Donald Clarke's great big autumn movie preview
What better way to get you through the dark winter nights than beneath the flickering lights of a warm movie theatre? Donald Clarke runs through all the cinema releases between now and the new year
Irish director John Crowley tackles the war on terror with a legal thriller starring Eric Bana and Rebecca Hall. The eclectic Steven Knight – writer of Eastern Promises and Amazing Grace – is the talent behind the typewriter.
Winner of best screenplay at the Venice Film Festival, Stephen Frears’s hankie-moistener features Judi Dench as an Irish woman seeking the son she gave up for adoption many years previously. Steve Coogan co-writes and co-stars in a film that should play to a wide audience.
Already the recipient of hysterical raves, Gravity finds astronaut Sandra Bullock cast into space following an encounter with satellite debris. It has taken Alfonso Cuarón seven years to follow-up Children of Men. But it sounds as if the wait may prove worthwhile.
Michael Douglas, Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman and Kevin Kline are among the veterans clasping the smalls of their back comically as they visit Vegas for a bachelor party. Obviously, we wish them all well. But really . . .
Yes, it is 50 years since President Kennedy was assassinated. Peter Landesman’s picture pays particular attention to events at the hospital that cared for the dying emperor. Zac Efron and Billy Bob Thornton try to remain calm amid the chaos.
BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOUR
Winner of the Palme d’Or at this year’s Cannes, Abdellatif Kechiche’s study of a lesbian affair is hugely powerful in its embrace of emotional torment. But complaints from the two main actors have fuelled controversy about the very explicit sex scenes.
Well, you can’t fault the personnel in this thriller concerning the drug trade. Ridley Scott directs. Cormac McCarthy pens the script. Michael Fassbender, Penélope Cruz, Javier Bardem and Brad Pitt star. More quality than a Buckingham Palace garden party.
Yes, you’ve got it. Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s directorial debut is a modern-day take on the story of Don Juan. Not quite as glamorous as his predecessor, the hero – played by JGL himself – is saddled with an addiction to online porn. What would Mozart have thought?
The always subtle, always tasteful Luc Besson offers us a comedy in which a family connected to the mafia are relocated to Normandy as part of a witness protection scheme. Robert De Niro and Michelle Pfeiffer play mum and dad. Tommy Lee Jones is the FBI agent saddled with maintaining order.
ALL IS LOST
High concept movies rarely employ concepts that are quite so high as that deployed here. For his follow-up to the undervalued Margin Call, J C Chandor sets Robert Redford adrift in a boat with no company, but plenty of bad weather. Let’s hope the great man makes it.
Excuse me, waiter. But I don’t think I ordered this. Kimberley Pierce’s remake of the Brian De Palma classic casts Chloë Grace Moretz as the telekinetic teenager and Julianne Moore as her deranged mum. If you don’t know the story, don’t watch the absurdly detailed trailer.
GRACE OF MONACO
That Diana movie is already looking like a roaring catastrophe. Can Nicole Kidman recover ground for the doomed-European- princess genre with this biopic of the former Grace Kelly? Tim Roth co-stars as Prince Rainier. I think we all know how it ends.
SAVING MR BANKS
In an intriguing piece of self-examination, this Disney picture follows disputes between PL Travers, author of Mary Poppins, and Walt himself during the production of that durable family musical. Tom Hanks and Emma Thomson play the combatants.
Yes, it does attempt to do what it says on the packaging. Forest Whitaker, Angela Bassett and Jennifer Hudson tackle a seminal 1961 stage piece that retold the Nativity through African-American spirituals.
It would be unkind to suggest that this latest Disney animation is trying to replicate the baffling worldwide success of Fox’s Ice Age sequence. But the trailer does ring those sleigh bells very cacophonously. To be fair, Frozen is based on Hans Christian Anderson’s The Snow Queen. So, it should be fine.
Bruce Dern won best actor at Cannes for his portrayal of an elderly man travelling across country with his irritable son (Will Forte) in Alexander Payne’s quiet, monochrome road movie. Familiar territory for the director of Sideways and About Schmidt.