ENTERTAINMENT CORNER By Laura Kolnoski
Fall Film Forecast
New movies come and go so fast, a sense of urgency is required to ensure you catch those you’ve been waiting for! It’s important to note release dates; Hollywood rolls out its biggest guns now through December. Here’s a rundown of some of this season’s most anticipated films and their release dates.
4 – Gravity, a tale of astronauts stranded in space stars, was directed and co-written by Alfonso Cuaron and stars Sandra Bullock, George Clooney, and Ed Harris.
11 – Captain Phillips, the true story Captain Richard Phillips and the 2009 hijacking of the Maersk Alabama by Somali pirates. Starring Tom Hanks and Catherine Keener.
18 – Carrie, a “reimagining” of the classic high school horror tale, arrives for Halloween. “Kick-Ass” cutie Chloë Grace Moretz stars with Julianne Moore and Judy Greer.
1 – Ender’s Game, based on the book, takes place70 years after an alien war when a gifted child is sent to an advanced military school
in space to prepare for future invasion. Grownups Harrison Ford and Ben Kingsley are joined by Asa Butterfield and Abigail Breslin.
8 – Thor ~ The Dark World turns Natalie Portman from a Jedi Queen to a Marvel Comic heroine as Thor (Chris Hemsworth) embarks on a perilous journey. Guess how it ends.
22 – Hunger Games: Catching Fire ~ Intrepid heroes Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) return for this second installment of the chilling tale of teens fighting for their lives and the future of Panem as rebellion is sparked in the Districts. Back for more are Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Stanley Tucci, Lenny Kravitz, and Donald Southerland. Newcomer Phillip Seymour Hoffman plays Gamemaster Plutarch Heavensbee.
13 – The Hobbit ~ The Desolation of Smaug brings back more favorite denizens of Middle Earth. Director and Tolkien devotee Peter Jackson masterfully continues to helm the tale, which resumes after the Dwarves, Bilbo, and Gandalf have escaped the Misty Mountains and Bilbo has gained the One Ring. En route to confront the dragon Smaug, they encounter Hugo Weaving as Elrond, Cate Blanchett as Galadriel, Orlando Bloom as Legolas, and Christopher Lee as Saruman. Noticeably absent is Viggo Mortensen’s Aragorn. Bummer.
20 – Saving Mr. Banks transports us to when Walt Disney presided over California’s Disneyland, his film studio, and television empire. Seeking to turn author P. L. Travers’ Mary Poppins tales into a film, he invites her to the happiest place on earth, with surprising results. Tom Hanks makes a convincing Uncle Walt. Also starring Emma Thompson, Paul Giamatti, and Colin Farrell. The movie poster depicts Walt and P.L. walking together. Their shadows are Mickey Mouse and Mary Poppins. Clever.
25 – The Secret Life of Walter Mitty puts Ben Stiller, who also directs, in the title role of an office worker who lives in adventurous, romantic fantasies. Kristen Wiig, Shirley MacClaine, Sean Penn, Patton Oswalt, and Adam Scott also star. Search film titles online to learn more and see trailers in the comfort of home. Speaking of comfort…
Where to Watch
While Freehold and Monmouth Malls, along with smaller area theatres, are pleasant enough, tempting alternatives beckon examination. At Menlo Park Mall on Route 1 in Edison, AMC Dine-in Theaters offers an experience worth having. The large lobby bar, in dramatic red and black, has ample seating, including couches and large tables. The menu is varied and relatively reasonable. I stick with a veggie, hummus, and pita platter, as it’s easy to eat in the dark.
Large, comfy seats have small tables on the arm rests with secure cup holders. You push a red button and…voila! A cheerful server appears at your side. Place your order as the lights dim and you’ll be served shortly. Cup run dry? Simply press the button again and your server reappears. It’s best to go during off hours. Menlo normally fills up quickly. At peak times, films can sell out. It’s easier to dine and quaff with elbow room provided by fewer patrons. An aisle seat further enhances your personal space requirements. Bridgewater Commons, on Routes 22 and 202/206, has an AMC Dine-in Theater with seven theaters.
The Luxury Cinema on Route 18 in East Brunswick doesn’t have in-theater dining, but it does have massive leather chairs that recline…with rising footrests! Each individual theater is small, giving a cozy in-home theater experience. It’s a kick when your seat electronically glides into the comfortable position of your choice. The whole place has a different, cool vibe.
Even if you try each only once, it’s a worthwhile experience to add to your repertoire. See you at the movies!