The Master (September 21) Philip Seymour Hoffman, Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams. Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson. Anderson’s film about a charismatic author (Hoffman) who starts his own religious sect is pointedly not about Scientology, but the implications are obvious. Come for the social commentary, stay for the bravura filmmaking.
Looper (September 28) Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt. Directed by Rian Johnson. Is Rian Johnson (Brick, The Brothers Bloom) the next Christopher Nolan? The trailers for his time-travel thriller—in which an assassin (Gordon-Levitt) hunts down his future self (Willis)—featuring inventive visuals, intense action and an intricate, mind-bending plot sure make it seem like he could be.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower (October 5) Logan Lerman, Emma Watson, Ezra Miller. Directed by Stephen Chbosky. Chbosky’s 1999 novel was a coming-of-age touchstone for an entire generation, and now he’s writing and directing the adaptation of his story about the growing pains of an introverted high school freshman (Lerman).
Taken 2 (October 5) Liam Neeson, Maggie Grace, Famke Janssen. Directed by Olivier Megaton. Those terrorists never learn, do they? After badass CIA agent Bryan Mills (Neeson) delivered a savage beatdown on his daughter’s kidnappers, the bad guys are back for more, this time taking Bryan and his wife and leaving his daughter as the one to save the day.
Fall A+E Guide
- Fall A+E Guide: Concerts
- Fall A+E Guide: Albums
- Fall A+E Guide: TV
- Fall A+E Guide: Books
- Fall A+E Guide: Culture
- My list: Weekly designer Corlene Byrd digs through the Killers catalog
- Q&A: Bay Area garage-rocker Ty Segall
- How well do you know James Bond? Take the Weekly quiz
- Who was Ralph Lamb?
- On the dawning of Vegas’ new neon age
Argo (October 12) Ben Affleck, Alan Arkin, Bryan Cranston, John Goodman. Directed by Ben Affleck. With Gone Baby Gone and The Town, Affleck proved himself an excellent director of gritty thrillers, and this fact-based drama about a rescue operation mounted to save six Americans in Iran in 1979 should allow him to apply his skills on a larger scale.
Paranormal Activity 4 (October 19) Kathryn Newton, Matt Shively, Brady Allen. Directed by Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman. The fourth movie in the horror series promises more grainy surveillance-camera footage, more explorations of the flimsy franchise mythology and, no doubt, more doors closing suddenly. Spooky!
Cloud Atlas (October 26) Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent, Hugo Weaving. Directed by Tom Tykwer, Andy and Lana Wachowski. Yes, it apparently took three directors to adapt David Mitchell’s sprawling 2004 novel, which spans centuries and features six different intertwining stories ranging from a 19th-century sea voyage to a clone facing execution in a dystopian future. If any movie this year qualifies as epic, this is the one.
Wreck-It Ralph (November 2) Voices of John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Jack McBrayer. Directed by Rich Moore. It may not be a Pixar movie, but this animated Disney production definitely has the Pixar spirit. It’s a sort of Toy Story for video games, telling the story of the title character, who’s been a villain in the same vintage arcade game for decades and heads out on a quest to change his life.
Skyfall (November 9) Daniel Craig, Javier Bardem, Judi Dench. Directed by Sam Mendes. Craig returns for his third go-round as suave secret agent James Bond, aided by Oscar-winning director Mendes (American Beauty). Bond faces off against a threat to his boss M (Dench) in the character’s 23rd big-screen adventure. Take our James Bond trivia quiz here.
Lincoln (November 16) Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field, David Strathairn. Directed by Steven Spielberg. Spielberg’s biopic about America’s 16th president has been in the works for years, and with acting powerhouse Day-Lewis in the title role (plus fellow Oscar-winners Field and Tommy Lee Jones in the supporting cast), it’s basically swept the Academy Awards already.
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 2 (November 16) Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner. Directed by Bill Condon. The final installment in the sparkly-vampire romance series promises more action and less gruesome childbirth than the previous movie, as the newly vampiric Bella (Stewart) and her half-breed child are hunted down by some angry bloodsuckers.
Life of Pi (November 21) Suraj Sharma, Irrfan Khan, Gerard Depardieu. Directed by Ang Lee. It’s a prestigious literary adaptation in 3D, as Lee takes on the story of an Indian teen stranded at sea with a Bengal tiger, based on Yann Martel’s acclaimed 2001 novel.
Also … Dredd (September 21); Hotel Transylvania (September 28); Frankenweenie (October 5); Alex Cross (October 19); Killing Them Softly (October 19); Flight (November 2); The Man With the Iron Fists (November 2); Anna Karenina (November 16).