Fall 2008 Movie Preview

Bill Maher pontificates at the Vatican City in Religulous (©2008 Lionsgate).

It’s been an outstanding summer filled with large and truly thrilling event-pictures (The Dark Knight, Iron Man), brash and uproarious comedies (Tropic Thunder, Pineapple Express) and incandescent, unclassifiable films (Wall-E and Man on Wire). Then came the annual trash swamp of late August and early September, complete with an obligatory Nic Cage movie, and going to the movies seemed extremely lame for a couple of weeks. But now the weather’s turning, the prestige films are lined out, and it should prove to be a rewarding season with a few really exciting films. Let’s take a look.

October 3: Religulous

Borat and Curb Your Enthusiasm director Larry Charles teams up with Bill Maher for what looks like an uproariously funny expose of faith and religion. Sure to offend and provoke, this may be the film I’m most psyched about.

October 10: Body of Lies

Ridley Scott goes a third round with Russell Crowe (who, though a bore, is a hell of an actor) and Leo DiCaprio in a CIA, trust-no-one paranoia romp. Last year’s American Gangster was a nice return to form, and this one could be a new espionage classic.

October 17: W.

The big one: Oliver Stone’s biopic of our sitting president. W. boasts a stellar cast (Richard Dreyfus as Dick Cheney, um, yeah!) and the potential for a truly redemptive comeback for Stone. It could be a disaster or a masterpiece, but I’m there opening night either way.

November 14: Quantum of Solace

Despite the baffling, terrible title, the sequel to 2006’s sublime Casino Royale looks like the action hit of the fall. Marc Foster is a somewhat overrated and pretentious director, but a Bond flick might be just what’s in order for him to trim the fat.

November 28: The Road

Very, very high expectations for this one. The Coen Brothers’ adaptation of No Country for Old Men was one the best literary adaptations I’ve ever seen. The Road is a far superior novel, and while director John Hillcoat can’t match the genius of the Coens, he did make the brutal and affecting The Proposition. Plus, The Road’s got the great Viggo Mortensen and it’s filmed in Pennsylvania, a very apocalyptic place.

December 19: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

David Fincher emerged as a superb craftsman with the glistening and extremely underrated Zodiac. Now he takes on an F. Scott Fitzgerald story about a man who ages in reverse. The previews look beautiful and haunting, and it stars a promising duo of Cate Blanchett and Brad Pitt.

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