Fall movies: Hudson Valley celebs light up silver screen

Denzel Washington plays pilot Whip Whitaker in the Denzel Washington plays pilot Whip Whitaker in the drama "Flight." The film is scheduled to be released in theaters Nov. 2. Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures

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It's fall movie season, a time when studios release films they hope will garner buzz, acclaim and awards. Here's a look at some of the top fall films that feature celebrities with Hudson Valley connections.

COMING SOON

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"Cloud Atlas" (premieres Friday): Pound Ridge homeowner Susan Sarandon is joined by fellow Academy Award winners Tom Hanks, Halle Berry and Ian McKellan in this highly anticipated drama based on the acclaimed 2004 novel by David Mitchell. The film, directed by the Wachowski siblings, will depict intertwined stories of several characters from the past, present and future. Based on buzz alone, it seems destined to receive multiple Oscar nods.

"Flight" (premieres Nov. 2): Mount Vernon native Denzel Washington stars in this drama about an airline pilot who saves a flight from crashing to have his dark secret uncovered. In addition to Washington, "Flight" also features Oscar winner Melissa Leo, an Ulster County resident who attended Purchase College.

"Skyfall" (premieres Nov. 9): Daniel Craig reprises his role as Agent 007 in the latest James Bond film, which sees Bond's relationship with M (Dame Judi Dench) tested in the aftermath of an attack on M16. Craig, who married Rachel Weisz in Stone Ridge in 2011 and reportedly lives in Saugerties, is confirmed to star in two more Bond films.

"Lincoln" (premieres Nov. 9): Steven Spielberg's biographical drama about one of the nation's most esteemed presidents features Daniel Day-Lewis in the title role. Dutchess County resident David Strathairn, who also appeared in this summer's "Bourne Legacy," plays Lincoln's Secretary of State, William Seward.

"Life of Pi" (premieres Nov. 21): Oscar-winning director Ang Lee, who has called Larchmont home, helmed the adaptation of the popular Yann Martel novel about an Indian boy marooned on a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger. The 3-D movie was filmed on location in India, and features newcomer Suraj Sharma as the titular character.

"Hyde Park on Hudson" (premieres Dec. 7): Bill Murray stars as another esteemed president -- Franklin D. Roosevelt -- in this comedy/drama set at FDR's Hyde Park estate on the eve of World War II. Murray, who has called Palisades home, is already receiving Oscar buzz for this role.

"Les Miserables" (premieres Dec. 25): Former Vassar student Anne Hathaway famously chopped off her hair on camera in her depiction of the tragic character, Fantine. The cast in this film adaptation of the Tony Award-winning musical, which includes Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe, recorded their songs live rather than lip-synching to a prerecorded track.

IN THEATERS

"Arbitrage" (premiered Sept. 14): This high-stakes thriller stars two A-listers with Hudson Valley roots: Richard Gere, a Bedford resident, and Sarandon. While the film has only earned $7 million, Gere was honored with a lifetime achievement award at the Hamptons Film Festival in September.

"Pitch Perfect" (premiered Oct. 5): "Glee" goes to college is one way to describe this comedy about rival a cappella groups on campus. Skylar Astin, who grew up in Rockland County, appears in the film as a love interest to the lead character, showing off the vocal talents that originally put him on the map (he was also in the original Broadway cast of "Spring Awakening"). "Pitch Perfect" has raked in $36 million domestically after only three weeks in theaters, making the musical flick a decent-sized hit.

"Taken 2" (premiered Oct. 5): Liam Neeson stars in one of fall's biggest moneymakers to date. The actor, who owns a home in Millbrook, headlines the sequel to the hit 2008 film. As of today, "Taken 2" has grossed more than $105 million domestically and $280 million internationally. Although Neeson has said in interviews that he can't envision another sequel, it wouldn't be surprising if "Taken 3" gets greenlighted, too.

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