres: Action/Adventure, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
In the not-too-distant future, our planet narrowly survives an attack from a malevolent race of aliens known as the Formics. However, decorated Colonel Hyrum Graff (Harrison Ford) knows that the Formics will soon return even stronger than they were before, and he’s determined to find a new hero who can meet them head on. Enter Ender Wiggin (Asa Butterfield), a modest young man with vast untapped potential as a military commander. As the final battle approaches, Ender prepares to embrace his destiny as one of the greatest heroes in the history of planet Earth.
OUR TAKE: Hey, this is pretty much THE big sci-fi blockbuster to see this fall. It’s also the product of a revered novel whose themes and ideas still resonate nearly thirty years after its initial publication. Based on the cast and Battle School sequences alone, you can count us in.
Cast: Owen Wilson, Woody Harrelson, Amy Poehler, George Takei, Dan Fogler
Director: Jimmy Hayward
In this irreverent, hilarious, adventurous buddy comedy for audiences of all ages, directed by Jimmy Hayward, two turkeys from opposite sides of the tracks must put aside their differences and team up to travel back in time to change the course of history – and get turkey off the holiday menu for good.
OUR TAKE: A good voice cast, the director of Horton Hears A Who, and subject matter that both adults and kids could potentially enjoy… could be promising.
PG-13 | Sexual content and language.
Cast: Michael Douglas, Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman, Kevin Kline, Mary Steenburgen
Director: Jon Turteltaub
Billy (Michael Douglas), Paddy (Robert De Niro), Archie (Morgan Freeman) and Sam (Kevin Kline) have been best friends since childhood. So when Billy, the group’s sworn bachelor, finally proposes to his thirty-something (of course) girlfriend, the four head to Las Vegas with a plan to stop acting their age and relive their glory days. However, upon arriving, the four quickly realize that the decades have transformed Sin City and tested their friendship in ways they never imagined.
OUR TAKE: The cast is the big sell, no doubt – but with National Treasure director Jon Turteltaub at the helm, we have a bit of worry that the end result could be something close to Old Dogs – which is bad territory in our book.
R | Language and some sexual content
Cast: Domhnall Gleeson, Rachel McAdams, Bill Nighy, Tom Hollander, Margot Robbie
Director: Richard Curtis
The night after another unsatisfactory New Year party, Tim’s father tells his son that the men in his family have always had the ability to travel through time. Tim can’t change history, but he can change what happens and has happened in his own life – so he decides to make his world a better place…by getting a girlfriend. Sadly, that turns out not to be as easy as you might think.
OUR TAKE: It’s a Richard Curtis (Love Actually) love story movie with a touch of time-travel sci-fi. Set your date night budget accordingly, fellas.
Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Stellan Skarsgård, Idris Elba
Director: Alan Taylor
Marvel’s “Thor: The Dark World” continues the big-screen adventures of Thor, the Mighty Avenger, as he battles to save Earth and all the Nine Realms from a shadowy enemy that predates the universe itself. In the aftermath of Marvel’s “Thor” and “Marvel’s The Avengers,” Thor fights to restore order across the cosmos…but an ancient race led by the vengeful Malekith returns to plunge the universe back into darkness. Faced with an enemy that even Odin and Asgard cannot withstand, Thor must embark on his most perilous and personal journey yet, one that will reunite him with Jane Foster and force him to sacrifice everything to save us all.
OUR TAKE: This is the Marvel “Phase Two” movie we’ve been most curious about, and early trailers have been promising. With Game of Thrones director Alan Taylor taking over the helm, the world of Thor seems much more grounded and realized than what we saw in the first installment. Definitely our Most anticipated movie of the Fall Season.
Director: Malcolm D. Lee
After nearly 15 years apart, Taye Diggs (television’s Private Practice), Nia Long (Soul Food), Morris Chestnut (Kick-Ass 2), Harold Perrineau (Zero Dark Thirty), Terrence Howard (Hustle & Flow), Sanaa Lathan (Contagion), Monica Calhoun (Love & Basketball), Melissa De Sousa (Miss Congeniality) and Regina Hall (Scary Movie franchise) reprise their career-launching roles in The Best Man Holiday, the long-awaited next chapter to the film that ushered in a new era of comedy. When the college friends finally reunite over the Christmas holidays, they will discover just how easy it is for long-forgotten rivalries and romances to be ignited.
OUR TAKE: The first film remains a cult-classic African-American-led dramedy, and with the cast and crew all returning for the second chapter, we hope that the sequel delivers a similarly memorable experience.
