Back to School, Back to Movies: Fall Movie Preview

Nathan Fisher

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Illustration by Lya Hernandez.

For the past three years at Whitman (I feel old), I have used my weekly trip to the movie theater to keep me sane. This semester, with my film thesis, oral exams and math written exams looming, the movie industry better offer some high-octane escapisms to keep me from losing my mind. So whether you are stressing out over papers or exams, worrying about life after college, or maybe you just need to get away from campus, here is my crash course list of the big fall movies that have potential to be a worthy substitute to alcohol and parties.

For the Kiddos/Young at Heart

Not many offerings, but the list has potential. Laika, from the makers of “Coraline” and “Paranorman,” took a stab at what seems to be a more lighthearted film, “The Boxtrolls.” Laika’s films have a track record of being visually appealing with a slightly otherworldly and dark themes. Laika’s willingness to ignore the warm and fuzzies and go dark and deep have made me a fan, so I am worried about a shift to cute. What I am looking forward to is “Big Hero 6,” an animated film from the makers of “Wreck It Ralph” and “Frozen.” Wonder if the young robotics genius and his best friend, a balloon-like robot, will sing? Probably not, but the trailers look funny and sweet, and a good animated flick always puts me in a better mood.

The “Taken” Wannabe

Not one but two movies appear to be retreads of this hostage genre. The first movie in the “Taken” category seems like it could even be considered “Taken 3”. In “A Walk Among the Tombstones,” Liam Neeson is once again a washed up ex-cop who performs odd jobs for bad people to make money. One day he comes home to find his wife was taken (see any similarities yet?). Neeson then has to track down the kidnapper to save the day. The second retread, “The Equalizer,” replaces Liam Neeson with Denzel Washington as a reformed badass who uses his “special” skill set to save the girl and kill, maim and blow up anyone in his way.

Star-Studded Drama

After saving the World in “World War Z,” Brad Pitt leaves the future and heads back to World War II in “Fury.” “Fury” follows a handful of tank drivers who are the only ones left to defend against the Germans. Pitt and company promise lots of action, while also going deeper into the characters as we see how terrifying it would be to be on the frontlines. Next up is “Interstellar.” A Christopher Nolan directed film starring Matthew McConaughey explores space travel and the future of humankind. Based on Nolan’s history of brainy films “Dark Knight” and “Inception” with world-class effects, I suspect “Interstellar” will need to be viewed on the big screen at least once. Nolan always provides amazing stories and world-class effects and with McConaughey having the year of his life right now, “Interstellar” has expectations set incredibly high. Just for kicks, I’m throwing in “Dracula Untold” in this category. “Dracula Untold” seems to be a ‘serious’ take on the origins of a vampire, played by Luke Evans, who is trying to save his family. After watching all seven seasons of “True Blood” on HBO and suffering through all the “Twilight” movies, I can’t wait to review the ‘new’ take on the bloodsucker.

SHOW ME THE MONEY

Surprisingly, the money-making sequels and spinoffs look promising. Twenty years after the first installment of “Dumb and Dumber,” we finally get to see what shenanigans Lloyd (Jim Carrey) and Harry (Jeff Daniels) have been up to. Next up is “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1,” the penultimate installment in the Jennifer Lawrence breakout “Hunger Games” franchise. Painfully, the last and worst book is being splitting into two movies, a la “Harry Potter” and “Twilight.” On a lighter note, my faves, the cutesy super secret agent penguins from “Madagascar” get the lead in “The Penguins of Madagascar” and save the world again. You just can’t go wrong with penguins. Finally “Horrible Bosses 2.” Sure “Horrible Bosses” was crude and stupid, but I have no shame in admitting that I found it hysterical. New to the cast of “Horrible” is Chris Pine (aka Captain James T. Kirk from “Star Trek”). Can’t wait to see if Pine can sink to the level of Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis and Charlie Day as we find our ‘criminal masterminds’ trade in murder for kidnapping.

Although the big budget fall movie releases don’t promise to win Academy Awards, they appear to meet my need of a short escape from the realities of school. So here is to a semester of tough academic realities and enjoying a movie or two as an escape!

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