2012 Fall Film Guide

(Re-posted from LimitéMagazine.com)

September 5, 2012

Labor Day has passed, and now it’s time to consider this year’s crop of what will inevitably be considered some of Oscar’s biggest fodder. It’s no surprise that when it comes to the Academy Awards, the movies that are most likely to be honored with a nomination are those that are released towards the end of the year. Some of this year’s frontrunners appear to be ArgoDjango UnchainedThe Hobbit: An Unexpected JourneyHyde Park on HudsonLife of PiLincolnThe MasterLes MisérablesSilver Linings PlaybookWreck-It Ralph, and Zero Dark Thirty. Of course, there’s plenty of other flicks to look forward to, spanning all genres and audience interests.

Note: All non-authored pieces’ loglines are courtesy of IMDb.com.



Director: Leslye Headland

Cast: Lizzy Caplan, Kirsten Dunst, Isla Fisher, James Marsden, Adam Scott, Rebel Wilson

Genre: Comedy

Website: bachelorettemovie.com

Release Date: September 7

Logline: Three friends are asked to be bridesmaids at a wedding of a woman they used to ridicule back in high school.


Directors: Jamie Bradshaw, Aleksandr Dulerayn

Cast: Anna Abonisimova, Ingeborga Dapkunaite, Mariya Ignatova, Leelee Sobieski, Jeffrey Tambor, Max von Sydow

Genres: Action, Drama, Mystery

Website: brandedmovie.com

Release Date: September 7

Logline: Set in a dystopian future where corporate brands have created a disillusioned population, one man’s effort to unlock the truth behind the conspiracy will lead to an epic battle with hidden forces that control the world.


Director: Mabrouk El Mechri

Cast: Henry Cavill, Sigourney Weaver, Bruce Willis

Genres: Action, Thriller

Website: thecoldlightofday.com

Release Date: September 7

Logline: After his family is kidnapped during their sailing trip inSpain, a young Wall Street trader is confronted by the people responsible: intelligence agents looking to recover a mysterious briefcase.


Director: Jacob Aaron Estes

Cast: Elizabeth Banks, Dennis Haysbert, Laura Linney, Ray Liotta, Tobey Maguire, Kerry Washington

Genre: Comedy

Release Date: September 7

Logline: When a family of raccoons discovers worms living underneath the sod in Jeff’s and Nealy’s backyard, this pest problem begins a darkly comic and wild chain reaction of domestic tension, infidelity, and murder.


Directors: Brian Klugman, Lee Sternthal

Cast: Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Irons, Dennis Quaid, Zoe Saldana, J.K. Simmons, Olivia Wilde

Genres: Drama, Romance

Website: thewordsmovie.com

Release Date: September 7

Logline: A writer at the peak of his literary success discovers the steep price he must pay for stealing another man’s work.


Director: Jamie Linden

Cast: Rosario Dawson, Ari Graynor, Justin Long, Anthony Mackie, Kata Mara, AubreyPlaza, Chris Pratt, Channing Tatum

Genres: Comedy, Drama, Romance

Release Date: September 14

Logline: The night before their high school reunion, a group of friends realize they still haven’t quite grown up in some ways.


Director: Nicholas Jarecki

Cast: Richard Gere, Brit Marling, Tim Roth, Susan Sarandon

Genres: Drama, Romance

Release Date: September 14

Logline: A troubled hedge fund magnate desperate to complete the sale of his trading empire makes an error that forces him to turn to an unlikely person for help.


Director: Josh Radnor

Cast: Zac Efron, Allison Janney, Richard Jenkins, Elizabeth Olsen, Josh Radnor, Elizabeth Reaser

Genres: Comedy, Drama

Release Date: September 14

Logline: When 30-something Jesse returns to his alma mater for a professor’s retirement party, he falls for Zibby, a college student, and is faced with a powerful attraction that springs up between them.


by Saidah Russell

Director: Paul Thomas Anderson

Cast: Amy Adams, Laura Dern, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Joaquin Phoenix

Genre: Drama

Website: themasterfilm.com

Release Date: September 14


Not since There Will be Blood in 2009 has Academy Award-nominated director Paul Thomas Anderson had a film in theaters. This month, however, Anderson’s work will once again grace the screen, and critics anticipate his newest project, The Master, will make up for the wait. The film stars Philip Seymour Hoffman, a frequent Anderson collaborator, as the intellectual and religious leader Lancaster Dodd. Central to the story is the relationship between Dodd and an unhinged, traumatized World War II veteran, played by Joaquin Phoenix, whom Dodd takes under his wing. Due to its subject matter and the uncanny resemblance of Hoffman to another, more infamous religious leader, many have assumed Anderson’s film to be based on a history of Scientology—assumptions which Anderson and the cast refute. In interviews, Anderson has sought to diminish the connections between The Master and Scientology. While admitting there are certain similarities, he encourages viewers to look beyond the obvious. Considering Anderson’s body of work, it seems likely that The Master will offer enough nuance and complexity to leave audiences pondering its themes long after they’ve left the theater.


