Tom Hanks didn’t know where the cameras were.
“Captain Phillips,” a based-on-a-true-story tale about a cargo ship taken by Somali pirates, was Hanks’ first time working with Paul Greengrass, the “United 93” and “The Bourne Supremacy” director known for his visceral, documentary-like filmmaking. Hanks, who plays the titular captain in a performance sure to be hailed as one of his best, had been warned by Matt Damon about the chaos of Greengrass’ unblocked, naturalistic approach.
But Hanks, after one particularly chaotic take, asked his director: “Are you going to get that little session over by the maps?”
“They’d say: ‘No, we got that,’” recalls a still perplexed Hanks. “When? When did you get that?”
The movies, perhaps more than any other art form, have the ability to transport — a capacity to carry away — that’s on full display this fall.
“We shot this in the real world: the real engine rooms, the real decks,” says Hanks. “They’ll say: ‘How did you make that movie where that ship was out in the middle of the ocean?’ Well, we got on a ship and we went out to the middle of the ocean, and we shot it there. Extraordinary how that happens.”
Soon, the fall movie season will unofficially commence, the superheroes (mostly) falling from theaters like autumn leaves. After a summer of blockbuster gluttony, Hollywood will, as if penance for its binging, trot out its more serious and ambitious fare.
There’s some hope that after a knock-about summer heavy with city-destroying tumult and some spectacular flops, that a degree of levity will return to the multiplexes.
Last fall, after all, showed that good, adult-oriented movies still could draw crowds. A varied best-picture field, from “Lincoln” to “Life of Pi,” made more than $2 billion at the box office worldwide even before the Academy Awards.
This autumn promises no less a mix of both aspirational filmmaking and mainstream attractions.
“The Family”: A dark action-comedy about a mafia boss (Robert DeNiro) and his family (Michelle Pfeiffer, Dianna Agron, John D’Leo) are relocated under the witness protection program but revert to old habits in handling their problems. Also starring Tommy Lee Jones. Directed by Luc Besson (“Taken,” “Transporter”).
“Insidious Chapter 2”: The Lambert family as they seek to uncover the mysterious childhood secret that has left them dangerously connected to the spirit world. Starring Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, Lin Shaye, Barbara Hershey and Ty Simpkins.
“Battle of the Year”: An American dance group wants to win an international dance tournament it hasn’t won in 15 years. Starring Josh Holloway, Laz Alonso.
“Prisoners”: A father’s 6-year-old daughter and her young friend are kidnapped. Knowing his child’s life is at stake, the frantic father takes matters into his own hands to save the girls. Starring Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Maria Bello, Terrance Howard.
“The Wizard of Oz”: The classic film gets an IMAX 3-D re-release for its 75th anniversary. Starring Judy Garland, Frank Morgan, Ray Bulger, Bert Lahr, Jack Haley and Margaret Hamilton.
“Rush”: Oscar-winning director Ron Howard’s latest film follows two drivers (Chris Hemsworth, Daniel Bruhl) as they push themselves to the breaking point of physical and psychological endurance on the Grand Prix racetrack.
“Baggage Claim”: Determined to get engaged before her sister’s wedding, a flight attendant (Paula Patton) finds herself with only 30 days to find a fiance.
“Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2”: In this animated sequel, an inventor who thought he destroyed his invention that turned water into food discovers it is now creating food-animals. Voiced by Bill Hader, Anna Faris and James Caan.
“Don Jon”: A handsome guy meets a bright, beautiful girl (Scarlett Johansson) who has old-fashioned expectations of the opposite sex. Joseph Gordon-Levitt serves as writer, director and star.
“Metallica Through The Never”: A young roadie (Dane DeHaan) is sent on an urgent mission during a Metallica concert.
“Gravity”: A medical engineer (Sandra Bullock) and a veteran astronaut (George Clooney) are tethered to each other and spiraling out into space after their shuttle is destroyed.
“Runner Runner”: A Princeton grad student (Justin Timberlake), believing he’s been swindled, travels to Costa Rica to confront an online gambling tycoon (Ben Affleck).
“Captain Phillips”: Oscar winner Tom Hanks stars in this true story about the 2009 hijacking of an American cargo ship by Somali pirates. Directed by Paul Greengrass.
“Machete Kills”: Ex-federal agent Machete is recruited by the President to take down a madman revolutionary and an eccentric billionaire arms dealer who has hatched a plan to spread war and anarchy. Starring Danny Trejo, Michelle Rodriguez and Sofia Vergara. Directed by Robert Rodriguez.
“Romeo & Juliet”: William Shakespeare’s classic tale of love is set in modern times. Starring Hailee Steinfeld, Douglas Booth.
“Carrie”: Remake of the classic horror tale about a shy girl (Chloe Grace Moretz) who is outcast by her peers and unleashes telekinetic terror at her senior prom.
“Escape Plan”: Deceived and wrongly imprisoned by authorities on structural security (Sylvester Stallone) recruits a fellow inmate (Arnold Schwarzenegger) to help escape.
“The Counselor”: Filmmaker Ridley Scott and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Cormac McCarthy join forces in this thriller about a respected lawyer’s dalliance with an illegal business deal that spirals out of control. Starring Michael Fassbender, Javier Bardem, Brad Pitt, Penelope Cruz and Cameron Diaz.
“Bad Grandpa”: An 86-year-old man (Johnny Knoxville) takes his 8-year-old Grandson on a journey across America. Starring Bam Margera, Steve-O, Jason Acuna.