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Sarah Shatz
Greg Kinnear, left, plays a ghost who asks Ricky Gervais to break up his widow's impending marriage in "Ghost Town."

OK, August was sort of a wasteland if you were looking for decent movies. But things are going to start getting good again.

Or at least things look more promising once we get out of the cinematic "dog days." The 2008 fall movie season boasts a new James Bond film, "Quantum of Solace," as well as the new Coen brothers movie "Burn After Reading" (which re-teams the "Oceans" movies' George Clooney and Brad Pitt).

Old pros Robert De Niro and Al Pacino join forces for "Righteous Kill," while "Miracle at St. Anna" is Spike Lee's attempt at making a war film.

The 2008 Sundance Film Festival hits "Assassination of a High School President," "Baghead," "Choke," "Towelhead" and "What Just Happened?" are all being released in the fall as well.

And so are a handful of films with local connections — among them, Neil LaBute's "Lakeview Terrace," "The Fly Boys" and the Highland High School rugby tale "Forever Strong." Oh, and then there's "High School Musical 3: Senior Year," which was filmed at East High School.

In addition to those films, there are also fall releases that promise to give us:

CHILLS.

Plane crash survivors begin disappearing in "Passengers," a New York City apartment building is placed under "Quarantine" and someone calling himself Jigsaw returns in "Saw V."

LAUGHS.

Dane Cook and Jason Biggs fight over Kate Hudson in "My Best Friend's Girl," while Ricky Gervais talks to dead people in "Ghost Town."

More kid-friendly comedies include "Beverly Hills Chihuahua" and the animated features "Igor" and "Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa."

THRILLS.

"Body of Lies" pits Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe against each other, director Clint Eastwood makes Angelina Jolie question her sanity in "Changeling," and Mark Wahlberg plays the video-game character "Max Payne."

More than 60 movies are opening between now and Thanksgiving. And speaking of which, some other big studio films — such as the late-arriving "Bolt," "Twilight" and "Valkyrie" — will be covered in our Holiday Movie Preview, which will appear in mid-November.

See "Coming soon to theaters near you" for the list of scheduled fall movies.


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