Director: Paul W.S. Anderson

Cast: Sienna Guillory, Milla Jovovich, Michelle Rodriguez

Genres: Action, Horror, Sci-fi

Website: residentevil-movie.com

Release Date: September 14

Logline: Alice fights alongside a resistance movement in the continuing battle against the Umbrella Corporation and the undead.


Director: Stephen Elliott

Cast: James Franco, Heather Graham, Ashley Hinshaw, Dev Patel

Genre: Drama

Website: therumpus.net/cherry

Release Date: September 21

Logline: A drama centered on a troubled young woman who moves to San Francisco, where she gets involved in pornography and aligns herself with a cocaine-addicted lawyer.



Director: Ryan O’Nan

Cast: Arielle Kebbel, Melissa Leo, Ryan O’Nan, Wilmer Valderrama, Michael Weston

Genres: Comedy, Music

Website: brooklynbrothersmovie.com

Release Date: September 21

Logline: A singer-songwriter hits the road with a self-appointed music revolutionary.



Directors: Lisa Immordino Vreeland, Bent-Jorgen Perlmutt, Frédéric Tcheng

Cast: Diana Vreeland

Genre: Documentary

Release Date: September 21

Logline: A look at the life and work of the influential fashion editor of Harpers Bazaar, Diana Vreeland.


Director: Pete Travis

Cast: Lena Headey, Olivia Thirlby, Karl Urban

Genres: Action, Sci-fi, Thriller

Website: dreddthemovie.com

Release Date: September 21

Logline: In a violent, futuristic city where the police have the authority to act as judge, jury, and executioner, a cop teams with a trainee to take down a gang that deals the reality-altering drug SLO-MO.


Director: David Ayer

Cast: America Ferrera, Jake Gyllenhaal, Anna Kendrick, Michael Peña

Genres: Crima, Drama, Mystery

Release Date: September 21

Logline: Two young officers are marked for death after confiscating a small cache of money and firearms from the members of a notorious cartel during a routine traffic stop.



Director: Mark Tonderai

Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Elizabeth Shue, Max Thieriot

Genres: Horror, Thriller

Release Date: September 21

Logline: A mother and daughter move to a new town and find themselves living next door to a house where a young girl murdered her parents. When the daughter befriends the surviving son, she learns the story is far from over.



Director: Stephen Chbosky

Cast: Logan Lerman, Dylan McDermott, Ezra Miller, Paul Rudd, Emma Watson

Genres: Drama, Romance

Website: perks-of-being-a-wallflower.com

Release Date: September 21

Logline: An introvert freshman is taken under the wings of two seniors who welcome him to the real world.


Director: Robert Lorenz

Cast: Amy Adams, Clint Eastwood, John Goodman, Matthew Lillard, Justin Timberlake

Genre: Drama

Release Date: September 21

Logline: An ailing baseball scout in his twilight years takes his daughter along for one last recruiting trip.


Director: Genndy Tartakovsky

Cast: Steve Buscemi, Selena Gomez, Kevin James, Andy Samberg, Adam Sandler, David Spade

Genres: Animation, Comedy, Family

Website: welcometohotelt.com

Release Date: September 28

Logline: Dracula, who operates a high-end resort away from the human world, goes into overprotective mode when a boy discovers the resort and falls for the count’s teenage daughter.


Director: Rian Johnson

Cast: Emily Blunt, Jeff Daniels, Paul Dano, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Piper Perabo, Bruce Willis

Genres: Action, Sci-fi

Website: loopermovie.com

Release Date: September 28

Logline: In 2072, when the mob wants to get rid of someone the target is sent 30 years into the past, where a hired gun awaits. One day, Joe learns the mob wants to “close the loop” by transporting back Joe’s future self.


Director: Daniel Barnz

Cast: Viola Davis, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Holly Hunter, Oscar Isaac, Rosie Perez, Ving Rhames

Genre: Drama

Release Date: September 28

Logline: Two determined mothers­—one a teacher—look to transform their children’s failing inner city school. Facing a powerful and entrenched bureaucracy, they risk everything to make a difference in the education and future of their children.



Director: Jim Field Smith

Cast: Ty Burrell, Jennifer Garner, Hugh Jackman, Yara Shahidi, Alicia Silverstone, Olivia Wilde

Genre: Comedy

Release Date: October 5

Logline: In small-town Iowa, an adopted girl discovers her talent for butter carving and finds herself pitted against an ambitious local woman in their town’s annual contest.



Directors: Susan Frömke, Matthew Heineman

Genre: Documentary

Website: escapefiremovie.com

Release Date: October 5

Logline: An investigative documentary that uncovers the US healthcare system’s true design.


