Vampire movies this fall? You bet. But there are far more films where everybody is dead — post-apocalypse — except for a few hardy human survivors or some robots or puppets. Not all creatures are to be feared: “Where The Wild Things Are” brings Maurice Sendak’s beloved picture book to the screen.

The 2009 fall movie season features a few love stories, though “Capitalism: A Love Story,” Michael Moore’s latest black comedy documentary, may get more attention.
There are ambitious movies based on the lives of Amelia Earhart, Nelson Mandela, the poet John Keats and a violent British criminal; a documentary that follows basketball superstar LeBron James all the way from high school and a concert film based on the rehearsal tapes of Michael Jackson; movies adapted from a rash of bestsellers, including “Shutter Island”, “The Lovely Bones”, “Push” (renamed “Precious”), “I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell”; and a host of remakes.

Which of these movies will be worth seeing? At this point for most of the fall 2009 movies, there’s little to go on except the movie’s trailer and official Web site (which I link to when available; if not, to the Internet Movie Database), its stars, and its title. The movie with the best title? My vote is “Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs”

September 4:all-about-steve-copy
All About Steve
Sandra Bullock’s character goes on a blind date with Bradley Cooper and begins stalking him and Thomas Haden Church in this comedy.

A Sundance award-winner about a Palestinian mother and teenage son making their way in small-town America.


Sci-fi thriller about a deadly viruscarriers

Jason Bateman owns a company that makes food extracts. Written and directed by Mike Judge of Beavis and Butt-Head infamy; also of Office Space

gamer1 Gamer
Gerard Butler plays a video avatar in this sci-fi thriller

No Impact Man
documentary about an environmentalist Colin Beavman based on his blog

Unmade Beds
Nicholas Barker’s comic documentary about four New Yorkers’ vanity, lust and ambition.

September 9
Elijah Wood, Jennifer Connelly in an animated film focusing on the creatures made from leftovers after the world is destroyed.

September 11
Beyond A Reasonable Doubt
Michael Douglas stars in this remake of a 1956 thriller about a crooked lawyer.

The Other Man
Liam Nelson learns that hias wife Laura Linney may be having a dalliance with Antonio Banderas.

Tyler Perry’s I Can Do Bad All By Myself

Taraji Henson plays a selfish lounge singer who suddenly has to take care of relatives. Co-starring Mary J. Blige

Kate Beckinsale as a US Marshal tracking a killer in Antarctica.

September 16
35 Shots of Rum
A French film directed and co-written by Claire Denis about (here’s a novelty) a functional family. The relationship between a widower and his daughter is complicated by the arrival of a handsome young man.

September 18:
Bright Star
Jane Camion’s film about 19th century poet John Keats’ tragic love affair.

The Burning Plain
Charlize Theron and Kim Basinger star in what is described as “a romantic mystery about a woman on the edge who takes an emotional journey back to the defining moment of her life.”

Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballscloudy_with_a_chance_of_meatballs-copy
Animated film about a food-producing machine that goes out of control. Voices include Bill Hader, Neil Patrick Harris

John Malkovich plays a South African professor caught up in postapartheid politics.

Jennifer’s Body
Megan Fox plays a sports team captain who eats her male classmates. A teen horror

the-informant1The Informant
Matt Damon gained 30 pounds for this Steven Soderbergh fact-based film about a whistle-blower who is also delusional.

Love Happens
Aaron Eckhart as a widower and self-help guru who falls for florist Jennifer Aniston.

Dennis Quaid and Ben Foster play two astronauts who wake up in their spacecraft and realize they are not alone.

Juliet Binoche plays the sister of a man who is sick, and starts to look at the everyday people of Paris in a different way.

September 21
The Age of Stupid
Pete Postlethwaite plays a man in the year 2055 who looks back and asks: Why didn’t the world stop climate change when it had the chance?

