The late summer/fall movie season features a familiar mix of sequels and remakes, comedy, drama and horror as well as one high-profile spin off. The remakes include a new Footloose, based on the 1984 musical starring a dancing Kevin Bacon. There’s also a third version of The Thing, a creature feature tale previously brought to the screen in 1951 and 1982.
Puss In Boots, a promising spin off from the Shrek movies, elevates the series’ beguiling feline, Puss, to star status. The film’s exceptional voice cast features Salma Hayek, Zach Galifianakis, Billy Bob Thornton, Amy Sedaris and, of course, Antonio Banderas as the swashbuckling Puss. Looking less promising, there’s also a new Harold and Kumar movie, A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas.
In the drama department, Leonardo DiCaprio stars as FBI director J. Edgar Hoover in the Clint Eastwood-directed J. Edgar. Oscar-winning former Baton Rougean Steven Soderbergh directs Contagion, a thriller headlined by Oscar-winner Marion Cotillard.
Although Twilight Saga fans must wait until Nov. 18 for The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1, series star Taylor Lautner also appears in Abduction, a thriller opening Sept. 23.
Many of the films opening between Aug. 26 and Nov. 11 are listed below. Opening dates are subject to change and may vary from market to market.
BRIGHTON ROCK - Pinkie, a young man in mid-’60s England, longs to be a big-time gangster. After Rose, an innocent young waitress finds evidence that connects Pinkie to a murder, he plots to silence her. Sam Riley and Andrea Riseborough star as Pinkie and Rose. Helen Mirren and John Hurt co-star as two friends of Rose who race to save her from Pinkie and his devious plans. Opens in limited release.
COLUMBIANA - Zoe Saldana stars as Cataleya, a young woman who, after witnessing the murder of her parents as a child, grows up to be a professional killer. Even as Cataleya works as an assassin for her uncle, her ultimate goal is revenge.
DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK - Architect Alex Hurst (Guy Pearce) and his new girlfriend, Kim (Katie Holmes), restore a Gothic mansion. They subsequently realize the place has a dark past that may not yet be past.
OUR IDIOT BROTHER - Sisters Liz (Emily Mortimer), Miranda (Elizabeth Banks) and Natalie (Zooey Deschanel) don’t know what to do with their idealistic brother, Ned (Paul Rudd). After his attempt at organic farming fizzles, they take turns taking him in. His honesty creates problems for all three sisters.
THE DEBT - Retired Israeli secret agents learn that a frightening figure from their past is alive and dangerous. Helen Mirren and Tom Wilkinson play old colleagues who are suddenly drawn back into the hunt for a Nazi war criminal. Academy-Award nominee John Madden (Shakespeare in Love) directs this international thriller shot in Tel Aviv, Budapest and the United Kingdom.
A GOOD OLD FASHIONED ORGY - A group of 30-something friends throw theme parties every weekend at a summer house in the Hamptons. When Eric (Jason Sudeikis) learns that his father, the house’s owner, plans to sell it, he and his friends decide to go hardcore. Opens in limited release.
APOLLO 18 - In December 1974, two American astronauts, under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Defense, embark upon a secret mission to the moon. They discover something there that halts NASA’s moon-landing program.
THE GUARD - Two law enforcement officers - one an unorthodox Irish policeman, the other a by-the-book FBI agent - take on an international drug-smuggling gang. Brendan Gleeson and Don Cheadle play the screen’s latest odd-cop couple.
SAVING PRIVATE PEREZ - The most powerful man in Mexico embarks on a mission to rescue his brother from the Iraqi war zone. Miguel Rodarte and Adal Ramones star. Opens in limited release.
SEVEN DAYS IN UTOPIA - Lucas Black plays a talented young golfer on the pro tour. Things turn disastrous for Lucas and he winds up stranded in a small town in Texas. An eccentric rancher, played by Robert Duvall, takes the wounded young golfer under his wing.
SHARK NIGHT 3D - A weekend of fun at the lake turns bloody for a group of college students. Following what the students assume is a wake-boarding accident, they notice that the lake is filled with big, hungry sharks.
