10 Fall Movies to Keep on Your Radar

October 4, 2013

The fall film season is often stereotyped as a time when movie studios release the films they thought wouldn’t make enough money to compete with summer’s blockbuster hits. This year, however, anticipates the release of several big-budget blockbusters as well as many potential Oscar contenders and under-the-radar indie films from Sept. 22 to Dec. 22.

“Gravity” (Oct. 4)
George Clooney and Sandra Bullock star as two astronauts working at the International Space Station in director Alfonso Cuaron’s return to science fiction. While they are on a routine spacewalk, a terrible accident occurs, and they are untethered from the craft to find themselves drifting alone in the black emptiness of space. The movie has already received much praise following its screening at various film festivals and is being hailed as a landmark in the history of special effects.

“Captain Phillips” (Oct. 11)
“Captain Phillips” recounts the 2009 hijacking of the USS Maersk Alabama by Somali pirates and the Navy’s subsequent mission to rescue the ship’s crew. Tom Hanks plays the titular captain, who struggles to contain the situation before the pirates take him hostage on a lifeboat, demanding millions of dollars in ransom money.

“12 Years a Slave” (Oct. 18)
“12 Years a Slave” received rave reviews following its premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. The film presents the true story of a free black man, Solomon Northrup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), who was kidnapped and sold into slavery on a New Orleans plantation. Brad Pitt, Michael Fassbender and Benedict Cumberbatch co-star.

“Carrie” (Oct. 18)
While the movie is a remake of the 1976 film based on the Stephen King novel, that doesn’t mean it should be automatically written off as another Hollywood cash-in on the original film. Chloë Grace Moretz stars as Carrie White, a social outcast who unleashes her telekinetic powers at her senior prom, while Julianne Moore stars as her religious fanatic mother.

“The Counselor” (Oct. 25)
Pulitzer Prize-winning Cormac McCarthy, author of “No Country for Old Men” and “The Road,” teams up with Ridley Scott, director of “Gladiator” and “Alien,” to tell the story of a greedy lawyer, played by Michael Fassbender, who becomes involved in the world of drug trafficking and finds himself in over his head. The star-studded cast also includes Brad Pitt, Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz and Cameron Diaz.

“Ender’s Game” (Nov. 1)
Humanity stands on the brink after its first encounter with a race of insectoid aliens in the First Formic War years ago. The international military begins training the brightest children in warfare to prepare for the aliens’ return, and humanity’s best hope lies with the brilliant youngster Ender Wiggin, played by Asa Butterfield. Ender is sent to train under war heroes Commander Graff (Harrison Ford) and Mazer Rackham (Ben Kingsley) in this adaptation of the award-winning novel by Orson Scott Card.

“Thor: The Dark World” (Nov. 8)
Thor (Chris Hemsworth) returns to the big screen following the events of “The Avengers” to battle Malekith the Accursed (Chris Eccleston), and his army of dark elves. Directed by Alan Taylor of “Games of Thrones,” “Thor: The Dark World” promises to balance epic battles and high-stakes drama.

“The Wolf of Wall Street” (Nov. 15)
Martin Scorcese and Leonardo DiCaprio collaborate on a tale of greed, excess and all the other moral failures you can expect from a film about Wall Street. Based on Jordan Belfort’s memoirs of his days as a crooked banker, the film looks to blow Oliver Stone’s “Wall Street” out of the water and become the definitive chronicle of financial system corruption.

“The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” (Nov. 22)
Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) returns for the second chapter of the Hunger Games saga. After the financial success of the first film, it’s not unrealistic to expect this one will top the box office for several weeks.

“The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” (Dec. 13)
The second film in Peter Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy follows Bilbo Baggins as he and his dwarf companions continue on their quest to reach the Lonely Mountain Erebor. To do so, they must pass through the gloomy forest of Mirkwood and face the terrible dragon Smaug. One has to wonder, however, how much the novel’s conversion to a motion picture trilogy will bloat the film, a problem the first installment suffered from.

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