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FALL MOVIE PREVIEW: True stories dominate Hollywood’s schedule

It must be fall because there’s not a superhero movie in sight. And that’s a good thing, especially if you prefer full-bodied characters with meaty stories to tell. It’s also the time of year when actors and directors have visions of little gold statuettes dancing in their brains. By Al Alexander For The Patriot LedgerPosted […]

Postado 11/09/2015 às 11h09 Atualizado em 11/09/2015 às 11h09

It must be fall because there’s not a superhero movie in sight. And that’s a good thing, especially if you prefer full-bodied characters with meaty stories to tell. It’s also the time of year when actors and directors have visions of little gold statuettes dancing in their brains.

By Al Alexander
For The Patriot LedgerPosted Sep. 7, 2015 at 1:31 pmUpdated Sep 9, 2015 at 3:00 PM

Some of these aspirations are legit, while others are pipedreams. Then there are the film’s I love most, the sleepers, the little guys that could, like last year’s “Birdman” and 2011’s “The Artist.” Is another one of those surprise gems lurking among this year’s batch? Only time will tell.

What I can promise you is that the films slated for release from now until Thanksgiving are top heavy with true stories, from Philippe Petit’s tightrope stroll across the World Trade Center (“The Walk”) to the rescue of nearly three dozen doomed miners (“The 33”) in Chile. It’s also a time for the biggest stars to shine: Streep, Pitt, Bullock and De Niro. But no actor has more on the line than the seriously slumping Johnny Depp, whose comeback hopes ride on the reception for his portrayal of Boston gangster James “Whitey” Bulger in “Black Mass,” the Hub’s most anticipated film of the year.

There’s talk of Oscar for both him and the film. Ditto for another Boston-set blockbuster, “Spotlight,” which recounts how the Boston Globe exposed the world to the dirty secrets of the Catholic church after a years-long investigation by a dedicated staff portrayed by the likes of Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo and Stanley Tucci.
It’s also a season of farewells, both to Katniss Everdeen in the (alleged) final “Hunger Games” installment and Daniel Craig as James Bond in “Spectre.” For the kids, there’s a Pixar toon and an adaptation of R.L. Stine’s “Goosebumps.” And for the tech geeks, a probing profile of Steve Jobs by Oscar-winner Danny Boyle. On paper, it all looks great, but the proof is in the theater. So to get you up on what you can expect, here’s a rundown of what Hollywood plans to drop as the leaves fall, beginning with:

SEPT. 11

THE PERFECT GUY It’s expecting a lot from us to sympathize with Sanaa Lathan when she’s playing a lowly lobbyist. But if you can get past that potentially fatal flaw, there might be fun to be had when she and Morris Chestnut stand their ground against a crazed stalker (hunky Michael Ealy) she used to date.

THE VISIT He’s back!!! That would be M. Night Shyamalan, who subjects us to more of his cheesy sci-fi malarky. This one involving two Hollywood kids going to visit their psycho grandparents for a few weeks. Ummm! What’s that in the oven? It’s not cookies.

THE BLACK PANTHERS: VANGUARD OF THE REVOLUTION Director Stanley Nelson’s documentary traces the history of the militant civil rights group’s nearly 50-year history.

SEPT. 18

BLACK MASS He’s a killer, a thief and a folk hero. Now Whitey Bulger can add Oscar contender to his resume, or at least the guy playing him (Johnny Depp) can. As Bulger, Depp dons a bald cap and a nasty disposition to portray the 1970s version of the gangster and his dubious acquaintance with crooked FBI agent John Connolly. The all-star cast also includes Kevin Bacon, Dakota Johnson and Benedict Cumberbatch as Whitey’s brother, Billy.

CAPTIVE Should-have-been Oscar nominee Daniel Oyelowo (“Selma”) plays another real-life person in Brian Nichols, the Georgia man who shot and killed a Fulton County judge and then fled to suburban Atlanta, where he took a young mother (Kate Mara) hostage.

