Movie Maniac

Fall movie preview: Fresh features

This summer was so hot, even shark-infested waters sound soothing.

Well, we're in luck, because a campy, toothy 3-D movie starring the sharp fishies hits theaters next week, kicking off a fall season full of new films.

Here's what's in store (release dates subject to change).

Friday

"Apollo 18" — Think of this as "Paranormal Activity" in space, with "found" footage that shows there was indeed an Apollo 18 mission to the moon, only things didn't go as planned. That is, unless Houston was anticipating demonic forces, then things went just swell.

"Shark Night 3D" — Just like "Shark Week," only six days shorter.

Sept. 9

"Warrior" — Tom Hardy ("Inception") gets his first mainstream leading role in this action drama as the youngest son of an alcoholic former boxer (Nick Nolte) who returns home to train for a martial arts tournament, where he must fight his older brother (Joel Edgerton).

"Contagion" — Steven Soderbergh (the "Ocean's" trilogy) returns with this sci-fi tale about the outbreak of a deadly disease and the wide array of Oscar winners — er, citizens — who try to figure it all out. Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, Gwyneth Paltrow and Marion Cotillard star.

"Bucky Larson: Born to Be A Star" — Nick Swardson ("Reno 911") stars as a Midwestern loser who goes to Hollywood to follow in his parents' footsteps and become a porn star. Dad would be so proud.

Sept. 16

"Dolphin Tale" — Family story about the friendship between a boy and a dolphin whose tail was lost in a crab trap. Apparently it's a dolphin trap, too.

"Drive" — Ryan Gosling ("Crazy, Stupid, Love") stars in this noirish tale about a Hollywood stunt driver who moonlights for criminals.

"I Don't Know How She Does It" — It's more like, "I Don't Know Why They Couldn't Come Up With a Better Title," as Sarah Jessica Parker stars in this comedy as a woman who is trying desperately to juggle marriage, children and a high-stress job. Boo-hoo.

"Johnny English Reborn" — British funnyman Rowan Atkinson returns as the bumbling spy who now must stop a group of international assassins before they cause global chaos. Like he doesn't.

"Straw Dogs" — James Marsden stars in a remake of the 1971 Dustin Hoffman thriller as a man who relocates to his wife's small town only to find conflict with the locals who don't take kindly to strangers.

Sept. 23

"Abduction" — Taylor Lautner (the "Twilight" saga) tries fully clothed acting as a teen who discovers his picture on a missing-children's poster.

"Moneyball" — Brad Pitt stars as controversial real-life Oakland A's general manager Billy Beane, who put together a baseball club on a budget by employing computer-generated analysis to draft his players.

Sept. 30

"50/50" — Joseph Gordon Levitt ("Inception") stars in this comedic drama about a 27-year-old man diagnosed with cancer and his subsequent struggle to beat it.

"Dream House" — Daniel Craig ("Cowboys and Aliens"), Rachel Weisz ("The Lovely Bones") and Naomi Watts ("Funny Games") star in this thriller about a family that unknowingly moves into a home where several grisly murders were committed — only to find themselves the killer's next target. Always read the fine print.

"What's Your Number?" —Anna Faris ("The House Bunny") stars in this comedy as a woman who looks back at the past 20 men she's had relationships with and wonders if one of them might be her one true love. It sounds like "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World," only completely different.

Oct. 7

"The Ides of March" —George Clooney writes, directs and stars in this political drama as a presidential candidate whose dirty politics are an eye-opener to an idealistic young staffer (Ryan Gosling — who seems to be in everything this year).

"Real Steel" — Hugh Jackman ("X-Men") stars in this futuristic action/drama where humanoid robots square off in the ring. Because watching humans pummel each other is so old hat.

Oct. 14

"Footloose" — Remake with newcomer Kenny Wormald taking over the role of Ren MacCormack — which made Kevin Bacon a star. The story's about the same, as Ren moves to a small town where dancing is illegal. And, well, the guy's just gotta dance.

"The Three Musketeers" — The classic Alexandre Dumas novel is updated yet again with Logan Lerman ("Percy Jackson & the Olympians") as hot-headed D'Artagnan, who joins forces with three rogue Musketeers. Great, now I want a candy bar.

"The Thing" — This is actually a prequel and not a remake of John Carpenter's 1982 film of the same name (guess "The Thing: The Beginning" didn't have a good ring to it) —following the discovery of an alien craft at an Antarctica research site.

Oct. 21

"Paranormal Activity 3" — More ghosts, more cameras, even less interest.

Oct. 28

"In Time" — Justin Timberlake and Amanda Seyfried star in this sci-fi tale set in the future, where people stop aging at 25 and must buy themselves more time to live. That's funny, I stopped aging at 25, too.

"Safe" — Jason Statham ("The Mechanic") stars in this actioner about a former elite agent (why can't any of them ever be current agents?) who tries to protect a 12-year-old girl from danger. What a nice guy.

Nov. 4

"Puss in Boots" — Antonio Banderas returns as the voice of the sword-fighting feline from the "Shrek" movies.

"A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas" — I'm dreaming of a White Castle.

"Tower Heist" — Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy and Matthew Broderick star in this crime/comedy about a group of guys who fall victim to a wealthy businessman's scam and conspire to rob his Trump Tower apartment. Trump that.

Nov. 11

"Immortals" — Soon-to-be Superman Henry Cavill stars as Greek warrior Theseus, who battles against imprisoned titans.

"J. Edgar" — Leonardo DiCaprio stars in Clint Eastwood's biopic about the famed lawman.

"Jack and Jill" — Adam Sandler in drag. What a drag.

Upcoming independent films

These indie and art-house titles are slated to open at Warren Theatre east:

Friday

"Attack the Block" — British comedy about a teen gang in London that defends its neighborhood from an alien invasion.

Sept. 9

"The Devil's Double" — A look at the life of Saddam Hussein as seen through the eyes of the man who was forced to become the double for Hussein's sadistic son.

Sept. 16

"The Trip" — Comedic documentary with Steve Coogan, as he tours the country's best restaurants with his best friend/worst enemy Rob Bryden.

Sept. 23

"Sarah's Key" — Kristen Scott Thomas is earning raves as a journalist in Paris who finds her life becoming entwined with a young girl whose family was torn apart.

Late September

"The Guard" — Don Cheadle and Brendan Gleeson star in this comedy about an unorthodox Irish policeman and his uptight FBI agent partner, as they investigate a drug ring.

October

"Higher Ground" — Actress Vera Farmiga won raves at Sundance with her directorial debut about one woman's lifelong struggle with her faith.

"Restless" — Quirky director Gus Van Sant ("Milk") returns with this comedy/drama about a terminally ill teenage girl who falls for a boy who likes to attend funerals.

November

"Take Shelter" — Michael Shannon stars as a young husband and father plagued with apocalyptic visions who questions whether to shelter his family from a coming storm or from himself.

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