News Column

Fall film preview 2013

August 22, 2013


Aug. 22--As summer recedes from the multiplex, it's time to look ahead to what we're going to be seeing between September and the end of November. Here are 15 films, in order of release, that we're looking forward to warming us up as the season cools down. Release dates are subject to change.

1Parkland: This one is set right here in North Texas (though filmed in Austin), at Parkland Hospital, where JFK was taken after he was shot. Starring Billy Bob Thornton, Zac Efron, Jacki Weaver and Paul Giamatti, it revolves around the staff at the hospital on that fateful day. Sept. 20

2Prisoners: French-Canadian director Denis Villeneuve earned global acclaim for his 2011 foreign-language Oscar nominee, Incendies. Now, he steps up to the big leagues with this drama about a detective (Jake Gyllenhaal) and a father (Hugh Jackman) searching for his missing daughters. Terrence Howard, Viola Davis and Melissa Leo co-star. Sept. 20

3Rush: Chris Hemsworth, aka Thor, stopped pumping weights long enough to slim down to play famed '70s-era Formula One driver James Hunt in this film directed by Ron Howard. Daniel Bruhl, as his archrival Niki Lauda, and Olivia Wilde co-star. Sept. 27

4 Don Jon: Joseph Gordon-Levitt makes the move from actor to actor-director in this comedy about a porn addict who really just wants to settle down with the right girl. Scarlett Johansson and Julianne Moore co-star. Sept. 27

5Gravity: It's hard to pin down director Alfonso Cuaron, as his resume ranges from the cheeky Mexican coming-of-age tale Y Tu Mama Tambien to the fantastical Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and the dystopian Children of Men. He returns with this tale of a female astronaut (Sandra Bullock) separated from her co-pilot (George Clooney) and stranded in space. With only four credited actors in the entire movie, this is a showcase for Bullock and Clooney. Did somebody say Oscar? Oct. 4

6Captain Phillips: With the Norwegian film A Hijacking just in theaters and this re-creation of the the 2009 taking of the Maersk Alabama cargo ship coming this fall, Somali pirates might just be the biggest thing in film since zombies. Tom Hanks stars as the real-life Captain Richard Phillips, and he's directed by Paul Greengrass ( United 93, The Bourne Ultimatum, The Bourne Supremacy), a man who knows a lot about guys in tough situations. Oct. 11

7Machete Kills: What began as a mock trailer in Quentin Tarantino's Grindhouse ended up spawning a full-length feature ( Machete) and now a sequel. Austin director Robert Rodriguez once again has fashioned a platform for veteran character actor Danny Trejo as a knife-wielding action hero. Rodriguez has a bigger budget this time, though, as the cast includes Sofia Vergara, Antonio Banderas, Vanessa Hudgens, Amber Heard, Mel Gibson, Charlie Sheen and Lady Gaga. Yes, really. Oct. 11

8The Fifth Estate: Julian Assange reportedly is furious about this unauthorized portrayal of his life and WikiLeaks adventures, but that's probably only going to fuel interest in this biopic. It could also be a good way for "Twilight Saga" director Bill Condon to get back to his more respected ( Gods and Monsters, Kinsey) cinematic roots. Benedict Cumberbatch (the villain in Star Trek Into Darkness) stars. Oct. 18

912 Years a Slave: Solomon Northup was a free black man in early 19th-century upstate New York who found himself captured by slavers and sold. His story is now told by Shame director Steve McQueen. American Gangster's Chiwetel Ejiofor stars, and he gets lots of big-name backup from Brad Pitt, Michael Fassbender, the aforementioned Benedict Cumberbatch, Alfre Woodard, Paul Giamatti and Beasts of the Southern Wild's Quvenzhane Wallis. Oct. 18

10 The Counselor: Take a stellar cast (Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz, Cameron Diaz and the seemingly ubiquitous Brad Pitt and Michael Fassbender), a high-profile writer (Cormac McCarthy, No Country for Old Men, The Road), a big-name director (Ridley Scott, Gladiator, Prometheus), and a Breaking Bad-like plot about a lawyer who becomes a drug runner, and you've got some prime Oscar bait right there. Oct. 25

11 The Wolf of Wall Street: Martin Scorsese directs a great cast (Leonardo DiCaprio, Matthew McConaughey, Jonah Hill, Spike Jonze, Jean Dujardin, Jon Favreau) in this tale of an early '90s stockbroker at the top of his game who takes a big fall. It's based on the bestselling memoir by Jordan Belfort. Nov. 15

12 The Hunger Games: Catching Fire: Can The Hunger Games' lightning strike twice? Considering former music-video director Francis Lawrence's mixed-bag of a resume ( Constantine, I Am Legend, Water for Elephants), the answer might be no. But the combo of Jennifer Lawrence, Liam Hemsworth, a major bestseller and a previous film that brought in more than $408 million domestically means the answer probably will be yes. Nov. 22

13 Black Nativity: Many moviegoers are put off by musicals, but this Christmas-themed story -- from Eve's Bayou director Kasi Lemmons, based on a stage musical by poet Langston Hughes and starring Mary J. Blige, Jennifer Hudson, Forest Whitaker and Angela Bassett -- may be intriguing enough to overcome such skepticism. Nov. 27

14 Oldboy: It's been a long time since Spike Lee struck box-office gold, but this could reverse his fortunes. A remake of a cult South Korean hit, Oldboy stars Josh Brolin as a mean-looking man seeking to exact revenge on the man who kidnapped him two decades prior. Samuel L. Jackson, Sharlto Copley ( District 9, Elysium) and Elizabeth Olsen co-star. Nov. 27

15 Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom: The versatile Idris Elba ( Pacific Rim, TV's Luther, Thor) plays Nelson Mandela in this film, which focuses on his early years as an activist. Naomie Harris ( Skyfall) plays Winnie Mandela. This is the second Mandela film of the season, with Winnie Mandela, starring Jennifer Hudson, due to open in September. Nov. 29


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