EVEREST With awards aspirations, Jake Gyllenhaal, Josh Brolin, Jason Clarke and John Hawkes ascend the world’s most dangerous mountain in a tale based on a 1996 climb that claimed eight lives. Baltasar Kormakur (“2 Guns”) directs.

MAZE RUNNER: THE SCORCH TRIAL Part one of this “Hunger Games” wannabe failed to meet expectations, but that hasn’t deterred filmmakers from force feeding us a sequel in which the pimple-faced hero (Dylan O’Brien) and his followers wage war on their oppressors.

THE NEW GIRLFRIEND France’s master of suspense, Francois Ozon, has humor-tinged thrills in store for his tale about a man (Romain Duris) getting in touch with his inner Caitlin Jenner by dressing in his dead wife’s clothes and assuming a female persona.

SICARIO Emily Blunt continues her action heroine ways playing an FBI agent leading a task force against the Mexican drug cartels in director Denis Villeneuve’s (“Prisoners”) topical thriller. Benicio Del Toro and Josh Brolin co-star.

PAWN SACRIFICE Tobey Maguire has all the right moves as chess legend Bobby Fischer, the free-spirited American who unassumingly became a pawn in America’s fight for cold war supremacy. Ed Zwick directs.

SLEEPING WITH OTHER PEOPLE Jason Sudeikis and Alison Brie try to cure their immunity to monogamy by making their romance strictly platonic. Good luck with that. Leslye Headland (“Bachelorette”) directs.

THE SECOND MOTHER A Sao Paulo nanny (Regina Case) struggles to reunite with the teenage daughter she abandoned 13 years ago.

ALSO OPENING: Meet the Patels

 

SEPT. 25
THE INTERN At 73, Robert De Niro would seem a bit old to play an intern, but it’s the type of quirk we’ve come to expect from writer-director Nancy Meyers (“It’s Complicated”). He’s part of a new intern program for seniors at a tech company founded by Anne Hathaway’s social recluse. Expect laughs and lessons learned.

HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 2 The bad-to-mediocre “Hotel Transylvania” gets an undeserved sequel, with Adam Sandler again leading the voice talent in a tale about a monsters-only hotel opening its doors to humans.

STONEWALL Jeremy Irvine plays a fictional character caught in the middle of the infamous 1969 Stonewall Riot, which is considered the turning point in the gay rights movement.

BEFORE I WAKE Thomas Jane and Cohasset’s Kate Bosworth play the parents of a possessed 8-year-old boy (Jacob Tremblay).

A BRILLIANT YOUNG MIND Asa Butterfield and “Ray Donovan’s” Eddie Marsan form a funny, touching student-teacher relationship.

COMING HOME A Chinese dissident (Chen Daoming) is released from prison only to return home to his amnesia-stricken wife (Gong Li).

Also opening: Goodnight Mommy

 

OCT. 2
THE MARTIAN Matt Damon takes permanent residence on Mars in Ridley Scott’s sci-fi extravaganza based on Andy Weir’s lost-in-space novel. Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig and Kate Mara are the earthlings hoping to bring him back alive.

FREEHELD Julianne Moore and Ellen Page play a lesbian couple in a fight with city hall over whether Page’s character deserves to receive Moore’s pension when the latter, a Philadelphia police officer with terminal cancer, dies. Peter Sollett directs this fact-based story, which also stars Michael Shannon and Steve Carell.

TIME OUT OF MIND Director Oren Moverman scored with “The Messenger,” but bombed with “Rampart.” So he hopes to bounce back with this heart-tugger about a homeless man (Richard Gere) trying to get his life back together so he can reconnect with his estranged daughter (Jena Malone).

PEACE OFFICER The term “peace officer” has become an oxymoron in this age of “militarized” police departments that approach crime with a war mentality. Brad Barber and Scott Christopherson take a look at why with the help of former sheriff Dub Lawrence.

