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Fall 2011 movie preview

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(Read caption) Johnny Depp and Michael Rispoli are seen in this still from 'The Rum Diary.'

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Now that the Summer 2011 Movie Season is over, it’s time to look ahead to Fall. For some movie fans, Fall is a welcome respite from the oft-numbing assault of Summer blockbusters; for other fans it will be time spent having to endure a lot more “artsy” films and Award season hopefuls until the holiday movie season arrives with its own slew of blockbuster fare.

For better or worse, the Fall 2011 season will match the preceding Summer season in the sense that remakes, spinoffs and sequels will rule the cineplex - but even amongst those seemingly uninspired offerings, there are certainly a few gems to keep an eye out for.

Our guide to the Fall 2011 Movies includes links to our coverage of each film (just click any title), a brief synopsis about what the film is about, and our early predictions about whether the we think the movie is worth your time and ticket money. So bookmark this post now - you’ll probably need it again before the year is out .

First, you owe it to yourself to check out our awesome, custom-made trailer for the Fall (and Winter) movie season(s), created by our own Mike Eisenberg!

Fall 2011 Movie Guide

September 2011

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Burke and Hare

September 9th (US)

A black comedy about two 19th century grave robbers (Simon Pegg and Andy Serkis) who find a lucrative business providing cadavers for an Edinburgh medical school.

Our Take: John Landis (An American Werewolf In London) is an icon for his ability to mix the humorous with the macabre, and with Simon Pegg (Shaun of the Dead) and Andy Serkis (Rise of the Planet of the Apes) in the lead, this could be an entertaining film - if it makes it onto people’s radar, that is.

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Contagion

September 9th

Steven Soderbergh’s action-thriller centered on the threat posed by a deadly disease and an international team of doctors contracted by the CDC to deal with the outbreak. Matt Damon,Marion Cotillard, Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Winslet, Laurence Fishburne and Bryan Cranston star.

Our Take: In our Contagion review, we peg the movie as being interesting and stylish, but a little short on heart. Still, it’s from Steven Soderbergh, who took a similar (and successful) approach with his ensemble film Traffic. So you know it can’t all be bad.

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Warrior

September 9th

The youngest son (Tom Hardy) of an alcoholic former boxer (Nick Nolte) returns home, where he’s trained by his father for competition in a mixed martial arts tournament — a path that puts the fighter on a collision corner with his older brother (Joel Edgerton).Jennifer Morrison, Noah Emmerich and Kevin Dunn co-star.

Our Take: Our Warrior Review pegs this film as one of the big surprises of 2011. Although ‘rise to glory’ sports stories are a dime a dozen, Warrior stands out thanks to it’s fantastic lead performers and the skilled direction of Gavin O’Connor (Miracle).

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Straw Dogs

September 16th

L.A. screenwriter David Sumner (James Marsden) relocates with his wife (Kate Bosworth) to her hometown in the deep South. There, while tensions build between them, a brewing conflict with locals becomes a threat to them both. Alexander Skarsgård, Willa Holland, Dominic Purcell and James Woods co-star.

Our Take: People will likely be attracted (literally and figuratively) to the cast of pretty faces, but the Straw Dogs trailer paints this as being yet another unnecessary remake.

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Drive

September 16th

A Hollywood stunt performer (Ryan Gosling) who moonlights as a wheelman discovers that a contract has been put on him after a heist gone wrong. Carey Mulligan, Christina Hendricks, Ron Perlman, Bryan Cranston and Albert Brooks co-star.

Our Take: In our Drive Review we describe the film as a brilliant work of bloody, thrilling, high-art crime drama with some award-worthy performances. It may sound like an odd mix of parts, but director Nicolas Winding Refn (Bronson) makes it all run as smooth as a high-octane sports car.

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I Don’t Know How She Does It

September 16th

A comedy centered on the life of Kate Reddy (Sarah Jessica Parker), a finance executive who is the breadwinner for her husband and two kids.

Our Take: If you are an on-the-go wife and/or mother, this one is for you. If you’re related to an on-the-go wife and/or mother, be prepared to be dragged along for the show. Everyone else need not apply.

