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Hunting for fall gems

The summer blockbusters have come and gone without leaving a mark. It is time again for the fall movie releases to hit a theater near you. As always, the fall movies begin to generate Oscar buzz and this year is no exception.

With many directors coming out of the woodwork and some producing follow-up films, the fall looks promising for all interested in great storytelling. Be prepared, though, all the films this fall aren't as wonderful as one would hope.

The Cohen Brothers' "The Man Who Wasn't There," opens Nov. 9. This follow-up to "O Brother Where Art Thou," is one film that must not be missed. Set in the summer of 1949, the film follows the story of Ed Crane, a barber, played by Billy Bob Thornton, who is dissatisfied with his life and willing to do anything to change it. His wife Doris, played by Frances McDormand, presents Ed with a blackmail scheme that she thinks will help him change his life.

As the plan begins to unravel, dark secrets begin to surface, leading to murder. "The Man Who Wasn't There" is a gripping story of crime and passion shot in beautiful black and white.

"Riding In Cars With Boys" is director Penny Marshall's latest venture. It takes place during the span of 20 years - beginning in the 1960s when Beverly Donofrio, played by Drew Barrymore, comes of age at 15. "Riding In Cars With Boys" is based on Donofrio's true story and revolves around her struggles with motherhood and her attempts to make something of herself. "Riding In Cars With Boys," opening on Oct. 19, is a drama-comedy that is sure to stir emotions

"Not Another Teen Movie," opening Dec. 14, is just another waste of money by the big-wigs at Columbia Pictures. It skewers all the teen movies, just as "Scary Movie" did to all the recent horror films. With a bunch of no-names filling the cast, there is one actor who is invariably close to our hearts - Mr. T. The film doesn't have its own plot, but rather satirically recycles all the other teen movies that have come out in the past years. Spend your money on something else and maybe this genre will fall through the cracks.

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David Lynch has a reputation for mystery and an eclectic range of characters and his latest film, "Mulholland Dr.," is no exception. Initially proposed as a television series on ABC as a follow-up to "Twin Peaks," Lynch decided to take this to the big screen, which opens on Oct. 12, to our benefit. The feature film format has given Lynch more control and he has definitely let the reins down on this love story set in the metropolis of Hollywood - the city of dreams. If you see one film this fall, make sure to catch Lynch playing his usual tricks.

On Oct. 19, we can see Johnny Depp and Heather Graham star in the Hughes brother's film "From Hell." Based on the comic book series "From Hell," the film puts a psychological spin on the legend of Jack the Ripper. Depp finds himself in the middle of a conspiracy involving the highest powers in England while simultaneously investigating the murders of Jack the Ripper. "From Hell" is worth the matinee price, but no more.

In an uncharacteristic dramatic turn, Will Smith stars as the one and only Cassius Clay, in Michael Mann's highly anticipated "Ali." Rumors have it that Smith spent two years preparing for the role, which is a biopic of one of the world's most intriguing and prolific athletes ever. This film has already attracted a steady buzz of Oscar speculation, but we have to wait until its release on Dec. 7 to see if it can live up to the hype.

The fall is nothing like the summer. The weather begins to change and the films are much better. There is a lot to choose from, but the gems are hidden, so be sure you choose wisely and find a film that won't leave you feeling empty after two hours. Go to the movies as an experience rather than a place to waste time.

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