Rene Rodriguez, McClatchy Newspapers, Published September 12 2010
Fall movie guide
Of course, there will still be plenty of action flicks, teen comedies and horror movies, because, in Hollywood, summer lasts all year long. Here is a list of some of the films scheduled to hit theaters soon. Release dates are subject to change:
“Alpha and Omega”: Justin Long, Hayden Panettiere, Danny Glover and the late Dennis Hopper provide the voices for this 3-D animated adventure about two wolves on a cross-country trip to return to their lairs.
“Devil”: This high-concept thriller focuses on five people trapped in an elevator – one of them Satan disguised in human form. Sounds intriguing, but audiences have hissed and booed when the name of producer M. Night Shyamalan, who also conceived the original story, pops up in the film’s trailer. Directed by brothers Drew and John Erick Dowdle.
“Easy A”: Emma Stone is a high schooler whose life starts to resemble the ordeal of “The Scarlet Letter’s” Hester Prynne after a rumor about her virginity – or lack thereof – proves impossible to quash. So she figures out a way to use the gossip to her advantage.
“The Virginity Hit”: Will Ferrell and Adam McKay (“The Other Guys,” “Anchorman”) produced this comedy about four friends who decide to help each other lose their virginity – and film the experience with a video camera.
“The Town”: In his second outing as a director (after “Gone Baby Gone”), Ben Affleck pulls double duty as leading man, playing the leader of a gang of Boston bank robbers who falls for the woman (Rebecca Hall) his crew took hostage during their previous heist.
“I’m Still Here”: Casey Affleck directed this year-in-the-life documentary look at Joaquin Phoenix’s recent bizarre decision to retire from acting and launch a hip-hop career.
“Jack Goes Boating”: Philip Seymour Hoffman stars in his directorial debut, an adaptation of Bob Glaudini’s play about a reclusive limo driver forced from his shell by friends who set him up with a funeral-parlor worker (Amy Ryan).
“You Again”: A young woman (Kristen Bell) discovers her older brother is about to marry her former high school arch nemesis (Odette Yustman). Even worse, the bride’s aunt (Sigourney Weaver) happens to be the former high school arch nemesis of the groom’s mother (Jamie Lee Curtis). Catfight! Catfight!
“Catfish”: Sundance Film Festival audiences went wild for this documentary in which filmmakers Ariel Schulman and Henry Joost begin to film the life of Ariel’s brother Nev – with reportedly hilarious, shocking and frightening results. What is the movie actually about? I don’t exactly know, but apparently, the best way to experience the film is to go in completely cold.
“Trash Humpers”: Director Harmony Korine (“Gummo,” “Julien Donkey-Boy”) follows a group of sociopathic senior citizens as they embark on a rampage of vandalism, crime and humping trash bins.
“Let Me In”: Matt Reeves (“Cloverfield”) directs this English-language remake of the Swedish horror film “Let the Right One In,” about a lonely, bullied boy (“The Road’s” Kodi Smit-McPhee) who befriends the strange little girl (Chloe Moretz) who lives next door. Reeves wrote the screenplay with John Ajvide Lindqvist, author of the novel that inspired the films. But the trailer looks practically identical in lighting and tone to the Swedish-language version.
“The Social Network”: Jesse Eisenberg (“Zombieland”) stars as Harvard computer whiz Mark Zuckerberg, who created this little website you may have heard about called Facebook. But you can’t become an Internet billionaire without running into a few legal and personal problems. Justin Timberlake and Andrew Garfield co-star. Yes, Facebook sounds like awfully dry subject matter for a film. But Aaron Sorkin (“The West Wing”) wrote the script based on Ben Mezrich’s book, and the movie was directed by David Fincher (“Seven,” “Zodiac”). ’Nuff said.
“Case 39”: A social worker (Renee Zellweger) enlists the help of a police detective (Ian McShane) to protect a 10-year-old girl from her abusive, potentially dangerous parents.
“A Woman, a Gun and a Noodle Shop”: The great Chinese filmmaker Zhang Yimou (“House of Flying Daggers,” “Hero”) remakes “Blood Simple,” the first film by Joel and Ethan Coen, transplanting the original’s Texas-badlands setting to a noodle shop in western China, where an employee is having an affair with the owner’s wife.
“Life as We Know It”: Katherine Heigl and Josh Duhamel co-star as an incompatible couple forced to learn to tolerate each other after fate forces them to raise their goddaughter together. Bet you $20 that unlikely love blooms. No, make that $2,000.
