Fall Arts & Entertainment- Film8/21/2013
Moviegoers, start your engines, because the season of Oscar contenders is upon us. You have the best chance of seeing a better-than-average, if not truly exceptional, movie in the fall season. Film studios are busier than ever rolling out films they hope will secure spots in every critic’s top-10 lists. After an abysmal summer, Hollywood certainly has its work cut out. For the record, we’ll pretend that predictable flicks such as “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” and “Thor: The Dark World” don’t exist. With autumn movies from Martin Scorsese, George Clooney, Bill Condon, Ridley Scott and Alfonso Cuarón on the horizon, the cooling months of 2013 will have plenty of heat to offer at local cinemas. Mark your calendars. Here are my 10 most anticipated movies.
“Gravity” (Oct. 4)
As unlikely as it sounds, Sandra Bullock and George Clooney could hear Oscar nomination sirens sounding for their performances in this outer-space thriller directed by Alfonso “Cuarón” (“Children of Men”). Bullock plays Dr. Ryan Stone, a medical engineer embarking on her premier space shuttle mission. Clooney’s veteran astronaut Matt Kowalsky is along to supervise — this is his last mission before retirement. Things don’t go so well. Catastrophe strikes during a spacewalk where Stone and Kowalski are tenuously tethered together. The only thing potentially worse than being stranded in the middle of the ocean is free-floating in outer-space with no ship to offer refuge. “Gravity” promises its audience a new kind of claustrophobia from inside the confines of a relatively thin spacesuit. Warner Brothers has been showing its impressive trailers for “Gravity” in cinemas for the past few weeks. They hold more suspense than you find in some entire movies. Be prepared to feel scared, cold and frantic.
“Captain Phillips” (Oct. 11)
Tom Hanks is overdue for a comeback. “Larry Crowne,” “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” and last year’s “Cloud Atlas” were the most recent cinematic embarrassments for an actor who once wore the crown of America’s best-loved thespian. Oscar-nominee Paul Greengrass (“Bloody Sunday”) directs the fact-based story of Richard Phillips, the Captain of the MV Maersk — the first American cargo ship to be hijacked in 200 years — as based on the book “A Captain’s Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALs and Dangerous Days at Sea” (by Richard Phillips with Stephan Talty). An Oscar nom could be in the offing for Hanks in this gritty role as a ship’s captain who keeps his wits about him under the fiercest of hostage conditions. Greengrass’ days spent working as a documentary filmmaker for the BBC should serve him well in an action-packed survival tale that will have you squirming in your chair. Catherine Keener stars as the brave captain’s wife Andrea.
“The Fifth Estate” (Oct. 18)
The U.S. government’s endemic corruption that allows things like secret courts to sponsor illegal surveillance of its citizens and the Internet at large, gets the first of what promises to be many more cinematic exposes. Bill Condon’s (“Kinsey”) dramatization of WikiLeaks’ origins should stir up yet more lively public conversation. Benedict Cubmerbatch plays the enigmatic Julian Assange. The freethinker and his equally ardent colleague Daniel Domscheit-Berg (Daniel Brühl) become self-appointed “underground watchdogs of the privileged and powerful.” The duo fight with each other and with the defining question of our time: “What are the costs of keeping secrets in a free society — and what are the costs of exposing them?”
Here is a Hollywood crash-course in the movement, organization and back-channels responsible for exposing a stack of government lies so thick it will take many generations for society to digest the scope of America’s mechanized and systematic deceptions. The search for truth in the modern age begins with “The Fifth Estate.” Carice van Houten (“Black Book”), Anthony Mackie (“The Hurt Locker”) and Laura Linney (“Kinsey”) star.
“The Counselor” (Oct. 25)
“The Counselor” touts the best cast of any movie to come out of 2013. For argument’s sake, we’ll pretend that Cameron Diaz isn’t in it. But just look at who is — Michael Fassbender, Javier Bardem, Brad Pitt, Rubén Blades, Bruno Ganz and Penélope Cruz. Then, realize that the movie is director Ridley Scott’s adaptation of a Cormac McCarthy novel (“No Country for Old Men”), for which McCarthy makes his screenwriting debut. Hot.
Unpredictable baddie Rainer (Bardem) introduces the Counselor (Fassbender) to “moral decisions” — involving drug trafficking — that are sure to “take him by surprise.” Needless to say, our anti-hero counselor will embark on a descent into hell like nothing audiences have ever seen. A veritable hornets’ nest of Oscar bait, “The Counselor” promises to bask in Cormac McCarthy’s signature embellishments of brutally dry wit, scathing social satire and a kind of hard-earned violence that means something when the day is done. Hardcore moviegoers will salivate over this one. Come and get it.
