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Fall movie preview: ‘Twilight’ leads the pack

Robert PattinsKristen Stewart 'The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn -- Part 1.'

Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart in "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn -- Part 1."

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Updated: November 3, 2011 6:08PM



They say good things come to those who wait — and no one knows that better than a certain vampire hunk. After several cinematic years in limbo, Edward Cullen finally will have that moment when a young man gets to say to his blushing new bride: Welcome to my bloodline.

First comes love. Then comes marriage. Then comes a little fanged creature in the baby carriage in the biggest film of fall, “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1,” opening Nov. 18.

“I’m curious to see how it will carry out,” star Robert Pattinson tells the Sun-Times. “This movie is so different from the other ones. The stakes are so much higher because now it’s time to turn the entire saga upside down.”

And then there is the matter of Bella’s baby bump. “The birth scene is frightening,” Pattinson admits. “It’s a slap in the face. It’s failure to Edward, who has to choose between losing Bella and transforming her. It’s the toughest scene I’ve ever had to film in my career because this choice tears out my heart.”

Bloody good? You have to wait a few months.

“Breaking Dawn” isn’t the only film with bite this fall. As the weather cools, the box office stakes heat up with the serious Oscar contenders and A-listers looking for their fourth-quarter fame.

Forget Edward Cullen for a moment. This season marks the return of mere mortal hunks including Brad Pitt, George Clooney and Antonio Banderas. The ladies are no slouches, either, with Sarah Jessica Parker, Kate Winslet and Gwyneth Paltrow.

It’s time to sink your teeth into the fall movie season.

‘Warrior’ (Sept. 9)

Players: Joel Edgerton, Tom Hardy, Jennifer Morrison and Nick Nolte. Directed by Gavin O’Connor.

Plot: Two estranged brothers go “Rocky” on us when a Marine (Hardy) returns home to ask his formerly drunk estranged father (Nick Nolte) to train him for Sparta, the biggest winner-takes-all mixed martial arts contest. Meanwhile, his brother (Edgerton), an ex-fighter turned teacher, comes back to the ring to save his family’s house from foreclosure. You guessed it? There are only two left swinging at the end! Eye of the tiger, boys!

Talking point: Nolte is a lock for a best supporting actor nomination thanks to a role where every line and crag on his face seems to be emoting. Edgerton says, “I play his estranged son, and each time I had to look into Nick’s sad face was heartbreaking. This isn’t just a fight movie, but it’s about a family that’s so estranged like so many families out there. I think there are a lot of sons who might be calling their dads after this one, no matter what happened in the past.”

‘Contagion’ (Sept. 9)

Players: Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow. Directed by Steven Soderbergh.

Plot: So, this is why you need hand sanitizer. Those pesky health headlines are pushed to the extreme when a virus wipes out over a million people worldwide in just weeks. Did we say that it’s highly contagious? Damon is a Midwestern dad married to an ailing Paltrow. Winslet is a CDC doc trying to get to the bottom of how we can avoid these fatal germs. A blogger (Law) warns everyone of what’s going on.

Talking point: Don’t take a bathroom break during Paltrow’s early scenes, because the word is that they’re riveting. Damon says, “The scary thing about this film is that the fear we invoke is real. You got flu season coming up. You got all these weird viruses around. You can’t avoid it, but you can worry about it.”

‘I Don’t Know How She Does It’ (Sept. 16)

Players: Sarah Jessica Parker, Pierce Brosnan, Greg Kinnear. Directed by Douglas McGrath.

Plot: In what could be her first real role to break out of the Carrie Bradshaw mode, SJP plays a workaholic financial executive who must juggle the office, two kids and an annoyed hubby who is having job issues of his own. Wait, this could be the life of any non-fashionista woman out there.

Talking point: This isn’t a woman who is counting how many Manolos are in her closet. “She’s the classic case of a woman trying to do it all for everyone else and losing herself in the process,” Parker says. “I think so many women will identify.”

‘Moneyball’ (Sept. 23)

Players: Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill, Philip Seymour Hoffman. Directed by Bennett Miller.

Plot: In a story based on the 2003 Michael Lewis book, Pitt steps up to the plate as Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane, who tries to keep his team together during tough money times. His way is to turn the game on its ear. Hill plays a young exec who helps to keep the bases loaded.

Talking point: Pitt stayed with the project through two director changes, with David (“Marley & Me”) Frankel and Steven Soderbergh stepping aside. Pitt says the script “spoke to me on many levels.” That explains why he stuck with the very inside baseball tale that also features Robin Wright as his ex-wife and Philip Seymour Hoffman as the team’s manager, Art Howe.

‘What’s Your Number?’ (Sept. 30)

Players: Anna Faris, Chris Evans. Directed by Mark Mylod.

Plot: As Hollywood desperately (still) tries to find the perfect post-Meg Ryan rom-com queen, sweet and funny Anna Faris enters the ring as a messed-up 30ish Boston-ite who vows she won’t sleep with anyone beyond her 19 lovers until she figures out how things went wrong with all the exes.