Director: Tim Burton

Cast: Martin Landau, Catherine O’Hara, Winona Ryder, Martin Short

Genres: Animation, Comedy

Website: disney.go.com/frankenweenie

Release Date: October 5

Logline: Young Victor conducts a science experiment to bring his beloved dog Sparky back to life, only to face unintended, sometimes monstrous, consequences.


Director: Lee Daniels

Cast: John Cusack, Zac Efron, Macy Gray, Nicole Kidman, Matthew McConaughey, David Oyelowo

Genre: Thriller

Website: thepaperboy-movie.com

Release Date: October 5

Logline: A reporter returns to his Florida hometown to investigate a case involving a death row inmate.


Director: Jason Moore

Cast: Elizabeth Banks, Anna Kendrick, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Brittany Snow, Rebel Wilson

Genres: Comedy, Music

Website: pitchperfectmovie.com

Release Date: October 5

Logline: Beca, a freshman at Barden University, is cajoled into joining The Bellas, her school’s all-girls singing group. Injecting some much needed energy into their repertoire, The Bellas take on their male rivals in a campus competition.


Director: Scott Derrickson

Cast: Vincent D’Onofrio, Ethan Hawke, James Ransone, Juliet Rylance

Genres: Crime, Horror, Thriller

Website: haveyouseenhim.com

Release Date: October 5

Logline: Found footage helps a true-crime novelist realize how and why a family was murdered in his new home, though his discoveries put his entire family in the path of a supernatural entity.


Director: Olivier Megaton

Cast: Maggie Grace, Famke Janssen, Liam Neeson

Genres: Action, Crime, Drama

Release Date: October 5

Logline: In Istanbul, retired CIA operative Bryan Mills and his wife are taken hostage by the father of a kidnapper Mills killed while rescuing his daughter.


Directors: David Bruckner, et al.

Cast: Lane Hughes, Calvin Reeder, Adam Wingard

Genres: Horror, Thriller

Website: magnetreleasing.com/vhs

Release Date: October 5

Logline: When a group of misfits is hired by an unknown third party to burglarize a desolate house and acquire a rare VHS tape, they discover more found footage than they bargained for.


by Morgan Goldin

Director: Ben Affleck

Cast: Ben Affleck, Alan Arkin, Kyle Chandler, Bryan Cranston, John Goodman, Chris Messina, Taylor Schilling

Genres: Drama, Thriller

Website: argothemovie.warnerbros.com

Release Date: October 12


Based on the 2007 Wired article “How the CIA Used a Fake Sci-Fi Flick to Rescue Americans from Tehran,” written by Joshua Bearman, Argo tells the story of how the governments of Canada and the United States teamed up to rescue six US diplomats from Tehran, Iran during the 1979 Iran hostage crisis. The premise is one of those fantastical scenarios that you wouldn’t believe was true unless somebody said otherwise. The Canadian and American governments convinced Iran that the six hostages were part of a film crew who were scouting locations for a non-existent movie called Argo. The fake film even featured real designs from renown comic book illustrator Jack “The King” Kirby, as well as a screenplay from Barry Ira Geller for an adaptation of Lord of Light. Amazingly, the con worked, and the hostages were able to escape under the guise of their fake identities.

The project was initiated the same year the article was released, under producers George Clooney and Grant Heslov. Ben Affleck’s involvement came in February 2011. Production photography began in Los Angeleson September 2011, with later filming in Istanbul and finally wrapping in Washington, on location at the CIA headquarters and State Department in November 2011. After Gone Baby Gone (2007) and The Town (2010), Affleck has recently proven himself a very skillful director, molded as a Sidney Lumet dramatist with the verve of a Michael Mann stylist. This political thriller looks to play to his strengths as a filmmaker. The trailer makes this film seem promising, an entertaining look at a very turbulent time of global affairs set during recent history.


Director: Frank Coraci

Cast: Salma Hayek, Kevin James, Henry Winkler

Genre: Comedy

Release Date: October 12

Logline: A high school biology teacher looks to become a successful mixed martial arts fighter in an effort to raise money to prevent extracurricular activities from being axed at his cash-strapped school.


by Curtis John

Director: Martin McDonagh

Cast: Abbie Cornish, Colin Farrell, Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell, Gabourey Sidibe, Tom Waits, Christopher Walken

Genre: Comedy

Website: sevenpsychopaths.com

Release Date: October 12


From Academy Award-winning writer-director Martin McDonagh comes Seven Psychopaths, a comedy about a struggling screenwriter (Farrell) who inadvertently becomes entangled in the Los Angeles criminal underworld when his oddball friends (Rockwell and Walken) kidnap a gangster’s (Harrleson) Shih Tzu dog.

