Stop me if you've heard this one before: The movie picture for fall is as hazy as the Canadian winds that have been messing up our air quality.
At least it's something new that is screwing up fall movies. COVID-19 wreaked havoc for a couple of seasons but it's the writers' and actors' strikes now.
Films are generally made a year or more in advance, so there are plenty of finished movies. However, in most cases, the strikes prevent the people who made them from promoting them — which means some of the most anticipated movies for the rest of the year have either been moved to 2024 already (Ethan Coen's great-looking screwball comedy "Drive-Away Dolls") or are in danger of moving.
It's a major bummer, given that studios and theaters are struggling to emerge from some rough years. The good news is there will be stuff to see because one thing that won't change is the great film series the Twin Cities gets almost year-round.
"Dune: Part Two" may not hit theaters in November as originally planned, but we'll still have these events:
Twin Cities Film Festival: Fall fests around the world always debut titles that go on to become awards contenders, and many of those also pop up at the annual event at Showplace Icon in St. Louis Park. Director Jatin Setia — whose event has had a knack for scheduling the area premieres of Oscar contenders such as "Women Talking" — says it's too early to identify specific titles that will be available, but added: "We have no doubt we'll have amazing studio films to share." The Oct. 19-28 fest will boast dozens of independent titles, including series that highlight films made by women and artists who are Black, Indigenous and people of color.
MSP Film: The 11th annual Cine Latino Film Festival is the big news for fall. The best in moviemaking from Latin America and Spain will be presented at Minneapolis' Main Cinema Oct. 11-15. The fest opens with "Radical," which won the audience award at this year's Sundance Film Festival, and it closes with the Spanish film "20,000 Species of Bees."
Heights Theater: The Columbia Heights gem continues its yearlong "Celebration of Cinema" with what may literally be something for everyone. Highlights include shocker "Rosemary's Baby" (it still holds up) Oct. 9, Stanley Kubrick's must-be-seen-on-a-big-screen "The Shining" Oct. 23 and maybe the greatest musical ever made, "Singin' in the Rain," Nov. 6.
Sound Unseen: Titles are still to come for the Nov. 8-12 program of movies about music but we do know it will return to its usual venues — the Main Cinema, Trylon and the Parkway.
Trylon Cinema: South Minneapolis' invaluable venue that focuses on classics but also new independents and some stuff that's just plain weird is in the midst of a month celebrating Aussie director Peter Weir, with "The Mosquito Coast" (Sept. 22-24) and perhaps his best work, "Picnic at Hanging Rock" (Sept. 29-Oct. 1), still to come. Also this fall: four films from Swedish director/actor Mai Zetterling, an October "Nightmarish Nineties" series that includes a couple of "Scream" movies as well as "The Silence of the Lambs" and "The Blair Witch Project," a Laurence Fishburne program in November that goes all the way back to his teenage appearance in "Apocalypse Now" and a pair of '80s movies with lots of illicit movement, "Footloose" and "Dirty Dancing," Nov. 24-26.
Twin Cities Black Film Festival: Minneapolis' Capri Theater is the setting for the annual event, screening Oct. 19-22.
Walker Art Center: The focus is on Alanis Obomsawin this fall. The Canadian filmmaker will be at the Walker Nov. 2 for a free discussion of her documentaries, which have focused on Indigenous stories for more than five decades. The Walker also will screen her "Amisk" and "Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance," as well as a selection of short films for children, Oct. 13-Nov. 4. Or you can always create your own film series, using the Bentson Mediatheque, which has on-demand titles ranging from Faith and John Hubley's delightful, animated "Cockaboody" to William Klein's "Eldridge Cleaver, Black Panther" and fashion satire, "Who Are You, Polly Maggoo?"
Mizna: A 2022 Cannes Film Festival prize winner opens Mizna's 17th annual Arab Film Fest. The Palestinian black-comedy drama "Mediterranean Fever," which earned a screenwriting award at Cannes, is about the charged friendship between two men in Haifa: one a housebound writer, the other a new neighbor who tries to involve his buddy in a violent scheme. It's screening at Walker Art Center Sept. 27 but the rest of the festival will be at the Main Cinema. Other titles include "Queens," in which two women flee crooks in the streets of Morocco, and (screening outdoors) "A Gaza Weekend," in which a pandemic turns one of the world's most dangerous places into one of the safest.
Lagoon Cinema: The Uptown theater has a couple of films left in its "Movies You May Have Missed" series, including the breathless, Oscar-winning (for best original song "Naatu Naatu") adventure "RRR" and spoof "Smoking Causes Coughing," both Sept. 22-28. Tickets are $5.
Parkway: There's something for the horny and the horrified at the Minneapolis venue. "Dan Savage's Hump Film Festival" is a program of erotic shorts, curated by the "Savage Love" sex columnist and presented Sept. 30. "Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror" is a screening of the silent chiller, with live musical accompaniment by acclaimed duo Dreamland Faces. Just in time to get your Halloween on, it's Oct. 15.
Keep your eyes peeled for other special events at your neighborhood theater, including the "Paul McGuire Grimes Presents" series at Emagine Willow Creek, which screens "The Breakfast Club" Sept. 24 and "Zodiac" Oct. 22.