“Never Let Me Go”: Director Mark Romanek (“One Hour Photo”) and screenwriter Alex Garland (“The Beach,” “28 Days Later”) adapt Kazuo Ishiguro’s novel about three inseparable childhood friends (Keira Knightley, Carey Mulligan and the-soon-to-play-“Spider-Man” Andrew Garfield) who discover a disturbing truth about themselves as they edge into adulthood.
“My Soul to Take”: Wes Craven (“Scream,” “A Nightmare on Elm Street”) returns to the horror genre for the first time in five years, writing and directing this thriller about a teenager (Max Thieriot) who is one of seven young people targeted by a serial killer stalking their small town.
“Secretariat”: The luminous Diane Lane stars in this fact-based story of Penny Chenery, a housewife and mother who in 1973 took over her father’s horse stables and, with the help of a trainer (John Malkovich), produced the first Triple Crown winner in 25 years.
“Waiting For Superman”: Oscar-winning filmmaker Davis Guggenheim (“An Inconvenient Truth”) trains his camera on the U.S. public-education system, following the lives of five bright kids and the hurdles they must overcome to fulfill their potentials.
“Jackass 3D”: Johnny Knoxville, Bam Margera, Steve-O and the rest of the Jackass gang return for more gross-out, wince-inducing stunts, only this time the boogers and vomit are in vivid 3-D.
“Red”: Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich and Helen Mirren are a team of ex-CIA agents targeted and framed for murder by their former bosses. You’ve never seen ruthless assassins as elegant and well-acted as these.
“You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger”: Writer-director Woody Allen returns to England for this story about two married couples (Anthony Hopkins and Gemma Jones, Josh Brolin and Naomi Watts) struggling with boredom, infidelity and lust. Antonio Banderas, Lucy Punch and Freida Pinto co-star as the assorted lovers and mistresses.
“Howl”: James Franco is the famed poet Allen Ginsberg in this free-form, quasi-experimental recounting of his life and career. The movie is directed by Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Freeman (“The Celluloid Closet”).
“Hereafter”: Director Clint Eastwood edges into new thematic territory – the supernatural – with this story of a blue-collar American (Matt Damon), a French journalist (Bryce Dallas Howard) and a London school boy (Cecile de France) who are touched by death in different ways. The script was written by Peter Morgan (“Frost/Nixon,” “The Last King of Scotland”). Color us intrigued.
“Paranormal Activity 2”: Writer-director Oren Peli, who made last year’s “Paranormal Activity” for around $10,000 and watched the film go on to gross more than $150 million, only served as producer for this sequel. The plot details and even the premise have been kept under tight wraps. Let’s just hope they come up with a decent ending this time.
“Stone”: A convicted arsonist (Edward Norton) eligible for early release hatches an elaborate scheme to convince a parole officer (Robert De Niro) that he has genuinely reformed. Liar!
“Saw 3D”: Another Halloween, another “Saw” movie. Apparently, some people still pay money to watch. Later, those same people go online to whine about how bad the movie was. Well, what did you expect? Did you really think the series was suddenly going to turn good?
“Conviction”: After her brother (Sam Rockwell) is arrested for murder and sentenced to life in prison, an uneducated woman (Hilary Swank) with two children puts herself through high school, college and law school in order to overturn the conviction and prove his innocence. Minnie Driver, Melissa Leo and Juliette Lewis co-star for director Tony Goldwyn.
“127 Hours”: In his first film since the Oscar-winning “Slumdog Millionaire,” director Danny Boyle recounts the harrowing true story of mountain climber Aron Ralston (James Franco), who had to resort to extreme measures after a boulder fell on his arm and trapped him in a remote Utah canyon. Ouch.
“Due Date”: Robert Downey Jr. returns to full-on comedy mode with this story of an expectant father who must hitch a ride with an obnoxious aspiring actor (Zach Galifianakis) in order to get home in time for the birth of his baby. Directed by Todd Phillips (“The Hangover”).
“Megamind”: In this computer-animated 3-D adventure, the eponymous supervillain (Will Ferrell) finally defeats his heroic arch-enemy (Brad Pitt), then discovers that his life has no meaning without someone to scheme against.
“The Company Men”: Three white-collar professionals (Ben Affleck, Chris Cooper and Tommy Lee Jones) must reinvent their lives after downsizing leaves them unemployed. Kevin Costner, Maria Bello and Craig T. Nelson co-star for writer-director John Wells (creator of TV’s “E.R.”)