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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, September 28, 2012 - Volume 40 Issue 39
Autumn 2012 film preview (part 2)
Arts & Entertainment
ALL STORIES
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Autumn 2012 film preview (part 2)

Your guide to the season's new releases
by Sara Michelle Fetters - SGN A&E Writer

November and December are loaded with tons of potentially intriguing titles, most of which will have screened at either the Toronto or New York film festivals long before their respective releases. But potential Oscar-winners aside, there are plenty of genre popcorn entertainments to get excited about, not the least of which are the return of James Bond, Disney's Wreck-It Ralph, Peter Jackson's return to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien, and Quentin Tarantino tackling a Sergio Leone-style Western. Oh yeah, Bella and Edward finally see their romance come to its supposedly epic conclusion. Thank goodness for small favors.

The following titles are scheduled to hit Seattle theatres during the last two months of 2012. As always, release dates are subject to change.

NOVEMBER 2
Flight - Robert Zemeckis leaves the motion-capture world (thankfully) behind and directs his first live-action film since Castaway. Denzel Washington stars as an airline pilot who saves his plane after a disastrous malfunction threatens to kill everyone aboard. Oscar buzz is high on this one, especially for Washington.

The Man With the Iron Fists - Rap star RZA writes (along with Hostel filmmaker Eli Roth) and directs, Quentin Tarantino produces, and the likes of Russell Crowe, Rick Yune, Lucy Liu, and Pam Grier star in this genre mashup about a blacksmith (RZA) in feudal China forced to defend himself when a group of assassins descend upon his village to showcase their skills.

Wreck-It Ralph - The story of a 1980s video-game villain who gets tired of being the bad guy and decides to see what it would be like to finally be the hero, jumping from game to game to find a new one to call his own. Can't wait to see this one - it looks terrific.

NOVEMBER 9
Lincoln - Directed by Steven Spielberg. Starring Daniel Day-Lewis. Screenplay by Tony Kushner (Angels in America). Based on the book by Doris Kearns Goodwin. There's not a lot more to say.

Skyfall - Daniel Craig returns as James Bond, Agent 007 - the iconic Ian Fleming spy celebrating his 50th anniversary on the silver screen.

This Must Be the Place - Sean Penn is a retired rock star living in London who returns to New York to reconcile with his estranged father and discover the identity of the man persecuting him, an ex-Nazi war criminal now hiding out in the states.

NOVEMBER 16
Anna Karenina - The word out of Toronto was all over the map for this visual extravaganza, directed by Joe Wright (Atonement). Some called it an instant masterpiece while others labeled it a visually resplendent misfire. The one consensus? Star Keira Knightley is extraordinary, and might just land herself a second Best Actress Academy Award nomination.

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 - Bella, Edward, Jacob, a baby, the Volturi & wake me up when this laborious supernatural saga is finally over.

NOVEMBER 21
Life of Pi - Ang Lee's (Brokeback Mountain) 3D adaptation of Yann Martel's supposedly unfilmable novel. The early looks are eye-popping - here's hoping the final product lives up to the hype.

Red Dawn - Long-delayed (thanks to MGM's bankruptcy two years ago) remake of the still-popular John Milius 1984 original staring Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Josh Hutcherson (The Hunger Games) and Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Watchmen). Wolverines!!!

Rise of the Guardians - Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, Jack Frost, and the Tooth Fairy join forces to save the day from a villain intent on stealing innocence away from the world's children. Based on the acclaimed book by William Joyce.

Silver Linings Playbook - The most talked-about film out of Toronto (even more so than The Master), David O. Russell's (The Fighter) latest has announced itself as an instant Best Picture front-runner while star Jennifer Lawrence has become the instant consensus pick to win Best Actress. Bradley Cooper is a former mental patient who moves back in with his parents while he tries to reconcile with his ex-wife.

Rust and Bone - Cannes favorite with Academy Award-winner Marion Cotillard and Baghead star Matthias Schoenaerts, involving a brother and sister reconnecting after the latter suffers a horrific accident involving some killer whales. Directed by the great Jacques Audiard (A Prophet).

