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For some, the end of summer is a sad moment that occurs when beach paraphernalia is packed away and shorts and flip-flops are once again relegated to the rear of the wardrobe.
For others, it marks the start of the fall movie season!
Each year the back-to-school period delivers a slew of Oscar contenders, blockbuster franchise sequels and movies that pack a more dramatic punch than the explosive, razzle-dazzle-laden fare of warm weather months.
Hollywood ups the ante in September ("Rush," "The Family," "Prisoners, "Don Jon"), keeps the stakes high through October ("Gravity," "Captain Phillips," "12 Years a Slave," "All is Lost," "Diana"), and reveals a winning hand in early November ("Thor: The Dark World," "Last Vegas," "The Wolf of Wall Street," "Her," "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire").
For your viewing pleasure:
"Riddick" (Sept. 6) Vin Diesel returns as the titular antihero with the awesome night vision. In this, the third big screen installment of the "Pitch Black" franchise, our antisocial leader finds himself marooned on a desolate planet and must battle bounty hunters and creatures that, of course, lurk in the dark. Rated R.
"The Family" (Sept. 13) Robert De Niro plays a the head of a mafia family who find themselves relocated to Normandy, France thanks to the witness protection program. Michelle Pfeiffer plays the mob wife out of water and Tommy Lee Jones is the federal agent trying to keep them on the straight and narrow. The comedy is directed and written by Luc Besson ("The Professional"). Rated R.
"Insidious: Chapter 2" (Sept. 13) Director James Wan returns to continue the ghost story that had audiences screaming in their seats and grossed almost $100 million at the worldwide box office. Actors Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne are back as the heads of the haunted Lambert family. Rated PG-13.
"Rush" (Sept. 20) Chris Hemsworth ("Thor") stars as British Formula One race driver James Hunt in this biopic which chronicles the 1970s rivalry between Hunt and Austrian speed legend Niki Lauda (Daniel Bruhl). Directed by Ron Howard, the trailer alone will have you reaching for your seat belt. Rated R.
"Enough Said" (Sept. 20) In one of the final film roles completed before his untimely death over the summer, James Gandolfini plays the romantic interest to Julia Louis-Dreyfus' divorced single mom in this romantic comedy of errors. Rated PG-13.
"Metallica Through the Never" (Sept. 20) Part concert film, part fictional roadie movie, "Through the Never" follows Dan DeHaan through a series of nighttime misadventures as the band rocks out in Imax 3-D on stage. Rated R.
"Prisoners" (Sept. 20) Jake Gyllenhaal is a detective searching for two missing young girls in this psychological whodunit. The victims' father (Hugh Jackman) decides to take the law into his own hands in order to bring them home. Also starring Paul Dano, Terrance Howard, Viola Davis, Maria Bello and Melissa Leo. Not yet rated.
"Don Jon" (Sept. 27) Joseph Gordon-Levitt makes his feature debut as writer and director with this in the now comedy. Gordon-Levitt plays Don, a regular joe with an addiction to porn that's affecting his ability to date real women. Scarlett Johansson costars as a girl who believes she can mold him into her perfect mate. Tony Danza and Julianne Moore round out the cast. Rated R.
"Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2" (Sept. 27) Inventor Flint Lockwood's food-storm producing device is still active in this animated free-for-all. But instead of flying meatballs and spaghetti, this time it's producing animal-food hybrids including tacodiles and shrimpanzees. Bill Hader, Anna Faris, Andy Samberg, Neil Patrick Harris and Terry Crews provide voices. Not yet rated.
"Gravity" (Oct. 4) Sandra Bullock and George Clooney play astronauts in this thriller set high above the Earth's atmosphere. The pair must survive after a run-in with space debris leaves them adrift and helpless in zero gravity. Rated PG-13.
"Runner Runner" (Oct. 4) Justin Timberlake is Richie, a Princeton graduate who travels to Costa Rica after he believes he was cheated while taking part in an online poker game. There he meets an offshore gambling tycoon (Ben Affleck) who tempts the young player with enormous wealth in this cat-and-mouse thriller. Rated R.
"Machete Kills" (Oct. 11) Actor Danny Trejo returns in this sequel to the 2010 cult hit "Machete." This time Machete must help protect Washington D.C. from a missile attack, foil the plans of a scheming villain (Mel Gibson) and face down a trigger-happy Madame Desdemona (Sofia Vergara). Lady Gaga makes a cameo appearance as hitwoman La Chameleon. Not Yet Rated.
"Captain Phillips" (Oct. 11) Tom Hanks plays Capt. Richard Phillips, the skipper of a cargo ship hijacked by Somali pirates in this ripped-from-the-headlines thriller from "Bourne Supremacy" director Paul Greengrass. Based on a 2009 event, the movie tells the story of the first time pirates had taken control of an American vessel since the 1800s. Not yet rated.
"Kill Your Darlings" Oct. 16) Actor Daniel Radcliffe replaces Harry Potter's bookish eyeglasses for those of poet Allan Ginsberg in this 1940s set flick that revisits the beat icon's first meetings with William Burroughs (Ben Foster) and Jack Kerouac (Jack Huston). Not yet rated.
