Autumn film preview 2013: The best mainstream releases
Thor: Dark World, Gravity and The Counsellor among this autumn's finest big-budget upcoming movies
The biggest story in multiplexes this autumn is the continued development of Marvel’s Avengers universe with Phase 2 super-sequel Thor: The Dark World (30 Oct). Following on from the events in last year’s Avengers Assemble, the hammer-wielding Chris Hemsworth will step up to take on interdimensional beings ‘older than the universe itself’.
Gravity (18 Oct), Alfonso Cuaron’s long-awaited follow-up to 2006’s Children of Men, sticks with a sci-fi theme, but has a much starker sense of terror at its heart. George Clooney and Sandra Bullock star as astronauts cast adrift outside the Earth’s atmosphere; the slew of trailers released so far suggest a truly nail-biting 90 minutes.
Tom Hanks builds on his history of being marooned (a la Cast Away, Apollo 13 and, er, Joe Versus the Volcano) with another trip on the high seas, this time as the titular character in Captain Phillips (18 Oct). A modern-day piracy thriller based on a true story, Phillips has Cap’n Hanks and the freighter under his control held to ransom by Somali pirates.
An all-star cast have lined up for Cormac McCarthy-penned thriller The Counsellor (15 Nov), directed by Ridley Scott. Michael Fassbender takes the lead role as a lawyer who gets in too deep after becoming involved in drug trafficking; Penélope Cruz, Cameron Diaz, Javier Bardem and Brad Pitt are among characters he encounters.
Horror-wise, the autumn release that’s attracting most attention is the reboot of Carrie at the hands of Boys Don’t Cry director Kimberly Peirce. Peirce is an interesting choice to helm a story that’s been the subject of numerous feminist critiques in the past; on the other hand, the casting of Kick-Ass star Chloë Grace Moretz as the vengeful girl on the edge of puberty fits perfectly.
Tackling more post-adolescent urges is Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who’s making his directorial debut with Don Jon (15 Nov). It looks to be a solid, character-based romantic drama about a regular guy who only cares about certain things in life: his body, his pad, his ride, his family, his church, his boys, his girls … and his porn. How this works out with new romantic interest Barbara (Scarlett Johansson) remains to be seen.
Finally, the finest family release of the fall is a follow-up to 2009’s funniest food fight. The trailer for Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 (25 Oct) suggests a return to the warm, witty, pun-filled antics that made the original film such a resounding success.