BUCKY LARSON: BORN TO BE A STAR - A small-town grocery bagger learns his conservative parents were once porn movie actors. Thinking he’s found his destiny, he travels to Los Angeles in hopes of following their lead. Nick Swardson, Christina Ricci, Don Johnson and Stephen Dorff star.
CONTAGION - Oscar-winning former Baton Rougean Steven Soderbergh directs a thriller about an airborne virus that kills within days of contact. As the medical community races for the cure, society falls apart. Oscar winner Marion Cotillard leads a cast including Matt Damon, Laurence Fishburne, Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow and Kate Winslet.
WARRIOR - Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton play estranged brothers on a collision course to a winner-takes-all mixed-martial arts championship. Nick Nolte co-stars as the fighting siblings’ dad.
I DON’T KNOW HOW SHE DOES IT - Based on the bestselling book by Allison Pearson, I Don’t Know How She Does It follows a working mom in Boston who’s desperately juggling marriage, children and a high-stress job. Sarah Jessica Parker, Greg Kinnear, Pierce Brosnan, Olivia Munn and Christina Hendricks star.
THE LION KING - The 1994 Disney animated hit returns in 3-D for a two-week theatrical run.
STRAW DOGS - James Marsden and Kate Bosworth play a Hollywood screenwriter and his actress wife. After the couple visits her Southern hometown to prepare her late father’s home so it can be sold, the atmosphere turns tense. Old marital problems resurface and an ex-boyfriend causes trouble. True Blood’s Alexander Skarsg?rd co-stars.
ABDUCTION - Twilight Saga star Taylor Lautner portrays a young man thrust into dangerous espionage. Directed by John Singleton, Abduction also features Lily Collins, Alfred Molina, Jason Isaacs, Maria Bello and Sigourney Weaver.
DOLPHIN TALE - Harry Connick Jr. and Ashley Judd star in this 3-D family film about an injured dolphin who gets a new chance at life. Kris Kristofferson, Nathan Gamble and Morgan Freeman co-star.
MONEYBALL - Brad Pitt stars as the general manager of the Oakland A’s baseball team. When a tight budget forces Pitt to recruit players other teams reject, he shrewdly builds a viable team that challenges the baseball establishment. Jonah Hill co-stars.
MACHINE GUN PREACHER - Gerard Butler portrays a former drug dealer who reinvents himself as the founder of the Angels of East Africa rescue organization that saves hundreds of kidnapped and orphaned children. Marc Forster, whose previous films include Monster’s Ball and Finding Neverland, directs. Released in limited release.
DREAM HOUSE - Daniel Craig, Naomi Watts and Rachel Weisz star in a suspense thriller about a family that moves into a house with a history of murder. They soon find that history repeats itself.
50/50 - Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen, the film’s co-producer, star as best friends whose lives are changed when one of them is diagnosed with cancer. Anna Kendrick, Bryce Dallas Howard and Anjelica Huston co-star.
MARGARET - A 17-year-old high school student in New York City, Margaret fears that she played a role in a traffic death. Frustrated by her attempts to make amends, she punishes her family, friends, teachers and, most of all, herself. Opens in limited release.
DIRTY GIRL - Circa 1987, Danielle is the bad girl at super-conservative Norman High School in Norman, Okla. After bad behavior get her banished from a remedial class, Danielle and fellow misfit Clarke escape from Oklahoma with plans to go to California.
THE IDES OF MARCH - During the frantic final days of a highly competitive Ohio presidential primary, an up-and-coming campaign press secretary played by Ryan Gosling gets caught up in potentially disastrous scandal.
REAL STEEL - A former fighter played by Hugh Jackman lost his chance at a title after robots made human combatants obsolete. He allies himself with his estranged son, however, to build and train a championship contender for the new world of robot boxing. Based on a short story by classic sci-fi writer Richard Matheson.
