With the even-bigger-than-expected bomb of the Total Recall remake with former movie star Colin Farrell subbing for Ahnuld, the summer blockbuster season is speeding ever-closer to its finish. So let's look ahead to the more prestigious fall season, when the year's award contenders start showing up on our cinema screens.
Killing Them Softly (opening October 19)
The Details: Brad Pitt reteams with the writer-director of The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, Andrew Dominik, for this R-rated adaptation of Cogan's Trade, a noirish crime novel by George V. Higgins. Pitt plays Jackie Cogan, a freelance enforcer who goes after a team of small-time thieves who rob an illegal poker game protected by the Boston mob. The all-star cast also features Richard Jenkins, James Gandolfini and Ray Liotta.
The Trailer: This trailer makes the film feel like the exact midpoint between Quentin Tarantino's Jackie Brown and Peter Yates' 1973 neo-noir classic The Friends of Eddie Coyle. No surprise on that last one -- Higgins wrote that book, too. The film looks less strewn with period affectations than Tarantino's, but the washed-out look and loose, conversational feel scream "low-budget indie from the Me Decade".
The Buzz: Nearly as many people hated Jesse James as loved it (I was somewhere in the middle, myself), but Killing Them Softly looks both more direct and more immediately accessible. It's definitely going to be one of the art house hits of the fall; we'll see if the film's star power can get it to break into the mainstream.