Fall Movie Preview 2012: Major New Releases From Spielberg, Jackson, Tarantino, the Wachowskis, Burton and More
11:18 AM PDT 9/12/2012 by THR Staff
The summer is done, and with a slew of hugely anticipated movies set to premiere in the coming months, Hollywood is hopeful to chase away the box office doldrums. Get a glimpse at the hottest new features -- including P.T. Anderson's "The Master," the return of 007 in "Skyfall" and the first of Peter Jackson's "Hobbit" trilogy -- in THR's 2012 Fall Movie Preview.
Release date: September 14 Paul Thomas Anderson’s much-anticipated follow-up to his Oscar-winning There Will Be Blood features Philip Seymour Hoffman as a charismatic cult leader and Joaquin Phoenix as his disillusioned disciple. Shades of Scientology, anyone? At The Master’s Venice Film Festival premiere, Anderson said he had shown the film to Tom Cruise and they’re “still friends. The rest is between me and Tom.”
Release date: September 14
Pixar gives the 3D treatment to the 2003 animated classic Finding Nemo, which won an Academy Award for best feature and remains the highest-grossing Pixar film with $868 million earned at the global box office to date. The movie, helmed by Andrew Stanton, features the voices of Ellen DeGeneres and Albert Brooks as fish on a mission, and will follow up on their undersea adventures with a sequel (expected in 2016).
Trouble With the Curve
Release date: September 21
On the heels of his bizarre “Invisible Obama” speech at the Republican National Convention, Clint Eastwood will resume talking to human beings – not chairs – in the father-daughter sports movie Trouble With the Curve, co-starring Amy Adams and Justin Timberlake. The drama, which marks Eastwood’s first acting role since 2008’s Gran Torino and 2004’s Million Dollar Baby, shows the 82-year-old star as a gruff baseball scout navigating a tenuous relationship with his daughter (Adams) and a rivalry with a younger scout (Timberlake).
Release date: Sept. 21 Peter Travis directs Dredd 3D, a futuristic flick replacing Sylvester Stallone with Karl Urban as Judge Dredd, who’s fond of uttering such one-liners as “I’m the law.” In Travis’ Stallone-less version, the titular hero must vanquish the crime boss Ma-Ma (Lena Headey) who controls a destructive, time-stopping drug called Slo-Mo.
Release date: September 28 Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars as a young Bruce Willis (um, just go with it) in this twisty mind-bender from writer-director Rian Johnson. In Looper, a Sony release, the two play a hitman sent back in time to be killed by his younger self. Gordon-Levitt wore heavy makeup and spent hours studying Willis to transform into a younger version of the actor.
Release date: October 5
If you can’t get enough of Liam Neeson killing people (as in, everyone in the movie), then go see him reprise his Taken role as a revenge-fueled father and ex-CIA operative in the sequel, where he takes down even more baddies. The 20th Century Fox and EuropaCorp film -- directed by Oliver Megaton -- co-stars Famke Janssen and Maggie Grace.
Release date: October 5 Ethan Hawke stars as a crime novelist who moves into a new home with his family and discovers that the place is haunted by a vengeful pagan deity who consumes the souls of human children. Scott Derrickson (The Exorcism of Emily Rose) directs this creepy film which will hit theaters in time for Halloween.
Release Date: October 5
Finally, it's alive. This film began as a live-action short made by Tim Burton in 1984, and now, 28 years later, it's a full feature affair. Black and white and timed to run before Halloween, the charmingly creepy flick is about a boy named Victor Frankenstein (voiced by Charlie Tahan) who brings his dog Sparky back to life. Winona Ryder, Catherine O'Hara, Martin Landau and Martin Short also provide voice work.