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Jean Dujardin, Matthew McConaughey, Kyle Chandler, Jon Bernthal
Director: Martin Scorsese
Martin Scorsese reteams with Leonardo DiCaprio for this adaptation of Jordan Belfort’s memoir about his exploits as a crooked banker. Terence Winter provides the screenplay. Jonah Hill and Oscar winner Jean Dujardin co-star.
OUR TAKE: Scorsese and DiCaprio are a pretty dynamic team, and the subject matter makes Wolf look it could be this generation’s Wall Street. The first trailer certainly sold us on this “Scarface of Finance” story.
PG-13 | Thematic elements, sexual content, some drug material, brief violence and language.
Cast: Vince Vaughn, Cobie Smulders, Chris Pratt
Director: Ken Scott
An affable underachiever finds out he’s fathered 533 children through anonymous donations to a fertility clinic 20 years ago. Now he must decide whether or not to come forward when 142 of them file a lawsuit to reveal his identity.
OUR TAKE: Oh Vince Vaughn, will this be the one that FINALLY gets you back to your former heights of comedic glory? We remain skeptical.
PG-13 | For intense sequences of violence and action, some frightening images, thematic elements, a suggestive situation and language.
Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Elizabeth Banks
Director: Francis Lawrence
THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE begins as Katniss Everdeen has returned home safe after winning the 74th Annual Hunger Games along with fellow tribute Peeta Mellark. Katniss senses that a rebellion is simmering, but the Capitol is still very much in control as President Snow prepares the 75th Annual Hunger Games (The Quarter Quell) – a competition that could change Panem forever.
OUR TAKE: Francis Lawrence (Constantine) is a somewhat underrated director, so Catching Fire is a chance for him to really breakout and show the moviegoing masses his talent. The material is there to mold: the second book in Suzanne Collins’ trilogy is a much more complex (and arguably gripping) narrative.
Cast: Nicole Kidman, Tim Roth, Parker Posey, Milo Ventimiglia, Roger Ashton-Griffiths, Robert Lindsay, Paz Vega
Director: Olivier Dahan
The story of Hollywood actress-turned-princess Grace Kelly and the political dispute between France and Monaco in the 1960s.
OUR TAKE: Real-life pals Nicole Kidman and Naomi Watts going head-to-head in dueling biopic memoirs about legendary female icons? The 2014 Best Actress category at the Oscars could get awk-ward!
R | Strong violence, pervasive language, drug content and brief sexuality.
Cast: Jason Statham, James Franco, Kate Bosworth, Winona Ryder, Izabela Vidovic
Director: Gary Fleder
A former DEA agent moves his family to a quiet town where he ends up taking down a local meth drug lord.
OUR TAKE: It’s another Jason Statham B-movie action flick. Are you a fan of Jason Statham B-movie action flicks?
Cast: Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Jonathan Groff, Josh Gad, Santino Fontana
Director: Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee
When a prophecy traps a kingdom in eternal winter, Anna (voice of Kristen Bell), a fearless optimist, teams up with extreme mountain man Kristoff (voice of Jonathan Groff) and his sidekick reindeer Sven on an epic journey to find Anna’s sister Elsa (voice of Idina Menzel), the Snow Queen, and put an end to her icy spell. Encountering mystical trolls, an amazing and comedic snowman named Olaf, Everest-like conditions and magic at every turn, Anna and Kristoff battle the elements in a race to save the kingdom from destruction.
OUR TAKE: Meh, looks like a nice Holiday season animated flick for the kids.
1 hr 58 min – R | Strong brutal violence, disturbing images, some graphic sexuality and nudity, and language.
Cast: Josh Brolin, Elizabeth Olsen, Sharlto Copley, James Ransone, Samuel L. Jackson
Director: Spike Lee
Obsessed with vengeance, a man (Brolin) sets out to find out why he was kidnapped and locked up into solitary confinement for 20 years without reason.
OUR TAKE: This is probably the most pivotal movie coming out this fall, as the original Oldboy adaptation by Korean director Chan-wook Park is considered a modern cult-classic. Spike Lee is a controversial choice in director, and the “Americanization” of the subject matter is equally troublesome for hardcore fans; so far though, things look good – and with producers promising a darker tale than even the Korean version delivered, expectations are riding high.
Cast: Idris Elba, Naomie Harris, Tony Kgoroge, Riaad Moosa, Zolani Mkiva
Director: Justin Chadwick
Based on South African President Nelson Mandela’s autobiography of the same name, the story chronicles his early life, coming of age, education and 27 years in prison before becoming President and working to rebuild the country’s once segregated society.
OUR TAKE: While Idris Elba is definitely a hot commodity and a skilled actor, the impression of Mandela that director Clint Eastwood and Morgan Freeman crafted with Invictus still casts a big shadow over this project. Can director Justin Chadwick (The Other Boleyn Girl) step out on his own? We’ll see.
