Gearing up for flurry of fall flicks
Heading back to school or college campus puts a crimp in filmgoing demographics as the lure of sports and social activities compete with the latest from Hollywood’s buzzing franchise factories. That swings September and October skeds into a mixture of new found-footage spins (“Paranormal Activity 4,” “Sinister”), a musical comedy exercise set in learning environments (“Pitch Perfect”), a slate of impassioned dramas to lure mature viewers from their big television and computer screens (“Argo,” “Trouble with Curves”), and family-friendly (“Frankenweenie,” “Finding Nemo,” “Hotel Transylvania”), along with cop/sci-fi thrillers (“End of the Watch,” “Looper,” “Dredd,” “House at the End of the Street”).
A peaking political documentary from the conservative makers of “Fireproof” asserts “2016:Obama’s America,” based on author Dinesh D’Souza’s “Roots of Obama’s Rage.” Don’t anticipate new insights, as the documentary follows the thesis that Obama’s politics has strong third world implications from his father in Kenya and early years with his mom in Indonesia. Expect lots of acted reenactments and another controversial propaganda versus ‘documentary’ debate.
From an auteur’s perspective, the aging spaghetti western and “dirty” cop hero Clint Eastwood plays a baseball scout experiencing “Trouble with the Curve” as he inches closer to a heavenly home plate. He takes his daughter (played by Amy Adams) with him on a recruiting trip where John Goodman, Matthew Lillard and Justin Timberlake adorn the stellar supporting cast. Clint’s not directing. Instead, Robert Lorenz (the producer of many of the icon’s flicks) takes the chair. You can’t help contemplating whether Dirty Harry’s preparing to make it a career in a manner reminiscent of “tough man” John Wayne, who played a cancer ridden lawman headed for a final high noon in “The Shootist.”
“The Words”: Rory (Bradley Cooper) wanted to write the great American novel. He did but he stole another man’s work. He’s going to pay steeply for the mistake. Dennis Quaid, Jeremy Irons, Olivia Wilde star.
“Cold Light of Day”: A Wall Street trader has hour to discover the connection between his family’s kidnapping in Spain and his dad’s secrets. Henry Cavill, Bruce Willis, Sigourney Weaver.
“Finding Nemo 3D”: A 2003 best animated film depicting the comedic and eventful journey of clownfish Marlin and his son Nemo.
“Resident Evil: Retribution”: Legions of flesh eaters overpower the planet and Alice (Milla Jovovich) delves deeper into those responsible for the outbreak.
“Dredd”: Mega City is the lone oasis on this cursed earth where Judge Dredd (Karl Urban) enforces, sentences and executes on the spot.
“End of Watch”: Riveting surveillance footage from handheld HD cameras place you up close and ducking for cover as police, gangs, and citizens face the mean streets. Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena.
“House at the End of the Street”: A newly divorced woman (Elisabeth Shue) and her daughter (Jennifer Lawrence) purchase a dream house in a rural town where next door a daughter slaughtered her parents.
“Trouble with the Curve”: Could this be Clint’s coup de grace?
“Hotel Transylvania 3D”: World-famous monsters (Frankenstein, The Invisible Man, Werewolves) travel to Dracula’s lavish resort to celebrate his daughter’s 118 birthday. Voices of Adam Sandler, Kevin James and Molly Shannon.
“Looper”: Time travel for hit men. The mob sends a mark back 30 years to be wasted by Joe (Joseph Gordon Levitt). What happens when Joe’s future self (Bruce Willis) is sent back for annihilation?
“Won’t Back Down”: Two mothers (Maggie Gyllenhaal and Viola Davis) fight bureaucracy to transform their children’s inner city school.
“Frankenweenie”: Tim Burton’s spin on a boy losing his dog and using a bit of science and a flash in the sky to bring his best friend back to life. Voices of Winona Ryder, Martin Landau and Martin Short.
“Pitch Perfect”: Glee goes to college as the a cappella group at an all-girl college regroups and competes with the guys in the finals. Anna Kendrick, Elizabeth Banks, Brittany Snow.
“Sinister”: A journalist moves into a house where found footage provides clues to a prior slaying in the house. Ethan Hawke.
“Taken 2”: A CIA agent in Istanbul (Liam Neeson) needs assistance from his daughter (Maggie Grace) to escape dudes seeking revenge for his prior assassination work.
“Argo”: You’ve seen the trailer – let’s hope it’s a compelling flick. During the Iran hostage crisis, six Americans have escaped to the Canadian embassy in Tehran. Ben Affleck comes up with a plan to bring the six out as part of a fake film crew.
“Here Comes the Boom”: Cutbacks threaten a school’s music program, so a former wrestler now teacher enters the mixed martial arts ring to raise bucks. Henry Winkler, Kevin James, Salma Hayek.
“Seven Psychopaths”: Screenwriter (Colin Farrell) falls into the dog kidnapping schemes of his two friends (Sam Rockwell and Christopher Walken) who have snatched gangster Mickey Rourke’s mutt.
“Atlas Shrugged Part 2”: The Ayn Rand story continues.
“Alex Cross”: Matthew Fox plays a serial killer facing homicide detective/psychologist (Tyler Perry) as investigator Alex Cross in the third James (“Kiss the Girls,” “Along Came a Spider”) Patterson thrillers that starred Morgan Freeman.