Fall Movie Previews: My “Must-See” List

I love previews. I know a lot of people don’t care whether or not they catch the coming attractions shown before the movie starts, but for me, I derive almost as much entertainment value from the previews as I do from the feature. I get all excited about seeing upcoming films and lately I’ve seen a bunch of previews that have me hooked. So following from Saturday’s post where I summarized my mostly lackluster summer viewing, I thought I’d do a post that looks ahead to the fall and the potentially great movies that are coming out in the next few months.

* Note that these release dates are the US dates according to imdb.com. Generally Canadian release dates correspond, with the exception of Film Festival screenings. *

Movies I absolutely, without question, must-see:

September 21 – The Master 

Philip Seymour Hoffman and Joaquin Phoenix in The Master (Source)

Already out in many places, “The Master” features Philip Seymour Hoffman as the charismatic leader of The Cause, an intellectual, cult-like, faith-based organization (in my head I hear chants of “The Leader is good, the Leader is great” from the Simpsons’ Movementarians episode when I think of this movie). Joaquin Phoenix plays a veteran trying to make sense of life after returning from war who is drawn to the doctrine. Directed by the brilliant Paul Thomas Anderson (Magnolia notwithstanding), all reports from sneak previews are singing nothing but praise with a little controversy thrown in (apparently some people think the fictional Cause resembles the real Scientology… go figure ;-)).

September 21 – The Perks of Being a Wallflower

The cast of “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” (Source)

This film premiered a couple of weeks ago at the Toronto International Film Festival. Based on a book and set in 1991 (already awesome seeing as I was in high school in 1991), “Perks” is a coming-of-age movie about a sensitive freshman’s experience of the cruelty of high school and the seniors who befriend him and help him through it. The mostly young cast includes Mae Whitman (TV actress from “Arrested Development” and “Parenthood”), Emma Watson (yep, post-Hermione Emma Watson), and Logan Lerman (Hoot, The Three Musketeers). I saw Emma Watson doing press for “Perks” in an interview with Jimmy Fallon where he summarizes her description of the film as “’The Breakfast Club’ for a new generation”. Awesome-sauce. And the soundtrack looks amazing – but again, I’m kind of the target demographic here.

September 28 – Pitch Perfect 

Girl power in “Pitch Perfect” (Source)

Starring Anna Kendrick (Up in the Air, 50/50), Elizabeth Banks, and Brittany Snow (Hairspray), Pitch Perfect tells the story of The Bellas – a university all-girl glee-club-type singing group who challenge their all-male rivals for a campus competition. It promises to be cheese-tastic ala TV’s Glee on the big screen. (I believe I’ve already mentioned that I’m a sucker for musical-themed movies…)

October 12 – Seven Psychopaths 

Movie poster for “Seven Psychopaths” (Source)

Seven Psychopaths is written and directed by Malcolm McDonagh, the Oscar winning screenwriter of “In Bruges”, which starred Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson as bumbling hitmen (with Ralph Fiennes as their boss) who are holed up in the title city after a botched job. It’s weird and clever and funny and very violent. Seven Psychopaths promises more of the same and features an eclectic and talented ensemble cast including Colin Farrell as the “normal” screenwriter, Christopher Walken and Sam Rockwell as his two goofy friends who kidnap a shih tzu, Woody Harrelson as the gangster who owns the stolen pet, and Tom Waits as “The One with the Bunny”. I have to see this if only to find out what’s up with the rabbit.

October 26 – Cloud Atlas 

Poster for “Cloud Atlas” (Source)

I was on the fence about putting this one in my “must see” category as opposed to a “maybe” (see below). Ultimately curiosity won out and it landed on the “should probably be seen on the big-screen” side of the scale. From what I’ve seen (which is the preview) and read (which is the plot synopsis and some speculative articles), it has the potential to be mind-blowingly good or a big, disjointed, cerebral mess. This is how imdb describes it:

“The Buzz: Hugh Grant plays a killer, Susan Sarandon plays a man, and Tom Hanks makes his most engaging starring-role choice in years in the shrouded-in-mystery new project from the Wachowski siblings, an adaptation of David Mitchell’s celebrated science-fiction novel that (pardon if we sound obvious and/or naive) sounds like the literary offspring of Ray Bradbury and Samuel Delany. Reincarnation is a main thread, and we’re stoked for the visuals and nervous about narrative cohesion or lack thereof.”

November 16 – Anna Karenina 

Period drama based on Tolstoy’s novel with Keira Knightley, Jude Law, Aaron Johnson, Emily Watson, Michael MacFadyen (Pride & Prejudice, The Three Musketeers), and Michelle Dockery (Downton Abbey’s Lady Mary). And as if that’s not enough, consider the score, the costumes, the sweeping epic-ness of it all:

November 21 – Life of Pi 

A boy on a boat with a tiger. Ang Lee’s adaptation of Yann Martel’s brilliant best-selling novel Life of Pi looks like a feast for the eyes in the same way the book was a feast for the imagination. See for yourself:

November 23 – Silver Linings Playbook 

“Silver Linings Playbook” movie poster (Source)

This is getting tremendous buzz from its showing at the Toronto International Film Festival this year winning the audience’s People’s Choice Award. It’s about a former teacher (Bradley Cooper) who moves back home to live with his parents (Robert DeNiro as the Dad) and tries to rebuild his life after a court-mandated stay in a mental institution. This is David O’Russell’s encore to “The Fighter” (which I really liked), and also co-stars Jennifer Lawrence, so I’m in.

I also have a list of “maybes” that I might be up for, but that I’m a little more cautious about including Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln”, “A Late Quartet” (Philip Seymour Hoffman), “Trouble With the Curve” (Clint Eastwood, Amy Adams), “The Sessions” (Helen Hunt, William H. Macy), and “Skyfall” (can’t decide if I’m done with the Bond franchise or not). What movies are on your must-see fall movie list?

To view trailers for the films not included in the body of the post, check out the Tribute site

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6 thoughts on “Fall Movie Previews: My “Must-See” List

  1. Still curious about The Master but not sure if I’ll get to see it on the big screen. I’m super excited that ‘Silver Lining’ will be showing at my local film fest next month, yay!

  2. Lucky you – I’ll look forward to your posts about your local film fest. I’ve now heard some mixed reviews of The Master, but I still really want to see it. I think Philip Seymour Hoffman is brilliant and would be eager to watch him in pretty much anything.

  3. Yeah, the previews are full of lots of cool-looking visuals and there’s a whole lot going on. I confess to still being a little unsure about it – there’s the distinct possibility it could be a great big hot mess (ala Waterworld). I guess I’m a bit of an optimist when it comes to movies… we’ll see if that pans out this time… 🙂

    Thanks a lot for stopping by!

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