Part 2: What's ahead in fall films
Here's the second in a three-part series looking at fall films.
To label this summer a disappointment is an understatement. Granted, “The Avengers” managed to inexplicably exceed expectations, but so many others either failed to meet them (sorry, “The Dark Knight Rises,” sling it somewhere else, “Spider-Man”) or just downright bombed (“Battleship,” “Dark Shadows,” “That’s My Boy,” “The Bourne Legacy”).
It was the summer of small wonders, from the raunchy Teddy Ruxpin in “Ted” to the magic of “Magic Mike,” to the glowing “Moonrise Kingdom,” tiny budgets turned in big profits.
Enter the autumn slate. Fall is already abuzz with a number of prestigious pictures that are garnering effusive praise at film festivals before launching into local theaters. Here’s a sample of some of the bigger offerings ready to wipe away our dashed memories of the summer of our cinematic discontent.
“The Bay”: Maryland boy Barry Levinson takes on an eco-horror flick which deals with a rather deadly outbreak within the Chesapeake.
“Flight”: Robert Zemeckis (“Back to the Future,” “Forrest Gump,” “Polar Express”) returns to live action after dabbling with CGI with this drama about a pilot (Denzel Washington) who faces an internal struggle as he attempts to explain how he saved his commercial plane from crashing.
“Vamps”: “Clueless” director Amy Heckerling and star Alicia Silverstone reteam for this comedy about how two vampire ladies (Silverstone, Krysten Ritter) cope with fashion, living, working and being undead in the Big Apple.
“Wreck-It Ralph” (3D): Disney’s holiday offering features a video-game villain (voiced by John C. Reilly) tired of being the bad guy and hungry to explore other worlds within the arcade. A slew of comedians lend their voices for this film directed by Rich Moore, who cut his teeth on “The Simpsons” and “Futurama.”
“Lincoln”: Daniel Day-Lewis stars in this drama of Honest Abe’s adult life. Director Steven Spielberg also enlists the talents of Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tommy Lee Jones, Jackie Earle Haley, Jared Harris, Hal Holbrook and Sally Field.
“Skyfall’: Bond (Daniel Craig) is back, going up against Javier Bardem in full “No Country for Old Men”-psychotic mode. Sam Mendes (“American Beauty,” “Road to Perdition”) takes over in the driver’s seat.
“Anna Karenina”: Director Joe Wright (“Atonement,” “Pride & Prejudice”) reteams with star Keira Knightley in this umpteenth take on Tolstoy’s classic. And speaking of classic literature…
“The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2”: The sun finally sets on this vampire romance series.
“Life of Pi” (3-D): Ang Lee (“Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” “The Hulk”) takes Yann Martel’s novel about a boy stranded with a Bengal tiger to the big screen.
“Red Dawn”: Filmed before his roles in “Thor,” “Cabin in the Woods” and even the “Star Trek” reboot, Chris Hemsworth leads the cast of unknowns in this remake of the 1984 high-school-set rebel yell.
“Rise of the Guardians” (3-D): A new threat to the children of the world calls into action the Easter Bunny, Jack Frost and Santa Claus himself.
“Silver Linings Playbook”: Mercurial director David O. Russell has always fascinated on screen (“I Heart Huckabee’s,” “The Fighter,” “Three Kings”). This time he enlists Bradley Cooper , Jennifer Lawrence, Robert DeNiro and Chris Tucker (!) in this adaptation of Matthew Quick’s novel.