Release date: October 5
A Lee Daniels-directed entry at Cannes, the movie offers Nicole Kidman a rare chance to flaunt a sultry side. A Southern noir type, it features Matthew McConaughey and Zac Efron as brothers who work to uncover the dirty truth about a man (John Cusack) scheduled to be put to death. Kidman, who gets some of the most memorable scenes, including a moment when she urinates on Efron's character, told reporters at Cannes that she didn't feel uncomfortable shooting the controversial scenes. "I think I had to step into a place to play the character where I didn't step out of it and look at myself, so it wasn't hard to shoot,” she said.
Release date: October 5
The long-delayed film, which premiered at last year's Toronto Film Festival, had its release timed to the the election season by distributor Harvey Weinstein. A mix of farce and satire, it features Jennifer Garner as a well-to-do, conservative housewife working to win the Iowa State Fair butter carving competition, coming out of the shadow of her ex-husband, Ty Burrell. Standing in her way? A talented young black girl and a tattooed Olivia Wilde.
Release date: October 12 Ben Affleck's latest film is already being tipped as a major Oscar contender. About an unbelievable rescue mission to save American diplomats stuck in Iran, and Hollywood's role in helping the CIA with a massive ruse, it got critical acclaim at the Telluride Film Festival. Along with directing, Affleck stars, and is joined by Bryan Cranston, Alan Arkin and John Goodman.
Release date: October 12
The latest in the long series of Kevin James in a ridiculous profession films, this one features the former King of Queens star as a laid off teacher who turns to mixed martial arts. The sports comedy filmis directed by Frank Coraci and also stars Salma Hayek.
Release date: October 12 Colin Farrell, Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell and Christopher Walken feature in this gun-toting heist flick — about dog-knapping. It's grimly quirky, which is what you can expect from writer/director Martin McDonagh. Abbie Cornish, Tom Waits and Gabourey Sidibe also star.
Release date: October 19 Tyler Perry drops the fat suit, makeup and wig for this one, transitioning from Madea to a hard boiled cop; it's a role once inhabited by Morgan Freeman. The new iteration of the series also features a jacked up and tattooed-out Matthew Fox as the scary villain. Rachel Nichols and Edward Burns co-star.
Release date: October 19
Much like the demons that inhabit it, this is the found-footage franchise that won’t die. The latest iteration, directed by Ariel Schulman and Henry Joost, takes place five years after Paranormal Activity 2, and features franchise vet Katie Featherston reprising her role as Katie.
Release date: October 26
The internet stopped dead in its tracks when Andy and Lana Wachowski, along with their co-director Tom Tykwer, personally introduced their new movie with a five-minute trailer that simultaneously confused, dazzled and delighted anyone who watched it. Based on the novel by David Mitchell, the film is a genre-busting exploration of humankind that leaps forward and backward in history with the blink of an eye. Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent and Hugo Weaving lead an international cast, each of whom takes on multiple roles.
Release date: October 26
A joint effort from directors Curtis Hanson and Michael Apted, Chasing Mavericks is a biopic of daredevil surfer Jay Moriarty, who died in 2001 at age 22 after drowning on the coast of the Indian Ocean. Jonny Weston stars as Moriarty, and Gerard Butler plays the grizzled surfing master who takes him under his wing.
Release date: October 26
The directorial debut of teen TV wunderkind Josh Schwartz (The O.C., Gossip Girl), this teen comedy stars Nickelodeon actress Victoria Justice as a hapless teen who only wants to go to a Halloween party to see her crush (Suburgatory’s Thomas McDonell), but ends up losing her little brother in the process.
Release date: November 2
A 3-D computer animated feature from Disney, Wreck-It Ralph features John C. Reilly as the voice of a nine-foot-tall, 643-pound video game villain who, tired of being the bad guy for over 30 years, escapes from his game to pursue other things. Other voice talents include 30 Rock’s Jack McBrayer as Fix-It Felix Jr., the handyman hero of Ralph’s game, and Sarah Silverman as Vanellope von Schweetz, a character in Sugar Rush, a kart-racing game set in a land of candy.
