ALL editor analyzes this fall’s flicks

Robert Taylor

Across the Universe

Revolution Studios

Julie Taymor, who designed and directed Broadway’s “The Lion King” as well as directing the Oscar-nominated Frida, is aiming to reinvent the musical by mixing classic songs like “All You Need Is Love” and the title track and set them to a drama concerning the Vietnam War. No aging ’70s stars singing in drag in this musical, the cast is mostly unknowns save for Evan Rachel Wood, but the fantastic imagery and emotional soundtrack should bring audiences into theaters.

September 21

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

Warner Bros.

Brad Pitt plays Jesse James, with Casey Affleck as the title coward, in a western chronicling Ford’s joining of James’ gang and subsequent insurrection. Pitt’s longtime pet project tested very badly with preview audiences and is undergoing extensive editing before its release, but the clout of Pitt should still give the film solid box office.

September 21

The Brave One

Warner Bros.

After “Lost”‘s Naveen Andrews is mugged and killed, his wife (Jodie Foster) buys an illegal firearm and starts taking justice into her own hands. The cast is strong (Terrence Howard and Mary Steenburgen also star) and director Neil Jordan, of Interview with the Vampire and Breakfast on Pluto, is known for his character pieces, so this gritty drama could turn into this year’s Crash.

September 14

Eastern Promises

Focus Features

Legendary director David Chronenberg is reunited with his History of Violence lead Viggo Mortensen, telling another dark and twisted tale sure to please genre fans. Naomi Watts also stars as an ordinary woman who uncovers evidence against London’s biggest crime family, of which Mortensen is a premier member.

September 14

Good Luck Chuck

Lionsgate Films

Jessica Alba plays a woman known for breaking-up with boyfriends right after their first sexual encounter. Enter Dane Cook, who falls in love with Alba and must put off sleeping with her as long as possible. Best case scenario is The 40-Year-Old Virgin. Worst case scenario is Tomcats.

September 21

Michael Clayton

Warner Bros.

George Clooney gets very dark as a “fixer” for an upscale law firm going up against Chronicles of Narnia’s Tilda Swinton on a class action suit that turns life threatening. Writer/Director Tony Gilroy’s track record includes the Bourne trilogy, The Devil’s Advocate and Dolores Claiborne, so expect this to be more than just an average John Grisham rip-off law thriller.

October 5

Resident Evil: Extinction

Screen Gems

The original no one liked and the sequel no one asked for is now the trilogy no one cares about. Milla Jovovich is back again, kicking behind and trying to stop another deadly virus, this time with the desert as the backdrop. Here’s hoping she fails.

September 21

Contact ALL editor Robert Taylor at [email protected].