News Column

Coming to a Theater Near You

September 11, 2013


Sept. 11--OK, now that the whole summer movie season is over and the unqualified blockbusters such as "The Lone Ranger" and "R.I.P.D." are behind us, what's ahead at the movie theaters? Here's a week-by-week rundown of some of the movies that will be coming to a theater near you -- assuming all the screens aren't taken up by the second "Hobbit" movie. Bear in mind that some movies may not open here on opening week.

This week

"The Family": Director Luc Besson tries his hand at mob action-comedies with this tale of a family from La Familia on the lam thanks to the witness-protection program. Robert De Niro and Michelle Pfeiffer star.

"Insidious: Chapter 2": More spooky spookiness with this sequel to the surprise horror hit.

Sept. 20

"Prisoners": The trailer for this thriller was relentlessly unpleasant, with Hugh Jackman as a distraught father of a missing child who decides to kidnap the suspect and force a confession.

"Battle of the Year": The trailer of this film looks like a spoof of underdog sports movies, but I suspect the filmmakers aren't in on the joke. Josh Holloway ("Lost") plays the grizzled coach trying to help a dance team win a trophy.

Sept. 27

"Rush": Ron Howard directed this manly movie about Formula One drivers in the 1970s, with Chris Hemsworth, Daniel Bruhl and Olivia Wilde.

"Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2": All your unanswered questions from the first movie will be answered, unless they decide to set it up as the middle act of a trilogy instead. In which case, this will be the "Empire Strikes Back" of mad-science-food animated comedies.

"Baggage Claim": Director David E. Talbert's latest romantic comedy follows a woman trying to find the man of her dreams. Paula Patton, Taye Diggs and Djimon Hounsou star.

"Don Jon": Joseph Gordon-Levitt directed and stars in this comedy-drama about a porn-loving Jersey guy. Please, please, please tell me that Snooki doesn't have a cameo.

Oct. 4

"Gravity": Sandra Bullock and George Clooney? Sounds like wacky fun! A thriller about astronauts stranded in space following a space-station accident? OK, maybe not fun. But coming from director Alfonso Cuaron ("Children of Men") this could be thought-provoking sci-fi.

"Runner Runner": Ben "Batman, Get Used to It" Affleck stars in this crime drama with Justin Timberlake who, now that I think about it, would make a darned good Riddler.

Oct. 11

"Captain Phillips": The 2009 hijacking of a cargo ship by Somali pirates is recounted in this drama, with Tom Hanks as the captain of the besieged ship.

"Machete Kills": The blade-wielding tough guy played by Danny Trejo returns in another over-the-top action film from director Robert Rodriguez, this one pitting Machete against a deranged arms dealer (Mel Gibson) and assorted thugs. As with the first film, this one features plenty of cameos, including Sofia Vergara, Antonio Banderas, Cuba Gooding Jr., Lady Gaga, and Charlie Sheen as the president of the United States.

"The Fifth Estate": Benedict Cumberbatch ("Sherlock," "Star Trek Into Darkness") plays Julian Assange -- who, depending on your point of view, is either an Internet folk hero, a creepy terrorist or a little of both -- in this biographical drama from director Bill Condon.

"Romeo & Juliet": Two adorable young people fall in love. What could possibly go wrong?

Oct. 18

"Carrie": Chloe Grace Moretz takes over the Sissy Spacek role in this remake of Stephen King's take on teen angst with a telekinetic twist. Did the 1976 movie need remaking? Probably not, but when did that ever stop Hollywood?

"Escape Plan": Sylvester Stallone plays a security expert trying to use his skills to escape when he is put in a maximum-security prison. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Vincent D'Onofrio and 50 Cent co-star.

Oct. 25

"The Counselor": Ridley Scott directed this thriller based on a story by Cormac McCarthy about a lawyer (Michael Fassbender) who gets mixed up with drug dealers. Brad Pitt, Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz also star.

"Bad Grandpa": "Jackass" star Johnny Knoxville -- under heavy makeup -- plays an irresponsible senior citizen who takes his 8-year-old grandson on a road trip to North Carolina in this raunchy comedy. It is done in the style of "Borat," with improvised footage and reactions from real people.

Nov. 1

"Ender's Game": The much-loved sci-fi novel by Greensboro writer Orson Scott Card -- about a boy who may be the key to ending a long-running war between humankind and aliens -- seems like perfect fodder for Hollywood. Heck, it could be a futuristic Harry Potter. Unfortunately for the studio, Card has made comments about gay rights and other issues that may alienate a good chunk of the audience. The question: Will that keep them away from the theater?

"About Time": Richard Curtis ("Love, Actually") directed this promising comedy-drama about a young man who learns that his family can time-travel at will. He sets out to redo events in his life, fixing mistakes he makes along the way by reliving those moments. Billy Nighy, whose performance was the highlight of "Love, Actually," co-stars as the dad.

