‘Deathly Hallows,’ ‘Black Swan’ lead anticipated fall films

Sarah Choudhary

As the temperatures drop and the chaotic holiday season begins, movie fans will be able to find refuge in cinemas, and with a diverse range of movies premiering in the upcoming weeks, there is sure to be something to please everyone.

For audiences wanting a light comedy to take their mindS off the chilly weather and stress of holiday shopping, several comedies are slated for release.

In “Due Date,” a “Hangover”-esque bromance, which came out Nov. 5, two men take a road trip across the country: workaholic Peter (Robert Downey Jr.) tries to get back home to his wife in time for the birth of their child. Zach Galifianakis co-stars as an insufferable thespian in this raunchy comedy.

There is also the return of the Focker family, with its all-star cast in “Little Fockers,” which will be out Dec. 22. The Fockers gather to celebrate a birthday party, but they end up dealing with their own minor crises in predictably hilarious fashion.

For those already anticipating the frenzy of Golden Globe and Academy Award nominations, several upcoming releases have already been attracting Oscar buzz.

“Black Swan,” which will be out Dec. 3, stars Natalie Portman as a ballerina obsessed with regaining her former glory despite stiff competition from a talented newcomer Lily, played by Mila Kunis. 

The film garnered rave reviews and enthralled audiences when it was screened at the Toronto Film Festival this September.

Another film already lauded by critics is “Blue Valentine,” which will be out Dec. 31, starring Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams, two indie movie favorites. 

The low budget film focuses on a young couple’s relationship over six tumultuous years, but the plot is sure to be overshadowed by the MPAA NC-17 rating the film received. 

The NC-17 label could be the deathblow for any film, as the rating threatens to scare away a broader potential audience.

Critically acclaimed directing duo brothers Joel and Ethan Coen return to the screen with “True Grit,” which will be out Dec. 25. This remake of the 1968 classic Western stars Jeff Bridges, last year’s Best Actor Oscar winner as a tough U.S. Marshal who must help a young woman find the man who murdered her father. 

The Coens’ films have already received 10 Oscar nominations, and with the strong cast of “True Grit,” including Josh Brolin, who starred in the Coens’ 2007 Best Picture winner “No Country for Old Men,” this film is sure to receive its share of Oscar buzz.

In late November, Christina Aguilera will make her film debut in “Burlesque,” opposite Kristen Bell and the indomitable Cher. This sparkly musical hopes not to share last year’s similarly glittery musical fate of “Nine,” which boasted a stunning cast of Oscar winners, including Nicole Kidman and Daniel Day Lewis but flopped in the box office.

Two sleek 3-D animated features will also be released this fall. From Dreamworks comes “Megamind,” which came out Nov. 5, and follows an extraterrestrial super villain (voiced by Will Ferrell) who battles against a pretty boy superhero, Metro Man (voiced by Brad Pitt). 

Disney brings audiences an imaginative new retelling of the Rapunzel fairytale, with “Tangled,” which comes out Nov. 24. This film will have to rely on the cuteness of its characters and the appeal of 3-D if it is to stand up against the “Harry Potter” juggernaut.

Fans craving otherworldly adventures can rejoice when two highly anticipated big budget franchises return to the screen. The penultimate film in the nearly $6 billion grossing series, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1,” hits theaters Nov. 19. With midnight screenings already sold out at many theaters, this latest installment is sure to be a worldwide box office success. 

Once fans of the fantasy series have finished watching their beloved bespectacled hero prepare for his final battle with nemesis Lord Voldemort, they can see another cherished book come to the screen in “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader,” which comes out Dec. 10. The Pevensies return to Narnia as they take to the seas in 3-D.