Release date: November 2
A mystery starring Denzel Washington, it’s notable for marking director Robert Zemeckis’s return to the land of the living after an extended foray into the world of motion-capture CGI. A commercial airline pilot (Washington) saves lives after an emergency landing, only for tests to later reveal he had alcohol in his system.
The Man With the Iron Fists
Release date: November 2
Wu-Tang Clan’s RZA directs the Kung Fu fest, set in 19th century China and shot entirely in Shangai. It stars RZA as a The Blacksmith, who creates an array of dazzling weapons to protect his endangered village. Russell Crowe, who worked with RZA on The Next Three Days, and Lucy Liu also pop up in roles. At Comic-Con, RZA, who wrote the script with Eli Roth, spoke to The Hollywood Reporter about the film, which is presented by Quentin Tarantino.
“I’m in love with film,” he told THR, adding that he also wrote the score for the movie. “Film and music, they have a very similar wavelength, and so they intertwine. For me, they go hand-in-hand.”
This Must Be the Place
Release date: Nov. 2 Sean Penn explores the rock star in director Paolo Sorrentino's film about a wealthy (and bored) former rocker Cheyenne, who at 50 years old is living off his royalties in Europe until he goes off on a journey to find his father's tormenter. THR's chief film critic Todd McCarthy called Penn's performance in This Must Be the Place, which screened at Cannes in 2011, "the central attraction of this highly erratic film."
Release date: November 9
It's James Bond's year. From the London Olympics Opening Ceremony to a dedicated U.K. channel for the British spy franchise, the third installment featuring Daniel Craig is finally hitting theaters. Craig, who will host Saturday Night Live on Oct. 6, returns as Bond, with Sam Mendes directing.
Release date: Nov. 16
Adapted from the Leo Tolstoy novel of the same name, director Joe Wright reunites with Keira Knightley (Pride and Prejudice, Atonement) for Anna Karenina, about a woman trapped in a loveless marriage seeking a better life. Jude Law, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Kelly Macdonald and Knightley's Pride and Prejudice co-star Matthew Macfadyen round out the cast.
Release date: November 9 Daniel Day-Lewis stars as Abraham Lincoln in Steven Spielberg's biographical film, based on Doris Kearns Goodwin's Lincoln biography Team of Rivals.Lincoln, starring Sally Field as Mary Todd Lincoln, is a likely awards contender, hitting theaters just as awards season begins to heat up. Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Tommy Lee Jones also star.
Release date: Nov. 16 Marion Cotillard plays whale trainer Stephanie who loses her legs after an accident, while Matthias Schoenarts portrays a struggling single father and bare-knuckled boxer named Ali. The French film from director Jacques Audiard had its North American premiere at the Telluride Film Festival and was well-received. THR's chief film critic Todd McCarthy, who reviewed the film during its world premiere at Cannes, wrote: "Charged emotions are felt and expressed but remain contained and not wallowed in.”
Release date: November 16
The hit franchise The Twilight Saga comes to an end with this final installment in the Bella (Kristen Stewart) and Edward (Robert Pattinson) love story. With the real-life couple on the rocks after the scandal broke that Stewart had been getting friendly with Snow White and the Huntsman director Rupert Sanders, Breaking Dawn – Part Two will be fans’ chance to see their love going strong on the big screen.
Release date: November 21 Ang Lee’s adaptation of Yann Martell’s novel has already wowed some with the epic, sweeping footage that’s been released. The 3D film was shot in Taiwan, using eight soundstages filled with water, to create a beautiful world that may be different than anything that’s hit the big screen so far.
Release date: November 21 Tom Cruise's son, Connor Cruise, has his first major film role in Dan Bradley's remake of the bloody 1984 film that featured Patrick Swayze and Charlie Sheen taking on Soviet soldiers. The long-delayed film stars Avengers' Chris Hemsworth and The Hunger Games’ Josh Hutcherson as friends who wake up one morning to find their Washington town -- and the U.S. -- under siege from foreign invaders.
