After the overwhelming months of the summer blockbusters, this year’s fall season promises superb film fare, both in the form of low budget, heartthrob-driven indies and grandiose wide releases alike. And while some Yalies may find it difficult to find the time (and funds) for movie outings during school, many upcoming films seem too good to miss — and too monumental not to see on the big screen (in North Haven, mind you). The time has come to visit www.apple.com/trailers and pencil new entries into that useless Yale Bookstore day planner.
“The Last Kiss” September 15
Andrew Largeman is turning thirty — “The Last Kiss” looks to be an extension of Zach Braff’s “Garden State,” with a similarly fantastic soundtrack and an equally impressive supporting cast (this time including Blythe Danner and Casey Affleck). “The Last Kiss” seems unavoidably destined to become the next DVD found in every third dorm room.
“The Science of Sleep” September 15
“Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” director Michel Gondry is coming out with yet another romantic dramedy that toys with the tensions between memory, fantasy and reality. “The Science of Sleep” stars the attractive Gael Garcia Bernal as a young man who cannot seem to distinguish his dreams from waking life. With promises of exceptional cinematography and creative imagery, not to mention a fun soundtrack, “The Science of Sleep” is one to look forward to, even if it might seem alarmingly similar to the whimsical “Eternal Sunshine.”
“Children of Men” September 29
What would happen if suddenly, all of the women in the world became barren? This is the premise of Alfonso Cuaron’s new movie, “Children of Men.” Starring Clive Owen and the eternally childless mother Julianne Moore, “Children” follows the desperate struggle of a disillusioned man (Owen) to help smuggle the world’s only pregnant woman to safety.
“Shortbus” October 4
This sophomore effort from John Cameron Mitchell (“Hedwig and the Angry Inch”) tells a story of life and love in contemporary New York. Examining the tragedy and comedy that often occur at the crossroads of love and sex, “Shortbus” explores the lives of New Yorkers who converge weekly at a nexus of art, politics and polysexuality — an underground salon called the Shortbus. There are rumors that all of the orgasms filmed in the movie are real.
“Running With Scissors” October 11
Based on the memoirs of Augusten Burroughs, “Running With Scissors” tells the bizarre and often shocking story of the son (Joseph Cross) of an alcoholic father (Alec Baldwin) and emotionally volatile mother (Annette Bening). After being handed off to his mother’s therapist, Dr. Finch, young Burroughs spends his adolescence as an extended member of Finch’s offbeat family. Supporting cast members include Gwyneth Paltrow and Evan Rachel Wood as Finch’s daughters, and Joseph Fiennes of “Shakespeare in Love” fame.
“Marie Antoinette” October 20
Written and directed by Sofia Coppola, “Marie Antoinette” offers a stylized and anachronistic (note New Order tunes on the soundtrack) account of the naive Viennese maiden who became queen of France before her twentieth birthday. Starring Kirsten Dunst as the doomed-to-decapitation queen and Jason Schwartzman as the Sun King, Louis XIV, “Antoinette” was poorly received at Cannes, but is still highly anticipated by American audiences.
“The Prestige” October 20
Co-written and directed by Christopher Nolan (“Memento” and “Batman Begins”), “The Prestige” looks to succeed where last month’s “The Illusionist” failed. Also about Victorian magicians, “The Prestige” stars Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale as rival magicians. But Bale’s character has more up his sleeve than colored streamers: His magic tricks may not be tricks at all. Also starring Scarlett Johansson and Michael Caine, “The Prestige” will at least be free from the taint of Jessica Biel.
“Babel” October 27
With an all-star cast including the likes of Gael Garcia Bernal, Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett, “Babel” will be highly publicized, if nothing else. Directed by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (“21 Grams,” “Amores Perros”) “Babel” follows three different stories — taking place in Morocco, Tunisia, Mexico and Japan — linked by a murder in the Moroccan desert.
“Stranger Than Fiction” November 10
What looks to be an interesting commingling of fiction and reality, “Fiction” stars Emma Thompson, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Dustin Hoffman and a refreshing, atypically cast Will Ferrell. Directed by Marc Forster, of “Monster’s Ball” and “Finding Neverland” acclaim, “Stranger than Fiction” tells the story of a frustrated novelist (Thompson) and her protagonist (Ferrell), who seems to have sprung from her unfinished manuscript.
“The Fountain” November 22
Starring Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weisz, this Darren Aronofsky saga traces one man’s 1,000-year odyssey to save the woman he loves. Opening in 16th century Spain, “The Fountain” begins with two lovers (Jackman and Weisz) finding an elixir of immortality, and traces their journey through the 26th century. Coming from the man behind “Requiem for a Dream”, “The Fountain” promises stirring imagery, and will definitely be one of the bigger-budget films of the fall worth seeing.
“The Pursuit of Happyness” December 15
Starring Will Smith, “The Pursuit of Happyness” is based on the true story of a single father trying to raise his son in San Francisco while simultaneously juggling financial struggles, a career change and, apparently, spelling. “Happyness” should prove both poignant and uplifting — a perfect way to start the holiday season.