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Fall/Winter Movie Season

By Bert Ehrmann

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Fort Wayne Reader


After a so-so summer movie season passed us by a few weeks back, what does this fall/winter movie season have in store for the viewing public? Unfortunately, out of the dozens of movies all set to open between now and next spring, only a few seem as if they hold much promise.

Director Ridley Scott and tough-guy Russell Crowe team up once again in the thriller American Gangster set to hit theaters November 2. In this film, Denzel Washington plays Frank Lucas, a crime-boss who’s smuggling boatloads of heroin into the U.S. in the 1970s. Crowe plays Detective Roberts who makes it his mission to take down the Lucas’ empire. The last time Crowe and Washington teamed up in a movie was the “Internet is bad” film Virtuosity, released just a few years before Crowe’s breakout role in L.A. Confidential (1997).

Just in time for the Thanksgiving break are the ultra-violent movies No Country for Old Men and The Mist, both due in theaters Wednesday, November 21.

Directors Joel and Ethan Cohen return to their noir Blood Simple (1984) roots with No Country for Old Men. While out hunting, Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin) stumbles upon a drug deal gone bad in the wilds of Texas and decides to walk off with a case holding millions in cash. But then the bad-guys realize what went down and begin tracking their loot. Can Llwewlyn survive psychopath Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem) who will stop at nothing to retrieve his master’s property?

The Mist, based on a Steven King short story and directed by King favorite Frank Darabont, follows David Drayton (Thomas Jane), his son and a grocery store full of patrons trapped inside when a dense fog rolls into town. But this mist isn’t your average everyday atmospheric event. It contains all sorts of weird and scary creatures all seemingly out for human flesh, each with more and more disturbing ways of dispatching their victims. Drayton must both protect his son from the mob inside who believes that only a sacrifice will quell the “things” outside while at the same time formulating a plan for their escape.

On December 14 Will Smith declares I Am Legend. Originally a book by Richard Matheson and turned into the movies The Last Man on Earth (1964) and The Omega Man (1971), I Am Legend follows Robert Neville (Smith), the sole-survivor of a plague that killed most of the human race but that turned some into sun-phobic vampires. Trapped in New York City with no way out, Neville must do battle with these creatures while at the same time trying to retain any semblance of sanity in a world where he’s all alone.

On the same day the vampires stake their claim on the planet, the darling of the Toronto International Film Festival Juno goes into limited (read not in Fort Wayne for several weeks/months after this date) release. Described as a quirky comedy, Juno follows Juno MacGuff (Ellen Page), a pregnant teen who must decide what to do with her unborn child. Should she keep it or give it to deserving couple Mark and Vanessa Loring (Jason Bateman and Jennifer Garner)? Along with Bateman, Juno also starts another Arrested Development alum Michael Cera.

But what’s the most anticipated movie of the winter season? It’s the move that’s so cool it doesn’t yet have a title; it just goes by 1-18-08 – really the film’s release date. Produced by J.J. Abrams (Lost), there’s very little that’s known about the movie currently known as 1-18-08 other than its Snakes on a Plane-esque Internet fan base (will they never learn?) and a general plot outline. According to Internet reports and a short movie trailer released a few months back, 1-18-08 follows a Godzilla-like monster’s attack on Manhattan where all the action takes place at the street level following average everyday New Yorkers trying to escape this monstrous menace.

But seriously folks, no matter how cool it is to keep most of a movie’s details a secret just a few months from release, how are people going to know what to see if the movie doesn’t have a title? E-mail me at words@dangerousuniverse.com.

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