Fall Film Preview - Beloved

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Oprah Winfrey and Danny Glover
Danny Glover and Oprah Winfrey in Touchstone's adaptation of Toni Morrison's Beloved
Several fall films take their cues from classics like It's a Wonderful Life (1946) and channel otherworldly outsiders. They include Thandie Newton as a ghost in Jonathan Demme's adaptation of Toni Morrison's Beloved (October 9); Brad Pitt as a lovelorn spirit in Martin Brest's Meet Joe Black (November 13); and Nicole Kidman and Sandra Bullock as modern-day witches in Griffin Dunne's Practical Magic (October 9). However, fall's strangest preternatural permutation is that of Michael Keaton in director Troy Miller's Jack Frost (November 6): the former Batman plays a musician who dies and returns a year later... as a snowman.

The closest rival to this oddball comes courtesy of an oddball himself, Trey Parker, of South Park and BASEketball fame. This fall, Parker directs and stars in Orgazmo (September 25), a comedy about a hapless Mormon actor who stumbles into the adult filmmaking underground. There's more. Worlds collide when our hero assumes the identity of his porno character, Captain Orgazmo, to fight crime with his "orgazmerator" ray gun.

Perhaps Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart) should consider such a weapon for his arsenal as he stands — alone this time — to defend the Federation from itself in Star Trek 9 (December 11). Another film with xenophobic themes, this installment finds Picard protecting a colony of aliens with magical powers. F. Murray Abraham as the villain Ru'fao joins regulars LeVar Burton, Brent Spiner, and Marina Sirtis.

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