Fall Film Preview

Fall Arts Preview 2012

By Chris Heller
Published on September 13, 2012, 5:56am | Comments

Above and Beyond Art Gallery & Museum Exhibits Classical Music Pop, Rock, Folk, Jazz Music Dance Television Stage Films

You’ve had your summer fling with superheroes in form-fitting pants and 3D explosions that made your eyeballs spin. Time to settle in for the serious season, from P.T. Anderson’s possible masterpiece The Master to the Wachowski siblings’ visually stunning triumph or disaster (depends on who you ask) Cloud Atlas, to Peter Jackson’s “Why make one film when you can make three?” approach to The Hobbit. But no worries: If you can’t quit the summer mindset, James Bond is just around the corner.


FINDING NEMO 3D – The first rule of Pixar: If it ain't broke, don't fix it. (9/14)
ARBITRAGE – After a bad investment and a car accident, a Wall Street fat cat (Richard Gere) cooks his mistress and kills the books. Wait, that doesn't sound right. Sorry, I don't understand finance. (Or murder.) Brit Marling and Tim Roth co-star. (9/14)

RESIDENT EVIL: RETRIBUTION – This franchise is still happening? Paul W.S. Anderson is worse than a zombie apocalypse. (9/14)

THE MASTER – Five years after There Will Be Blood, P.T. Anderson returns with a brutal post-World War II epic – loosely sketched around the life of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard – starring Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman. As with all of Anderson's work, its abrasive brilliance will make you squirm. (9/21)

HOW TO SURVIVE A PLAGUE – A heartbreaking, brilliant documentary about civil rights activism at the height of the AIDS crisis. Award-winning journalist David France, who makes his directorial debut, masterfully tells this difficult, important chapter of queer history. Everyone should see this film. (9/21)

DREDD 3D – Whoever is responsible for this Judge Dredd remake deserves punishment so much worse than our criminal justice system can offer. (9/21)

END OF WATCH – Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña play Los Angeles cops marked for death by a drug cartel. One reason to be excited about this movie: The director wrote Training Day. One reason not to be: The director wrote S.W.A.T. (9/21)

LIBERAL ARTSHow I Met Your Mother drip Josh Radnor directs, writes and stars in a romantic comedy about a college girl (Elizabeth Olsen) who crushes on a thirtysomething visiting his alma mater. (The ladies just love dead-end guys who have midlife crises a decade too early!) Fortunately, character actors extraordinaire Allison Janney and Richard Jenkins are lurking around campus to prevent Liberal Arts from being a bore. (9/21)

TROUBLE WITH THE CURVE – Justin Timberlake is a worse co-star than Clint Eastwood's empty chair. (9/21)

HEAD GAMES – Director Steve James (Hoop Dreams, The Interrupters) investigates the consequences of head-related injuries in American sports in this incisive documentary. James has a knack for storytelling, so it’ll be fascinating to see how he handles a science-based narrative. (9/21)

HOUSE AT THE END OF THE STREET – Why is Jennifer Lawrence turning up in so many cheap horror movies? You’re so much better than this, honey. (9/21)

LOOPER – A mafia hit man (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) tasked with killing people from the future has to hunt down an unlikely target – himself. Directed by Rian Johnson (Brick, The Brothers Bloom), this will be the best sci-fi film of the season. (9/28)

THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER – Stephen Chbosky's twee coming-of-age story about a sexually confused Pittsburgh teen finally gets the Hollywood treatment. Sucks to be you, Holden Caulfield! Logan Lerman and Emma Watson star. (9/28)

HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA – I was ready to write off this animated children’s movie about a five-star monster resort — and then I learned that Genndy Tartakovsky (Dexter’s Laboratory, Samurai Jack) directed it. Tartakovsky has a flair for the weird and wacky, so this might not be entirely dreadful. Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg and Selena Gomez star. (9/28)

WON’T BACK DOWN – Maggie Gyllenhaal plays a poor mother who fights to fix her child’s broken inner-city school. Viola Davis co-stars. (9/28)


PITCH PERFECT – When the Mayans predicted the end of the world, they foresaw this a cappella-themed comedy. The one bright spot? It’s helmed by Jason Moore, the director of Avenue Q. (10/5)

TAKEN 2 – Liam Neeson (still) has a very particular set of skills. Skills that (still) make him a nightmare for nameless Eastern European thugs. He will (still) find them, and he will (still) kill them. (10/5)

V/H/S – A found-footage omnibus that opened to surprising reviews at Sundance, will this six-headed beast of a horror movie be enough to topple Paranormal Activity as the reigning king of scary movies? (10/5)

THE PAPERBOYThe Paperboy is a pulpy, sensational crime drama with all the flair that won director Lee Daniels accolades for Precious, but who cares about that? Nicole Kidman pees on that twink from High School Musical! (10/5)

SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS – What happens when Colin Farrell, Woody Harrelson, Christopher Walken, Sam Rockwell and Tom Waits make a movie about dog snatchers with In Bruges director Martin McDonagh? I haven't the faintest idea, but it sounds incredible. (10/12)