September 23
Capitalism: A Love Story
The latest black comedy documentary from Michael Moore

September 25
The Boys Are Back
Clive Owen stars as a father forced to raise his two sons by himself after his wife dies suddenly.

Blind Date
Stanley Tucci directed, co-wrote and co-stars with Patricia Clarkson about a married couple struck by tragedy who role-play blind dates with each other.

The Blue Tooth Virgin
A comedy about an aspiring screenwriter who asks his friend what he thinks of his screenplay — and the friend makes the mistake of telling him.

Brief Interviews with Hideous Men
“The Office” star John Krasinki’s film based on the late David Foster Wallace’s collection of short stories

Coco Before Chanel
Audrey Tautou stars as the grande dame of the fashion world in her early years.

The Damned United

Darkly humorous tale about the British soccer team.

Remake of the 1980 musical about the High School for the Performing Arts

I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell
Based on the best-selling book by Tucker Max. The character must win back a friend whose wedding he almost destroyed.

The Invention of Lying
Ricky Gervais as the only man on earth who can still lie.

Pretty Ugly People
An obese woman’s dying wish brings six estranged friends together in the Montana wilderness.

Bruce Willis in a sci-fi thriller about a terrorist hacker coming between men and their all-purpose robots.surrogates

September 30
The Horse Boy
A documentary about a Texas couple who bring their autistic son on a trek by horseback through Outer Mongolia in a desperate attempt to treat his condition with shamanic healing.


October 1
Violence and voyeurism at a prep school, with an alienated teen witnessing two classmates’ overdosing.

October 2
Adventures of Power
The fake movie star from “Entourage,” Adrien Grenier, stars in this movie about fake drummers — excuse me, air drummers.
The other star and director is named Ari Gold, but that’s his real name; it isn’t Jeremy Piven’s character on “Entourage”
More Than A Game
A documentary following basketball player LeBron James from high school to NBA superstardom

Peter and Vandy
Jason Ritter (son of John) stars in this love story told backwards.

A Serious Man

A Coen Brother’s film, set in 1967, about a college professor whose life is unravelling (reportedly based loosely on Joel and Ethan Coen’s father)

Shutter Island
Leonardo DiCaprio and Ben Kingsley star in Martin Scorsese’s
thriller set in 1954 about U.S. marshals investigating the disappearance of a criminally insane inmate. Based on Dennis Lehane’s novel.


St. Trinian’s
Mischa Barton stars as an alumna of this wacky school

Toy Story and Toy Story 2 in 3D

October 9
Biopic of a notoriously violent and delusional inmate

Couples Retreat
Four couples undergo couples therapy in an island retreat, starring Jason Bateman, Vince Vaughn, written by Vaughn and Jon Favreau.

An Education
A teenager in 1960’s London falls for an older man, played by Peter Sarsgaard. Screenplay by Nick Hornby.

Free Style
corbin-bleu-free_styleCorbin Bleu of “High School Musical” stars in this film about motocross bike riding as a rider determined to win spot on the Grand National racing team

Good Hair
Chris Rock reportedly made this documentary about African-American attitudes toward hair when his daughter Lola, came up to him crying and asked, “Daddy, how come I don’t have good hair?”

Michelle Monaghan plays a care-free independent truck driver, until the evening her 11-year-old son shows up at her door.

Whip It
Drew Barrymore directs and co-stars (with Ellen Page from “Juno”) in this film about female roller derby skaters.

Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg and Abigail Breslin play survivors in a world where a virus has turned most former people into flesh-eaters.

October 16
Law Abiding Citizen
Jamie Foxx vs. Gerard Butler in this thriller about a man who targets the district attorney who let his family’s killer go free.

The Maid (La Nana)
Made in Chile, the film focuses on a maid who is trying to hold onto her position after 23 years of service to a family.

Uma Thurman shows what it takes to be a mother for even one, pivotal day. Co-starring Minni Driver as her pregnant friend.