"Free Birds": In what may become a triumph for the tofurkey industry, Woody Harrelson and Owen Wilson are the voices of lovable turkeys that try to rewrite history by traveling back in time to the first Thanksgiving. There, they scheme to change the menu and keep their own kind from becoming the main course. Having turkey for Thanksgiving after seeing this movie would be like getting a ham sandwich after watching "Babe."

"Last Vegas": Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman and Kevin Kline play guys in their 60s who head to Vegas to throw a wild bachelor party for their pal (Michael Douglas). Think of it as "The Hangover" for the senior set.

Nov. 8

"Thor: The Dark World": Chris Hemsworth puts on the armor and wields the hammer once again in his third go-round -- after the original "Thor" and "The Avengers" -- as the Norse legend-turned-Marvel Comics Superhero. Natalie Portman and Tom Hiddleston return, and Christopher Eccleston of "Doctor Who" plays a bad guy.

Nov. 15

"The Wolf of Wall Street": Director Martin Scorsese reunites with Leonardo DiCaprio -- after previous collaborations on "Gangs of New York," The Aviator," "The Departed" and "Shutter Island" -- for this Wall Street drama, which is based on a true story.

"The Best Man Holiday": Terrence Howard, Taye Diggs, Nia Long, Regina Hall, Harold Perrineau and Morris Chestnut are among the stars of this sequel to the 1999 film "The Best Man," about a group of friends who reunite for the holidays.

Nov. 22

"The Hunger Games: Catching Fire": The saga of Katniss Everdeen continues in this second film in the series based on the young adult sci-fi novels. Unlike the first film, this one wasn't filmed in North Carolina, with production moving to Hawaii. Which is unfortunate for us, but I doubt the production crew had any complaints.

"Delivery Man": Vince Vaughn stars in this comedy about an amiable doofus who finds out that his "donations" to a fertility clinic decades ago have made him a father hundreds of times over -- and more than 100 of the kids now want to meet their biological father. Chris Pratt and Cobie Smulders co-star.

Nov. 29

"Oldboy": Spike Lee takes a break from making films based on his own stories for this remake of a fantastic, intense 2003 Korean action film about a man who has been held captive for years without learning who is holding him or why. When he gets out, he goes on a mission of vengeance. Josh Brolin plays the lead role in Lee's version.

"Disney's Frozen": No, not Walt in the fabled cryogenics lab under Disneyland. This is a computer-animated comedy set in a winter wonderland, from members of the teams behind "Tangled" and "Wreck-It Ralph."

"Black Nativity": The gospel musical by Langston Hughes gets the big-screen treatment, telling the story of a street-smart teen spending the holidays with a family he barely knows.

"Grace of Monaco": Nicole Kidman plays iconic film star-turned-princess Grace Kelly in this biographical drama.

Dec. 6

"Dallas Buyers Club": Matthew McConaughey transformed himself, losing almost 50 pounds for this fact-based drama about an HIV-positive Texan trying to help fellow patients get access to much-needed medicine.

"Inside Llewyn Davis": The Coen Brothers take on the folk music scene of the 1960s in their latest film.

"Out of the Furnace": Christian Bale and Casey Affleck star in this thriller from the director of "Crazy Heart."

Dec. 13

"The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug": Last year, audiences were wondering if Peter Jackson's latest venture into the world of J.R.R. Tolkien's fantasy world of Middle Earth would be bloated, considering it was taking a short novel and turning into a film trilogy. At least now we know the answer is "Yes." But since the first film in the trilogy was mostly set-up, this second film should at least have some interesting developments.

"American Hustle": Another week, another Christian Bale movie. This one is about con artists trying to take down politicians and mobsters.

"Tyler Perry's A Madea Christmas": Perry returns to safe territory with the latest comedy about the bombastic woman. This time, Larry the Cable Guy joins the proceedings, because why not?

Dec. 20

"Anchorman: The Legend Continues": YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! Will Ferrell returns as bombastic news anchor Ron Burgundy in this long-awaited sequel to the imminently quote-worthy 2004 comedy.

"Walking With Dinosaurs 3D": The acclaimed documentary series, which used cutting-edge computer graphics to take viewers into the era of dinosaurs like a nature documentary filmed millions of years ago, comes to the big screen.

"The Monuments Men": George Clooney directed and co-stars in this drama about a team trying to rescue art treasures stolen by the Nazis.

"Her": Spike Jonze, a director who specializes in eclectic films, directed this romantic comedy about a man who falls in love with his tablet computer's new sentient operating system. Which is the reverse of my hate-hate relationship with Siri on my iPhone.

Dec. 27

"The Secret Life of Walter Mitty": Ben Stiller directed and stars in this comedy based on the beloved short story by James Thurber.

"Jack Ryan: Shadow One": Now that Chris Pine has taken over the role of Captain Kirk, he turns to Tom Clancy's action hero in this prequel about a CIA analyst trying to thwart a Russian scheme.

"August: Osage County": For your Oscar consideration, Meryl Streep leads the cast of this film adaptation of the Pulitzer-winning play.

"47 Ronin": Keanu Reeves as a Samurai? I'm there. But I'm in another theater, watching something other than this.


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