Legends of the fall
As the summer’s frivolous releases slowly give way in the multiplexes, the autumn movie schedule is shaping up to be a promising selection of star-driven dramas about serious issues – including several on the Iraq war, writes Michael Dwyer
SEPTEMBER 14 3:10 TO YUMA James Mangold’s remake of the 1957 western, based on an Elmore Leonard story, stars Christian Bale as a struggling rancher determined to bring in a notorious criminal (Russell Crowe). DISTURBIA In a contemporary spin on Rear Window, a troubled teen (Shia LaBeouf), who is under house arrest, suspects that his neighbour is a serial killer. Guess what? Nobody believes him. SUPERBAD Knocked Up star Seth Rogan co-writes and features in a coarse comedy charting the misadventures of three teen nerds (male, of course) over a single day and night. DECEMBER BOYS Daniel Radcliffe takes a break from playing Harry Potter for a coming-of-age picture about Australian teen orphans in the 1960s. THE SERPENT Eric Barbier’s thriller transposes a Ted Lewis novel from 1960s England to present-day France, where a fashion photographer (Yvan Attal) becomes the next target of a psychotic blackmailer (Clovis Cornillac). SHOOT ’EM UP The action in this thriller begins when a man (Clive Owen) delivers a baby during a shoot-out and has to protect the child from hitmen. With Paul Giamatti and Monica Bellucci. IN THE HANDS OF THE GODS A documentary following five young US soccer fans to Buenos Aires, where they hope to meet their idol, Diego Maradonna. EDMOND A New York executive (William H Macy) experiences a dark night of the soul in Stuart Gordon’s film of David Mamet’s one-act play.
SEPTEMBER 21 KINGS Colm Meaney, Donal O’Kelly and Brendan Conroy head the cast of Tom Collins’s bilingual drama dealing with Connemara men who went to England as emigrants and are reunited 30 years later for a wake when one of them dies. A MIGHTY HEART Michael Winterbottom dramatises the search for Wall Street Journal reporter Danny Pearl (Dan Futterman) when he is abducted in Karachi. Angelina Jolie plays his journalist wife. DEATH PROOF Women sit around effusively spouting expletives in Quentin Tarantino’s B-movie pastiche, a two-part yarn in which a grizzled Kurt Russell plays the linking character, a misogynistic stuntman. I NOW PRONOUNCE YOU CHUCK AND LARRY Adam Sandler and Kevin James play heterosexual firemen posing as gay to pull off a financial scam. With Jessica Biel and Steve Buscemi. SPARKLE In Tom Hunsinger and Neil Hunter’s engaging serious comedy, a cabaret singer (Lesley Manville) is drawn to a lonely bachelor (Bob Hoskins), while her son (Shaun Evans) gets involved with a PR manager (Stockard Channing). EVENING Lajos Koltai’s film of Susan Minot’s novel features Vanessa Redgrave as a dying matriarch and Claire Danes as her younger self. With Glenn Close, Meryl Streep, Toni Collette, Natasha Richardson and Patrick Wilson.
SEPTEMBER 28 THE BRAVE ONE Neil Jordan’s New York thriller features Jodie Foster as a radio presenter who turns vigilante after she and her fiance (Naveen Andrews) are brutally attacked in Central Park. With Terrence Howard. ACROSS THE UNIVERSE Director Julie Taymor draws on a wealth of Beatles songs and references for her picture of Jude (Jim Sturgess), a young Liverpudlian, discovering the counter-culture in late 1960s New York and falling in love with Lucy (Evan Rachel Wood). MICHAEL CLAYTON Tony Gilroy, who wrote the Bourne trilogy, turns director ROCKET SCIENCE Director Jeffrey Blitz follows the spelling bee documentary Spellbound with a calculatedly quirky picture of teen angst set among ambitious high school debaters. THE SINGER Gérard Depardieu does all his own singing as an ageing, divorced dance-hall performer who falls for an estate agent (Cécile de France) less than half his age. YELLA Nina Hoss was voted best actress with this legal drama starring George Clooney as the specialist doing his firm’s dirty work. With Tilda Swinton, Tom Wilkinson and Sydney Pollack. at this year’s Berlin festival for her portrayal of a troubled young businesswoman, in Christian Petzold’s metaphysical thriller. MR WOODCOCK A comedy with Seann William Scott as young man determined to stop his mother (Susan Sarandon) from marrying the gym teacher (Billy Bob Thornton) who gave him a hard time at high school. WAR Action doubtless will speak louder than words when an FBI agent (Jason Statham) seeks revenge on his partner’s killer (Jet Li). HOT ROD An amateur stuntman (Andy Samberg) plans to clear 15 buses to fund a heart operation for his abusive stepfather (Ian McShane). KENNY A man who installs toilets is the subject of this Australian mockumentary. HALLOWEEN John Carpenter’s 1978 horror movie gets the remake treatment from director Rob Zombie, whose wife Sheri Moon-Zombie joins Malcolm McDowell in the cast.
