directed by Jonathan Mostow
From the director of Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines comes this sci-fi thriller which poses a thought-provoking question: What if, in the future, humans live in total isolation, only communicating through remote-controlled robotic bodies that serve as social “surrogates” of their human operators? It’s a peaceful existence without the threat of violence—that is, until a serial killer starts murdering people by destroying their surrogates, and a gruff FBI agent (Bruce Willis) is assigned to the case. Co-starring Radha Mitchell, Rosamund Pike and Ving Rhames as “The Prophet,” Surrogates will hopefully provide a healthy dose of brain power along with its big-budget special effects (The big question is whether Willis’ acting chops can overshadow the distractingly fake wig he wears in the movie.)
directed by Kevin Tancharoen
This remake of the 1980s hit musical revolves around the students at the prestigious New York City School of Performing Arts, all of whom desperately want, well, fame (their teachers include Kelsey Grammer, Bebe Neuwirth and Megan Mullally). Obviously targeted to the High School Musical crowd, it remains to be seen whether Fame can manage to be a universal crowd-pleaser like the original movie.
directed by Christian Alvart
In this horror/sci-fi hybrid, a pair of crew members aboard a spaceship wake up with no memory of their mission or identities. Of course, it goes without saying that their survival is in jeopardy. Produced by genre-titan Paul W.S. Anderson (Death Race, Resident Evil), Pandorum doesn’t seem to have much going for it, aside from appearances by respected actors like Dennis Quaid and Ben Foster (both of whom probably received easy paychecks). Then again, waking up on a desolate spacecraft where no one can hear you scream has worked before. See also: Alien.
Coco Before Chanel
directed by Anne Fontaine
The first (and surely not final) biopic of the fall movie season follows the life of legendary Coco Chanel (Audrey Tatou), from her humble beginnings as a penniless orphan to her role as a groundbreaking fashion designer. Perhaps following in the path of La Vie En Rose, this is another true-life story about a much-loved French celebrity. Despite the movie’s lofty pedigree, however, it remains to be seen whether the reliably adorable Tatou can garner the same critical acclaim Marion Cotillard did with her Oscar-winning turn as singer Edith Piaf.
directed by Oren Peli
After a young, carefree couple (Katie Featherston and Micah Sloat) move into a cookie-cutter suburban home, they start to become increasingly disturbed by an evil presence in the middle of the night. They decide to use a video camera to capture the bizarre behavior but, as expected, that gets them into even more sinister trouble. Although the movie has been sitting on the shelves since 2007, with its raw, realistic tone some are saying it could be the next zero-budget horror hit, a la The Blair Witch Project.
Brief Interviews with Hideous Men
directed by John Krasinski
Adapted by actor Krasinski (best known as Jim from “The Office”) from the novel by the recently deceased David Foster Wallace, this relationship comedy follows a grad student (Julianne Nicholson), who copes with a recent break-up by interviewing a series of random men (among them Timothy Hutton, Bobby Cannavale, Will Arnett and Krasinski himself). While the movie didn’t make a huge impression when it premiered last year at Sundance, this should have its share of pleasures nevertheless due to its likable cast.
directed by David Bowers
The third sci-fi movie released this week is a kid-friendly animated tale based on Osamu Tezuka’s popular comic book series. Set in futuristic Metro City, the movie concerns a powerful young robot (the title character, voiced by Charlie and The Chocolate Factory‘s Freddie Highmore), created by a brilliant, grieving scientist (Nicolas Cage) in the image of his own deceased son. When an alien race threatens the world, Astro Boy finally gets the opportunity for acceptance and approval he’s been hoping for. With its colorful, Japanese-inspired animation and an impressive voice cast (which also features Kristen Bell, Charlize Theron, Samuel L. Jackson and Donald Sutherland), Astro Boy will hopefully manage to distinguish itself among a season of inventive movies geared toward kids (such as Where the Wild Things Are and The Fantastic Mr. Fox).