Also opening: The Keeping Room

 

OCT. 9
STEVE JOBS Can Danny Boyle do for Steve Jobs (Michael Fassbender) what David Fincher did for Mark Zuckerberg? Early word is: yes! In fact, this is a surefire Oscar contender reuniting almost the entire crew from “Slumdog Millionaire.” And who can resist a supporting cast that includes Kate Winslet, Seth Rogen, Jeff Daniels, Katherine Waterston and Michael Stuhlbarg?

MASTERMINDS After giving us “Napoleon Dynamite” and “Nacho Libre,” anticipation is high for Josh Hess’ latest slice of zaniness. And hiring Zach Galifianakis is a terrific start. The rolly-polly star of “Birdman” is fully in his element living a drone-like existence as an armored-car driver. Then, along comes a femme fatale co-worker (Kristen Wiig) to break up the monotony and possibly land him in jail. Owen Wilson and Jason Sudeikis co-star.

THE WALK Although there’s no way of improving on James Marsh’s Oscar-winning documentary, “Man on Wire,” Robert Zemeckis attempts to dramatize Philippe Petit’s clandestine skywalk between the tops of the now-destroyed World Trade Center towers. Even more curious, an odd casting choice has American Joseph Gordon-Levitt filling the tight-rope shoes of the very French Petit. Ben Kingsley co-stars.

HE NAMED ME MALALA Filmmaker Davis Guggenheim (“An Inconvenient Truth”) profiles 18-year-old Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Malala Yousafzai and her advocation for educating girls in nations (like her native Pakistan) that deny women basic human rights.

PAN Joe Wright (“Atonement”) directs a new take on an old story, with Levi Miller playing Peter Pan making his first journey to Neverland. Hugh Jackman, Garrett Hedlund and Rooney Mara co-star.

LEGEND The story of Britain’s notorious Kray twins got a mediocre screen adaptation in 1990, so Brian Helgeland can’t help but improve on it with his take on the murdering mama’s-boys, now played by Tom Hardy in a dual role.
DRUNK STONED BRILLIANT DEAD: THE STORY OF THE NATIONAL LAMPOON Director Douglas Tirola’s documentary pays a bittersweet tribute to the Harvard institution that raised political satire to a sublime level.

 

OCT. 16
BRIDGE OF SPIES If you’re younger than 50, there’s a good chance you’ve never heard of Francis Gary Powers. So here’s a chance to catch up on one of the biggest showdowns of the Cold War, as a U.S. diplomat (Tom Hanks) sheepishly negotiates the release of Powers, a shot-down spy-plane pilot, from the evil clutches of the Soviets. Steven Spielberg directs.

CRIMSON PEAK With a nod to Hitchock’s “Rebecca,” Guillermo del Toro delivers his finest film since “Pan’s Labyrinth,” telling the mysterious tale of a young writer (Mia Wasikowska) who marries a wealthy man (Tom Hiddleston) harboring deep secrets inside the mansion he shares with his creepy sister (Jessica Chastain).

GOOSEBUMPS R.L. Stines’s children’s book comes to computer-animated life when a teen (voice of Dylan Minnette) finds the perfect life after grudgingly moving to a small town. But his Utopia is threatened when he and his friends accidentally release the monsters contained in the books of R.L. Stine (Jack Black), who happens to be his new girlfriend’s dad. Talk about meta.

LABYRINTH OF LIES The horror of Auschwitz is the catalyst for a 1960s-set mystery involving an eager young German prosecutor (Alexander Fehling) dealing with his town’s apathy while investigating a teacher suspected of being a Nazi guard.

Also opening: Beasts of No Nation

 

OCT. 23
BURNT Bradley Cooper plays a bad-boy Paris chef who always has something cooking. But when he discovers there’s more to life than food and fun, the lovely Helene (Cooper’s “American Sniper” wife, Sienna Miller) comes to his rescue. John Wells (“August: Osage County”) directs.

