Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Fall 2008 Movie Preview (Part 2)

October’s releases usually follow a more Academy Award-friendly path, with some Halloween-themed movies thrown into the mix. The following is a rundown of the month's more notable releases. Release dates are subject to change.

“Flash of Genius”
Starring Greg Kinnear, Lauren Graham, Dermot Mulroney, Alan Alda
Directed by Marc Abraham

Based on a true story, this film follows Robert Kearns (Kinnear) and his battle against the auto industry over intermittent windshield wipers, a technology he invented and unsuccesfully attempted to sell to the automakers. David vs. Goliath tales are certainly popular in Hollywood, and they don’t get much bigger than this. But, hopefully the film doesn’t get too bogged down in discussions about windshield wipers. (Oct. 3)
Official Web site

“The Express”
Starring Dennis Quaid, Rob Brown, Darrin Dewitt Henson, Clancy Brown and Charles S. Dutton
Directed by Gary Fleder

Another fact-based story hits theaters, this one about Ernie Davis, the first African American to win college football’s Heisman Trophy. Quaid, a veteran of sports movies, plays Davis’ coach. As the college football season will be in full swing when this is released, the timing to be a sleeper hit could be right. (Oct. 10)
Official Web site

“Body of Lies”
Starring Russell Crowe, Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Strong, Golshifteh Farahani, Oscar Isaac, Simon McBurney
Directed by Ridley Scott

Lots of ads have already been plugging this movie, which is the fourth collaboration for Crowe and director Scott, with the star power of DiCaprio on board this time out. Taking on the timely issue of terrorism, DiCaprio plays an ex-journalist following a hot lead in Jordan, with a determined CIA agent (Crowe) as his handler. (Oct. 10)
Official Web site

“Max Payne”
Starring Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis, Beau Bridges, Ludacris, Donal Logue, Chris O’Donnell
Directed by John Moore

Based on a video game isn’t always the best recipe for success (I’ll spare unspooling the list of failed attempts here), but the story of a DEA agent (Wahlberg) out to avenge the death of his family looks better than most of the past attempts. That might be faint praise, however. But the game was good, for whatever that’s worth. (Oct. 17)
Official Web site

Starring Josh Brolin, James Cromwell, Elizabeth Banks, Ellen Burstyn, Scott Glenn, Thandie Newton
Directed by Oliver Stone

Don’t think for a second that the release date of this biopic about the current President of the United States isn’t meant to have any influence on Election Day. Writer-director Stone has said he had every intention of getting the film out before November. Obviously, the film will be polarizing, but can it still be entertaining? The cast certainly holds interest, as they do in most of Stone’s films. (Oct. 17, limited)
Official Web site

“High School Musical 3: Senior Year”
Starring Zac Efron, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Tisdale, Lucas Grabeel, Corbin Bleu
Directed by Kenny Ortega

The third film in the movie musical franchise (if you can call it that) leaps from its Disney Channel beginnings to the big screen. While it’s uncertain how many of its generally young audience will pay for what they saw for free the past two times, there’s not going to be any similar material competing with it in October. (Oct. 24)
Official Web site

Starring Angelina Jolie, John Malkovich, Jeffrey Donovan, Michael Kelly, Colm Feore
Directed by Clint Eastwood

Eastwood directing Jolie could be an intriguing collaboration, and early word from its debut earlier this year at the Cannes film festival, is that this is one to watch out for at awards time. Not that big a surprise based on the recent track record of Eastwood. Jolie plays a mom reunited with her missing son in 1920s Los Angeles, who begins to have serious doubts about his identity. (Oct. 24, limited)
No official Web site

“Synecdoche, New York”
Starring Philip Seymour Hoffman, Samantha Morton, Michelle Williams, Catherine Keener, Emily Watson
Directed by Charlie Kaufman

Having made a solid career of writing unusual, yet highly original screenplays (“Adaptation,” “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”) Kaufman makes his directorial debut with Oscar-winner Hoffman playing Caden Cotard, a theater director strugging with his work, not to mention the women in his life. And in a true Kaufman-esque touch, Cotard’s also constructing a giant replica of New York in a warehouse, as part of his new play. (Oct. 24, limited)
No official Web site

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