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"The Kingdom"
Warner Bros.
Jennifer Garner, Ali Suliman, Jamie Foxx and Chris Cooper must solve a murder mystery in Saudi Arabia in "The Kingdom."
By Movies editor
msnbc.com
updated 8/22/2007 7:40:21 PM ET 2007-08-22T23:40:21

Why do great actors like Russell Crowe and Clive Owen do action films? Well, if you had the chance to be paid the big bucks to look like a complete bad ass, wouldn’t you? Yes, some of the themes are serious, but with a great action film, you never lose the sense that priority No. 1 for the stars is having a great time playing shoot ’em up. 

“The Kingdom”
Starring:
Jamie Foxx, Chris Cooper, Jennifer Garner, Jason Bateman, Jeremy Piven, Danny Huston, Richard Jenkins
Director: Peter Berg
Story: When an American facility is bombed in Saudi Arabia, Special Agent Ronald Fluery (Foxx) is chosen to lead an elite team of FBI agents (Cooper, Garner, Bateman) to investigate. In Saudi Arabia, the labyrinth of dirty politics makes the investigation almost impossible. Finally, a sympathetic Saudi helps the team track their way to the true perpetrators.  
Buzz: This film was moved to September from August because positive audience-test screenings led the studio to believe the film might get some award consideration. Director Berg (“Friday Night Lights”) isn’t afraid of brutal violence (see “Very Bad Things”). Chris Cooper (“Breach,” “The Bourne Ultimatum”) is the most likely player to get noticed at Oscar time — the man knows how to steal a scene.
Web site:http://www.thekingdommovie.com/
Release date: Sept. 28

“3:10 to Yuma”

Lionsgate

Starring: Russell Crowe, Christian Bale, Logan Lerman, Dallas Roberts, Ben Foster, Peter Fonda, Vinessa Shaw, Alan Tudyk, Luce Rains, Gretchen Mol
Director: James Mangold
Story: Based on an early Elmore Leonard story, this film is a remake of the 1957 Western that starred Glenn Ford and Van Heflin. Set in the 1880s, it tells the story of outlaw Ben Wade (Crowe), who leads a gang of murderers and thieves. When Wade is captured, a group of townspeople, including Civil War veteran Dan Evans (Bale), volunteer to take him to the 3:10 train to Yuma, where he will be tried. But will they make it to the train before Wade’s gang catches up?
Buzz: The original film is one of the classic Westerns, so it will be interesting to see if director Mangold (“Walk the Line)” can improve on it. At Comic-Con, co-star Fonda told IGN.com “(Mangold has) improved on the story, he’s improved on the aspects of all the personalities involved. He’s made deeper characters out of this script.”
Web site:http://www.310toyumathefilm.com/
Release date: Sept. 7

“Shoot ‘Em Up”

New Line Cinema

Starring: Clive Owen, Paul Giamatti, Monica Bellucci, Greg Bryk, Chris Jericho, Stephen McHattie, Jane McLean, Daniel Pilon
Director: Michael Davis
Story: Owen stars as a mysterious loner who happens to save Bellucci and her newborn baby. When an army of gunmen led by Mr. Hertz (Giamatti) comes after Bellucci and the baby, it’s up to Owen to get back on the case to protect them.
Buzz: Director Davis (“100 Girls”) counts John Woo among his influences for this film. At this year’s Comic-Con, Owen told IGN.com, “(Davis) has been waiting to make this movie for seven years and it was like if the guy didn’t make the film he was going to explode. It was like he was bursting, and I walked out of that meeting and I called my agent and I said, ‘This guy will pull it off.’”
Web site:http://www.shootemupmovie.com/
Release date: Sept. 7

“The Hunting Party”