Premiering at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 7th and releasing in the US this October, Seven Psycopaths reunites McDonagh with actor Colin Farrell, who he directed in the irreverent Oscar-nominated crime comedy In Bruges (2008). In an interview on IrishAmerica.com, McDonagh states how much he enjoys making a movie in Hollywood—the arts-heavy Silverlake region of Los Angeles, to be specific—withPsychopaths being his first United States production. He said, “I like having towns as characters in a film. In Bruges was obviously that, but I wanted LA to have the same quality that Bruges did … and hopefully that’s there.”

In the same article, Farrell agrees and extends his confidence in McDonagh. Farrell said, “I love his work and his sensibility … Martin’s writing is always so unique, I just fell in love with him as a writer and then as a man.”


Director: James Ponsoldt

Cast: Megan Mullally, Nick Offerman, Aaron Paul, Octavia Spencer, Mary Elizabeth Winstead

Genres: Comedy, Drama

Release Date: October 12

Logline: A married couple whose bond is built on a mutual love of alcohol gets their relationship put to the test when the wife decides to get sober.


Director: Rob Cohen

Cast: Edward Burns, Giancarlo Esposito, Matthew Fox, Rachel Nichols, Tyler Perry, Cicely Tyson

Genres: Crime, Mystery, Thriller

Release Date: October 19

Logline: A detective is told that a member of his family has been murdered. He vows to track down the killer.


Director: Andrew Dominik

Cast: James Gandolfini, Richard Jenkins, Ray Liotta, Brad Pitt

Genres: Crime, Thriller

Website: killingthemsoftlymovie.com

Release Date: October 19

Logline: Jackie Cogan is a professional enforcer who investigates a heist that went down during a mob-protected poker game.


Directors: Henry Joost, Ariel Schulman

Cast: Katie Featherston, Kathryn Newton, Matt Shively

Genre: Horror

Website: paranormalmovie.com

Release Date: October 19

Logline: (Plot undisclosed)


Directors: Michael Apted, Curtis Hanson

Cast: Gerard Butler, Elizabeth Shue, Jonny Weston

Genres: Drama, Sport

Release Date: October 26

Logline: When young Jay Moriarty discovers that the mythic Mavericks surf break, one of the biggest waves on Earth, exists just miles from his Santa Cruz home, he enlists the help of local legend Frosty Hesson to train him to survive it.


Directors: Tom Tykwer, Andy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski

Cast: Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent, Hugh Grant, Tom Hanks, Susan Sarandon, Jim Sturgess, Hugo Weaving, Ben Whishaw

Genres: Drama, Mystery, Sci-fi

Website: cloudatlas.warnerbros.com

Release Date: October 26

Logline: An exploration of how the actions of individual lives impact one another in the past, present, and future, as one soul is shaped from a killer into a hero, and an act of kindness ripples across centuries to inspire a revolution.


Director: Josh Schwartz

Cast: Chelsea Handler, Victoria Justice, Johnny Knoxville

Genre: Comedy

Website: paramount.com/funsize

Release Date: October 26

Logline: Wren’s plan to attend a huge Halloween party thrown by the guy she likes goes awry when she’s put in charge of her oddball little brother, who quickly wanders off on his own.


Director: Ben Lewin

Cast: John Hawkes, Helen Hunt, William H. Macy

Genre: Drama

Release Date: October 26

Logline: A man in an iron lung who wishes to lose his virginity contacts a professional sex surrogate with the help of his therapist and priest.


Director: Michael J. Bassett

Cast: Sean Bean, Malcolm McDowell, Radha Mitchell, Carrie-Anne Moss

Genres: Horror, Mystery, Thriller

Release Date: October 26

Logline: When her father disappears, Heather Mason is drawn into a strange and terrifying alternate reality that holds answers to the horrific nightmares that have plagued her since childhood.



Director: Robert Zemeckis

Cast: Don Cheadle, John Goodman, Melissa Leo, Kelly Reilly, Denzel Washington

Genre: Drama

Release Date: November 2

Logline: An airline pilot saves a flight from crashing, but an investigation into the malfunctions reveals something troubling.


Director: RZA

Cast: Jamie Chung, Russell Crowe, Cung Le, Lucy Liu, RZA

Genre: Action

Website: ironfists.com

Release Date: November 2

Logline: In feudal China, a blacksmith who makes weapons for a small village is put in the position where he must defend himself and his fellow villagers.


by Janice Y. Perez

Director: Rich Moore

Cast: Mindy Kaling, Jane Lynch, Jack McBrayer, Ed O’Neill, John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman

Genres: Animation, Comedy, Family

Website: disney.go.com/wreck-it-ralph

Release Date: November 2


When the animated film Wreck-It Ralph was presented to audiences in San Diego’s Comic-Con in July, it was the one Disney film that hardly anyone felt excited about, considering its low-key actors and a little-known director. But that all changed after the film’s trailer was screened, as Wreck-It Ralph became the Disney film that got everyone buzzing. The original story is about an 8-bit video game’s villain making the giant leap to the lighter side.

