Ah, fall. A time of reflection--the evening of the year. When colorful memories of summer vacations and backyard barbecues begin to fade and drift away like the leaves. If one listens carefully, one can hear the whisper of winter in the air, and, ever so faintly, the shrug and sigh of a nation of Notre Dame fans accepting the inevitable once again. The cycle is timeless, and ongoing. Much like the Saw franchise, which will give birth to yet another shrieking catastrophe in theatres this year (this time in 3D!), fulfilling its own fall tradition of unthinking mediocrity.
But autumn is far from being a barren wasteland for movie fans, of both the effete, art house variety or the Joe Popcorn Bucket looking for middle-brow laughs and expensive melodrama. Fall is the time for studios to roll out their last-minute Oscar contenders, so their big name ACK-tohrs and period dramas will be fresh in the Academy voters' memories. In the more mainstream make-a-buck realm of movies, the fall season is the time to release those movies that would not have nabbed enough box office against major summer blockbusters to cover modest but not insubstantial budgets. And then of course are the latest incarnation of old-concept horror movies released in time for Halloween, which mostly have become vehicles for torture porn gore and as an excuse to pay attention to new starlets in their pre-Lindsey days.
Following is a list of the movies I plan on making an effort to see this fall. Some are already in a multiplex near you, some won't be out until closer to Christmas.
If the trailer for this film doesn't give you goosebumps, you had better check your pulse (ridiculous still captured below notwithstanding). Mark Wahlberg stars in the true story of "Irish" Mickey Ward, a struggling boxer trying to literally fight his way out of poverty and regain the family he's lost. His bad-influence brother/trainer, played by Batman, and girlfriend Amy Adams are his conflicted support system in this Disney production directed by David O. Russell. Maybe it's just the fact that it's Marky Mark, but this reminds me a lot of Invincible. That's not all bad, though.
The triumphant return of the Western is signaled with this update of the 1969 John Wayne masterpiece. The Dude himself Jeff Bridges reprises The Duke Himself's (capitalization deliberate) role as Marshall Rooster Cogburn, helping a teenage girl hunt down her father's murderer. Rounding out the cast are Matt "I'm a Badass Now, No Matter What" Damon as a Texas Ranger aiding them in the search, and Josh "Recognizable to Most" Brolin as the murderer they seek. This is a Coen Brothers film, but not that kind of Coen Brothers film--this one looks to be a loving homage to a great work of literature and classic film, rather than a collection of crazy (and, at times brilliance).
The Social Network
I'm not going to write much about this one, because A LOT has already been written about it. Seems a shoe-in for at least Best Picture nomination, if not an outright win. I will link the trailer though, because it's a work of art on its own.
Let Me In
The sole horror movie on this list (I'm not really much of a fan...I have an insomnia-inducing imagination), this is actually a nearly shot-by-shot remake of a Swedish film released a few years ago. A teenage-in-appearance vampire played by Chloe Moretz (Hit Girl from Kick-Ass) befriends a bullied teenage boy who lives next door (Kodi Smit-McPhee of The Road). The excellent Richard Jenkins (Burn After Reading, Step Brothers) supports as Moretz' caretaker (imagine what that entails when your ward is a juvenile vampire...), and both child actors have shown a great ability to deal with heavy subject matter, so I'm very optimistic. And I can stand to lose a couple nights' sleep.
While it seems like you can't turn on the TV without seeing Zach Galifianakis anymore, I'm still excited to see this film, which looks like an unstated remake of the Martin/Candy classic Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. Robert Downey Jr. (sans Iron Man suit) has to make it across the country in time for the birth of his child, but is stuck with Galifianakis' aspiring actor/crazy person Ethan Tremblay. Hilarity ensues. The stellar supporting cast that includes Jamie Foxx, Danny McBride, Juliette Lewis and Alan Arkin looks to be just so much icing.
I'm an absolute sucker for ensemble blockbusters (see Expendables, The), and this one adds the twist of bringing together an all-century team of heavyweight dramatic veterans not usually known for action. Bruce Willis leads a team of retired CIA operatives on something or other...really it's not important. I'll sum it up as follows: Willis, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich, Helen Mirren, Richard Dreyfuss, Brian Cox, Earnest Borgnine...
No, Cincinnati natives, it's not the theatrical version of cheese conies from space we've been waiting for. Sorry. This is the first trailer for Skyline, released a few months ago. There is a more recent one, but I like the veiled mystery of this one. It looks reminiscent of Cloverfield and Independence Day, which depending on your point of view is AWESOME, or (if you're wrong often) ho-hum.