2009 Fall Movie Preview: September
Extract (September 4)
Mike Judge ("Office Space," "Idiocracy") returns to theaters with a new (but typically oddball) comedy, this time starring Jason Bateman as the beleaguered boss of a flavor extract factory thrown into chaos by a workplace accident and the arrival of a foxy new employee (Mila Kunis). Judge's first two movies have been mistreated by their studios, but this time, it looks like he's getting a deserved promotional push. With a soft early September slate in its favor, "Extract" might just reward Miramax's faith.
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (September 18)
The venerable children's book gets a CG makeover -- and an unexpectedly detailed backstory -- in Sony's star-studded animated kids' offering, featuring the voices of Bill Hader, Anna Faris, James Caan, Bruce Campbell, and Andy Samberg. Don't go in expecting the distinctive drawing style featured in the book, but for 90 minutes of harmless fun for the younger set, the forecast looks decidedly un-"Cloudy."
The Informant! (September 18)
Steven Soderbergh has had a bit of a bumpy year, with Sony taking the keys to his planned "Moneyball" adaptation away, but "The Informant!" -- which finds him directing a paunchy, mustachioed Matt Damon in a comedic, fact-based story of the whistleblower who helped bring down Archer Midland -- seems like just the thing to smooth over the dents in his wounded mojo. Trenchant, smart, and funny, it's prototypical fall fare, and with Damon's name above the title, it's practically guaranteed to make a few bucks -- paunch or no paunch.
Jennifer's Body (September 18)
Sam Raimi returns to his horror roots -- and tosses in some deeply appreciated hot co-ed action -- with this blood-soaked, Diablo Cody-scripted look at the struggles between the teenage sexes. "Jennifer's Body" has been earning rapturous buzz since making the festival rounds earlier this year, and not just because it features a scantily clad Megan Fox, or some spit-swapping between Fox and the equally stunning Amanda Seyfried. If you miss Raimi's low-budget "Evil Dead" days, you'll want to take a long look at "Jennifer's Body."
Love Happens (September 18)
Anyone with a hankering for grown up rom-coms knows they're few and far between -- and if that type of film is your thing, you'll want to make sure you don't miss "Love Happens," starring Aaron Eckhart and Jennifer Aniston as a pair of disappointed (albeit stunningly gorgeous) middle-aged types who develop an unexpected connection at the worst possible moment. As the movie's synopsis says, "love happens when you least expect it" -- and Universal, which has been suffering a dismal drought at the box office, hopes that holds true for audiences as well.
Pandorum (September 18)
Dennis Quaid abandons his late-career streak of tasteful indie flicks for sci-fi/horror with "Pandorum," a deep space thriller that -- although it seems sure to be clobbered to bits by "Jennifer's Body" during its debut weekend -- will offer sci-fi fans a taste of some "Alien"-inspired claustrophobic dread.
Brief Interviews with Hideous Men (September 25)
John Krasinski of "The Office" has been assembling this passion project since he cashed his first paycheck from the hit NBC series, eventually securing the participation of a cast of respected character actors (including Timothy Hutton and Julianne Nicholson) to help him bring his adaptation of the David Foster Wallace book to the screen. Advance buzz has been mixed, but Krasinski can at least count on his directorial debut being better than "License to Wed."
The Invention of Lying (September 25)
What if you were the only person in the world capable of lying? How hard would it be to remain virtuous when just a simple falsehood or three could win you friends, improve your career, and put you in the sack with Jennifer Garner? Awfully hard, as demonstrated by Ricky Gervais in his latest comedy, "The Invention of Lying." Gervais has found big-screen stardom somewhat elusive thus far, but between this movie's inventive premise and a cast packed with funny people (including Jonah Hill, Jeffrey Tambor, and Louis CK), this could be his moment.
Surrogates (September 25)
It's been awhile since Bruce Willis ventured into sci-fi, but maybe the "12 Monkeys" and "Fifth Element" star was just looking for the right project -- say, for instance, Jonathan Mostow's "Surrogates," depicting a future in which people interact with one another via an army of robotic, perfectly crafted avatars. It looks undeniably cool -- perhaps even cool enough to keep audiences from focusing on the ludicrous blond wig Willis' surrogate wears.