Fun with Popcorn

Fall films contain plenty of highlights


It’s an avant-garde all-stars game this fall as the cinema scene sees new movies by the late Raoul Ruiz, Lars von Trier, Pedro Almodovar, Steven Soderbergh and Gus Van Sant. Tarsem Singh, the gilded, berserk post-Michael Powell fantasy-maker that he is, directs ‘Immortals’ (Nov. 11), an art deco tale of ancient Theseus and the minotaur. Ruiz’s perfumed, voluptuous ‘Mysteries of Lisbon’ (fall) should be a remarkable sign-off from a protean talent.

October is packed with film festivals: the Mill Valley Film Festival (Oct. 6&–11) will have its schedule announced Sept. 13, the day before the Santa Rosa Film Festival opens (Sept. 14&–20) and a month before the Sonoma County Jewish Film Festival (Oct. 18).

October coincides with the World Series, which makes the release of ‘Moneyball’ (Sept. 23) timely.

Meanwhile . . . cancer? We’ve got it. Van Sant’s ‘Restless’ (Sept. 30) stars Mia Wasikowska as a moribund who cheers up a downbeat young guy (Henry Hopper). ’50-50′ (Sept. 30) has the reliable Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Brick) as a newly diagnosed patient facing a prognosis of even odds, with the help of Seth Rogen.

Catastrophes? Also set. First is Steven Soderbergh’s presumably pocket-sized approach to plague in ‘Contagion’ (Sept. 9). Worlds collide in von Trier’s most entertaining and melodrama-free work, ‘Melancholia’ (November). An encircled bride (Kirstin Dunst) fights off her family and a rogue planet wobbles into a