New York, I Love You
10 short films about love, including one starring, and another written and directed by, Natalie Portman.

The Road
Viggio Mortensen and Charlize Theron star in this adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s popular novel about father and son surviving after the apocalypse.

The Stepfather
Remake of the story of a kind man who remarries Mom and turns out to be a psychopath.

Where The Wild Things Are
A live-action adaptation (with puppets) of Maurice Sendak’s children’s picture book about a boy who becomes king of a remote island, it is directed by Spike Jonz, co-written by Dave Eggers, and features the voices of James Gandolfini and Forest Whitaker.

October 23
Hilary Swank, Richard Gere and Ewan McGregor star in this picture of pioneering aviator Amelia Earhart, framed around the flight in 1937 in which she disappeared.

Directed by Lars Van Trier and starring William DaFoe, the film focuses on a grieving couple who retreat to their cabin in the woods, where things get worse.

Astro Boy

An animated film featuring the voices of Kristen Bell, Nathan Lane, Donald Sutherland and Nicholas Cage about an inventor who creates a robot son with superpowers.

Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant
Based on a young adult novel by Darren Shan, a teen tries to save his best friend’s life by serving (and becoming half) a vampire.

Ong Bak 2
A young Thai boxer learns the skills and inner meaning of martial arts.

The Private Lives of Pippa Lee

Written and directed by Rebecca Miller based on her own novel, the film stars Robin Wright Penn, Keanu Reeves, Alan Arkin, Julianne Moore in a look at a middle-aged suburban woman coming to terms with her wild past.

Saw VI
The latest sequel of the horror movie.

October 28
This Is It
Michael Jackson posthumous concert film, based on video of his rehearsals for the London concerts he never gave.
October 30
Gentlemen Broncos
Two fantasy novelists, one a teenage outcast the other a washed-up veteran, clash in this movie from the director of “Napoleon Dynamite.”

The House of the Devil
Horror movie about a 1980’s babysitter who realizes her clients want to use her in a Satanic ritual.

The Messenger
Ben Foster, Woody Harrelson and Samantha Morton star in this film about an American soldier assigned to telling families that their loved ones have died.


Sam Neill and Sophi Okonedo star in this film based on a true story of a white couple in aparttheid South Africa who give birth to a girl who appears to be black, and is expelled from white society.

November 6
The Box
Frank Langella will give $1 million to the financially-strapped Cameron Diaz if she will just press a button on a box. Sci-fi horror.

A Christmas Carol
Jim Carrey plays seven characters in the Charles Dickens classic.

The Fourth Kind Milla Jovovich about an Alaskan town with mysterious disappearances.

The Men Who Stare at Goats
George Clooney, Ewan McGregor, Jeff Bridges, Kevin Spacey in a film based on Jon Ronson’s nonfiction book about a U.S. military unit that investigates psychic phenomena.

Pirate Radio
Philip Seymour Hoffman in story of an illegal radio station broadcast from a boat in the North Sea in the 1960’s.

Mo’Nique and Mariah Carey star in this Oprah-produced movie based on the novel “Push” by Sapphire about an obese Harlem teenager beset with troubles.

Saint John of Las Vegas
Steve Buscemi as an ex-gambler lured back into the game.

November 13
John Cusack and Amanda Peet in a disaster movie from the director of “Independence Day” and “The Day After Tomorrow.”

A coming-of-age tale about three teenagers, starring Zach Gilford (Matt Saracen on “Friday Night Lights.”)

Fantastic Mr. Fox

Animated film based on the dark Roald Dahl children’s book with George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray about a family of foxes escaping the farmers trying to get rid of them.

Red Cliff
John Woo’s film based on the actual spectacular battle for the future of China, 1,700 years ago.

Women in Trouble
One day in the life of ten women — a porn star, a flight attendant, a psychiatrist, etc. — who are each in her own way in trouble.

