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Fall Film Preview

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Giant Talking Arthropod

Pixar hopes for another special-effects coup with A Bug's Life.

Adam Sandler in hydration gear

Adam Sandler portrays another hapless hero in Touchstone's The Water Boy.

Colonies of another kind — those inhabited by ants — are the setting for two tales about misfit Formicidae. In Dreamworks's animated Antz (October 2), Woody Allen kvetches as Z-4195, a forlorn, overworked insect who pulls a Norma Rae and leads a colony-wide revolt. Sharon Stone, Sylvester Stallone, and Gene Hackman provide additional voices. Likewise, in Pixar Studios' follow-up to Toy Story, A Bug's Life (November 20), a lone ant defends his hill against a band of gluttonous grasshoppers. Dave Foley, Kevin Spacey and Julia Louis-Dreyfus lend their voices.

Nerds, of course, get their revenge this fall. In Peter Chelsom's The Mighty (October 30), two geeks (Elden Henson and Kieran Culkin) create a superhuman force known as "Freak the Mighty." It's what Saturday Night Live's Will Farrell and Chris Kattan are going to need to get a date in John Fortenberry's A Night at the Roxbury (October 2), a comedy based on the pair's head-bobbing nightclub sketch. Also, SNL alumnus Adam Sandler reunites with director Frank Coraci of The Wedding Singer for The Water Boy (November 6), a comedy about the luckless water carrier of a college football team.

In nearly all of fall's films, the outsider is the story's hero, the one who'll win our empathy. Bryan Singer's Apt Pupil (October 23), however, turns the tables on this formula. In his fiercely violent adaptation of a Stephen King novella, a boy (Brad Renfro) battles an insidious outsider lurking in his neighborhood — a former SS officer (Ian McKellen).

But, good or evil, man or beast, the outsider always shakes up the world, illuminating the ironic and the illogical. So resonant are they that Hollywood presents pariahs through December, including Mighty Joe Young (December 18), a remake of the 1949 film about a giant gorilla on the loose, and The Out-of-Towners (December), a remake of the 1970 Neil Simon comedy about a Midwestern couple — here Goldie Hawn and Steve Martin — in New York. And to close the fall season and ring in Christmas, Hollywood re-releases the mother lode of all outsider films — The Wizard of Oz.






Did you know? For more than a billion Muslims around the world, Ramadan is a "month of blessing" marked by prayer, fasting, and charity.
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