Movie highlights for the next three months includes 'Harry Potter' and a trio of films shot in Pittsburgh
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For Harry Potter fans, November will be the most magical month of the fall. It's when the first of two parts of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" opens, but for Pittsburghers, the period will be notable for another reason.
In the two weeks starting Nov. 12, three movies shot in Pittsburgh with Denzel Washington, Chris Pine, Russell Crowe, Elizabeth Banks, Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway will open in theaters.
Dates could shift, but "Unstoppable" will test its title Nov. 12, "The Next Three Days" will bump up against Harry Potter on Nov. 19, and the day before Thanksgiving will be a feast for "Love & Other Drugs."
As usual, the fall promises Oscar bait, scares aplenty, pictures for more mature audiences, movies for the teens who line up every Friday or Saturday night (football games and homecoming permitting) and family films to coincide with Thanksgiving, which is where this list stops.
As always, dates are subject to change and titles likely will be added, subtracted or moved by turkey day.
-- Movie editor Barbara Vancheri: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1632
"Resident Evil: Afterlife": Fourth installment of the franchise, again based on the video game series and this time in 3-D. Milla Jovovich leads the cast.
"Restrepo": Prize-winning documentary about the back-breaking labor, deadly fire fights and camaraderie as soldiers painfully push back the Taliban in a deadly Afghan valley.
"Mao's Last Dancer": The story of a young poverty-stricken boy from China and his journey to international stardom as a world-class dancer.
"Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child": Filmmaker Tamra Davis pays homage to her good friend who was known for his graffiti art, sold his first painting to Deborah Harry for $200, and became friends with Andy Warhol.
"Legendary": In one of the more eclectic casts of all time, Patricia Clarkson stars alongside John Cena, Danny Glover and young Devon Graye in the story of a teenage boy's journey to reunite his family 10 years after the death of his father, a state collegiate wrestling legend.
"Salaat": Kaz Rahman, who teaches at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, explores and coalesces the intersection among Islamic artistic expression, the natural elements and contemporary culture.
"The Town": Crime drama about bank robbers, based on the Chuck Hogan novel "Prince of Thieves," directed by and starring Ben Affleck, along with Rebecca Hall, Jon Hamm, Jeremy Renner, Blake Lively and Chris Cooper.
"Easy A": After a little white lie about losing her virginity gets out, a clean-cut high school girl (Emma Stone) sees her life paralleling Hester Prynne's in "The Scarlet Letter" and uses it to her advantage.
"Devil": Supernatural thriller about a group of people trapped in an elevator. Big deal? Well, one of them is the devil.
"Alpha and Omega": Animated adventure, in digital 3-D, about two wolves trying to get home after being taken by park rangers and shipped halfway across the country.
"I'm Still Here": Maybe director Casey Affleck will shed some light on a tumultuous year in the life of Joaquin Phoenix, who announced he was retiring from acting and reinventing himself as a hip-hop musician.
"Best Worst Movie": Affectionate tribute to "Troll 2," a horror movie disaster doomed by ineptitude and the fractured English of its Italian director.
"Orlando": New print of 1992 film starring Tilda Swinton in her breakthrough role.
"Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps": Michael Douglas returns as Gordon Gekko, here emerging from a lengthy prison stint to find himself on the outside of a world he once dominated. In an effort to repair his damaged relationship with his daughter (Carey Mulligan), he forms an alliance with her fiance (Shia LaBeouf).
"You Again": A family wedding puts old rivalries in sharp relief in a comedy starring Kristen Bell, Jamie Lee Curtis and Sigourney Weaver.
"Legends of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole": Animated fantasy about a young owl enthralled by his father's epic stories of the Guardians of Ga'Hoole, a mythic band of winged warriors who fought a great battle to save owlkind from the evil Pure Ones.
"The Virginity Hit": From the production company of Will Ferrell and Adam McKay, the story of four guys, one camera and their experience chronicling the loss of virginity.
"Farewell": Fictionalized account of espionage that helped cripple the Soviet Union. In 1981, a disenchanted KGB colonel decided to discreetly make contact with a French engineer and began passing on secret documents.
"Animal Kingdom": After the death of his mother, a 17-year-old boy is thrust precariously between an explosive criminal family and a detective who thinks he can save him in this Australian feature that took a prize at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. Cast includes Ben Mendelsohn, Joel Edgerton and Guy Pearce.
