Originally published Saturday, September 3, 2011 at 7:00 PM

Fall movies — more 'Twilight' and a new Clint Eastwood film

Here is a list of the most intriguing movies opening this fall. They include yet another in the "Twilight" series, "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn"; Clint Eastwood's new film about J. Edgar Hoover, "J. Edgar"; "Wanderlust," with Jennifer Aniston; and many, many more.

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The Toronto International Film Festival slate always makes news — but plenty of non-TIFF movies will be coming our way this fall, too. Here are some of the most intriguing; note that release dates are tentative and change as quickly as Emma Stone's hair.

Did you read the book?

Batten down the bedposts — "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 1," with its vampire honeymoon and extremely creepy pregnancy, arrives in theaters Nov. 18. Muriel Barbery's novel "The Elegance of the Hedgehog," popular among book clubs, comes to the screen as "The Hedgehog" (Sept. 9), a prizewinner at the 2010 Seattle International Film Festival. Allison Pearson's "I Don't Know How She Does it," in which a frazzled heroine juggles career and motherhood, arrives starring Sarah Jessica Parker (Sept. 16). Graham Greene's "Brighton Rock," published in the '30s, gets a '60s-era upgrade starring Helen Mirren (Sept. 16).

Alexandre Dumas' "The Three Musketeers" makes its umpteenth trip to the screen Oct. 21, starring Logan Lerman, Orlando Bloom and Christoph Waltz, and the John le Carré spy novel "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy," with a strong British cast led by Gary Oldman and Colin Firth, arrives Nov. 18. And Johnny Depp (last seen in the disastrous "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides") keeps the flask but loses the pirate costume for "The Rum Diary" (Oct. 28), based on the novel by Hunter S. Thompson.

For kids (of all ages)

"It's time to play the music / It's time to light the lights ... " Sorry. I know the upcoming movie "The Muppets" isn't "The Muppet Show," but now the song is in my head and there's nothing to be done. "The Muppets," with Jason Segal, Amy Adams, Kermit, Miss Piggy and the gang (including my personal favorite, the Swedish Chef) hits theaters Nov. 23. Other kid-friendly fare includes a trio of animal movies: "Dolphin Tale" (Sept. 23); "Happy Feet 2" (Nov. 18); and "Puss in Boots" (Nov. 4), the last of which features a character with the very adult name of Kitty Softpaws. "Arthur Christmas," an animated holiday comedy, arrives Nov. 23, and Martin Scorsese gets all family-friendly with "Hugo" (Nov. 25), a 3-D tale of an orphan boy in 1930s Paris.

Be afraid

As if the stock market weren't enough ... Daniel Craig gets all creepy in "Dream House" (Sept. 30), in which a family faces its new home's disturbing past. "The Thing" (Oct. 14) finds disturbing alien life in Antarctica; "Paranormal Activity 3" (Oct. 21) presumably continues the pattern of its two predecessors, finding horror in a suburban camcorder. "Tucker and Dale vs. Evil" (Sept. 30) is a redneck horror comedy that's been making the festival rounds ... and, speaking of horror comedies, "Piranha 3DD" bounces merrily and bloodily onto screens Nov. 23.

Based on a true story

The ever-prolific Clint Eastwood, now in his 80s and still making a movie a year, returns with "J. Edgar" (Nov. 11), a film biography of J. Edgar Hoover written by Oscar-winner Dustin Lance Black ("Milk") and starring Leonardo DiCaprio. Michelle Williams goes peroxide as Marilyn Monroe in "My Week with Marilyn" (Nov. 4), alongside Kenneth Branagh as Sir Laurence Olivier and Dougray Scott as Arthur Miller. Mozart's already gotten his own movie, and now "Mozart's Sister" comes to the screen (Sept. 16), with Marie Féret as Wolfgang's talented sibling Nannerl.

In the lesser-known department: Vera Farmiga directs and stars in "Higher Ground" (Sept. 9), about memoirist Carolyn S. Griggs' struggles with faith; "Toast" (Oct. 21) is based on the memoirs of British chef Nigel Slater; "Machine Gun Preacher" (Sept. 23; also screening at TIFF) stars Gerard Butler as a former drug dealer turned children's crusader in the Sudan. And writer Will Reiser turns his own experience with a rare form of cancer into a comedy in "50/50" (Sept. 30; also at TIFF), starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen.

