But with a full three months before Avatar’s release, this would be a grave disservice to all the potentially great films due to hit theatres in the interim. With comedies, sci-fi, sequels and animated adventures, there’s sure to be something for everyone this Autumn. So I’ll see you on the other side, as I take a look at five of the biggest.
A Bruce Willis action film is always something to look forward to. The premise is a common one this year, with mind control and transferred consciousness cropping up in Gamer and Avatar as well this year. In the future, people no longer have to leave their homes, living out their daily lives hooked up to idealised androids of themselves. This has effectively ended homicide, until two androids are killed, and their real-life bodies also die. Bruce investigates, as the safety of the system is called into question. But when his android is killed too, Bruce Willis must venture out into the real world in his own body.
Surrogates is directed by Jonathan Mostow, and written by Michael Ferris and John D Brancato. The last time these three collaborated was for the disappointing Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, which doesn’t bode well. But in truth, T3 wasn’t a bad movie, it just wasn’t up to the quality demanded for the Terminator franchise. Mostow’s CV includes the brilliant Breakdown, and Brancato and Ferris wrote The Game between them, the brilliant David Fincher film from 1997. That makes it look much more promising. And Willis certainly knows how to carry an action film.
US and UK release 25th September.
Following the gruelling 78 day shoot for Che parts one and two, there were rumours that Steven Soderbergh was considering retirement. However, with two films this year, the experimental The Girlfriend Experience being the other one, it looks like Soderbergh is over it. Especially considering it’s just been announced he’ll be making Knockout with non-actress fighting star Gina Carano. This has to be good news for everyone, because though he does it fairly quietly, Soderbergh makes great films. The Informant is based on the true story of corporate executive Mark Whitacre, who turned informant when he found out about the company’s price fixing tactics. It stars an almost unrecognisable Matt Damon as Whitacre, and Scott Bakula as his FBI handler. It’s been made as a black comedy, and word is it’s almost Cohen-esqe in it’s execution. There were Oscar whispers quite early on for the film, and for Damon, but that seems less likely now. It’s apparently quite a light-hearted movie, rather than a serious comment on corporate America. Based on the trailer, though, it should be a good laugh, with a career performance from Bourne star Damon.
US release 18th September, UK release 20th November.
Richard Kelly has found himself with a lot to prove. Following the critical success of Donnie Darko, and the cult following it gathered, expectations were high for his follow up. The much troubled Southland Tales however, with a long post-production process and extensive re-editing to cut down it”˜s length ,was an unmitigated disaster. For some, it was a shambolic effort barely deserving of the title “˜film’. With his films previous to Darko relatively unknown, it’s one hit one miss for Kelly. If The Box fails, that could be it for the director. If it’s just average, he’s going to have an uphill struggle in future. Cameron Diaz and James Marsden star, as a financially challenged couple who are delivered the box in question. In it is a button – if they press it, someone somewhere dies. But they’ll also get $1000,000.00. Based on a story by Richard Matheson, who also wrote the novella that I Am Legend was based on, it looks to be more of a tense thriller than the horror style yarn the description suggests. Filming wrapped all the way back in February 2008, giving Kelly plenty of time to get his editing right. The trailer looks suitably mysterious. Here’s hoping it turns out more towards the Darko end of the scale than the Southland region.
US release 6th November, UK release 4th December.
Another director with something to prove is Roland Emmerich. Although failure won’t destroy Emmerich, after the lacklustre 10000 BC, another flop would cut down his budget for next time. And an Emmerich film certainly requires a substantial budget. He’s returned to what he’s best known for, namely destroying well-known landmarks in a contemporary period. John Cusack leads the ensemble cast. Cusack is a man who has been quiet recently, so it’ll be nice to see him in a leading role in a big budget movie again. This time the world is ending, as the Mayan prophecy of the world ending in 2012 comes true. The trailer certainly looks awe inspiring, but Emmerich will have to have worked hard to outdo the effects of The Day After Tomorrow. The films seem very similar so far. I’m guessing the buzz word during production and the special effects process was “˜BIGGER’. Originally scheduled to be released in summer, the decision was wisely made to delay it until a much quieter November. A smart move, this could make huge box office.
US and UK release 13th November
The Twilight Saga: New Moon
Twilight was huge. The sequel will be even bigger. Based on the best selling series of novels by Stephanie Meyer, the film series is well poised to cash in on the burgeoning vampire market, with HBO series True Blood also getting big numbers as well as critical plaudits. Director of the first film Catherine Hardwicke is absent due to scheduling conflicts, which may concern fans a little. Chris Weitz takes over the helm. Weitz was responsible for bringing novel adaptations of About A Boy and The Golden Compass to the big screen, however, so he has pedigree. Someone who is returning is Taylor Lautner as Jacob Black. This will cheer up fans, as there were rumours early into production that he might be replaced due his size, but he put on enough muscle in the interim to convince producers he could do the job.. The film sees Bella pining for Edward (Robert Pattinson), who has left town in an attempt to keep her from harm. She gets hold of an old motorcycle and goes off in search of adventure, developing a relationship with Jacob along the way. Following recent revelations from Pattinson that he struggled to cope with his new-found super-stardom, I hope he’s suitably recovered. The third film in the series is already in production, so it’s going to get worse before it gets better. Expect bigger box office than the first film, as thousands more flock to theatres to see what the fuss is all about.
US and UK release 20th November.
And some of the rest…
Fantastic Mr Fox
The children’s book by Roald Dahl is essentially a short story that could fit into a twenty minute CITV cartoon. It seems likely that Wes Anderson is using the source material as inspiration, rather than giving us a direct adaptation. It remains to be seen how children will react to the stop motion animation and quirky humour.
US release 25th November, UK release 23rd October.
With an inexperienced director and writers best known for their TV work, this could fare badly. The trailer looks cheesy, and very, very silly, which doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing. However, Woody Harrelson’s recent CV is spotty at best, and Jesse Eisenberg may have made his first big mistake by taking this on.
US release 2nd October, UK release 27th November.
James McTeigue knows a little something about martial arts action movies, after being assistant director on all three Matrix films. The influence is definitely visible in the trailer. The action looks suitably flashy, but it could well be a case of style over substance.
US release 25th November, UK release 27th November.
This list is by no means exhaustive, there are dozens of others. What do you think? What are you looking forward to? What did I miss out? Speak people!