October 7

Everyday Sunshine: The Story of Fishbone

This documentary charts the rise of the ska/funk band Fishbone from its humble South Central L.A. origins, to relative breakthrough in the early 1990s with the alternative rock movement and the album The Reality of My Surroundings, as well as a contentious existence as band members started to fall away from the group.

Prior to the band hitching up with the 1993 Lollapalooza tour, guitarist Kendall Jones quit the group. Conflicting reports say he was either grappling with mental instability or was under the spell of a cult. John Norwood Fisher tracked him down and, from there, things get more complicated. Was it kidnapping? Was it a shot at trying to get Jones deprogrammed?

In the years after this, the band has seen a revolving door of membership, the rise of their track “Party At Ground Zero” as a go-to movie trailer score, a heavier rock/metal influence in their overall sound, and a constantly changing position in the music world, from pioneers and survivors to the “where are they now” files, and back again. Mostly it depends on who you talk to.

It has been reported that the band was heavily involved in the making of the film. The doc debuted at the Los Angeles Film Festival on June 19, 2010 and is currently playing at film festivals around the world. –Dw. Dunphy

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The Ides of March

Earlier this year, Cincinnati was overtaken with George Clooney fever — even more so than it usually is by this local hero — as he was filming his fourth outing as a director, The Ides of March, all over the city. You couldn’t go anywhere in the Queen City without hearing people talk about the movie — which locations they would be filming at and who amongst their friends was going to be cast an extra; how annoying it was that streets were blocked off, hampering commutes to work; and which members of the cast had been sighted at local eateries and bars. The local news stations even had reporters dedicated to tracking Clooney’s, and the production’s, whereabouts at any given time.

The result of all this mayhem? A political thriller, based on the Beau Williamson play Farragut North, starring Ryan Gosling as an ambitious young press secretary who gets involved in a political scandal that threatens to destroy the campaign of a hotshot Democratic presidential candidate (Clooney, who also co-wrote the screenplay with long-time collaborator, Grant Heslov). With a powerhouse cast that also includes Paul Giamatti, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Marisa Tomei and Jeffrey Wright, as well as a warm reception at its opening during the Venice Film Festival, The Ides of March has the potential to be one of the more solid releases this fall. No matter what, though, Cincinnati will be proud to see herself on the big screen. –Kelly Stitzel

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Wanderlust

At first glance, Wanderlust resembles most other upwardly mobile romantic comedies of the last 10 years: there’s a yuppie couple in some kind of crisis, it takes place in New York, and Jennifer Aniston is in it. Then shit gets real when the male half of the couple (Paul Rudd) loses his sweet job and they leave the friendly confines of cush Manhattan to live with relatives in the South, stopping en route at a commune. However, this is a far funnier, darker, and weirder movie than all of that makes it sound. It’s probably the comedy nerd event movie of the fall. It’s co-written and directed by David Wain, of The State and Wet Hot American Summer, and co-written by Ken Marino, of The State, Wet Hot American Summer, and Party Down. –Brian Boone

October 14

The Big Year

Birdwatching has never been a favorite subject for Hollywood screenwriters, for pretty obvious reasons — but it only took one birding memoir on the bestsellers list to convince Howard Franklin (previous credits include Quick Change) that the time was right. Based on Mark Obmascik’s non-fiction book about three of the top contenders in the 1998 Big Year birding contest, The Big Year boasts a pretty stellar cast — including Steve Martin, Owen Wilson, and Jack Black in the starring roles, supported by a crew that includes Rashida Jones, Anjelica Huston, and Joel McHale — so if there’s a film that stands a chance in hell of turning birding into the next big thing, this is ti. –Jeff Giles

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The Thing

Despite being a box office flop in 1982, John Carpenter’s The Thing is rightly regarded as one of the finest science fiction/horror films of the decade. So it’s not surprising that Hollywood has finally warmed up to a remake. Oh excuse me, a prequel. How do we know this isn’t just a remake? Because this film takes place three days before the events chronicled in Carpenter’s movie. And instead of an all-male cast featuring a fresh-faced Kurt Russell, the producers threw in a pretty female lead (Mary Elizabeth Winstead).

See? Totally different film! Well, except for what appears to be a strikingly similar plot between the two. Namely, a team of scientists (last time American, this time Norwegian) conducting research in Antarctica stumbles upon an ancient alien entity that’s been buried for eons. They thaw it out — natch — and it awakens and starts stalking them one by one. But instead of just killing them outright, this outer space baddie takes the form of its prey, allowing it to lurk in the dark and sow discord among the team.

