Westchester Fall Arts Preview 2012: Fall Movies

Gangsters, time-travel, and big book adaptations head to the big screen this season.


Photo by John Bramley

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The Perks of Being a Wallflower
September 14
Oh, to be young, when the world is your cloister. Teens from the early aughts (and their parents) remember this coming-of-age tale as a bestselling novel about an introverted high-school freshman and the oddball upperclassmen who take him under their wings. Those who revere the book should be pleased to hear that the author, Stephen Chbosky—who has, since the novel’s publication, co-created the TV series Jericho—adapted, wrote, and directed the screenplay himself.

The Master
September 14
With his followup to the withering There Will Be Blood, director Paul Thomas Anderson still has his claws out. The Master is a portrait of a charismatic individual—played by Philip Seymour Hoffman, whom you can always depend on for a stellar performance—who starts a new, dodgy religion in the post-World War II 1950s. We’d say this bears more than a passing resemblance to Scientology’s L. Ron Hubbard, but we don’t want to incur the wrath of Xenu.


September 28
We love movies with mind-bendy, time-travel plots, and Looper—from Brick’s writer/director Rian Johnson—looks to be no exception. In it, Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays Joe, a special kind of assassin: Future criminals with time-travel technology zap their intended targets to a specific place and time in their past, where he’s waiting to rub them out. Things truly get complicated for Joe, though, when an older version of himself becomes his intended target. Can you kill a future version of yourself without ripping a hole in the space-time continuum? Marty McFly never had it so rough.

 Photo by Alan Markfield COPYRIGHT: © 2012 Looper, LLC. All rights reserved

Also Consider: A werewolf, a mummy, and an invisible man check into a hotel—it must be the Hotel Transylvania (September 21), the setting of a computer-animated film with voice acting by comedians Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg, Kevin James, and David Spade // Sure, it may be Dredd (September 21), but this British sci-fi thriller based on the 2000 AD comics character is unrelated to the 1995 film, and therefore sadly bereft of Sylvester Stallone // Tough-guy stalwart Clint Eastwood, on the other hand, proves that he’s never, ever going to retire from Hollywood, appearing in Trouble with the Curve (September 21), a film about a baseball recruiter who takes his daughter on a scouting trip // When September ends, it’s Gyllenhaal vs. Gyllenhaal, with Jake opening his cop drama End of Watch at the same time that Maggie stars as a mom out to transform her ailing local school in Won’t Back Down (both on September 28).

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October 5
Halloween is the perfect time for another go-round on Frankenstein’s monster, and Tim Burton is just the man to do it. His black-and-white, stop-motion animated film follows Vincent, a boy who unleashes the awesome power of science to bring his dog back from the dead. But, as all mad scientists must learn—even the young ones—messing with nature has unintended consequences. Frankenweeie, a remake of Burton’s own 1984 short film of the same title, will be released in 3D IMAX, presenting the story in a way that Mary Shelley never would have anticipated.  


Photo by Claire Folger

October 12
We all know what happened to the 52 captives in the Iran Hostage Crisis—but did you know about the six who slipped out the back door? Argo, directed by Ben Affleck, tells the true story of six US Foreign Service members who managed to avoid capture during the crisis, and how the US government needed to invent a movie to get them out under the guise of a fake film shoot. This is definitely one of those cases where the truth is stranger than the movie-within-a-movie fiction.

Killing Them Softly
September 21
If you want to see gangsters but don’t care for Boardwalk Empire’s old-timey style, Killing Them Softly is a current-day, gritty mob movie starring a scruffed-up Brad Pitt. He plays a mafia point man who goes on the hunt for a criminal who lifted some of the mob’s assets during a poker game. Ray Liotta co-stars, hopefully bringing some of his GoodFellas good luck with him.

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Photo by Melinda Sue Gordon © 2011 Cogan’s Productions

Not Fade Away
October 19
Remember your ’60s rock ’n’ roll roots with Not Fade Away, a movie about a teenager (John Magaro) trying to make a go of it with his band—and his father (James Gandolfini), who’s more than a teensy bit jealous of all of the advantages and freedom his son has. Perhaps that suburban upbringing will recall your own: the director, The Sopranos creator David Chase, was born in Mount Vernon. Sadly, though, Chase was raised in—and the film is set in—New Jersey, but we can still look for similarities to Westchester.

