Summer roller coaster rides aside, fall is the most exciting time for movie buffs. Movies get more serious; the running times increse, and you begin to see more biopics, more 'based on a novel by' credits and more reverent-looking movie trailers. Which middlebrow films will be slathered in awards, and which films will be ignored masterpieces? I know there's at least one out there that could be a life-changing event; here are three possibilities:
The Black Dahlia -- I'm cheating a bit here, because I've already seen this and consider it one of the year's best films. Based on James Ellroy's novel, it won't get nearly as much love as L.A. Confidential did, what with its strikingly literate script and dazzling cast, but Brian De Palma's lurid, obsessive vision goes into darker, snakier places than Curtis Hanson would ever dare dream of. Josh Hartnett and Aaron Eckhart co-star as ex-boxers turned cops who investigate the case of a murdered would-be starlet (Mia Kirshner). Scarlett Johansson plays the woman who comes between them.
Bug -- Reports from Cannes indicate that this new film by Oscar-winner William Friedkin marks a return to form (though for a few of us, he's never really been away). Lionsgate is choosing to market the film as a thriller, but it sounds quite a bit more complex than that. Based on a play by Tracy Letts, Ashley Judd stars as Agnes, a melancholy bartender who meets up with a creepy ex-soldier (Michael Shannon, who played the role on stage) in a deserted hotel room. Bugs that may or may not be real begin burrowing under their skin. Harry Connick Jr. co-stars as Agnes' volatile ex-husband.