OCTOBER 5 GARAGE Pat Shortt demonstrates his dramatic range as a small-town misfit in a quietly powerful film from the Adam & Paul team of director Lenny Abrahamson and screenwriter Mark O’Halloran. CONTROL Relative newcomer Sam Riley brings the late Joy Division singer Ian Curtis vividly to life, on and off the stage, in Anton Corbijn’s touching portrait of the artist as an angry young man. THE KINGDOM Jamie Foxx, Chris Cooper, Jennifer Garner and Jason Bateman play FBI agents teaming up with a Saudi colonel (Ashraf Barhom) to track down a terrorist bomber in Riyadh. Peter Berg directs. AND WHEN DID YOU LAST SEE YOUR FATHER? Anand Tucker’s drama explores the relationship between author Blake Morrison (Colin Firth) and his ailing father (Jim Broadbent). DAY WATCH The second film in Timur Bekmanbetov’s trilogy, which began with Night Watch, continues the conflict between the forces of light and darkness in contemporary Moscow. THE HEARTBREAK KID Peter and Bobby Farrelly’s remake of Neil Simon 1972 romantic comedy stars Ben Stiller as a man falling for another woman while on his honeymoon. With Michelle Monaghan.
OCTOBER 12 RATATOUILLE In Pixar’s inventive, charming animated comedy, a young rat reveals outstanding culinary skills
THE NANNY DIARIES The new film from Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini, who made American Splendor, is a comedy starring Scarlett Johansson as a college student working as a nanny to a spoiled brat. THE COUNTERFEITERS Stefan Ruzowitzy’s absorbing, fact-based drama deals with concentration camp prisoners made to forge money for the Nazis. MR BROOKS This sounds very strange indeed. Kevin Costner plays a successful businessman living a secret life as a serial killer, egged on by an RENDITION Tsotsi director Gavin Hood’s film follows the quest of an American (Reese Witherspoon) to find her Egyptian-born husband (Omar Metwally) held at a secret detention centre outside the US. With Jake Gyllenhaal, Meryl Streep and Peter Sarsgaard. THE DARK IS RISING An 11-year-old boy learns he is the last in a line of warriors and that no less than the future of the world depends on him. With Ian McShane, Frances Conroy and Christopher Eccleston. DADDY DAY CAMP Cuba Gooding Jr takes over from Eddie Murphy in the sequel to inane comedy Daddy Day Care. THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS 3-D The appealing 1993 animated imaginary friend (William Hurt), and with a millionaire detective (Demi Moore) on his trail. THE INVASION Contemporary spin on Invasion of the Body Snatchers, starring Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig. BLACK SHEEP A genetic engineering experiment goes disastrously wrong in Jonathan King’s New Zealand splatter comedy. RESIDENT EVIL: EXTINCTION Milla Jovovich is back in action for the finale of the trilogy based on a video game.
OCTOBER 19 RAZZLE DAZZLE Ben Miller and Kerry Armstrong head the cast of Darren Ashton’s over-the-top Australian mockumentary set on the contest circuit for pre-teen dancers. STARDUST Director Matthew Vaughn (Layer Cake) assembles a diverse cast for a romantic fantasy-adventure: Claire Danes, Charlie Cox, Michelle Pfeiffer, Peter O’Toole, Sienna Miller, Ricky Gervais and, as a cross-dressing sea captain, Robert De Niro. in Paris. The voice cast notably includes Peter O’Toole as a snooty NANCY DREW food critic named Anton Ego. Emma Roberts (daughter of Eric and niece of Julia) plays the teen detective discovering clues to a murder-mystery involving a movie star. feature produced by Tim Burton returns in digital 3-D.
OCTOBER 26 THE ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES BY THE COWARD ROBERT FORD New Zealander Andrew Dominik (Chopper) directs Brad Pitt and Sam Shepard as bank-robbing brothers Jesse and Frank James, and Casey Affleck as Ford. EASTERN PROMISES David Cronenberg follows A History of Violence with another crime thriller starring Viggo Mortensen, this time set among Russian gangsters in London. With Naomi Watts and Vincent Cassel. SICKO The target of Michael Moore’s new polemic is the US healthcare system. Adhering to a now-familiar formula, he draws on statistical data, human experience and humour to make his points. SAW IV Expect much more gore as the horror franchise, now a Halloween staple, continues. THE WITNESSES Set in mid-1980s Paris, André Téchiné’s compelling drama follows the complicated relationships of four characters – Emmanuelle Béart, Sami Bouajila, Michel Blanc and Johan Libéreau – before the spectre of Aids looms.
Above: Evan Rachel Wood and Jim Sturgess in
Across the Universe; left: Day Watch; below left: Colin Firth and Gina McKee in And When Did You Last See Your Father? Below: The Brave One
From top: Claire Danes in Stardust; Black Sheep; Tom Wilkinson and George Clooney in Michael Clayton
Brad Pitt (right) stars in The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford Autumn Movie Preview continues on next page