THE LAST WITCH HUNTER Life’s a witch for Vin Diesel in his centuries-long vocation of eliminating broom-riding practitioners of black magic. He’s also dealing with the pain of immortality, a curse he can reverse by nabbing the elusive Queen Witch. Elijah Wood and Michael Caine co-star, and Breck (son of Robert) Eisner directs.

ROCK THE KASBAH A music manager (Bill Murray) stumbles upon a young Afghani girl he wants to compete in the Middle East version of “American Idol.” Barry Levinson (“Rain Man”) directs a star-filled cast that includes Bruce Willis and Kate Hudson.

JEM AND THE HOLOGRAMS Aubrey Peeples plays a young woman whose musical group becomes an overnight Internet sensation. But trouble looms when fame and fortune force her to examine who she really is.
VICTORIA A Spanish immigrant abets her German boyfriend in a bank robbery, but the plot is secondary to the film’s cinematics. Shot in one continuous 135-minute take, the film vows no tricks, no edits, just (literal) nonstop action.

PARANORMAL ACTIVITY: THE GHOST DIMENSION More of the same “found footage” depicting paranormal acts of depravity caught on tape. Yawn!

Also opening: Room

 

OCT. 30
TRUTH Remember how Dan Rather lost his job at CBS? Writer-director James Vanderbilt is all too happy to remind you, casting Robert Redford as the tenacious anchor, who in 2004 made an unsubstantiated on-air claim that George W. Bush used his father’s political connections to avoid Vietnam. Cate Blanchett and Dennis Quaid co-star.

OUR BRAND IS CRISIS Sandra Bullock could well enter the Oscar conversation with her work in David Gordon Green’s (“Pineapple Express”) dramedy about American political consultants employing (dirty?) U.S. campaign tactics in the Bolivian presidential election.

SUFFRAGETTE Speaking of elections: Did you know as recently as 100 years ago, women couldn’t vote? Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham Carter and Meryl Streep unite to show us how – with great sacrifice – that wrong was righted in Great Britain.

AUTOBAHN Travelers Nicholas Hoult and Felicity Jones incur the wrath of two notorious gangsters (Anthony Hopkins and Ben Kingsley) in a star-studded thriller from director Eren Creevy.

SCOUT’S GUIDE TO THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE A Halloween comedy about three Boy Scouts battling zombies. Is there a merit badge for that? Tye Sheridan stars.

Also opening: Jafar Panahi’s Taxi

NOV. 6
SPECTRE Topping “Skyfall” will be a tall order, even for James Bond. But Daniel Craig, in his final go-round as 007, should be up for the task. This time out, he’s on a rogue mission to destroy the evil SPECTRE organization, while also outrunning the goons of a political bigwig (Andrew Scott) bent on booting him from MI-6. Umm, sounds a lot like the latest “Mission: Impossible.” Oh, well. At least it has Monica Bellucci, Ralph Fiennes and Christoph Waltz as the chief villain. Sam Mendes directs.

THE PEANUTS MOVIE Charles Schulz’s son, Craig, and grandson, Bryan, cash in on the family name by co-writing an animated 3-D adventure in which the beloved Peanuts gang, including the Red Baron, reunite. I fear a stinker much like the Dr. Seuss abominations foisted upon us after Theodor Geisel’s death. We shall see.

SPOTLIGHT Another Boston true-crime story gets the Oscar treatment, as Boston College grad Tom McCarthy (“Win, Win”) directs a stirring re-enactment of the Boston Globe’s probe of the Catholic priest scandal. The to-die-for cast includes Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schrieber and Stanley Tucci.

BROOKLYN Saoirse Ronan plays an Irish immigrant in 1950s Brooklyn. But just when America gives her everything she hoped, including romance, the Old Sod beacons. And another love interest. Sounds sappy, but with Nick Hornby scripting, hopes are high.

THE WONDERS Italian beekeepers are the subject of Alice Rohrwacher’s coming-of-age film about a teenage girl learning her place in the world. Monica Bellucci stars.