"Gone With the Pope": Remastered 1970s exploitation movie about bumbling Italian gangsters and their plan to kidnap the pope and extract ransom from Catholics the world over.
"Surveillance": Jennifer Chambers Lynch (yes, dad is David) presents her film about two FBI agents, played by Bill Pullman and Julia Ormond, investigating a series of murders. A Pittsburgh Filmmakers event.
"The Social Network": The birth of Facebook and how it revolutionized communication, turned Mark Zuckerberg into a billionaire and created "friends" plus personal and legal complications are chronicled. With Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield and Justin Timberlake.
"Let Me In": American remake of the Swedish arthouse hit "Let the Right One In," a coming-of-age tale and gory vampire story, starring Kodi Smit-McPhee from "The Road," Chloe Moretz from "Kick-Ass" and the always dependable Richard Jenkins.
"Jack Goes Boating": Philip Seymour Hoffman stars and makes his feature directing debut with an adaptation of an off-Broadway play about two couples in working-class New York City.
"Secretariat": Story of the 1973 Triple Crown winner and the woman, Penny Chenery (Diane Lane), who improbably guided the history-making horse.
"Buried": Ryan Reynolds plays a truck driver and family man who is buried alive with only a cell phone, a lighter and 90 minutes to live.
"Life As We Know It": Katherine Heigl is a caterer and Josh Duhamel a network sports director who date, dislike each other and find themselves living under one roof to care for their orphaned goddaughter.
"My Soul to Take": Wes Craven picture set in a sleepy town where legend has it a serial killer swore he would return to murder the seven children born the night he died. Sixteen years later, people start to disappear.
"Conviction": Hilary Swank stars in this true story of a Massachusetts woman whose brother (Sam Rockwell) was sentenced to life in 1983 for murder. Convinced of his innocence, she earned her GED and put herself through college, grad school and law school in an 18-year quest to free him.
"Red": Action-comedy about Retired Extremely Dangerous spies coming back to service, based on a graphic novel and starring Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich and Helen Mirren.
"Never Let Me Go": Keira Knightley, Andrew Garfield and Carey Mulligan appear in an adaptation of Kazuo Ishiguro's novel about a mysterious boarding school, love, loss and hidden truths.
"It's Kind of a Funny Story": Comedy-drama about a 16-year-old (Keir Gilchrist) who, stressed out from the demands of being a teenager, checks himself into a mental health clinic where he lands in the adult ward. Zach Galifianakis and Emma Roberts co-star.
"Waiting for Superman": "An Inconvenient Truth" director Davis Guggenheim turns his attention to the public education crisis in the United States in this documentary.
"Jackass 3D": Johnny Knoxville and pals resume their daredevil comic stunts and, yes, it's in 3-D.
Pittsburgh International Lesbian & Gay Film Festival: In honor of the festival's silver anniversary, it will present classics along with new movies, such as "Baby Jane?" parodying the 1962 Bette Davis-Joan Crawford classic, "What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?"
"Hereafter": Clint Eastwood directs this story of three people -- a blue-collar American, French journalist and London school boy -- touched by death in different ways. Cast includes Matt Damon and Bryce Dallas Howard.
"Stone": Tale of parallel journeys of two men grappling with dark impulses. One is a parole officer (Robert De Niro) nearing retirement and the other a man (Edward Norton) in prison for covering up the murder of his grandparents with a fire.
"Paranormal Activity 2": Frightful follow to the spine-tingler about a California couple trying to document the evil spirits in their home.
"Soul Kitchen": When a young restaurant owner decides to fly to China to see his girlfriend, he leaves the Hamburg business in the hands of his unreliable ex-con brother who gambles it away. The girlfriend is lost but the eatery may not be in this madcap comedy.
"Saw 3-D": As a deadly battle rages over Jigsaw's brutal legacy, a group of Jigsaw survivors gathers to seek the support of a self-help guru who is one of their own. Yes, it's in 3-D.
"Due Date": Road trip comedy starring Robert Downey Jr. as an expectant father whose wife's due date is in five days. He's forced to hitch a ride with an aspiring actor (Zach Galifianakis) in this movie from "Hangover" director Todd Phillips.
"Megamind": Will Ferrell, Brad Pitt, Tina Fey and Jonah Hill lend their voices to this animated movie about a brilliant but failed super villain, a caped hero named Metro Man and a place called Metro City where chaos runs rampant.
