Special Sections » Fall Guide

FILM: Waiting for the weekends

Your guide to this fall's buzzed-about movies

by

comment

There are nine Fridays (plus one very desirable Wednesday) between now and Thanksgiving, and, as usual, Hollywood will be pummeling you with movie upon movie. But autumn is typically a strange time for film, acting as a sort of bridge between summer's dopier action flicks and the end-of-the-year Oscar hopefuls. Typically we're allotted a handful of popcorn movies, a few Halloween-friendly pictures, and some potential Academy Award bait, and this year's no different.

Our 2012 Fall Movie Preview breaks down each of the next 10 weeks with a couple of suggestions for your viewing pleasure. Now, if you don't see anything you like, it's very possible that you're just a grouch. But keep in mind that the 20 films included herein represent less than a third of the titles being released during that time. Basically, you've got options.

September 21

Paul Thomas Anderson's eagerly awaited follow-up to 2007's "There Will Be Blood" is "The Master," an intriguing mid-century drama with Philip Seymour Hoffman as a magnetic spiritual leader and the much-missed Joaquin Phoenix as an alcoholic WWII vet who becomes his right-hand man.

Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Peña, and Anna Kendrick lead the cast of the gritty "End of Watch," the third directorial effort from "Training Day" screenwriter David Ayer, which follows a couple of LAPD officers who make a routine traffic stop that lands them in the crosshairs of a drug cartel.

September 28

Joseph Gordon-Levitt reteams with his "Brick" writer-director Rian Johnson for the time-travel adventure "Looper," about a hitman whose job killing people sent from the future puts him gun-to-face with his 55-year-old self (Bruce Willis).

The first animated feature from "Samurai Jack" creator Genndy Tartakovsky is "Hotel Transylvania," which showcases the voice talents of Adam Sandler as good ol' Dracula, now a hotelier working to keep his daughter (Selena Gomez) away from a charming backpacker (Andy Samberg).

October 5

Liam Neeson is back as loving family man/not-all-that-retired spook Bryan Mills for "Taken 2," this time in Istanbul when he and ex-wife Famke Janssen are taken captive by a father (go-to Euro-baddie Rade Serbedzija) looking to avenge his Albanian-kidnapper son's death.

The 3D stop-motion "Frankenweenie" finds Tim Burton expanding on his 1984 short of the same name, with Catherine O'Hara, Martin Landau, Winona Ryder, and Christopher Lee helping to voice the story of a boy who must convince his neighbors that his reanimated pooch is still a good dog.

October 12

Ben Affleck mans the director's chair once again for "Argo," co-starring with John Goodman, Bryan Cranston, and Kyle Chandler in the once-classified true tale of a CIA exfiltration expert who hatches a daring plan to free six Americans in hiding at the home of the Canadian ambassador during the 1979 Iranian hostage crisis.

Colin Farrell, Sam Rockwell, Woody Harrelson, and Christopher Walken are but four of the "Seven Psychopaths" in Martin McDonagh's ("In Bruges") crime comedy about a struggling screenwriter who gets mixed up in the LA underworld after a gangster's dog gets boosted.

October 19

"Catfish" directors Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman return for "Paranormal Activity 4," which promises to bring the surprisingly successful horror franchise full-circle by revisiting the circumstances surrounding Katie and baby Hunter, gone missing after "PA2."

Five years after expertly playing Jesse James for director Andrew Dominik, Brad Pitt joins him again for "Killing Them Softly," co-starring Richard Jenkins, Ray Liotta, and James Gandolfini. The crime flick is about a gangland enforcer investigating a heist pulled off during a mob-controlled poker game.

October 26

"Cloud Atlas" amasses the creative forces of filmmakers Tom Tykwer (1998's "Run Lola Run") and siblings Lana and Andy Wachowski (the "Matrix" trilogy) for an ambitious adaptation of David Mitchell's genre-spanning novel exploring the effects of individual actions throughout time. (Also known as the Tom Hanks/Halle Berry movie.)

Co-directed by Michael Apted and Curtis Hanson (?!), "Chasing Mavericks" stars Gerard Butler, Elisabeth Shue, and Jonny Weston in the true story of late surfing icon Jay Moriarity and his quest to ride Northern California's most dangerous wave.

November 2

Wu-Tang's versatile RZA makes his feature-directing debut with "The Man with the Iron Fists," a bloody wire-fu flick set in 19th-century China in which he stars alongside Russell Crowe and Lucy Liu as The Blacksmith, a weapons maker caught in the middle of feuding clans.

Robert Zemeckis's first live-action film since 2000's "Cast Away" is "Flight," a drama with Don Cheadle, John Goodman, and Denzel Washington as an airline pilot who saves a flight from crashing, only to have the ensuing investigation into the equipment malfunction reveal something troubling.

