Movies: New Films and Festivals

Fall Arts Preview 2009


Published on September 17, 2009, 12:00am | Comments

Dates subject to change at the whim of a studio executive.

SEPTEMBER

''Fame''
''Fame''

JENNIFER'S BODY -- Story has it that screenwriter Diablo Cody wrote this horror-drama screenplay, about a teenager possessed by a demon (Megan Fox), while filming and then promoting her Oscar-winning film Juno, about a teenager pregnant with an unwanted baby. So then, was it Rosemary's baby? (9/18)

ASTRO BOY -- The first Japanese television series embodying the anime aesthetic finally gets turned into a proper computer-animated 3-D spectacle. (9/23)

SURROGATES -- Based on the comic book series of the same name, this science fiction flick is set in the year 2017, when humans live in near-total isolation and only interact through remotely controlled robotic bodies. Where's the fun in that? Bruce Willis and Radha Mitchell star. Jonathan Mostow directs. (9/25)

FAME -- It's been 29 years since the original, which should make you feel old. But with class acts like Bebe Neuwirth, Megan Mullaly and Kelsey Grammer joining Debbie Allen as high school faculty in this remake from new director Kevin Tancharoen (previously a choreographer for Madonna and Britney), well, give them time, they may make you forget the rest. And you're gonna live forever. (9/25)

PANDORUM -- A pair of astronauts fend off an evil force in space. Starring Dennis Quaid, Ben Foster and the yummy Cam Gigandet. Think Alien with a pretty cast! (9/25)

PARANORMAL ACTIVITY -- Oren Peli's tiny little film is getting extremely big buzz among the horror set. Its minimalist approach is reportedly akin to Blair Witch Project, as a couple fend off evil ghosts possessing their home. Reports from the field are that it's the most genuinely terrifying movie to come along in years, if not months. Don't believe us? Go check out the trailer (aka hype) online. (9/25)

BRIEF INTERVIEWS WITH HIDEOUS MEN -- John Krasinki moves out from behind his desk at The Office and settles into the director's chair in this adaptation of a David Foster Wallace story. Starring Julianne Nicholson and Timothy Hutton. (9/25)

OCTOBER

''Where the Wild Things Are''
''Where the Wild Things Are''

CAPITALISM: A LOVE STORY -- Rabble-rousing documentary-maker Michael Moore has been at it now for exactly 20 years, and his latest film, about corporate greed and the financial meltdown, comes closest to the subject of his debut Roger & Me -- though General Motors raises far less of his ire this time around. (10/2)

ZOMBIELAND -- Horror comedy about zombies is nothing new, but even we were swayed by the film's previews and the inspired pairing of a swaggering Woody Harrelson with a nebbishy Jesse Eisenberg. (10/2)

WHIP IT -- Drew Barrymore makes her directorial debut with a story about a Texas beauty queen, played by Ellen Page, who throws her tiara into the roller-derby ring despite her mother's disapproval. (10/2)

THE INVENTION OF LYING -- Ricky Gervais wrote, directed, produced and, yes, even stars in this film set in an alternate world where no one has ever lied until Gervais comes along, wielding the power of non-truth for political gain. You lie! You lie! The cast includes Jennifer Garner, Rob Lowe and Patrick Stewart as narrator, as well as a who's who of contemporary comedy: Tina Fey, John Hodgman, Christopher Guest. (10/2)

A SERIOUS MAN -- The Coen Brothers offer up their latest black comedy, this one about a Midwestern professor who watches his life fall to pieces when his brother won't move out of the house and his wife puts her foot down. With Michael Stuhlbarg, Richard Kind and Adam Arkin. (10/9)

COUPLES RETREAT -- Jason Bateman stars in this comedy focused on four couples on a tropical island resort vacation. Written by Jon Favreau and (gulp!) Vince Vaughn. (10/9)

GOOD HAIR -- Comedian Chris Rock apparently got the idea for this humorous exploration into African-American hair culture and the billion-dollar black hair industry after his 5-year-old daughter asked him, ''Daddy, how come I don't have good hair?'' He talks to Maya Angelou, Al Sharpton and Salt-n-Pepa, among many other celebrities, in his quest to get to the root of the issue. (10/9)

REEL AFFIRMATIONS -- The 19th annual gay and lesbian film festival returns for 10 movie-filled days of queer comedy, queer drama, queer documentaries and queer shorts. Things kick off with the anticipated An Englishman in New York, with John Hurt reprising his role as Quentin Crisp 34 years after The Naked Civil Servant. (10/15)

