: Based on Doris Kearns Goodwin
's biography "Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln
," the Steven Spielberg
film stars Daniel Day-Lewis
as the martyred president and follows the last several months of Lincoln's life as he faced violent opposition, on the battlefield and in the White House, as the Civil War gasped to a close, concluding with that fateful visit to Ford's Theatre.
What You Need to Know:
This has been a passion project of Spielberg's for almost a decade (he acquired the rights to the book in 2001), initially tapping Liam Neeson
for the role until, in Neeson's words, he got "too old." John Logan
and Tony Kushner
(among others) have worked on the script and the cast is bursting with talented performers playing historical figures, including Sally Field
as Mary Todd Lincoln, Joseph Gordon-Levitt
as Robert Todd Lincoln, David Strathairn
as Secretary of State William Seward (who was also targeted the night Lincoln visited Ford's Theatre), Tommy Lee Jones
as abolitionist congressional leader Thaddeus Stevens, and Jared Harris
as Ulysses S. Grant. (There are a bunch of awesome people like Walton Goggins
and John Hawkes
in smaller roles as well.) We still wonder what shape the film will take, given the expansive nature of the source material, and it's still the only major fall release without a trailer, but we are itching for a decent Lincoln movie, especially after the lacklustre “The Conspirator
" and this summer's dismal "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.
“Life of Pi”
After a harrowing shipwreck, young Pi Patel finds himself adrift in the Pacific Ocean, trapped on a 26-foot lifeboat in shark-infested waters with a 450-pound Bengal tiger named Richard Parker.
What You Need To Know:
In the works for years, with a variety of different directors all kicking it around at various points -- Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Alfonso Cuarón
and M. Night Shyamalan
among them -- the best-selling “Life of Pi
” is finally on its way to the big screen, in 3D no less. The big hurdle Fox
will have to vault on this one (at least domestically) is the international, mostly star-free cast, that features newcomer Suraj Sharma, Gerard Depardieu, Irrfan Khan, Adil Hussain
. Early footage
wowed reporters at CinemaCon,
and many have been impressed by the trailer,
but the material is much tougher than the ads are making it seem, so it'll be interesting to see how it's received, and how Lee sustains the tension of a film that's mostly set on a single raft, with only one human character. But we certainly have faith that it'll at least see Lee back on form after the misfire of "Taking Woodstock
“Silver Linings Playbook”
Based on the book by Matthew Quick
, the story centers a former high school teacher who, after being released from a four-year stint in a mental institution, moves back in with his mother, then seeks to reinvent himself, finding the titular silver linings in his life.
What You Need To Know:
Rumored to be the cause of a rift between David O. Russell
and his longtime collaborator Mark Wahlberg
, the film has been one the director has been trying to get off the ground for a few years. Wahlberg was originally slated in the lead role, but when Anne Hathaway
dropped out, Marky Mark bailed too, forcing the filmmakers to go with Bradley Cooper
. But the real reason to pay attention is that the movie marks Russell’s followup to “The Fighter
,” a film which finally brought him industry recognition via an invitation to the Kodak Theater as a Best Director nominee. And with a fall release date, The Weinstein Company
are hoping for some of that same magic (and some Oscar buzz, one suspects). Add to that a cast which includes rising star Jennifer Lawrence
, the return of Chris Tucker
in a non-”Rush Hour”
movie, “Animal Kingdom
” Oscar-nominee Jacki Weaver
and goddamn Robert De Niro
and you can see why we’re eager for this. The trailer
was a little offputting and sort of quirky comedy-by-numbers, but we're confident that Russell has something more interesting up his sleeve.
A frustrated screenwriter finds himself in trouble when two of his friends kidnap a dog belonging to a psychotic mobster
What You Need To Know: Martin McDonagh
reunites his “A Behanding In Spokane
” stars Sam Rockwell
and Christopher Walken
for this crime comedy, which alone should be cause for celebration. Really, if you’re going to have a duo of dog-nappers in your movie, and you can afford Sam Rockwell (as a struggling actor) and Chris Walken (as Chris Walken, more or less), you spring for it. McDonagh, who previously wrote and directed the hysterical “In Bruges
,” also brought back his 'Bruges' star Colin Farrell
in the lead role, suggesting there may be some connective tissue between that acidic gut-buster and this go-round, with Farrell playing the author attempting to pen his opus “Seven Psychopaths
.” Though Mickey Rourke
was due to play the dog-loving gangster (pretty accurate typecasting), he told the producers to to “go play with yourself” when they wouldn’t meet his probably-too-generous fee, Woody Harrelson
is a more than adequate replacement. Olga Kurylenko, Abbie Cornish
and the always-interesting Tom Waits
are the other three psychopaths in a cast that actually manages to improve upon the electric Farrell-Brendan Gleeson-Ralph Fiennes
trio at the heart of “In Bruges.” Whether it has the same soulful quality that made "In Bruges" so special remains to be seen, but it looks like an awful lot of fun.
"Zero Dark Thirty"
Based-in-fact story centering on the Seal Team 6 who hunted down and killed Osama Bin Laden, and the CIA agents who helped them find him.
What You Need To Know:
Thanks in part to real-life intervention when its subject was finally killed over the summer in 2011, Kathryn Bigelow
's follow-up to her Oscar winner "The Hurt Locker,
" which sees her working again with scribe Mark Boal
, has been a while coming. But it finally got underway with a truly exciting cast including Jason Clarke, Joel Edgerton, Jessica Chastain, Mark Strong, Chris Pratt, Jennifer Ehle, Kyle Chandler
and Mark Duplass
as the guys and gals trying to bring the Al-Qaeda leader down. Expectations will be riding high on the film, with folks expecting one of the biggest events in the last few years to be captured authentically, with no bias, while also being a few notches dramatically above something like “Act of Valor
.” Add into that a compressed production schedule, and Bigelow has some major weight on her shoulders, but if her last film was anything to go by, she should be able to pull it off with aplomb. The trailer,
while not revealing much, suggests that things are coming along nicely, anyway.