Release date: November 21
DreamWorks Animation’s film unites the most famous fictional characters of childhood – Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy – on a wild adventure. Alec Baldwin, Hugh Jackman and Isla Fisher lend their voices to the three main characters, with Chris Pine voicing Jack Frost, the new guy in the group. Baldwin called them “the Justice League of childhood,” and actress Isla Fisher called them the “animated Avengers” during a presentation at Cannes.
Release date: November 21 David O. Russell’s new film stars Bradley Cooper as a just-released mental patient who returns back home to reclaim his life, mind and physical fitness, and Jennifer Lawrence as a disturbed younger neighbor who stalks him down, but has a dark allure that he can't resist. Robert De Niro and Jacki Weaver co-star as Cooper's exasperated parents.
Release date: November 30 Brad Pitt speaks softly and carries a big stick — well, gun — in this Weinstein-released mob flick. He's an enforcer with a set of twisted ethics he must put into use when he investigates a heist gone wrong.
Release date: December 14
The highly anticipated first film in the Lord of the Rings prequel series sees hobbit Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) swept into an epic quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor, which was long ago conquered by the dragon Smaug. Peter Jackson’s Hobbit franchise was originally planned as two films, but it’s been announced that there will be a third film released.
Release date: December 19 Kathryn Bigelow's Zero Dark Thirty is the hotly-anticipated film portrayal of the secret CIA missions that ultimately took down 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden. The action thriller reunites Bigelow with Hurt Locker screenwriter Mark Boal, and stars Jessica Chastain, Joel Edgerton, Edgar Ramirez and Mark Strong.
Release date: December 19 Michael Haneke's emotional drama won the Palme d’Or win at the Cannes Film Festival in May, and will have a limited release in December. The emotional drama revolves around an octogenarian couple (Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva) whose love is tested as they face mortality. THR’s critic Deborah Young describes the film as “magnificent in its simplicity and its relentless honesty about old age.”
This is 40
Release date: December 21 Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann take center stage as their characters from Knocked Up deal with the ugly truth of growing up in Judd Apatow’s new comedy. Jason Segel, Melissa McCarthy, Chris O'Dowd and Albert Brooks also appear in the film.
Release date: December 21
Paramount’s thriller based on the mystery book series by Lee Child stars Tom Cruise as an ex-Army cop who becomes part of a complicated investigation involving a sniper accused of killing five random people in a shooting. Written and directed by Christopher McQuarrie, the film could be just what fans are hoping for from action star Cruise.
Release date: December 21 Walter Salles’ adaptation of Jack Kerouac's cult classic novel was a labor of love that will finally hit the big screen in December. Sam Riley plays the film's Kerouac-inspired narrator, while Kristen Stewart, Garrett Hedlund, Kirsten Dunst and Terrence Howard also appear in the film. Reviewing the film after its Cannes debut, The Hollywood Reporter's chief film critic Todd McCarthy wrote, "[Salles] has done a respectable job of it, and at moments better than that, though the film rarely busts out to provide the sort of heady pleasures it depicts."
Release date: December 25 Tom Hooper’s adaptation of the famous musical features an all-star cast including Anne Hathaway as Fantine, Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean, Amanda Seyfried as Cosette, Russell Crowe as Javert and Eddie Redmayne as Mariu. While musicals made into movies can sometimes go terribly wrong, the first trailer for Hooper’s project promises that Les Miserables will be an emotional drama of epic proportions and with such a charismatic cast, there’s a chance it could be a dream come true.
Release date: December 25
The highly anticipated spaghetti Western from Quentin Tarantino stars Jamie Foxx as a freed slave who teams up with a bounty hunter (Christoph Waltz) on a revenge mission that sees them colliding with a plantation owner (Leonardo DiCaprio). Waltz told THR that the “surprise element” is what Tarantino’s films so special. “But not just for the surprise’s sake, but because Quentin finds what makes true drama, he turns situations very often into their opposites,” he said.