Summer may be a distant memory, but that doesn’t mean you’re done watching blockbuster films, Oscar-worthy indies and pure, overhyped crapola. Oh, no. The fall movie season is just beginning. With Thanksgiving and Christmas right around the corner, Hollywood studios are lining up, once again, to pick your pockets. We’ve got superspies, vampires, talking mice, Will Smith, Jim Carrey, Adam Sandler and a superhero or two. And that’s just the beginning.
So, peruse the schedule, pick a film that sounds appealing, purchase some tickets on Fandango and find yourself a couple hours respite from the endless shopping season to come.
Keep in mind, of course, that all dates are subject to change.
Quantum of Solace Stars: Daniel Craig, Gemma Arterton The new, improved Bond is back and still looking for revenge in the death of his beloved Vesper Lynd at the hands of a secret, world-conquering organization. The title, by the way, means “a lot of comfort.”
Bolt Stars: The voices of John Travolta, Miley Cyrus This CG-animated toon finds a Hollywood dog, star of a TV action show, lost in New York City, where he realizes his superpowers are just the product of special effects.
Twilight Stars: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson The first of Stephanie Meyer’s teen angst vampire novels goes Hollywood with high school heroine Bella Swan falling in love with dreamy young bloodsucker Edward Cullen.
The Boy in Striped Pajamas Stars: Asa Butterfield, David Thewlis The 8-year-old son of a concentration camp commandant innocently befriends a young Jewish boy in this World War II drama.
Australia Stars: Nicole Kidman, Hugh Jackman Baz Luhrmann (Romeo + Juliet, Moulin Rouge) directs this epic adventure saga. Set in World War II-era Australia, a delicate English aristocrat and a rough Australian stockman try to protect a sprawling cattle ranch from invading Japanese forces.
Four Christmases Stars: Vince Vaughn, Reese Witherspoon An antisocial couple struggle to spend the Christmas holidays with all four of their divorced parents in this wacky seasonal sitcom.
Transporter 3 Stars: Jason Statham, Natalya Rudakova Jason Statham is back as the badass driver-for-hire. This time around, he blows up if he gets too far away from his car. No, really. Also, the movie’s directed by a Frenchman named Olivier Megaton. No, really.
Cadillac Records Stars: Adrien Brody, Beyoncé Knowles This musical drama chronicles the founding of legendary Chess Records in ’50s Chicago.
Extreme Movie Stars: Frankie Muniz, Jamie Kennedy The makers of Not Another Teen Movie try to horn back in on the Scary Movie, Date Movie, Epic Movie, Disaster Movie trendwith this sketchy spoof of teen sex.
Milk Stars: Sean Penn, Emile Hirsch Gus Van Sant (Drugstore Cowboy, Good Will Hunting) directs this biopic about Harvey Milk, California’s first openly gay elected official, who was eventually assassinated by a former city supervisor.
Punisher: War Zone Stars: Ray Stevenson, Dominic West The gun-toting vigilante, looking a bit different than his last outing, does battle with his disfigured archenemy Jigsaw (not to be confused with the guy from the Saw films).
Youth in Revolt Stars: Michael Cera, Steve Buscemi While his trailer trash parents teeter on the edge of divorce, teenage Nick Twisp dreams of losing his virginity to dreamgirl-next-door Sheeni Saunders. Based on the comic novel by C.D. Payne.
The Day the Earth Stood Still Stars: Keanu Reeves, Jennifer Connelly The contemplative sci-fi classic gets remade with Keanu Reeves--which is as good an excuse as any for aliens to destroy our stupid planet.
Delgo Stars: The voices of Freddie Prinze Jr., Jennifer Love Hewitt This CGI-based fantasy toon is about an adventurous but naive teenager who must protect the terrestrial Lockni people from the winged Nohrin people. It features mediocre animation but a big voice cast (including Kelly Ripa, Anne Bancroft, Val Kilmer and Burt Reynolds).
Nothing Like the Holidays Stars: John Leguizamo, Alfred Molina More wacky comedy about a family forced to spend time together over the holidays. For added color, this one’s Puerto Rican.
Gran Torino Stars: Clint Eastwood, Geraldine Hughes Clint Eastwood stars in his own directing effort as a disgruntled Korean War vet who sets out to reform his neighbor, a young Hmong (ethnic Chinese) kid who tried to steal his prized possession--a 1972 Gran Torino.
The Wrestler Stars: Mickey Rourke, Marisa Tomei Rourke has wowed film fest audiences with his gritty portrait of a retired professional wrestler looking for one last shot at fame in the ring. Brainy Darren Aronofsky (Pi, Requiem for a Dream) directs.
Seven Pounds Stars: Will Smith, Rosario Dawson A guilt-ridden IRS agent tries to make amends for his mistakes by helping seven strangers. For fans of Smith’s more sentimental efforts like The Pursuit of Happyness.
Slumdog Millionaire Stars: Dev Patel, Mia Drake Danny Boyle (Trainspotting, 28 Days Later ...) directs this comedy/drama about an impoverished Indian teen who becomes a contestant on the Hindi version of “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?”--not to win the prize money, but to prove his love for his friend, who is an ardent fan of the show.
The Tale of Despereaux Stars: The voices of Matthew Broderick, Emma Watson Our third CGI toon of the holiday season is a lovely adaptation of Kate DiCamillo’s picture book about a bookish mouse, an unhappy rat and a bumbling servant girl whose fates are intertwined with that of a beautiful princess.
Yes Man Stars: Jim Carrey, Zooey Deschanel Jim Carrey is a Negative Nelly who, as an experiment, says yes to everything for a period of one year, leading to lots of funny and life-affirming encounters.
Bedtime Stories Stars: Adam Sandler Adam Sandler reads bedtime stories to his kids and they come to life, kinda like in Night at the Museum. In fact, a hell of a lot like in Night at the Museum. You liked Night at the Museum, didn’t you? You forked over a lot of dough to go see it with your kids? Come see this one, too. Please! Signed, your friends at Walt Disney Studios.
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button Stars: Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett This odd fantasy (adapted from a short by F. Scott Fitzgerald) tells the life story of a man who is born old and steadily grows younger.
Doubt Stars: Meryl Streep, Philip Seymour Hoffman Playwright/filmmaker Jon Patrick Shanley adapts his own stageplay about a tough nun who confronts a priest she’s convinced has abused a young black student.
Frost/Nixon Stars: Frank Langella, Michael Sheen Ron Howard (Apollo 13, The Da Vinci Code) helms this biopic about embattled prez Richard Nixon and his famous encounter with British talk show host David Frost.
Hurricane Season Stars: Forest Whitaker, Bow Wow It’s another inspirational, true-life football story, this one about a coach who assembles an all-star team from post-Katrina Louisiana’s devastated high schools and leads it to the state championships.
Marley & Me Stars: Owen Wilson, Jennifer Aniston A commitment-phobic couple adopts a dog. A really bad dog. The book, by John Gorgan, was a massive feel-good hit full of Important Life Lessons; the movie looks like Beethoven, Part 7.
The Spirit Stars: Gabriel Macht, Scarlett Johansson Will Eisner‘s famous newspaper strip crimefighter comes to life in this Sin City-style superhero flick from director/comic book artist Frank Miller.
Last Chance Harvey Stars: Dustin Hoffman, Emma Thompson In London for his daughter’s wedding, a rumpled man finds his romantic spirits lifted by a new woman.
Valkyrie Stars: Tom Cruise Cruise stars as a controversial German officer who plotted (unsuccessfully, needless to say) to assassinate Hitler during World War II.