Autumnal gloom may be descending, but cinematically there are manifold reasons to be cheerful, as the studios stem the stream of comic-book blockbusters (next week’s Thor sequel excepted) and wheel out their prestige fare on the hunt for some of next year’s Oscars.
On this front, there’s perhaps no need to champion the already heavily lauded space opera Gravity (8 Nov), except to say this suddenly makes the 3D cinema boom make sense. Meanwhile, if that film can boast the double threat of Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, other awards contenders are positively saturated with star power: see the Ridley Scott/Cormac McCarthy thriller The Counsellor (15 Nov), with Michael Fassbender, Javier Bardem, Cameron Diaz, Brad Pitt and Penélope Cruz, and Lee Daniels’ civil-rights weepie The Butler (15 Nov), which stars Forest Whitaker, Robin Williams, Oprah Winfrey and Jane Fonda and marks a turn to the earnest for the director after “hot mess” B-movie The Paperboy.
And other awards tips? The Judi Dench-Steve Coogan two-hander Philomena (1 Nov); Alexander Payne’s latest study of male disaffection Nebraska (6 Dec); and Cannes winner and cause célèbre, Blue is the Warmest Colour (22 Nov).
Less splashy but equally deserving of attention, meanwhile, are two home-grown efforts: gangster drama Dom Hemingway (15 Nov) which sees a beardy, boozy Jude Law moving ever further away from his heartthrob heritage, and In Fear (15 Nov), the latest taut Brit horror.
And finally we’re anticipating nothing to be quite like action thriller Homefront (29 Nov), which wins our award for most bizarre ensemble of the year, with a cast including Jason Statham, James Franco and Winona Ryder and a script by Sly Stallone. Hot messes, did we say? This one might just be thermonuclear.