Westchester Magazine's Guide to Fall 2011 Events and Activities in Westchester County, NY: Movies, Sequels, and Blockbusters in Movie Theaters this Fall
Sequels and superheroes make way for awards bait, prestige films, and high-minded thrillers.
Drive photo by Richard Foreman. Courtesy of FilmDistrict and Bold Films and OddLot Entertainment
It’s fast. It’s furious. But, in this film, you get a thoughtful, quiet performance from Ryan Gosling instead of the boneheaded yammering of Paul Walker. In Drive, Gosling plays a movie stunt driver by day and a criminal getaway driver by night. With him at the wheel, instead of being just a bloody and blunt heist movie, Drive is more of an existential thriller, if such a thing can exist.
Restless Photo by Scott Green, Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics
Gus Van Sant, director of Good Will Hunting, Elephant, and Paranoid Park, knows from disturbed adolescents, and, in this movie, he’s got his hands full. On the surface, Restless is a teenage romance, only the leading lady (The Kids Are All Right’s Mia Wasikowska) has a brain tumor, and her love interest (Henry Hopper) is an orphan who thinks he can talk to the ghost of a Japanese kamikaze pilot. Sort of puts the vampire-werewolf-human teenage love triangle to shame, doesn’t it?
50/50 photo by Chris Helcermanas-Benge © 2011 Summit Entertainment, LLC
50/50 is another movie that focuses on a young person with cancer, albeit in an entirely different way. Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays a 27-year-old diagnosed with a rare kind of spinal tumor, relying on his best friend, played by Seth Rogan, to help him through. But, given the emotional maturity of men in their 20s, the result comes across more like a Judd Apatow comedy than Terms of Endearment.
❯❯❯ What’s Your Number?
What’s Your Number? is one of those refreshing fall movies that’s not out for awards prestige and ignores the heavy issues. In it, Anna Faris reads an article that says women who’ve slept with more than 20 men can’t find a husband, and, having almost reached the limit, looks up her exes to see if she missed true love among them. Faris has never been afraid to look really silly in the service of a joke, and she’s lined up a roster of talented funnymen to play her old flames—including Chris Evans, Chris Pratt, Andy Samberg, and Joel McHale—so expect a romantic comedy that doesn’t ignore the “comedy” part.
If Transformers: Dark of the Moon didn’t convince you that there are monsters up on that rock orbiting us, horror flick Apollo 18 (September 2) will. Indie stalwart Steven Soderbergh tries for big, paranoid scares with his pandemic epic, Contagion (September 9). It’s action hero against action hero when Jason Statham and Clive Owen square off in the B-movie Killer Elite (September 23). Westchester native Bennett Miller directs his first film since Capote with Moneyball (September 23), a movie about baseball statistics starring Brad Pitt.
❯❯❯ Martha Marcy May Marlene
Just when you thought the Olsen pop-cultural dynasty had ended, Elizabeth Olsen—younger sister to Mary-Kate and Ashley—makes her explosive big-screen debut and returns from Cannes with raves in hand. In this film, Olsen plays a young woman recently escaped from a cult and trying to fit back into normal society. And, seeing as it was a Sundance film, it’s not October’s standard Halloween-slasher fare—director Sean Durkin tries to make his film artier and more beautiful while simultaneously being, as the A.V. Club called it, a “nerve-jangler.”
The Three Musketeers Photo by Rolf Konow
❯❯❯ The Three Musketeers
Though we’re now living in an age when most people don’t know what a “musketeer” is—let alone why one would need three of them—this film comes along to try and woo a modern audience. How? By stuffing it with amped-up action. Fight scenes come courtesy of veteran swashbucklers Orlando Bloom (Lord of the Rings), Milla Jovovich (Resident Evil), Ray Stevenson (Thor), Luke Evans (Clash of the Titans), and Matthew Macfadyen (Robin Hood), while Inglourious Basterds’ smarmy Christoph Waltz plays Cardinal Richelieu. And—something Alexandre Dumas certainly never saw coming—it’ll be in 3D.
Everyone knows that Shakespeare wrote Hamlet, Macbeth, and all those other great plays. But, to paraphrase the Royal Tenenbaums, what this movie presupposes is—maybe he didn’t? Director Roland Emmerich, best known for his disaster movies like 2012 and The Day After Tomorrow, offers a melodrama that asserts that Edward De Vere, the Earl of Oxford, is the true scribe whose work launched a million high-school essays.
