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Fall films look promising for fans of all genres

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At the beginning of every season, avid moviegoers start to formulate a list of films that they’re interested in seeing.  Whether the biggest movie of the year or a small independent film, the allure of escaping the doldrums of life to watch an entirely new world unfold onscreen always brings people to the movies.  With many exciting stories set to be released, this fall is no exception.  So here are some of the most intriguing (and hopefully great) films of the new season.

First up is what may be the most complex and puzzling film of the year:  “Cloud Atlas.”  Based off of the acclaimed novel by David Mitchell, “Cloud Atlas” tells a sweeping story of love, life, redemption and human connection that spans multiple stories, centuries and genres.  Written and directed by the Wachowski siblings (“The Matrix” trilogy) and Tom Tykwer (“Run Lola Run”), the film uniquely casts stars like Tom Hanks, Halle Berry and Hugh Grant in six separate roles.  While it will be a challenge for the film to match its ambition, the potential and scope of “Cloud Atlas” could result in a highly rewarding experience. “Cloud Atlas” hits theaters on Oct. 26 and is rated R.

For those who like their science-fiction films to be original and thought-provoking, this month brings the release of “Looper.”  Hailed as the best science-fiction film of recent memory, “Looper” stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Joe, a hitman who kills people sent from the future.  Joe’s world begins to turn upside down once he’s sent his newest target:  himself.  Bruce Willis co-stars as the older Joe, with Gordon-Levitt wearing prosthetics to stunningly resemble a young Willis.  Written and directed by the talented Rian Johnson, “Looper” has the potential to be a major hit with both critics and audiences. “Looper” enters theaters on Sept. 28 and is rated R.

Out this coming weekend in limited release is “The Master,” the latest film from Academy-Award nominated filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson (“There will be Blood”).  A film that may or may not be about the birth of Scientology, “The Master” follows the father-and-son-like relationship between a reckless and unpredictable drifter (Joaquin Phoenix) and the enigmatic leader of a religious cult (Phillip Seymour Hoffman).  Phoenix and Hoffman are early frontrunners to win acting Oscars, with Phoenix in particular being hailed as revelatory.  With strong word-of-mouth out of the Venice and Toronto film festivals, Anderson’s film is a contender for the Best Picture Oscar.  “The Master” is rated R.

Also receiving great buzz out of the Toronto film festival is “Argo,” the latest thriller from actor/director Ben Affleck (“The Town”).  Inspired by a story so strange that it has to be true, “Argo” tells the story of the CIA’s efforts to rescue six American hostages of the 1979 Iran crisis by masquerading as a fake science-fiction B-movie crew.  Ben Affleck stars as Tony Mendez, the ex-filtration specialist at the head of the mission, while John Goodman plays real-life Oscar-nominated make-up artist John Chambers. Additionally, award-winning actors Alan Arkin and Bryan Cranston are receiving Oscar buzz for their roles as the fake film’s producer and Mendez’s boss.  Affleck has proven to be a fantastic director, and if “Argo” is anything like his previous films, it will be tense, taut and immensely entertaining. “Argo” hits theaters on Oct.12 and is rated R.

For this writer, the most anticipated film of this fall is the adaptation of the beloved musical “Les Miserables.”  Directed by Academy-Award winning director Tom Hooper (“The King’s Speech”), “Les Miserables” tells the sweeping story of Jean Valjean, a paroled prisoner who seeks redemption through a new life and faith. Set largely amidst the 1832 June Rebellion in France, “Les Miserables” features one of the year’s best casts, with Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe leading the way as Valjean and Inspector Javert, the man who spends decades searching for Valjean. In addition to Jackman and Crowe, the star-studded cast includes Anne Hathaway as the tragic Fantine, Amanda Seyfried, and Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter as the mischievous Monsieur and Madame Thenardier.  If done justice, “Les Miserables” has the chance to be the most affecting film of the year and the frontrunner for the Best Picture Oscar.  “Les Miserables” hits theaters on Dec. 14.

With these films and many others, like “Django Unchained” and “Lincoln,” this fall is aiming to be an unforgettable one at the movies.  So get out there and catch a film!

About the Author

Nick Keeley

Nick Keeley is a Chimes staff writer for the 2012-13 school year.

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