Fall preview offers hope for film fans

What was your favorite summer movie this year? On second thought, how about we change the subject?

Movie summer 2013 is getting a bad grade from a lot of folks, maybe deservedly so. A few underperforming blockbusters (and at least one enormous dud, “The Lone Ranger”) will do that.

And so Hollywood, perpetually focused on the near future, turns its hope to the autumn season, which is decorated with fewer sequels and a handful of honest-to-gosh serious movies. Hearing reports from launching-pad festivals like Venice and Telluride, it sounds like there are some genuinely exciting things on their way to tide us over through Thanksgiving.

These include the spectacle of Sandra Bullock and George Clooney drifting through orbit, Tom Hanks fending off pirates, and a slavery saga that’s been winning awestruck accolades. If this doesn’t sound the ingredients for some expensive Oscar campaigns, I don’t know what does.

So let’s check out the roster, with the usual warning about opening dates changing (as they frequently do). Here’s what’s coming after the Labor Day lull wears off.

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