Prisoners (September 20th) Hugh Jackman, Terence Howard, and Octavia Spencer star in this thriller about missing children. The plot centers on a pair of families whose youngest disappear one day while playing outside. Signs point to a creepy young man, but no real evidence is found against him. The futility of the police’s investigation pushes the parents to their limits and leaves two little girls and friends’ humanity in the balance.
Don Jon (September 27th) Joseph Gordon Levitt wrote, directed, and leads a modern adaptation of the famous womanizer (traditionally “Don Juan” or “Don Giovanni”). As your typical brotype, Jon only cares about sex, possessions, and his body. When he meets his newest girl (Scarlet Johansson), he’s instantly smitten and makes an effort to change his ways. Of course, things get complicated as she discovers his eccentricities and his parents try to get him to settle down and start a family.
Carrie (October 18th) A remake of the Stephen King classic, now featuring Chloe Grace Moretz in the title role and Julianne Moore as her fundamentalist mother. It was originally scheduled to come out in March (often a “dump month”), but was pushed back to October, a prime horror release window, indicating that the studio has a good deal of faith in the film. To be fair, this year has sparse Halloween competition, so that was also probably a factor.
Machete Kills (October 11th) The originator of (and pretty much only entry in) the “Mexploitation” genre is back. Michelle Rodriguez and director Robert Rodriguez (no relation) return alongside Danny Trejo and bring an all-new, all-star cast, including Mel Gibson, Sofia Vergara, Charlie Sheen, and Lady Gaga. Who really knows what the plot is, but the last movie featured Trejo repelling into a hospital window with a man’s intestines. So, this series either is your thing or it isn’t.
Catching Fire (November 22nd) Katniss, Peeta and Stanley Tucci return for another round of the Hunger Games, this time a tournament of champions. As Katniss’ (Jennifer Lawrence) fame rises in proportion to an insurgency, officials in the capital look for a way to dispose of her. Katniss, meanwhile, finds herself torn between Gale (Liam Hemsworth), a strapping leader of his people, and the more meek and loyal Peeta (Josh Hutcherson).
Gravity (October 4th) An intense astronaut adventure with a minimal cast, foremost George Clooney and Sandra Bullock. Alfonso Cuaron (“Children of Men”) directs the story of a space explorer (Bullock) who becomes stranded when debris hits the shuttle and knocks her into open space. Cuaron is a fan of single takes, and the second trailer lives up to that promise.
The Wolf of Wall Street (November 15th) Martin Scorsese reteams Leonardo DiCaprio for a tale about stock market activity that is… less than super OK with the federal government. Jonah Hill looks like he’s going for another Best Supporting nomination, not to mention Leo hoping to break his perennial “always a bridesmaid” status at the Oscars.
Captain Phillips (October 11th) Tom Hanks trots out his yearly Best Actor run with the true life story of a cargo ship besieged by pirates. The titular maritime leader does his best to protect his men: fighting off the boarders with hoses, alerting the authorities, and even giving himself up while his men hide. Al jabs at Hanks aside, the film does look pretty riveting.
Frozen (November 27th) Disney’s latest non-Pixar, non-Marvel film hits theaters this Thanksgiving. Kristen Bell and Josh Gad lend their voices to a tale about a girl who braves the Arctic weather to find and rescue her sister, whose powers have caused years of freeze and ice.