The titular character, Ralph (voiced by Reilly), has gotten bored and tired of being the agent of destruction in the arcade game Fix-It Felix, Jr., a loathed task of his for the last 30 years. Ralph discovers other video game villains who feel the same way he does (like actual characters, Zangief in Street Fighter and Bowser from Super Mario), but he is the only one audacious enough to finally abandon his world in Fix-It Felix, Jr. He embarks on a super, high-powered adventure, teleporting from one video game to another in the arcade dimension to discover his full potential, and for once look forward to him actually saving the day.


by Morgan Goldin

Director: Steven Spielberg

Cast: Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field, Walton Goggins, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Jackie Earle Haley, Jared Harris, John Hawkes, Tommy Lee Jones, James Spader, David Strathairn, Michael Stuhlbarg

Genres: Biography, Drama, History

Release Date: November 9


A towering epic covering one of the great American leaders is coming to multiplexes this fall. The fact that a biopic on Abraham Lincoln, inarguably one of the preeminent presidents in American history, is being filmed by Steven Spielberg, inarguably one of the preeminent directors in American filmmaking, is incredibly appropriate. Rather than focusing on Lincoln’s early life or whole tenure as president, the film covers the final months of Lincoln’s life. This involves the passing of the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution (abolishing slavery forever), the Reconstruction of the South, and Lincoln’s assassination at Ford’s Theatre.

This project has long been gestating for Steven Spielberg. One of the reasons for the delays was because the studio, Paramount Pictures, felt that the film would be too similar to Amistad (1997), which was unsuccessful at the box office. During that time, the script had been through various writers before Spielberg brought in the brilliant playwright Tony Kushner, whom he previously worked with on the masterful film Munich (2005). Liam Neeson was attached to play the titular role in the beginning stages, but had dropped out in July 2010, saying to GMTV that he was “too old to play the former commander-in-chief.” However, in November 2010, Daniel Day-Lewis had stepped in Neeson’s place and took over the role. Considering Day-Lewis’s Buddhist-like devotion to method acting, where he completely immerses himself into the role, anticipation for this film has massively increased. Reviewing his legendary work in other rich historical pictures like The Last of the Mohicans (1992), The Age of Innocence (1993), The Crucible (1996), Gangs of New York (2002), and There Will Be Blood (2007), it’s not hard to see why.


by Morgan Goldin

Director: Sam Mendes

Cast: Javier Bardem, Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, Ralph Fiennes, Albert Finney, Helen McCrory, Ben Whishaw

Genres: Action, Adventure, Thriller

Website: 007.com/skyfall

Release Date: November 9


Ian Fleming’s beloved British spy James Bond is back in his 23rd outing on the big screen. Unlike previous entries in the series, Skyfall doesn’t follow the narrative thread established from the prior Bond movie, Quantum of Solace (2008). According to producer Barbara Broccoli, the series “will go on to other different stories from now on.” In this chapter, Bond’s allegiance to M is put to the test as mysterious figures from her past come back and threaten her. Bond must put an end to this threat, by any means necessary.

Skyfall marks Daniel Craig’s third time playing the debonair 007 spy. His interpretation of the iconic character goes in a different and much darker direction than previous actors who have handled the iconic character. Craig brings a hardened intensity to the role, eschewing a no-nonsense approach to the proceedings. This allows for a more violent character, where Bond erupts in certain fits of animalistic savagery at points. Craig’s Bond is the only Bond to exude any real sense of menace. When this is matched with the formidable talents of filmmaker Sam Mendes (whose own oeuvre includes such morally questionable characters featured inAmerican Beauty, Road to Perdition, and Jarhead), Skyfall is sure to be a remarkable entry in the legendary film series.


Director: Joe Wright

Cast: Aaron Johnson, Keira Knightley, Jude Law, Kelly Macdonald, Matthew Macfadyen

Genre: Drama

Website: focusfeatures.com/anna_karenina

Release Date: November 16

Logline: Set in late 19th-centuryRussia high-society, the aristocrat Anna Karenina enters into a life-changing affair with the affluent Count Vronsky.


