Autumn Tale

What Movies Look Like This Fall

<i> The Royal Tenenbaums</i>
The Royal Tenenbaums

In the Family Way

The Coens, the Wachowskis, the Farrellys: Today's rash of dual fraternal auteurs may seem like something new, but it's actually as old as the cinématographe, history's first portable movie camera, invented in 1895 by filmmaking brothers Louis and Auguste Lumière. In keeping with cinema's family tradition, this fall offers films from the houses of Coen, Farrelly, Hughes, Stiller, and Wilson. November brings the Coen brothers' The Man Who Wasn't There, a black-and-white noir throwback starring Billy Bob Thornton. This new film, from the venerated siblings who brought us O Brother, Where Art Thou?, recently snagged Joel Coen half of the Cannes Film Festival's directing prize (David Lynch got the other half), but some critics have carped: The Village Voice in particular decried the film's "phony melancholy" and "fatuous stabs at profundity." (Nov. 2)... Sure to be free of both melancholy or profundity, though, is the Farrelly brothers' Shallow Hal, which stars the tenacious and talented Jack Black, as a superficial womanizer who is hypnotized into seeing solely women's inner beauty, and a fat-suited Gwyneth Paltrow as his romantic interest. (Nov. 9)... An undoubtedly more grim meditation on body and mind will be offered by the Hughes brothers in From Hell, their darkly lush film version of Alan Moore's graphic novel about Jack the Ripper. Starring Johnny Depp and Heather Graham, From Hell shows the Hugheses broadening their scope from bleak race and class dramas (Menace II Society) to, well, bleakness in general. (Oct. 19)... Zoolander, Ben Stiller's first directorial effort since 1996's underrated black comic fable The Cable Guy, stars Stiller as a vacuous male model who is brainwashed into assassinating the president of Malaysia. Stiller might not have needed to call in anybody's brother to help him direct Zoolander, but he did cast his dad, Seinfeld's irascible Jerry Stiller, as well as Owen Wilson. (Sept. 28)... The tradition continues with Wes Anderson's The Royal Tenenbaums, in which Owen Wilson will be joining his brothers Luke and Andrew. In Tenenbaums, the whimsical Rushmore director unites his trademark Wilsons with an ensemble cast (including Stiller, Paltrow, Gene Hackman, Anjelica Huston, and Bill Murray) to tell the story of -- natch -- a genius family. (Dec. 21)

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