ARGO – Based on the true story of how the CIA smuggled American hostages out of Iran in 1979 under the guise of a fake film shoot, Argo looks like awards-season catnip – and it's the latest chapter in Ben Affleck's quiet transformation into a decent director. Bryan Cranston, Alan Arkin and John Goodman co-star. (10/12)

ATLAS SHRUGGED: PART II – Even Paul Ryan wouldn't see this likely abomination. (10/12)

KILLING THEM SOFTLY – After a pair of dopey amateur crooks robs a mob-protected poker game in New Orleans, a professional enforcer (Brad Pitt) is sent to track them down. The last time director Andrew Dominik collaborated with Pitt, the result was The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. This time around, the Dominik-Pitt pairing looks to be a little sharper, a lot funnier and mercifully faster paced. (10/19)

3, 2, 1... FRANKIE GO BOOM – This is easily the worst film title of 2012. I'm not even sure what it's about – the trailer isn't much help – but the god-awful name deserves attention. Are we sure it isn't just the catchphrase for a new CBS sitcom? (10/19)

PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 4 – All of this has happened before, and as long as this movie cracks $100 million all of this will happen again. Stay tuned for Paranormal Activity 5 next year. (10/19)

ALEX CROSS – What's the odder casting decision: Tyler Perry as a crime-fighting super cop, or Matthew Fox as a sadistic mass murderer? I'd have to see this dull adaptation of a James Patterson series to find out, so I guess I'll never know. (10/19)

CLOUD ATLAS – When book snobs talk about a novel being "unfilmable," they're almost definitely talking about David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas. If the Wachowskis can keep Mitchell's many plates spinning – and mimic the poignant intimacy that made his novel so brilliant – this will be their masterpiece. (10/26)

ROOM 237Heeeeere's Stanley! This documentary, presented in nine segments, spellbindingly dissects the themes and motifs of The Shining. Interpreting one of the most baffling horror movies ever made is no small feat – theories about Kubrick's intent range from allegories about the Holocaust to proof that the moon landing was faked – but whatever the reading, Room 237 will stick with fans forever. And ever, and ever…. (10/26)

THE SESSIONS – Nobody ever won an Oscar for being subtle, so here comes John Hawkes playing a polio-afflicted man in an iron lung who hires a "sex surrogate" (Helen Hunt) to lose his virginity. An infirm man paying to get laid — such a fitting analogy for this bald-faced award bait. (10/26)


FLIGHT – For the first time in 12 years, Robert Zemeckis is making a live-action movie – and it looks like a doozy. Denzel Washington stars as a pilot who's put under the tabloid microscope after a miracle emergency landing. Zemeckis is at his best when he burrows into the psyche of a man at the center of tragedy, so all signs point to Flight as his return to glory. (11/2)

WRECK-IT RALPH – The dirty little secret of children's movies? Pixar's not the only studio doing great work anymore. For those who don't realize it yet, Disney's charming story about an arcade villain (John C. Reilly) who decides to become a hero will be a delightful shock. (11/2)

THE MAN WITH THE IRON FISTS – RZA's love affair with kung-fu movies has reached its natural end with this ultra-violent, absurdly sexy martial-arts spectacular. Even if it turns out to be a terrible film, at least the soundtrack will be good – Kanye West, The Black Keys, Wu-Tang Clan, Ghostface Killah and (of course) RZA all contributed original songs. (11/2)

LINCOLN – Daniel Day-Lewis. Starring in an Abraham Lincoln biography. Directed by Steven Spielberg. Need I say more? (11/9)

SKYFALL – Daniel Craig was once described to me as "a man with the body of a Greek god and the face of a Polish carpenter." Now, that doesn't have much to do with the new James Bond film – directed by Sam Mendes, in case you were wondering – but if you've bothered to read this much, you deserve a reward. (11/9)

ANNA KARENINA – Joe Wright and Keira Knightley, the duo behind Pride & Prejudice and Atonement, dive into another period romance with this vivid adaptation of Leo Tolstoy's brilliant 1877 novel. Jude Law and Aaron Taylor-Johnson co-star. (11/16)


LIFE OF PI – After a shipwreck, an Indian boy wakes up on a boat with a Bengal tiger. Ang Lee directs this adaptation of a Yann Martel's elegantly spiritual novel, which totally sounds like an acid trip to anybody who hasn't read it. (11/21)

RED DAWN – The original Red Dawn was a hilariously jingoistic war film about a Soviet invasion of the United States. Nonetheless, it revealed stark prejudices that existed within American culture during the waning days of the Cold War. (Also, did I mention it was hilarious?) In this remake, North Korean soldiers invade the Pacific Northwest because … they hate our freedom? Whatever. These colors don't run! U-S-A! U-S-A! (11/21)