Director: Jacques Audiard

Cast: Marion Cotillard, Matthias Schoenaerts, Armand Verdure

Genres: Drama, Mystery

Release Date: November 16

Logline: Put in charge of his young son, Ali leaves Belgium for Antibes to live with his sister and her husband as a family. Ali’s bond with Stephanie, a killer whale trainer, grows deeper after Stephanie suffers a horrible accident.



by Stephanie Dawson

Director: Bill Condon

Cast: Dakota Fanning, Maggie Grace, Taylor Lautner, Kellan Lutz, Robert Pattinson, Nikki Reed, Michael Sheen, Kristen Stewart

Genres: Adventure, Drama, Fantasy

Website: breakingdawn-themovie.com

Release Date: November 16


In the epic conclusion of the much beloved series, Bella has a blissful start to her new life as a vampire and mother to the half-human/half-vampire child Renesmee. However, when rumors spread that the child is a vampire who was bitten—not born—both the Quileute wolf pack and the vampire ruling family, the Vultori, threaten to destroy the child. Edward, Bella, and the Cullens must again face their two most feared enemies. This time they are fully aided by Jacob, who “imprinted” on Renesmee, forming a life-long bond, and will stop at nothing to protect her.

The final chapter of the Twilight Saga expands into the world beyond Forks, presenting vampire covens and nomad vampires from around the world. The half-breed child is also an addition to the Twilight mythology. She grows at a rapid pace, and three actresses were used to portray the child throughout the film. Melissa Rosenberg wrote all of the screenplay adaptations for the series, though each film has had a different director up until Breaking Dawn, which was split into two films and shot simultaneously.


by John Lee

Director: Ang Lee

Cast: Gérard Depardieu, Adil Hussain, Irrfan Khan, Suraj Sharma

Genres: Adventure, Drama

Website: lifeofpimovie.com

Release Date: November 21


Adapted from the 2001 best-selling novel of the same name by Yann Martel, Life of Pi tells the story of a 16-year-old boy named Pi who is the lone survivor of a sinking freighter. He finds himself adrift at sea on a lifeboat with an orangutan, a hyena, a wounded zebra, and a hungry Bengal tiger.

Acclaimed filmmakers like M. Night Shyamalan, Alfonso Cuarón, and Jean-Pierre Jeunet each tried and failed to adapt the novel for the big screen. When 20th Century Fox approached director Ang Lee to take on the project he immediately thought it was unmakeable. “All we have is difficulty: water, kids, animals, and 3D. Everything you should avoid in this business, it’s all put together.” Ultimately, Lee’s attraction to the book’s exploration of faith swayed him into taking on the project. “It’s a story about God, not necessarily about religion. Pi goes through a test, and without faith there’s no way to make it through a journey.”

Lee had to rely on a lot of faith dealing with the aforementioned obstacles, as well as filming in 3D for the first time. Taking his high-tech cameras in the churning water tanks of a Taiwan sound stage used to simulate the open sea was a big risk, but it seems like the risk may have paid off. Fox screened 10 minutes of footage from the film during this past July’s Comic-Con to overwhelming positive responses from theater owners. The film is now generating awards buzz, not just in major categories, which Lee is used to, but in the visual effects category, as well. Life of Pi is set to open the New York Film Festival on September 28th.


Director: Dan Bradley

Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Josh Hutcherson, Isabel Lucas, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Adrianne Palicki

Genre: Action

Release Date: November 21

Logline: A group of teenagers look to save their town from an invasion of North Korean soldiers.


Director: Peter Ramsey

Cast: Alec Baldwin, Isla Fisher, Hugh Jackman, Jude Law, Chris Pine

Genres: Adventure, Animation, Family

Website: riseoftheguardians.com

Release Date: November 21

Logline: When the evil spirit Pitch launches an assault on Earth, the Immortal Guardians team up to protect the innocence of children all around the world.


by Curtis John

Director: David O. Russell

Cast: Bradley Cooper, Robert De Niro, Jennifer Lawrence, Julia Stiles, Chris Tucker, Jacki Weaver

Genres: Comedy, Drama

Release Date: November 21


Former teacher Pat Solitano lost everything—his house, his job, and his wife. Now, after a stint in a mental institution, he finds himself living back with his parents. Determined to rebuild his life, remain positive, and reunite with his wife despite the challenging circumstances of their separation, things change course sharply when Pat meets Tiffany, a mysterious and mentally unstable young woman still dealing with severe depression after her husband’s death. Tiffany offers to help Pat reconnect with his wife, but only if he’ll do something very important for her. As their deal plays out, an unexpected bond begins to form between them, and silver linings appear in both of their lives.

Based on the book by Matthew Quick, Silver Linings Playbook stars Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence, both of whom have starred in two of the highest-grossing movies in recent times and are currently huge box office draws. Silver Linings also marks a comeback for actor/comedian Chris Tucker, who has been on a self-imposed hiatus since his hit Rush Hour movies. All that combined with David O. Russell’s (The Fighter, 2010) direction make Silver Linings a highly anticipated holiday hit.



Director: Stefan Ruzowitzky

Cast: Eric Bana, Charlie Hunnam, Kris Kristofferson, Kate Mara, Sissy Spacek, Olivia Wilde, Treat Williams

Genres: Crime, Drama, Thriller

Website: magpictures.com/deadfall

Release Date: December 7

Logline: Siblings Addison and Liza are on the run with the stolen loot from a casino job gone horribly wrong. Meanwhile, troubled ex-boxer Jay heads for Thanksgiving dinner with his parents, June and retired sheriff Chet. What will happen when their worlds collide in a twist of fate?


