The good news: No damned Transformers sequels on the schedule. Other than that, it's hard to gauge the fortunes of the upcoming fall film season, during which time dozens of titles will be released across the nation. Among the offerings, we'll get another Oscar-bait title from writer-director-actor George Clooney (whose last picture as a triple threat, Good Night, and Good Luck., earned an impressive six nominations), Sarah Jessica Parker testing the post-Sex and the City waters, and the usual glut of sequels and remakes.
Exactly 40 flicks are scheduled to open locally between now and the weekend before Thanksgiving. (Keep in mind, though, that release dates can fluctuate.) Here are descriptions of 11 of them — one per weekend release date — as well as a checklist of the other titles.
SEPT. 9: In Warrior, a mixed martial arts championship looks to be decided between two estranged brothers — one (Inception's Tom Hardy) expected to go all the way, the other (Animal Kingdom's Joel Edgerton) proving to be a formidable underdog. Also: Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star; Contagion; Life, Above All.
SEPT. 16: A working mom (Sarah Jessica Parker) tries to cope with finding the balance between a downsized husband (Greg Kinnear), their two kids, a demanding job and a charismatic business associate (Pierce Brosnan) in I Don't Know How She Does It. Also: Drive; Straw Dogs.
SEPT. 23: Oscar-nominated actress Vera Farmiga (Up in the Air) makes her directorial debut with Higher Ground, based on Carolyn S. Briggs' memoir (This Dark World) about a deeply religious woman (Farmiga) who starts to question her beliefs. Also: Abduction; Dolphin Tale; Killer Elite; Moneyball.
SEPT. 30: The romantic comedy What's Your Number? stars Anna Faris as a lonely woman who wonders if any of her past 20 boyfriends might have been the one that got away. Also: Courageous; Dream House; 50/50.
OCT. 7: George Clooney directs, co-writes and stars in The Ides of March, a drama about a scandal that threatens to ensnare a presidential aspirant (Clooney) and his press secretary (Ryan Gosling). Also: Machine Gun Preacher; Real Steel; Wanderlust.
OCT. 14: Writer-director Craig Brewer (Hustle & Flow) has elected to serve up Footloose, a remake of the 1984 musical about a cool kid (newcomer Kenny Wormald in Kevin Bacon's star-making role) who shakes up the citizenry of a conservative town, particular its influential reverend (Dennis Quaid in the John Lithgow part). Also: The Big Year; The Thing.
OCT. 21: The latest cinematic rendering of Alexandre Dumas' The Three Musketeers again finds eager D'Artagnan (Logan Lerman) falling in with the three maverick swordsmen (Matthew MacFadyen, Luke Evans and Ray Stevenson) and battling the evil Cardinal Richlieu (Christoph Waltz) and the equally wicked Milady (Milla Jovovich). Also: Paranormal Activity 3.
OCT. 28: Based on the Hunter S. Thompson novel, The Rum Diary stars Johnny Depp as Paul Kemp, a disillusioned journalist who heads for Puerto Rico and gets involved with a corrupt businessman (Aaron Eckhart) and his fiancée (Amber Heard). Also: Anonymous; In Time; Johnny English Reborn; Safe.
NOV. 4: After an untouchable billionaire (Alan Alda) cheats them out of their savings, a group of desperate employees (including Ben Stiller, Matthew Broderick and Precious star Gabourey Sidibe) hire an ex-con (Eddie Murphy) to mastermind their robbery in Tower Heist. Also: Puss in Boots; A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas.
NOV. 11: Director Clint Eastwood and writer Dustin Lance Black (who won an Oscar for penning Milk) set their sights on J. Edgar Hoover (played by Leonardo DiCaprio) in J. Edgar, a biopic that looks at the professional and private life of the controversial (and long-standing) head of the FBI. Also: Immortals; Jack and Jill.
NOV. 18: Taking a page from fellow literary adaptation Harry Potter, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1 is the first of two chapters that conclude the saga of sparkly vampire Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) and the now-preggers Bella (Kristen Stewart). Also: Happy Feet Two; Like Crazy; Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.