“The Wolf of Wall Street” (Nov. 15)
Martin Scorsese hasn’t missed the mark since “Gangs of New York” (2002). Even then, “Gangs” was thoroughly entertaining in spite of its flaws — why, oh why, did Scorsese ever cast Cameron Diaz?
Scorsese returns to his devoted muse Leonardo DiCaprio to play Jordan Belfort, a ruthless Wall Street hotshot. The year that Jordan turned 26, he made $49 million — and he was “pissed,” because it was three short of a $1 million a week. Jordan and his crew of investment sharks make more money than they know what to do with. You can probably sense where this is going. The movie is based on the real-life Jordan Belfort’s memoir of the same title. Sex, drugs, alcohol and conspicuous consumption might not be the traps of all Wall Street robber barons, but they were for Belfort. Watch the greedy pig and his gnarly associates get their comeuppance. The movie also stars Matthew McConaughey, Jonah Hill and Jon Favreau.
“Grace of Monaco” (Nov. 27)
Nicole Kidman plays Hollywood-starlet-turned-Princess Grace Kelly in this Weinstein-produced period biopic with a limited release in anticipation of Oscar attention. The film — directed by Olivier Dahan (“La Vie en Rose”) — follows Grace Kelly’s identity crisis in the midst of a political dispute between Monaco’s Prince Rainier III (Tim Roth) and Charles de Gaulle (André Penvern). The threat of a French invasion of Monaco hangs in the balance. Nicole Kidman has long been out of the limelight of critical praise. However, the famously icy blond may be perfectly suited to embody one of the 1960’s most iconic women. Keep an eye out for an appearance from Alfred Hitchcock (Roger Ashton-Griffiths), who famously directed Grace Kelly in “Rear Window” in 1954. Frank Langella and Parker Posey are featured in supporting roles.
“Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom” (Nov. 29)
“I have walked a long walk to freedom. It has been a lonely road, and it is not over yet. No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin. People learn to hate. They can be taught to love — for love comes more naturally to the human heart.” Nelson Mandela’s profound words still stir deep emotions in whosoever hears them. Idris Elba (“Pacific Rim”) plays South Africa’s national hero in director Justin Chadwick’s (“The Other Boleyn Girl”) filmic chronicle of Mandela’s winding life’s journey that encompassed people of all races and political views. Expect Idris Elba to deliver a tour de force as the man who became South Africa’s first democratically elected president. It wouldn’t be Oscar season without a historically significant biopic. “Mandela Long Walk to Freedom” is already a hot ticket.
“Out of the Furnace” (Dec. 6)
Scott Cooper — the writer-director of everyone’s favorite 2009 movie “Crazy Heart” — brings it with an explosive crime drama about two blue-collar brothers living in America’s economically downtrodden Rust Belt. Russell Baze (Christian Bale) is fresh out of prison when his younger brother Rodney (Casey Affleck), an Iraq war vet, goes missing. It turns out Rodney is mixed up with a Northeastern crime syndicate led by Curtis DeGroat (Woody Harrelson), a notoriously dangerous character. Not even local police will investigate Rodney’s disappearance for fear of Curtis and his coldblooded gang. It’s up to Russell and his friend Red (Sam Shepard) to venture into Curtis’ territory in an attempt to locate and rescue Rodney. The ubiquitous Forest Whitaker stars in this dramatic potboiler of emotionally epic portions.
“Inside Llewyn Davis” (Dec. 6)
The Coen Brothers’ reimagining of New York City’s early 1960s-era folk-music scene was every critic’s darling at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. Greenwich Village’s snow-covered streets provide the cultural platform for Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaac) — a Dave Van Ronk-inspired creation — to search for folk-music fame. A stray cat keeps Llewyn company, while an angry romantic fling (Carey Mulligan) haunts his every move, as does the suicide of his former musical collaborator (Marcus Mumford). T Bone Burnett’s prodigious musical influence is every bit as present here as it was on the Coen’s winning “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” Llewyn’s odyssey takes him to Chicago’s equally inhospitable landscape in the company of Roland Turner (John Goodman), a partially paralyzed blues singer with all the charisma of a hot glass of beer. “Inside Llewyn Davis” is the Coen Brothers’ first movie since “True Grit” (2010). Get the popcorn ready.