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Restless

September 16th

The story of a terminally ill teenage girl who falls for a boy who likes to attend funerals and their encounters with the ghost of a Japanese kamikaze pilot from WWII. Mia Wasikowska, Henry Hopper and Jane Adams star.

Our Take: Not the cup of tea we typically drink here at Screen Rant, but Mia Wasikowska (Alice In Wonderland, The Kids Are All Right) is definitely a star in the making, so performance-wise, we expect this film to pack a strong emotional punch.

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Abduction

September 23rd

A thriller centered on a young man (Taylor Lautner) who sets out to uncover the truth about his life after finding his baby photo on a missing persons website. Lily Collins, Alfred Molina, Jason Isaacs, Michael Nyqvist, Sigourney Weaver and Maria Bello co-star.

Our Take: This film will be the official barometer that measures whether Taylor Lautner will have a successful post-Twilight career. The kid is a real-life martial arts star (see HERE), so action could be a better fit for him than supernatural drama. But is directorJohn Singleton (2 Fast 2 Furious) the man to launch Lautner’s action career? We’ll see.

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Dolphin Tale

September 23rd

A story centered on the friendship between a boy and a dolphin whose tail was lost in a crab trap. Morgan Freeman, Ashley Judd, Kris Kristofferson, Harry Connick Jr. and Nathan Gamble star.

Our Take: Grab the family and head to the theater for a wholesome good time.

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The Double

September 23rd

A retired CIA operative (Richard Gere) is paired with a young FBI agent (Topher Grace) to unravel the mystery of a senator’s murder, with all signs pointing to a Soviet assassin.

Our Take: Richard Gere proved he still has dramatic edge in Brooklyn’s Finest last year, and The Double trailer showed that he’ll be bringing that edge to this role as well. That’s good, because otherwise the combined presence of Topher Grace and writer-turned-first-time-director Michael Brandt wouldn’t be enough to sell us on this flick.

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The Killer Elite

September 23rd

A group of former British special forces members (Robert De Niro, Jason Statham) are being hunted by a team of assassins led by a former Navy Seal (Clive Owen).

Our Take: The Killer Elite trailer makes this look like a standard action flick for Statham (and to lesser extent, Owen), though De Niro is clearly slumming it. Might be better if saved for your Netflix Instant Que.

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Moneyball

September 23rd

The story of Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane’s (Brad Pitt) successful attempt to put together a baseball club on a budget, by employing a young man’s (Jonah Hill) computer-generated analysis to draft his players. Robin Wright, Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Chris Pratt co-star.

Our Take: After many starts and stops this film finally arrives. Selling audiences on a baseball movie is hard enough - selling them on a movie about baseball statistics would’ve been impossible, if not for the presence of Brad Pitt, the comedic talent of Jonah Hill, and a crackling script from Aaron Sorkin, who already won an Oscar for making a Facebook movie into a cultural event. Don’t count this one out just yet.

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50/50

September 30th

A semi-comedic account of a 27-year-old guy’s (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) cancer diagnosis, and his subsequent struggle to beat the disease. Seth Rogen co-stars.

Our Take: Given that this story comes from the real-life account of Rogen’s friend (and the movie’s writer) Will Reiser, expect it to respect the subject matter with a careful balance of humor and authentic drama. With Gordon-Levitt in the lead, and Rogen basically playing Seth Rogen, it should be an entertaining ride. Still don’t believe us? Check out the 50/50trailer for proof.

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Courageous

September 30th

Four men, one calling: To serve and protect. As law enforcement officers, they face danger every day. Yet when tragedy strikes close to home, these fathers are left wrestling with their hopes, their fears, and their faith. From the creators of Fireproof.

Our Take: There is definitely an audience for these faith-based movies about life and hope. The question is: are you part of that audience?

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Dream House

September 30th (USA)

Soon after moving into their seemingly idyllic new home, a family learns of a brutal crime committed against former residents of the dwelling. Daniel Craig, Rachel Weisz and Naomi Watts star.

