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You'll want these five films on your list for fall

In <em>Vesper,</em> Raffiella Chapman plays a 13-year-old girl living in a future where biological experiments have wiped out all the earth's edible plants.
Courtesy of IFC Films
In Vesper, Raffiella Chapman plays a 13-year-old girl living in a future where biological experiments have wiped out all the earth's edible plants.

In case there was any doubt, things will not get quieter as the weather cools.

There'll be plenty of battlefield epics (Devotion, Medieval, The Woman King), superhero sagas (Black Adam, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever), horror films (Halloween Ends, God's Country, Prey for the Devil) and sci-fi odysseys (Vesper, Strange World).

Also bio-pics (Till, Tár, The Silent Twins), documentaries (Good Night Oppy, Riotsville U.S.A., Moonage Daydream) and romances straight (Ticket to Paradise), gay (Bros), and cannibal (Bones and All). Not to mention the usual assortment of awards contenders, comedies, and kid flicks.

Here are five to whet your appetite. And these are just what's opening before Thanksgiving — we'll save the Holiday attractions for another day.

Vesper – Sept. 30

In this gripping sci-fi dystopia, a 13-year-old title character with a talent for bio-hacking lives in a future where genetic bio-experiments have wiped out all the earth's edible plants and most of its humans. That leaves a few lucky elites in climate-controlled Citadels, and clusters of starving hangers-on, mucking about in a planetary bog with eerie, often threatening organisms (gorgeous effects work does a lot of the world-building). 13-year-old Vesper has the power to change that dynamic.

Till – Oct. 14

The tragic story of 14-year-old Emmett Till, who was abducted, tortured and lynched in Mississippi in 1955 becomes the story of a mother's lifelong quest for justice. Danielle Deadwyler plays Mamie Till-Mobley, whose insistence that her brutalized son — face swollen to unrecognizability — have an open casket drew international news coverage, started her on a life of activism and changed the course of the civil rights movement.

Brainwashed – Oct. 21

The male gaze is Hollywood's air, as Nina Menkes establishes in this striking cinematic essay on the gendered nature of film language. Her method is a Ted-Talk-style lecture incorporating 175 clips from celebrated films in which she explores a simple notion about who gets looked at on screen, and who does the looking. In the course of the film, she teases out the ways in which gendered shot design, camera placement, visual context (women's bodies frequently rendered as torsos, derrières, breasts, men's mostly in medium shots; slo-mo used with males to augment action, with females to emphasize sexuality) by an overwhelmingly male Hollywood has created what she terms a "global hypnosis."

Good Night Oppy – Nov. 4

Ryan White's documentary amounts to an almost Wall-E-like robot biopic. The film recounts the creation of sister robots Spirit and Opportunity, launched in 2003 for what was expected to be a 90-day mission on the red planet's surface (their solar panels were expected to get too dusty to continue to power them). Fifteen years later, Opportunity (Oppy) was still sending back info and photos as she traversed miles of rough terrain, endured planet-engulfing dust storms, and "woke" each morning to songs played by her adoring scientists and engineers millions of miles away.

Bones and All – Nov. 23

If an eight-and-a-half-minute standing ovation and rave reviews at the Venice International Film Festival are any indication, director Luca Guadagnino and his Call Me By Your Name star Timothée Chalamet have another romantic hit on their hands. Not a conventional one, let's note. It's a tender cannibal romance with co-star Taylor Russell doing the initial limb gnawing. Based on the YA novel of the same name by Camille DeAngelis, the film's being positioned as an outcast odyssey — at once grisly and kinda sweet.

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Bob Mondello, who jokes that he was a jinx at the beginning of his critical career — hired to write for every small paper that ever folded in Washington, just as it was about to collapse — saw that jinx broken in 1984 when he came to NPR.
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