MISS YOU ALREADY A terminal illness threatens to come between lifelong best friends (Drew Barrymore and Toni Collette). Catherine Hardwicke (“Thirteen”) directs.

NOV. 13
THE 33 If you’re going to mine Oscar gold, a mine might be the right place to start for Antonio Banderas, Juliette Binoche, James Brolin, Lou Diamond Phillips and Gabriel Byrne. Together, they’ve re-enacted the miraculous, real-life rescue of 33 Chilean miners from the 2010 collapse at Copiapo.

BY THE SEA The pairing of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt in an exotic romance triggers deja vu of Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise in “Eyes Wide Shut.” Not a good thing. And given how badly Jolie botched “Unbroken,” her return to the director’s chair doesn’t instill confidence. But who knows, it might work. But don’t get your hopes up.

TRUMBO Like “The Walk,” Jay Roach’s film is inspired by an exceptional documentary, Peter Askin’s “Trumbo,” which rivetingly recounted the life of blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo. So, topping it will be tough, but with Bryan Cranston in the title role, Roach (“Game Change”) just might pull it off.

LOVE THE COOPERS If you’ve seen the trailer for this one, you know it’s going to be a conventionally corny holiday gathering of elements of a dysfunctional family. Ho, hum. At least the cast is strong, with Alan Arkin, John Goodman, Ed Helms, Diane Keaton, Amanda Seyfried, June Squibb, Marisa Tomei and Olivia Wilde.

RINGS Remember how great “The Ring” was? The makers of this cheap retread are seriously hoping not, particularly when they’re serving up Aimee Teegarden instead of Naomi Watts.

MY ALL AMERICAN If you loved “Rudy” and “Hoosiers” (and who doesn’t?), prepare to be deeply moved again by a true story that takes athletics to a profound level. This one’s about Freddie Steinmark (Finn Wittrock), the placekicker on the 1969 national champion Texas Longhorns. But just days after his moment of sublime glory, fate pays him a cruel visit. I know the story, and I promise you, you’ll want to bring plenty of tissues.
Also opening: Pearl Button

NOV. 20
THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY – PART 2 Forget Katniss, after the disappointing hor d’oeuvre that was “Part 1,” we’re the hungry ones. Hopefully, the series finale will be much more satiating, as Katniss leads the rebellion against President Snow (Donald Sutherland).

SECRET IN THEIR EYES Screenwriter Billy Ray (“Captain Phillips,” “The Hunger Games”) hops into the director’s chair to helm a quasi-remake of the Oscar-winning foreign flick, “The Secret in Their Eyes.” It’s about a trio of FBI agents – Chiwetel Ejiofor, Nicole Kidman, Julia Roberts – uncovering dirty little secrets during the cold-case investigation of the murder of Roberts’ daughter.

NOV. 25
THE GOOD DINOSAUR Pixar’s biggest threat to “Inside Out” winning the animation Oscar might come from – Pixar. Yes, the studio literally might outdo itself with this charming tale that imagines what would have happened had dinosaurs survived. In it, an Apatosaurus named Arlo (voice of Raymond Ochoa) makes a human friend who teaches him how to be fearless.

CREED And you thought the “Rocky” pictures were kaput. Yes, Stallone is much too old, so why not yank the son of Apollo Creed out of mothballs? But wait, much like the last “Rocky,” this one might actually be a knockout, with Michael B. Jordan donning the gloves in a film Warner Bros. is targeting for awards consideration. Ryan Coogler (“Fruitvale Station”) directs.

THE NIGHT BEFORE Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen and Anthony Mackie play childhood friends who’ve always partied hearty on Christmas Eve. But this might be their final blowout, and they’re going to make it special. Jonathan Levine (“50/50”) directs.

VICTOR FRANKENSTEIN Daniel Radcliffe may not be doing magic anymore, but that hasn’t stopped him from dabbling in the supernatural, like this tale in which he plays Igor to James McAvoy’s Dr. Frankenstein. But fear that Max Landis, the person responsible for the awful “American Ultra,” wrote the script. The horror!