True stories

On the busy documentary front this fall are films about efforts to curb gang violence in Chicago ("The Interrupters," from the director of "Hoop Dreams," Sept. 9), a lost whale off Vancouver Island ("The Whale," Sept. 9), investment adviser Bernie Madoff's massive Ponzi scheme ("Chasing Madoff," Sept. 16), legendary anthropologist Jane Goodall ("Jane's Journey," Oct. 7), the man behind a beloved "Sesame Street" puppet ("Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey," Nov. 4), writer Fran Lebowitz ("Public Speaking," Nov. 4), the reunion of a '70s high-school jazz band ("Thunder Soul," Sept. 23) and the black-power movement in America ("The Black Power Mix Tape 1967-75," Oct. 14).

Laughing yet?

Female-centered comedies, in the wake of "Bridesmaids," are hot right now — former local Anna Faris headlines the raunchy comedy "What's Your Number?" (Sept. 30); Juno Temple stars in the coming-of-age tale "Dirty Girl" (Oct. 21), set in a 1987 high school — and somebody seems to have told Adam Sandler, who's donning drag to play a dual role in "Jack and Jill" (Nov. 11). On the manly side of things are Brett Ratner's "Tower Heist" (Nov. 4), in which a group of dudes plots revenge against the rich guy who ripped them off; "The Big Year" (Oct. 14) with Owen Wilson, Steve Martin and Jack Black as a trio of competitive bird watchers (who knew?); and "A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas" (Nov. 4), for which the title really should say it all.

Jennifer Aniston and Paul Rudd go counterculture in "Wanderlust" (Oct. 7), and a couple of comedies arrive from overseas: Rowan Atkinson as a secret agent in "Johnny English Reborn" (Oct. 28) and the French film "The Women on the Sixth Floor" (Nov. 25), which screened at SIFF earlier this year under the title "Service Entrance."

Where the action is

Attention, "Twilight" fans: You won't have to wait until "Breaking Dawn" to see Tyler Lautner's abs; they should be on full display in the thriller "Abduction" (Sept. 23). Other handsome devils turning up in action/suspense flicks include Ryan Gosling in the heist movie "Drive" (Sept. 16; also at TIFF), with Carey Mulligan and Christina Hendricks; Clive Owen in "The Killer Elite" (Sept. 23; also at TIFF) with Robert De Niro and Jason Statham; and Matt Damon and Jude Law in Steven Soderbergh's deadly-virus thriller "Contagion" (Sept. 9). Hugh Jackman climbs into the boxing ring for the futuristic "Real Steel" (Oct. 7); Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton take on mixed martial arts and wrestling, respectively, in "Warrior" (Sept. 9). In the workplace, Kristin Scott Thomas plays a scary boss-from-hell in the French thriller "Love Crime" (Sept. 23), and Kevin Spacey, Paul Bettany and Zachary "Spock" Quinto work at today's equivalent of a haunted house — an investment bank — in "Margin Call" (Oct. 21).

The unclassifiable

Someday, perhaps, I'll need a musicals category for this kind of story, but this fall there's only one: "Footloose" (Oct. 14), a remake of the 1984 Kevin Bacon musical, starring newcomer Kenny Wormald and Julianne Hough of skimpy-costumed "Dancing with the Stars" fame. And those in search of Four-Hour-Long Romantic Portuguese Epics will find one this year: the late Raoul Ruiz's "Mysteries of Lisbon" (Sept. 30), shown at SIFF and crammed full of brooding countesses, concerned clergy, vulnerable orphans and rich color.

The festival scene

And finally, those seeking to immerse themselves in a film festival will find several this fall: the Festival of New Spanish Cinema (Sept. 21-25,, the Seattle Latino Film Festival (Oct. 14-20,, the Local Sightings celebration of Northwest filmmakers (Sept. 30-Oct. 6, and the Seattle Lesbian and Gay Film Festival (Oct. 14-23,

Moira Macdonald: 206-464-2725 or

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