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2011 Fall Movie Preview


Twilight Photo Credit: Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart star in The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1. (Summitt)

 Steven Soderbergh and Matt Damon (“Contagion”). Clint Eastwood and Leonardo DiCaprio (“J. Edgar”). Lars von Trier and Kirsten Dunst (“Melancholia”). George Clooney and … George Clooney (“Ides of March”). Whether you’re after thrillers or psychological dramas, these director-actor power couples have got you covered this fall. And, of course, for “Twilight” fans, there is “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1.” Here what’s on our radar.

Steven Soderbergh preys on a germaphobe’s worst nightmare in this apocalyptic thriller about a rampant killer virus. Also killer? The cast: Matt Damon, Marion Cotillard, Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow and Laurence Fishburne. (Sept. 9)

Ryan Gosling plays a Hollywood stunt driver by day and getaway driver by night in a stylish noir that earned Nicolas Winding Refn the top directing award at Cannes. Also starring Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston and Christina Hendricks. (Sept. 16)

If you can’t wait until “Breaking Dawn” to get your Taylor Lautner fix, check him out in John Singleton’s “Abduction.” He plays a high school senior on the run from assassins after learning his entire life has been a lie. (Sept. 23)

Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen star in this semi-serious buddy comedy about a young man diagnosed with cancer (played by Gordon-Levitt). The script is Rogen’s passion project with friend and screenwriter Will Reiser, whose life the movie is based on. (Sept. 30)

When financial woes take a toll on a Manhattan couple (Paul Rudd and Jennifer Aniston), they leave the big city for a freewheeling community called Elysium, where careers and clothes are optional. (Oct. 7)

The Ides of March
George Clooney directs and stars in this political thriller about a campaign strategist (Ryan Gosling) who loses pieces of his soul while working for a presidential hopeful (Clooney). (Oct. 7)

The Rum Diary
Johnny Depp plays an expat journalist who tires of Eisenhower-era America and embraces island life in Puerto Rico. He lives it up, but also grapples with some ethical dilemmas. Based on an early Hunter S. Thompson novel. (Oct. 28)

J. Edgar
Clint Eastwood tackles the life of J. Edgar Hoover, the legendary and famously private founder of the FBI. With Leonardo DiCaprio playing Hoover and Dustin Lance Black (“Milk”) as screenwriter, we’d say this biopic has promise. (Nov. 9)

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1
The Bella-Edward- Jacob love triangle grows ever trickier, especially with a baby in the picture. Bill Condon (“Dreamgirls”) directs this fourth installment of the “Twilight” series.

She (Mia Wasikowska) is dying of cancer. He (Henry Hopper) lost his parents in an accident and now talks to an imaginary kamikaze pilot. You’d think this young couple would make one morbid pair, but they’re actually quite charming and functional. Directed by Gus Van Sant.
(Sept. 16)

I Don’t Know How She Does It
Sarah Jessica Parker plays the titular woman in question, who juggles motherhood, marriage and a time-consuming job. Based on the 2002 Allison Pearson novel, the movie co-stars Greg Kinnear and Pierce Brosnan. (Sept. 16)

Brad Pitt’s long-gestating passion project, based on Michael Lewis’ nonfiction book, centers on Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane (Pitt) as he revives his flailing team using radical approaches. Between Pitt, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Jonah Hill, this sounds like a home run. (Sept. 23)

Red State
In Kevin Smith’s debut thriller, Michael Parks stars as a preacher who instructs his gun-wielding congregation to kill and torture sinners. Brace yourself for one tense shoot-out.
(Sept. 23)

Machine Gun Preacher
Gerard Butler stars as real-life do-gooder Sam Childers, a drug dealer turned humanitarian who builds an orphanage in East Africa. Directed by Marc Forster. (Sept. 23)

Pearl Jam Twenty
Pearl Jam turned 20 this past year, and Cameron Crowe is celebrating with a documentary in the group’s honor. With more than 1,200 hours of precious footage, Crowe cobbled together a comprehensive biopic of the seminal Seattle band. (Sept. 23)

Kenneth Lonergan’s highly anticipated follow-up to “You Can Count on Me” is finally seeing the light of day after six years in legal limbo. Anna Paquin plays a witness to a bus accident that she may or may not have caused. Also starring Matt Damon and Mark Ruffalo. (Sept. 30)