THE STEPFATHER -- Nelson McCormick directs this remake of the 1987 thriller that launched Terry O'Quinn's career (before he became a mysterious god on Lost). This one stars Dylan Walsh (Nip/Tuck) as a mysterious ''family values'' man who seems to mean harm to Sela Ward's character and her family unless her teenage son (Penn Badgley) and friends can stop him. Desperate Housewives, anyone? (10/16)

WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE -- Director Spike Jonze (Being John Malkovich) combines live action and CGI in this adaptation of Maurice Sendak's timeless children's book. And he's lined up a stellar cast of actors, including Forest Whitaker, Catherine Keener, Mark Ruffalo, Lauren Ambrose and James Gandolfini. (10/16)

COCO BEFORE CHANEL -- Audrey Tautou (Amélie, The Da Vinci Code) stars as the famed French fashion designer, who dabbled in bisexuality, in this French biopic directed by Anne Fontaine. (10/16)

LAW ABIDING CITIZEN -- Hunky Scot Gerald Butler stars in and co-produced this thriller about a man who decides to exact revenge on his family's killers, as well as the criminal justice system. Jamie Foxx stars as a corrupt D.A. in this film directed by F. Gary Gray (10/16)

SAW VI -- They're kidding, right? No, they're not. There's money to be made in this torture-porn business and Lionsgate is going to squeeze every last drop of blood out of the franchise. Rumor has it Cary Elwes will hobble back into the picture, missing foot and all. (10/16)

NEW YORK, I LOVE YOU -- Ten directors -- some known, some not -- create little short love movies to the city that never sleeps and used to have a great, seedy Times Square before Disney and Toys R Us got hold of it. Directors include Natalie Portman, Brett Ratner, Shekhar Kapur and Mira Nair. Stars include Bradley Cooper, Shia LaBeouf, Blake Lively, Orlando Bloom, Christina Ricci, Ethan Hawke, John Hurt, James Caan, Drea de Matteo, Eli Wallach, Julie Christie and on and on and on. Pray they all worked for minimum wage or this movie's going to have to make a fortune to cover its costs. (10/16)

CIRQUE DU FREAK: THE VAMPIRE'S ASSISTANT -- Yes, more vampires. The drama stems from the first three novels in the series The Saga of Darren Shan, about a boy who inadvertently breaks a 200-year truce between warring blood-sucking factions. Directed by Paul Weitz (About A Boy, which he co-directed with his brother Chris, who is helming a perky little vampire film of his own called New Moon), and starring John C. Reilly and Salma Hayek. (10/16)

Hiliary Swank in ''Amelia''
Hiliary Swank in ''Amelia''

AMELIA -- Hilary Swank lines up a role seemingly destined for yet another Oscar nod, playing aviator Amelia Earhart amid an all-star cast: Richard Gere, Virginia Madsen and Ewan McGregor. Directed by Mira Nair (Monsoon Wedding). (10/16)

ONG BAK 2 -- As if one weren't enough. (10/16)

THE ROAD -- The apocalypse has ravaged the earth and a man and his son walk the devastated land trying to survive. Starring Viggo Mortensen, Guy Pearce, Robert Duvall and Charlize Theron. (10/16)

CRUDE -- Documentary filmmaker Joe Berlinger (Metallica: Some Kind of Monster) looks at the infamous $27 billion "Amazon Chernobyl" case. (10/23)

ANTICHRIST -- Lars von Trier's horror film has already stirred the controversy pot for its explicit imagery and brutality. When a couple lose a son, they retreat to a cabin in the woods to sort things out. Things go from bad to evil. (10/23)

MICHAEL JACKSON'S THIS IS IT -- The last taped footage of Jackson, drawn from rehearsals for the last tour that never transpired, Kenny Ortega's film includes interviews with friends as well as 3-D sequences originally filmed to be part of the show. It will only screen for a limited two-week run, making way for Sony Pictures to hawk a DVD in time for the holidays. (10/28)

YOUTH IN REVOLT -- Michael Cera stars as a cynical, sex-crazed teenager in this feature film adaptation of C.D. Payne's novel. With Steve Buscemi, Jean Smart, Ray Liotta and Jonathan B. Wright. Directed by Miguel Arteta. (10/30)

GENTLEMEN BRONCOS -- In this comedy from Jared Hess, a teenager learns his idea for a book has been stolen by a famous novelist. Starring Michael Angarano, Sam Rockwell, Jennifer Coolidge and Mike White. (10/30)

NOVEMBER

''A Christmas Carol''
''A Christmas Carol''

A CHRISTMAS CAROL -- Robert Zemeckis continues his aversion to working with live actors in live settings and presents this motion-capture version of the Dickens classic with Jim Carrey in the role of Scrooge and Gary Oldman as Tiny Tim. In 3D! And IMAX! Oooh! Ahhh! (11/6)