Everyone involved with the production of The Thing ’11 has mentioned how faithfully it will hew to the look and feel of the 1982 original. For instance, the scant bits of footage showing the doomed Norwegian camp have been studied meticulously, as have the shots of the alien craft. My question is — why not just watch the original instead? — Chris Holmes

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The Skin I Live In

Before he was the voice of Puss in Boots — and the star of shitty big-budget flicks like Assassins and Never Talk to Strangers — Antonio Banderas was an actor, man. He gets back to his roots with The Skin I Live In, reuniting with director Pedro Almodóvar for the first time since 1990’s Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! This time around, they collaborate on what the director has called “a horror film without screams or frights” — and if that sounds like a pointless waste of time, just know that The Skin I Live In has been wowing film critics for months, and boasts not only superlative chills, but some truly memorable narrative twists. Tired of dumb horror movies marketed to teens? This one’s for you. –Jeff Giles

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October 21

Margin Call

First things first: this is an indie drama about the ongoing global financial crisis, so it doesn’t have a snowball’s chance of making the slightest dent at the box office. And really, we understand completely — who wants to buy a ticket to watch that horror unfold when we’ve been doing it in real time for years? If this sort of thing is your bag, however, Margin Call boasts an intriguingly eclectic cast, including Kevin Spacey, Jeremy Irons, Demi Moore, Paul Bettany, Stanley Tucci (who rules), and Zachary Quinto (who also produced). It’s played well on the festival circuit, too, earning a Golden Bear nomination in Berlin. –Jeff Giles

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Martha Marcy May Marlene

Did you know that Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen have a younger sister who, based on the caliber of films she has coming out in the next year, probably has more acting chops than both of her sisters put together? A darling at Sundance this year, where two of her films screened, Elizabeth Olsen is poised to become the next indie It Girl, if she plays her cards right. In Martha Marcy May Marlene, Olsen stars as Martha, a troubled young woman who seeks help from her sister (Sarah Paulson) and brother-in-law (Hugh Dancy) after escaping a cult and its charismatic leader (John Hawkes). As she attempts to reclaim a normal life, Martha struggles with painful memories of the cult and becomes paranoid that they may still be after her.

Olsen has garnered a great deal of praise and has been generating some (possibly premature) Oscar buzz for her performance as Martha, a feat neither of her sisters has accomplished. But she isn’t the only one getting attention for this film — director Sean Durkin won the U.S. Directing Award for Best Drama at Sundance and Hawkes appears to have turned in a performance just as terrifyingly brilliant  in this movie as he did playing Teardrop in last year’s excellent Winter’s Bone. –Kelly Stitzel

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October 28

Anonymous

Noted disaster-porn fetishist Roland Emmerich directing a movie about William Shakespeare? Oh God gross, right? Well, maybe not. Although it remains to be seen what Emmerich’s itchy FX trigger finger does with a script that doesn’t call for earthquakes, floods, or saber-toothed tigers, Anonymous deals with an interesting premise — the idea that ol’ Bill may not have been responsible for his classic works. It’s a story that has intrigued and divided historians for decades, and odds are probably high that its intricacies will get decidedly short shrift here, but with a cast that includes Rhys Ifans, Vanessa Redgrave, Joely Richardson, and David Thewlis, it should at least be well-acted. For his part, Emmerich insists “It’s about illegitimate children, it’s about incest, it’s about all of these elements which Shakespeare plays have. And it’s overall a tragedy.” Sounds about right. —Jeff Giles

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In Time

On the surface, In Time sounds like a big-budget, high-concept rip of Logan’s Run — in a world where people stop aging at 25, the government mandates population-thinning executions for those who can’t afford to literally buy more time for themselves, and when a young man (Justin Timberlake) inherits a pile of extra time from a wealthy benefactor, he has to go on the run to clear himself from suspicions of murder. It’s hard to know which version of writer/director Andrew Niccol we’re going to get from In Time — if it’s the guy who gave us Gattaca and The Truman Show, or the one who gave us Simone and Lord of War. Watch the trailer and flip a coin. –Jeff Giles

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The Rum Diary

In which Johnny Depp takes a breather between blockbusters to return to the world of Hunter S. Thompson. Depp, who previously starred in Terry Gilliam’s adaptation of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, stars here as Paul Kemp, the restless protagonist at the heart of Thompson’s 1961 novel about a journalist who travels to Puerto Rico and falls in love with a much younger woman (Amber Heard). It’s the kind of thing we’ve seen play out on the screen countless times, and it’s safe to say it wouldn’t have been filmed at all if not for Thompson’s name above the title; in fact, it languished in development hell for years before Thompson’s 2005 suicide. Still, it’s got to be better than The Tourist, right? –Jeff Giles

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