"127 Hours": Danny Boyle directs the true-life story of mountain climber Aron Ralston, portrayed by James Franco, and how he saved himself after a fallen boulder crashed on his arm and trapped him in an isolated canyon in Utah.
"For Colored Girls": Tyler Perry writes, directs and produces a movie adaptation of the Obie Award-winning play.
Three Rivers Film Festival: The 29th annual event, always cause for celebration, will open on this date and run through Nov. 20 at the Pittsburgh Filmmakers locations.
"Unstoppable": Denzel Washington is a veteran engineer and Chris Pine a young conductor who team up to devise a plan to stop an unmanned locomotive loaded with toxic cargo that is roaring through the countryside. Filmed in Pennsylvania, including Pittsburgh, Ohio, West Virginia and New York.
"Morning Glory": Television news provides the backdrop for this romcom starring Harrison Ford as a legendary TV anchor who is paired with a former beauty queen (Diane Keaton) on a national morning news show. But he won't do fluff, she glories in it and their producer (Rachel McAdams) is trying to save her own relationship, reputation and the show itself.
"Skyline": Sci-fi thriller directed by visual effects artists and brothers Greg and Colin Strause, about a mysterious light force that draws people outside where they vanish into thin air. Cast includes Eric Balfour and Donald Faison.
"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows -- Part 1": The fat seventh J.K. Rowling book is being split into two movies, and this is the beginning of the end. Here, Harry, Ron and Hermione set out on a perilous mission to track down and destroy the secret to Voldemort's immortality and destruction -- the Horcruxes.
"The Next Three Days": Paul Haggis directed this suspense thriller starring Russell Crowe as an English teacher and father of a 6-year-old boy who masterminds a prison break in 2010 Pittsburgh. He's trying to spring his wife (Elizabeth Banks), convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison.
"Fair Game": Naomi Watts and Sean Penn star in the real-life story of CIA operative Valerie Plame, whose career and identity were blown by a leak, and her diplomat husband Joe Wilson (Sean Penn).
"Love & Other Drugs": Jake Gyllenhaal is a pharmaceutical salesman and Anne Hathaway an artist who fall for each other in this movie filmed in Pittsburgh in late 2009. Based on Jamie Reidy's book, "Hard Sell: The Evolution of a Viagra Salesman."
"Tangled": 3-D animated story of Rapunzel (voice of Mandy Moore), a teen with 70 feet of magical, golden hair, who sees a charming bandit on the run as her ticket out of the tower. With new songs and a score by Oscar winner Alan Menken.
"Burlesque": Christina Aguilera stars alongside Cher, Stanley Tucci and Eric Dane in a contemporary musical about a small-town girl (with a big voice, of course) who goes from cocktail waitress to star at the Burlesque Lounge in LA.
"Faster": Dwayne Johnson is a man freshly sprung from prison after a decade and looking to avenge the murder of his brother during the botched bank robbery that landed him behind bars.
"Catfish": A labyrinth of online intrigue provides the basis for what's being called a reality thriller. (October)
"Sicilian Girl": Dramatization of the true story of a 17-year-old Sicilian girl who broke the Mafia's code of silence and testified against the "family business" after her father and then brother were murdered. (October)
"A Woman, a Gun and a Noodle Shop": Director Zhang Yimou remakes the Coens' "Blood Simple," giving it a Chinese flavor, sense of farcical humor and aesthetic style of an old Chinese opera piece. (October)
"Mesrine": Two-parter charting the outlaw odyssey of Jacques Mesrine (Vincent Cassel), the legendary French gangster of the 1960s and 1970s who came to be known as French Public Enemy No. 1 and The Man of a Thousand Faces. (October)
"Nowhere Boy": A look at a teenage John Lennon, played by "Kick Ass" star Aaron Johnson, whose complicated family life is offset by the discovery of a kindred musical spirit in a young Paul McCartney, played by Thomas Brodie Sangster. (October)
"The Company Men": "ER" creator John Wells looks at how corporate downsizing affects three men, portrayed by Ben Affleck, Chris Cooper and Tommy Lee Jones. (October)
"The King's Speech": Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush lead a star-studded cast in the story of King George VI and the maverick speech therapist who helped him find a voice in every sense of that phrase. (November)
First Published September 9, 2010 12:00 am