Fall Movie Preview: November
Being billed as Eddie Murphy’s comeback, “Tower Heist,” directed by Brett Ratner (“Rush Hour 3”), is an action comedy that focuses on a group of employees who have been swindled by their boss (Alan Alda) in a ridiculous Ponzi scheme. What else can they do but try to get their money back? Co-starring Ben Stiller, Casey Affleck and Matthew Broderick, the movie should introduce the good ol’ Eddie Murphy to a new generation of audiences, not the Eddie Murphy of “Daddy Day Care” and “Norbit.”
A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas
Clearly “Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay” didn’t say all that was needed to say in this stoner mythology. Though the first film was genuinely entertaining and re-launched the career of Neil Patrick Harris, the sequel was a bit of a letdown. Maybe some 3D magic and a little more coked-out NPH just in time for the holidays is what Harold & Kumar need to capture the magic of their trip to White Castle.
You are either incredibly excited or pessimistically apprehensive about director Tarsem Singh’s new film “Immortals” (or you’ve never even heard of it). The visionary filmmaker, whose previous films “The Cell” and “The Fall” are mind-blowingly vivid, makes his first foray into the (declining) world of 3D. Though most 3D films of the last year have been unnecessary, if any director can use it properly (after James Cameron and hopefully Martin Scorsese), Singh can. Set in ancient Greece, the movie focuses on a mortal (Henry Cavill) who must do battle with the gods. Plenty of comparisons are already being made with “300,” which is appropriate, but Singh is likely to take the success of Zack Snyder’s film and bring it to a whole new level.
This is the Oscar-bait we’ve been waiting for. Leonardo DiCaprio stars as the controversial J. Edgar Hoover in director Clint Eastwood’s reportedly objective biopic. Hoover was both one of the best and worst things to ever happen to the United States, and Eastwood has vowed to explore both sides. DiCaprio is joined by “The Social Network” star Armie Hammer, who plays Hoover’s close friend and possible secret lover. DiCaprio’s biggest challenge will be the extreme aging process that takes place and whether or not audiences will believe him as an old man.
Jack and Jill
Adam Sandler has officially become one of the biggest Hollywood failures of all-time. Once the biggest comedy star in the world, Sandler has now relegated himself to roles in movies like “Jack and Jill” where he plays both a man and his twin sister. The days of “Billy Madison” and “Happy Gilmore” are a distant and much-missed memory and have been replaced by PG, family-friendly fare like this.
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn—Part 1
It’s finally here, and “Twilight” fans will practically trample one another to the midnight openings of “Breaking Dawn—Part 1” which is the second to last installment of the series. Directed by Bill Condon (“Chicago”), the movie focuses on Bella and Edward and the pregnancy that threatens Bella’s life. The real question is how will a PG-13 rated film accurately depict the rather gruesome birth entailed in the book?
Happy Feet Two
With the surprising success of the animated movie “Happy Feet,” it’s little surprise a sequel has quickly followed. It also doesn’t hurt the movie focuses on Emperor Penguins which are, without contest, the cutest inhabitants of Antarctica. Elijah Wood and Robin Williams return to voice the furry creatures who have to band together to protect their home from a dangerous threat.
Alexander Payne is one of the few directors who consistently makes films loved by critics and audiences. (“About Schmidt” is the only contentious film in his bio.) After the wild success of “Sideways” in 2004, fans have been waiting for his next full-length directing project. Now they have it with “The Descendants” which stars George Clooney as an absentee father who finds out his wife, who was recently in an accident, has been having an affair. Like all of Payne’s films, that’s just the basic summation. The real story focuses on family interactions and dealing with responsibility. Look for a lot of awards talk come early next year.
Legendary filmmaker Martin Scorsese makes his 3D and children’s movie debut this month with “Hugo,” based on the book “The Invention of Hugo Cabret.” The fantasy-like world of “Hugo” will be a stark divergence from the mob-ridden worlds of “Goodfellas” and “The Departed” that we are used to seeing from Scorsese. The director has said that this movie reflects his love for European cinema and the early days of filmmaking. There is little doubt “Hugo” will be the most magical film of the year.
Another family-focused movie opening on the same day is “The Muppets” which is a strange meta-dedication to the great “Muppet” movies of the 70s and 80s. Jason Segel (“Forgetting Sarah Marshall”) has made no secret of his love for the Muppets. Now, he gets the chance to star with them in a film which he co-wrote. The movie will re-unite all the characters we loved as they try to save their old theatre from destruction.
A Dangerous Method
Even though it’s been met with mixed reviews at film festivals, David Cronenberg’s “A Dangerous Method” is one of the most highly anticipated films of the fall. Starring newly arrived movie star Michael Fassbender (“X-Men: Origins”) as Carl Jung and Viggo Mortensen (“A History of Violence”) as Sigmund Freud, the movie focuses on the relationship between the two men and the woman (Keira Knightley) who comes between them. Look for Knightley’s brave and raw performance which has put her in the running for an Oscar come February.
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