MGM, The Weinstein Company

Starring: Richard Gere, Terrence Howard, Jessie Eisenberg, James Brolin, Diane Kruger, Joy Bryant
Director: Richard Shepard
Story: TV reporter Simon Hunt (Gere) and cameraman Duck (Howard) have worked war zones from Iraq to El Salvador. But one day, while covering the war in Bosnia, Hunt has a meltdown. Duck gets promoted and Hunt disappears. Five years later Huntcomes back to cover the anniversary of the end of the war in Bosnia with a young reporter (“The Squid and the Whale” star Eisenberg), and promises Duck an exclusive interview with notorious war criminal “the Fox” (Ljubomir Kerekes). The three men embark on a dangerous journey.
Buzz: This film is based on an article that appeared in Esquire magazine. Director Shepard (“The Matador”) told Ain’t It Cool News, “I wanted to do a thriller set in a post-war environment, sort of along the lines of ‘The Third Man.’” The film is a mix of action, drama and even some humor. Shepard told AICN that he “found a lot of dark humor in the fact that the world says they want to catch these war criminals, but like our ‘hunt’ for Osama Bin Laden, don’t do a lot about it.”
Web site:http://www.thehuntingpartymovie.com/
Release date: Sept. 7

“The Seeker: The Dark is Rising”

"The Seeker: The Dark Is Rising"
20th Century Fox

Starring: Ian McShane, Frances Conroy, Christopher Eccleston, Alexander Ludwig, Jonathan Jackson, Amelia Warner, Gregory Smith
Director: David L. Cunningham
Story: Based on the second book of the fantasy novels by Susan Cooper, the film tells the story of 13-year-old Will Stanton (Ludwig) who learns that he is the last of a group of warriors who have dedicated their lives to fighting the dark forces. Merriman Lyon (McShane) is a strange magician who helps Will become aware of his powers and his ability to travel back and forth in time. Eccleston plays The Rider, one of the free-roaming lords of the dark.
Buzz: Director Cunningham (“The Path to 9/11”) told IGN.com, “Our goal has been to try and make this story more accessible to today’s audience.” He enlisted the help of screenwriter John Hodge (“Trainspotting”) to help give the movie more of a contemporary feel. Cunningham told IGN.com that he want the film to feel “like it’s happening to someone you would know and recognize and understand.” Looks like “Deadwood” fans will have to wait for those promised HBO movies that will finish out that series. Here’s hoping McShane signs on soon.
Web site: NA
Release date: Oct. 5

“Hitman”

20th Century Fox

Starring: Timothy Olyphant, Dougray Scott, Olga Kurylenko, Robert Knepper, Ulrich Thomsen, Michael Offei
Director: Xavier Gens
Story: Based on the video game of the same name, the film tells the story of Agent 47 (Olyphant), a gunman who is hired to take out targets for cash. But the hunter becomes the hunted as Interpol and the Russian military pursue him while he makes his way across Eastern Europe.
Buzz: Fans of the game, take note: Director Gens told Gamestar “I wanted really true and dirty violence — from splashing blood to broken arms.” He didn’t have any interest in making a PG-13 movie. “I told them I didn’t want to make another ‘Resident Evil’ or ‘Silent Hill,’” he told Gamestar. “To make it fit the game, there’d have to be more violence.”
Web site:http://www.hitmanmovie.com/
Release date: Oct. 12

“D-War (Dragon Wars)”

Freestyle Releasing

Starring: Jason Behr, Amanda Brooks, Robert Forster, Aimee Garcia, Craig Robinson
Director: Hyung-rae Shim
Story: A TV news reporter (Behr) who has been exposed to the spirits of an ancient Korean warrior must battle an army of giant serpents that descend on Los Angeles. He realizes that a girl (Brooks) with a mysterious illness must help him save the city.
Buzz: Variety’s Derek Elley summarized the movie this way, “Bad-mutha Korean serpents trash downtown L.A. in English-language monsterfest ‘D-War,’ a feast of A-grade F/X married to a Z-grade, irony-free script.”
Web site:http://www.d-war.com/
Release date: Sept. 14

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