Oh the joy.

The joy that comes from the perfect time of year. The weather turns crisp and cool, thoughts turn to fall and pumpkin patches, and the best movies of the year finally start to come out. Are there any Oscar contenders in this week's What to Watch? Perhaps; perhaps not. But this is the time of year when things start to get serious.

Expect more than explosions and sight gags (although we've still got some of those). Expect more than car chases and fight scenes (although we've got those, too). Get ready for some really good movies (and Ron Burgundy).


The Family (Savoy 16 IMAX): Luc Besson directs this witness-relocation action/comedy, starring Robert DeNiro, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Tommy Lee Jones.

Why to Watch: Not only is it nice to see Luc Besson (auteur of such slam-bang flicks as The Professional and The Fifth Element) back in action, but this looks to be great fun for both DeNiro (once again a goodfella) and Pfeiffer (once again married to the mob). Throw in a post-Glee role for Diana Agron, and a dogged and hangdog turn from Tommy Lee Jones, and you might just have the right kind of dynamite.

Showing at 11:25 a.m., 1:55 a.m., 1:50 p.m., 2:20 p.m, 4:15 p.m., 4:45 p.m, 6:40 p.m., 7:10 p.m., 9:05 p.m., and 9:35 p.m.

 

The Spectacular Now (The Art Theater Co-op and Savoy 16 IMAX): The story of popular high school student Sutter Kiely (Miles Teller), who has no idea where he wants to go in life and has no plans to change that. Sutter’s attitude shifts when hemeets local geek Amy (Shailene Woodley), and the two teens, who lead completely different lives, learn how much they have in common.

Why to Watch: I saw this film (from the writers of 500 Days of Summer) at Ebertfest, and I was blown away. Woodley and Teller put in honest, vulnerable performances as two teenagers figuring out life in different ways. The supporting cast is exceptional, and there are moments that feel so organic that the audience may feel like voyeurs. This film is everything a coming of age film should be. See it!

At Savoy 16: showing at 11:45 a.m., 2:20 p.m., 4:50 p.m., 7:05 p.m., and 9:25 p.m.

At The Art: showing Monday through Thursday at 7:30 p.m.; showing Wednesday and Thursday at 5:00 p.m.; showing Wednesday at 2:30 p.m.

Anchorman (The Art Theater Co-op): The story of Ron Burgundy (Will Farrell) and his idiotic and misguided attempts to be a good news anchor. Did I say good? I meant legendary.

Why to Watch: I saw this movie for the first time recently, and I think it’s simultaneously offensive to the profession of journalism and absolutely hilarious. This is one character Will Farrell gets so very right, possibly because, even though Burgundy is stupid, he is a redeemable character. You want him to succeed. And fail. And succeed. Oh, and did I mention the sequel coming this holiday season? Best Christmas gift ever.

Showing Wednesday and Thursday at 10:00 p.m.

STILL PLAYING

Riddick (Savoy 16 IMAX): The third film in the Riddick trilogy goes back to the roots of the franchise.  Riddick now is on a very hot alien planet with bounty hunters who want to kill him as a source of pride. But the one thing this crew forgets (other thanNever try to kill Riddick as a source of pride) is that there are creatures on this planet that don’t take kindly to visitors.

Why to Watch: This series will never go down in history as a great sci-fi achievement, but it will be known as one of the few vehicles to make Vin Diesel’s gravel-like deep voice useful. I love Vin in films like these because they provide him with a chance to capitalize on his physicality and terrifying menace. Hopefully this new film gives the franchise a good name again. See it for the same reason you saw Pacific Rim: robotic warriors and giant monsters. And yes, both of those are descriptions of Vin Diesel.

Showing in IMAX at 11:00 a.m., 1:40 p.m., 4:20 p.m., 7:00 p.m., and 9:40 p.m.; showing in non-IMAX at 11:30 a.m., 2:10 p.m., 4:50 p.m., 7:30 p.m., and 10:10 p.m..

COMING SOON

Prisoners (Savoy 16 IMAX): A tense revenge thriller about abducted kids and a father who will do anything to get them safely home.

Why to Watch: I’ve been waiting for Hugh Jackman to get a change like this. Sure he can sing and dance; sure he can play a superhero. But can he play a tough, psychologically complex man who is also a realistic, relatable guy? Based on early reviews, yes he can. This promises to be a gripping, squirm-inducing drama for parents, and its cast (Jake Gyllenhaal, Viola Davis, Terrence Howard, and Mario Bello) is impressive even on paper.

Machete (The Art Theater Co-op): This is a Robert Rodriguez grindhouse feature that features Danny Trejo as an ex-federale out for revenge against those who triedto kill him.

Why to Watch: Basically a man’s fantasy. A mantasy, if you will. A lot of violence, a thin plot, and pretty girls. It was Lindsay Lohan’s first attempt to save her career, and Jessica Alba got a little credibility and reminded people that she was in Sin City. Trejo is the perfect leading man for this muddy franchise; he’s like the less-thinking-man’s Liam Neeson. That makes it fun to watch. This will be The Art’s late show during its annual Latin Film Festival (see below).

Latin Film Festival (The Art Theater Co-op): This popular event at The Art returns, featuring some outstanding feature films and documentaries from Latin America.This year, The Art will be showing: White Elephant (Argentina), Neighboring Sounds (Brazil), Sofia y el terco (Colombia), 7 boxes (Paraguay), El fanastico mundo de Juan Orol (Mexico), Papel, piedra y tijera (Venezuela), and Soy Andina (U.S.). All films feature English subtitles.

Why to Watch: We’ll get into that later in the week. Watch for a piece in SP detailing each film.