November 9

Daniel Day-Lewis channels our 16th President in Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln," based on Doris Kearns Goodwin's "Team of Rivals" and co-starring Tommy Lee Jones, Jared Harris, and Sally Field in the story of the last few months of the Great Emancipator's life, which includes the Union's Civil War victory and the abolition of slavery.

Patton Oswalt, Johnny Knoxville, and the late Patrice O'Neal lead the cast of "Nature Calls," writer-director Todd Rohal's (2006's "The Guatemalan Handshake") comedy about polar-opposite adult brothers whose entrenched rivalry is taken to another level when one drags the other's unenthusiastic kid and his friends on a camping adventure.

November 16

Joe Wright's opulent adaptation of Leo Tolstoy's "Anna Karenina" features Keira Knightley as one of literature's best-known adulteresses, married to Jude Law's aristocrat but consumed by an affair with Aaron Taylor-Johnson's dashing cavalry officer.

French filmmaker Jacques Audiard follows up 2009's stunning Oscar nominee "A Prophet" with "Rust & Bone," starring Marion Cotillard and Belgian up-and-comer Matthias Schoenaerts in a drama about the unlikely romance that develops between a trainer of killer whales and a struggling single father.

November 21

Ang Lee continues his unpredictable streak with an eye-popping adaptation of Yann Martel's "Life of Pi," now a 3D adventure about a young man who survives a shipwreck and finds himself on a lifeboat with an orangutan, hyena, an ailing zebra, and a Bengal tiger.

"Silver Linings Playbook" is the latest from David O. Russell (2010's "The Fighter"), a comedy-drama about a former teacher (Bradley Cooper) who gets entangled with a mysterious young woman (Jennifer Lawrence) after his release from a mental institution. Also: Chris Tucker alert!

Oh, one more thing: Please remember that release dates are subject to change.

In This Guide...

    Fall Guide 2012

    An awesome autumn
    The air is crisp and cool, the food is bountiful (thanks, harvest!), and most importantly, our area arts and cultural groups return with packed schedules after relatively quiet summer months.

    ART: Wall wizardry

    Behind the curtains of three Rochester exhibition spaces
    When creative works are presented to the public, the illusion of a seamlessness is a necessary factor. On opening night of a theatrical production, the audience is immersed in pure experience along with the characters, and hopefully not pulled out of the story by the visible hand of the designers or director.

    ART: Best bets

    While many Rochesterians dread the shortening of the days and the increased and lingering chill in the air, I love autumn for the sudden surge in art shows. Kids go back to school and our area's many academic institutions triple the amount of shows on display.

    CLASSICAL: 2012 Highlights

    Two years ago, Rochester's concert halls swelled with the depths of the Russians. It seemed every orchestra, group, and soloist in town had something by the great masters Rachmaninoff, Tchaikovsky, and Prokofiev on their programs.

    DANCE: Stop, collaborate, and listen

    Partnering with composers, musicians, and designers underscores the 2012-13 dance season
    Dance is about being fully aware — completely present physically, mentally, and emotionally. That being said, let me note that it can be very difficult to get dancers and choreographers to project what they'll be doing a few months down the road, especially this year, when most of the dance groups in town seem primarily focused on their upcoming performances in the First Niagara Rochester Fringe Festival (September 19-23).

    OUTDOORS: Fall flavors

    Local farm stands offer the sights and tastes of autumnRochester-area farms/farmstands
    Fall always creeps in slowly. First it's a couple of red leaves here, some cool breezes there.

    MUSIC: That's the ticket

    Local venues explore alternatives to the big-ticket enterprises
    The conversation happens all the time among concert-going friends, and it tends to go something like this: "Hey dude, you should come to this super awesome fun time special concert." "I'd love to man, how much does it cost?"

    MUSIC: Twelve for '12

    A look at a dozen of fall's must-see concerts
    When autumn leaves begin to fall, it's not just back to school — it's back to the clubs, where all kinds of music will be reverberating off the walls, and in your skull. There's almost too much talent calling Rochester home lately.

    THEATER: Let's put on a show!

    How three local theater companies plan and approach their seasons
    Geva Theater Center's artistic director Mark Cuddy calls the huge piece of kraft paper his "planning wall" for the season he is working on — lists in different colors with dividing lines between them, but also extra sheets of paper tacked up helter-skelter to give it the look of the organized chaos it probably is. Yet that list of more than 50 titles eventually leads to the six main-stage plays (plus the annual production of "A Christmas Carol") that Geva is betting on for the next 11 months.

    THEATER: Best bets

    Here are some of the plays I'm looking forward to seeing in the 2012-2013 Rochester theater season. The good news is that this season there are more plays I want to see than I have room to write about.

    CALENDAR: Fall Special Events Guide

    Summer may be over, but it's not time to head indoors yet. Rochester has plenty of events to keep you busy through the fall.

Add a comment