Fall Movie Preview - Bob Mondello - Wild Things, Sweet Nothings And A Pair Of Nines The summer blockbuster season is wrapping up, which means it's time for a cooler (and cooler-headed) stretch of quieter films. Autumn will bring relationship dramas, musicals, swooning romances and — OK, fine — a couple of films about the end of the world. Bob Mondello has a preview.
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Wild Things, Sweet Nothings And A Pair Of Nines

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Wild Things, Sweet Nothings And A Pair Of Nines

Wild Things, Sweet Nothings And A Pair Of Nines

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NOAH ADAMS, host:

From NPR News, it's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Noah Adams.

The season of summer movie blockbusters is coming to a close, having raked in some $4 billion at the box office. Audiences were left Transformer-ed, as well as Up-ed, Hangover-ed, Star Trek-ed and Harry Potter-ed. Traditionally, cooler weather brings quieter films and Oscar hopefuls.

Bob Mondello has a selected preview of Hollywood's fall movies.

BOB MONDELLO: Quiet time at the cinema will include 18th-century poetry, dramas about relationships and in the movie "2012," the end of the world as we know it.

(Soundbite of movie, "2012")

Mr. CHIWETEL EJIOFOR (Actor): (As Adrian Helmsley) People have the right to fight for their lives…

MONDELLO: The calendar of the ancient Mayans ends three years from now, and that's enough for the folks who blew up world capitols in "Independence Day." In "2012," they'll be bringing plagues of meteors to the party, so be prepared to duck. Also surviving apocalypses will be Bruce Willis in "Surrogates," Viggo Mortensen in "The Road" and Elijah Wood in the Tim Burton's animated film "9."

The rest of Hollywood will be hewing a little closer to real life, but there's still suspense to be had in, say, Mira Nair's biographical film "Amelia," based on the life of aviatrix Amelia Earhart.

(Soundbite of movie, "Amelia")

Ms. HILARY SWANK (Actor): (As Amelia Earhart) I'm going to fly around the world.

Mr. EWAN MCGREGOR (Actor): (As Gene Vidal) It can't be done.

Ms. SWANK: (As Amelia Earhart) Well, let's change that.

Mr. MCGREGOR: (As Gene Vidal) If you miss this island, you're out of fuel, with 2,000 miles to go.

Ms. SWANK: (As Amelia Earhart) I'll make it.

MONDELLO: Hilary Swank looks so much like the real Amelia Earhart, that the director was able to interweave actual newsreel footage in the film. Biopics not having that option include "Coco Before Chanel," "The Young Victoria" and "Informant!" in which Matt Damon plays corporate whistleblower Mark Whitacre, a guy so eager to be helpful to the FBI that it kind of gets in the way of his going undercover.

(Soundbite of movie, "The Informant!")

Mr. SCOTT BAKULA (Actor): (As Brian Shepard) Would you be willing to wear wire? We need your help.

Mr. MATT DAMON (Actor): (As Mark Whitacre) 7:30 a.m., I am approaching the entrance to the office. Good morning Ms. Taylor, secretary.

Mr. BAKULA: (As Brian Shepard) You don't really need to narrate the tapes for us when you…

Mr. DAMON: (As Mark Whitacre) Absolutely, not a problem.

(Soundbite of music)

Mr. BAKULA: (As Brian Shepard) Once it starts, it is going to be intense. Now, what is he doing?

Mr. JOEL MCHALE (Actor): (As Bob Herndon) I told him the camera was in a lamp.

Mr. BAKULA: (As Brian Shepard) No, no.

MONDELLO: If your taste in biography runs to something a bit more masterpiece theaterish, there's also the story of a short-lived English poet. John Keats is pictured in "Bright Star" as a certifiably incurable, incurable romantic.

(Soundbite of movie, "Bright Star")

Mr. BEN WHISHAW (Actor): (As John Keats) I had such a dream last night. I was floating above the trees with my lips connected to those of a beautiful figure.

Ms. ABBIE CORNISH (Actor): (As Fanny Brawne) Whose Lips? Were they my lips?

MONDELLO: The makers of the "Bright Star" hope their doomed poet was right and that a thing of beauty is a joy for at least a few weeks at the multiplex. For longer-lasting romance, teenage girls have the latest in "The Twilight Saga: New Moon," about a high school student and the vampire she loves.

(Soundbite of movie, "The Twilight Saga: New Moon")

Ms. KRISTEN STEWART (Actor): (As Bella Swan) I love you.

Mr. ROBERT PATTINSON (Actor): (As Edward Cullen) You're my only reason to stay alive, if that's what I am. I promise never to put you through anything like this ever again. This is the last time you will ever see me.