R | Language including some sexual references.
Cast: Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, Justin Timberlake, John Goodman, Garrett Hedlund
Director: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS follows a week in the life of a young folk singer as he navigates the Greenwich Village folk scene of 1961. Guitar in tow, huddled against the unforgiving New York winter, he is struggling to make it as a musician against seemingly insurmountable obstacles—some of them of his own making.
OUR TAKE: It’s the Coen Brothers, sure, but the subject matter looks very hit or miss, depending on the tastes of the viewer. We’re thinking this one will be more A Serious Man than True Grit. Take that how you will.
Cast: Christian Bale, Casey Affleck, Zoe Saldana, Sam Shepard, Woody Harrelson, Forest Whitaker, Willem Dafoe
Director: Scott Cooper
From the critically-acclaimed writer and director of Crazy Heart comes a gripping and gritty dramatic thriller about fate, circumstance, and justice. Russell (Bale) and his younger brother Rodney (Affleck) live in the economically-depressed Rust Belt, and have always dreamed of escaping and finding better lives. But when a cruel twist of fate lands Russell in prison, his brother is lured into one of the most violent and ruthless crime rings in the Northeast – a mistake that will almost cost him everything. Once released, Russell must choose between his own freedom, or risk it all to seek justice for his brother.
OUR TAKE: This has “gritty prestige picture” written all over it. The cast is pretty stellar and director Scott Cooper’s Crazy Heart proved he has the insight to get beneath the rough exterior of troubled manly characters; expect another powerhouse performance from Bale.
Cast: Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage, Andy Serkis, Elijah Wood, Benedict Cumberbatch, Evangeline Lily, Lee Pace, Orlando Bloom
Director: Peter Jackson
Bilbo, Gandalf and the Dwarves have successfully escaped the Misty Mountains and continue on their journey to get their gold back from the dragon, Smaug.
OUR TAKE: It’s chapter 2 (of 3) and this time there is a big dragon voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch and a hot elf played by Evangeline Lily. Hopefully our eyes have now adjusted to that high frame rate photography – and hopefully Peter Jackson and co. have a lot more substance to present in their lengthy middle chapter of the Hobbit adventure.
Cast: Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, Scarlett Johansson, Rooney Mara, Chris Pratt, Olivia Wilde
Director: Spike Jonze
Spike Jonze takes the helm for this comedy about a withdrawn writer (Joaquin Phoenix) who falls in love with his computer’s highly advanced operating system (Johansson).
OUR TAKE: Spike Jonze always presents interesting high-concept movies that reflect real human emotion with pinpoint accuracy. We expect this to be more of that.
Cast: George Clooney, Matt Damon, Bill Murray, Cate Blanchett, Jean Dujardin
Director: George Clooney
The Monuments Men is a dramatic thriller focusing on an unlikely World War II platoon, tasked by FDR with going into Germany to rescue artistic masterpieces from Nazi thieves and returning them to their rightful owners. It would be an impossible mission: with the art trapped behind enemy lines, and with the German army under orders to destroy everything as the Reich fell, how could these guys – seven museum directors, curators, and art historians – possibly hope to succeed?
OUR TAKE: Hey look, it’s Ocean’s Eleven meets Inglourious Basterds… or something. This is definitely a “camp Clooney” production, but with heavyweights like Cate Blanchett and Bill Murray onboard, there’s plenty reason to keep it in mind.
Cast: Will Ferrell, Paul Rudd, Steve Carell, David Koechner, Christina Applegate, Kristen Wiig
Director: Adam McKay
With the 70’s behind him, San Diego’s top rated newsman, Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell), returns to the news desk in “Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues.” Also back for more are Ron’s co-anchor and wife, Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate), weather man Brick Tamland (Steve Carell), man on the street Brian Fantana (Paul Rudd) and sports guy Champ Kind (David Koechner) – All of whom won’t make it easy to stay classy…while taking the nation’s first 24-hour news channel by storm.
OUR TAKE: Hey, we were championing The Legend of Ron Burgundy long before it grew into a cult-classic. If fans can keep their expectations in realistic perspective, we expect the sequel to deliver yet another strange good time.
PG-13 | Thematic elements including some unsettling images
Cast: Emma Thompson, Tom Hanks, Colin Farrell, Bradley Whitford, Paul Giamatti
Director: John Lee Hancock
When Walt Disney’s daughters begged him to make a movie of their favorite book, P.L. Travers’ “Mary Poppins,” he made them a promise—one that he didn’t realize would take 20 years to keep. Armed with imaginative storyboards and chirpy songs from the talented Sherman brothers, Walt launches an all-out onslaught on ‘Poppins’ author P.L. Travers, but the prickly author doesn’t budge. It is only when he reaches into his own childhood that Walt discovers the truth about the ghosts that haunt her, and together they set Mary Poppins free to ultimately make one of the most endearing films in cinematic history.