NOVEMBER 30
The Collection - Bizarre-sounding thriller about a young man escaping the clutches of a killer known as "The Collector" only to be abducted by the wealthy father of another young woman snatched by the madman and then forced to lead a group of mercenaries back into his lair to free her. A B-movie, sure, but one that has me strangely intrigued.

Killing Them Softly - Andrew Dominik's (The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford) latest garnered rave reviews out of Cannes and revolves around a professional enforcer tasked with learning the truth behind a heist during a mob-protected poker game. Brad Pitt, Richard Jenkins, Ray Liotta, and James Gandolfini star.

DECEMBER 7
Playing for Keeps - Gerard Butler as a former soccer star forced into coaching his son's team, finding redemption in the process. Yeah, doesn't sound particularly original to me either.

Hyde Park on Hudson - Bill Murray as President Franklin D. Roosevelt - that's the eye-catching headline as far as this dramatic comedy from director Roger Michell (Morning Glory, Venus) is concerned. The word out of Toronto wasn't exactly euphoric, but I'm still curious to get a look at this one.

DECEMBER 14
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey - Director Peter Jackson returns to the Shire and the world of J.R.R. Tolkien with this first of three film adaptations of the author's famed The Lord of the Rings prequel novel. (Sorry, no Smaug until the second film.)

Les Misérables - Tom Hooper follows up The King's Speech with this adaptation of the Broadway musical, itself adapted from the classic novel by Victor Hugo. Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, and Anne Hathaway star.

DECEMBER 19
Monsters, Inc. 3D - Disney follows up the recent 3D conversion of Pixar's Finding Nemo with another re-release, this one auguring the arrival of Monsters University in the summer of 2013.

Zero Dark Thirty - Director Kathryn Bigelow and writer Mark Boal follow-up their Oscar-winning thriller The Hurt Locker with this minute-by-minute examination of the incursion into Pakistan that led to the death of Osama bin Laden. One of the year's most anticipated films.

DECEMBER 21
The Impossible - Juan Antonio Bayona (The Orphanage) directed this drama about the 2004 Thailand tsunami, staring Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor as a vacationing husband and wife desperately searching for one another (and their kids) after the initial waves devastate the country's coastline.

Jack Reacher - Tom Cruise takes on the guise of author Lee Child's popular antihero, the driven detective finding himself in the middle of a conspiracy involving a military sniper who may have murdered five supposedly random civilians.

Not Fade Away - Writer/director David Chase (The Sopranos) brings us the story of an up-and-coming New Jersey rock band in the 1960s. Not exactly original, but considering Chase's resume, I'm moderately intrigued.

On the Road - Walter Salles' (The Motorcycle Diaries) star-studded (Amy Adams, Garrett Hedlund, Viggo Mortensen, Kristen Stewart, Steve Buscemi, Sam Riley, Terrence Howard) adaptation of the iconic Jack Kerouac novel finally hits the screen for its general release, the director supposedly having tinkered mightily with it after its premiere at Cannes and before its recent screening in Toronto.

This Is 40 - Judd Apatow's sorta-sequel to Knocked Up, focusing on the couple portrayed by Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann, profiling their lives a few years after the events of that earlier film.

DECEMBER 25
Django Unchained - Quentin Tarantino's latest B-movie genre mash-up stars Jamie Foxx as a former slave teaming up with a professional bounty hunter (Christoph Waltz), intent on freeing his wife (Kerry Washington) from a despicable plantation owner (Leonardo DiCaprio) known for his sadistic treatment of all those who come into his line of fire.

The Guilt Trip - Barbra Streisand returns as a driven mother eager to help her son (Seth Rogen) sell his latest invention. Anne Fletcher (The Proposal) directs from a screenplay by Dan Fogelman (Crazy, Stupid, Love).

Parental Guidance - Billy Crystal and Bette Midler team up in this comedy as a pair of loving grandparents who find themselves in over their head when their beleaguered daughter (Marisa Tomei) asks them to look after her kids when she's forced to head out of town for work.

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