Film

The PopMatters Fall Movie Preview: A Season of Musts

Bill Gibron

PopMatters provides a pertinent point of reference to all the upcoming cinematic sprawl. Instead of giving just a basic breakdown on all the movies in the mix, we've decided to offer a little well-considered guidance too.

Okay fall, you've definitely got your work cut out for you. After a less than impressive spring at the Cineplex, and an equally sloppy summer full of subpar product, it's all up to you. Your task this year is even more daunting than in the past. Usually we film fans rely on you to provide the window into cinema's artistic soul; to prove that the previous months of ineffectual flops, overdone eye candy and pleasing popcorn fodder actually add up to something substantive in the overall milieu. But this time around, you have the added prospect of saving the entire year from being one big fat bust. Oh sure, the so-called 'slump' has long since vanished, the effect of Mel Gibson and his Passion being resigned now to a more contentious, racial arena. But nothing released in 2006 has really gone on to spur the imagination and capture to cultural consciousness the way Batman Begins did in 2005, or Fahrenheit 9/11 the year before. Even the overwhelming response to the Pirates of the Caribbean sequel was weighed out against the critical yawn over the film's effectiveness. When making money is no longer a sign of a movie's major viability, you know you're in some manner of trouble.

So there you have it, fall season. Between now and 31 December, you will offer up hundreds of films. Some will be backed by major studios and feature above the marquee stars. Others will be helmed by indie minded individuals hoping to sneak one by the bean counters. A few will play in limited engagements, hoping to generate a little end of the year awards worth before moving on to a wider winter release. Others will simply play their motion picture hand all at once, hoping to lance financial lightning and consumer confidence with such an all or nothing strategy. The fall film season is indeed an odd combination of summer's commercial concerns and Oscar aesthetic mandates. And now this time around it has to, nay MUST, make up for Superman's substandard performance, V for Vendetta's lack of electricity and United 93's avoidance by audiences. With this Fall Movie Preview, PopMatters provides a pertinent point of reference to all the upcoming cinematic sprawl. Instead of giving just a basic breakdown on all the movies in the mix, we've decided to offer a little well-considered guidance too. In this Season of Musts, there are definitely films that you Must See, a few that you Must Wait on, a few that you Must Rent and a callous couple that one Must Avoid at all costs. With over 64 titles considered, this list is barely comprehensive, and someone's own Must See may be missing from consideration.

But this is no longer personal, people. The Fall must make up for a previously mediocre eight months at the movies. Starting with September, here's what's at stake for the rest of 2006:


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