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2012 Fall Movie Preview

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The 2012 summer of superheroes and popcorn action films is over and done with and now's the time to turn to more serious fare. But don't worry, the fall movie season does have a few comedies (Seven Psychopaths, This is 40, Pitch Perfect) and a couple of animated movies (Frankenweenie, Rise of the Guardians, Hotel Transylvania) sprinkled in with the potential Oscar contenders.

Listed here in release date order are the 30 most anticipated releases of the 2012 fall season. Enjoy!

1. 'The Master'

The Master
© The Weinstein Company
Starring: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Joaquin Phoenix, and Amy Adams

Release Date: September 14, 2012

The Official Synopsis: A striking portrait of drifters and seekers in post World War II America, Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master unfolds the journey of a Naval veteran, Freddie (Phoenix), who arrives home from war unsettled and uncertain of his future until he is tantalized by The Cause and its charismatic leader, Lancaster Dodd (Hoffman). Adams plays Dodd’s wife, Peggy.

The Buzz: Paul Thomas Anderson takes his time between films (Boogie Nights, Magnolia, Punch-Drunk Love, There Will Be Blood), and when he does finally send one out into the world, it's almost guaranteed to draw Oscar attention. With a cast of Oscar favorites and a story that's sure to have everyone talking, The Master is likely to further help prove why Paul Thomas Anderson is considered a master filmmaker.

2. 'The Perks of Being a Wallflower'

The Perks of Being a Wallflower
© Summit Entertainment
Starring: Logan Lerman, Emma Watson, Ezra Miller, and Mae Whitman

Release Date: September 21, 2012

The Official Synopsis: A funny and touching adventure based on a best-selling novel that has sold over a million copies in the U.S. and has been published in 16 countries and 13 languages, The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a modern classic about a shy, sensitive teenager caught between trying to live his life and escape it.

The Buzz: Author Stephen Chbosky adapted his novel and directs this touching coming-of-age story. And because the author was in charge of bringing the story to the screen, we can expect it to be extremely faithful to the source material. Chbosky's book has a very passionate fan base which should help make this Summit Entertainment release a box office success.

3. 'Dredd 3D'

Dredd
© Lionsgate Films
Starring: Karl Urban, Olivia Thirlby, and Lena Headey

Release Date: September 21, 2012

The Official Synopsis: The future America is an irradiated waste land. On its East Coast, running from Boston to Washington DC, lies Mega City One – a vast, violent metropolis where criminals rule the chaotic streets. The only force of order lies with the urban cops called “Judges” who possess the combined powers of judge, jury and instant executioner. Known and feared throughout the city, Dredd (Urban) is the ultimate Judge, challenged with ridding the city of its latest scourge – a dangerous drug epidemic that has users of “Slo-Mo” experiencing reality at a fraction of its normal speed.

During a routine day on the job, Dredd is assigned to train and evaluate Cassandra Anderson (Thirlby), a rookie with powerful psychic abilities thanks to a genetic mutation. A heinous crime calls them to a neighborhood where fellow Judges rarely dare to venture – a 200 story vertical slum controlled by prostitute turned drug lord Ma-Ma (Headey) and her ruthless clan. When they capture one of the clan’s inner circle, Ma-Ma overtakes the compound’s control center and wages a dirty, vicious war against the Judges that proves she will stop at nothing to protect her empire. With the body count climbing and no way out, Dredd and Anderson must confront the odds and engage in the relentless battle for their survival.

The Buzz: This remake/re-imagining promises to be more faithful to the source material than the 1995 action film starring Sylvester Stallone. And Urban promises he won't be taking of the helmet even for a minute in this version.

4. 'Looper'

Looper
© TriStar Pictures
Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Emily Blunt, and Bruce Willis

Release Date: September 28, 2012

The Official Synopsis: In the futuristic action thriller Looper, time travel will be invented – but it will be illegal and only available on the black market. When the mob wants to get rid of someone, they will send their target 30 years into the past, where a “looper” – a hired gun, like Joe (Gordon-Levitt) – is waiting to mop up. Joe is getting rich and life is good… until the day the mob decides to “close the loop,” sending back Joe’s future self (Willis) for assassination.

The Buzz: Gordon-Levitt and writer/director Rian Johnson reunite after having successfully created one of the most interesting films of 2005 with Brick. That noir-ish coming-of-age story won over critics and that fact, combined with how popular Gordon-Levitt has become, should help keep Looper in the loop with moviegoers.

