By Kevin Finnerty
As summer comes to a close and the kids go back to school, so comes to an end the summer blockbusters in order to make way for the films hoping to get consideration for Oscars – and to cash in on the holiday movie-going public. Which means it’s time for the Fall Movie Preview. What can you expect up on the big screen this fall and holiday season? Films about a brave captain, car racers, The People’s Princess, a Demi-God, con-artists, and the return of San Diego’s favorite news anchor.
Rush – Starring Daniel Brühl, Chris Hemsworth and Olivia Wilde
Plot: Tells the story of Austrian Formula 1 champion driver Niki Lauda and the 1976 crash that almost claimed his life. Mere weeks after the accident, he got behind the wheel to challenge his British rival, James Hunt.
Outlook: With Ron Howard directing and Thor himself (Chris Hemsworth) in the title role, this could be the film to give the movies Le Mans and Grand Prix a run for their money.
The Family – Starring Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer and Tommy Lee Jones
Plot: A former Mafia man turned informant under witness protection moves his family to a quiet, sleepy French village and struggles to give up the old life and blend in.
Outlook: Sounding reminiscent of Steve Martin’s funny comedy My Blue Heaven, The Family despite it’s A-list cast looks like the comedy miss of the fall.
Prisoners – Starring Hugh Jackman, Maria Bello and Jake Gyllenhaal
Plot: A detective becomes obsessed with the case he’s investigating involving the search for two missing young girls. Meanwhile, one of the fathers of the girls becomes determined to find his little girl and turns vigilante.
Outlook: With a strong cast and what looks to be a stand-out performance by Hugh Jackman, Prisoners is sure to be one of the best dramatic films this year and might just have one or two of its cast members grabbing an Oscar nomination.
Riddick – Starring Vin Diesel and Karl Urban
Plot: Left for dead on a wasteland planet, Riddick fights to survive against aliens who once again live and thrive in the dark.
Outlook: Yawn. It’s Pitch Black 2 only without other survivors.
Don Jon – Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Scarlett Johansson
Plot: A New Jersey guy devoted to his family, church, and friends finally meets his dream girl but his relationship with her is jeopardized by his addiction to porn.
Outlook: Written, directed and starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Don Jon is a comedy that’s unlikely to draw large masses to the theaters due to its subject matter and will most likely only have diehard Gordon-Levitt fans in the seats.
Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 – Starring Bill Hader and Anna Faris
Plot: On discovering his food-storm producing machine is still working only this time creating food-animal hybrids, Flint Lockwood heads back to what used to be his home town to finally stop it.
Outlook: Some films don’t need a sequel and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs looks to be one of them.
Gravity – Starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney
Plot: A medical engineer and an astronaut work and struggle together to fight to survive after an accident leaves them adrift in space.
Outlook: Directed by Alfonso Cuaron and inspired by Ray Bradbury’s story Kaleidoscope, Gravity might just be the best space drama since Apollo 13.
Captain Phillips – Starring Tom Hanks
Plot: The true story of Captain Richard Phillips and the 2009 hijacking by Somali pirates of the US MV Masersk Alabama.
Outlook: Look for Tom Hanks to receive another Oscar nomination for his performance as Captain Phillips.
Carrie – Starring Chloe Grace Moretz and Julianne Moore
Plot: A young, shy and troubled teenage girl discovers she has telekinetic powers and begins using them to unleash revenge against those who teased and tormented her.
Outlook: Sigh…another pointless and needless remake of a film that got it right the first time around.
The Fifth Estate – Starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Daniel Brühl
Plot: Follows the exploits of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and his quest to expose the deceptions and corruption of those in power.
Outlook: With Benedict Cumberbatch as Assange, The Fifth Estate might be the sleeper hit drama of the fall.
Diana – Starring Naomi Watts and Naveen Andrews
Plot: Focusing on the last two years of Princess Diana’s life and romance with Pakistani heart surgeon Hasnat Kahn.
Outlook: Naomi Watts is sure to be considered for an Oscar nomination for her portrayal of Princess Di.
Kill Your Darlings – Starring Daniel Radcliffe, Ben Foster and Michael C. Hall
Plot: A murder in the year 1944 draws together the great poets of the beat generation including Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac and William Burroughs.
Outlook: This will be Daniel Radcliffe’s opportunity to shake off any remaining shackles of the Harry Potter series and prove to the moviegoing public he’s a true actor capable of portraying many different roles. If the rest of his performance is a good as the one clip from the film…than job well done Mr. Radcliffe.
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire – Starring Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson
Plot: Katniss and Peeta become targets of the Capital after their victory in the Hunger Games ignites a rebellion in one of the districts.
Outlook: With most of the original cast returning and the plot focusing on the beginning of the resistance instead of children fighting to the death, Catching Fire is sure to break records at the box office and possibly interest other moviegoers who were turned off by the plot of the original film.
Thor: The Dark World – Starring Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston and Natalie Portman
Plot: When Jane Foster is targeted by the warriors of the dark world Svartalfheim, Thor returns to Earth to protect her and is forced to turn to the last person he would ever want to trust or ask help from – his half-brother Loki.
Outlook: With a much darker tone than the first film, a bigger story arc, and an A-list cast, Thor: The Dark World looks be one of those rare sequels that could surpass the original film.
Ender’s Game – Starring Asa Butterfield, Harrison Ford and Ben Kingsley
Plot: 70 years after an alien war on Earth a brilliant but awkward boy is chosen to attend an advanced military school and train for a future invasion.
Outlook: Based on the worldwide best-selling novel and with what looks to be cutting edge special effects plus a strong cast, Ender’s Game might – repeat, might – just be the best science fiction film to hit the big screen in years.
The Wolf of Wall Street – Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Matthew McConaughey and Jonah Hill
Plot: Based on the true story of Jordan Belfort, from his rise to a wealthy stockbroker living the high life to his fall involving crime, corruption and the federal government.
Outlook: Seems all too familiar. Hello, Gordon Gecko anyone?
About Time – Starring Domhnall Gleeson and Rachel McAdams
Plot: When Tim Lake turns 21 his father lets him in on a family secret – that the men in their family have the power to travel through time. There is a catch: Tim can only change events in his own life. So Tim sets out to use his time traveling to win the heart of his dream girl Mary.
Outlook: It’s Groundhogs Day meets The Time Traveler’s Wife.
Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues – Starring Will Ferrell, Paul Rudd and Steve Carell
Plot: Set in the ’80s, Ron Burgundy returns to the anchor chair on New York’s first 24 hours news channel and brings his pals along with him.
Outlook: If the film has as many laughs as the 2 minute trailer, this will be the best comedy of the year.
The Hobbitt: The Desolation of Smaug – Starring Martin Freeman and Ian McKellen
Plot: Bilbo, Gandalf and the dwarves have successfully climbed the Misty Mountains and Bilbo now has the One Ring. Their journey continues to get the black gold away from the deadly dragon Smaug.
Outlook: This second entry in the Hobbit trilogy is sure to draw a big movie audience for the holiday season.
American Hustle – Starring Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper and Amy Adams
Plot: The story of a con artist and his partner who end up working for the FBI to turn the tables on other cons, mobsters and politicians in New Jersey.
Outlook: Based on a true story and with a great cast, American Hustle is sure to be one of the front-runners come Oscar season.
Saving Mr. Banks – Starring Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson
Plot: Walt Disney’s struggle to obtain the rights to make the film Mary Poppins based on the book written by the uncompromising and difficult author P.L. Travers.
OutLook: Being released in December, Saving Mr. Banks just might be the family-friendly film movie-going audiences are in the mood for this holiday season.
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