❯❯❯ Like Crazy
What is it about the Brits that makes us all swoony inside? Like Crazy is about a transatlantic romance in which a British student and an American student fall for each other—until her visa runs out and she has to return to the UK. And, for those of you who think that yearning romances can’t take home the awards glory, Like Crazy won the Grand Jury Prize at this year’s Sundance.
George Clooney makes his first appearance of the season in The Ides of March (October 7), a (timely) movie about a presidential campaign based on a play by Beau Willimon. Hugh Jackman plays a boxer looking for a comeback in Real Steel (October 7)—with the twist that this rock ’em, sock ’em movie is about fighting robots. Since it’s Halloween time, on October 21, choose your preferred method of terror: the found-footage jump-scares of Paranormal Activity 3, or Kevin Smith’s morality thriller, Red State. Johnny Depp gets back into Hunter S. Thompson mode with The Rum Diary (October 28).
My Week With Marilyn Photo by The Weinstein Company
❯❯❯ My Week with Marilyn
The Marilyn in question is, of course, Marilyn Monroe. Though it’s hard to take on such an iconic silver-screen fixture, if anyone is going to attempt to portray her in a film, we’re glad it’s the lovely Michelle Williams (Blue Valentine). The movie is based on two books by Colin Clark, an assistant to Laurence Olivier, about the filming of The Prince and the Showgirl.
❯❯❯ Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
Who says the Cold War is over? Though it may seem like all movies have shifted to be about the War on Terror, there are still some retro Red Scares to be had. This film is a remake of John le Carré’s Cold War spy novels as well as a remake of the 1979 mini-series starring Alec Guinness. In it, Gary Oldman plays a retired MI6 agent looking for a mole within his organization. Communism may well be a red herring.
Muppets photo by Scott Garfield/Disney Enterprises, Inc.
❯❯❯ The Muppets
In the famous words of another movie: they’re getting the band back together. When the Muppet studio is in danger, the Muppets have to band together to save it from a greedy businessman. Written by Jason Segal (and starring Kermit the Frog, of course), the movie is full of what we love about Muppet movies: musical numbers, Muppety self-referential humor, and the Swedish Chef.
The Artist Photo by The Weinstein Company
❯❯❯ The Artist
In the era of 3D, IMAX, and surround sound, it seems almost woefully backwards to recommend a movie that’s silent. Yes, silent. And black-and-white. And not in widescreen. The Artist is a new French film that takes place in Hollywood during the silent-film era, and it attempts to recreate that experience for current audiences. It’s a perfect antidote for those suffering from loud, color-saturated, quick-cut comics-movies fatigue.
Direcor Tarsem Singh (The Fall) brings his mind-blowing visual style to a subject worthy of its ornateness—Greek gods—in his man-vs-god epic, Immortals (November 11). We suspect people will buy tickets to the unwieldy-titled The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn (Part One) (November 18) not to see the wedding of Edward and Bella, but because of morbid curiosity about the (spoilers!) subsequent vampire-baby birth—if indeed it’s in this movie. Those who love the silent-film milieu of The Artist can return—with kids—to Hugo (November 23), set in 1930s Paris and based on the charmingly illustrated children’s book, directed by Martin Scorsese in 3D.
Also Consider in December:
Tom Cruise—excuse us, we mean Ethan Hunt—chooses to accept another mission in Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol (December 16); Robert Downey, Jr., trades the Iron Man suit for a double-brimmed cap for another spin as the master of elementary deduction in Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (December 16). Oh look! There’s George Clooney again in The Descendants (December 16), a movie about a man trying to reconnect with his daughters. Subtitle-loathers can rejoice at the English-language American remake of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (December 21). Jacob Burns Film Center honoree Steven Spielberg does double-duty this December, with his motion-captured version of Belgian favorite The Adventures of Tintin (December 23) closely followed by the WWI young-adult drama War Horse (December 28).
Note: Studios are notoriously twitchy about film release dates, and some of these may have “adjusted” after press time. Check your listings.
Box Office Info
Avon Theatre Film Center
Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts
Copland House at Merestead
Groove Performing Arts
Historic Hudson Valley
(Philipsburg Manor, Van Cortlandt Manor, and Washington Irving’s Sunnyside)
Hudson River Museum
Hudson Valley Writers’ Center
Jacob Burns Film Center
Katonah Museum of Art
Madelyn Jordon Fine Art
Neuberger Museum of Art Purchase
The Performing Arts Center
The Picture House
REBEL Ensemble for Baroque Music
The Ridgefield Playhouse
The Schoolhouse Theater
Tarrytown Music Hall
Westchester Broadway Theatre
Westchester County Center
Westchester Italian Cultural Center