We are merely days away from autumn and thank goodness for that, because along with the sweaters and leaves comes some quality movies. This might be the first time ever that I want to see every single movie that is coming out (except for the creepy animated wolf movie I conveniently left off of the list). There’s comedy, intrigue, romance, and a lot of amazing actors who’ve been on the down-low for a bit. There’s the eagerly awaited “Easy A,” the Ben Affleck-directed “The Town,” reality thriller “Catfish,” and Edward Norton‘s newest, “Leaves of Grass.” Also: Philip Seymour Hoffman learns to swim in “Jack Goes Boating” and Dax Shepard and his wife make a deal with “The Freebie.” Go see a frickin’ movie. And call your mother—she worries.
The Movie: “Easy A”
The Trailer: Olive (Emma Stone) helps out a few guys at school by pretending to sleep with them to improve their reputation. When it ends up spoiling hers, at first Olive tries to back-track, but is soon forced to embrace her new persona. And she does so by embroidering a Hester Prynne-style “A” onto her newly trashy attire and by torturing the school’s puritanical mean girl (Amanda Bynes).
The Hitch: So excited. Not only is Emma Stone all one could want in a hilarious female lead, but Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson kill it as her goofy parents, and you’ve got to love Lisa Kudrow as the guidance counselor.
The Movie: “The Town”
The Trailer: Doug (Ben Affleck) is the leader of a fine-tuned heist ring that wears creepy nun or ape masks on the job. Everything’s running smoothly until they take a hostage named Claire (Rebecca Hall), but realize she lives nearby and might have seen too much. Heist ring member Jem (Jeremy Renner) wants to take her out, but Doug says he’ll do some research and ends up falling for the girl. The FBI (Jon Hamm) is close on Doug’s trail and goes after Doug’s drug-dealer ex-girlfriend (Blake Lively), trying to get more information.
The Hitch: Affleck’s second movie as a director (after “Gone Baby Gone”) brings him back to his Boston home turf. There’s non-stop tension between the cops and crooks, a fantastic cast and just enough romance to keep the romantics happy. This one might just be proof that Affleck belongs in the director’s chair.
The Movie: “Catfish”
The Trailer: Yaniv (or Nev for short) is a New York photographer who befriends a Michigan girl named Megan on Facebook. They exchange photos and IMs and get virtually romantic. Nev’s older brother Ariel and his friend Henry Joost have always recorded Nev, but this love story lends itself to more, and the three go on a road trip to see if this Megan is really who she says she is. It gets creepier from there, turning from reality romance to reality thriller.
The Hitch: Nev was in my class at Sarah Lawrence. I was under the impression that he was kind of slick, but my best friend has assured me that he was kind of weird and not above meeting girls on Facebook. It’s still really weird to see him on the screen. But the trailer has piqued my curiosity as to what the big secret is and maybe if I can lure attractive young men to my farm in Michigan, there is something to be learned here. Just kidding about that last part.
The Movie: “Leaves of Grass”
The Trailer: Bill Kincaid (Edward Norton) is a college classics professor who’s lured home to Southeastern Oklahoma by his identical twin brother (Norton) under the guise that he’s been murdered. His brother is a pothead career criminal who further tricks Bill into switching places with him to pull off a scheme.
The Hitch: The only thing better than Edward Norton is two Edward Nortons! And just when I’d been wondering where he’s been lately, this SXSW favorite fills us in. It’s only out on limited release for now, but the DVD release date is just a month away if you have to wait.
The Movie: “Jack Goes Boating”
The Trailer: Jack (Philip Seymour Hoffman) and Connie (Amy Ryan) decide to try out a relationship after their married friends Clyde (John Ortiz) and Lucy (Daphne Rubin-Vega) introduce them. Clyde and Lucy are dealing with issues in their marriage. Jack and Clyde are limo drivers and Jack’s obsession with reggae led him to grow some dreadlocks. Connie is Lucy’s co-worker at a funeral home. And when Jack falls for Connie, he starts improving himself for her by learning to cook, pursuing a new career, and taking swimming lessons so that he can take her boating in the summer. As they fall harder in love, their friends’ marriage disintegrates, and they worry that such an end is inevitable.
The Hitch: I don’t know what it is about Philip Seymour Hoffman, but every movie he touches seems to turn to gold. And I like the normal people fears and struggles represented here.
The Movie: “The Freebie”
The Trailer: Darren (Dax Shepard) and Annie (Katie Aselton) are a young married couple who love each other, but can’t remember the last time they made love. In an effort to spice up their marriage, they decide to give each other one night of freedom.
The Hitch: It seems that the ideas of fidelity and monogamy are slowly changing in the world and this movie represents the zeitgeist. Going in, you wonder whether both parties end up using their “freebie” and whether they succeed in spicing up their marriage, but the most interesting part is the build-up of worrying about whether it will affect their union.