Fall Films: 8 coming attractions worth the price of popcorn

Oct 11

'Machete Kills'*
Machete Cortez (Danny Trejo) is back to finish the work he started with Robert Rodríguez’s Machete in 2010. Or should I say: he’s continuing the work. Machete Kills is the second of a trilogy that should end with Machete Kills Again and, according to the (fake?) trailer in Machete Kills, part of that third installment could take place … in space! Yes, the series is getting increasingly over-the-top and Chapter 2 is nowhere nearly as politically charged as the first one. But any movie that has Mel Gibson as a crazy, evil-doing billionaire, a blond Miss San Antonio double agent who kicks ass and Sofía Vergara shooting from her metal bra and crotch has my vote. —Enrique Lopetegui

Oct 11

'Romeo & Juliet'
Everyone loves a good Shakespeare adaptation, and this one promises a juicy cast, including Paul Giamatti, Tom Wisdom and the terrific Hailee Steinfeld. But Carlo Carlei’s interpretation has already got people guessing: in a reversal of the approach taken by Baz Luhrmann in his flashy 1996 adaptation, which moved the timeless teen romance to a stylized, modern Miami Beach, this version takes place in the traditional setting of Renaissance Italy, but doesn’t stick to the Bard of Avon’s script, using modern language and going off book in ways we can only guess. At least until October 11, that is. —Leonard Pierce

Oct 18

Remaking Stephen King’s Carrie (the horror classic starring Sissy Spacek as Carrie White, a teenager possessing telekinetic powers) may be unnecessary, but this one is intriguing. Kimberly Peirce (Boys Don’t Cry) directs Chloë Grace Moretz in the role of Carrie, and Julianne Moore as her Jesus-nutty mother. The new script by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (Glee, Big Love) is reportedly closer to King’s original book, and the movie has a steamy twist: “The relationship between all the girls is incredibly queer,” Peirce told Out magazine. “The way the girls are screwing their boyfriends to get them to either hurt or help Carrie—that’s a complete triangle of desire.” —EL

Nov 15

'The Wolf of Wall Street'*
In his fifth collaboration with Leonardo DiCaprio (other notable efforts include The Departed and Gangs of New York), Oscar-winning director Martin Scorsese tries his hand at the stock market game in this biographical drama adapted from the Jordan Belfort memoir of the same name. DiCaprio plays Jordan, a New York stockbroker who pulls a page out of the Gordon Gekko book on corporate scheming and benefits from years of crime and corruption in the cutthroat world of Wall Street. It’s probably a smart move to invest in this Scorsese picture, which also stars Jonah Hill as a self-indulgent broker who helps Jordan scam companies out of millions. –Kiko Martinez

Nov 15

Nine years after taking a road trip through wine country with two best friends in Sideways, Oscar-winning screenwriter and -nominated director Alexander Payne takes another character-driven journey, this time from Montana to the Midwest with a son and his surly father. When Wood Grant (Bruce Dern) receives an unquestionably fake notice that he has won a mega-million dollar mail-in sweepstakes, he insists on traveling to the Cornhusker State to claim the prize, much to the chagrin of his skeptic son David (Will Forte). Along the way they discover how greedy people can get when they feel they are owed something. –KM

Nov 15

German poet Goethe’s Faust is the classic drama of a restless scholar who sells his soul to the devil in exchange for knowledge denied mere mortals. In his brilliant novel The Master and Margarita, Mikhail Bulgakov transposed the story to 1930s Moscow. Now comes another Russian Faust, a film directed by Aleksandr Sokurov, who is best known for Russian Ark (2002), a mad dash through the Hermitage and Russian history in a single long take. Sokurov knows how to convey the delirium of Faust’s febrile quest, but in an age of science-denial, does anyone still consider knowledge worth the price of a soul? – Steven G. Kellman

Nov 22

'The Hunger Games: Catching Fire'*
Pre-production on the second installment of the Hunger Games series, based on Suzanne Collins’ novels, was filled with director and writer changes and plenty of other twists and turns. Finally directed by Francis Lawrence (I Am Legend, Water for Elephants), the movie brings back America’s sweetheart Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen, plus more Team Peeta/Team Gale tension. Is a rebellion afoot? Does President Snow really drink blood? Will Cinna make another fab dress? Find out for yourself. Mockingjay, the next installment in the saga, will be split into Part 1 (November 2014) and Part 2 (November 2015). –EL

Nov 27

A decade ago, Chan Wook-Park’s intense, unhinged revenge fantasy Oldboy helped kick off a wave of interest in Korean cinema, as well as providing viewers some of the most gripping and disturbing scenes of any contemporary thriller. An American remake was probably inevitable, but who could have predicted it would end up in the hands of firebrand Spike Lee? It’s a bit out of his wheelhouse, but it’s got a dynamite lineup led by Josh Brolin and Samuel L. Jackson (you thought he’d sit this Spike Lee joint out?). Plus, Lee can still bust out a few surprises. It likely won’t pack the punch of the original, but it might be that rare thing—a worthwhile remake. —LP

*Movies marked with an asterisk open wide, and that includes San Antonio.

Also opening: ‘CBGB’ (10/11), ‘Thor: The Dark World’ (11/8), ‘Mandela’ (11/27).

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