With the sweltering sun finally giving way to the autumn of the year, it's time to turn our thoughts to shorter days, cooler temperatures, and best of all, hotter movies.
We know Hollywood likes to save the best for last so, as the summer blockbusters run their course and the jockeying for the awards season begins, why not take a look at the films that will be making their debut in the coming weeks and months.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower - September 14
Can Emma Watson work outside the Gryffindor House? We're about to find out. Stars logan Lerman as an introverted high school freshman who chums up with fellow students to help him deal with his first true-love. Also stars Paul Rudd and Dylan McDermott.
The Master - September 14
Philip Seymour Hoffman stars in the 50s-set drama about a man who founds a faith-based organization with hopes of finding meaning to his life. Also stars Amy Adams, Joaquin Phoenix and Lara Dern. This one's getting a lot of Oscar buzz.
Trouble With the Curve - September 14
Clint Eastwood goes back in front of the camera (despite saying Gran Torino would be his last) as an ailing baseball scout who takes his daughter, played by Amy Adams, on one last recruiting trip. Justin Timberlake and John Goodman also star.
End of Watch - September 21
The L.A. Police department once again becomes the subject of a thrilling drama, this time about two officers marked for death after they confiscate a cache of money and weapons during the routine traffic stop of a drug cartel member. Stars Anna Kendrick, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Michael Pena. Coming from the pen of Training Day writer David Ayer, this one is certain to be packed with plenty of tense, unsettling thrills.
Dredd 3D- September 21
Karl Urban gives a go at donning the Judge Dredd helmet in this British-made action piece said to be unrelated to the horrific 1995 Stallone-headlined version that pulled in just $34 million with a production budget of $90+ million. Rachel Wood, Jason Cope, Olivia Thirlby and a bunch of other Brits star.
Looper September 28
Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars in this interesting piece of speculative fiction set in the future where mob targets are sent back in time to be whacked by a hired gun. But what would a time travel piece be without a few snafus? The film is directed by Rian Johnson who previously worked with JGL on the breakout smash Brick and who has also plied his craft on a couple of Breaking Bad episodes. Bruce Willis, Jeff Daniels, and Emily Blunt also star along with Paul Dano and Piper Perabo.
Hotel Transylvania - September 28
Promising a funny little ironic spin on the relationship between monsters and humans (not unlike Monsters, Inc.), the story takes place in Hotel Transylvania, Dracula’s lavish five-stake resort, where monsters and their families can live it up, free from meddling from the human world. Adam Sandler, Selena Gomez, and David Spade provide the voices in what looks to be a pretty cool mashup of classic movie monsters.
Taken 2 - October 5
20th Century Fox goes back to the well with Liam Neeson reprising his role as retired CIA agent Bryan Mills who is, this time around, kidnapped along with his wife while visiting Turkey. When are the bad guys going to learn not to mess with this guy? Famke Janssen, and Maggie Grace co-star.
Frankenweenie - October 5
Tim Burton remakes his own rejected 1984 short film of the same name, this time using his signature stop-motion animation technique. In an homage to 1931's Frankenstein based on Mary Shelley's book, the film will be in black and white, a first for Imax 3D. Christopher Lee, Martin Landau, Martin Short, and Winona Ryder will voice.
The Paperboy - October 5
Nicole Kidman is already receiving high praise for her sexy performance in this Lee Daniels film about a reporter (Matthew MacConaughey) who returns to his Florida hometown to investigate a case involving a death row inmate. Oh yeah, the big buzz here is a scene in which Kidman's character urinates on Zac Effron's to treat a jellyfish sting. Can't wait!
Argo - October 12
A little known event surrounding the 1979 Iran Hostage crisis gets the Hollywood treatment in this film that stars Breaking Bad's Bryan Cranston, Ben Affleck and John Goodman. As the Iranian revolution intensified and the U.S. Embassy was taken over by angry revolutionaries, several Americans who found shelter at the home of the Canadian ambassador, were rescued by a CIA exfltration team. This is their story based on details declassified in 1996. On the Oscar short list!
Seven Psychopaths - October 12
A deranged dog-napping plan goes awry when the thieves unknowingly steal a prized Shi Tzu from a notorious cartel member. Colin Farell, Sam Rockwell and Christopher Walken star in Martin McDonaugh's film that looks to borrow some of the visual stylings of a Quentin Tarantino flick. Also stars Gabourey Sidibe and newly annointed Bond girl, Olga Kurylenko.
Here Comes the Boom- October 12
Another film about a high school teacher who wants to become a mixed martial arts fighter, only this time it's a comedy by Frank Coraci of The Waterboy and Zookeeper fame. Kevin James lost 80 pounds for the role but no word on whether or not he gained any comedic prowess in the process. Salma Hayek co-stars alongside Melissa Peterman and Reggie Lee. Oh, and Henry Winkler is back, but not as the Fonz.
