Sept. 05--he notion of "Friday night lights" has a whole different meaning for moviegoers who are eager to see Sandra Bullock in "Gravity" or Chiwetel Ejiofor in "12 Years a Slave" or Chris Hemsworth in "Thor: The Dark World."
They are just some of the actors and projects expected between now and Thanksgiving, when the holiday movie season gets underway and brings two made-in-Pittsburgh films: "Out of the Furnace," Dec. 6, and "Foxcatcher," Dec. 20.
In the meantime, though, scores of movies are coming our way with possible Oscar contenders, guaranteed blockbusters (they don't call it "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" for nothing), another batch of 3-D animated movies and a sleeper or two, if that's still possible in the Twittersphere.
As always, dates are subject to change, titles will be added and deleted, and smaller movies may open in larger cities before landing in Pittsburgh.
"Riddick": Vin Diesel reprises his role as a dangerous, escaped convict wanted by every bounty hunter in the galaxy. When he's left for dead on a sun-scorched planet that appears to be lifeless, he battles alien predators and alerts mercenaries who rapidly descend to the planet in search of their bounty.
"In a World": Writer-director Lake Bell stars in a comedy about a struggling voice coach who strikes it big in movie-trailer voiceovers, only to find herself in competition with the industry's reigning king who happens to be her father.
"The Family": Dark action comedy in which a Mafia boss and his family -- Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer, Dianna Agron, John D'Leo -- are relocated to a sleepy town in France after snitching on the mob. They resort to old habits as cronies try to track them down and an agent (Tommy Lee Jones) attempts to keep them in line.
"Insidious Chapter 2": Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, Barbara Hershey, Lin Shaye and Ty Simpkins reunite for the sequel about a haunted family's struggle to uncover a secret that has left them dangerously connected to the spirit world.
"Salinger": Documentary about author J.D. Salinger's childhood, painstaking work methods, marriages, private world and the secrets he left behind after his death, with footage, photos and interviews with friends, colleagues and the famous influenced by the writer.
"Still Mine": James Cromwell stars in this movie, based on true events, about a man who is blindsided by local building codes and bureaucratic officials when he sets out to build a more suitable house for his ailing wife, portrayed by Genevieve Bujold.
"Computer Chess": Set over the course of a weekend tournament for chess software programmers 30-some years ago, this indie film takes viewers to a nostalgic moment when the contest between technology and the human spirit seemed a little more up for grabs.
"American Made Movie": Documentary about the positive ripple effects from domestic manufacturing jobs and the hurdles remaining to bring more jobs and goods back to the States.
"Prisoners": If Keller Dover (Hugh Jackman) had Wolverine's claws, he would use them. His 6-year-old daughter and another girl go missing, and when a suspect is released by the police, the desperate dad takes matters into his own hands. Jake Gyllenhaal and Paul Dano are among the familiar faces in the cast.
"Enough Said": Romantic comedy from Nicole Holofcener about a divorcee who finds herself making a new friend and dating that pal's former husband at the same time. James Gandolfini, in one of his final screen roles, appears along with Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Catherine Keener.
"Drug War": Johnnie To, considered a master of the Hong Kong crime thriller, makes his mainland China debut with a ferocious crime story. A police captain and his team, aided by a snitch working all the angles, doggedly and dangerously work their way up the supply chain of a drug syndicate.
"Battle of the Year": A dream team of the best dancers across the country is assembled by a Los Angeles hip-hop mogul (Laz Alonso) who wants to win an international dance crew tournament. He enlists a hard-luck friend (Josh Holloway), a basketball coach, to help out in this movie that counts Chris Brown among its cast.
"Haute Cuisine": A renowned French chef (Catherine Frot) is astonished when the president appoints her as his personal cook, and she must navigate the corridors of power, which are littered with traps.
"Museum Hours": When a Vienna museum guard befriends an enigmatic visitor, the grand Kunsthistorisches Art Museum becomes a mysterious crossroads sparking exploration of their lives, the city and the ways artworks reflect and shape the world.
