The big movie season has begun, the Venice and Toronto Film Festivals set the tone for the rush to Oscar, and the rest of us will be enjoying the results in the next couple of months. By the way, I was in Venice, Italy in early September and believe it or not didn’t get to the Lido to see any of the big screenings.

Michelle Dockery and Gabrielle UnionI did see Michelle Dockery of TV’s “Downton Abbey” and her new boyfriend, enjoying an afternoon break on Plaza San Marco with Gabrielle Union and The Miami Heat’s Dwayne Wade. I snapped an iPhone pic, I’m a lousy paparazzo. One other brush with stardom, we stood next to Olivia Wilde in the customs line at New York’s JFK (officially the current WORST airport in the US), more about her later in a comment about “Rush” (Sept. 27th), she’s real “purrrty”.

This is not at the US Customs line!

This is not at the US Customs line!

Enough about that, lets talk movies. Prisioners opens Sept. 20th and gives us a very intense child abduction thriller. Lots of Oscar buzz for Hugh Jackman as leading man and Jake Gyllenhaal as best supporting actor. A terrific script by Aaron Guzikowski should get an oscar nod as well. Rated R for some disturbing violence, my GPA is a solid 4.0.

“Rush”, Ron Howard’s latest, is a solid biopic about the real life competition between champion Formula 1 drivers: British James Hunt and Austrian Niki Lauda, with spectacular camera work and a solid cast. I liked it a lot, but more on that after it opens (Sept. 27th). The aforementioned Olivia Wilde shows up here in what will be a busy fall for her, with several films being released in short order, including the indie  release,”Drinking Buddies”. Tonight I’m seeing a screening of Alfonso Quaron’s “Gravity” (October 4th),  with superstars George Clooney and Sandra Bullock as two astronauts adrift in space, looking forward to this one.

“Captain Phillips”, with the always reliable Tom Hanks, opens October 11th. It’s based on the true story of an American freighter ship hijacked by Somali pirates. The trailers for it promise a taut thriller and since Paul green grass (United 93) is directing, the action should be authentically realistic.

Next up is “12 Years a Slave” (October 18th), the story of a free Black man enslaved for 12 years in 1841. Chewitel Ejiofor is being praised as a lock for an Oscar Best Actor nomination for his role as Solomon Northrup. He’s supported by a great cast including Michael Fassbender as the cruel slave driver and TV’s best Sherlock, Benedict Cumberbatch, Brad Pitt and last year’s Oscar nominee, young Quivenzhane Wallis. Stay tuned for my reviews as these films roll out.

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