Not Fade Away- October 19
Sopranos creator David Chase directs James Gandolfini in something that's not about the inner-workings of the mafia but IS set in New Jersey. The film is the coming-of-age story about a group of teenagers who put together a rock band after watching the Rolling Stones on TV in 1964. Mostly no-names (including newcomer John Magaro) co-star in this David Chase passion-project that hopes to become the next American Grafitti or Almost Famous.
Alex Cross - October 19
Imagine our astonishment at learning that Tyler Perry stars in this one as a character NOT named Madea. Instead, he's the titular Washington D.C. doctor seeking revenge after learning that a family member has been murdered. Perry carries the mantel of the character previously portrayed by Morgan Freeman in the films Kiss the Girls and Along Came a Spider. Alex Cross also stars Giancarlo Esposito, Edward Burns and Rachel Nichols.
Cloud Atlas - October 26
This one is by the Wachowski Brothers, er, Wachowski sisters, er, Wachowski siblings. It just doesn't roll off the tongue like it did before Laurence got a sex change operation and is now Lana Wachowski. Anyway, the dark cloud of Speed Racer hangs heavy over the filmmakers as they try to recover with an exploration of how we're all impacted by the actions we take in our individual lives and how a single act of kindness can ripple across centuries to inspire a revolution. Sounds like a tough sell, especially coming from a team that's not had a hit since 1999's The Matrix. Tom Hanks, Halle Berry and Hugh Grant take on several roles each that echo the story's interconnectedness.
Chasing Mavericks - October 26
Gerard Butler and big-wave surfing action star in this film about a surfing master who trains a young wannabe to ride the giant waves of the mythical surfing spot off the northern California coast known as Mavericks. Johnny Weston, Elisabeth Shue, and Abigail Spencer co-star in the film directed by Michael Apted and Curtis Hanson of 8 Mile and L.A. Confidential Fame.
The Sessions - October 26
Oscar is buzzing around this film based on the true story about a 36-year-old man in an iron lung who, with the counseling of his priest, decides to employ the services of a professional sex surrogate to lose his virginity. John Hawkes (Winter's Bone) stars alongside Helen Hunt, William H. Macy, and Moon Bloodgood in this film written and directed by renowned documentarian Ben Lewin.
Paranormal Activity 4 - October 26
Yes, we said this in last year's preview, but can they do it again? Scare-meisters Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman return with their found footage phenomenon in Paranormal Activity 4 which delivers the next chapter in the ghostly franchise. This one arrives just in time for the Halloween season.
Wreck-it Ralph - November 2
A 1980's-era video game becomes the playground for this Disney animated film about a video game villain who disputes his programming and leaps into another arcade game with hopes of winning a medal but inadvertently unleashes a deadly virus-like enemy that infects all the games in the arcade. John C. Reilly, Jane Lynch, Ed O'Neil and Sarah Silverman voice the characters in this goat-to hero story.
Flight - November 2
2012 may be the year of John Goodman as he gets another plum role, this time opposite Denzel Washington in Flight, which represents Robert Zemeckis' first live-action film since 2000's Cast Away. The director's star-studded cast also features Don Cheadle, Kelly Reilly, and Melissa Leo who were all brought in despite the film's minuscule $30 million budget.
The Man With Iron Fists - November 2
Rapper RZA co-writes, directs and stars in this martial arts epic that also features Russell Crowe, Lucy Liu, Byron Mann, and Cung Le. It is set in feudal China and follows the story of a local weapons maker (RZA) who must come to the defense of his fellow villagers.
hi - November 9
Steven Spielberg directs this biopic that follows the 16th president as he guides the North to victory during the U.S. Civil War. Daniel Day-Lewis sports the beard as Abraham Lincoln while Sally Field plays Mary Todd Lincoln. Hear that buzz? That's Oscar talk.
Skyfall - November 9
Daniel Craig returns as Agent 007 in the 23rd film in the Bond series under the direction of Sam Mendes. Something from M's past comes up as a major plot in this one while Javier Bardem's bad guy attempts to take downMI6 and its chief.
Breaking Dawn: Part 2 - November 16
The saga continues.
Anna Karenina - November 16
Tolstoy's 1877 romance novel gets yet another big screen go, this time with the queen of period pieces Keira Knightley in the titular role. Jude Law, Aaron Johnson, Kelly Macdonald and Olivia Williams also star. Will be mentioned at Oscar time.
Life of Pi - November 21
Ang Lee (Brokeback Mountain) directs this adaptation of Yann Martel's award-winning novel from a screenplay by David Magee. The story is a fantasy adventure divided into three distinct sections that tell the tale of Pi (Suraj Sharma), an indian boy who survives a shipwreck only to be stranded on a boat in the middle of the Pacific Ocean with a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker with whom Pi must develop a relationship in oder to survive. We'll see, but this one's already getting Oscar talk.
