Goodbye, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Hello, Lincoln.
Perhaps nothing signifies the shift from the popcorn movies of summer to fall film seriousness than these two releases about our 16th president. The first came out June 22 and portrayed the Rail Splitter staking the undead; the latter, slated for Nov. 16, will show him staking his country's future on the Civil War.
So, as we slide into the season when many of the Oscar contenders will be hitting theaters, here are 15 of the most anticipated movies being released between September and the end of November. Remember, release dates are subject to change.
The stars: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams
The director: Paul Thomas Anderson
The plot: Set in the '50s, it centers on a troubled young veteran from WWII who becomes subsumed by a new spiritual movement.
The buzz: Hollywood hype has been building for months, as some have claimed The Master is a thinly veiled story about Scientology. It also is the first film for director Anderson since There Will Be Blood in 2007.
Buzz kill: Period pieces sometimes can be a tough sell.
Trouble With the Curve
The stars: Clint Eastwood, Justin Timberlake, Amy Adams
The director: Robert Lorenz
The plot: An elderly baseball scout bonds with his adult daughter as they take a recruiting trip together.
The buzz: It's Eastwood's first stint in front of the camera since Gran Torino four years ago. It also comes on the heels of his performance with the empty chair at the Republican convention.
Buzz kill: Not everything Clint's in is a big hit. Anyone remember Blood Work?
The stars: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt
The director: Rian Johnson
The plot: In the future, if someone is to be murdered, a hit man is sent into the past to remove that person from history. But then one hit man finds out someone is being sent into his past to wipe him out.
The buzz: The ever-present Gordon-Levitt, this year's Ryan Gosling, stars. Director Johnson made the well-respected indie Brick in 2005.
Buzz kill: It remains to be seen if Gordon-Levitt can actually carry a movie, since his current film, Premium Rush, was a box-office letdown.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
The stars: Logan Lerman, Emma Watson, Ezra Miller
The director: Stephen Chbosky
The plot: It's high-school life as seen through the eyes of two seniors and the freshman they befriend.
The buzz: Based on a bestselling young-adult novel, it features Watson's first big post-"Potter" role.
Buzz kill: This is the first major project for director Chbosky, who also wrote the novel.
The stars: Ben Affleck, John Goodman, Alan Arkin, Bryan Cranston
The director: Ben Affleck
The plot: During the 1979 hostage crisis in Iran, six Americans find refuge in the Canadian Embassy and one man comes up with a very unusual way to get them out.
The buzz: The story is based on actual events uncovered when certain files were unclassified in 1996.
Buzz kill: Will younger audiences relate to an obscure turn of history from 33 years ago?
The stars: Colin Farrell, Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell, Tom Waits, Christopher Walken
The director: Martin McDonagh
The plot: When a gangster's dog is kidnapped, a hapless screenwriter finds himself falling into L.A.'s criminal underworld.
The buzz: With this scruffy, rangy bunch of actors, there's bound to be some odd chemistry.
Buzz kill: Edgy, dark and potentially violent comedies like this don't always find a following. See Hit and Run.
The stars: Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugh Grant
The directors: Lana Wachowski, Tom Tykwer, Andy Wachowski
The plot: There is no single plot strand in this take on human interconnectedness. Six stories are melded together, with actors playing multiple roles set in different time periods.
The buzz: The Wachowskis ( The Matrix) and Tykwer ( Run Lola Run) team up for a take on David Mitchell's multilayered novel.
Buzz kill: Like The Tree of Life , it may prove too impenetrable for most audiences.
The Big Wedding
The stars: Robert De Niro, Katherine Heigl, Diane Keaton, Robin Williams, Susan Sarandon
The director: Justin Zackham
The plot: A warring couple put on a happy face for their son's wedding.
The buzz: Lots of veteran stars should prove a draw.
Buzz kill: Unless it gets great reviews, this could be seen as an overstuffed turkey. Director Zackham's last effort, Going Greek, was an American Pie wannabe.
The Man With the Iron Fists
The stars: Russell Crowe, Lucy Liu, RZA
The director: RZA
The plot: China in the 19th century is the setting for this martial-arts epic about a blacksmith defending a village.
The buzz: It's the directorial debut of the Wu-Tang Clan rapper.
Buzz kill: Whether being part of an acclaimed hip-hop collective makes someone a talented director remains to be seen.
The stars: Denzel Washington, Don Cheadle, Melissa Leo, John Goodman
The director: Robert Zemeckis
The plot: A pilot is lauded for landing a plane with mechanical troubles, and then his personal problems come to light.
The buzz: Zemeckis, of Forrest Gump and Cast Away fame, returns to contemporary live-action after detours with The Polar Express , Beowulf and A Christmas Carol.
Buzz kill: By Zemeckis standards, this is a relatively small film that might get lost.
The stars: Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, Ralph Fiennes, Javier Bardem
The director: Sam Mendes
The plot: James Bond has to take down the dastardly villain Silva.
The buzz: It's James Bond.
Buzz kill: Director Mendes ( American Beauty, Revolutionary Road) is not known for action films.
The stars: Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field, Joseph Gordon-Levitt
The director: Steven Spielberg
The plot: Abraham Lincoln (Day-Lewis) struggles with decisions over the Civil War.
The buzz: It's Abraham Lincoln. And it's Spielberg, working from an adaptation by Tony Kushner ( Angels in America).
Buzz kill: Unless Spielberg stumbles badly, there really isn't a downside here.
Life of Pi
The stars: Suraj Sharma, Irrfan Khan
The director: Ang Lee
The plot: A boy finds himself adrift at sea with a group of animals.
The buzz: As a novel, Life of Pi was a huge hit in 2001. Shot in 3-D, the movie is said to be a visual wonder.
Buzz kill: There are no big-name stars, and director Lee's last few films (including Lust, Caution and Taking Woodstock) weren't big hits.
Rise of the Guardians
The stars: Voices of Alec Baldwin, Hugh Jackman, Chris Pine, Jude Law
The director: Peter Ramsey
The plot: A tough group of holiday heroes -- Santa Claus, Jack Frost, the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny -- band together to defend the world from the evil Pitch.
The buzz: It's adapted from a book series by William Joyce, Oscar winner for the short The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore.
Buzz kill: May prove to be a bit dark for younger viewers.
Silver Linings Playbook
The stars: Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence
The director: David O. Russell
The plot: A man recently released from a mental institution gets involved with a strange young woman.
The buzz: Lawrence is fresh from The Hunger Games and O'Russell has an impressive résumé with The Fighter, Three Kings and Flirting With Disaster.
Buzz kill: In a month of a lot of mega releases, this more intimate film could end up getting stampeded in the shuffle.
Cary Darling, 817-390-7571