THE SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK – David O. Russell (I Heart Huckabees, The Fighter) directs this romantic comedy about a mentally ill man (Bradley Cooper) who moves in with his parents, meets a girl (Jennifer Lawrence), and tries to rebuild his life. Robert De Niro and Chris Tucker co-star. (11/21)

RUST AND BONE – In any language, in any film, Marion Cotillard is magnificent. This French-Belgian drama, directed by Jacques Audiard, could very well be Cotillard at her best. She plays a double amputee who strikes up a friendship with an unemployed boxer (Matthias Schoenaerts). Don't put too much stock in the outrageous premise, though, because Audiard is all about restraint. (11/23)


HYDE PARK ON HUDSON – Oh, Bill Murray. Sweet, sweet Bill Murray. Why are you slumming for an Oscar? What possessed you to play Franklin Delano Roosevelt in a glib retelling of King George IV's 1939 visit to the United States? You sure look like you had fun rolling around in front of the camera, but this is beneath you. Oh, well. At least it isn't Ghostbusters 3. (12/7)

THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY – Tolkien fans, rejoice! Peter Jackson returns to Middle-earth in the first of what will be three prequels to his Lord of the Rings trilogy. Martin Freeman stars as Bilbo Baggins, Ian McKellen reprises Gandalf, and a handful of familiar faces also appear. (12/14)

LES MISÉRABLES – Tom Hooper (The King's Speech) directs a star-studded adaptation of the famous Broadway musical. No joke, it's chock-full of celebrity: Anne Hathaway, Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Amanda Seyfried and Sacha Baron Cohen. (12/14)

ZERO DARK THIRTY – Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker) sets her eyes on the CIA's hunt for Osama bin Laden, putting a Hollywood sheen on the famous Abbottabad raid. Expect an intense film accompanied by insufferable protests. Jessica Chastain, Joel Edgerton and Mark Strong star. (12/19)

AMOUR – Michael Haneke's latest looks like an absolute heartbreaker. In it, a retired man struggles to maintain a loving relationship after his wife suffers a debilitating stroke. Haneke is a bleak, disturbing provocateur and a damn good filmmaker, so Amour will be a grim beauty. (12/19)

MONSTERS, INC. 3D – Something to ponder: Are Pixar movies actually better when they’re in 3D? (12/19)

JACK REACHER – Okay, I lied before. This is the worst film title of 2012. I can't even type it without laughing. Sorry, I have the mind of a 13-year-old boy. (12/21)

THIS IS 40 – Three things we know about this (sort of) sequel to Knocked Up: Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann will be adorable, Melissa McCarthy will steal almost every scene, and with Judd Apatow in the director’s chair, it will be an hour too long. (12/21)

ON THE ROAD – It's the season of adaptation, huh? Jack Kerouac's beat novel gets the star treatment and, luckily, it's in the capable hands of Walter Salles, the Brazilian director behind The Motorcycle Diaries. Sam Riley, Kristen Stewart and Garrett Hedlund star. (12/21)

THE IMPOSSIBLE – Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts star in the true story of a vacationing family that survived the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. Sure, more than 230,000 people died in one of the worst natural disasters in recorded history, but let's not think about that. There's a heartwarming story of love's power to endure here, people! (12/21)

DJANGO UNCHAINED – Quentin Tarantino's racial injustice revenge tour continues in the Deep South, where Jamie Foxx plays a freed slave hired by a bounty hunter (Christoph Waltz) to hunt down a gang of ruthless killers. This spaghetti western-inspired "southern," as Tarantino has called it, looks to be every bit as violent, stylized and cartoonishly fun as Inglourious Basterds. (12/25)


WUTHERING HEIGHTS – Emily Brontë's 1847 romance is brought, once again, to the big screen. There's one wrinkle, though: For the first time, Heathcliff (James Howson) is black.

STORIES WE TELL – This is an odd, wonderful sort of documentary. Filmmaker Sarah Polley turns the camera on herself and her family – namely, the complicated marriage from which her family sprouted. Polley's insistence on making her private life so public invigorates the portrait of her family, which has helped make Stories We Tell a darling of the festival circuit.

THE ICEMAN – Michael Shannon stars as Richard Kuklinski, a notorious Mafia hit man who killed more than 100 men between 1948 and 1986 while raising his family in suburban New Jersey. Ray Liotta, Winona Ryder and Chris Evans co-star.

MUD – Matthew McConaughey's year of reinvention closes out with Mud, a Mark Twain-inspired coming-of-age drama from Jeff Nichols (Take Shelter), where two boys stumble upon a fugitive and vow to help him escape the bounty hunters hot on his trail. If Stand By Me were made for an art-house crowd, it'd look like this.

THE COMPANY YOU KEEP – Robert Redford stars and directs this political thriller about a former Weather Underground militant who cleans up and raises a family, until a reporter exposes his true identity. Is this what passes as thrilling for Baby Boomers? Shia LaBeouf, Julie Christie and Brendan Gleeson co-star.

Above and Beyond Art Gallery & Museum Exhibits Classical Music Pop, Rock, Folk, Jazz Music Dance Television Stage Films

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