Fall films aim for box office business

Forest Whitaker and Oprah Winfrey star in Lee Daniels' "The Butler."
September 12, 2013

Both “The Butler and “Blue Jasmine” already have tongues wagging for Oscars contention in some way, shape or form, but there is a long line of competitors ready to hip-check these early front-runners into the stands to lay claim to a statuette this coming awards season.

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Here’s a quick look at some of the films - both distinguished and not-so-distinguished - aiming for box office business in the coming months.

Sept. 13

The Family - Robert DeNiro returns to his mob roots… kinda. A former Mafia boss (DeNiro) and his family (including wife Michelle Pfeiffer) enter the witness protection program in France, but find civilian life a bit of a challenge in this comedic action flick directed by Luc Besson.

Sept. 20

Blue Caprice - Based on the 2002 Beltway sniper attacks, a veteran and his young, impressionable protege arm for a rampage in this drama that was all the rage at Sundance earlier this year.

C.O.G. - Fans of David Sedaris unite! This is the first film that has received the humorist’s blessing to adapt into film form. It follows a grad student spending his summer in solitude while working odd jobs and crossing paths with any number of colorful characters.

Enough Said - A single masseuse’s new client turns out to be her ex’s new wife in this comedic drama starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Toni Collette and featuring the penultimate role of James Gandolfini.

Prisoners - Hugh Jackman plays Keller Dover, a man whose missing 6-year-old daughter is not receiving the amount of police attention he feels it is deserved, and he decides to take matters into his own hands. Jake Gyllenhaal, Melissa Leo and Paul Dano costar in a film that has been earning outstanding reviews since its debut at Telluride.

Rush - Ron Howard takes another stab at awards-bait material in this Formula 1 racing drama which stars “Thor’s” Chris Hemsworth. Also starring Daniel Bruhl and Olivia Wilde.

Sept. 27

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 - Failed inventor Flint Lockwood (voiced by Bill Hader) discovers that his food contraption has not only continued working, but is creating food-animal hybrids.

Don Jon - A Jersey boy’s (played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt) addiction to porn threatens to torpedo his budding relationship with a sexy lady (played by Scarlett Johansson) whose view on love is limited to Nicholas Sparks-like novels. Gordon-Levitt also serves as director.

Oct.  4

Gravity - Not to overhype, but since its debut at the Venice Film Festival a few weeks ago, this latest sci-fi thriller from director Alfonso Cuaron has been hailed as one of the best of the genre and a contender for several awards. George Clooney and Sandra Bullock star as two astronauts whose mission goes horribly wrong while they're on a routine space walk.

Runner, Runner - Justin Timberlake stars as a Princeton grad student who travels to Costa Rica to confront a gambling tycoon (played by Ben Affleck), but is tempted by the lure of further wealth.

Oct. 11

Captain Phillips - Based on the firsthand account of Capt. Richard Phillips (played by Tom Hanks), whose ship in 2009 was seized by Somali pirates, this thriller is the latest from “Bourne” director Paul Greengrass.

Machete Kills - Director Robert Rodriguez follows up his flick (which was based on a fake trailer) about an ex-federale (played by Danny Trejo) who is recruited by the U.S. president (played by Charlie Sheen, here listed as Carlos Estevez, his true name) on a secret mission.  Yup. Charlie Sheen as the president. Look for this one during Oscar season.

Oct. 16

Kill Your Darlings - Daniel Radcliffe sheds his Harry Potter cloak to lead the Beat Generation as poet Allen Ginsberg in this drama that focuses on the earlier prolific pens of William S. Burroughs, Jack Kerouac and others as they deal with their involvement with a murder.

Oct. 18

12 Years a Slave - In another heavily hyped Oscar film, a free black man (played by Chiwetel Ejiofor) is kidnapped and placed into slavery. It chronicles his true-life endeavor to proclaim his freedom and reunite with his family.Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch and Paul Dano costar.

All Is Lost - Robert Redford goes solo (he’s billed only as “Our Man”) as a sailor lost at sea whose boat grounds in the middle of the Indian Ocean and who must rely on wit and savvy to survive. It’s another film that has earned a festival-circuit glow.

Carrie - Stephen King’s anti-heroine gets her fourth screen incarnation with Chloe Grace Moretz as the tormented, telekinetic teen and Julianne Moore as the overly religious mommy.

Escape Plan - Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger finally share costar status, which would be great news … if it was 1985. Stallone’s effort to prove himself a viable action star in the new millenium trudges on.

The Fifth Estate - WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange gets the dramatic treatment in this feature directed by Bill Condon and starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Daniel Bruhl, Anthony Mackie and David Thewlis.

Blue Is the Warmest Color - This film, based on the graphic novel by Julie Maroh, took top honors at Cannes this year and follows a 15-year-old French girl who starts a passionate relationship with an older female art student.

The Counselor - Director Ridley Scott comes back down to earth after last year’s “Prometheus” to focus on a young lawyer (played by Michael Fassbender) who runs afoul of some very nasty drug dealers. Costars Brad Pitt, Penelope Cruz, Cameron Diaz and Javier Bardem and is written by Cormac McCarthy.

Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa - Imagine “Borat” with an octogenarian and you’ll get the idea of what Johnny Knoxville and crew are trying to do with this hidden-camera comedy.

Nov. 1

About Time - Gifted with the ability to time travel, a young man realizes that it doesn’t make life any easier.

Dallas Buyers Club - Based on a true story. Texas electrician Ron Woodroof (played by Matthew McConaughey) goes toe to toe with the medical establishment and the law after he is diagnosed with HIV and starts an antiviral medication smuggling operation. Jared Leto and Jennifer Garner costar.

Diana - Naomi Watts takes on the iconic, beloved princess.

Ender's Game - The latest young adult novel-to-film adaptation has been overshadowed by its author’s rather outspoken rantings in the press recently, but Harrison Ford, Ben Kingsley and Hailee Steinfeld should guarantee a peek, right?

Free Birds - Two turkeys (voiced by Owen Wilson and Woody Harrelson) travel back in time to the first Thanksgiving in an attempt to take their kind off the traditional menu.

Last Vegas - Four old fogies head to Sin City to celebrate before the group's one remaining bachelor ties the knot with his much-younger girlfriend. Michael Douglas, Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman and Kevin Kline play in this “Hangover with a Metamucil Chaser” flick.

Man of Tai Chi - Keanu Reeves is back in the martial arts game, this time as the chief bad guy in this tale where a young fighter must compete in a shadowy world to protect his way of life. Reeves also serves as director for the first time.

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