"The Wizard of Oz": Warner Bros. will celebrate the 75th year of this cherished classic by spinning the movie back into theaters for an IMAX 3-D release for one week.
"Rush": Ron Howard re-creates the 1970s rivalry between charismatic Englishman James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) and disciplined Austrian perfectionist Niki Lauda (Daniel Bruhl). Their clashes on the Grand Prix racetrack epitomized the contrast between them in this story set during the golden age of Formula 1 racing.
"Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2": Sequel to the 2009 animated adaptation of Judi and Ron Barrett's popular children's book. Inventor Flint Lockwood learns his invention has survived and is creating "foodimals" like tacodiles, shrimpanzees, hippotatomuses and cheespiders.
"Baggage Claim": Paula Patton plays a flight attendant determined to get engaged before her youngest sister's wedding. With 30 days to find Mr. Right, she uses her airline connections to "accidentally" meet eligible ex-boyfriends and look for new candidates in this comedy.
"Don Jon": Joseph Gordon-Levitt writes, directs and stars in this comedy about a womanizing Jersey boy who finds there is more to life than constantly scoring when he becomes involved with two very different women (Scarlett Johansson and Julianne Moore).
"Blue Caprice": Real-life snipers John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo, who terrorized the Washington, D.C., area with a three-week shooting spree in 2002, inspired this drama starring Isaiah Washington and Tequan Richmond.
"+1": Supernatural thriller in which three college friends go to the biggest party of the year, looking for love, sex or a simple human connection. A strange phenomenon disrupts the party and lights a fuse on the strangest night anyone has ever seen.
"Portrait of Jason": New digital restoration of filmmaker Shirley Clarke's 1967 film about aspiring cabaret performer Jason Holliday.
"Gravity": Sandra Bullock is a brilliant engineer on her first shuttle mission and George Clooney a veteran astronaut who are on a seemingly routine space walk when the shuttle is destroyed. They're tethered to each other and spiraling into the blackness with no link to Earth in this dramatic thriller already generating awards excitement.
"Runner Runner": Crime-drama thriller starring Justin Timberlake as a Princeton grad student who believes he's been swindled and heads to Costa Rica to confront an online gambling tycoon portrayed by Ben Affleck. There, he's caught between promises of immense wealth and an FBI sting.
"Dark Touch": An 11-year-old girl is the sole survivor of a bloody massacre that killed her parents and younger brother in a remote Irish town. The police suspect homicidal vandals, but the girl insists the house is to blame.
"Captain Phillips": Tom Hanks plays the title role of Captain Richard Phillips in this thriller about the 2009 hijacking of the U.S. container ship Maersk Alabama by a crew of Somali pirates.
"Machete Kills": Danny Trejo returns as ex-Federale agent Machete, recruited by the president of the United States to take down a billionaire madman and arms dealer who plans to spread war and anarchy across the planet.
"The Summit": In August 2008, 18 of 24 mountaineers climbing K2 reached its summit. But 48 hours later, 11 people were dead, a puzzle examined by director Nick Ryan with the help of found footage, interviews with survivors and realistic reenactments.
"Romeo and Juliet": William Shakespeare's epic tale of tragic love is revisited with a cast that counts Hailee Steinfeld, Douglas Booth, Paul Giamatti and Stellan Skarsgard.
"Argento's Dracula": Dario Argento directs Thomas Kretschmann as the Count, Marta Gastini as Mina Harker, Asia Argento as Lucy and Rutger Hauer as Van Helsing.
Also: Reel Q, formerly the Pittsburgh International LGBT Festival, will be Oct. 11-19 at the Harris Theater, Downtown.
"The Fifth Estate": Dramatic thriller, based on real events surrounding WikiLeaks, starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Julian Assange and Daniel Bruhl as colleague Daniel Domscheit-Berg. They create a platform for anonymous whistle-blowers but find themselves battling each other amid questions about secrets and a free society.
