Fall Film Preview

    School is back in session and thereís excitement and stress everywhere making this the best time to visit the mecca of American pop culture, the movie theater and to see the latest that Hollywood has to offer. This fall promises to offer everything from great drama, silly comedies and exciting thrillers, so take a sneak peak at whatís coming out and see what looks promising and what looks appalling.

    September 26

    “”Duplex””

    Drew Barrymore pairs up with the king of physical comedy, Ben Stiller, for this movie about a young and promising New York couple that buys a duplex thinking itís their dream home. But ó surprise, surprise ó they meet their little old neighbor who will inevitably drive them insane. Although not the most original of storylines, hopefully the Danny DeVito-helmed film will make up for it with original humor. Stiller and Barrymore will either have you clutching your sides or desperately controlling your gag reflex.

    October 3

    “”Casa de los Babys””

    A first-rate cast of actresses, including Marcia Gay Harden, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Daryl Hannah and Susan Lynch, join forces in this indie about six American women in an unnamed Latin American city hoping to adopt babies. This film depicts the entire situation, from the teenage mothers, the nurses and even the unfortunate children who donít get adopted. Director John Sayles (“”Girlfight””) takes a relevant issue and turns it into a touching and human film. Be prepared to cry.

    “”School of Rock””

    If youíre tired of dramatic Oscar contenders, then this may very well be the movie for you. Jack Black plays a delusional musician kicked out of his band and is so desperate for money he poses as a substitute teacher where he ends up turning his students into bonafide rock stars. Sure, this is a Jack Black film, but donít expect this one to be a loser, like “”Shallow Hal”” or “”Orange County.”” Black is already getting positive reviews, and Joan Cusack can only make this film better.

    October 10

    “”Intolerable Cruelty””

    George Clooney is at his charming peak in this romantic comedy about a Beverly Hills divorce lawyer who falls for his seductive new target (Catherine Zeta-Jones). Both stars are at the peaks of their attraction abilities and are accompanied by a distinguished cast including Billy Bob Thornton as a wealthy hick (we all knew he had it in him!) and Geoffrey Rush. Since itís a Cohen Brothersí movie, expect more mental stimulation than the lighthearted previews lead you to believe.

    “”Kill Bill, Volume 1″”

    Gratuitous violence and Uma Thurman. Yep, Quentin Tarantino is at it again. This time, Thurman plays a former assassin who wakes up from a four-year coma and swears revenge on her former boss and his gang. This film will undoubtedly have Tarantinoís trademark high-paced cinematography, action and music, so diehard fans will not be disappointed. And with assassins played by Lucy Liu, Darryl Hannah and Vivica A. Fox, men will be flocking to theaters like State guys to a keg, but women will love the empowering image of kick-ass females as well.

    October 15

    “”Mystic River””

    Clint Eastwood returns to directing feature films and this time it is with a top-notch cast, including Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, Kevin Bacon and Laurence Fishbourne. This suspenseful crime drama takes place in an urban Boston and traces the lives of three childhood friends as they try to solve an irrational murder and reflect upon their histories of friendship, family, innocence and revenge. The story, based on the novel by Dennis Lehane, is promising, so hopefully this production is more faithful and successful than most books-turned-movies. Letís face it ó they generally suck.

    October 17

    “”Veronica Guerin””

    Taking place in Dublin during the mid 1990s, the versatile Cate Blanchett plays a brave journalist, mother and wife, exposing the drug lords and pushers of the Dublin underworld in a series of articles that led to her brutal assassination. Despite the exciting premise and gifted actress, “”Veronica Guerin”” appears to be another “”The Life of David Gale””-type movie, which brings attention to important issues and stories, but will end up being too overproduced, too sensational and too biased.

    October 24

    “”Gothika””

    Halle Berry, in the horror/suspense flick “”Gothika,”” plays a criminal psychologist who becomes victim to a bitter spirit and wakes up in her own mental institution for committing a murder she does not remember. Directed by the oh-so-talented Mathieu Kassovitz (“”La Haine””) and co-starring Robert Downey, Jr., “”Gothika”” at least looks like a fun scare at the movies, even if it isnít the most brilliant of ghost stories.

    “”Radio””

    This is another heartwarming, inspirational film about an unlikely hero and the people he affected. “”Radio”” looks like “”Rudy,î “”Remember the Titans”” and “”Whatís Eating Gilbert Grape”” all rolled into one. With Cuba Gooding, Jr. in the title role of the mentally challenged Radio, he may receive another Oscar nomination. See this film if you need a pick-me-up or a bit of inspiration, but then again, you could get that same feeling from watching “”Dead Poetís Society”” or “”Hoosiers””.

    October 31

    “”The Human Stain””

    The ever-brilliant Anthony Hopkins is in another winner with this fallís “”The Human Stain.”” Hopkins plays a classics professor who has hidden the fact that he is part black from his colleagues and family for his entire professional life. Co-starring Nicole Kidman, Ed Harris and the promising newcomer Wentworth Miller, this drama looks like it will be one of this yearís Oscar favorites and no wonder, with such a stellar cast and relevant storyline. Donít miss this one.

    November 5

    “”The Matrix Revolutions””

    The third and final installment of the Wachowski Brothersí trilogy chronicling a human revolt against a computerized artificial intelligence run reality, finally hits theaters, to the relief of anxious fans worldwide. Most of the original cast (or the cast from “”The Matrix Reloaded””) returns, including Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, Laurence Fishburne and Monica Bellucci. Although much of the plot still remains quite a secret, expect stunning special effects and action sequences between the rebels and the agents. We can hope that the Matrix will go out with a major bang.

    November 14

    “”Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World””

    Russell Crowe just canít stay away from those period-piece epics. His first epic role, “”Gladiator”” won him the coveted Academy Award and it looks like he may get another Oscar nod this year. Crow portrays British naval captain Jack Aubrey who, along with his surgeon and fellow spy Stephen Maturin (Paul Bettany), sets off to intercept an American ship only to find him and his crew in a rather dire situation. So maybe this film is full of pale wimpy British guys instead of big butch gladiators, but the special effects and the dramatic acting and story (based on the tenth book of Patrick OíBrienís 20-part “”Master and Commander”” series) will undoubtedly have many glued to their seats. And we donít need to worry about losing Jack Aubrey because there are still another 10 books left!

    “”Shattered Glass””

    Films based on true stories are always the most intriguing. One of the most interesting this fall is that of journalist Stephen Glass, played by Hayden Christensen, who wrote for The New Republic and Rolling Stone. Many of his stories turned out to be fictional, with invented sources and quotes. ìShattered Glass”” boasts a cast full of Hollywoodís youngest and brightest, including Steve Zahn, ChloÎ Sevigny and Rosario Dawson. ìGlass”” looks like it will be one of the seasonís better movies with a fresh, talented cast and fascinating story. And thereís no doubt that Christensen will be a great lead, especially now that George Lucas wonít be directing him.

    This was but a short list of only a handful of films coming out this season, so keep on the lookout for other great productions and donít forget about promising indie films or foreign films. And whether you like artsy, mindless action, cult, or even hip-hop, San Diego is never lacking great film festivals or events for students to attend. If youíre looking for stress relief or just a good few hours of fun, you will have no trouble finding a film or films perfect for you. You just need to get off your lazy bum and find them.

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