“The Monuments Men” (Dec. 18)
George Clooney double-dips in the fall run-up to Oscar glory with a fact-based World War II story co-written with his frequent collaborator Grant Heslov. Clooney plays George Stout, an aging American military commander who puts together a troop of eight architects and art historians — all of whom are on the far side of 40 — to protect and rescue precious works of art inside Nazi Germany. Under Franklin D. Roosevelt’s orders, the platoon fights against the clock. The fall of the Third Reich inspires the German army to order all precious art and historic sites destroyed. With a cast that includes Matt Damon, Cate Blanchett, Bill Murray, John Goodman, Jean Dujardin (“The Artist”) and Bob Balaban, it’s a safe bet that a fair amount of humor will accompany the action. There may yet come a time that Clooney will make a career misstep, but it doesn’t seem likely to occur anytime soon.
FALL 2013 MOVIE RELEASE SCHEDULE
(All dates are subject to change.)
“The World’s End” (d. Edgar Wright, with Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Martin Freeman, Paddy Considine, Eddie Marsan, Rosamund Pike)
“You’re Next” (d. Adam Wingard, with Sharni Vinson, Nick Tucci, Joe Swanberg, Rob Moran, Barbara Crampton, Ti West, Larry Fessenden)
“Closed Circuit” (d. John Crowley, with Eric Bana, Rebecca Hall, Ciarán Hinds, Riz Ahmed, Anne-Marie Duff, Kenneth Cranham, Denis Moschitto, Julia Stiles, Jim Broadbent)
“One Direction: This Is Us” (d. Morgan Spurlock, with Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne, Harry Styles, Louis Tomlinson)
“Getaway” (d. Courtney Solomon, with Ethan Hawke, Selena Gomez, Jon Voight)
“Riddick” (d. David Twohy, with Vin Diesel, Karl Urban, Keri Hilson)
“Insidious Chapter 2” (d. James Wan, with Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, Barbara Hershey)
“The Family” (d. Luc Besson, with Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer, Tommy Lee Jones, Dianna Agron, John D’Leo)
“Battle of the Year 3D” (d. Benson Lee, with Josh Holloway, Laz Alonso, Caity Lotz)
“Prisoners” (d. Denis Villeneuve, with Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Maria Bello, Terrance Howard, Viola Davis, Melissa Leo, Paul Dano)
“Rush” (d. Ron Howard, with Chris Hemsworth, Daniel Brühl, Olivia Wilde)
“Baggage Claim” (d. David E. Talbert, with Paula Patton, Derek Luke, Tay Diggs, Djimon Honsou)
“Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2” – 3D/2D (d. Cody Cameron, Kris Pearn, with Bill Hader, Anna Faris, James Caan, Neil Patrick Harris, Andy Samberg
“Don Jon” (d. Joseph Gordon-Levitt, with Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Scarlett Johansson, Julianne Moore, Tony Danza)
“Metallica Through the Never” – IMAX 3D (d. Nimród Antal, with Dane DeHaan, James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett, Robert Trujillo)
“Therese” (d. Charlie Stratton, with Elizabeth Olsen, Tom Felton, Jessica Lange, Oscar Isaac, Shirley Henderson)
“A Touch of Sin” (d. Jia Zhangke, with Wu Jiang, Vivien Li, Lanshan Luo)
“Five Dances” (d. Alan Brown, with Ryan Steele, Reed Laplau, Catherine Miller)
“Gravity” – 3D/2D (d. Alfonso Cuarón, with Sandra Bullock and George Clooney)
“Runner Runner” (d. Brad Furman, with Ben Affleck, Justin Timberlake, Gemma Arterton, Anthony Mackie)
“The Shadow King” (Henry Selick, with Brendan Gleeson, Jeffrey Tambor, Pamela Adlon, Catherine O’Hara)
“Captain Phillips” (d. Paul Greengrass, with Tom Hanks, Catherine Keener, Max Martini)
“Machete Kills” (d. Robert Rodriguez, with (Danny Trejo, Michelle Rodriguez, Sofia Vergara, Amber Heard, Carlos Estevez, Lady Gaga, Antonio Banderas, Jessica Alba, Cuba Gooding Jr., Mel Gibson)
“Romeo and Juliet” (d. Carlo Carlei, with Hailee Steinfeld, Douglas Booth, Stellan Skarsgard, Paul Giamatti, Ed Westwick, Kodi Smit-McPhee)
“Gambit” (d. Michael Hoffman, with Colin Firth, Cameron Diaz, Alan Rickman, Cloris Leachman)
“Carrie” (d. Kimberly Pierce, with Chloë Grace Moretz, Portia Doubleday, Julianne Moore)
