Westchester Fall Arts Preview: Movies
Big-name directors and high-profile stars line the cinema marquees this season
Clockwise, from top left: Rush Photo BY Jaap Buitendijk © 2013 Universal Studios. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED; The Family Photo BY Jessica Forde - © 2012 EuropaCorp. TF1 Films Production. Grive Productions. All Rights Reserved; Don Jon Photo BY Daniel McFadden ©2013 Relativity Media, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Racecars have never seemed so highbrow: Rush tells the story of Formula 1’s most famous and bitterest rivalry, that of English party boy James Hunt (The Avengers’ Chris Hemsworth) and Austrian perfectionist Niki Lauda (Inglourious Basterds’ Daniel Brühl). Ron Howard—no stranger to sports underdogs, having directed Cinderella Man—shot this one on location in the UK, Germany, and Austria, so, even if you care not for high-octane thrills, you can luxuriate in the European locales.
At this point, the exploits of Holden Caulfield have been surpassed in notoriety by the exploits of his creator, J.D. Salinger. At the height of his fame, Salinger stopped publishing and lived the life of a recluse. The documentary Salinger seeks to figure out why—and what he’s been writing in solitude. The movie fills in some of the huge gaps of knowledge we have about the writer (but, unfortunately, it can’t help your high-schoolers with their Catcher in the Rye papers).
You’ve seen Robert De Niro play a gangster in mob thrillers. You’ve seen him play a family man in comedies. Now see him do both at the same time: Action-comedy The Family has him as the head of a New York City mob clan who gets relocated with his family to Normandy, France, under witness protection. (Michelle Pfeiffer plays his wife—a delightful reminder of Married to the Mob.) And if you think a ruthless mafia don and his tough-as-nails wife have a hard time fitting in in France—you should see their kids.
Actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt has been on a hot streak lately, scoring roles in everything from Lincoln to Looper. Now, he’s breaking out on his own, writing, directing, and starring in his first feature. And, for his debut, he’s tackling a heck of a subject: He plays a New Jersey guy trying to balance his steady girlfriend (Scarlett Johansson) with his porn addiction.
Also Consider: Show kids the horrors of the food/animal hybrid monsters in Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 (9/27)—like tacodiles, shrimpanzees, or pie-thons—they’ll never complain about eating broccoli again // Cloudy isn’t the only sequel out there for the month—since it’s September, you can choose your junky genre franchise installment: the Vin Diesel sci-fi adventure Riddick (9/6), or the violence-filed action flick with the appropriate name, Machete Kills (10/4) // If you turn your nose up at sequels, Runner, Runner (10/4) pits Ben Affleck against Justin Timberlake in shady dealings over offshore gambling // Or, if Don Jon puts you in the mood but doesn’t satisfy, there’s Thanks for Sharing (9/20), also about sex addiction and starring Gwyneth Paltrow and Mark Ruffalo.
When you think of the terrors that lurk in outer space, aliens are usually first to come to mind. But Children of Men director Alfonso Cuarón has devised a movie around a threat even more horrifying: nothing. In it, George Clooney and Sandra Bullock are involved in an accident that leaves them stranded and drifting in space. And if the loneliness and isolation start to give you the creeps—just wait until you see it in 3D.
Director Paul Greengrass certainly has found his niche, directing tense, in-the-moment movies that re-create real events. (He made United 93, about one of the planes hijacked on 9/11.) This time, he’s chronicling the ordeal that took place aboard a ship—the MV Maersk Alabama—when it was captured by Somali pirates. And who’s at the helm, playing the title role of Captain Richard Phillips? None other than Tom Hanks, who recently was named the most trustworthy man in America according to a Reader’s Digest poll.
Writer Cormac McCarthy has had his books adapted into films before—we still shiver when we think about The Road—but The Counselor is his first direct-to-the-theaters screenplay. It’s full of all of that good, pulpy McCarthy stuff, too: The movie follows a lawyer (Michael Fassbender) who gets in over his head when he gets involved in a drug trade. Ridley Scott (Prometheus) directs, and the film co-stars Brad Pitt and Javier Bardem (who, like his character in No Country For Old Men—also penned by McCarthy—sports a terrible haircut).
