2011 Fall Movie Preview! “Warrior,” “Drive,” “Weekend,” and More

Joseph Gordon-Levitt in 50/50

Yet another season, yet another slate of movies that sound great, even though a lot of them will end up being complete duds.

Meanwhile, some obscure little fringe movie that no writer like myself even thought to include in all the “fall preview” articles going up right now will end up unexpectedly delighting audiences and breaking out as a sleeper it.

Ah, the movies! They’re just that magically unpredictable, aren’t they?

But just to shake things up and make things even more unpredictable, I’ve included three completely “fake” movies in this fall’s movie preview. Can you spot them all? It might not be that easy, given how derivative and, well, stupid so many Hollywood movies have become. But I have faith in my readers! (The answers are at the end.)

Let’s get to it! Here’s a list of some of the movies I’m looking forward to. It’s not a complete list, mostly because I’m not looking forward to everything. Hey, it’s my party, and I’ll cheerlead for Ryan Gosling if I want to!


(Friday, September 9th)

It’s a disaster movie about a deadly virus that’s destroying the world, starring an all-star cast, including Gwyneth Paltrow, Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, and Laurence Fishburne!

Except it’s really not. This is more of director’s Steven Soderbergh’s arthouse take on the issue of, well, viral pandemics — like how Traffic looked at drugs. I’ve seen this movie and, alas, it feels dated and limp. The good news is that Gwyneth Paltrow-haters will find something to enjoy here (e.g. her death scenes).


(Friday, September 9th)

Inception hunk Tom Hardy headlines a movie that mixes “mixed martial arts” with family drama: Hardy’s character, haunted by a tragic past, returns home to be coached by his washed-up, alcoholic father (Nick Nolte) for a future bout — where he has to compete against his own brother (Joel Edgerton)!

All I can say is: ab-lovers rejoice!


(Friday, September 9th)

Adam Sandler stars as Peter, a man who is literally an overgrown adolescent: as the child of Peter Pan, he can’t grow up, no matter how hard he tries. Or can he? When he meets the daughter of Wendy Darling (Leslie Mann), he realizes he must finally somehow become a man to win the woman he loves.


(Friday, September 16th)

Ryan Gosling tries to cement his A-list status in this movie about a stunt-driver who moonlights as a get-away car driver. But when a heist goes bad, he finds that a contract has been put on his life, and he must, well, drive away. But this lower-budget film is no generic actioner; word is, it’s extremely stylized with an impressionistic, non-linear structure.


(Friday, September 16th)

Straw Dogs, which stars James Marsden, Kate Bosworth, and Alexander Skarsgard, is a remake of a controversial 1971 film about a conflicted couple new to a small town who find themselves harassed by locals. The original was set in rural England; the new version is set in the American South.


(Friday, September 16th)

I know I’m
in the minority, but I’ve never put The Lion King in the top tier of
animated Disney movies, groundbreaking Broadway production
notwithstanding. But if you’re not like me, you’ll have a chance to shell out 15 pointless dollars see the movie in 3D for the first time. Hakuna Matata indeed!


(Friday, September 23rd)

A one-night stand between two very different gay men turns into a whole weekend together. But can that weekend turn into something longer-term than that? I found the movie sexy, extremely real, and breathtakingly well-acted — the best gay movie of the year so far.

Weekend opens in New York on Sept. 23, Los Angeles on Sept.
30, and then has a limited nationwide release starting Oct. 7.


(Friday, September 23rd)

Can Taylor Lautner carry a movie that doesn’t involve werewolves and angst-y teens? We’ll find out upon the release of this film about a young man who visits a “missing child” website and discovers that he was actually abducted as a boy and that he’s been raised by his kidnappers. Soon he’s on the run with the neighbor girl and no doubt finding a reason to get that shirt off and keep it off, dammit!

Next Page! Joseph Gordon Levitt! And more Ryan Gosling!


(Friday, September 30th)

This gets my vote for the movie with the best premise of the year:
due to series of misunderstandings, a group of college kids think
they’re being stalked and killed by hillbillies Tucker and Dale, who are
actually just trying to be friendly! Tyler Labine (Reaper) and Alan Tydyk (Firefly) play the hicks.


(Friday, September 30th)

I confess I’m wary about 50/50, the new Seth Rogan film about a guy with a friend with cancer, based on Seth Rogen’s actual friendship with a guy with cancer (and written by said friend, Will Reiser). Here what’s cool: (1) the usual “cancer” premise, and the movie’s comedy-drama take on it, (2) the movie’s co-star, gay fave Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

But despite the movie’s clear good intentions, here’s what worries me: how do you criticize a script by a guy with cancer? Did the movie’s touching, “media-friendly” story get it made despite being sub-par? Basically, just because it’s a real-life story about a guy with cancer doesn’t mean it can’t be another Funny People.


(Friday, October 7th)

This year’s George Clooney Oscar bait has the star (who also directed, produced, and co-wrote the script) in a political drama about a presidential candidate, loosely based on the 2004 campaign of Howard Dean. Not surprisingly, it has a cast to die for: Marisa Tomei, Paul Giamatti, Evan Rachel Wood, and Ryan Gosling, continuing his quest for world domination.


(Friday, October 7th)

Hugh Jackman stars in a science fiction film about the near-future when robots have replaced humans in boxing rings. Can Jackman’s washed-up boxing character and his son build a robot that can go the distance, be a contender, and fly hard now?


