Fall movie preview

By Gus Bode

Good news, moviegoers: Fall has arrived.

‘ This means studios will unleash the films they feel have a shot at a coveted Best Picture Oscar. No more suffering through 3D gerbils or lame horror remakes; it is time for real-deal films.

Two pictures, which have already received considerable Oscar buzz while traveling the film festival circuit, will be released nationwide Friday. In the last two months of 2009, a bevy of films worth getting excited about will battle for the critics’ approval.


Here is a rundown of some of the big releases and a few under-the-radar films scheduled to hit theaters.

‘An Education,’ directed by Lone Scherfig

Opens: Friday

The film is being billed as a coming-of-age tale about a woman in her late teens (Carey Mulligan) who begins a romance with an older man (Peter Sarsgaard). Films about growing up always have a good shot at getting some heat come Oscar time – if they are done well. ‘

This one has a wonderful cast (Mulligan is being touted as Best Actress frontrunner) and a screenplay by witty novelist Nick Hornby, making it a can’t-miss when it hits theaters.

‘Where the Wild Things Are,’ directed by Spike Jonze

Opens: Friday


The film is adapted by the legendary children’s book of the same name by Maurice Sendak.

Having Spike Jonze attached gives the film an air of mystery given his directorial output so far. Jonze’s past films (‘Being John Malkovich’ and ‘Adaptation’) were fragmented, interesting looks at the lives of regular people.

Judging by the footage and trailers from his newest film, this one will be just as dark and touching as his others.

‘The Road,’ directed by John Hillcoat

Opens: Nov. 25

This film is another adaptation, taken from Cormac McCarthy’s post-apocalyptic novel of the same name. McCarthy’s book was a haunting and gut-wrenching affair.

Director John Hillcoat was given the reigns to this film after his debut, the wonderful Australian western ‘The Proposition.’ Hillcoat proved he could do gutsy, grim action sequences, which is what this film will need if it attempts to stay close to its magnificent source material.

‘Up in the Air,’ directed by Jason Reitman

Opens: Dec. 4

Jason Reitman’s latest has already grabbed a deal of Oscar talk, mostly pointed at the film’s cast and its portrayal of corporate Americans.

George Clooney plays a man who travels the country terminating employees when companies do not want to. He excels at this, hopping form airport to airport. His view on his plane-hopping life changes when his company’s needs for him changes and he meets a woman (Vera Farmiga).

Reitman is no stranger to Oscar land as his last feature, ‘Juno,’ was Hollywood’s surprise hit in 2007. Unlike that film, Reitman wrote the majority of this screenplay (adapted from a novel) and by all accounts it is his best work yet. Plus, critics absolutely love Clooney.

‘Invictus,’ directed by Clint Eastwood

Opens: Dec. 11

Clint Eastwood’s films always pop up around this time, making the last surge to get him another golden statue on his mantle.

This year he is bringing a biopic, which always do well with the Oscar judges. The film is about Nelson Mandela’s life after his release from prison, set during the 1995 Rugby World Cup in South Africa.

Throw crowd and critic favorites Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon into the mix and it seems Eastwood may have another winner on his hands.

Luke McCormick can be reached at 536-3311 ext. 275