The recently wrapped Toronto
International Film Festival (TIFF) is traditionally the unofficial kick-off to the
fall movie season, a period in which Hollywood's awards-season fare
is unveiled and a number of the smaller films that garner critical
This year is no different, as one can tell by taking a gander at my TIFF 2011 round-up here — the majority of films I mention in the piece will get some sort of local release over the next few months, including anticipated new efforts from such directors as Alexander Payne, Lars von Trier, Gus Van Sant, George Clooney, Pedro Almodóvar and Steve McQueen.
Back in Cincinnati (and multiplexes nationwide), fall kicks off this week with the first big Hollywood (quasi)drama of the season, Bennett Miller's Moneyball, an entertaining, surprisingly detailed sports story based on Michael Lewis' best-selling book. And don't look now — Brad Pitt gives his most subtle, naturalistic performance in years as Oakland A's real-life general manager Billy Beane.
Yes, as the weather cools down, the emotions heat up.
ABDUCTION — Veteran director John Singleton guides this thriller in which Twilight hunk Taylor Lautner finds out that his parents aren't who the say they are and that his life might be in danger. The curious cast also includes Alfred Molina, Maria Bello and Sigourney Weaver. (Opens wide today.) — Jason Gargano (Rated PG-13.) Review coming soon.
DOLPHIN TALE — The grading, in this case, is on a generous curve because this inspired by a true story family drama from actor-turned-director Charles Martin Smith has all the hallmarks of a terribly mainstream project with not an ounce of grit or drama to unsettle anyone’s nerves. (Read full review here.) (Opens wide today.) — tt stern-enzi (Rated PG.) Grade: C-
KILLER ELITE — An elite killer (Jason Statham) attempts to rescue his aging mentor (Robert De Niro) from a nefarious rival (Clive Owen) in this action thriller from director Gary McKendry. Is there any end to Owen's parade of action-oriented fare of late? And what's up with De Niro? (Opens wide today.) — JG (Rated R.) Review coming soon.
MONEYBALL — In adapting the non-fiction book by Michael Lewis, director Bennett Miller and screenwriters Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin are telling the story of people who decided to throw away the romanticized notion of baseball in favor of something pragmatic that actually worked for their circumstance. And it feels not at all coincidental that Moneyball itself takes a uniquely un-romanticized approach to making a baseball movie. (Read full review here.) (Opens wide today.) — Scott Renshaw (Rated PG-13.) Grade: B+