5. 'Hotel Transylvania'

Hotel Transylvania
© Columbia Pictures
Featuring the Voices Of: Adam Sandler, Selena Gomez, Steve Buscemi, Kevin James, and Andy Samberg

Release Date: September 28, 2012

The Official Synopsis: Welcome to Hotel Transylvania, Dracula's lavish five-stake resort, where monsters and their families can live it up, free to be the monsters they are without humans to bother them. On one special weekend, Dracula has invited some of his best friends – Frankenstein and his wife, the Mummy, the Invisible Man, the Werewolf family, and more – to celebrate his beloved daughter Mavis' 118th birthday. For Drac, catering to all of these legendary monsters is no problem – but everything could change for the overprotective dad when one ordinary guy stumbles on the hotel and takes a shine to Mavis.

The Buzz: Cute premise, great voice cast, and vampires are still popular - Hotel Transylvania should find an appreciative audience ready to sink their teeth into this animated comedy.

6. 'Frankenweenie'

Frankenweenie
© Walt Disney Pictures
Featuring the Voices Of: Winona Ryder, Martin Landau, Catherine O'Hara, and Martin Short

Release Date: October 5, 2012

The Official Synopsis: From creative genius Tim Burton comes Frankenweenie, a heartwarming tale about a boy and his dog. After unexpectedly losing his beloved dog Sparky, young Victor harnesses the power of science to bring his best friend back to life—with just a few minor adjustments. He tries to hide his home-sewn creation, but when Sparky gets out, Victor’s fellow students, teachers and the entire town all learn that getting a new “leash on life” can be monstrous.

The Buzz: It's Tim Burton, it's freaky, and it's stop-motion. For fans of the genre who are ready for something visually stunning (in black & white), this might be the animated movie event of the year.

7. 'Pitch Perfect'

Pitch Perfect
© Universal Pictures
Starring: Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Brittany Snow, and Elizabeth Banks

Release Date: October 5, 2012

The Official Synopsis: Beca (Kendrick) is that girl who'd rather listen to what's coming out of her headphones than what's coming out of you. Arriving at her new college, she finds herself not right for any clique but somehow is muscled into one that she never would have picked on her own: alongside mean girls, sweet girls and weird girls whose only thing in common is how good they sound when they sing together.

When Beca takes this acoustic singing group out of their world of traditional arrangements and perfect harmonies into all-new mash-ups, they fight to climb their way to the top of the cutthroat world of college music competitions. This could wind up either the coolest thing they'll ever do or the most insane, and it will probably be a little of both.

The Buzz: Glee might not be as popular as it was a couple of years ago, but its fan base is still large and should help make Pitch Perfect a box office winner by combining teen audiences and fans of musicals.

8. 'Argo'

Argo
© Warner Bros Pictures
Starring: Ben Affleck, Bryan Cranston, Alan Arkin, John Goodman, and Kyle Chandler

Release Date: October 12, 2012

The Official Synopsis: Based on true events, Argo chronicles the life-or-death covert operation to rescue six Americans, which unfolded behind the scenes of the Iran hostage crisis—the truth of which was unknown by the public for decades. On November 4, 1979, as the Iranian revolution reaches its boiling point, militants storm the U.S. embassy in Tehran, taking 52 Americans hostage. But, in the midst of the chaos, six Americans manage to slip away and find refuge in the home of the Canadian ambassador. Knowing it is only a matter of time before the six are found out and likely killed, a CIA "exfiltration" specialist named Tony Mendez (Affleck) comes up with a risky plan to get them safely out of the country. A plan so incredible, it could only happen in the movies.

The Buzz: Ben Affleck's a solid director and he's become an impressive dramatic actor. Plus, the plot is compelling - one of those that sounds too bizarre to be based on the truth. Argo could land Affleck a Best Director Oscar nomination.

9. 'Seven Psychopaths'

Seven Psychopaths
© CBS Films
Starring: Colin Farrell, Sam Rockwell, Christopher Walken, and Woody Harrelson

Release Date: October 12, 2012

The Official Synopsis: A struggling screenwriter inadvertently becomes entangled in the Los Angeles criminal underworld after his oddball friends kidnap a gangster’s beloved dog.

The Buzz: The In Bruges combo of director Martin McDonagh and actor Colin Farrell reunite for what could be - as long as the trailers aren't deceiving/showing the only funny scenes - one of the best comedies of 2012. With Walken being Walken and a scene-stealing Shih-Tsu, Seven Psychopaths might be the sleeper hit of the fall.

10. 'Paranormal Activity 4'

Paranormal Activity 4
© Paramount Pictures
Starring: Kathryn Newton, Katie Featherston (?), and Brady Allen

Release Date: October 19, 2012

The Plot: The action moves back to present day, taking place after the events of Paranormal Activity 2.

The Buzz: The Catfish and Paranormal Activity 3 directors Ariel Schulman and Henry Joost return and in an interview with MTV, they promised fans they'll be blowing the lid off of the scares with this fourth entry in the incredibly popular, small-budget horror movie franchise.

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