Sept. 04--Labor Day has come and gone, and so has the summer blockbuster season. So, what do we have to look forward to at the multiplex between now and Thanksgiving?
Sequels. Remakes. A whole lot of wrecked cars and explosions. And a few odd indies, most of which won't make it to theater screens in Wilmington this year.
There are a few exceptions, but they're far between. Let's leaf through the coming attractions, more or less in chronological order, and pick out some highlights.
'The Family' (Sept. 13): A mob family (Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer and two teenagers) settles in a small French village under the Witness Protection program. Things soon go boom as the Mob comes after them. Director Luc Besson ("Taken," "The Transporter") plays it for laughs. With Tommy Lee Jones.
'Prisoners' (Sept. 20): When two young girls go missing -- and the police investigation goes nowhere -- a grieving father kidnaps the chief suspect to force him to talk. Tense thriller with Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal and Viola Davis.
'Rush' (Sept. 20): The latest from director Ron "Opie" Howard is a racetrack thriller, based on the 1970s rivalry between Formula One drivers Niki Lauda and James Hunt. The big screen effects are supposed to be spectacular.
'The Wizard of Oz' (Sept. 20): The original 1939 musical classic, rejiggered for 3D and re-entering theaters before the latest DVD release.
'Gravity' (Oct. 4): An accident at the International Space Station leaves an astronaut and a medical doctor (George Clooney and Sandra Bullock) floating off into space. Together they must fight to survive. Space movies have been bombing lately, but this one is directed by Alfonso Cuaron ("Y Tu Mama Tambien," "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban"), and the previews are among the year's best.
'Runner Runner' (Oct. 4): A poor student (Justin Timberlake) is lured into the world of high-stakes online poker games by a smooth-talking, slick operator (Ben Affleck). The latest from director Brad Furman ("The Lincoln Lawyer").
'Captain Phillips' (Oct. 11): Tom Hanks plays the skipper of a supertanker hijacked by Somali pirates. Based on a 2009 incident, the film, directed by Paul Greenglass ("United 93," "The Bourne Ultimatum"), seems to show at least some sympathy for the pirates.
'Machete Kills' (Oct. 11): Director Robert Rodriguez ("From Dusk to Dawn," "Spy Kids") revives the Machete character (Danny Trejo) from his bloody, violent debut "El Mariachi." Co-starring Alex Vega of "Spy Kids," all grown up.
'Carrie' (Oct. 18): "Re-imagined" update of the Stephen King novel (and 1976 blockbuster) with Chloe Grace Moretz ("Kick-Ass") and Julianne Moore.
'The Fifth Estate' (Oct. 18): Thriller about the controversial secret-hunting website WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange (Benedict Cumberbatch from "Star Trek: Into Darkness" and public TV's "Sherlock.") Directed by Bill Condon ("Kinsey," "Gods and Monsters"), cashing in his chips for do
ing two "Twilight" movies.
'Ender's Game' (Nov. 1): Based on the sci-fi bestseller by North Carolinian Orson Scott Card about a boy recruited to fight an interstellar war. With Asa Butterworth ("Hugo"), Abigail Breslin ("Little Miss Sunshine"), Harrison Ford and Ben Kingsley.
'Dallas Buyers Club' (Nov. 1): Matthew McConaughey lost a disturbing amount of weight to play Ron Woodruff, a former rodeo cowboy with AIDS who smuggled low-cost and off-brand HIV remedies into the United States in the 1980s. Based on a true story. With Jennifer Garner and Steve Zahn.
'Thor: The Dark World' (Nov. 8): Marvel Comics sequel -- the blond Norse god with the hammer (Chris Hemsworth) must spring the evil Loki from an Earth prison (see: "The Avengers") to battle an evil that threatens to annihilate Asgard. With Natalie Portman and Anthony Hopkins.
'About Time' (Nov. 8): Romantic comedy from Richard Curtis, writer-director for "Love, Actually" and the made-in-Wilmington "Mary and Martha." A young man who learns he can jump back and forth in time has a hard time finding a girlfriend. With Rachel McAdams and Bill Nighy.
'The Wolf of Wall Street' (Nov. 15): Martin Scorsese's latest stars Leonardo di Caprio as Jordan Belfort, a stockbroker who rose high in the 1990s, then crashed hard and fast. Belfort's brokerage firm was reportedly the inspiration for the film "Boiler Room."
'The Hunger Games: Catching Fire' (Nov. 22): Jennifer Lawrence is back as Katniss in follow-up to the sci-fi best seller. With rebellion breaking out in Panem, the Capitol sets out to eliminate Katniss for good. Also back: Elizabeth Banks, Donald Sutherland, Stanley Tucci and Woody Harrelson.
Ben Steelman: 343-2208
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