Fall movie preview: Dozens of new films on the way

Reality-based storylines and book adaptations dominate.

NEWSDAYSeptember 26, 2013 

Truth may be stranger than fiction, and it seems almost as popular during this year's fall movie season. Between now and the end of December, we'll see roughly a dozen major movies based on true stories that cover subjects as diverse as slavery, the AIDS epidemic, Formula One racing, Somali piracy, art theft and the making of Walt Disney's "Mary Poppins." Even the Keanu Reeves martial-arts film, "47 Ronin," is inspired by a Japanese legend with roots in fact. At this rate, the fantasy-action sequels to "The Hobbit" and "Thor" almost seem like rarities.

Here are this fall's biggest movies - and that's the truth.

SEPT. 27

CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS 2 - A sequel to the 2009 animated film, this time with mutant food creatures such as "shrimpanzees." Bill Hader and Anna Faris provide voices.

DON JON - A handsome ladies' man confronts his porn addiction in this comedy from writer- director and star Joseph Gordon-Levitt. With Scarlett Johansson.

RUSH - Formula One racing legends James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) and Niki Lauda (Daniel Bruhl) compete for the 1976 World Championship in Japan. Ron Howard directs.

OCT. 4

GRAVITY - George Clooney and Sandra Bullock play astronauts stranded in space. Alfonso Cauron ("Children of Men") directs.

RUNNER RUNNER - A swindled gambler (Justin Timberlake) searches for the owner of a shady website (Ben Affleck). With Gemma Arterton.

OCT. 11

CAPTAIN PHILLIPS - Paul Greengrass ("The Green Zone") directs this biographical drama about a man captured by Somali pirates in 2009. Tom Hanks stars.

MACHETE KILLS - The sequel to Robert Rodriguez's 2010 Mexploitation flick, "Machete," with Danny Trejo returning in the title role. Mel Gibson plays an international arms dealer; Charlie Sheen plays the president.

OCT. 18

ALL IS LOST - J.C. Chandor ("Margin Call") wrote and directed this survival film about a man lost at sea. The only cast member is Robert Redford.

CARRIE - Kimberly Peirce ("Boys Don't Cry") directs the latest adaptation of Stephen King's 1974 debut novel about a bullied girl (Chloe Grace Moretz) with telekinetic powers.

ESCAPE PLAN - An engineer (Sylvester Stallone) is wrongfully convicted and sent to the very prison he designed. With Arnold Schwarzenegger and 50 Cent.

THE FIFTH ESTATE - The founder of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, is played by Benedict Cumberbatch ("Star Trek Into Darkness"). Directed by Bill Condon (the final "Twilight" films).12

YEARS A SLAVE - The story of Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a free black man kidnapped and sold into slavery in 1841. Directed by Steve McQueen ("Hunger") from Northup's autobiography.

OCT. 25

THE COUNSELOR - Michael Fassbender plays a lawyer caught up in a drug deal gone wrong. Directed by Ridley Scott ("Blade Runner") from an original screenplay by Cormac McCarthy ("The Road"). With Penelope Cruz and Brad Pitt.

DALLAS BUYERS CLUB - Matthew McConaughey plays real-life AIDS victim Ron Woodroof, who in the 1980s defied the FDA by smuggling and distributing illegal medicines.

ENDER'S GAME - In the future, a gifted young boy (Asa Butterfield) trains for a momentous battle against alien invaders. With Hailee Steinfeld and Harrison Ford. Based on Orson Scott Card's 1985 novel.

LAST VEGAS - Michael Douglas, Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman and Kevin Kline play aging friends cutting loose during a bachelor party. With Mary Steenburgen.

NOV. 8

THOR: THE DARK WORLD -Chris Hemsworth returns as the hammer-wielding god of thunder. With Natalie Portman and Tom Hiddleston. Director Alan Taylor (HBO's "Deadwood") replaces Kenneth Branagh.

NOV. 15

THE BOOK THIEF - A drama based on Markus Zusak's novel about a young girl (Sophie Nelisse) living with foster parents during World War II. With Geoffrey Rush and Emily Watson.

