They could have played it safe, but maybe there’s nothing to lose. With Hollywood coming out of its weakest box-office summer in two decades, the annual fall serious season is loaded with high-stakes gambles and unsure things. It’s as if the entire film industry had decided to lead with its chin and dare audiences to accept the unexpected. If ever a slate of movies had “PROVE IT” stamped on its forehead, this is it.
Are we ready for FDR as interpreted by Bill Murray in the lighthearted but essentially serious “Hyde Park on Hudson”? Can Tom Cruise convince us he’s “Jack Reacher,” the stoic action hero of Lee Childs’s best-selling thrillers? Can Tyler Perry convince us he’s “Alex Cross,” the dead-serious detective of James Patterson’s books? And will we buy Emma Watson (“The Perks of Being a Wallflower”) as anyone other than Hermione Granger?