Fall Forward

film_musketeersUpcoming fall films to watch out for
When sharks, apes, Barbarians, and (yawn) teens in peril dominate local screens, we know we’re stuck in the post-Labor Day movie doldrums. But fear not: the fresh breezes of fall are on the way, bringing with them a batch of eclectic and interesting new films. Here are a select few of the most promising (we hope):


Onetime Oscar nominee Ryan Gosling steps out of his perceived comfort zone with a vengeance in this majorly buzzed action thriller, based on the James Sallis novel. He plays a marginally employed Los Angeles movie stunt car driver who picks up some extra cash at night driving getaway cars for petty criminals. When one such extracurricular job goes awry, it takes all the maneuvers he knows to save himself and his passengers—a woman and her child—from their homicidal pursuers. Danish-born filmmaker Nicolas Winding Refn directs, and check out this supporting cast: Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston, Ron Perlman, and Christina Hendricks (the redoubtable Joan on Mad Men). Fasten your seatbelts for a wild ride. (Opens Sept. 16.)


It would be tough to top Richard Lester’s fresh, rollicking two-part production of the early ’70s, so why am I so intrigued by this new film version? The cast, for one thing. Yes, Logan Lerman (better known for adolescent roles like the young George Hamilton surrogate in My One And Only, and Percy Jackson and the Olympians) seems a bit young, even for D’Artagnan. But I love the idea of Matthew Macfadyen (the exceptional Darcy in the most recent Pride and Prejudice) as Athos, and Luke Evans (the sexy handyman in Tamara Drewe) as Aramis. Not to mention the deliciously sinister Christoph Waltz as the scheming Cardinal Richelieu. It may be a stretch for director Paul W. S. Anderson, perpetrator of the Resident Evil series, but veteran co-writer Andrew Davies has adapted everything from Jane Austen to Dickens, to “Bridget Jones,” so let’s hope for the best. (Opens Oct. 21.)

I get a little peeved at these conspiracy-theory notions that anyone other than the artist historically known as William Shakespeare wrote the canon of plays attributed to him. This film purports to argue in favor of Edward De Vere, Earl of Oxford, the nobleman most often cited by heretics as the “true” author, and delves into Elizabethan court conspiracies to explain why he was forbidden to claim the credit heaped instead on the undeserving Will. What sort of evidence these neo-Oxfordians can dredge up remains to be seen; it’s also true that director Roland Emmerich is better known for things that go ka-boom in the night (Independence Day; 2012). But the movie stills look lush and expensive, and consider the dramatis personae: Rhys Ifans as Oxford, Jamie Campbell Bower as young Oxford (in flashback), and Vanessa Redgrave and her real-life daughter, Joely Richardson, as two versions of Queen Elizabeth, mature monarch and fiery youth. (Opens Oct. 28.)

Johnny Depp returns to Fear-and-Loathing mode in this adaptation of the Hunter S. Thompson novel (begun in 1959, but not published until the late ’90s), a lightly fictionalized account of the author’s early stint as a reporter for a run-down newspaper in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Depp plays the Thompson-like writer protagonist sweltering in the Caribbean and struggling to reinvent himself in classic Papa Hemingway terms, amid a sea of political, social, and moral corruption, oceans of alcohol, various recreational drugs, and general mayhem. Amber Heard, Aaron Eckhart, Giovanni Ribisi, and Richard Jenkins co-star. Bruce Robinson (beloved auteur of the acerbic cult comedy, Withnail and I) directs. (Opens Oct. 28.)


Worlds collided in 1957 when glamorous Hollywood movie star Marilyn Monroe, and acclaimed British thespian Laurence Olivier made a movie together, the fluffy romance, The Prince and the Showgirl. Decades  later, one of Olivier’s entourage at that time, Colin Clark (son of art historian Sir Kenneth) published a memoir about the film shoot, which inspires this film. The ever-gutsy Michelle Williams stars as Marilyn. Kenneth Branagh and Julia Ormond play Olivier and his then-wife, Vivien Leigh; Judi Dench, Emma Watson, Dominic Cooper, and Eddie Redmayne co-star. TV movie veteran Simon Curtis directs. (Opens Nov. 4.)

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