THE BOX -- If you check out IMDB, you will find 34 films with the title "The Box." This one stars Cameron Diaz and James Marsden as a couple who find a small wooden box on their doorstep. They open it and become instant millionaires. But there are ramifications. Very bad ramifications. Based on a short story by the great sci-fi (or is that now SyFy?) author Richard Matheson. (11/6)

THE MEN WHO STARE AT GOATS -- This comedy from director Grant Heslov is based on a book by Jon Ronson that investigated attempts by U.S. military forces to use psychic powers. George Clooney, Ewan McGregor, Kevin Spacey and Jeff Bridges star. (11/6)

2012 -- It's the end of the world as we know it. Or at least as director Roland Emmerich knows it. And Emmerich knows from the end of the world, having destroyed it at least three times now. Survivors include John Cusack, Woody Harrelson, Thandie Newton and George Segal. (11/13)

NEW MOON -- "The Twilight Saga" persists. At least this one promises to feature less of the broody vampire (moribund James Pattinson) and more of a certain hunky werewolf (abs-elicious Taylor Lautner). All together now: Arrrooo! (11/20)

THE BLIND SIDE -- A college football movie (yawn) starring Sandra Bullock (double yawn) and Tim McGraw (triple yawn). (11/20)

BROKEN EMBRACES -- Pedro Almodovar's latest revolves around a four-way tale of dangerous love, shot in the style of a hard-boiled '50s film noir. Penelope Cruz returns to the Almodovar fold for this Spanish film about a writer (Lluis Homar) confronting events that transpired 14 years earlier. (11/20)

FANTASTIC MR. FOX -- This stop-motion animated adaptation of Roald Dahl's 1970 children's book features the voices of George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Jason Schwartzman and Bill Murray. Though it's a bit out of character for him, director Wes Anderson (Rushmore) signed on because Dahl is reportedly one of his heroes. (11/25)

UP IN THE AIR -- A corporate-world comedy from Jason Reitman, starring George Clooney, Jason Bateman and Vera Farmiga, whose name, to us, has always sounded like it should have Prego dumped on top of it. (11/25)

OLD DOGS -- Robin Williams and John Travolta find themselves saddled with 7-year-old twins in this supposed comedic romp. With Justin Long, Seth Green and Bernie Mac, so you can just guess how long this has been sitting on the shelf waiting for a release. (11/25)

NINE -- Can director Rob Marshall do what he did for Chicago with this decades-old, much heralded Broadway musical? We have no doubt. Particularly when you consider the cast: Daniel Day-Lewis, Marion Cotillard, Judi Dench, Nicole Kidman and Penelope Cruz. Oh, and let's not forget Sophia Loren. (11/25)

DECEMBER

THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG -- This fanciful new Disney cartoon set in New Orleans centers on a prince (Bruno Campos) turned into a frog through voodoo and the girl he mistakes for a princess (Dreamgirl Anika Noni Rose). It's most notable for carrying on the Disney traditions of Broadway-style musicals and hand-drawn animation; and for being the first Disney tale with a black protagonist.  (12/11)

INVICTUS -- Clint Eastwood examines the life of Nelson Mandela after the fall of apartheid in South Africa and during his first term as president. With Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon. (12/11)

THE LOVELY BONES -- A girl, brutally raped and murdered, watches from the afterlife the effect her death has on her family. Based on the novel by Alice Sebold. With Mark Wahlberg, Susan Sarandon, Stanley Tucci and Rachel Weisz. Directed by Peter Jackson. (12/11)

AVATAR -- This is the big one -- or so says James Cameron, whose last film, Titanic, shattered all box-office records. The sci-fi spectacle, about a group of humans who must use avatars to battle a distant planet's alien population, was shot using new technology and will be presented in 3D. With Sam Worthington, Sigourney Weaver and Michelle Rodriguez. (12/18)

IT'S COMPLICATED -- Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin, Steve Martin and newcomer Lake Bell star in a bizarre love triangle in which a former relationship is rekindled as two others are simmer on the back-burner. Nancy Meyers (Something's Gotta Give) directs. (12/25)

SHERLOCK HOLMES -- Robert Downey Jr. affects a British accent to play detective with Jude Law as his trusty sidekick Dr. Watson, trying to foil a conspiracy to destroy Britain. With former Mr. Madonna Guy Ritchie at the helm, it's anyone's guess if they'll survive. (12/25)

ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS (THE SQUEAKQUEL) -- 20th Century Fox squeaks out another film focused on the helium-voiced CGI critters, this one directed by Betty Thomas (The Brady Bunch Movie, 28 Days) and featuring the Chipettes, voiced by Anna Faris, Christina Applegate and Amy Poehler. Girl power! (12/25) 


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