Summer sure is shorter than it used to be, thanks to public education and the movie industry. Schools now reopen in the dog-days middle of August, and Tinseltown starts touting its year-end trophy contenders while the trees are still green and neighborhood lawn mowers are still roaring in unison.
But while classrooms may be full of the same old pencils, books and teachers' dirty looks, the fall batch of films promises welcome relief from the dunderheaded digital duds that have caused such a withering drought in multiplexes this past season. Some of these fall films from the likes of Martin Scorsese, Spike Jonze and Oklahoma's own Ron Howard could be worth playing hooky to see, so bring on autumn. The sooner, the better.
Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer, Dianna Agron and John D'Leo star as a family put in the witness protection program and relocated to a quiet French town after snitching on the mob. Despite Agent Stansfield's (Tommy Lee Jones) efforts to keep them under wraps, their old mafia habits blow their cover in writer-director Luc Besson's dark action-comedy.
“Insidious: Chapter 2”
Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, Lin Shaye, Barbara Hershey and Ty Simpkins reunite with director James Wan and writer Leigh Whannell in a sequel to their 2010 horror hit. In the follow-up, the haunted Lambert family tries to uncover the childhood secret that has forged its dangerous tie to the spirit world.
Keri Russell stars as a “Pride and Prejudice”-infatuated New Yorker who takes a trip to an English resort catering to women obsessed with Jane Austen's writings in this romantic comedy.
A watchful guard (Bobby Sommer) at Vienna's grand Kunsthistorisches Art Museum strikes up a friendship with a Canadian visitor (Mary Margaret O'Hara) who has temporarily relocated to the Austrian city to care for an ill relative. The drama will screen Friday through Sunday at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art.
Hugh Jackman plays a frantic father whose young daughter and her friend go missing in the star-studded thriller featuring Jake Gyllenhaal, Maria Bello, Viola Davis, Paul Dano, Terrence Howard and former Tulsan Melissa Leo.
“Battle of the Year”
A Los Angeles hip-hop mogul (Laz Alonso) recruits a down-on-his-luck basketball coach (Josh Holloway) to assemble a dance “dream team” to triumph in the Battle of the Year, an international dance crew tournament the Americans haven't won in 15 years.
“Wizard of Oz IMAX 3D”
In honor of the 75th anniversary, the Oscar-winning MGM classic will follow the yellow brick road back to theaters for a special one-week IMAX 3D engagement leading up to the film's Oct. 1 Blu-ray release.
“Thanks for Sharing”
Mark Ruffalo, Tim Robbins and Josh Gad play recovering sex addicts in the directorial debut from Stuart Blumberg, the Oscar-nominated co-writer of “The Kids Are All Right.” Gwyneth Paltrow, Joely Richardson, Patrick Fugit and Alecia “Pink” Moore co-star.
Director Shane Salerno began production on his documentary more than nine years ago, and his look into the life of the reclusive “Catcher in the Rye” author features interviews with more than 150 people, including Philip Seymour Hoffman, Edward Norton and John Cusack.
“Ain't Them Bodies Saints”
Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara play an impassioned young outlaw couple on a crime spree who cross paths with Ben Foster's local sheriff in the Sundance Film Festival favorite, set in the Texas hill country in the 1970s. The romantic crime drama plays Sept. 20-22 at the OKC Museum of Art.
Set in the 1970s — the glamorous golden age of Formula 1 racing — two-time Oscar winner Ron Howard's first movie since 2011's “The Dilemma” chronicles the real-life rivalry between charismatic Englishman James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth, “The Avengers”) and methodical Austrian driver Niki Lauda (Daniel Bruhl, “Inglourious Basterds”).
“Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2”
In the animated sequel, inventor Flint Lockwood (Tulsa native Bill Hader) discovers his infamous machine that makes food out of water is still operational and creating culinary beasts like tacodiles, shrimpanzees and apple pie-thons.
In his debut as a feature writer and director, Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars as an old-fashioned guy whose penchant for watching pornography has given him unrealistic expectations about relationships. His title character meets his match with Barbara (Scarlett Johansson), an old-fashioned, rom-com-loving lady who is looking for her Prince Charming.
“Metallica Through the Never IMAX 3D”
Dane DeHaan (“Chronicle,” “The Amazing Spider-Man 2”) plays a young crew member dispatched on an urgent mission while the legendary metal band is playing a rousing live set in front of a sold-out crowd and unexpectedly finds his world turned completely upside down. The musical adventure, which will debut in IMAX a week before expanding to additional theaters, will be the first release for the re-opened indie distribution company Picturehouse, founded and led by Oklahoma City native Bob Berney.
A seasoned astronaut (George Clooney) and a medical engineer (Sandra Bullock) on her first mission are conducting a spacewalk when their shuttle is destroyed, stranding them in space. Directed by Alfonso Cuaron, “Gravity” examines how the two tethered explorers deal with the real possibility of death and desperately look for a way home.
A Princeton college student (Justin Timberlake) who makes his living as a professional gambler travels to Costa Rica to find the computer wizard he thinks swindled him. “Runner Runner” also stars Ben Affleck, Gemma Arterton and Anthony Mackie, and is produced by Leonardo DiCaprio.
Writer-director Nicole Holofcener (“Please Give,” “Lovely and Amazing”) explores the unusual emotional politics encountered by Eva (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) when she begins dating Albert (James Gandolfini). Eva then discovers that one of her massage clients used to be married to him and revels in discussing his bad habits and behavior. This is Gandolfini's final completed starring role.