Fall isn't just a time for back-to-school sales, football, baseball playoffs and pumpkin-picking. While the summer box-office season has come and gone, Hollywood still has a few treats in store as the multiplex masses get their hoodies.
In the coming weeks we'll get Halloween scarefests (Paranormal Activity 2, Saw 3D, Let Me In), Oscar bait (Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, the Clint Eastwood- and Matt Damon-powered Hereafter), comedies (Due Date, Jackass 3-D) and family fare (Megamind, Secretariat). Here are the five flicks we think you can't miss.
1. Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps: Michael Douglas reprises his Oscar-winning role as dealmaker extraordinaire Gordon Gekko, more than two decades after being brought down by Charlie Sheen. Now he's back, plotting a comeback through protégé Shia LaBeouf, an ambitious day-trader engaged to Gekko's daughter (Carey Mulligan) and gunning for a shady hedge-fund manager (Josh Brolin). Greed never looked better. Release date: Friday.
2. Buried: Let's see. Ryan Reynolds entombed alive in a coffin. For 90 minutes. Either someone doesn't like this guy or they're looking to give Alfred Hitchcock a run for his money. Up-and-coming Spanish director Rodrigo Cortes certainly picked the right actor to pull off what is surely the most claustrophic thriller since 2006's underrated The Descent. In Buried, the future Green Lantern plays an American contractor kidnapped in Iraq who wakes up to find himself six feet under in a pine box, his only access to the outside world a cell phone (with a low battery, natch) and little time to be rescued before he runs out of air. The film scored big with Sundance audiences and is primed to be the sleeper of the season. Release date: Friday.
3. The Social Network: Heavily hyped and for good reason, the ironically titled drama directed by David Fincher and written by West Wing mastermind Aaron Sorkin is a timely exercise in political intrigue surrounding the backstabbing that took place during Facebook's founding in 2004. The film features some of today's hottest young actors, including Jesse Eisenberg (Zombieland) as the social network's shy-yet-arrogant geek cofounder Mark Zuckerberg, along with Andrew Garfield (aka the new Spider-Man) as his nemesis and some pop star named Justin Timberlake as Napster cofounder Sean Parker. While you don't get to 500 million friends without making a few enemies, as the trailer touts, we have no doubt that The Social Network will be campaigning for major hardware come awards season. Release date: Oct. 1.
4. Due Date: What do you get when you mix together Road Trip, The Hangover and John Hughes' '80s classic Planes Trains & Automobiles? Lots of male bonding and a lot of laughs. Todd Phillips' latest yukfest follows Robert Downey Jr. as a jittery father-to-be who must hitch a ride with aspiring thesp (Zach "Between Two Ferns" Galifanakis) to make it to his child's birth on time. Of course, hilarity ensues, includiing a reunion of Tropic Thunder star Downey and his costar from The Soloist, Jamie Foxx. But the big question remains: will anyone go full retard? Release date: Nov. 5.
5. 127 Hours: Danny Boyle follows up his Oscar-winning Slumdog Millionaire with this stomach-churning drama based on the miraculous tale of mountain climber Aron Ralston who finds his arm pinned underneath a boulder for five days. James Franco plays Ralston, who ends up cutting his arm off with a dull blade and walking out of the Utah wilderness in an amazing feat of survival. The movie was reportedly too intense for two moviegoers who were stricken during screenings earlier this month at the Telluride Film Festival and had to be attended to by medical personnel. Sounds like a fun time. Release date: Nov. 5.
PHOTOS: Fall Movie Preview 2010