Dream House
The season’s most sarcastic movie title goes to this Daniel Craig flick about a family that moves into its “dream home,” only to find it was recently the scene of a gruesome murder. Rachel Weisz (Craig’s real-life wife) and Naomi Watts also star. (Sept. 30)

What’s Your Number?
Anna Faris stars in a “High Fidelity” tale of sorts, except this time it’s the woman revisiting her exes in the hope of finding Mr. Right. Assisting in the quest is her hunky neighbor (Chris Evans). (Sept. 30)

Take Shelter
In this moody paranoid thriller, a young father (Michael Shannon) has repeated dreams of an impending apocalypse. As he becomes obsessed with building a shelter in his backyard, you can’t tell if he’s crazy or just pragmatic. (Sept. 30)

Real Steel
In this sci-fi action movie, 2,000-pound robots have replaced human beings in the boxing ring. A washed-out boxer (Hugh Jackman) bonds with his son as they design and build the ultimate metal contender. (Oct. 7)

The Skin I Live In
Pedro Almodovar explores some pretty creepy territory in this film about a widowed plastic surgeon (Antonio Banderas) who invents an impervious human skin — and tests it on a woman he keeps captive in his home. (Oct. 14)

The 1980s classic gets a reboot with newcomer Kenny Wormald filling Kevin Bacon’s toe-tapping shoes. Dennis Quaid plays the overbearing preacher who bans dancing in his small town, and Julianne Hough (“Dancing With the Stars”) takes on the role of the preacher’s daughter.
(Oct. 14)

The Big Year
Steve Martin, Jack Black and Owen Wilson — what subject could possibly unite comedians of such different ilk? Competitive bird-watching, of course. The three comics play friendly rivals in the world of high-stakes birding. (Oct. 14)

The Three Musketeers
Three musketeers, three villains, and lots and lots of swordfights: That’s what you get in this adaptation of the Alexandre Dumas novel. Watch it for the bad guys alone — they’re played by Christoph Waltz, Orlando Bloom and Milla Jovovich. (Oct. 21)

Martha Marcy May Marlene
Elizabeth Olsen (half-sister to Mary-Kate and Ashley) shows some serious acting chops as an escaped cult member who tries to adjust to normal life. A terrifying John Hawkes plays the leader of her former cult. (Oct. 21)

In Time
Justin Timberlake headlines this sci-fi thriller, set in a world where humans are engineered to die at age 26 — unless you can buy or steal more time. Playing his mother? The 27-year-old Olivia Wilde. (Oct. 28)

What if William Shakespeare didn’t write all those masterpieces? That’s the premise of this Roland Emmerich drama, which theorizes that an earl named Edward de Vere was actually the Bard. (Oct. 28)

Like Crazy
Oh, the trials of long-distance, cross-Atlantic love. That is the theme of this love story between an Angeleno (Anton Yelchin) and a Brit (Felicity Jones), who try to make it work. (Oct. 28)

Texas Killing Fields
When a young girl (Chloe Grace Moretz) from a small Texas town goes missing, the pressure is on a local detective (Sam Worthington) and his New York City transplant partner (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) to find a serial killer. (October TBD)

Tower Heist
When a Wall Street billionaire swindles the staff of his Central Park condo building, the workers take revenge heist-style. Ben Stiller and Eddie Murphy lead the pack, along with a strong supporting cast that includes Matthew Broderick and Casey Affleck. (Nov. 4)

My Week With Marilyn
Michelle Williams plays Marilyn Monroe in this true account of her behind-the-scenes travails with Laurence Olivier on “The Prince and the Showgirl,” as witnessed by a young set assistant (Eddie Redmayne) during the summer of 1956. (Nov. 4)

Kirsten Dunst nabbed the top acting prize at the Cannes Film Festival for her portrayal of a depressed bride in this Lars von Trier movie. You may not want to watch this on the eve of your own wedding. (Nov. 11)

Tarsem Singh applies his opulent visual sensibilities to this Greek epic about a mortal villager (Henry Cavill) who is chosenby the gods to rescue Greece from destruction. Appropriately cast, Mickey Rourke plays the baddie. (Nov. 11)

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
Based on the John le Carre Cold War novel, “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy” casts Gary Oldman as a discharged British spy who gets rehired to weed out a mole in Britain’s MI6. (Nov. 18)


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