Photo by Columbia/Weinstein/Summit
Though the summer movie season winds up this weekend and the holiday movie season doesn't really ramp up until Thanksgiving, there are still going to be some pretty great flicks coming out this fall, from a time-travel thriller to a high-profile presidential bio-pic to the return of everyone's favorite British spy. Check out 10 of the fall's most anticipated movies below:
The Master (9/21) -- There's been a lot of talk about whether or not Paul Thomas Anderson's latest movie is a thinly veiled tale about the origins of Scientology. The filmmakers are remaining mum. What we do know is that "The Master" is about a washed up ex-sailor (played by Joaquin Phoenix) who falls into the orbit of Lancaster Dodd (Phillip Seymour Hoffman), a charismatic huckster who founded a Scientology-like religious organization. It's been five years since Paul Thomas Anderson's last movie, the flinty masterpiece "There Will Be Blood," so expectations for this movie are very high.
Looper (9/28) -- Director Rian Johnson wowed critics and audiences with his insanely smart first movie "Brick," which starred a young Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a Raymond Chandler-esque sleuth who happens to still be in high school. Gordon-Levitt and Johnson reunite for this insanely smart time-travel thriller that also stars Bruce Willis and Emily Blunt. Imagine every one of your favorite dystopian sci-fi flicks, from "Blade Runner" to "12 Monkeys," remixed into one mind-bending story, and you get the idea.
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Argo (10/12) -- During the depths of the Iran hostage crisis in 1980, CIA agents managed enter the country posing as filmmakers scouting locations for a fake sci-fi flick and free six American embassy workers. This unbelievable true story is the basis for "Argo," which was directed by Ben Affleck who also stars as the operation's lead agent. Bryan Cranston, Alan Arkin, and John Goodman also star.
Cloud Atlas (10/26) -- David Mitchell's 2004 novel "Cloud Atlas" was considered a literary landmark. A series of interlocking tales that start in the 1800s and wind up some time in the distance future, the book was also considered all but unfilmable. Enter Lana and Andy Wachowski, the minds behind "The Matrix" series, and Tom Tykwer, the guy behind "Run Lola Run," who somehow managed to film the unfilmable. Tom Hanks, Halle Barry, and Hugo Weaving all play multiple roles that transcend both race and gender. It's the sort of movie that's either going to be a masterpiece or a complete failure.
The Sessions (10/26) -- You might think that a drama about a paralyzed poet in an iron lung who is seeking to lose his virginity with a sex surrogate would be an example of independent movie miserablism, but you'd be wrong. The movie won the audience award at Sundance and is by all accounts funny and moving. Watch for John Hawke, who plays the poet/polio victim, get an Oscar nomination for best actor. After all, in order to get his spine to curve in just the right way, Hawke lodged a soccer ball-sized chunk of foam in his back for so long that it rearranged his internal organs. Yikes.
The Man With the Iron Fists (11/2) -- If you've been hoping against hope that Quentin Tarantino will crank out "Kill Bill, Part 3" in near future, we might have the next best thing. RZA, who did the terrific score for "Kill Bill," has written, directed, scored, and is starring in "The Man With the Iron Fists," a baroque fever-dream of a kung-fu flick. RZA plays a blacksmith who spends his days crafting weapons for the citizens of a particularly crime-ridden village in China. Russell Crowe, Lucy Liu, and Jamie Chung co-star. Hong Kong martial-arts legend Corey Yuen did the fight choreography so you know that, at the very least, the movie's high-flying action will be awesome.
Wreck-It Ralph (11/2) -- In this animated Disney flick, John C. Reilly plays a Donkey Kong-like villain of a 30-year-old video game who snaps and goes ape. Wanting to escape his bad-guy persona, he escapes into the world of one video game after another, hoping to prove to everyone that he can be a hero. The movie was met with raves when it screened at this year's Comic-Con. If you're a fan of animation and geeky gaming inside jokes, this might be the movie for you.
Skyfall (11/9) -- Following the release of the underwhelming "Quantum of Solace" in 2008, it looked uncertain whether or not there would be another 007 flick when its studio, MGM, went into bankruptcy. Fortunately, Bond is back. This time, Bond finds himself on the run and presumed dead after a mission goes pear-shaped in Istanbul. Javier Bardem plays a villain with a head of bleach-blonde hair.
Lincoln (11/16) -- Steven Spielberg might not have received much Oscar attention for his WWI epic "War Horse" in 2011, but things might be different this year. Daniel Day Lewis brings all of his freakish chameleon-like acting voodoo to the role of America's 16th president during the final days of his life. If this doesn't spell Oscar, then I don't know what does.
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 (11/16) -- As the "Twilight" saga winds down, we'll finally know what happens to Bella, now that she's tied the knot with her whey-faced beloved Edward and had their creepy love child Renesmee. Of course, the Volturi, that European bureaucracy of the undead, have taken a very dim view of our heroes' lifestyle choices. And while the movie itself promises some sparkly vampire-on-vampire violence, press events for the movie might prove to be just as tense following the very public real-life break up of stars Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson. What's a Twi-hard to do?