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Fall movie preview: A change of seasons
82 titles » Still some blockbusters out there, but more of the serious fare considered Oscar hopefuls.


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The oh-so-popular musical adaptation of "Les Misérables" finally hits screens (Dec. 14), with Oscar winner Tom Hooper ("The King’s Speech") directing a cast led by Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfried, Helena Bonham Carter and Sacha Baron Cohen through Victor Hugo’s classic story of revenge and redemption on the barricades.

Combat of a modern variety is explored in "Zero Dark Thirty" (Dec. 19), as Oscar-winning director Kathryn Bigelow ("The Hurt Locker") chronicles the hunt for Osama Bin Laden — with a cast that includes Joel Edgerton and Jessica Chastain.

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Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor star in "The Impossible" (Dec. 21), a survival drama about a family separated in the Dec. 26, 2004, tsunami.

Director Judd Apatow explores middle age in the comedy "This Is 40" (Dec. 21), which follows the lives of Pete and Debbie (Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann), the married-with-kids couple of Apatow’s 2007 hit "Knocked Up."

Quentin Tarantino’s "Django Unchained" (Dec. 25) aims to do for Westerns what "Inglourious Basterds" did for World War II movies, in a wild tale of a freed slave (Jamie Foxx) out to get an evil plantation owner (Leonardo DiCaprio).

Walter Salles ("The Motorcycle Diaries") adapts another literary tour, Jack Kerouac’s "On the Road," with Garrett Hedlund and Sam Riley as the iconic Dean and Sal — and a cast that includes Kristen Stewart, Kirsten Dunst, Amy Adams and Viggo Mortensen.

Past Oscar winner Marion Cotillard ("La Vie en Rose") is in the race for another statuette with "Rust & Bone" (to be determined), playing a killer-whale trainer whose romance with a single dad ("Bullhead" star Matthias Schoenaerts) is altered when she suffers a serious accident.

Action

James Bond has been fighting for Her Majesty for 50 years — even parachuting with her into the London Olympics — and he returns for more action in "Skyfall" (Nov. 9) as 007 (Daniel Craig) confronts bad guy Javier Bardem (whose blond hairdo may match in ridiculousness his bob from "No Country for Old Men").


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It’s all over but the fighting in the fifth and final movie based on Stephenie Meyer’s sparkly bloodsuckers, "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 2" (Nov. 16), in which Kristen Stewart’s Bella finally gets her vampire on.

A hitman (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) who dispatches people sent to him from the future is ordered to kill his older self (Bruce Willis) in the trippy "Looper" (Sept. 28), which reunites Gordon-Levitt with "Brick" director Rian Johnson.

Kidnapping is a big theme this fall. Liam Neeson returns with "Taken 2" (Oct. 5), about the relatives of the kidnappers he killed last time seeking revenge by kidnapping him and his wife (Famke Janssen). Nicolas Cage plays an ex-thief who has 12 hours to find the loot, demanded as ransom for his kidnapped daughter, in "Stolen" (Sept. 14). In "The Cold Light of Day" (to be determined), Henry Cavill, who will be fitted for Superman’s cape next summer in "Man of Steel," plays a bond trader trying to rescue his kidnapped family from intelligence agents seeking a mystery briefcase.

A plot to kidnap a gangster’s shih tzu is the focus of the wild thriller "Seven Psychopaths" (Oct. 12), written and directed by Martin McDonagh ("In Bruges"). Brad Pitt’s Mob muscle is called in after a poker game is heisted in "Killing Them Softly" (Oct. 19).

A routine traffic stop turns into a deadly chase when two cops (Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña) confiscate cash and firearms from a drug cartel in "End of Watch" (Sept. 28), directed by "Training Day" writer David Ayer. Meanwhile, a drug runner (Joel Kinnaman) leads a double life in the Swedish "Easy Money" (Sept. 28).

Tyler Perry plays "Alex Cross" (Oct. 19), novelist James Patterson’s D.C. detective, who is tracking a psycho killer (Matthew Fox). Tom Cruise plays "Jack Reacher" (Dec. 21), writer Lee Child’s investigator, in a case of a sniper who is killing seemingly random victims.

Lesbians and lycanthropy mix for two teen girls (Riley Keough and Juno Temple) in "Jack & Diane" (to be determined), which doesn’t have anything to do with chili dogs or a Tastee Freeze. In "Branded" (Sept. 7), a man fights against the system in a corporate-dominated dystopia.

Kung fu meets Wu-Tang in "The Man With the Iron Fists" (Nov. 2), a chopsocky movie featuring Russell Crowe that marks the directorial debut of RZA (of the Wu-Tang Clan).

"Red Dawn" (Nov. 21) is a remake of the ’80s classic about teens (including "Thor’s" Chris Hemsworth and "The Hunger Games’ " Josh Hutcherson) taking up arms when America is invaded by the North Koreans.

Karl Urban dons the mask of the futuristic cop in "Dredd 3D" (Sept. 21). Milla Jovovich returns to battle the evil Umbrella Corp., and an army of the undead, in "Resident Evil: Retribution" (Sept. 14). Another video game-turned-franchise is revived in the horror thriller "Silent Hill: Revelation 3D" (Oct. 26).

A mother and daughter (Elisabeth Shue, Jennifer Lawrence) move into a neighborhood where a girl murdered her parents at the "House at the End of the Street" (Sept. 21). A crime novelist (Ethan Hawke) uses found footage to unravel a murder with supernatural overtones in "Sinister" (Oct. 5). In "Paranormal Activity 4" (Oct. 19), the found-footage franchise returns to more modern scares. And found footage of an earlier vintage dominates in the tag-teamed shocker "V/H/S" (to be determined).

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