Our Take: An impressive cast and skilled director (Jim Sheridan of In The Name of the Father and My Left Foot fame) indicate that this is going to be much deeper than your standard psychological thriller. The trailer is effectively creepy, but shows a bit too much of the plot.

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Margaret

September 30th

A young woman (Anna Paquin) witnesses a bus accident, and is caught up in the aftermath, where the question of whether or not it was intentional affects many people’s lives. Matt Damon, Mark Ruffalo, Matthew Broderick, Allison Janney, Kieran Culkin, Jean Reno,Krysten Ritter and Olivia Thirlby co-star

Our Take: The cast is pretty strong, but other than that we’ve heard little-to-nothing about this indie offering.

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Take Shelter

September 30th

Plagued by a series of apocalyptic visions, a young husband and father (Michael Shannon) questions whether to shelter his family from a coming storm, or from himself.

Our Take: Michael Shannon has already earned an Oscar nomination for his talent, and mainstream audiences certainly got to know him from HBO’s Boardwalk Empire. Now that he’ll be starring as the villain in Superman: Man of Steel, audiences will likely want to see the Shannon’s full talent on display.

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Tucker & Dale vs Evil

September 30th

Tucker (Alan Tudyk) & Dale (Tyler Labine) are on vacation at their dilapidated mountain cabin when they are attacked by a group of preppy college kids.

Our Take: In our Tucker & Dale vs. Evil Review we pegged this film as a funny spin on slasher film conventions, enhanced by the great comedic abilities of Tudyk and Labine. Definitely one for horror/comedy fans to check out.

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What’s Your Number?

September 30th

A woman (Anna Faris) looks back at the past twenty men she’s had relationships with in her life and wonders if one of them might be her one true love. Chris Evans co-stars.

Our Take: Quick movie math: Anna Faris is charming. Chris Evans is charming. Anna Faris + Chris Evans = charming date movie.

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October 2011

The Ides of March

October 7th

An idealistic staffer (Ryan Gosling) for a newbie presidential candidate (George Clooney) gets a crash course on dirty politics during his stint on the campaign trail. Based on the play by Beau Willimon. Evan Rachel Wood, Marisa Tomei, Paul Giamatti, Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Jeffrey Wright co-star.

Our Take: Between Drive, Crazy, Stupid, Love and last year’s Blue Valentine, Gosling seems to be the leading man who can’t lose (which is fitting, given his character in this film). Clooney is also currently on a performance hot streak; the stage play the movie is based on is still a hot property; and The Ides of March trailer makes this look like it’s going to be a great political thriller.

Real Steel

October 7th

A boxing drama set in the near-future where 2,000-pound robots that look like humans do battle. Hugh Jackman, Kevin Durand, Anthony Mackie and Evangeline Lilly star.

Our Take: Director Shawn Levy (Night At the Museum) promises that this is going to be a robot movie with heart, and the Real Steel trailer certainly backs that claim. It had better be, because we’ve seen Transformers 3 and already gotten our fill of flashy-but-mindless robot action.

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Wanderlust

October 7th

An urban couple branch out to live a more counter-culture lifestyle. Jennifer Aniston, Malin Akerman, Paul Rudd and Ray Liotta star.

Our Take: Paul Rudd can make just about anything charming, and Jennifer Aniston is okay too… Still, we won’t exactly be ordering our tickets in advance for this one.

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The Big Year

October 14th

Three avid bird watchers (Owen Wilson, Jack Black and Steve Martin) compete to spot the rarest birds in North America at a prestigious annual event.

Our Take: Marley & Me - the last film from director David Frankel and Owen Wilson – was a moving drama disguised as a comedy. Though you may not think so upon first glance,The Big Year trailer hints that this film will be much the same.

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Footloose

October 14th

City kid Ren McCormack moves to a small town where rock ‘n’ roll and dancing have been banned, and his rebellious spirit shakes up the populace. Kenny Wormald, Julianne Hough and Dennis Quaid star. Craig Brewer (Hustle & Flow) directs.