"12 Years a Slave": Steve McQueen ("Hunger," "Shame") directs this movie, based on a true story, about a 19th-century freeman kidnapped and sold into slavery in the Deep South. Chiwetel Ejiofor stars along with Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt, Paul Giamatti, Alfre Woodard and Benedict Cumberbatch.
"Carrie": Move over, Sissy Spacek, and don't slip on the blood. Chloe Grace Moretz plays the title role, an outcast sheltered by her deeply religious mother (Julianne Moore) who unleashes telekinetic terror on her small town after being pushed too far at her senior prom.
"Escape Plan": Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger are paired in this tale about a man, deceived and wrongly imprisoned, who recruits a fellow inmate to help devise a daring, nearly impossible plan to escape from the most protected and fortified prison ever built.
"The Counselor": A lawyer finds himself in over his head when he gets involved with drug trafficking in this Ridley Scott movie, written by Cormac McCarthy and starring Michael Fassbender, Penelope Cruz, Javier Bardem, Brad Pitt and Cameron Diaz.
"Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa": Johnny Knoxville returns but in the guise of 86-year-old Irving Zisman alongside Jackson Nicoll as Billy, his 8-year-old grandson, in this comedy about their comic cross-country journey.
"Haunter": Abigail Breslin plays a teenager who, with her family, died in 1986 under sinister circumstances but remain trapped in their house. Ms. Breslin's character must reach out from beyond the grave to save a present-day counterpart from the same fate.
"Last Vegas": When a sworn bachelor (Michael Douglas) proposes to his 30-something girlfriend, he and his boyhood pals (Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman and Kevin Kline) head to Las Vegas with a plan to stop acting their age and relive their glory days.
"Dallas Buyers Club": Matthew McConaughey portrays a real-life Texas electrician who, in 1986, was diagnosed as HIV-positive and given 30 days to live. He seeks out alternative treatments by means legal and illegal and establishes a buyers club to help others who are ailing.
"Free Birds": Animated buddy comedy about two turkeys from opposite sides of the tracks who team up to travel back in time and try to change the course of history and get turkey off the Thanksgiving menu for good. Voice talent includes Owen Wilson, Woody Harrelson and Amy Poehler.
"Ender's Game": Asa Butterfield and Hailee Steinfeld star in a sci-fi adventure based on Orson Scott Card's novel and directed by Gavin Hood ("Tsotsi"). When Earth comes under attack from aliens, the survival of humanity depends on a military genius who happens to be a child.
"Blue Is the Warmest Color": Lesbian romance that took the top honor at the 66th Cannes Film Festival earlier this year. The jury, headed by Steven Spielberg, awarded the Palme d'Or to the director and stars Adele Exarchopoulos and Lea Seydoux.
"Thor: The Dark World": Chris Hemsworth reprises his role as Thor, who fights to restore order across the cosmos, but an ancient race led by the vengeful Malekith returns to plunge the universe back into darkness.
"About Time": Comedy, from the writer of "Love Actually," "Notting Hill" and "Four Weddings and a Funeral," about love and time travel starring Domhnall Gleeson, Rachel McAdams and Bill Nighy.
Also: Many other festivals have sprung up in Pittsburgh, but the Three Rivers Film Festival is the oldest. The 32nd annual event will open on this night and run through Nov. 23 at the three Pittsburgh Filmmakers theaters along with (new this year) Waterworks Cinemas.
"The Wolf of Wall Street": The trailer makes the excesses of "The Great Gatsby" seem like child's play. Director Martin Scorsese reunites with Leonardo DiCaprio, who plays real-life Jordan Belfort. He went from being a stock market multimillionaire at 26 to federal convict a decade later.
"The Best Man Holiday": College friends, who were the focus of 1999's "The Best Man," reunite during the Christmas holidays and discover how easily once-forgottten rivalries and romances can reignite. Ensemble includes Terrence Howard, Taye Diggs, Nia Long and Sanaa Lathan.
