We may not be getting the crisp fall weather just yet, but we are getting previews for tons of movies opening in the fall. In preparation for this autumn and winter at the theaters, I've broken up the lengthy list of upcoming movies into many small themes for my Fall Movie Preview series. This way, you'll be in the know when the chillier months roll around, bringing a whole new crop of new films. Today's roundup features the movies that explore those fickle family dynamics.
Yes, that's John Cusack in what looks like it will be one of the fall's most endearing movies. Cusack plays "a recently widowed science fiction writer who adopts a young boy that claims to be from Mars. But the new father ignores some sage advice about the perils of parenthood from his sister and gets more than he bargained for when a series of strange occurrences lead him to believe the child's claim may be true." The trailer on the movie's website is adorable and heart-squeezy, so check it out before Martians land in theaters October 26.
Much more family love if you read more
I really can't wait for this movie to open December 14, but at this point I'd settle for any kind of promotional material — photos, trailers, anything! The cast is basically a roundup of some of my favorite actors ever: Michael Cera, Ellen Page, Jason Bateman, Jennifer Garner, Allison Janney and Rainn Wilson. Page plays a bright teenager whose life is compromised when she's faced with an unplanned pregnancy by — wait for it — Michael Cera's character. Luckily, a wealthy suburban couple (Bateman and Garner) agree to adopt Juno's baby. According to this plot description, "Juno has the total support of her parents (J.K. Simmons and Allison Janney) as she faces some tough decisions, flirts with adulthood and ultimately figures out where she belongs." I seriously can't wait.
This is one of the many movies that I wish I'd been able to see at Sundance this year, as it stars some highly capable actors: Laura Linney and Philip Seymour Hoffman. In this "serious comedy," the two play middle-aged siblings struggling to come to terms with their father's deteriorating health. The trailer looks poignant and funny at the same time. The Savages opens December 26.
Grace Is Gone
I think someone recently decided that John Cusack plays a damn good widower, since this fall finds him in not one, but two roles that require him to put on the sad-puppy face. Grace Is Gone also screened at Sundance and was quickly snatched up by The Weinstein Company. Cusack plays Stanley Phillips, a father of two who learns that his wife has died in the Iraq war. He knows he must tell his daughters about their mother's death, but first decides to bring them on a road trip to their favorite amusement park. On the journey, the daughters try to understand their father's strange behavior, and Stanley realizes that he needs to know who his children are before he can help them with this sorrowful turn of events.
Wes Anderson's latest project looks extremely promising: Josh Schwartzman, Adrien Brody and Owen Wilson play brothers on a journey together in India. The trailer is all sorts of bizarre mixed and sweet with a dash of funny.
Rails and Ties
The plot description for this movie makes it seem achingly sad, so hopefully there are traces of redemption in there somewhere: "Tom (Kevin Bacon) and Megan Stark (Marcia Gay Harden) always thought there would be time — time to have children, time to take that trip to San Francisco, time to fix the problems in their marriage. But Megan's illness and Tom's inability to face the possibility of losing her are stealing all the time they have left. All Tom can do is bury himself in his job as a train conductor... Tom's train has hit a car on the tracks in a tragic turn of events that, while not his fault, may still cost him his job. Worse, a young woman is dead and her son, Davey, has been left to cope with the loss of his mother. The accident puts the Starks and Davey on their own collision course. But instead of leading to tragedy, this crossing could mean new hope for a woman who has only one chance left to fulfill her dreams, for a man who must learn to open his heart before it's too late, and for a young boy who has never known the true meaning of family." I'll be checking out Rails and Ties — tissues in hand — when it opens October 26.
I'm very curious about August Rush, a story about a lonely boy who seeks out his birth parents (played by Jonathan Rhys-Meyers and Kerry Russell) through their shared gift for music. Here's what I'm not as stoked to see: Robin Williams playing (what else?) the inspirational urban cowboy. Check out the trailer before August Rush opens November 21.