Fall movie preview: five films to know

1. The Master – September 21

Acclaimed director Paul Thomas Anderson’s first film since his 2007 Oscar-nominated “There Will Be Blood” stars Amy Adams, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Joaquin Phoenix and Laura Dern (who are all Oscar nominees themselves) and promises to be an award show favorite. “The Master” tells the story of a troubled Navy veteran (Phoenix) who returns from World War II and is swept into a cult-like religion built around the scientist and theoretical philosopher Lancaster Dodd (Hoffman). Some observers have drawn connections between the film’s plot and the similarly cult-like religion of scientology, although Anderson denies the association.

2. Looper – September 28
Director Riann Johnson again demonstrates his eclectic genre portfolio with this time-travel thriller. “Looper” will be his second collaboration with actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who also starred in his 2006 film-noir “Brick.” Johnson followed this cult favorite with the more light-hearted “The Brothers Bloom,” scored by Nathan Johnson. Looper also features Bruce Willis, who plays a future version of Gordon-Levitt’s character and is slated to be executed by the younger version of himself in an ironic time-travel plot twist.

3. Argo – October 12

This political drama directed by and starring Ben Affleck, who made his directorial debut in the Boston cop-thriller “The Town” in 2010, is set during the 1979 Iran Hostage crisis. The film is based on a 2007 article in “Wired Magazine” by Joshuah Bearman, which tells the story of a CIA mission to extract six Americans from the home of the Canadian ambassador in Tehran under the guise of a film crew scouting for locations in the area.

4. Wreck-It Ralph – November 2

This Disney release is star-studded in more ways than one featuring not only the voice talents of some of the hottest comedy actors around including Jack McBrayer (a former cast member at the “Baby Wants Candy” improv show at Chicago’s Apollo Theater), Jane Lynch of “Glee” and comedian Sarah Silverman, but also the familiar characters of some beloved arcade games such as “Pac-Man” and “Mario Brothers.” Actor John C. Reilly plays to his strengths as Wreck-It Ralph, a loveable loser frustrated with his bad-guy role in arcade game “Fix-It Felix” and searching for a bigger purpose in his “pixilated” life.

5.Life of Pi – November 21

Based on the novel by Yann Martel and a screenplay by David Magee, director Ang Lee’s adaptation of “Life of Pi” is already gathering interest for the stark imagery in the promotional material and trailer. Lee is known for his rich visual style, memorable in films such as “Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon” and for his previous literary adaptation of Jane Austen’s “Sense and Sensibility.” The film’s young star Suraj Sharma is as yet unknown, accompanied by more seasoned veterans of the international film scene such as G’ÛΩrard Depardieu and Irfaan Khan.

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Sidebar:

Getting an Indie Movie Fix: Autumnal Selections at The Music Box Theatre at 3733 N. Southport

How to Survive a Plague – September 21
This documentary directed by David France chronicles the campaigns of two anti-AIDS activist coalitions, ACT-UP and TAG (Treatment Action Group), comprised of mostly HIV-positive young men who worked to combat the AIDS epidemic in the mid-1980s.

About Cherry – October 5

In a thought-provoking examination of the worlds of pornography and sex, “About Cherry” is an unconventional coming-of-age story of a young woman who tries to escape a troubled life at home by moving to San Francisco and building a career as a stripper and actress in the adult film industry. Starring Ashley Hinshaw, Heather Graham, Johnny Weston, James Franco and Dev Patel, this film explores both the dark and light sides of the world of commercialized sexuality.

The Loneliest Planet – November 2

Directed by Russian-American director Julia Loktev, “The Loneliest Planet” stars Mexican actor Gael Garcia Bernal (who is previously known for films such as 2004’s “The Motorcycle Diaries” and 2011’s “Even the Rain”) alongside Israeli-American actress Hani Furstenburg. This film explores a moment of crisis confronted by a couple while camping in the beautiful Caucasus Mountains in the Eastern European nation of Georgia.
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