Sunday, August 26, 2007

Fall 2007 Movie Preview (Part 1)

Well, after a summer packed full of sequels, big explosions and raucous comedies – not to mention the ever-escalating budgets of some of these movies, it’s time for some smaller, quieter and award-seeking entries for the fall film season. That’s not to say there won’t be some fun and just plain dumb movies sliding into theaters. Hollywood can’t make them all great, right?

Anyway, here’s a breakdown of some of the more notable releases that will be coming in September. October will be covered next week. Keep in mind, release dates are subject to change.

“3:10 to Yuma”

Starring Russell Crowe, Christian Bale, Peter Fonda, Gretchen Mol, Ben Foster, Dallas Roberts
Directed by James Mangold

Coming off the success of “Walk the Line,” director James Mangold is trying to help revive the western genre with this remake of the 1957 film of the same name. On board are two of today’s most committed and intense actors (Crowe and Bale), playing a murderous outlaw and the rancher who has to deliver him to justice, respectively. Western done well can be very successful (see “Unforgiven” and “Dances with Wolves”). However, those came out over 15 years ago. (Sept. 7)
Official Web site

“Shoot ‘Em Up”
Starring Clive Owen, Paul Giamatti, Monica Bellucci, Stephen McHattie
Directed by Michael Davis

In what could easily have fit in on the summer movie schedule, Owen stars in this wall-to-wall action pic about a reluctant protector of a woman (Bellucci) and her newborn baby. The great Giamatti gets his chance to sink his teeth into a villainous role, as he and his henchmen are out for blood. (Sept. 7)
Official Web site

“Eastern Promises”
Starring Viggo Mortensen, Naomi Watts, Vincent Cassel, Armin Mueller-Stahl
Directed by David Cronenberg

The star (Mortensen) and director (Cronenberg) of “A History of Violence” reunite in a tale of a group of Russian mobsters living in London and their involvement with a midwife (Watts). For those waiting for Cronenberg to step away from such intense dramatic material and make a hilarious comedy can keep on waiting. This is not that movie. (Sept. 14)
Official Web site

“The Brave One”
Starring Jodie Foster, Terrence Howard, Naveen Andrews, Nicky Katt, Mary Steenbergen
Directed by Neil Jordan

In some slight echoes of her Oscar-winning role in “The Accused,” Foster plays a victim of a brutal attack that kills her husband and leads to her desperate desire for vengeance. Few actresses can bring sensitivity and pure emotional intensity to a role like Foster, who will undoubtedly get some Oscar talk for this part. (Sept. 14)
Official Web site

“In the Valley of Elah”
Starring Tommy Lee Jones, Charlize Theron, Francis Fisher and Susan Sarandon
Directed by Paul Haggis

With its story involving the father (Jones) of a soldier seeking answers to his son’s mysterious disappearance, “Elah” is certainly not hurting for Oscar-winning talent. Jones, along with co-stars Theron and Sarandon have all won the gold guy, as has writer-director Haggis (“Crash”). (Sept. 14, limited)
Official Web site

“Good Luck Chuck”
Starring Dane Cook, Jessica Alba, Dan Fogler
Directed by Mark Helfrich

Another film that looks like a castoff from the summer movie season, “Chuck” tells the story of a ladies man (Cook) who has a knack as a quasi-good luck charm by sleeping with a woman, who then falls in love with and marries the next man she meets. He then meets and falls in love with a woman (Alba) with the hopes that he can avoid falling into the arms of another man. Is this based on a true story? (Sept. 21)
Official Web site

“The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford”
Starring Brad Pitt, Casey Affleck, Sam Shepard, Mary-Louise Parker and Sam Rockwell
Directed by Andrew Dominik

Certainly consisting of the longest title of the year, “Jesse James” is the second western of the month, albeit one with a much more troubled journey to the screen. The film has evidently gone through a lot of different cuts, including some supervised by star and producer Pitt, who plays the legendary outlaw James. Affleck co-stars as a newcomer to the gang, who becomes obsessed with the thief. (Sept. 21, limited)
Official Web site

“The Kingdom”
Starring Jamie Foxx, Chris Cooper, Jennifer Garner, Jason Bateman, Jeremy Piven, Danny Huston, Richard Jenkins
Directed by Peter Berg

Dealing with terrorism in post-9/11 isn’t the easiest task for films, but a good cast and strong studio support (the movie was reportedly moved by Universal Pictures from the spring to a higher profile fall spot) should help matters. A group of FBI operatives are sent into Saudi Arabia to investigate a terrorist attack, only to find themselves a target in the process. (Sept. 28)
Official Web site

“The Darjeeling Limited”
Starring Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody, Jason Schwartzman and Angelica Huston
Directed by Wes Anderson

Having taken a few lumps from critics and audiences with “The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou,” writer-director Wes Anderson isn’t shying away from unusual pictures with his latest, focusing on three estranged brothers (Wilson, Brody and Schwartzman). They take a train journey through India hoping to reconnect, following the death of their father. Two Anderson movie vets (Wilson and Schwartzman) combined with an Oscar-winner (Brody) could be an intriguing combination. (Sept. 29, limited)
Official Web site

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