The fall's 30 must-see films

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The fall's 30 must-see films

Devil (September 17)
Several big-city business types are stuck in an elevator with Satan. This clever B-flick concept comes "from the mind of M. Night Shyamalan" (the onscreen producer's credit that's been getting boos wherever the trailer plays). It still looks like a good, old-fashioned scarefest.---KU

Devil (September 17)
Several big-city business types are stuck in an elevator with Satan. This clever B-flick concept comes "from the mind of M. Night Shyamalan" (the onscreen producer's credit that's been getting boos wherever the trailer plays). It still looks like a good, old-fashioned scarefest.---KU

Easy A (September 17)
You've seen her in The House Bunny---she's the spunky, whip-smart redhead who seems to have picked up where Lindsay Lohan dropped her career. Her name is Emma Stone and this high-school comedy, a sly, updated variation of The Scarlet Letter, is her Mean Girls.---JR

I'm Still Here (September 17)
Let's say you're one of the best actors of your generation. What's left to do but grow a beard, go catatonic on a talk show and kick-start a hip-hop career? Debuting director Casey Affleck goes vrit on his friend and brother-in-law Joaquin Phoenix, offering a behind-the-scenes look at the performer's lost year. We are so there.---DF

The Temptation of St. Tony (September 17)
Finally, it's the absurdist Estonian black comedy that you've been waiting for. Veiko Ounpuu's bone-dry slab of B&W surrealism focuses on a civil servant having a mid-life crisis. Meanwhile, cars crash into funeral processions and Denis Lavant shows up as a lounge lizard. Then things get really weird.---DF

The Town (September 17)
He may still get shit about that whole Bennifer thing, but Ben Affleck's directorial follow-up to 2007's Gone Baby Gone proves that his career behind the camera isn't some dilettantish hobby. This time, he drops us in to the insular world of Beantown bank robbers; Affleck plays a career criminal who bonds with comely witness Rebecca Hall.---DF

You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger (September 22)
Another change of season, another Woody Allen film, but this one's got some eye-catching elements. It's set in Britain and follows Anthony Hopkins, Naomi Watts, Josh Brolin and Antonio Banderas through some intertwining romantic roundelays with a psychic twist! Hey, it's got to be better than Whatever Works.---KU

Buried (September 24)
Playing an unfortunate, Iraq-based contractor, Ryan Reynolds is interred in a coffin with only 90 minutes of air, a pen, a knife and a cell phone; we're agog at how such a high-concept plot manages to stay visually interesting. Our inner screenwriter is salivating.---JR

Howl (September 24)
James Franco embodies Beat generation poet Allen Ginsberg who's put on trial after writing the eponymous incendiary poem. This promises to be a pretty unconventional biopic with its animated interludes, mix of film stocks and documentarian pedigree (codirectors Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman helmed the queer nonfiction staple The Celluloid Closet).---KU

Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole (September 24)
Zack Snyder trades in damaged superheroes and growly Spartan beefcake for heroic Aussie owls. The footage from his animated children's book adaptation looks stunning, and we're suckers for a good fantasy quest. The voice cast---Hugo Weaving, Helen Mirren---is equally promising.---KU

New York Film Festival (September 24--October 10)
It looks to be an eclectic year for NYC's premier film festival, which has a nice mix of Hollywood elite (Eastwood, Fincher) and auteurist mainstays (Kiarostami, Godard). Two we're really excited about: Kelly Reichardt's Meek's Cutoff and Apichatpong Weerasethakul's Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives.---KU

 

 

Waiting for "Superman" (September 24)
The hype machine is at full crank on this education-system expos, a Sundance documentary that explores (in micro and macro) the failings of America's public schools. Director Davis Guggenheim (An Inconvenient Truth) isn't really known for offering creative solutions, but his subject matter is important.---JR

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (September 24)
Oliver Stone's sequel to his influential '80s business drama catches up with disgraced tycoon Gordon Gecko (Michael Douglas), butting heads with son-in-law Shia LaBeouf and trying to make up with estranged daughter Carey Mulligan. But we're really jonesing for the Charlie Sheen cameo.---KU

The Heist Film Festival (October 1--21)
That's right: Film Forum programs three weeks of the best caper flicks from here to the French Riviera. You get everything from Western riffs (Vera Cruz) to cool-as-le-cucumber foreign films (Le Cercle Rouge), old standbys (Rififi) and nouveau classics (Thief). It's a foolproof plan.---DF

Let Me In (October 1)
Why redo 2008's Swedish horror flick Let the Right One In? A better question: How do you pull off an American version that isn't superfluous? You get a director like Matt Reeves (Cloverfield) who knows how to conjure dread, and you cast Kick-Ass's Chloe Moretz as the underage vampire.---DF

