Featured films for the fall

After a summer of surprisingly few box office or critical successes, moviegoers can now look toward the fall season.

The fall is often a transition period in the multiplexes, following the summer’s blockbuster barrage but preceding many prestige films’ wide release.

Therefore, cinema audiences will have to personally sift through big-budget releases – some outside of the remake, sequel and 3D crazes, and some within them – to find their own personal niches.

The Oracle previews six notable movies within the fall movie season.

“The American” – Sept. 1

Although “The American” arrives in theaters next week – unofficially opening the fall movie season – the assassin thriller seems to be flying under the radar of many film fans.

The Anton Corbijn film follows Jack (Academy Award winner George Clooney) as he reports for one last assignment in Italy. However, when the hitman sparks a romance with the attractive Clara (Violante Placido) and emerges from hiding to befriend a priest (Paolo Bonacelli), he realizes he might be playing with fire.

Few clips and little information about the film are available for consumption on the Internet, perhaps to intensify the thriller’s suspense. Viewers can decide for themselves when the film hits theaters next week.

– Nicholas Trobiano

“Machete” – Sept. 3

“Machete” extends a fake trailer from Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino’s 2007 collaboration “Grindhouse,” into a full-length feature.

In his latest over-the-top action flick, writer and co-director Rodriguez bolsters a star-studded ensemble that includes Robert De Niro, Jessica Alba and Michelle Rodriguez. Lead man Danny Trejo plays the title character Machete – an ex-Mexican Federale who is hired to assassinate Sen McLaughlin (De Niro).

When he is betrayed by his employer, Machete embarks on a personal mission to take down those who double-crossed him. Unexpected cast members include Lindsay Lohan and Steven Seagal.

– Joe Polito

“The Social Network” – Oct. 1

With 500 million active users and only six years after its launch date, Facebook might not seem like the most probable subject for a Hollywood blockbuster chronicling its existence.

However, “The Social Network” plans to do just that as it shows how Mark Zuckerburg (Jesse Eisenberg) became the world’s youngest billionaire through the social networking franchise.

The enigmatic trailer – which features Facebook imagery, a choral rendition of Radiohead’s “Creep” and a surprising amount of sexual and legal drama for a movie essentially about a website’s creation – divulges little about the movie.

Yet director David Fincher has scored strongly enough before with films like “Fight Club” and “Zodiac” to warrant at least a cursory look into his latest film.

– Jimmy Geurts

“Let Me In” – Oct. 1

The vampire film “Let Me In” doesn’t stand out for being a Hollywood horror remake – but rather because the version comes so soon after the original 2008 Swedish adaptation.

The location moves to a snow-filled New Mexico town, but the story still follows a lonely boy (Kodi Smit-McPhee) who befriends an ages-old vampire living in a girl’s body.

Many fans of the first movie have questioned whether “Cloverfield” director Matt Reeves can capture the original’s moody, unusual atmosphere.

Still, the film boasts a solid cast that includes Chloe Moretz and Richard Jenkins, and has encouraginly gained approval from the book’s author.

– Jimmy Geurts

“Due Date” – Nov. 5

Following the box office success story of “The Hangover,” “Due Date” reunites director Todd Phillips and alternative comedian Zach Galifianakis – and adds recent star Robert Downey Jr.

The story follows expectant father Peter (Downey Jr.) as he plans to fly home for the birth of his first child. However, circumstances connect him with bearded man-child Ethan (Galifinakis) on an increasingly awry road trip. Along the way, Peter’s patience will be tested by food allergies, car crashes and Ethan’s non sequiturs.

The film’s appeal seems to have a pretty standard litmus test – fans of “The Hangover” should mark their calendars, and everyone else should save their $10 for a different film.

– Jimmy Geurts

“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1” – Nov. 19

After nearly a decade of films and billions of dollars in revenue, the seventh adaptation of J.K. Rowling’s best-selling book series will soon hit the big screen.

“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” – starring Daniel Radcliffe – will be shown in two parts beginning this November and will surely spell box office gold.

According to Radcliffe in an Empire interview, this first half will be a road movie that briefly leaves Hogwarts for the woods and ends at a climactic middle moment within the book.

Though edits are not yet complete, MTV Movies Blog reports that moviegoers thoroughly enjoyed a Chicago test screening that showed a nearly finished version of the film Saturday.

– Nicholas Trobiano