"A Case of You": A young writer (Justin Long) woos a quirky barista (Evan Rachel Wood) by studying her Facebook profile and making himself into the man of her dreams. When she falls for his alter ego, he must keep up the act or risk losing her.
"Contracted:" A troubled young woman has a one-night stand with a stranger and contracts what she thinks is an STD but proves to be something far worse.
"The Hunger Games: Catching Fire": The first movie grossed $408 million in North America and helped turn Jennifer Lawrence into a star before her Oscar for "Silver Linings Playbook." Director Francis Lawrence says some changes from the book, largely involving the Josh Hutcherson character of Peeta Mellark, have been made for the movie.
"Delivery Man": Ken Scott turns his French-language film "Starbuck" into an English-language movie. Vince Vaughn plays a sperm donor who discovers there was a mixup at the fertility clinic where he donated anonymously in 1994 and is the biological father of 533 children.
"Nebraska": Bruce Dern won the best actor prize at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival for his performance as an alcoholic father who thinks he's won a $1 million sweepstakes. Alexander Payne directs the black-and-white road movie starring Will Forte as Dern's son.
"Frozen": When a prophecy traps a kingdom in eternal winter, a young dreamer must team up with a daring mountain man to find the Snow Queen and end the icy spell. Animated movie with the voices of Kristen Bell and Idina Menzel.
"Grace of Monaco": Nicole Kidman channels the former Grace Kelly to Tim Roth's Prince Rainier in a movie about the political conflict between Charles de Gaulle and Monaco and Alfred Hitchcock's attempt to tempt the Philadelphia-born beauty back to Hollywood.
"Black Nativity": Kasi Lemmons directs this contemporary retelling of Langston Hughes' play about a street-wise Baltimore teen (Jacob Latimore), raised by a single mother, who discovers the meaning of faith, healing and family when sent to New York to spend the holiday with estranged relatives. Forest Whitaker, Angela Bassett and Jennifer Hudson are among the cast.
"Oldboy": Spike Lee remakes the Korean revenge thriller about a businessman imprisoned in a windowless hotel room for 15 years. He adds five years to the solitary confinement, making it an even 20 for prisoner Josh Brolin and adds Samuel L. Jackson, Sharlto Copley and Elizabeth Olsen to the cast.
"Homefront": Action movie about a widowed ex-DEA agent who retires to a small town for the sake of his 10-year-old daughter. The only problem is he picked the wrong town. Starring Jason Statham, James Franco, Winona Ryder, Kate Bosworth and Frank Grillo.
"Wadjda": The title doubles as the name of a 10-year-old girl living in a suburb of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and desperate to buy a bicycle despite objections from her mother, who fears repercussions from a society that sees bikes as dangerous to a girl's virtue. (September or October)
"Kill Your Darlings": Daniel Radcliffe plays Allen Ginsberg in this story of friendship, love, murder and the pivotal year with Lucien Carr, Jack Kerouac, William Burroughs and David Kammerer that changed his life and sparked his creative revolution. (September)
"The Armstrong Lie": Oscar-winning director Alex Gibney ("Taxi to the Dark Side") explores the fall of the disgraced cycling champion following the 2009 Tour de France, using interviews with teammates, the alleged doping mastermind and the cyclist himself. (October or November)
"Thanks for Sharing": From Stuart Blumberg, who shared an Oscar nomination for writing "The Kids Are All Right," a look at a new kind of modern family, as a group of friends in recovery learns to face life together. Mark Ruffalo, Tim Robbins, Josh Gad and Gwyneth Paltrow are among the stars. (October)
"Populaire": In 1958, a 21-year-old woman lives with her grouchy widowed father and is engaged to the son of the local mechanic but discovers a different future might await if she uses her flying fingers to win a speed-typing competition.
Movie editor Barbara Vancheri: email@example.com or 412-263-1632. Read her blog: www.post-gazette.com/madaboutmovies.
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