Summer is over, which means the superheroes have settled back into their lairs, caves, labs or wherever it is they go when not smashing and crashing through the world’s movie theaters. Fall has arrived. Film companies are putting away their toys and releasing more aesthetically ambitious fare in the hopes of luring adults back into theaters and just maybe snagging some little gold statues. Here are a few of the cinematic highlights of the fall.
Anna Karenina (November 21)
Keira Knightley and Jude Law head up an excellent cast in Joe Wright’s evocative adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s classic novel of forbidden passion. Eschewing the usual period recreations, Wright boldly sets the film in a theater that expands and stretches endlessly like in an old Hollywood musical. Some of the sets include the real world but the movie never turns truly naturalistic as Wright instead seeks images that mirror the inner turmoil of his characters. While Wright’s highly stylized approach is certain to be divisive, there is no doubt about the film’s dazzling imagery and emotional intensity.
Holy Motors (November)
After a thirteen-year absence, bold French filmmaker Leos Carax (Les Amants du Pont-Neuf, Pola X, Boy Meets Girl, Bad Blood) returns with the year’s most mind-blowing movie. Carax’s cinematic alter ego, actor Denis Lavant stars as a mysterious man who is chauffeured around Paris by the legendary Edith Scob (star of the horror classic Eyes Without a Face). At each stop, Lavant completely transforms himself and enacts powerfully unsettling scenarios including murder, cybersex, kidnapping, lost love, Kylie Minogue singing and more! This one is only for adventurous film goers but they will be rewarded by numerous blasts of pure movie magic.
This comic look behind the scenes at the making of Alfred Hitchcock’s legendary shocker Psycho isn’t as great as his masterpiece but it undoubtedly has a cast to die for with Anthony Hopkins and Helen Mirren as Hitchcock and his devoted wife Alma Reville, and Scarlett Johansson and Jessica Biel as stars Janet Leigh and Vera Miles. Although it is now his most famous and influential work, this lively portrait of a master filmmaker working under enormous pressure is a fascinating reminder of what a risky and experimental film Hitchcock’s black and white shocker was at the time.
Django Unchained (Christmas)
Yup, Quentin’s back! After giving us his distinctively revisionist takes on gangster movies, exploitation flicks, kung fu, samurai cinema and the war film, Quentin Tarantino turns his attention to the oldest of all cinematic genres: The western. As indicated by the title’s reference to the legendary Django movies of the 60s and 70s, this is sure to be more spaghetti western than Hollywood horse opera. Jamie Foxx stars as a former slave who joins forces with a bounty hunter (Christoph Waltz) to seek his wife and revenge in post-Civil War America. Leonardo DiCaprio plays the evil plantation owner who is sure to be super articulate and extremely nasty. Expect lots of baroque dialogue, colorful characters and ultra-violence.