Monday, September 03, 2007

Fall 2007 Movie Preview (Part 2)

Shifting into October, there are Oscar-winning actors popping up all over the place, as some of the subject matter covered by these films grows noticeably more serious (with a few exceptions, to be sure). Still, there’s only a handful of these movies that look like they have real potential to be big box office hits.

At any rate, the following is the skinny on some of the more notable releases that October has to offer.

“The Heartbreak Kid”
Starring Ben Stiller, Michelle Monaghan, Malin Akerman, Jerry Stiller, Rob Corddry
Directed by Bobby and Peter Farrelly

Most people won’t remember the 1972 comedy that this movie is a remake of, yet audiences will certainly remember the teaming of Stiller with the Farrelly brothers in “There’s Something About Mary.” The three will certainly be hoping for a repeat of that successful film, with Stiller playing a newlywed on his honeymoon who realizes his new wife isn’t exactly who he thought he married. Complicating matters more is his sudden infatuation with a woman (Monaghan) he befriends. (Oct. 5)
Official Web site

“Michael Clayton”
Starring George Clooney, Tom Wilkinson, Tilda Swinton, Sydney Pollack
Directed by Tony Gilroy

A corporate lawyer (Clooney) has a crisis of conscience when he’s assigned a case involving one of his firm’s own employees (Wilkinson), who the firm is very scared will start talking about some of its less than noble activities. Feel free to interject your own joke here about lawyers and consciences. (Oct. 5)
Official Web site

“We Own the Night”
Starring Joaquin Phoenix, Mark Wahlberg, Eva Mendes and Robert Duvall
Directed by James Gray

The careers of Phoenix and Wahlberg are both pretty hot right now, and pairing them together in a tale of a New York City club manager caught in the middle of a struggle between mobsters and his cop-filled family sounds like a smart move. (Oct. 12)
Official Web site

“Elizabeth: The Golden Age”
Starring Cate Blanchett, Geoffrey Rush, Clive Owen, Samantha Morton, Abbie Cornish
Directed by Shekhar Kapur

Technically, this movie can qualify as a sequel as it tells the continuing story of Queen Elizabeth and brings back the director (Kapur) and top two stars (Blanchett and Rush). But this is also one of those rare sequels that has aspirations beyond making money, as 1998’s “Elizabeth” wracked up seven Academy Award nominations, including one for Best Picture. (Oct. 12)
Official Web site

“Reservation Road”
Starring Joaquin Phoenix, Mark Ruffalo, Jennifer Connelly, Mira Sorvino
Directed by Terry George

Reteaming Phoenix with director George (“Hotel Rwanda” and “Ladder 49”), “Reservation Road” is based on a novel by John Burnham Schwartz that documents the impact of a fatal hit-and-run accident on two young couples. Clearly, there’s not going to be a lot of laughs in this one, so grab your tissues, folks. (Oct. 19, limited)
Official Web site: Not available

“Gone Baby Gone”
Starring Casey Affleck, Michelle Monaghan, Morgan Freeman, Ed Harris, John Ashton, Amy Ryan
Directed by Ben Affleck

Mock some of his decisions on acting roles if you will, but Ben Affleck has won an Oscar before (for co-writing “Good Will Hunting” with buddy Matt Damon). This time out, he’s co-written an adaptation of a Dennis Lehane (“Mystic River”) novel, and is even directing, with his younger brother, Casey, starring. With Freeman and Harris on board in support, this is a tough one to make fun of. (Oct. 19)
Official Web site

Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Reese Witherspoon, Peter Sarsgaard, Alan Arkin and Meryl Streep
Directed by Gavin Hood

In what might be the best cast of the fall movie season (and that’s really saying something), Witherspoon stars as a mother whose husband is secretly taken into custody by the U.S. government for his possible terrorist connections. Gyllenhaal is a CIA agent in charge of the interrogation, while Arkin and Streep are bereaucrats involved in the case. Oscar-winner Hood (“Tsotsi”) directs this timely political thriller. (Oct. 19)
Official Web site

“Saw IV”
Starring Tobin Bell, Scott Patterson, Costas Mandylor, Betsy Russell, Lyriq Bent
Directed by Darren Lynn Bousman

Hmm, it’s about time for Halloween, which means it must also be time for ... another “Saw” movie. After three successful installments, does it really matter what the story’s about anymore? Expect a few laughs, a few tears and a little bit of blood shed. OK, maybe none of the two former and a lot of the latter. (Oct. 26)
Official Web site

“Things We Lost in the Fire”
Starring Halle Berry, Benicio Del Toro, David Duchovny, Omar Benson Miller, Alison Lohman, John Carroll Lynch
Directed by Susanne Bier

Since winning her Oscar for “Monster’s Ball” in 2001, Berry has been widely criticized for her film choices. But she might be onto something here, playing a woman struggling to cope after the death of her husband (Duchovny). She invites her husband’s troubled best friend (Del Toro) to stay with her and her kids in the hopes that they can heal each other’s pain.(Oct. 26)
Official Web site

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