"12 Years A Slave" (Oct. 18) In 1841 Soloman Northup, a free black man from the state of New York, was kidnapped and sold into slavery in the Deep South. British actor Chiwetel Ejiofer ("American Gangster") plays Northup in this gritty drama and Michael Fassbender ("Prometheus") plays one of his ruthless oppressors. Rated R.
"All Is Lost" (Oct. 18) Robert Redford carries this entire movie which follows a lone sailor aboard his sinking sailboat in the Indian Ocean. Premiered at the Cannes Film Festival, the movie is already generating Oscar buzz for Redford, who to date has never won the Best Actor statuette. Not yet rated.
"Carrie" (Oct. 18) Chloe Grace Moretz ("Kick-Ass") takes on the bloody role of a 17-year-old who discovers she has telekinesis and uses it to devastating effect when a prom night prank leaves her humiliated. Sissy Spacek first made the role famous in the 1976 adaptation of Stephen King's horror classic. Not yet rated.
"Escape Plan" (Oct. 18) Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger jostle for screen and shoulder space as two inmates plotting to escape from a high-tech lock-up facility. Not yet rated.
"The Fifth Estate" (Oct. 18) In this thriller that tells the story of the creation of WikiLeaks, actor Benedict Cumberbatch ("Star Trek Into Darkness") portrays Julian Assange. Daniel Bruhl stars as Assange's one-time partner and friend Daniel Domscheit-Berg. Not yet rated.
"The Counselor" (Oct. 25) Michael Fassbender ("12 Years a Slave") is a lawyer who must fight to stay alive after he is drawn into a drug-running operation. Directed by Ridley Scott ("Prometheus") the drama also stars Brad Pitt, Cameron Diaz, Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem. Not yet rated.
"Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa" (Oct. 25) Johnny Knoxville dons makeup and geezer attire to play 86-year-old Irving Zisman in this latest installment of the "Jackass" franchise. Aided by his grandson (9-year-old Jackson Nichol), Zisman treks across the country pranking unsuspecting citizens. Not yet rated.
"Diana" (Nov. 1) Naomi Watts tackles the role of Diana in this highly-anticipated biopic about the late Princess of Wales. The film centers on Diana's two-year relationship with surgeon Hasnat Khan (Naveen Andrews) and her struggle to maintain her independence amid royal protocol and increasingly aggressive media scrutiny. Not yet rated.
"Enders Game" (Nov. 1) Based on author Orson Scott Card's popular novel of the same name, "Ender's Game" chronicles the adventures of teen Ender Wiggin (Asa Butterfield) who's recruited by the military to fight a race of insect-like aliens that want humankind destroyed. Rated PG-13.
"Last Vegas" (Nov. 1) Oscar winners Michael Douglas, Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman and Kevin Kline play boyhood chums who hit Las Vegas for a bachelor party. Surprisingly, none of these box-office heavyweights had ever worked together onscreen before. Rate PG-13.
"Thor: The Dark World" (Nov. 8) Chris Hemsworth returns in all his hirsute, muscle-bound glory as storm god Thor in this followup to 2011's "Thor." Transporting the action from Earth to the distant world of Asgard, Thor faces a new threat from Malekith the Accursed (Christopher Eccleston) and his galactic tyranny that threatens our hero's love interest (Natalie Portman). Not yet rated. 98
"The Best Man Holiday" (Nov. 15) Director Malcolm D. Lee enlisted his original cast for this Christmas-time reunion sequel to "The Best Man" (1999). Taye Diggs, Terrance Howard, Morris Chestnut, Sanaa Lathan and Nia Long feature in this update on the beloved original. Not yet rated.
"The Wolf of Wall Street" (Nov. 15) Director Martin Scorsese and actor Leonardo DiCaprio dive into the high-gloss world of real-life stockbroker Jordan Belfort who amassed millions of dollars through security fraud before spending 22 months in jail for his crimes. Not yet rated.
"Her" (Nov. 20) In this futuristic tale of man and machine commingling, Joaquin Phoenix plays single writer Theodore who buys a new computer operating system named Samantha (voice of Scarlett Johansson). Samantha sounds so empathetic that Theodore slowly begins to fall for her, um, it. Amy Adams and Rooney Mara also star. Not yet rated.
"Delivery Man" (Nov. 22) Vince Vaughn plays a good-natured delivery driver who discovers he fathered 533 children via long ago anonymous sperm donation. 142 of those kids have now filed a lawsuit to discover his identity in this comedy that also features Chris Pratt and Colbie Smulders. Rated PG-13.
"The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" (Nov. 22") Katniss Everdeen returns in the second installment of author Suzanne Collins bestselling "Hunger Games" trilogy. Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence is back as Everdeen, who along with Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) is forced to return to the Capital and fight to the death once again in an all-star version of the game dreamed up by the increasingly paranoid President Snow (Donald Sutherland).