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FALL ARTS PREVIEW: Hollywood's big movies are big

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Ryan Gosling (left, with Candidate Clooney) stars in the political drama Ides of March.

FALL ARTS Supporters of the cinema-industrial complex know that fall is, arguably, the primo time to catch a flick. As the days get shorter, the award hopefuls roll out faster. Of course, there's some non-Oscar contenders worth noting as well, and I don't just mean A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas (pass the dutchie Nov. 9). Here's a sprinkling of high- and lowlights to look forward to. All dates are subject to change. 

>>Click here for a look at what's coming to the Bay's rep houses anf alternative screens

September

Apollo 18 (Sept. 2) is another one of those "this shit really happened" found-footage scary movies, except it takes place on the moon. Steven Soderbergh's star-studded disease epic Contagion (Sept. 9) is one of those "this shit could really happen" scary movies. The fightin' Warrior has gotten good advance buzz (Sept. 9); and hip Dane Nicolas Winding Refn directs Ryan Gosling as a stunt driver/getaway driver in the appropriately-titled Drive (Sept. 16).

Gus Van Sant's Restless has all kinds of worrisome plot points (terminal illness, young-adult romance, quirky ghost encounters), while Moneyball casts Brad Pitt as the math-minded manager of the Oakland A's (both Sept. 23). Plus, a pair of horror flicks: Dream House, a.k.a. the movie where Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz began their secret romance, and Tucker and Dale vs. Evil, a splat-stick backwoods tale. (Sept. 30).

October

Directed and co-written by George Clooney, Ides of March (Oct. 7) is about the campaign of a POTUS hopeful (Clooney again) seen through the eyes of a hotshot staffer (Gosling again). Wanderlust reunites Jennifer Aniston and Paul Rudd, though director David Wain and a yuppies-go-counterculture plot will presumably prevent any The Object of My Affection (1998) flashbacks. Intriguing actor Michael Shannon stars in Take Shelter, a re-teaming with Shotgun Stories (2007) writer-director Jeff Nichols; and hotly-anticipated sequel The Human Centipede 2 (Full Sequence) unfurls for the discriminating midnight moviegoer (both Oct. 7).

Oct. 21 marks the scheduled releases of Pedro Almodóvar's The Skin I Live In, starring Antonio Banderas as a troubled plastic surgeon. Charlie Sheen and Chris O'Donnell star in — whoops, wrong generation. The millennial take on The Three Musketeers is directed by the Resident Evil series' Paul W.S. Anderson, which of course means Milla Jovovich gets a juicy role alongside the sword-wielding himbos.

Also: Johnny Depp in the long-awaited Hunter S. Thompson adaptation The Rum Diary; disaster-movie specialist Roland Emmerich's Shakespeare story, Anonymous (you heard me); and Justin Timberlake's latest effort to make us take him seriously as an actor, In Time (all Oct. 28).

November

The sweepstakes winner will clearly be The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part One (Nov. 18). But as it turns out, Lars von Trier's new one, Melancholia (Nov. 11), won former vampire Kirsten Dunst an acting award at Cannes. Yet another former vampire, Gary Oldman, stars in Tinker, Taylor, Soldier, Spy (Nov. 18), from Tomas Alfredson, last seen directing vampires in 2008's Let the Right One In. To be clear: there are no coincidences.

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