Our Take: This story was hokey enough back in the 1980s – it’s almost laughable in 2011. However, with Craig Brewer at the helm we expect that Footloose is going to contain a good deal of dirty dancing. Thankfully, they have two pretty leads taking us through the steps.

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The Skin I Live In

October 14th (Limited)

A brilliant plastic surgeon (Antonio Banderas), haunted by past tragedies, creates a type of synthetic skin that withstands any kind of damage. His guinea pig: a mysterious and volatile woman who holds the key to his obsession. Pedro Almodóvar directs.

Our Take: No need to sell an Almodóvar movie. The man has many fans, and not without good reason.

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The Thing

October 14th

At an Antarctica research site, the discovery of an alien craft leads to a confrontation between graduate student Kate Lloyd (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and scientist Dr. Sander Halvorson (Ulrich Thomsen). While Dr. Halvorson keeps to his research, Kate partners with Sam Carter (Joel Edgerton), a helicopter pilot, to pursue the alien life form.

Our Take: John Carpenter’s The Thing is a cult classic horror film, and this prequel is basically going to tell us a story we already know the ending of. The Thing trailer and clips have also hinted that first-time feature-film director Matthijs van Heijningen Jr. may not have the experience to offer anything more than a horror movie cliche. That said, our love of Carpenter’s film will certainly bring us to theater to find out.

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Texas Killing Fields

October 14th

In the Texas bayous, a local homicide detective (Sam Worthington) teams up with a cop from New York City (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) to investigate a series of unsolved murders. Chloe Moretz, Stephen Graham and Jessica Chastain co-star.

Our Take: The Texas Killing Fields trailer suggests that this will be one of those cop thrillers that is heavier on mood and atmosphere than actual thrills. Still, the cast features a handful of talented rising stars, so maybe they’ll make it worthwhile.

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Trespass

October 14

As they’re held for ransom, a husband and wife’s (Nic Cage and Nicole Kidman) predicament grows more dire amid the discovery of betrayal and deception.

Our Take: Joel Schumacher’s name has become something of a dirty word (thank films like Batman & Robin and Phantom of the Opera). However, this film looks a lot like Schumacher’s single-setting psychological drama Phone Booth (which was enjoyable) and he and Cage’s partnership on 8MM was a solid one. Add our lowered expectations and it might be a pleasant surprise. Maybe.

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Martha Marcy May Marlene

October 21st (Limited)

Haunted by painful memories and increasing paranoia, a damaged woman (Elizabeth Olsen) struggles to re-assimilate with her family after fleeing an abusive cult.

Our Take: An Olsen sister (not one of the twins) could potentially win major awards for this role. That alone has us curious.

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Paranormal Activity 3

October 21st

The third installment of the popular horror franchise flashes back to the childhood of sisters Katie and Kristi to reveal how they first encountered the demon that would later haunt their lives.

Our Take: By now you know if you’re onboard with this franchise or not. We’ve always been fans, and expect some major twists to be revealed in this prequel chapter. Also, the Paranormal Activity 3 teaser is arguably the creepiest trailer we’ve seen in the franchise (or this year, for that matter).

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Retreat

October 21st

Kate (Thandie Newton) and Martin (Cillian Murphy) escape from personal tragedy to an Island Retreat. Cut off from the outside world, their attempts to recover are shattered when a Man (Jamie Bell) is washed ashore, with news of an airborne killer disease that is sweeping through Europe.

Our Take: Single-setting films are hit or miss. This one has a talented cast, but will the premise be sustainable for a feature-length runtime? Unless there are big surprises in store, we’re not so sure.

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The Three Musketeers 3D

October 21st

The hot-headed young D’Artagnan (Logan Lerman) along with three former legendary but now down on their luck Musketeers (Mathew Macfadyen, Ray Stevenson, Luke Evans) must unite and defeat a beautiful double agent (Milla Jovovich) and her villainous employer from seizing the French throne and engulfing Europe in war. Christoph Waltz and Mads Mikkelsen co-star.

Our Take: Turn off your brain, feast on popcorn, and try not to get dizzy from all the crazy 3D action. What more can you expect from the guy behind the Resident Evil movies?