OUR TAKE: Oh, were you hoping for a nice holiday season feel-good film you could take the whole family to? Well, Mr. Hanks is at your service, yet again.
Cast: Charlie Rowe
Director: Barry Cook, Neil Nightingale
Using state of the art 3D to put audiences in the middle of a thrilling and epic prehistoric world, this family adventure story centers on an underdog dino as it triumphs to become a hero for the ages.
OUR TAKE: Take the kids and enjoy. It’s Dinosaurs, what’s not to like?
Cast: Keanu Reeves, Hiroyuki Sanada, Shibasaki Kou, Tadanobu Asano, Rinko Kikuchi
Director: Carl Rinsch
After a treacherous warlord kills their master and banishes their kind, 47 leaderless samurai vow to seek vengeance and restore honor to their people. Driven from their homes and dispersed across the land, this band of Ronin must seek the help of Kai (Reeves)—a half-breed they once rejected—as they fight their way across a savage world of mythic beasts, shape-shifting witchcraft and wondrous terrors.
OUR TAKE: Carl Rinsch is a talent just waiting to breakout into the mainstream – but we’re not quite sure this will be the film to do it. The samurai subject matter is great, and we’re even willing to give Keanu Reeves the benefit of the doubt in the lead role; however, the CGI supernatural bits have us slightly worried that this could be something along the lines of the Conan reboot. No thanks.
Cast: Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Jennifer Lawrence
Director: David O. Russell
A fictional film set in the alluring world of one of the most stunning scandals to rock our nation, American Hustle tells the story of brilliant con man Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale), who along with his equally cunning and seductive British partner Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams) is forced to work for wild FBI agent Richie DiMaso (Bradley Cooper). DiMaso pushes them into a world of Jersey powerbrokers and mafia that’s as dangerous as it is enchanting.
OUR TAKE: After The Fighter and Silver Linings Playbook it seems that David O. Russell has finally found his off-center niche examining the lives of eccentric (and deluded) Americana characters. Stellar cast, looks fun.
PG-13 | Sports action violence, sexual content and language
Cast: Sylvester Stallone, Robert De Niro, Kim Basinger, Alan Arkin, Kevin Hart
Director: Peter Segal
Their fierce rivalry drawing nationwide attention, “Razor” (Stallone) and “The Kid” (DeNiro) were deadlocked for victory when the former announced his retirement just before the decisive 1983 match that would have declared the supreme champion. Three decades later, enterprising boxing promoter Dante Slate Jr. (Kevin Hart) lures the aging pugilists back into the ring for the fight that everyone has been waiting for.
OUR TAKE: Dude, it’s Rocky vs. Raging Bull! Sure it’s a comedy from the director of 50 First Dates, Get Smart, Anger Management and The Longest Yard – but the premise has us (and probably a lot of other people) sold.
Cast: Chris Pine, Keira Knightley, Peter Andersson, Kevin Costner, Kenneth Branagh
Director: Kenneth Branagh
CIA analyst Jack Ryan uncovers a Russian plot to crash the U.S. economy via a terrorist attack.
OUR TAKE: Right now, Jack Ryan seems like a conventional thriller with a few recognizable faces – Pine, Costner – helping it stand out. Hopefully Kenneth Branagh takes the character back to his Hunt for Red October and Patriot Games days of adult thrills; let’s leave those silly Sum of All Fears hijinks in the rearview.
Cast: Ben Stiller, Kristen Wiig, Patton Oswalt, Shirley MacLaine, Adam Scott, Kathryn Hahn
Director: Ben Stiller
In this comedic adaptation of James Thurber’s short story, Ben Stiller stars as Walter, a milquetoast proofreader for a magazine publishing firm. Walter is constitutionally incapable of standing up for himself, so he retreats into his fantasy world, where he is heroic, poised, self-assured, and the master of his fate.
OUR TAKE: The first trailer had us both awed and intrigued by Stiller’s next directorial effort. Tropic Thunder this is not…
Which Fall 2013 movies are your favorite – anything not on our list of picks that YOU will be checking out? Let us know in the comments.
(NOTE: Rejoice: no Paranormal Activity OR Saw sequels – it’s been years!!!)
CHECK OUT more information, previews and footage from the movies in our last by clicking any one of the archive links at the bottom of this article.
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Source: Fandango (Click Link to Obtain Theater Times and Tickets.)