MONDELLO: Uh-huh. Well, not if "New Moon" makes as much money as "Twilight" did. Other teen romances include the film "An Education," in which a 16-year-old schoolgirl is wooed by an older man, and "Jennifer's Body," in which a high school student seduces and then eats her boyfriends. And if that's not your idea of romance, there's a documentary called "A Love Story," well, "Capitalism: A Love Story."

(Soundbite of documentary, "Capitalism: A Love Story")

Mr. MICHAEL MOORE (Filmmaker): This is Michael Moore. I am here to make a citizen's arrest of the board of directors of AIG. We're here to get the money back for the American people. I got more bags, 10 billion probably won't fit in here.

MONDELLO: Other documentaries include "No Impact Man" about a New Yorker who takes his environmentalism really seriously. And "This Is It," a Michael Jackson concert movie, using rehearsal footage shot just before his death. And looking for a piece of that same music movie audience will be a remake - if you liked this…

(Soundbite of movie, "Fame")

Unidentified Woman #1: (Singing) Fame, I'm going to live forever…

MONDELLO: Producers are hoping you'll like this.

(Soundbite of movie, "Fame")

Unidentified Woman #2: (Singing) Fame, I'm going to make it to heaven…

MONDELLO: A hip-hop inflected version of "Fame" for the kids of the generation that saw the first one in high school. And for even younger kids, there's an origins story for a beloved children's novel explaining how a small town's weather forecasts began saying things like: cloudy with a chance of meatballs.

(Soundbite of movie, "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs")

Mr. BILL HADER (Actor): (As Flint Lockwood) Before my little town fell on hard times, all anyone could afford to eat were sardines. And because sardines are super gross…

Mr. NEIL PATRICK HARRIS (Actor): (As Steve the Monkey) Gross.

Mr. HADER: (As Flint Lockwood) This was my chance to show everyone what I was made of. Conversion of water into food. It really works! I love it.

Unidentified People: Oh.

Mr. HADER: (As Flint Lockwood) Mama mia.

MONDELLO: Other kid flicks include Disney's first animated African-American princess in "The Princess and the Frog," "Fantastic Mr. Fox," voiced by the likes of George Clooney and Meryl Streep and a live action version of a beloved tale that Maurice Sendak told in gorgeous pictures and just 10 sentences about Max and the vivid imagination that takes him "Where the Wild Things Are."

(Soundbite of movie, "Where the Wild Things Are")

Unidentified Man #1: You are now the king and you will be the truly great king.

Unidentified People: (unintelligible)

Unidentified Man #2: Hey, (unintelligible) what's your first order of business?

Unidentified Child: It's a wild rumbling star!

MONDELLO: Fantasy is what Hollywood regularly serves up. Realism is rarer — the province mostly of low-budget independent films. The most heralded of the fall is the Sundance hit "Precious" about an overweight teenager.

(Soundbite of movie, "Precious")

Ms. GABOUREY GABBY SIDIBE (Actor): (As Claireece Precious Jones) My name is Claireece Precious Jones. I want to be on the cover of a magazine. But first I want to be in one of them BET videos.

MONDELLO: Precious has her dreams, but very little else in life.

(Soundbite of movie, "Precious")

Unidentified Woman #1: You're a dummy. Don't nobody want you, don't nobody need you.

Unidentified Woman #2: He's 15. You're still in your junior high school, and you're pregnant with your second child.

MONDELLO: "Precious" leads a parade of films with serious themes. And there's another parade of films with serious directors - including the Coen Brothers, with the quirky comedy "A Serious Man," Pedro Almodovar, with the film noir, "Broken Embraces" and Rob Marshall, the guy who made "Chicago," this time directing a musical about a director, who turns to the women in his life for inspiration. Among them: Nicole Kidman, Penelope Cruz and perhaps because there's a song called "Be Italian" in the score, Sophia Loren. As Loren makes an entrance in the movie trailer, the music becomes a fanfare, and the singer and everyone else turns her way as if a goddess has arrived - and, of course, one has.

(Soundbite of music)

Unidentified Woman #3: Be a singer. Be a singer. Be a (unintelligible). Be a (unintelligible)

MONDELLO: Forty-six years ago, Federico Fellini called this story "8 1/2." Add music, and it becomes nine. And the way the studio is beating the Oscar drums, it had better get at least that many nominations.

I'm Bob Mondello.

(Soundbite of music)

Unidentified Woman #3: Live (unintelligible) may become your life.

ADAMS: We have trailers of the new movies, as well as other movie coverage and reviews, at the Arts & Life section of npr.org.

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