There’s talk of Oscar for both him and the film. Ditto for another Boston-set blockbuster, “Spotlight,” which recounts how the Boston Globe exposed the world to the dirty secrets of the Catholic church after a years-long investigation by a dedicated staff portrayed by the likes of Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo and Stanley Tucci.
It’s also a season of farewells, both to Katniss Everdeen in the (alleged) final “Hunger Games” installment and Daniel Craig as James Bond in “Spectre.” For the kids, there’s a Pixar toon and an adaptation of R.L. Stine’s “Goosebumps.” And for the tech geeks, a probing profile of Steve Jobs by Oscar-winner Danny Boyle. On paper, it all looks great, but the proof is in the theater. So to get you up on what you can expect, here’s a rundown of what Hollywood plans to drop as the leaves fall, beginning with:

SEPT. 11
THE PERFECT GUY It’s expecting a lot from us to sympathize with Sanaa Lathan when she’s playing a lowly lobbyist. But if you can get past that potentially fatal flaw, there might be fun to be had when she and Morris Chestnut stand their ground against a crazed stalker (hunky Michael Ealy) she used to date.

THE VISIT He’s back!!! That would be M. Night Shyamalan, who subjects us to more of his cheesy sci-fi malarky. This one involving two Hollywood kids going to visit their psycho grandparents for a few weeks. Ummm! What’s that in the oven? It’s not cookies.

THE BLACK PANTHERS: VANGUARD OF THE REVOLUTION Director Stanley Nelson’s documentary traces the history of the militant civil rights group’s nearly 50-year history.

SEPT. 18
BLACK MASS He’s a killer, a thief and a folk hero. Now Whitey Bulger can add Oscar contender to his resume, or at least the guy playing him (Johnny Depp) can. As Bulger, Depp dons a bald cap and a nasty disposition to portray the 1970s version of the gangster and his dubious acquaintance with crooked FBI agent John Connolly. The all-star cast also includes Kevin Bacon, Dakota Johnson and Benedict Cumberbatch as Whitey’s brother, Billy.

CAPTIVE Should-have-been Oscar nominee Daniel Oyelowo (“Selma”) plays another real-life person in Brian Nichols, the Georgia man who shot and killed a Fulton County judge and then fled to suburban Atlanta, where he took a young mother (Kate Mara) hostage.

EVEREST With awards aspirations, Jake Gyllenhaal, Josh Brolin, Jason Clarke and John Hawkes ascend the world’s most dangerous mountain in a tale based on a 1996 climb that claimed eight lives. Baltasar Kormakur (“2 Guns”) directs.

MAZE RUNNER: THE SCORCH TRIAL Part one of this “Hunger Games” wannabe failed to meet expectations, but that hasn’t deterred filmmakers from force feeding us a sequel in which the pimple-faced hero (Dylan O’Brien) and his followers wage war on their oppressors.

THE NEW GIRLFRIEND France’s master of suspense, Francois Ozon, has humor-tinged thrills in store for his tale about a man (Romain Duris) getting in touch with his inner Caitlin Jenner by dressing in his dead wife’s clothes and assuming a female persona.

SICARIO Emily Blunt continues her action heroine ways playing an FBI agent leading a task force against the Mexican drug cartels in director Denis Villeneuve’s (“Prisoners”) topical thriller. Benicio Del Toro and Josh Brolin co-star.

PAWN SACRIFICE Tobey Maguire has all the right moves as chess legend Bobby Fischer, the free-spirited American who unassumingly became a pawn in America’s fight for cold war supremacy. Ed Zwick directs.

SLEEPING WITH OTHER PEOPLE Jason Sudeikis and Alison Brie try to cure their immunity to monogamy by making their romance strictly platonic. Good luck with that. Leslye Headland (“Bachelorette”) directs.

THE SECOND MOTHER A Sao Paulo nanny (Regina Case) struggles

 

Fonte: Boston Press