The Social Network (October 1)
Scored to a choral version of Radiohead's "Creep," the ominous trailer has set Web geeks ablaze---and inspired a raft of mocking parodies. (Have a look on YouTube.) Director David Fincher should take the teasing in stride: If there's one must-see movie this fall, it's his Sorkin-scripted founding-of-Facebook dramatization, already being whispered about as a new Network.---JR

It's Kind of a Funny Story (October 8)
A young man (Keir Gilchrist) is institutionalized after a suicide attempt.... That doesn't sound funny at all. But take heart: Zach Galifianakis (The Hangover) plays his kooky, McMurphyesque mentor? That's more like it. The fact that Sugar's Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden are directing this poignant drama only sweetens the deal.---DF

Carlos (October 15)
Though you might hate us, we simply must recommend Olivier Assayas's five-and-half-hour-long dramatization of the life of notorious terrorist Carols the Jackal (dgar Ramrez). It's not the colossal length that will knock you out, so much as the movie's beautifully balanced blend of action, pathos and politics---Spielberg's Munich combined with Boogie Nights.---JR

Jackass 3-D (October 15)
Shockingly, none of the members of the MTV-spawned stunt show have lost their lives---this, after ten years of committed idiocy involving fireworks, golf carts, undomesticated animals and falls from great heights. The concept is perfect for 3-D, and we'll be there just to giggle ourselves silly.---JR

Red (October 15)
Check out this cast: Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich, Helen Mirren, all of 'em AARP-eligible assassins who come violently out of retirement. Our hope is that they'll bring the comic-book movie a touch of class---a more cultured Expendables, perhaps?---KU

Hereafter (October 22)
Clint Eastwood has directed Westerns, pulp-lit adaptations, biopics, weepie melodramas, war films (including one in Japanese) and goofy comedies---basically, everything but a supernatural thriller. Not anymore: This spooky potboiler follows three characters---including working-class stiff Matt Damon---who're haunted by an unexplained phenomenon.---DF  

 

Paranormal Activity 2 (October 22)
Little is certain about the sequel (prequel?) to last year's supernatural sensation---except for the fact that a first movie so ridiculously successful must be followed up somehow. Let's hope more money doesn't spoil the bare-bones aesthetic; we'd hate to have to give up the ghost.---JR

Amer (October 29)
Borrowing the vocabulary of pulp-crime giallos---oversaturated color, voyeuristic first-person shots---Hlne Cattet and Bruno Forzani's creepshow follows a young woman negotiating several generations of predatory males. It's the most exciting Italian film in ages; who thought feminist essays could be so erotic, or formalist exercises so exhilarating?---DF

Psycho (October 29 at Film Forum)
The granddaddy of all slasher films still shocks to this day (it is to showers what Jaws is to oceans). We're excited to catch it on the big screen in honor of its golden anniversary, though our mothers refuse to go with us.---KU

Saw 3-D (October 29)
Pesky serial killer Jigsaw returns for the promised (really promised) final installment of the horror franchise, and he's going out with an extra-dimensional bang. We're gonna miss those crazy Rube Goldbergian traps, but at least this farewell allows us to bask in some fourth-wall breaking.---KU

Wild Target (October 29)
Emily Blunt, still our favorite accessory in The Devil Wears Prada, plays the title role: a crafty, impulsive con artist who outfoxes a hired assassin (embodied, with delicious unlikelihood, by Bill Nighy). Our A Fish Called Wanda meter just sprang into the red.---JR

Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer (November 5)
Documentarian Alex Gibney does for the NYC politician what he did for Abu Ghraib guards (Taxi to the Dark Side) and Hunter S. Thompson (Gonzo): He crafts an intimate, well-researched portrait while contextualizing the big-picture world around him. Prepare yourselves for inside scoops, backbiting testimonies---and lots of dirty talk.---DF

Due Date (November 5)
Despite crossing over into obnoxiousness with Iron Man 2, Robert Downey Jr. still has our robust endorsement as the most riveting motormouth of his generation. Pair him with Zach Galifianakis in a road movie directed by the guy who made The Hangover, and you have yourself a done deal.---JR

Megamind (November 5)
It's the identity crisis every supervillian fears: If I conquer my archenemy---say, a dashing caped crusader who sounds like Brad Pitt---is my life worth living? Something tells us this animated kids movie will resolve its existential angst before the end credits. Will Ferrell voices the titular big-domed bad guy.---DF

Raging Bull (November 5 at Film Forum)
It may be, after all these years, Martin Scorsese's finest moment---but pity the person who'd have to choose just one. A new 35mm print arrives in tribute to the boxing classic's 30th anniversary; take the opportunity to weather Robert De Niro's blood, sweat and tears.---JR

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I (November 19)
The boy wizard's adventures continue in the penultimate installment of the popular franchise. It looks to be a impressively angst-ridden affair, hopefully closer in tone to the stellar third entry than any of the instantly disposable others.---KU

 

 

By: David Fear, Joshua Rothkopf and Keith Uhlich

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