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Fall Film Picks

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  • | 4:00 a.m. September 27, 2013
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This fall's film line-up is all about star power and directors extraordinaire. Some of the best veteran and contemporary actors will grace the silver screens in the coming months. From the Civil War to science fiction, a cornucopia of quality films is about to hit theaters. The following are list-toppers.


The film is already drawing comparisons to "2001: A Space Odyssey." A 13-minute opening shot is hailed to be "astonishing." Alfonso Cuaron directs this sci-fi thriller about two astronauts adrift in space. It's a story of "terror, morality and hope." Could the casting be any more stellar than George Clooney and Sandra Bullock? Oct. 4
Tom Hanks portrays the heroic captain of the Maersk Alabama, which Somalian pirates took hostage in 2009. The film concentrates on the desperate crimes rooted in poverty rather than terrorism. Paul Greengrass knows a little bit about hijacking, having directed "United 93.” The trailer is riveting. Oct. 11
This is the true story of Solomon Northrup, a free black man who was kidnapped and sold into slavery pre-Civil War. As he struggles to endure unspeakable cruelty and make sense of his situation, Northrup tries to maintain his dignity. Directed by Steve McQueen, who has secured a formidable cast, including Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch and Brad Pitt. Oct. 18
When Cormac McCarthy scripts and Ridley Scott directs, you don't want to miss the ride. The trailer's killer and so is the cast. Michael Fassbender plays a respected lawyer who's led astray by a one-time drug deal. The tagline, spoken by a sultry Penelope Cruz, is, "Have you been bad?" It certainly looks so, counselor. Also on board are Javier Bardem, Cameron Diaz and Brad Pitt. Definitely big league. Oct. 25
Robert Redford has taken on a mighty challenge at age 76. There's irony in the fact that this film is about survival. His unnamed character is sailing solo in the Indian Ocean when his ship begins sinking. Redford "silently carries every frame" in a terrifying fight for his life. Could he finally nail that elusive Oscar for acting? Odds look as though it could be smooth sailing. Oct. 18

Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio team up for the fifth time in the true story of stockbroker Jordan Belfort. In the 1990s, he racked up millions via securities fraud, living the "high" life. Drugs, alcohol and greed fueled his ultimate demise, and the ride looks wild in the trailers. Matthew McConaughey is a major ingredient in this recipe for box office success. Nov. 15
It's insane not to catch Joaquin Phoenix in anything. Spike Jonze directs this futuristic dramedy about a lonely writer who falls in love with the voice on his computer operating system. That voice ("her") would be Scarlett Johansson, and I smell chemistry. Jonze comments, " ... it's about the way we long to connect." Amy Adams and Rooney Mara also star. Nov. 20

A cranky, hen-pecked old codger embarks on a road trip from Montana to Nebraska with his sad-sack son. Convinced he's won a $1 million sweepstakes, he travels the 850-mile journey to retrieve the prize. Along the way there are scores to settle and moochers to fend off, in droves. Bruce Dern stars — he won the Best Actor prize at Cannes this year. The excellent Alexander Payne directs — in black-and-white — nice. Nov. 22
Tagged, "For hope, for family, for justice." An economically challenged family is tested when an ex-con goes after a crime boss who's responsible for his brother's disappearance. Revenge, redemption and rebirth ensue in this amazingly cast film. Christian Bale, Casey Affleck, Woody Harrelson and Sam Shepard top the list. Scott Cooper directs. Dec. 6
The Coen brothers score yet another hit at Cannes, this year inciting the audience to rise up and cheer. A talented musician attempts to navigate 1960s Greenwich Village but finds success elusive, both personally and professionally. Another winning casting coup, which includes Carey Mulligan, Justin Timberlake and Oscar Isaac in the title role. Dec. 6


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