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Anonymous

October 28th

Roland Emmerich’s political thriller about who actually wrote the plays of William ShakespeareEdward De Vere, Earl of Oxford– set against the backdrop of the succession of Queen Elizabeth I, and the Essex Rebellion against her. Rhys Ifans, Xavier Samuel, David Thewlis, Jamie Campbell Bower, Joely Richardson and Vanessa Redgrave star.

Our Take: Roland Emmerich (2012, The Day After Tomorrow) and period drama go together like oil and water. The only question we have is: How did they get Vanessa Redgrave to be a part of this?

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In Time

October 28th

In the not-too-distant future the aging gene has been switched off. To avoid overpopulation, time has become the currency and the way people pay for luxuries and necessities. When a man from the wrong side of the tracks (Justin Timberlake) is falsely accused of murder, he is forced to go on the run with a beautiful hostage (Amanda Seyfried). Living minute to minute, the duo’s love becomes a powerful tool in their war against the system. Olivia Wilde, Cillian Murphy, Alex Pettyfer and Johnny Galecki co-star.

Our Take: Andrew Niccol (Gattaca, The Truman Show) knows how to craft smart sci-fi experiences, and this film looks to be just that. The premise alone had us baited on the hook, and the In Time trailer showcases a mix of thoughtful concepts and exciting action.

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Johnny English Reborn

October 28th

Johnny English (Rowan Atkinson) goes up against international assassins hunting down the Chinese premier.

Our Take: The man has many fans.

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Like Crazy

October 28th

A British college student (Felicity Jones) falls for an American student (Anton Yelchin), only to be separated from him when she’s banned from the U.S. after overstaying her visa. Jennifer Lawrence co-stars.

Our Take: This has all the makings of a genuine and moving love story for a new generation. Its young leads are both talented actors, and word is their performances are great. We’ll be there for date night, box of tissues in hand.

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The Rum Diary

October 28th

Paul Kemp (Johnny Depp) is a freelance journalist who finds himself at a critical turning point in his life while writing for a run-down newspaper in the Caribbean. Paul is challenged on many levels as he tries to carve out a more secure niche for himself amidst a group of lost souls all bent on self-destruction. Based on the book by Hunter S. Thompson.

Our Take: Those hoping for a repeat of Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas might be disappointed that it isn’t Terry Gilliam directing this time around. However, those simply looking for the Johnny Depp experience will likely be entertained.

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November 2011

My Week with Marilyn

November 4th (Limited)

Colin Clark, an employee of Sir Laurence Olivier’s, documents the tense interaction between Olivier (Kenneth Branagh) and Marilyn Monroe (Michelle Williams) during production of The Prince and the Showgirl.

Our Take: Michelle Williams is one of the most talented actresses working today. We expect she’ll knock this one out of the park.

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Puss in Boots

November 4th

A story about the events leading up to the sword fighting cat’s meeting with Shrek and his friends. Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek and Zach Galifianakis lend their voices.

Our Take: It’s easy to be weary of Shrek at this point – but after seeing the Puss In Boots trailer, it’s hard to hate this lovable scamp.

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Tower Heist

November 4th

When a group of hard working guys find out they’ve fallen victim to a wealthy business man’s Ponzi scheme, they conspire to rob his high-rise residence. Ben Stiller, Casey Affleck, Eddie Murphy, Matthew Broderick, Téa Leoni, Gabourety Sidibe Judd Hirsch, Charlie Murphy and Alan Alda star.

Our Take: It’s a great cast, but it’s also a Brett Ratner film, so we’re hedging our bets. It doesn’t help that the funniest moment in the Tower Heist trailer belongs to Sidibe instead of Stiller or Murphy.

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A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas

November 4th

Six years after their Guantanamo Bay adventure, stoner buds Harold Lee (John Cho) and Kumar Patel (Kal Penn) cause a holiday fracas by inadvertently burning down Harold’s father-in-law’s prize Christmas tree.

Our Take: By now you should know whether you’re in or out for this one. We’re in, and we’ll probably even spring for the 3D version. Neil Patrick Harris in 3 dimensions? Yes please.