Talking point: Faris says of all the exes, one played by Andy (“SNL”) Samberg is one of her favorites because he’s the weirdo. “Andy is the creepy guy in the movie. He plays a puppeteer who was actually in love with my sister, although I lost my virginity to him,” she laments. “It’s a little sad, but lots of us ladies look back and have these stories. We just don’t go visit the guy years later.”

‘The Ides of March’ (Oct.7)

Players: George Clooney, Ryan Gosling, Evan Rachel Wood, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giamatti. Directed by George Clooney.

Plot: As we move closer toward the real thing, Clooney’s searing fall political drama drags the curtain back on the presidential campaigns and looks at how far some people will go to attain power. Gosling is a young media strategist who starts out as an idealist. His boss is Gov. Mike Morris (Clooney), a Democratic Party front-runner determined to get the nomination. It’s too bad that his young pal finds out that he has a lot of secrets.

Talking point: Gosling, one of the big stars of fall with this movie and “Drive,” says he enjoyed filming the movie in Detroit. “I drove around a lot to relax,” he says. “I saw all those abandoned buildings, and it drove home the point that we need people who want to help the country.”

‘Footloose’ (Oct. 14)

Players: Kenny Wormald, Julianne Hough, Dennis Quaid, Andie MacDowell. Directed by Craig Brewer.

Plot: Time to kick off your Sunday shoes again in this remake of the ’80s teen classic about a town that doesn’t allow the corrupting influence of kicking up your heels. Dancing fool Ren McCormack now is played by 27-year-old newcomer Kenny Wormald of MTV’s “Dancelife.” “Dancing With the Stars” alum Julianne Hough plays the defiant Ariel, who won’t let her preacher papa (a steely-eyed Dennis Quaid) keep her down.

Talking point: Wormald gets right to what you really want to know: Yes, the songs are still there, but … different. The title song “Footloose” is now crooned by Blake Shelton, while Jana Kramer (“One Tree Hill”) croons “Let’s Hear It for the Boy.” Expect new renditions of “Holding Out for a Hero” and “Almost Paradise.” What about the dancing-through-the-farm number? Please don’t break our ’80s hearts. “Oh, it’s in there. We call it the Angry Dance. Kevin Bacon called it the Punching Dance. It’s another way we pay homage to the original. We just amp up the song because the White Stripes sing it,” says Wormald.

‘J. Edgar’ (Nov. 11)

Players: Leonardo DiCaprio, Armie Hammer, Naomi Watts, Jeffrey Donovan. Directed by Clint Eastwood.

Plot: Not just about the man who helped build the FBI, the film digs deeper into Hoover (DiCaprio) as a power-hungry figure who also investigated Robert F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. The biopic starts at the beginning, when Hoover was growing up in Washington, D.C.; it shows his rise to the top in the ’20s and then travels down the 50 years he was in charge of the FBI. The film was written by Dustin Lance Black, who won an Oscar for “Milk.”

Talking point: The film also examines Hoover’s relationship with his assistant, Clyde Tolson, played by Armie (“The Social Network”) Hammer. DiCaprio won’t talk about this part of the film. As for playing Hoover, he says, “He had his hand in some of the most scandalous events in American history — everything from the Vietnam War to Dillinger to Martin Luther King and JFK. It’s an amazing story.”

‘The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1’ (Nov. 18)

Players: Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner. Directed by Bill Condon.

Plot: Vampire-mortal love reaches new levels when Bella (Stewart) and Edward (Pattinson) decide to take their relationship to a preacher. After the passionate honeymoon, Bella finds that her jeans aren’t fitting anymore. Here comes a half vamp-baby who grows at an alarming accelerated rate and puts mama’s life in grave danger. Faced with losing the newly minted Mrs. Cullen, Edward has to choose between widowhood or immortality via vampire bite for his soon-to-be-blood-drinking significant other. By the way, a certain wolf named Jacob (Lautner) is none too pleased by any of the above.

Talking point: Not since the Kardashian wedding has there been such a rapid tying of the knot. Stewart admits, “I was racing down the aisle during the first few takes because I was eager to get the two of them married.” Pattinson says, “We saved shooting the actual wedding for last because it was so important. We needed to be immersed in it.”

‘The Muppets’ (Nov. 23)

Players: Jason Segel, Amy Adams, Chris Cooper, Miss Piggy, Kermit, Fozzie, etc. Directed by James Bobin.

Plot: After a 12-year wait since “Muppets From Space,” it’s time to reinvent the gang for both parents and kiddies. Segel is a fan of the Muppets, so you can imagine his horror when he finds out that an oil company meanie (Cooper) is going to get rid of Muppet Theater. His girlfriend (Adams), plus all the Muppets, work, sing and play as they try to save the day.

Talking point: Get ready to welcome a Muppet named Walter, who looks a little bit like Ernie’s cuter cousin. By the way, Miss Piggy is
her fashionista self, despite the recession.

Big Picture News Inc.



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