Director: Roger Michell

Cast: Laura Linney, Bill Murray, Olivia Williams

Genres: Biography, Comedy, Drama

Website: focusfeatures.com/hyde_park_on_hudson

Release Date: December 7

Logline: The story of the love affair between FDR and his distant cousin Margaret Stuckley, centered around the weekend in 1939 when the King and Queen of the United Kingdom visited upstate New York.


Director: Gabriele Muccino

Cast: Jessica Biel, Gerard Butler, Judy Greer, Dennis Quaid, Uma Thurman, Catherine Zeta-Jones

Genres: Comedy, Drama, Sport

Release Date: December 7

Logline: A former sports star who’s fallen on hard times starts coaching his son’s soccer team in an attempt to get his life together.



by Morgan Goldin

Director: Peter Jackson

Cast: Richard Armitage, Cate Blanchett, Orlando Bloom, Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman, Evangeline Lilly, Ian McKellen, Andy Serkis, Hugo Weaving, Elijah Wood

Genres: Adventure, Fantasy

Release Date: December 14


The long-awaited prequel to the globally popular Lord of the Rings saga finally hits the screen next winter. In this chapter, Bilbo Baggins (Wood) must trek to the Lonely Mountain to get back a treasure that was stolen by the dragon Smaug. After much developmental stalls and financial fall-outs (exquisite horror/fantasy filmmaker Guillermo del Toro was at one point pegged to direct), Peter Jackson finally stepped into the director’s chair and brought another entry into this well-venerated series.

Since the release of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, movie screens have been flooded with other adaptations of popular book series, the most notables being Harry Potter and Twilight. In the meantime, audiences around the world have awaited another cinematic journey into JRR Tolkien’s profoundly dense mythology. One of the qualities that separate these films from other would-be fantasy epics is that Lord of the Rings treats the material in ardent sincerity and doesn’t pander to audiences. These films demand a lot on the part of viewers, but at the same time offer deeply satisfying experiences. As such, they’ve been rewarded with mega-blockbuster box office and well-regarded critical acclaim. This is one of the most eagerly anticipated releases of 2012. You should probably have gotten your ticket yesterday.


by Daniel Quitério

Director: Tom Hooper

Cast: Helena Bonham Carter, Sacha Baron Cohen, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, Hugh Jackman, Eddie Redmayne, Amanda Seyfried

Genres: Drama, Musical

Website: lesmiserablesfilm.com

Release Date: December 14


The epic Broadway musical based on the eponymous book by Victor Hugo hits the big screen this December. In Les Misérables, former prisoner Jean Valjean (Jackman) breaks parole and becomes mayor of a French town. He finds himself having to take care of the young Cosette, daughter of the beleaguered Fantine (Hathaway), all the while steering clear of police inspector Javert (Crowe). The film’s partial backdrop is the 1832 June Rebellion inParis, contributing to the grit and struggle that frame the entire story.

Though the novel has been adapted for television and film numerous times, this version takes its queues from the staged musical adaptation, featuring the beloved songs that audiences embraced back in 1987, when the play made its Broadway debut. (It went on to last for over 16 years and 6,680 performances in its original run, making it one of Broadway’s longest-running shows.)

Oscar-winning filmmaker Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech, 2010) takes the helm of this ambitious production that features some of Hollywood’s most multi-talented artists (i.e., they can sing and act), including Jackman, Crowe, Seyfried, and Hathaway. From the looks of it, Hathaway is primed to score her second Oscar nomination for playing the tortured Fantine—one of Broadway’s most cherished roles.


Director: Michael Haneke

Cast: Isabelle Huppert, Emmanuelle Riva, Jean-Louis Trintignant

Genre: Drama

Release Date: December 19

Logline: Georges and Anne are in their eighties. They are cultivated, retired music teachers. Their daughter, who is also a musician, lives abroad with her family. One day, Anne has an attack. The couple’s bond of love is severely tested.


by Janice Y. Perez

Director: Kathryn Bigelow

Cast: Kyle Chandler, Jessica Chastain, Joel Edgerton, Jennifer Ehle, Chris Pratt, Édgar Ramírez, Mark Strong

Genres: Action, Drama, History

Website: zerodarkthirty-movie.com

Release Date: December 19


In military parlance, the phrase “zero dark thirty” refers to the first 30 minutes after midnight. And for the upcoming action-thriller by the Oscar powerhouse team from The Hurt Locker (2008), writer Mark Boal and director Kathryn Bigelow, Zero Dark Thirty refers “also to the darkness and secrecy that cloaked the entire decade-long mission” of the hunt for al-Qaeda terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden. With a subject matter that already riled up a certain political party way before the film even began shooting, Boal and Bigelow returned to their stylized execution of presenting combative themes sans the politics. In fact, in Zero Dark Thirty, President Obama is never shown.

