Just because summer is coming to an end doesn't mean that Hollywood's well of blockbusters has run dry. Sure, fall is when studios roll out all their small, serious, Oscar-bait fare... but this year, the autumnal season is rife with movies that are just, well, BIG.
Bruce Willis and Helen Mirren kick booty as ex-CIA agents in "RED," Michael Douglas and Shia LaBeouf look to greedily rake in dough at the box office with Oliver Stone's "Wall Street" sequel, Will Ferrell and Brad Pitt duke it out as animated superheroes in "Megamind"... and a boy wizard you may have heard of (hint: Harry Potter) begins the final chapter of his big-screen journey.
Without further ado, here are nine gargantuan movies we're psyched to see this fall.
Release Date: Sept. 3
Starring: Danny Trejo, Jessica Alba, Michelle Rodriguez, Robert De Niro
FTW: What began as a joke trailer in 2007's Robert Rodriguez-Quentin Tarantino double feature "Grindhouse" has developed into a full-fledged "Mexploitation" feature film, with Trejo playing the titular knife-wielding ex-federale, who's on a mission to exact vengeance upon the American businessman (Jeff Fahey) and politician (De Niro) who (as the tagline so eloquently tells us) "f***ed with the wrong Mexican!" And as if the presence of badass beauties Alba and McGowan weren't generous enough, director Robert Rodriguez hits a homerun casting Lindsay Lohan as a girl who dresses up like a nun. The irony!
Release Date: Sept. 17
Starring: Emma Stone, Penn Badgley, Amanda Bynes, Patricia Clarkson
FTW: By now you've heard this is going to be the next "Mean Girls"... and with good reason. It boasts "Juno"-caliber dialogue, a John Hughes up-yours attitude toward high school and a stunning redheaded star ("Zombieland" It-girl Emma Stone). A contemporary take on "The Scarlet Letter," the comedy casts Stone as a hallway heroine who pretends to sleep with a whole slew of nerds to boost their reputations. Aww. Laughs, smarts, a stellar cast (Stanley Tucci and Thomas Hayden Church also star) and literary references to boot? We give this one a preemptive A.
Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps
Release Date: Sept. 24
Starring: Shia LaBeouf, Michael Douglas, Carey Mulligan, Josh Brolin
FTW: In Oliver Stone's Oscar-winning 1987 hit, corporate raider Gordon Gekko (Douglas) captured the essence of '80s excess with one line: "Greed is good." But in 2008, with a prison stint behind him, an estranged daughter (Mulligan) who won't talk to him, an ambitious young trader (LaBeouf, in the lead role) seeking his help, and the stock market on the brink of collapse, Gekko has rightfully begun to wonder, "Is greed good?" (he's written a book with that very title). The question has never been more valid, which is why Stone felt it was time to make his first-ever sequel. It's also why we can't wait to see how the rabble-rousing filmmaker answers it.
The Social Network
Release Date: Oct. 1
Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Justin Timberlake, Rooney Mara
FTW: Don't worry, director David Fincher's so-called "Facebook Movie" isn't 120 minutes of teenagers sitting transfixed in front of a computer. Instead, it delves into the riveting story of Mark Zuckerberg (Eisenberg), the 26-year-old billionaire who launched the revolutionary site from his Harvard dorm room and, as it happens, made some bitter foes in the process. Fincher gives us not only Suckerberg's point of view, but also the perspectives of his former pal Eduardo Severin (Garfield) and the Winklevoss twins (Armie Hammer and Josh Pence), who later sued Zuckerberg for pilfering their idea. While they likely won't be friending each other anytime soon, we've already become a fan of their movie.
Release Date: Oct. 15
Starring: Bruce Willis, Helen Mirren, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich
FTW: Age ain't nothing but a number and, in this action flick based on Warren Ellis' popular 2003 graphic novel, it certainly isn't an excuse to slack off in the ass-kicking department. With a cast of aging all-stars and a nifty premise -- Willis' ex-CIA agent reunites with his old badass pals after the agency puts a hit on him – "RED" (which stands for "Retired and Extremely Dangerous") has the goods to appeal to the under-25 crowd AND those already drawing Social Security. Think of it as "The Expendables" with brains... and Dame Helen Mirren laying waste to baddies with a machine gun.
Release Date: Oct. 22
Starring: Matt Damon, Bryce Dallas Howard, Cecile de France
FTW: Clint Eastwood hasn't made a chick flick since 1995's "The Bridges of Madison County," but, if you ask him, that's exactly what "Hereafter" is. Thankfully, for Eastwood "chick flick" translates to a supernatural thriller starring Damon as a blue-collar American who can communicate with dead people, de France as a Parisian anchorwoman who barely survived the devastating 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, and twins Frankie and George McLaren as brothers in London during the 2005 subway bombings. As scripted by "The Queen" Oscar nominee Peter Morgan, these three dangling threads become intrinsically tied by film's end. If that's what a chick flick is to Clint, he shouldn't wait so long to make his next one.
Release Date: Nov. 5
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Zach Galifianakis, Michelle Monaghan, Jamie Foxx
FTW: Hot off "The Hangover," which nabbed $470 million globally to become the highest-grossing R-rated comedy ever, Todd Phillips returns with a wacky road-trip flick that pairs He Who Can Do No Wrong Downey (as high-strung businessman Peter) with "Hangover" breakout Galifianakis (as annoying aspiring actor Ethan), and follows the odd couple's misadventures as they drive from Atlanta to L.A. for the birth of Peter's first child. Sure, it'll feature the raunchy comedy that is Phillips' hallmark, but word on the street is that there's a strong emotional undercurrent to the film as well. Could it be that Phillips is maturing as a filmmaker? We hope not.
Release Date: Nov. 5
Starring: Will Ferrell, Tina Fey, Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill
FTW: What would happen if the world's greatest supervillain vanquished his do-gooder nemesis? If he were the large-craniumed Megamind (voiced by Ferrell) and his foe were the beloved Metro Man (Pitt), he'd get bored and create another foe named Titan (Hill), who ends up being a much more dastardly villain than Megamind ever was, forcing Megamind to -- irony alert! -- assume the role of hero. Aside from the ingenious plot and A-list leads, "Megamind" racks up bonus cool points for casting Fey as the Lois Lane-esque reporter that aids the big-brained one on his path to redemption and, of course, for being in 3-D.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
Release Date: Nov. 19
Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Ralph Fiennes
FTW: It's been nine years since J.K. Rowling's boy wizard first hit the big screen, and now -- six critically acclaimed box-office smashes later -- the final cinematic chapter of the Harry Potter saga begins. We find Harry (Radcliffe), Hermione (Watson) and Ron (Grint) now on the run from Voldemort, desperately seeking to destroy the remaining horcruxes, which are basically fragments of Voldy's soul. And, while we'll have to wait until July 15, 2011, for the epic Harry-Voldemort showdown everyone is jonesing for, "Part 1" looks plenty awesome enough to tide us over in the meantime.