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J. Edgar

November 9th (Limited)

As the face of law enforcement in America for almost 50 years, J. Edgar Hoover (Leonardo DiCaprio) was feared and admired, reviled and revered. But behind closed doors, he held secrets that would have destroyed his image, his career and his life. Clint Eastwood directs.

Our Take: This will be another well-crafted, well-acted, historical drama from Clint Eastwood. It’s a plus that the subject (Hoover) is actually one worth studying.

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Immortals

November 11th

In stylish director Tarsem Singh’s epic, Greek warrior Theseus (Henry Cavill) battles against imprisoned titans. Mickey Rourke, Kellan Lutz, Stephen Dorff, Isabel Lucas, Freida Pinto, and Luke Evans star.

Our Take: It’s basically 300 with a more artistic director – but then, we liked 300. Also, the world will be watching to see if Henry Cavill really has the chops to play Superman in Man of Steel.

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Jack and Jill

November 11th

In this comedy Adam Sandler plays two roles, as a man and the man’s annoying twin sister. Katie Holmes plays his wife and Al Pacino plays…himself?

Our Take: Adam Sandler, why do you keep doing this to yourself? Is it the money? If it is, we may be inclined to open a charity in your name after this one…

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Melancholia

November 11

Two sisters (Kirsten Dunst, Charlotte Gainsbourg) find their already strained relationship challenged as a mysterious new planet threatens to collide into the Earth.

Our Take: Controversial director Lars Von Trier takes a journey to the end of the world. We doubt that very many moviegoers accompany him.

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Happy Feet Two (3D)

November 18th

Mumble the penguin has a problem: his son Erik, who is reluctant to dance, encounters The Mighty Sven, a penguin who can fly! Things get worse for Mumble when the world is shaken by powerful forces, causing him to brings together the penguin nations and their allies to set things right. Elijah Wood, Pink, Elizabeth Daily, Sofía Vergara, Robin Williams, Matt Damon, Brad Pitt and Hank Azaria lend voices.

Our Take: We’re betting that your kids will blow a gasket when they find out that this one is on the way – that is, if they haven’t already.

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The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 1

November 18th

The Quileute and the Volturi close in on expecting parents Edward (Robert Pattinson) and Bella (Kristen Stewart), whose unborn child poses different threats to the wolf pack and vampire coven. Michael Sheen, Taylor Lautner, Dakota Fanning, Anna Kendrick, Ashley Greene, Maggie Grace, Nikki Reed and Kellan Lutz co-star. Bill Condon (Dreamgirls) directs.

Our Take: Twilight fans, rejoice! Everyone else, roll your eyes and groan. If you’re on the fence (there’s a fence?) watch the Breaking Dawn trailer.

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Arthur Christmas

November 23rd

Arthur Christmas reveals the incredible, never-before seen answer to every child’s question: ‘So how does Santa deliver all those presents in one night?’ The answer: Santa’s exhilarating, ultra-high-tech operation hidden beneath the North Pole. But at the center of the film is a story about a family in a state of comic dysfunction and an unlikely hero, Arthur (voice of James McAvoy), with an urgent mission that must be completed before Christmas morning dawns. Bill Nighy and Hugh Laurie lend voices.

Our Take: So far this looks like an animated version of Elf, only less funny and original. Yeah.

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A Dangerous Method

November 23rd

A look at how the intense relationship between Carl Jung (Michael Fassbender) and Sigmund Freud (Viggo Mortensen) gives birth to psychoanalysis. Keira Knightley and Vincent Cassel co-star, David Cronenberg directs.

Our Take: Cronenberg and Mortensen have done good things working together (see: A History of Violence and Eastern Promises). Add the recently ascended star power of Michael Fassbender (X-Men: First Class) and this film is definitely one to see.

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The Descendants

November 23rd

A land baron (George Clooney) tries to re-connect with his two daughters after his wife suffers a boating accident.

Our Take: This will be another awards contender performance for Clooney. Whether it will be a worthwhile family drama is another matter.