“Escape Plan” (d. Mikael Håfström, with Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jim Caviezel, Vinnie Jones, Vincent D’Onofrio)
“The Fifth Estate” (d. Bill Condon, with Benedict Cumberbatch, Daniel Brühl, Anthony Mackie, David Thewlis, Peter Capaldi, Carice van Houten, Laura Linney)
“The Counselor” (d. Ridley Scott, with Michael Fassbender, Penélope Cruz, Cameron Diaz, Javier Bardem, Brad Pitt)
“Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa” (d. Jeff Tremaine, with Johnny Knoxville, Bam Bargera, Steve-O, Jason “Wee Man” Acuña, Chris Pontius)
“About Time” (d. Richard Curtis, with Domhnall Gleeson, Rachel McAdams, Bill Nighy, Tom Hollander)
“Ender’s Game” (d. Gavin Hood, with Asa Butterfield, Ben Kingsley, Harrison Ford, Viola Davis)
“Free Birds” (d. Jimmy Hayward, with Owen Wilson, Woody Harrelson, Amy Poehler, George Takei, Colm Meaney)
“Last Vegas” (d. Jon Turteltaub, with Michael Douglas, Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman, Kevin Kline, Mary Steenburgen)
“Thor: The Dark World” – 2D/3D (d. Alan Taylor, with Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Idris Elba, Rene Russo, Anthony Hopkins)
“The Best Man Holiday” (d. Malcolm D. Lee, with Morris Chestnut, Taye Diggs, Regina Hall, Terrence Howard)
“The Book Thief” (d. Brian Percival, with Sophie Nelisse, Geoffrey Rush, Emily Watson)
“The Wolf of Wall Street” (d. Martin Scorsese, with Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Matthey McConaughey, Jon Favreau, Jean Dujardin)
“Delivery Man” (d. Ken Scott, with Vince Vaughn, Chris Pratt)
“The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” – 2D and IMAX (d. Francis Lawrence, with Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Donald Sutherland, Woody Harrelson, Philip Seymour Hoffman)
“Nebraska” (d. Alexander Payne, with Bruce Dern, Will Forte, Stacy Keach)
“Black Nativity” (d. Kasi Lemmons, with Forest Whitaker, Angela Bassett, Jennifer Hudson, Tyrese Gibson)
“Frozen” (d. Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee, with, Kristen Bell, Alan Tudyk)
“Homefront” (d. Gary Fleder, with Jason Statham, James Franco, Winona Ryder, Kate Bosworth, Frank Gillo)
“Oldboy” (d. Spike Lee, with Josh Brolin, Elizabeth Olsen, Sharlto Copley, Samuel L. Jackson)
“Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom” (d. Justin Chadwick, with Idris Elba, Naomie Harris, Tony Kgoroge)
“Dallas Buyers Club” (Jean-Marc Vallee, with Matthew McConaughy, Jennifer Garner, Jared Leto)
“Inside Llewyn Davis” (d. Joel Coen, Ethan Coen, with Oscar Issac, Carey Mulligan, John Goodman, Garrett Hedlund, Justin Timberlake)
“Out of the Furnace” (d. Christian Bale, Woody Harrelson, Casey Affleck, Forest Whitaker, Willem Dafoe, Sam Shephard)
“American Hustle” (d. David O. Russell, with Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Jennifer Lawrence)
“The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” (d. PeterJackson, with Ian McKellen, Cate Blanchett, Orlando Bloom, Christopher, Hugo Weaving)
“Saving Mr. Banks” (d. John Lee Hancock, with Emma Thompson, Tom hanks, Colin Farrell, Paul Giamatti)
Tyler Perry’s “A Madea Christmas” (d. Tyler Perry, with Tyler Perry, Alicia Witt, Chad Michael Murray)
“The Monuments Men” (D. George Clooney, with George Clooney, Matt Damon, Matt Damon, Bill Murray, Cate Blanchett, Jean Dujardin, John Goodman)
“Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues” (d. Adam McKay, with Will Ferrell, Christina Applegate, Steve Carell, Paul Rudd, Nicole Kidman)
“Walking with Dinosaurs: The Movie” (d. Barry Cook, Neil Nightingale, with Charlie Rowe)
“47 Ronin” – 2D/3D (d. Carl Rinsch, with Keanu Reeves, Rinko Kikuchi)
“August: Osage County” (d. John Wells, with Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep, Benedict Cumberbatch)
“Grudge Match” (d. Peter Segal, with Sylvester Stallone, Robert De Niro, Alan Arkin)
“Jack Ryan” (d. Kenneth Branagh, with Chris Pine, Keira Knightley, Kevin Costner)
“The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” (d. Ben Stiller, with Ben Stiller, Kristen Wiig, Sean Penn) CV