All Is Lost
You don’t need to head to outer space to be completely adrift. In All Is Lost, Robert Redford plays a solo sailor whose yacht collides with a shipping container, leaving him to face the elements with nothing but a sextant and nautical maps for guidance. Think of it as Life of Pi, but without the tiger for company.
Also Consider: Fans of Korean cinema (and aren’t we all?) can thrill to an American remake of the revenge-themed thriller Oldboy (10/25), directed by Spike Lee // Just off of playing Khan in the new Star Trek movie, actor Benedict Cumberbatch takes on another unlikely villain—Julian Assange—in The Fifth Estate (10/11) // If you need a little more brawn in your movie-going experiences, Escape Plan (10/18) teams Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone in a prison-break tale // This year’s big Halloween movie is looking awfully familiar: a remake of Carrie (10/18).
The Wolf of Wall Street
If you didn’t get enough of Leonardo DiCaprio and über-ostentatious displays of wealth in The Great Gatsby, he’s back with The Wolf of Wall Street—directed by Martin Scorsese—about a rich stockbroker trying to keep his corrupt dealings away from the federal government. Look closely and you might find Westchester making a cameo: Some scenes were filmed in Rye and Ardsley.
Eternal winter? Sounds horrible. It’s barely fall and we’re already dreading what the colder months will bring. So we’re on board with the new Disney animated heroine, Anna, who wants to free her kingdom from her sister, Elsa, who has trapped the land in unending cold. If you think it sounds a little like Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen, you’re right (and just look what Disney did for The Little Mermaid).
Fresh from the Cannes Film Festival—where it was nominated for the prestigious Palme d’Or—comes a tale of an adult father-son road trip to claim a sweepstakes prize. Since the movie is directed by Alexander Payne—whose previous road-trip movies include Sideways and About Schmidt—of course things don’t go too smoothly. And, if the idea of a father-son bonding road trip weren’t nostalgic enough, did we mention the movie was filmed in black-and-white?
We’ve heard of odd, mismatched pairings in romantic comedies before, but Her sees a lonely writer (Joaquin Phoenix) falling in love with his computer’s operating system. Then again, we should expect something so out of the ordinary from director Spike Jonze, director of Adaptation and Being John Malkevich. Go ahead—we’ll forgive you if you do a quick check of your laptop or phone to measure its attractiveness. (Siri is just not our type.)
Also Consider: Forget Angry Birds—Free Birds (11/1) follow two turkeys who team up and time-travel to get off of the Thanksgiving menu for good // If you thought the Vegas bachelor party in The Hangover was bad, check out the one in Last Vegas (11/1), where Robert De Niro, Michael Douglas, Morgan Freeman, and Kevin Kline are the groom and groomsmen // Choose your weapon: Hammer-throwers can check in with the Asgardian Avenger with Thor: The Dark World (11/8), while archers can catch the next chapter of Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (11/22).
Also Consider in December:
In the holiday spirit? Good. Now go see the blistering August: Osage County (December 25), based on the Tracy Letts play, to get over it in a hurry // After meeting all the dwarves (and one Gollum) in last year’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, we’ll finally get some dragon action in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (12/13) // Westchester native and director David O. Russell follows his Silver Linings Playbook success with American Hustle (12/13), about a con artist in Camden New Jersey // The inimitable Coen Brothers take on the folk scene of the 1960s with Inside Llewyn Davis (12/20) // Star Trek’s Chris Pine steps into the role of Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan in the appropriately titled Jack Ryan (12/25) // Daydreamers can feel kinship with Ben Stiller’s The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (12/25), based on the James Thurber short story we all were assigned to read in eighth grade // Make sure 2013 ends classy with Anchorman: The Legend Continues (12/20).
Note: Studios are notoriously twitchy about film release dates, and some of these may have “adjusted” after press time. Check your listings
» For more from the 2013 Fall Arts Preview, click here.