With the summer movie season past the halfway mark, super hero fatigue is setting in and there are still more to come. Once the last masked man has left the theater, here are some fall movies to look forward to:
I’m not fond of the “found footage” genre. It grows tedious after a while watching terrified actors in shaky b/w extreme close-ups screaming into video cameras (remember “The Blair Witch Project”?), and now here is another one. The title alone, “Apollo 18,” gives away the plot since most space buffs know there was no such mission — or was there? Conspiracy theorists have always posited there was another flight after Apollo 17 in the early 1970s, but something awful happened and it was hushed up. There have already been issues with this film with the start date being pushed backward and forward about five times. That is never good, nor is the insistence by the producers that this was made from “real” footage.
“Contagion” opens Sept. 9 with an impressive cast of all-stars including Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, Gwyneth Paltrow, Marion Cotillard and Jude Law. Laurence Fishburne also appears in this modern-day plague thriller as scientists race against the clock to stop a worldwide epidemic. But first they have to figure out what it is. Directed by Steven Soderbergh, if the trailer is any indication, this is a scary it-could-really-happen movie where no one is immune.Sarah Jessica Parker returns to comedy sans her “SATC” co-stars in “I Don’t Know How She Does It” on Sept. 16. This typical SJP vehicle has her as a high-finance executive and family breadwinner to hubby Greg Kinnear and the kids. As the title hints, she juggles career and private life with humorous results. Pierce Brosnan and Kelsey Grammer appear, as does Christina Hendricks.
Also arriving on Sept. 16 is “Drive” with Ryan Gosling as a Hollywood stuntman who moonlights as a real getaway driver. Things get dicey when he upsets a big-time crime boss played by Albert Brooks. Carey Mulligan rounds out the cast in what is sure to be a heavy action, stunt-driven movie.
It is going to be hard to top the original Sam Peckinpah thriller “Straw Dogs.” When it premiered in 1971, the violence was considered shocking. Director Rod Lurie resets the action in a southern community with James Marsden and Kate Bosworth (Dustin Hoffman and Susan George originated the roles) as the new-to-town couple that run afoul of the local gentry. The psychological dynamic between the two add to the tension that culminates in a terrifying home invasion.
On Sept. 23, “Moneyball” premieres with Brad Pitt in this true tale from the world of baseball. Pitt stars as Oakland A’s manager Billy Beane who crunched player stats in a computer to come up with a winning team, a controversial recruiting method that was derided by his peers. Jonah Hill and Robin Wright co-star.
“50/50” stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a young man stricken with a rare form of cancer. Juggling comedy and drama can be tricky, but a great cast including Seth Rogen and Anna Kendrick (“Up in the Air”) are around to help. Think “Funny People,” but hopefully better. Opening Sept. 30.
“Dream House” will be remembered as the movie that brought Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz together. The two were married recently and no doubt got the romance started filming this Jim Sheridan movie. The two star as a couple who move out of the city for the quieter life in a suburb. They soon discover some very bad things once happened in their new digs and a neighbor, played by Naomi Watts, might have some answers. This is a straight out mystery thriller without the supernatural element. Opening Sept. 30.
September movies are notoriously unpredictable. Traditionally considered not strong enough to hold for the holiday season, they can be hit or miss. We’ll just have to wait and see.