WANDERLUST - Paul Rudd and Jennifer Aniston co-star as a couple that leaves the big city and moves to a freethinking, colorful community where individuality rules. The supporting cast includes Ray Liotta and Alan Alda.
FOOTLOOSE - In this remake of the classic 1984 film, Ren MacCormack experiences culture shock when he moves from Boston to a small town in the South. Ren not only defies the town’s ban on music and dancing, he also falls in love with the preacher’s daughter. Kenny Wormald, Julianne Hough, Andie MacDowell and Dennis Quaid co-star.
THE THING - A marooned crew of international scientists in Antarctica unearths an alien. A shape-shifter, the alien can transform itself into a perfect replica of any living thing. Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Joel Edgerton lead the cast.
MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE - Elizabeth Olsen plays Martha, a young woman trying to lead a normal life after fleeing from a cult. John Hawkes co-stars as the cult’s charismatic leader.
PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 3 - The popular horror movie franchise returns, presumably for a third round of grainy-video creepiness. Opens in limited release.
THE THREE MUSKETEERS - Young swashbuckler D’Artagnan joins with three rogue musketeers against villain Cardinal Richlieu and villainess Milady. The cast of the 3-D adventure includes Logan Lerman, Matthew MacFadyen, Luke Evans, Orlando Bloom and Christopher Waltz.
ANONYMOUS - Set in intrigue-filled Elizabethan England, the film addresses skepticism about the authorship of plays credited to Williams Shakespeare. Anonymous suggests that illicit goings on at England’s royal court played out in the guise of fictionalized drama on the London stage.
JOHNNY ENGLISH REBORN - British comic Rowan Atkinson returns as bungling spy Johnny English. His mission is to stop international assassins from killing a world leader and sparking global chaos. Gillian Anderson co-stars.
LIKE CRAZY - After they meet at college, a young American man and young British woman have a long-distance relationship. Anton Yelchin, Charles Bewley and Alex Kingston star in this romantic comedy. Opens in limited release.
A VERY HAROLD & KUMAR 3D CHRISTMAS - Harold Lee and Kumar Patel haven’t seen each for six years. A mishap, however, leads them to reunite for a trip to New York City and search for the perfect Christmas tree. John Cho and Kal Penn return as Harold and Kumar. The supporting cast includes Danny Trejo, Elias Koteas and Neil Patrick Harris.
PUSS IN BOOTS - In this prequel to the Shrek movie series, Puss, Humpy Dumpty and new character Kitty Softpaws plot to steal the Goose that lays golden eggs. The film’s voice talent includes Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek, Zach Galifianakis, Billy Bob Thornton and Amy Sedaris.
MY WEEK WITH MARILYN - In the summer of 1956, Colin Clark (Eddie Redmayne), a young man from Oxford University, gets job as an assistant on the set of The Prince and the Showgirl. The film production stars Laurence Olivier (Kenneth Branagh) and Marilyn Monroe (Michelle Williams). When Monroe’s husband, playwright Arthur Miller (Dougray Scott), leaves England, Colin gets his chance to spend time with the Hollywood star.
TOWER HEIST - Ben Stiller and Eddie Murphy star as two average guys out for revenge against the Wall Street charlatan who defrauded them. Co-stars include Matthew Broderick, Téa Leoni, Gabourey Sidibe and Alan Alda.
IMMORTALS - A heroic young villager rises up against a power-hungry king who’s destroying ancient Greece in search of a legendary weapon. Mickey Rourke stars as the king obsessed with obtaining the bow of Epirus and Henry Cavill co-stars as the village stonemason who dares to challenge him.
JACK AND JILL - Adam Sandler plays dual roles as Jack Sadelstein and Jack’s identical twin sister, Jill. Katie Holmes co-stars.
J. EDGAR - Clint Eastwood directs and Leonardo DiCaprio stars in this biopic about FBI director J. Edgar Hoover. Despite decades in the public eye, Hoover’s secretive private life was such that his career would have been ruined had his secrets been revealed. Naomi Watts, Judi Dench, Armie Hammer, Josh Lucas and Ken Howard co-star.