The Young Victoria
Emily Blunt (the snooty secretary in “The Devil Wears Prada”) stars in this story of the rise to power of Britain’s Queen Victoria.

November 20
The Blind Side
Sandra Bullock and Tim McGraw star in this film based on Michael Lewis’ nonfiction book about a couple who take in a teenager who becomes a football prodigy.

Broken Embracesbroken_embraces
Director Pedro Almodovar’s latest collaboration with Penelope Cruz, this film (Los abrazos rotos) is about an actress obsessed with a filmmaker.

Planet 51
The Rock stars in this animated comedy about a human being from Earth who is seen as an alien on an alien planet.

twilightThe Twilight Saga: New Moon
The second movie based on the Stephanie Meyer’s series on vampires.

November 25
Me and Orson Welles
Zac Efron stars as a young actor in 1937 who joins Orson Welles’ Mercury Theatre Company, finds romance, and clashes with Mr. Welles.

Daniel Day-Lewis, Penelopze Cruz, Judi Dench, Nicole Kidman in Rob Marshall’s film adaptation of the 1982 Broadway musical inspired by Federico Fellini’s “8 1/2”

Ninja Assassin
Korean pop star Rain (Speed Racer) exacts revenge on the secret society that turned him into a killer as a child.

Old Dogs
John Travolta and Robin Williams play business partners who suddenly must care for seven-year-old twins.

The Princess and the Frog
Disney’s version of the Grimm’s fairy tale is set in New Orleans in the 1920s. Voices include Anika Noni Rose, Terrence Howard, Oprah Winfrey, John Goodman.


December 4
Matt Dillon and Laurence Fishburne are armored transport workers planning to steal $42 million from their company.

Tobey Maguire and Jake Gyllenhaal play a U.S. Marine missing in action and his irresponsible brother who starts helping out the marine’s wife, Natalie Portman…and then the marine comes home.

Everybody’s Fine
Robert DeNiro, Kate Beckinsale and Drew Barrymore star in this remaked of the Italian film Stanno Tutti Bene about a working-class widower who doesn’t know how to communicate with his kids.

A Prophet
An orphan in and out of prison becomes a crime kingpin in France.

Serious Moonlight
Meg Ryan plays an attorney who ties up her adulterous husband.

December 11
invictus1Morgan Freeman plays Nelson Mandela in this film directed by Clint Eastwood and co-starring Matt Damon focusing on the South African president’s efforts to bring his countrymen together through the game of rugby. (Invictus, which means undefeated, was the name of a poem Mandela read in prison)

The Lovely Bones
Based on the best-selling novel by Alice Sebold, the movie stars Saoirse Ronan as a teenager raped and murdered by a neighbor who watches as her family, played by Mark Wahlberg, Rachel Weisz and Susan Sarandon, deal with her death.

December 18
James Cameron’s first directing job since “Titanic” in 1997, the 3-D science fiction adventure tells the story of a paralyzed Earthling who travels as an avatar (one of those surrogates in virtual reality games) to a distant planet.

Did You Hear About The Morgans?
Hugh Grant and Sarah Jessica Parker play a dysfunctional married couple forced to function when sent to Wyoming in the Witness Protection Program.

December 25
Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel
The animated trio are enrolled in high school, where they are smitten by the Chipettes.

It’s Complicateditscomplicated
Meryl Streep as a woman having an affair with her ex-husband Alec Baldwin while Steve Martin wants her too. Directed by Nancy Meyers.

Sherlock Holmes
As directed by Guy Ritchie, the famous British detective, played by Robert Downey Jr., now knows martial arts. Also starring Jude Lawe, Rachel McAdams.

The Tree of Life
Brad Pitt and Sean Penn star in this film directed by Terrence Malick that is described as a mystical journey of discovery and forgiveness that begins with three boys in the Midwest of the 1950s.

December 30
The White Ribbon
A mystery that takes place in the Germany of World War I.

Culture Movie Preview Fall 2009