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Hugo (3D)

November 23rd

Set in 1930s Paris, an orphan who lives in the walls of a train station is wrapped up in a mystery involving his late father and an automaton. Asa Butterfield, Chloe Moretz, Jude Law, Ben Kingsley, Emily Mortimer, Christopher Lee, Sacha Baron Cohen and Ray Winstone star. A Martin Scorsese film.

Our Take: It’s Martin Scorsese making a 3D kids movie – we’ve gotta see this, if only out of curiosity.

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The Muppets

November 23rd

Kermit the Frog and his muppet pals put on a show to save their old theater. Jason Segel, Chris Cooper and Amy Adams star. Celebrity cameos include Emily Blunt, Zach Galifianakis, Paul Rudd, Rashida Jones and many more.

Our Take: It feels good to have The Muppets back, and the trailer for the film makes it seem as though we’re getting them back intact.

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Piranha 3DD

November 23rd

After the events at Lake Victoria, the pre-historic school of blood-thirsty piranhas make their way into a newly opened waterpark..

Our Take: Well, if you enjoyed the first one…

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December 2011

Coriolanus

December 2nd

In this modern retelling of classic Shakespeare, a banished hero (Ralph Fiennes) allies with a sworn enemy (Gerard Butler) to take his revenge on the city.

Our Take: Ralph Fiennes is directing this film himself, so the passion is clearly there – and we’re always open to the idea of modernized Shakespeare (if done right). Factor in the impressive Coriolanus trailer, and we’re officially enthused about this one.

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We Need To Talk About Kevin

December 2nd (Limited)

The mother (Tilda Swinton) of a teenage boy who went on a high-school killing spree tries to deal with her grief — and feelings of responsibility for her child’s actions — by writing to her estranged husband (John C. Reilly).

Our Take: This film is building a serious buzz – mostly for the performance of Tilda Swinton, who is a great actor on her worst day. The subject matter is touchy, for sure, but we’re guessing that director Lynne Ramsay has managed to handle it the right way.

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New Years Eve

December 9th

The lives of several couples and singles in New York intertwine over the course of New Year’s Eve. Ashton Kutcher, Zac Efron, Lea Michele, Jessica Biel, Sofía Vergara, Abigail Breslin, Michelle Pfeiffer, Taylor Swift, Hilary Swank, Halle Berry, Sarah Jessica Parker, Frankie Muniz and Robert De Niro round out the ensemble cast.

Our Take: Another Hollywood ensemble film centered around a holiday. Is there somebody out there actually asking for these films to be made?

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The Sitter

December 9th

A comedy about a college student (Jonah Hill) on suspension who is coaxed into babysitting the kids next door, though he is fully unprepared for the wild night ahead of him.

Our Take: At first glance it looks like yet another raunchy Jonah Hill comedy – after seeingThe Sitter red-band trailer it looks like another funny raunchy Jonah Hill comedy.

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Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

December 9th (US)

In the bleak days of the Cold War, espionage veteran George Smiley (Gary Oldman) is forced from semi-retirement to uncover a Soviet agent within MI6′s echelons. Tom Hardy, Mark Strong, Colin Firth, Ciaran Hinds and Toby Jones co-star. Tomas Alfredson directs.

Our Take: Excellent cast, excellent director, thrilling slow-burn subject matter… Happy Holidays! An espionage thriller for thinking adults!

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Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chip-Wrecked

December 16th

Playing around while aboard a cruise ship, the Chipmunks and Chipettes accidentally go overboard and end up marooned in a tropical paradise. They discover their new turf is not as deserted as it seems.

Our Take: Kids rejoice! Everyone else, roll your eyes and groan and hope you don’t get dragged to this.

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Carnage

December 16th (Limited)

The story of two sets of parents who decide to have a cordial meeting after their sons are involved in a schoolyard brawl. After a couple of drinks, and circular rounds of conversation, civility begins to give way. Jodie Foster, John C. Reilly, Kate Winslet and Christoph Waltz star. Roman Polanski directs.