THE WOLF OF WALL STREET - Leonardo DiCaprio plays stock-market manipulator Jordan Belfort, whose 2007 memoir about his Long Island boiler room operation is the basis for this black comedy. Directed by Martin Scorsese.

NOV. 22

DELIVERY MAN - An underachiever (Vince Vaughn) discovers his sperm bank donations have resulted in 533 children. With Cobie Smulders.

THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE - Past victors of the deadly teen competitions return to the playing field. With Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and new addition Philip Seymour Hoffman.

NEBRASKA - This drama from director Alexander Payne ("The Descendants"), about a man traveling 600 miles to claim a prize, earned Bruce Dern a best actor award at Cannes. Filmed in black and white.

NOV. 27

BLACK NATIVITY - A contemporary adaptation of the Langston Hughes musical starring Forest Whitaker, Angela Bassett and Jennifer Hudson.

FROZEN - Kristen Bell, Jonathan Groff and Idina Menzel (Broadway's "Wicked") provide voices in Disney's animated adventure about a kingdom trapped in eternal winter.

HOMEFRONT - This crime flick features arguably the year's strangest cast: Jason Statham as a DEA agent and James Franco as a meth kingpin. With Winona Ryder.

OLDBOY - Spike Lee's re-interpretation of the 2003 South Korean hit stars Josh Brolin as a man suddenly and inexplicably released from 20 years in captivity. With Sharlto Copley and Elizabeth Olsen.

NOV. 29

MANDELA: LONG WALK TO FREEDOM - Idris Elba stars as the South African revolutionary-turned- president Nelson Mandela. Naomie Harris ("Skyfall") plays his wife, Winnie.

DEC. 6

INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS - A struggling songwriter (Oscar Isaac) navigates New York City's folk scene during the 1960s. Directed and written by the Coen brothers. With Carey Mulligan and Justin Timberlake.OUT OF THE FURNACE - In a depressed Rust Belt town, two brothers (Christian Bale, Casey Affleck) turn to crime. Directed and co-written by Scott Cooper ("Crazy Heart").

DEC. 13

THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG - The second in Peter Jackson's fantasy trilogy, with Martin Freeman, Ian McKellan and Cate Blanchett. In regular and high-frame formats.

SAVING MR. BANKS - A Disney film starring Tom Hanks as Walt himself. Emma Thompson plays P.L. Travers, the finicky author of the 1934 novel "Mary Poppins."

AMERICAN HUSTLE - Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper and Amy Adams star in a drama about con men, FBI agents and political power brokers. Directed by David O. Russell ("Silver Linings Playbook").

DEC. 18

THE MONUMENTS MEN - The true story of a U.S. Army platoon that rescued artwork stolen by the Nazis. George Clooney directs, co-writes and stars with Bill Murray, Matt Damon and Cate Blanchett.

DEC. 20

ANCHORMAN 2: THE LEGEND CONTINUES - Will Ferrell returns as mustachioed newscaster Ron Burgundy. With Steve Carell, Paul Rudd and new-to-the-franchise Kristen Wiig.

DEC. 25

GRUDGE MATCH - Sylvester Stallone ("Rocky") and Robert De Niro ("Raging Bull") play aging boxers. Directed by Peter Segal ("Get Smart").

JACK RYAN - Chris Pine ("Star Trek") is the fourth actor to embody Tom Clancy's paperback hero in this espionage thriller from director Kenneth Branagh. With Keira Knightley and Kevin Costner.

LABOR DAY - A woman (Kate Winslet) and her young son (Gattlin Griffith) unwittingly take in an escaped convict. With Josh Brolin and Tobey Maguire. Directed by Jason Reitman ("Up in the Air") from Joyce Maynard's novel.

THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY - Ben Stiller directs and stars in the second adaptation of James Thurber's short story about a lifelong daydreamer. With Kristen Wiig, Shirley MacLaine and Sean Penn.47

RONIN - A fantasy-action film based on the traditional Japanese tale of outcast samurai who avenge their master's murder. With Keanu Reeves.

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