(Friday, October 7th)

A smaller movie with a lot of buzz as a result of its Sundance premiere earlier this year, this movie stars Elizabeth Olsen (the younger sister of the Olsen twins) as a woman who has escaped from an abusive cult. She moves in with her aunt and her husband (Sarah Paulson and Hugh Dancy), but has she truly left her horrible past behind?


(Friday, October 7th)

Is “grease” still the word? Hollywood hopes so, since they’ve actually dared to remake the campy cult classic, which now stars Chris Pine as Danny Zuko (WTF?), Rachel McAdams as Sandy (eek!), and Mila Kunis as Rizzo (not bad, actually). One possibly redeeming feature: John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John, good sports that they are, co-star as Vince Fontane (naturally) and Principle McGee (and in a clever in-joke, Michelle Pfeiffer, who starred in the notorious bomb Grease 2, pitches in as Mrs. Murdock!).


(Friday, October 14th)

Back in the 80s, Antonio Banderas first made a name for himself in the films of the Spanish director Pedro Almodovar (sometimes playing gay roles, and sometimes ending up frontally naked). But weirdly, as Banderas went on to become a big movie star and Almodovar went on to become an Oscar-winning internationally renowned director, the two stopped working together … until now.

The Skin I Live In is a thriller of sorts, about a man who develops a new kind of artificial skin twelve years after his own wife killed herself because of disfiguring burn scars. This being a Almodovar movie, this is really just the beginning of a roller-coaster ride of family and sexual drama, including a scene where a man punishes another man for raping a woman by performing sexual reassignment surgery on him, turning him into a recreation of his dead wife. Yeow!

Next Page! More Ryan Gosling! And what’s this? An actual big-budget “gay” movie (sorta)?


(Friday, October 21st)

A thriller of sorts starring Zachary Quinto, Demi Moore, Stanley Tucci, and Kevin Spacey, Margin Call follows the workers at a bank over the course of a single day during the recent financial crisis. Quinto co-produced the film through his production company. Who knew endorsing checks could be this exciting?


(Friday, October 28th)

Along with Ryan Gosling and Tom Hardy, Justin Timberlake is one of 2011 “it” boys, and this is Timberlake’s third film of the year, a sci-fi movie about a future where people stop aging at age 25, but must pay to stay alive longer than that: the poor die fast, and the rich live forever — something that raises suspicions when a poor man inherits a huge bunch of “time” from a dead rich man.

A bunch of nobodies co-star, including Amanda Seyfried, Justin Timberlake, Cillian Murphy, Olivia Wilde, Matt Bomer, and Alex Pettyfer.


(Friday, November 4th)

It’s a caper movie! I love caper movies, especially ones that feature diverse casts of actors (Eddie Murphy, Matthew Broderick, Ben Stiller, and Alan Alda). The timely twist? The “criminals” are stealing money back from a Bernie Madoff-type player who has stolen their pensions.

The bad news? The film was Eddie Murphy’s idea.


(Friday, November 4th)

In yet another Katherine Heigl romantic comedy, a woman frustrated with all the spam she gets decides to respond to what seems to be a con email, vowing that if the foreign man on the other end comes to the U.S., she’ll marry him. Two weeks later, the man shows up in the form of Zachary Quinto — and if she doesn’t agree to marry him, he’ll be forced to return to certain death in his repressive homeland.


(Friday, November 4th)

Remember how, upon the release of Shrek 3, the producers were so proud that they were stopping the franchise “before it got old”? Not so much. They were just busy working on a new franchise for one of Shrek’s supporting players (fewer big-name movie stars to pay!). Puss in Boots is a “prequel” story, with no ogres involved, about how Puss (Antonio Banderas) ended being tricked into a life of crime by friend Humpty Dumpty (Zach
). Presumably, we’ll also learn the reason for those eponymous boots.


(Wednesday, November 9th)

A bio-pic about totally corrupt (and probably gay) 1960s F.B.I. director J. Edgar Hoover? How the hell did this get made? I’m sure it helps that it was directed by difficult-movie-idea-lover Clint Eastwood, stars Leonardo DiCaprio, and was written by out Oscar-winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black, who tells AfterElton.com he absolutely deals with Hoover’s sexuality.


(FRIDAY, November 11th)

It’s not fair that I’m wary of this film based solely on the fact that another film based on Greek myths, the remake of Clash of the Titans, was such a complete piece of s**t. But I am. Even so, I’ll probably still go see this movie in which, in Ancient Greece, the Titans declare war on humanity, and it’s up to a simple peasant (hunky Henry Cavill) who has been chosen by Zeus to save the world, and maybe even the gods themselves.

And be forewarned: the story is getting the full-on “300” over-the-top CGI treatment: whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing depends on what you thought of 300.


(FRIDAY, November 11th)

Colin Farrell continues to try to claw his way back to A-list status with this story about an ex-con who falls in love with the movie star (Keira Knightley) he’s been tasked to body-guard. But can the man truly escape his past? Spoiler alert: no.


(Friday, November 18th)

Gary Oldman plays George Smiley in a movie version of the extremely popular 1974 spy novel by John le Carre. Tom Hardy and Colin Firth co-star.

So … which movies in the preceding list were fake? The Adam Sandler movie Panned, the remake of Grease (but hey, they are remaking Footloose, for the same release date!), and the Katherine Heigl movie Male Order Groom.

But come on: they’re just stupid enough that they might be real, aren’t they? Seriously, you thought Real Steel and Margin Call were fake too, didn’t you?