Fall Films: 8 coming attractions worth the price of popcorn
Published: October 2, 2013
Nine years after taking a road trip through wine country with two best friends in Sideways, Oscar-winning screenwriter and -nominated director Alexander Payne takes another character-driven journey, this time from Montana to the Midwest with a son and his surly father. When Wood Grant (Bruce Dern) receives an unquestionably fake notice that he has won a mega-million dollar mail-in sweepstakes, he insists on traveling to the Cornhusker State to claim the prize, much to the chagrin of his skeptic son David (Will Forte). Along the way they discover how greedy people can get when they feel they are owed something. –KM
German poet Goethe’s Faust is the classic drama of a restless scholar who sells his soul to the devil in exchange for knowledge denied mere mortals. In his brilliant novel The Master and Margarita, Mikhail Bulgakov transposed the story to 1930s Moscow. Now comes another Russian Faust, a film directed by Aleksandr Sokurov, who is best known for Russian Ark (2002), a mad dash through the Hermitage and Russian history in a single long take. Sokurov knows how to convey the delirium of Faust’s febrile quest, but in an age of science-denial, does anyone still consider knowledge worth the price of a soul? – Steven G. Kellman
'The Hunger Games: Catching Fire'*
Pre-production on the second installment of the Hunger Games series, based on Suzanne Collins’ novels, was filled with director and writer changes and plenty of other twists and turns. Finally directed by Francis Lawrence (I Am Legend, Water for Elephants), the movie brings back America’s sweetheart Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen, plus more Team Peeta/Team Gale tension. Is a rebellion afoot? Does President Snow really drink blood? Will Cinna make another fab dress? Find out for yourself. Mockingjay, the next installment in the saga, will be split into Part 1 (November 2014) and Part 2 (November 2015). –EL
A decade ago, Chan Wook-Park’s intense, unhinged revenge fantasy Oldboy helped kick off a wave of interest in Korean cinema, as well as providing viewers some of the most gripping and disturbing scenes of any contemporary thriller. An American remake was probably inevitable, but who could have predicted it would end up in the hands of firebrand Spike Lee? It’s a bit out of his wheelhouse, but it’s got a dynamite lineup led by Josh Brolin and Samuel L. Jackson (you thought he’d sit this Spike Lee joint out?). Plus, Lee can still bust out a few surprises. It likely won’t pack the punch of the original, but it might be that rare thing—a worthwhile remake. —LP
*Movies marked with an asterisk open wide, and that includes San Antonio.
Also opening: ‘CBGB’ (10/11), ‘Thor: The Dark World’ (11/8), ‘Mandela’ (11/27).