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Autumn Sonatas
by Christopher Stone

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Is It Murder Most Foul or Suicide in HOLLYWOODLAND?

Is It Murder Most Foul or Suicide in HOLLYWOODLAND?
In music, a sonata is a composition most commonly consisting of three or four self-contained movements, varying in key, mood, and tempo.

At the box office, autumn brings a sonata of motion pictures: a variety of flicks that change key, mood, and tempo, keeping Match Flickers entertained, whatever their taste.

This time around, we're sampling the varied cinematic sonatas at the Fall box office.

HOLLYWOODLAND (September 8): SUPERMAN RETURNS again this fall. Well kind of, sort of. Early reviews indicate that this sonata noir hits all of the right notes when Adrien Brody, as gumshoe Louis Simo, investigates the suspicious suicide (?) of George Reeves, the real-life actor who played Superman on the popular 1950s' television series, still in syndication. Reviewers are already comparing HOLLYWOODLAND to noir classics CHINATOWN and L.A. CONFIDENTIAL.

JACKASS 2 (September 22): From the super to the silliest cinematic sonata. The box office can't get more lowbrow than this Johnny Knoxville sequel to the raunchy 2002 hit. If you pay for this one, expect violent humor and nudity that will make THE DUKES OF HAZZARD play like Shakespeare. Or you could just save your money and rent BEYOND THE VALLEY OF THE DOLLS.

ALL THE KING'S MEN (September 22): And now for something completely different. The antipode of the mindless JACKASS is this fresh adaptation of Robert Penn Warren's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, about a Govenor Huey Long-like, Louisiana politician, starring Sean Penn, Jude
THE PRESTIGE or just that Old Bat Magic?

THE PRESTIGE or just that Old Bat Magic?
Law, and Anthony Hopkins.

The mood, key and tempo change dramatically for October's Offerings.

FAST FOOD NATION (October 20): Documentary features have never been more popular. Nonetheless, filmmaker Richard Linklater has fictionalized author Eric Schlosser's 2001 nonfiction best seller about our addiction to Quarter Pounders and the like. The author claims it was his idea to toss his book in favor of a fictionalized story. Greg Kinnear, so brilliant in LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE, stars with Ethan Hawke, and THAT '70S SHOW vet Wilmer Valderrama. Slaughterhouse scenes that show the blood and gore behind the Big Mac will not be for the faint of heart.

49 UP (October 6): The documentary sequel is the rarest of box office breeds. Yet here it is. Filmmaker Michael Apted has been returning to this particular well every seven years since his 1964 landmark documentary SEVEN UP! About a diverse group of UK seven-year-olds. Now 49, the former child stars candidly speak about their lives, dreams, and documentary celebrity status.

In THE PRESTIGE (October 27): there are no slaughtered cows or aging
British Boomers, just a couple of professional magicians (Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman) milking applause with cheesy tricks. This testosterone-fueled sonata, Michael Caine and David Bowie also star, from MOMENTO director Christopher Nolan, comes to magical life in Victorian London.

The key, mood, and tempo change again in November when everything old is new again and then there's just the
CASINO ROYALE: Not Your Grandfather's James Bond

CASINO ROYALE: Not Your Grandfather's James Bond
fresh, and the funny.

CASINO ROYALE (November 17): gives us the box office's oldest living franchise, James Bond, in a 21st Century makeover. This is not your grandfather's 007! Gone are Pierce Brosnan, Q, and the over-the-top frills. This is a back to basics - and a blond - Bond. For this 21st 007 epic, MUNICH'S Daniel Craig dons the Bond mantle worn by everyone from Sean Connery to Brosnan over the past forty-something years.

FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION (November 17): They're at it again! Those lovable loonies who had us laughing uncontrollably in Christopher Guest's BEST IN SHOW and A MIGHTY WIND now cast the spotlight on a small indie movie, HOME FOR PURIM, that suddenly, unexplainably, generates Oscar buzz. Christopher Guest regulars Eugene Levy, Harry Shearer, Parker Posey, Michael McKean, and Catherine O'Hara, all participate in the director's latest fine madness.

VOLVER (November 3): From WOMEN ON THE VERGE OF A NERVOUS BREAKDOWN and BAD HABITS, to the more recent BAD EDUCATION and HIGH HEELS, Spain's Pedro Almodovar has proven over and again that he is among his generation's most interesting and innovative filmmakers. His autumn sonata is VOLVER, already a Cannes Film Festival winner for Penelope Cruz and four other actresses in this dark opus about a woman who murders her husband , then discovers that her long-dead mother has returned from the grave.

Whatever the desired genre, key, mood, and tempo, Match Flickers will find one or more fall films that's music to their ears.

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The Business of Show
Every other Friday

Does advertising, public taste, or overindulged stars determine a movie's box office fate? Christoper Stone explores what's going on behind the box office.

Other Columns
Other columns by Christopher Stone:

The Cautionary Box-Office

Box-Office Holiday Season Heads Up. Part Two

Box-Office Holiday Season Heads Up, Part 1

Quality Is Independent

Oh, the Horror!

All Columns

Christopher Stone
Christopher Stone is the author of the international best seller Re-Creating Your Self. With Mary Sheldon, he co-authored three highly successful hardcover books of guided meditations.

He is a member of the Writers Guild of America, West.

If you have a comment, question, or suggestion, you can send a message to Christopher Stone by clicking here.

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