Not much has been revealed about the premise of the film, but in a rare interview with Entertainment Weekly, Bigelow stated that Zero Dark Thirty is really more about “the unsung heroes worked tirelessly behind the scenes to take down bin Laden,” most especially with the intelligence agencies and special forces of the military SEAL who were instrumental to the highly covert operation. Though its climax is already widely known, the real emphasis of Zero Dark Thirty is retelling the back-story behind one of the greatest, most dangerous missions in American and world history.


Director: Christopher McQuarrie

Cast: Tom Cruise, Robert Duvall, Werner Herzog, Richard Jenkins, David Oyelowo, Rosamund Pike

Genres: Crime, Drama

Website: jackreachermovie.com

Release Date: December 21

Logline: A homicide investigator digs deeper into a case involving a trained military sniper who shot five random victims. Based on a book in Lee Child’s crime series.


Director: Walter Salles

Cast: Amy Adams, Steve Buscemi, Kirsten Dunst, Garrett Hedlund, Terrence Howard, Viggo Mortensen, Elisabeth Moss, Sam Riley, Kristen Stewart

Genres: Adventure, Drama

Website: ontheroad-themovie.com

Release Date: December 21

Logline: Dean and Sal are the portrait of the Beat Generation. Their search for “It” results in a fast paced, energetic roller coaster ride with highs and lows throughout the US.


by Morgan Goldin

Director: Judd Apatow

Cast: Albert Brooks, Lena Dunham, Megan Fox, John Lithgow, Melissa McCarthy, Leslie Mann, Chris O’Dowd, Paul Rudd, Jason Segel, Charlyne Yi

Genre: Comedy

Website: thisis40movie.com

Release Date: December 21


Hollywood’s comedic hit-maker Judd Apatow brings his latest directorial effort to the screen this winter with This Is 40. The film, itself, is a spin-off of Knocked Up (2007), Apatow’s biggest box office hit as director, and features Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann (Apatow’s real-life wife) reprising their characters Pete and Debbie. Jason Segel and Charlyne Yi are also returning.

Based on Apatow’s thematic record, expect the story to concern overgrown man-children coming to grips with adult responsibility and commitment. The fact that makes these stories so damn funny puts this on a must-see list. Also joining the cast are Melissa McCarthy and Lena Dunham, for whom Apatow produces the Emmy-nominated HBO series Girls.


by Daniel Quitério

Director: Quentin Tarantino

Cast: Sacha Baron Cohen, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jamie Foxx, Samuel L. Jackson, Don Johnson, Anthony LaPaglia, Kurt Russell, Christoph Waltz, Kerry Washington

Genres: Drama, Western

Website: unchainedmovie.com

Release Date: December 25


Nothing enhances the Christmas spirit like a good, old-fashioned, vengeful slave movie. This December 25th, Quentin Tarantino brings us his latest movie, following 2009′s award-winning Inglourious Basterds. Despite its setting in the Deep South, the auteur’s latest release, Django Unchained, falls into the western genre, which carves out new territory for the writer/director. The story follows Django, a former slave who’s aided by a German dentist-turned-bounty hunter to rescue his wife from a malicious Mississippi plantation owner.

It’s been reported that Tarantino originally wanted Will Smith to lead the cast as Django, but the box office superstar opted not to take the part. The part was then offered to Jamie Foxx, who stepped up to the role of a determined former slave. Foxx is just one of several name actors to collaborate with Tarantino on his latest effort. Leonardo DiCaprio will play the malevolent antagonist from whom Django must free his wife, who will be played by Kerry Washington. This marks one more time Foxx and Washington play on-screen husband and wife, following Foxx’s Oscar-winning turn in Ray (2004). Tarantino directed Christoph Waltz to an Oscar for his supporting role in Inglourious Basterds, and Waltz appears to be returning the favor by playing Django’s mentor. Rounding out the cast are Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, and Sacha Baron Cohen. Joseph Gordon-Levitt was previously attached to the film, but had to drop out due to scheduling conflicts with his directorial debut of Don Jon’s Addiction.


Director: Anne Fletcher

Cast: Colin Hanks, Kathy Najimy, Seth Rogen, Adam Scott, Barbra Streisand

Genre: Comedy

Release Date: December 25

Logline: An inventor and his mom hit the road together so he can sell his latest invention.


Director: Andy Fickman

Cast: Billy Crystal, Bailee Madison, Bette Midler, Marisa Tomei

Genre: Comedy

Release Date: December 25

Logline: When his daughter goes away for work, a grandfather finds himself having to take care of his three grandkids using 21st century methods—though he soon resorts to an old-school style of parenting.

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