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Clooney, and Muppets, and Rum, oh my! While there's always something for everyone at the movies, the coming four months appear to hold even more "something"—celebrated swashbucklers buckle anew; Shakespeare's canon is again called into question (Francis Bacon, anyone?); we spy a classic espionage novel; a Tony-Award winning play hits the screen; Jung and Freud compare notes. And for the younger set: a beloved aardvark, a feline with footgear, vivacious chipmunks, Oscar-winning penguins, etc. As for that opening trio, above: Clooney is George, starring in December's The Descendants; the Muppets are the Muppets, starring in a new vehicle; Rum is Hunter Thompson's The Rum Diary, arriving onscreen in October.

SEPT.
DRIVE
Starring Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston
Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn
Release date September 16 (FilmDistrict, wide)
Tie-in from Mariner Books: Drive by James Sallis (Sept. 13, trade paper, 100,000 copies)
The season launches with a starry trio, including Oscar- and Golden Globe–nominated Gosling, now canoodling with Julianne Moore in Crazy, Stupid, Love. Mulligan's no slouch, either, with awards galore (and an Oscar nomination) for her knockout performance in 2009's An Education. And though Cranston's done yeoman work in movies and TV (a 1989 Baywatch episode, anyone?), he really hit his marks in 2008's Breaking Bad series, for which he earned three consecutive Emmys as drug-manufacturing dad Walter White. And did we mention that Refn won best director at this year's Cannes Film Festival?

I DON'T KNOW HOW SHE DOES IT
Starring Sarah Jessica Parker, Christina Hendricks, Pierce Brosnan
Directed by Douglas McGrath
Release date September 16 (the Weinstein Company, wide)
Tie-in from Anchor Books: I Don't Know How She Does It by Allison Pearson (Aug. 16, trade paper, 150,000 copies)
This interesting cast also includes Kelsey Grammer, Greg Kinnear, and Seth Meyers. On the distaff side, Mad Men fans will recognize Hendricks's eye-popping figure from her role as Joan, the show's titian-haired vixen. And viewers can hope that Parker fares better than recently: last year's Sex and the City 2 was a bona fide bomb and of her 2009 turn in Did You Hear About the Morgans? Time said, "The movie is like a car wreck in which no one is injured but the onlookers." PW loved Pearson's "scintillating" debut: "as a hilarious and sometimes poignant update on contemporary women in the workplace, it's the book to beat."

HEADHUNTERS
Starring Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Aksel Hennie, Julie R. Ølgaard
Directed by Morten Tyldum
Release date TBA (Magnolia Pictures, limited)
Tie-in from Vintage Crime/Black Lizard: Headhunters by Jo Nesbø (Sept. 16, trade paper, 40,000 copies)
Before he melted from the heat, Nesbø's Snowman enjoyed a seven-week run on our Fiction list. Among the novel's stellar reviews was PW's: "Nesbø breathes new life into the serial killer subgenre, giving it a Norwegian twist and never losing his laconic hero in the process." According to a May Hollywood Reporter story about Tinseltown pursuing Scandinavian authors, "Nesbø doesn't like the [Stieg] Larsson tag, but the link hasn't hurt Headhunters, which had its market premiere in Cannes on Monday. Magnolia bought U.S. rights for the story of a corporate headhunter and secret art thief after seeing a five-minute promo in Berlin in February."

KILLER ELITE
Starring Robert DeNiro, Clive Owen, Jason Statham
Directed by Gary McKendry
Release date September 23 (Omnilab/Open Road, wide)
Tie-in from Ballantine: Killer Elite by Ranulph Fiennes (Sept. 6, mass market)
According to a recent London Telegraph story, Sir Ranulph Twisleton-Wykeham-Fiennes (third cousin to actors Ralph and Joseph) has discovered among his ancestors a regicide, a royal adulterer, and a knight who can be seen in the Bayeux Tapestry. Little wonder, then, that his novel, inspired by real-life events, centers on a private team of British vigilantes that sets out to eliminate a gang of cold-blooded contract killers.

DOLPHIN TALE
Starring Morgan Freeman, Ashley Judd, Harry Connick Jr.
Directed by Charles Martin Smith
Release date September 23 (Warner Bros., wide)
Tie-ins from Scholastic: a paperback picture book, Dolphin Tale: A Tale of True Friendship, and a junior novel (all in Aug.)
Winter the dolphin—who lost her tail in a crab trap, was fitted with a prosthetic tail and currently lives at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium in Florida—stars in this fictionalized account of her story. Nathan Gamble plays a boy who befriends Winter, with Freeman as the scientist who creates her prosthetic. Young readers were previously introduced to Winter in the 2009 picture book Winter's Tail by Craig, Julianna, and Isabella Hatkoff, which Scholastic has just issued in paperback.

WHAT'S YOUR NUMBER?
Starring Chris Evans, Anna Faris, Joel McHale
Directed by Mark Mylod
Release date September 30 (20th Century Fox, wide)
Tie-in from Harper Paperbacks: What's Your Number? by Karyn Bosnak (Sept. 6, trade paper, 25,000 copies)
Captain America rides again, as Evans follows up with star turn #2. Author Bosnak got the idea for her book—originally titled 20 Times a Lady—after reading a New York Post article that said the average woman has 10.5 sexual partners in her lifetime. She thought the number seemed low, and started writing outlines and proposals in 2003—eight years from idea to book to movie. According to the publisher, Bosnak was so late turning in her manuscript that her editor locked her in an office until she finished.


OCT.
REAL STEEL
Starring Hugh Jackman, Evangeline Lilly, Kevin Durand
Directed by Shawn Levy
Release date October 7 (DreamWorks Studios, wide)
Tie-in from Tor: Steel and Other Stories by Richard Matheson (Sept. 27, trade paper, 150,000 copies; Oct. 4, mass market)
The star of this robo-boxing flick needs no intro to movie- and theater-goers, and both Lilly and Durand are familiar TV names from their roles in TV's Lost. (Durand also appeared with Jackman in the 2009 box office moneymaker Wolverine.) Director Levy switches gears (it's a robot movie, get it?) from such comedic efforts as Date Night, Night at the Museum, and two Steve Martin remakes—Cheaper by the Dozen and The Pink Panther. (His daughter Tess was in Museum and has an uncredited role in Steel.)

THE THREE MUSKETEERS
Starring Orlando Bloom, Christoph Waltz, Milla Jovovich
Directed by Paul W.S. Anderson
Release date October 14 (Summit Entertainment, wide)
Tie-in from Penguin: The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas (Sept. 14, trade paper)
There's a nice symmetry in this remake: Three Musketeers shot entirely in 3-D—and, appropriately, in France. We can't think of a literary classic that's had more screen time; IMDb.com lists eight versions, dating back to 1921—an interpretation that starred the greatest swashbuckler of them all, Douglas Fairbanks. The most recent, back in 1993, starred Tim Curry and Chris O'Donnell as Cardinal Richelieu and D'Artagnan; the three valiant cavaliers were Kiefer Sutherland, Oliver Platt, and Charlie Sheen. (Yes, you read that right: insert your joke here.) Other renditions include a 1933 "modernization" that featured John Wayne and Lon Chaney Jr.; a 1987 TV series; a 2004 video starring Mickey, Donald, and Goofy; and other, er, unusual depictions.

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