Rise of the Guardians - November 21
Hugh Jackman, Chris Pine, and Alec Baldwin voice characters in this animated feature adapted from the popular William Joyce novel series called The Guardians of Childhood. Baldwin provides the voice of Santa Claus, Isla Fisher that of the Tooth Fairy, Pine is the voice of jack Frost, and Jackman voices the Easter Bunny, all who must band together in an effort to stop the evil Pitch (Jude Law), from plunging the world into perpetual fear and darkness.
Silver Linings Playbook - November 21
David O. Russell follows up his award-winning The Fighter with another sports film, this one a comedy-drama that stars Bradley Cooper as a former high school teacher who recently served a stint in a mental institution and now thinks the answer to any crisis is a Philadelphia Eagles football victory. Also stars Jennifer Lawrence and Robert DeNiro. Oscar?
Hyde Park on Hudson - December 7
Bill Murray plays Franklin D. Roosevelt in this period love story that chronicles the love affair between the 32nd president and his distant cousin, as King George of England and his wife the Queen Consort Elizabeth made a visit to Roosevelt's country estate in Hyde Park, New York. Also stars Laura Linney as Margaret Suckley, Ilivia Williams as the president's wife Eleanor, and Olivia Colman as Queen Elizabeth. This one's getting a lot of Oscar buzz!
Les Miserables - December 14
Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe give it a go in Tom Hooper's big screen version of Victor Hugo's classic French epic that is widely lauded as one of the greatest novels of the 19th century. Anne Hathaway, Sach Baron Cohen, Amanda Seyfriend and Helena Bonham Carter also lend their talents to the musical drama. Oscar bait!
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey - December 14
The first film in Peter Jackson's cinematic trilogy of the beloved J.R.R. Tolkein fantasy. Elijah Wood, Martin Freeman, and Ian McKellen return as Frodo, Gandalf, and Bilbo Baggins respectively, with many of the other actors reprising their roles from the highly successful Lord of the Rings films. Will likely be mentioned come Oscar time.
Zero Dark Thirty - December 19
Kathryn Bigelow's controversial chronicling of the decade-long hunt for Osama bin Laden following the 9/11 attacks. Stars Joel Edgerton, Jessica Chastain, Taylor McKinney, and Scott Adkins. Though the film was moved from an October release to December to remove itself from any campaign politicking, something tells us many viewers still won't be able to separate the film from their own political leanings. Let the debate begin! Has Oscar written all over it!
Jack Reacher - December 21
How much effect will Tom Cruise's recent tabloid-fodder divorce have on the buzz surrounding his portrayal of British author Jim Grant's fictional Special Investigations officer digging deep into a case involving five random victims of a military sniper's bullet? Enquiring fans want to know. Also stars Rosamund Pike, Robert Duvall, and Richard Jenkins.
This is 40 - December 21
Writer-director Judd Apatow looks back at the lives of stressed-out parents Pete and Debbie a few years after the events in his smash hit Knocked Up… specifically the eve of both turning 40. Naturally, Leslie Mann and Paul Rudd return in their roles, as does Jason Segel. This time around however we get Megan Fox and Melissa McCarthy, the latter fresh off her breakout role in Bridesmaids. No word on a Seth Rogen cameo.
On the Road - December 21
Another Jack Kerouac novel adaptation, this one from the same-named semi-autobiographical novel widely considered the defining work of the postwar Beat Generation. No, Johnny Depp isn't in this one, but Kristen Stewart is… and apparently she goes shirtless more than Taylor Lautner in a Twilight movie. Also stars Amy Adams, Kirsten Dunst, Viggo Mortensen and Steve Buscemi.
The Impossible - December 21
Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor star in this Spanish-produced English-language movie about a couple's experience as they endure the 2004 Southeast Asian tsunami that swamped ashore killing over 230,000 people in fourteen countries. The Impossible comes from The Orphanage director, Juan Antonio Bayona.
The Guilt Trip - December 25
Seth Rogen stars alongside Barbra Steisand (yes, you read that right) in this Anne Fletcher-directed film about an inventor and his mom who hit the road together to sell his latest invention. A boy and his mom road picture? Then it's perfectly named! Also stars Adam Scott, Colin Hanks and Yvonne Strahovski.
Django Unchained - December 25
A Quentin Tarantino film on Christmas Day. What could be better? Leo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Jamie Foxx, Samuel L. Jackson and Christoph Waltz star. Should be an Oscar contender.
Parental Guidance - December 25
Race to Witch Mountain filmmaker Andy Fickman directs Billy Crystal from the City Slicker star's own fish-out-of-water script about a grandfather having to raise his three grandkids using 21st century technology. Marisa Tomei, Bailee Madison, Bette Midler and Dwayne Boyd also star.
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