Also Consider: It may not have Tom Cruise or hair bands, but if Rock of Ages has you longing for another movie musical, try Pitch Perfect (October 5), about rival a cappella groups—okay, we admit, that’s far dorkier than Rock of Ages // Which unnecessary sequel would you prefer: Taken 2 (October 5), with its revenge-oriented action thrills, or Paranormal Activity 4 (October 19), with its spooky jump-scares? // For a larger dude, Kevin James is a spry physical actor, as he’ll demonstrate in his new film Here Comes the Boom (October 12), where he plays a teacher who turns to MMA fighting to raise money for his school // Seven Psychopaths (October 12), a new black comedy from the master of the form, In Bruges writer/director Martin McDonagh, follows a lowly writer who gets mixed up in a crime syndicate when he kidnaps a gangster’s Shih Tzu // Alex Cross (October 19), who sprang from the mind of Briarcliff Manor neighbor James Patterson, makes his big-screen debut tracking down a murderer at large in DC.


Photo ©2012 Disney All Rights Reserved



Wreck-It Ralph
November 2
From Mario and Link to Commander Shepard and Gordon Freeman, everybody has their favorite video game heroes, but nobody thinks too much about the villains. Disney’s 3D, computer-animated movie centers around a classic video game bad guy who wants his own chance at heroism and goes game-hopping in search of alternate adventures. It might be enough to make you search eBay for an old Atari 2600.

November 9
It’s been widely reported that Skyfall is the movie where James Bond trades in his trusty martinis for a Heineken, but we like Daniel Craig’s less prissy, more rough-and-tumble brand of Bond. And, in this 23rd Bond movie, we’ll find out that M is tougher than we all originally thought, too.

Photo by Francois Duhamel COPYRIGHT by Skyfall ©2011 Danjaq, LLC, United Artists Corporation, Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. All rights reserved

Life of Pi
November 21
Those who have read the novel by Yann Martel all have the same questions about the movie adaptation: How the heck can you adapt the material? After all, the book is mostly about a man who’s stranded on a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger. It’s not the most cinematic of topics. But leave it to Larchmont resident Ang Lee to take up the challenge, using an unknown actor—Suraj Sharma, who was selected out of a pool of 3,000 men who auditioned—as the lead.

Photo by Rhythm & Hues -TM and © 2012 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved

Silver Linings Playbook
November 21
November’s streak of local directors continues with a new film from David O. Russell, who went to Mamaroneck High School. And the movie, based on a book by Matthew Quick, explores a situation that some Mamaroneck grads might relate to: a teacher named Pat (Bradley Cooper) goes back to live with his parents. Only in this case, it’s because Pat was just released from a mental institution—so let’s hope that our local grads are faring better. Robert De Niro co-stars as Pat’s father.

Also Consider: Root for the hometown hero when Mount Vernon’s Denzel Washington stars in Flight (November 2), Robert Zemeckis’s film about a pilot investigating a suspicious crash // Daniel Day-Lewis bears an uncanny resemblance to our 16th president in Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln (November 9) // It’s hard to say goodbye, unless you’re talking about The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part Two (November 16), which finally brings the Twilight series to a close // Swap Korea for Russia and you’ve got the makings of Red Dawn (November 21), a remake of the 1984 Patrick Swayze film starring one of the beefy Hemsworth brothers // In Rise of the Guardians (November 21), the Boogeyman has taken over, so Santa, the Easter Bunny, the Sandman, the Tooth Fairy, and Jack Frost need to team up to get him back in line.

Also Consider in december: Hyde Park on Hudson (December 7) has all our Hudson Valley favorites: Sneden’s Landing resident Bill Murray stars as FDR in a film about the royals visiting his estate in, obviously, Hyde Park // Before Frodo, there was Bilbo, as The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (December 14)—the first of at least two planned Peter Jackson Hobbit movies—will explain // Do you hear the people sing? You will hear actors Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfried, and Samantha Barks belt it out when The Kings Speech’s Tom Hooper brings mega-musical Les Misérables (December 14) to the screen // Quentin Tarantino goes from WWII to the deep, deep south in Django Unchained (December 25), about a freed slave determined to rescue his wife from a sadistic plantation owner (an against-type Leonardo DiCaprio) // English majors the world over have long been told that The Great Gatsby (December 25) is unfilmable, but Baz Luhrmann’s sparkling, antic, 3D adaptation might be just crazy enough to work.

Note: Studios are notoriously twitchy about film release dates, and some of these may have “adjusted” after press time. Check your listings.

Our Wine & Food Festival returns June 4-9!

Our Wunderkinds event takes place on May 23!

Our Best of Business Ballot is open through May 15!

Our Healthcare Heroes Awards event takes place on May 9!

Our Westchester Home Builders Awards take place on April 4!

Our Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Forum is March 14!

Unveiled: A Boutique Bridal Brunch is February 25!

Our Best of Westchester Elimination Ballot is open through March 6!

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