Our Take: Polanski’s name elicits immediate and visceral recations from a lot of people. Putting the director’s personal life aside, this looks like an interesting single-setting film.

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Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

December 16th

Sherlock Holmes (Robert Downey Jr.) and his sidekick Dr. Watson (Jude Law) join forces to outwit and bring down their fiercest adversary, Professor Moriarty (Jared Harris). Noomi Rapace co-stars.

Our Take: Who didn’t enjoy the first Sherlock Holmes? With the same cast, director, and some promising new talent involved, expectations for this sequel are high, to say the least.

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Young Adult

December 16th

Soon after her divorce, a fiction writer (Charlize Theron) returns to her home in small-town Minnesota, looking to rekindle a romance with her ex-boyfriend (Patrick Wilson), who is now married with kids.

Our Take: We’ve heard little about this one, but Theron is pretty smart about the roles she chooses. Color us intrigued.

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The Factory

December 19th

An obsessed cop (John Cusack) is on the trail of a serial killer prowling the streets of Buffalo, N.Y. but when his teenage daughter (Mae Whitman) disappears, he drops any professional restraint to get the killer. Jennifer Carpenter co-stars.

Our Take: This film was made almost three years ago and has been sitting on the shelf ever since. NOT a good sign.

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The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

December 21st

A disgraced journalist (Daniel Craig) teams with a genius Goth hacker (Rooney Mara) to solve a decades-old mystery involving a missing girl and one of Sweden’s wealthiest and most powerful families, whose dark past may hold the key to a terrible secret. Christopher Plummer, Robin Wright, Stellan Joely Richardson star. David Fincher directs this American version of the bestselling novel by Stieg Larsson.

Our Take: This is NOT a remake of the Swedish film, but rather a re-interpretation of the book. That might still sound bad – if not for the presence of David Fincher at the helm. The Dragon Tattoo teaser trailer was awesome, and we have no doubt the full-length film will be the same.

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Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol

December 21st

The IMF is shut down when it’s implicated in the bombing of the Kremlin, causing Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and his new team to go rogue to clear their organization’s name.

Our Take: There would be little to get excited about here, if not for the infusion of new blood (Jeremy Renner) and a talented director in the form of Brad Bird (The Incredibles, Toy Story 3). As it stands, we’re willing to go on another Mission.

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The Adventures of Tintin

December 23rd

Tintin and his friends discover directions to a sunken ship commanded by Capt. Haddock’s ancestor and go off on a treasure hunt. Jamie Bell, Daniel Craig, Simon Pegg, Cary Elwes, Andy Serkis, Nick Frost and Toby Jones provide the bodies for this motion-capture CGI creation by Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson.

Our Take: The comic books were great pulp adventure material, and with names like Spielberg and Jackson on the marquee, we expect great things from this movie. Whether or not the motion-capture performances will be stunning or stunting is another debate.

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The Darkest Hour

December 23

In Russia, a group of young adults struggle to survive after an alien invasion. Emile Hirsch, Rachael Taylor, Olivia Thirlby, Joel Kinnaman and Max Minghella star.

Our Take: If you’ve seen The Darkest Hour trailer, then perhaps you too were pleasantly surprised by this inventive take on the worn-out alien invasion premise.

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We Bought a Zoo

December 23rd

A father moves his family to the English countryside to own and operate a zoo. Matt Damon, Scarlett Johansson, Elle Fanning, Thomas Haden Church and J.B. Smoove star. Cameron Crowe directs.

Our Take: It’s hard to get enthusiastic about a Cameron Crowe movie at this point. Doesn’t matter how good the cast looks on paper.

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War Horse

December 28th

Follows a young man named Albert (Jeremy Irvine) and his horse, Joey, and how their bond is broken when Joey is sold to the cavalry and sent to the trenches of World War One. Despite being too young to enlist, Albert heads to France to save his friend. Steven Spielberg directs.

Our Take: Two words: Oscar. Bait.

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That’s it for our 2011 Fall Movie Preview – which films are looking forward to seeing while you stay out of the cold? Let us know in the comments.

Kofi Outlaw blogs at Screen Rant.


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