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The films of fall

My big fat fall movie preview ran in today's paper, an indicator that vacation time is over and my workload is about to triple. Not that I'm complaining, mind you.

The list looks pretty good on paper, as it usually does around this time of year. But here are the three fall movies (aside from No Country For Old Men, which I've already written about) I'm betting will not disappoint:

Funnygames  A friend who stumbled upon a test screening of Funny Games a few weeks ago tells me Michael Haneke most certainly has not sold out. Unlike other Hollywood remakes of foreign-language films made by their original directors, the English-language Funny Games remains as devastating and uncompromising as the original. It also appears to be practically identical to the first film, so if you haven't seen it, I'd urge you to wait for the new one. (Oct. 26)

Americangangster2 One of director Ridley Scott's greatest talents as a filmmaker, no matter what genre he happens to be working in, is creating beautifully realized worlds to accompany his stories. I'm looking forward to seeing Scott's take on 1970s New York in American Gangster, and I trust Denzel Washington (as a drug kingpin) and Russell Crowe (as the cop on his trail) to more than hold their own against Scott's visual style. (Nov. 3)

Themist1 Most Stephen King novels require a considerable amount of tinkering in order to make good films. But The Mist, which is based on King's novella about a mist that harbors all kinds of tentacled creatures, should make for a fantastic horror romp, because the bulk of it centers on a group of people trapped in a supermarket under siege by monsters. The simplicity of that premise - along with the presence of writer-director Frank Darabont - should make for a great B-movie. (Nov. 21)


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