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Fall from the inside of a movie theater

By Bert Ehrmann
2005-08-08 — As summer slowly burns the green grass of Indiana yellow, it's time to look ahead to the slate of movies due in theaters this fall. Generally, summer is a time for movies designed to lure the crowds into theaters (read mindless fun) whereas fall movies tend to be a bit more adult oriented (read "Oscar contention”).

On September 16 Syrina rolls into theaters and is the movie I'm most excited about this year. Syrina stars George Clooney and Matt Damon. Clooney plays CIA agent Robert Baer who spends years working in the CIA as funding is cut and terrorism goes on the rise worldwide leading to the attacks on America. Writer/director Gaghan also wrote Traffic (2000) ­ in my opinion one of the best movies of all time.

Then, on September 23 lighter fare when the animated Tim Burton's Corpse Bride is released, a take on an old Russian fable where Victor Van Dort (Johnny Depp) accidentally marries a dead woman as voiced by Helena Bonham Carter. The movie is animated in the style of The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993). I'm guessing that Tim Burton's Corpse Bride is one of those movies that will draw the kids into theaters, and then give them nightmares for the next decade.

On September 30 Lord of War is released, which follows Yuri Orlov (Nicolas Cage) as an arms dealer being tracked down by Interpol agent Jack Velentine (Ethan Hawke) while at the same time realizing that he's developed a conscience about "running guns." Writer/director Andrew Niccol is one of the most underrated directors in the business today. He wrote The Truman Show (1998), which essentially predicted our fascination with reality television, and both wrote and directed Gattaca (1997), which is probably an accurate look into our collective genetic futures. Lord of War has a "future-classic" tagline of, "First rule of gunrunning: never get shot with your own merchandise."

That same day Joss Whedon's Serenity comes out, based on the defunct television show Firefly (2002). In the Firefly/Serenity universe, the crew of a Firefly transport vessel does whatever it takes to keep their ship running, be it smuggling people or raiding a medical facility to plunder medicine. It's not that the crew is evil; it's just that they're not all that good. Often described as "a western in space," in Serenity, two of the members of the ship's crew are wanted by the military "Alliance" who will not stop in their search of these people.

Also released on the already crowded date of September 30 is Art School Confidential. A sort of sequel to Ghost World (2000), Art School Confidential follows Jerome (Max Minghella), an art student who discovers that he might not be as artistically gifted as he once suspected, while at the same time finding fame via a murder he did not commit. While I’ll admit that the plot line for this movie sounds a bit odd, I have high hopes for Art School Confidential since director Terry Zwigoff did an excellent job handling Ghost World and the interesting Bad Santa (2003).

October 14 sees the release of the remake to The Fog (1980). In the original, demonic forces come ashore shrouded within the nightly sea fog to terrorize a small seaside community. Reports from the set suggest that this time, the fog itself is a demonic force able to take the form of whatever it wants. The remake stars Tom Welling (Smallville) and Maggie Grace (Lost).

A bit closer to Halloween (October 28), Saw 2 is released into theaters. Coming almost exactly a year after the first Saw, Saw 2 picks up right where the first left off with the Jigsaw killer trapping his victims together and forcing them to kill each other. It stars Donnie Wahlberg (Boomtown). I would argue the filmmakers who made Saw initially wrote it as a treatment for a sequel to the movie Se7en (1995) and changed it a bit in order to call it their own.

Apparently, October is the month for horror movies, but not necessarily original horror movies.