The fall 2012 film season has finally arrived. The summer blockbusters have come and gone. During the next few months, viewers will now be treated to some of the smaller movies that could win big come awards season - though films like The Hobbit and James Bond's Skyfall will still deliver the blockbuster experience.
Two of the most highly-anticipated movies of the year will arrive in September with director Paul Thomas Anderson releasing The Master, his first movie since the Oscar-winning film There Will be Blood (2007), and Clint Eastwood returning to acting in Trouble with the Curve. Eastwood hasn't appeared in a film since Gran Torino in 2008, so there's much anticipation about his new project. PTA's return to the director's chair and Eastwood's return to acting are only two of the many reasons we at Screen Rant are looking forward to going to the movies next month.
With that in mind, here's our list of the 10 movies we're looking forward to seeing in September 2012.
Over the past fifteen years, director Paul Thomas Anderson has delivered an incredible array of movies. From Boogie Nights (1997) to Magnolia (1999) to There will be Blood (2007), the director has consistently and creatively engaged audiences.
The Master looks like it will continue the Oscar-nominated director's streak of unique projects. The controversial film - which has a very loose connection to Scientology - focuses on a young veteran (Joaquin Phoenix) returning from war, who becomes involved with a religious leader, played by Philip Seymour Hoffman. The film features Phoenix's first onscreen performance since his big publicity stunt about "quitting acting" a few years ago. Early reviews are already in and it looks like The Master could offer viewers a strong story and great performances from Phoenix, Seymour Hoffman and Amy Adams.
Fifteen years after director Simon West and star Nicolas Cage collaborated on the action thriller Con Air (1997), the two have now worked together a second thriller, arriving in theaters next month. Stolen stars Cage as a former thief whose daughter is kidnapped. While his daughter is held in the trunk of a car, Cage's character must steal ten million dollars in a matter of hours to save her innocent life.
While Cage has had a rough couple of years at the cineplex, his reunion with West could be an improvement. It was only a few weeks ago that West's latest film, The Expendables 2, was released to solid ratings from critics and a solid run at the box office. Could this Con Air reunion mean that Cage's action career is back on track?
Even though the film isn't releasing for a few weeks, Richard Gere is already receiving a lot of positive buzz for his performance as a hedge fun manager in the new thriller, Arbitrage. Gere stars opposite Oscar-winner Susan Sarandon and rising star Brit Marling (Sound of My Voice) in the film.
Nicholas Jarecki wrote and directed this movie about a man whose secrets - both personal and professional - threaten his way of life. Not only is Gere's character under financial distress at work, a car accident leads him to face questioning from the police as well. The movie premiered at Sundance to strong reviews and could capitalize on the down economy with a main character who was reportedly inspired by real-life businessman Bernie Madoff.
'Resident Evil: Retribution'
At their Comic Con panel this year, the cast and director of Resident Evil: Retribution talked about the fifth installment of this long-running franchise. Director Paul W.S. Anderson even noted that this chapter is the beginning of the end of the story, while star Milla Jovovich added that Resident Evil has a life before and after Alice.
For fans curious about this installment, the plot reportedly focuses on Alice's attempts to find out who was in charge of the outbreak that has transformed millions of people into the Undead. In this installment, Alice travels the world trying to find answers and reportedly discovers some secrets about her past during the proceedings that will surprise both her and audiences who are clamoring for another action-packed adventure.
In 2003, Pixar had another huge hit on its hands with the release of Finding Nemo. The animated movie was critically-acclaimed and grossed over 300 million dollars domestically. The film also went on to win the Oscar for best animated movie of the year.
Now, with talk of a sequel - which will feature the return of director Andrew Stanton and star Ellen DeGeneres - the original will soon return to theaters in 3D. If you haven't seen the movie, the plot focuses on a clownfish named Marlin (voiced by Albert Brooks) as he tries to locate his young son Nemo, who has been captured by scuba divers. DeGeneres voices Dory, the lovable fish that partners up with Marlin to help him rescue his son.
It's been seventeen years since Sylvester Stallone put on the helmet and starred as the title character in the 1995 film, Judge Dredd. Now, Karl Urban takes on the role in the highly-anticipated Dredd 3D which - accordingly to Urban - stays closer to the 2000 AD source material than its predecessor.
The movie itself features a futuristic world where cops are given the power to act as a judge, a jury and an executioner for the criminals on the street. But despite their abilities to fight crime with deadly force, these officers are still being killed on the streets by violent thugs wanting to control the area. Judge Dredd must fight against such criminals, as he seeks to shut down the production of a new deadly drug that is quickly spreading throughout the city.
'End of Watch'
In End of Watch, writer/director David Ayer brings viewers into the criminal world of south central Los Angeles. The film tells the story of two cops who face off against a violent drug cartel after a traffic stop puts them in the crosshairs. Ayers, who previously wrote Training Day, knows how to tell a gritty cop story - so this movie could prove to be a worthy successor to that gritty drama.
At their Comic Con panel earlier this year, the cast and the director spoke about the unique camera angles in the film, and the training that stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena went through to prepare for the intense experience. If the movie's violence doesn't turn audiences off, this film could prove to be a dark but engaging cop drama.
'House at the End of the Street'
Earlier this year, Jennifer Lawrence starred as the lead character in the blockbuster Hunger Games, a film that quickly catapulted her onto the Hollywood rising star list. Now, the Oscar-nominee is trying her hand at the horror genre in the new thriller The House at the End of the Street.
Lawrence plays Elissa, a young woman who moves with her mother (Elisabeth Shue) into a new house, but the duo quickly realize that a neighbor's home has a mysterious past that is coming back to haunt them. The trailer shows the story taking place backwards, a format that offers viewers an interesting look at a familiar concept.
If the movie maintains an intriguing format that keeps viewers engaged, this could turn out to be a horror movie that pleases even hardcore fans of the genre.
At a Comic Con panel earlier this year, Emily Blunt stated that she believed Looper - the new sci-fi drama from Brick director Rian Johnson - is the best film she's been a part of. Her co-star Joseph Gordon-Levitt added that he believes that he disappears into this role better than he ever has. That's high praise coming from two rising young Hollywood stars who have both have starred in many worthy projects over the past the few years.
Their new film finds Gordon-Levitt playing an assassin who must kill an older version of himself, sent back in time by a future mob. That older version is played by Bruce Willis, who faces off against JGL head-trip thriller. With the help of a make-up team, JGL reportedly attempted to transform himself into a young Willis for the film, so we'll have to see if all of the work was worth it when it arrives on the big screen.
'Trouble with the Curve'
In Trouble with the Curve, Clint Eastwood returns for his first acting role in four years. He stars as an aging Atlanta Braves baseball scout checking out a new young prospect. With his eyes failing him, however, his daughter Mickey (Amy Adams) is forced to follow him along on a road trip to help him decide the worthiness of a potential major league player.
First-time feature director Robert Lorenz has a long history of working with Eastwood. He previously served as an assistant director on over half a dozen projects that involved Eastwood as either a director or writer. Those projects include Million Dollar Baby (2004), Mystic River (2003), and Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (1997). That connection could help make this movie into more than just a baseball film, and help establish this Trouble with the Curve as the Moneyball of 2012.
John Hanlon blogs at Screen Rant.