By Paul Chi
As the temperature begins to drop, what better way to flee the cold autumn weather than to head to the local theater?
Richard Pena, program director of The Film Society of Lincoln Center, which presents the prestigious New York Film Festival every year, chimes in with his thoughts about the upcoming movie season and the films not to miss.
“[It’s] a great season for audiences looking for something more substantial in comparison to the summer films,” said Pena. “The fall season is more serious and adult driven.”
From September through the end of the calendar year, is the beginning of Oscar season. All film studios release their important films to be eligible for a coveted Academy Award. “The fall is good season to launch prestigious films and to prepare for the Oscar season.”
Pena discloses the five most buzz worthy or Oscar worthy films. He expects WWII soldiers, Boston gangsters, a teenage French queen, a brand new secret agent, and the “Sexiest man alive” caught in a horrendous situation, will spark audience and critic’s attention this fall.
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson
Release Date: Oct. 6
Plot: The police department wages war against organized mobsters in South Boston. An undercover cop (DiCaprio) is assigned to infiltrate a mob lord (Nicholson) while a fierce criminal (Damon) infiltrates the police department and quickly rises to power in the Special Investigation Unit. Both men become consumed by living double lives but must suddenly protect their own lives when it becomes clear to both the mobsters and the police that a mole is in their presence.
Buzz: Martin Scorsese is back with an all-star cast and that is creating anticipation with both critics and audiences. “There is a lot of interest from the critics,” said Pena. “It’s a film that everyone is eager to see.”
“New Yorkers have a strong sense of loyalty to Martin and can identify with him as a home town resident,” said Pena. Expect to see a great character drive plot with violence.
Starring: Kirsten Dunst, Jason Schwartzman, Rip Torn
Release Date: Oct. 20
Plot: Sofia Coppla’s interprets the Queen of France with rock music to give more of a modern twist to the biopic. Set in 18th-century Versailles, the film focuses on the personal story of the famed Austrian teenage girl who ends up marrying the heir to the French throne and then gets kicked out by revolting peasants.
Buzz: “With the success of her last film Lost in Translation, critics and audiences will want to see if she can keep her momentum going,” Pena said. “She has taken on a challenging period piece and people will be eagerly waiting to see it.”
Flags of Our Fathers
Starring: Ryan Phillippe, Barry Pepper, Jesse Bradford
Release Date: Oct. 20
Plot: Clint Eastwood and Paul Haggis, the director and writer of Million Dollar Baby team up again to tell the life story of six brave men, who raised the flag at The Battle of Iwo Jima during WWII.
Buzz: There is a lot of Oscar buzz surrounding the film and it is positioning itself to be the frontrunner for best picture of the year. Pena said there is a lot of interest, especially because Eastwood will release his other film Red Sun, Black Sand simultaneously to recount the battle from the Japanese point of view. “Showing a battle from both sides is a functional project,” he adds. It may be the next Saving Private Ryan.
Starring: Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett, Gael Garcia Bernal
Release Date: Oct. 27
Plot: The film focuses on Pitt struggling to get help when his wife, played by Blanchett, is shot while the pair is on vacation in a foreign country, causing a domino effect. Director Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu (21 Grams) weaves the film with three different story lines in Mexico, Morocco and Japan that intertwine in the end.
Buzz: Watch out for Pitt’s emotional and devastating tour de force performance that may earn him his first leading actor nomination come Oscar time. The film is gut wrenching and intense, sometimes leaving audience members feeling paralyzed and helpless. “The director has established himself for using a strong visual style that has developed into a strong fan base,” said Pena.
Starring: Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, Eva Green
Release Date: Nov. 17
Plot: The 21st James Bond film gets an extreme makeover with the casting of Daniel Craig as the new James Bond. The plot has been shrouded in secrecy but is based on the first Bond book written by Ian Fleming. The story, which has never been told on film until now, tells the making of the world’s greatest secret agent and follows him as he is sent out for his first mission.
Buzz: Director Martin Campbell said to expect a darker, rougher and a grittier James Bond than previous versions. Expect long lines at theaters, as audiences will be intrigued in checking out the new blonde James Bond. “Daniel Craig is a good choice,” said Pena. “He is a lot different than Pierce Brosnan and Roger Moore and more in the tradition of Sean Connery. There will be great interest with the fans.”