Our record-breaking triple digit temperatures this summer have even the biggest beach bums begging for fall to arrive. Yes, we're aware our impending doom of being indoors for the next six months is fast approaching, still we can't help but feel a little gleeful at the thought of saying goodbye to frizzy hair, mosquito bites and the forgettable summer date movies and cookie cutter blockbusters. With the cool breeze and the changing color of leaves comes a crop of quality films we've been awaiting since January, most of which will be up for the Oscars in February. And with such a variety, there's bound to be something for everyone to enjoy- you just have to know what you're looking for.
this must be the place
It's been a while since we've seen Sean Penn playing the interesting roles we love him in (Tree of Life didn't exactly 'highlight' his acting abilities), and now he's a pale, wild haired rock star with the heart of a 7-year old who returns home from Dublin to find the ex-Nazi who persecuted his diseased father. Even if the movie disappoints, his performance won't – we're guaranteed some laughs and a memorable character.
It's been long overdue for Martin McDonagh to provide us with another wickedly dark comedy, and if it's anything like In Bruges, this story about a screenwriter who gets involved with criminal activity in L.A. will be one with some substance behind it. And an all star cast including Colin Farrel (whose rare comedic talent was first tapped by McDonagh), Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell, Abbie Cornish and Christopher Walken doesn't hurt either.
The latest adaptation of Tolstoy's famous novel about the late 19th century Russian aristocrat who engages in an affair to remember is a romance that will definitely make you weep. And director Joe Wright has a knack for reinventing classics with precision and care that past renditions have lacked, i.e. Pride and Prejudice. His favorite leading lady, Keira Knightley, promises to give an enchanting performance, having been Oscar-nominated for best actress in his past two movies, and it'll be interesting to see if up and comer Aaron Johnson will rise to the occasion (or at least make us forget his role in Savages).
life of pi
Ang Lee will undoubtedly tug on our heart strings with his adaptation of Yann Martel's super sweet novel about an Indian zookeeper's son who finds himself fighting for survival alongside a tiger, hyena and zebra after a tragic shipwreck. And if he applies the same delicate camera work he did in Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, this will be another movie remembered for years to come.
the man with the iron fists
There's one thing that Eli Roth has on other screenwriters and that is his inability to create anything you could label 'boring', and the fact that he's teamed up with RZA and Quentin Tarantino only means it'll be even more over the top (and violent) than anything you'd imagine. This stylish homage to kung-fu – which focuses on a blacksmith's duty to defend his village – is bound to be a high-adrenaline adventure and offers the rare opportunity to see Russel Crowe show a less serious side in his campy role.
It will be refreshing to see Karl Urban's smart deadpan take on Dredd after Sylvester Stallone's bombed horribly in 1995. This adaptation of the British comic takes place in a futuristic America where cops have the authority to act as judge and Dredd, the main judge has to take down a gang that deals a reality-altering drug. A grim reboot of a clever comic book story with social relevance could potentially be the critically acclaimed super-hero movie we've all been waiting for.
About three years ago, Joe Dante made quite the impression at Toronto Film Festival with this film and now it's finally releasing. Horror is his forte, with classics like Gremlins and The Howling under his belt, and this story about a pair of brothers that come across a hole in their basement that leads to their darkest fears and nightmares is right up his alley. So, be prepared to experience some old horror gags that will make you jump out of your seat.
paranormal activity 4
The series that made us never want to sleep again is back with its fourth installment and the same signature documentary style camera work that made it that much more disturbing and realistic. This time around it's about a girl and her mom experiencing some supernatural happenings after their new neighbors move in down the street, and should allow for some shocking material we haven't seen before.
There's nothing more exciting than seeing someone like Zac Efron take on an actually serious role (The Lucky One hardly showcased his talent) in this gritty film by Lee Daniels, where he supposedly partakes in a few controversial scenes with co-star Nicole Kidman. He also stars with A-listers Matthew McConoghey and John Cusack in this story about a reporter who returns to his hometown in Florida to investigate the case of a death row inmate – it'll be interesting to see the rare chemistry this bizarre combination of talent will amount to.
The makers of The Matrix have put together a huge cast including Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugh Grant and Hugo Weaving – each playing multiple characters – for this time-travelling movie which shows the impact each life has on another in the past, present and future and how an act of kindness in one century has had a ripple effect that results in a future revolution. Dazzling effects and a high concept could make this a lasting sci-fi classic. | RDW