With the summer movie season finally behind us, it’s time to look ahead to the fall movies. If summer movies are the ones that sell out in an attempt to get as many asses on seats as possible, then the fall season is when things get weird, and people start thinking about quality, awards, or the holidays. Here’re five movies from the next few months we can’t wait for.
Never mind the all-star cast list (which includes Matt Damon, Jude Law, Gwenyth Paltrow and Kate Winslet, as well as Laurence Fishburne and many, many other familiar faces), just concentrate on the scary story that Steven Soderbergh has created for his virus disaster movie, in which an unknown infection manages to kill millions in a few weeks. The trailer goes from hokey to terrifying in seconds, and given Soderbergh’s ability to make movies that work as both art and commercial hits, I’m expecting great things from this genuine horror movie. (Sept 9)
There’s a risk that this comedy drama, in which Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays a man diagnosed with spinal cancer, with Seth Rogen as his best friend, could be seen as tasteless, especially when you see a trailer that suggests that cancer = an easy way to hit on girls, but Rogen (who also produces) has a secret weapon in response to such criticisms: It’s all based on real life. In fact, Rogen plays a version of himself, and Levitt is playing his real life friend, Will Reiser, who wrote the screenplay. I’m expecting something both funny and moving, and hopefully a movie that will make me forget Levitt’s turn in GI Joe a couple of years ago. (Sept 30)
The Big Year
If I say this is a movie about a particularly strong twelve months in the world of competitive bird watching, you’re probably not that likely to be excited. But if I say that it stars Steve Martin and Jack Black, hopefully that makes it seem a little more interesting. Again adapted from real life – in this case, a non-fiction book about competitors traveling North America during 1998’s contest to spot more rare birds than anyone else – look for some gentle character work and hopefully enough laughs to make you forget about both Black and co-star Owen Wilson’s recent career choices. (Oct 14)
Talking of all-star casts, pairing Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy, Matthew Broderick and Alan Alda in a caper movie might seem like an odd choice – I mean, Alda’s inclusion alone seems unexpected – and Brett Ratner doesn’t have the greatest of resumes, but there’s something about the idea of a glossier, timelier (A bunch of downtrodden workers decide to steal from the man whose ponzi scheme ate their retirement money) version of Ocean’s Eleven that really appeals to me. A return to form for Murphy? I can only hope. (Nov 4)
People, it’s the Muppets. That alone would be enough to get me excited, but having it written by Jason Segel, whose Forgetting Sarah Marshall was much better than it had any right to be, and starring Segel and Amy Adams…? If the movie can live up to the slyness of that first Green With Envy trailer, I think we’ve found the feel good hit of the holidays. (Nov 23)