Movies that are coming this fall and recommended by critics

--> Critics’ recommendations are indicated by arrows.

SEPTEMBER

--> 6 “Short and Savory.” In its ninth year, the DC Shorts Film Festival will offer more than 140 short international films that run the gamut in style and genre. Highlights include a series of food-themed films, where renowned local chefs will provide quick, savory bites that complement each film subject. Through Sept. 16.

7 “Life Journeys: Four Thai Films.” The Freer and Sackler galleries present festival circuit favorites “I Carried You Home,” “In April the Following Year There Was a Fire,” “P-047” and Itthi-sunthorn Wichailak’s “The Overture,” which will be preceded by a traditional Thai xylophone performance.

9 The National Gallery of Art celebrates the major Russian filmmaker with the retrospective “Aleksei Guerman: War and Remembrance.” Through Sept. 22.

10 “Berlin, City of Reinvention” film series features a glimpse through the city’s many historic transformations. At the Goethe Institut through Nov. 5.

12 Mutual Inspirations Festival 2012-Milos Forman celebrates the Oscar-winning, Czech American director’s 80th birthday and work, including some of the best of Czech cinematography. Highlights include a screening of “Amadeus,” followed by a symphony performance of Rimsky-Korsakov’s one act opera “Mozart and Salieri” and Mozart’s Requiem on Sept. 30. The festival runs through Oct. 31.

14 “Arbitrage” stars Richard Gere as a hedge-fund magnate struggling to conceal his duplicity and fraud while balancing a love affair with a French art dealer. With Brit Marling and Susan Sarandon.

--> 14 “Detropia” captures the grit and pluck of the Motor City in its struggle to survive economic collapse as its residents begin to envision a different future. Directed by Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady.

14 “Finding Nemo 3D.” The much-adored Marlin, Nemo, Dory and their undersea brethren return for a second run on the silver screen in this re-release of the 2003 Disney/Pixar animation.

14 “Resident Evil: Retribution.” Milla Jovovich tackles the video game arena once again for the fifth installment of the sci-fi horror series directed by Paul W.S. Anderson.

--> 14 “Samsara,” or “cyclic existence” in Sanskrit, is a film shot in multiple countries, including Myanmar, France and Ethi­o­pia, that explores human connection and spirituality.

16 “Urumi: The Warriors Who Wanted to Kill Vasco da Gama.” The son of a slain general seeks bloody revenge on Vasco da Gama and his men in the Malayalam-language film by director Santosh Sivan. The film is part of the series “Indian Visions” at the Freer Gallery.

--> 20 AFI Latin American Film Festival showcases filmmaking from across Latin America, Portugal and Spain. Highlights include the LA hip-hop drama “Filly Brown” and the Mexico-U.S. immigration drama “The Girl.”

21 “10 Years.” A group of friends at a high school reunion find that they still have a long way to go before they really grow up. Starring Channing Tatum, Jenna Dewan-Tatum, Rosario Dawson, Chris Pratt and Justin Long in this ensemble comedy.

21 “Dredd.” Karl Urban stars as Dredd, an urban cop, or “Judge,” challenged with the duty of ridding his city of a dangerous drug epidemic. With Olivia Thirlby.

21 “End of Watch” takes a look at the intense violence in LA’s most dangerous neighborhoods through the eyes of two young police officers (Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena).

21 “House at the End of the Street” is a horror thriller starring Jennifer Lawrence, Max Theriot and Elisabeth Shue.

21 “Keep the Lights On” chronicles a decade-long relationship between a New York filmmaker (Thure Lindhardt) and his partner, a closeted lawyer (Zachary Booth).

21 “Liberal Arts.” Jesse, a mid-30s university admissions counselor (Josh Radnor), returns to his alma mater to celebrate the retirement of his favorite English professor (Richard Jenkins). While on campus, Jesse meets a precocious 19-year-old undergrad (Elizabeth Olsen) who awakens feelings of connection and possibility.

--> 21 “The Master.” A Navy veteran (Joaquin Phoenix) returns home unsettled and uncertain of his future until he meets the charismatic leader of a radical religious group played by Philip Seymour Hoffman.

21 “Step Up to the Plate” offers a view into the intriguing French culinary process by following renowned chef Michel Bras as he hands over his 3-Michelin-star restaurant to his son Sebastien.

21 “Trouble With the Curve.” Clint Eastwood plays an aging, eagle-eyed baseball scout who makes a great effort to hide his deteriorating judgment. With Justin Timberlake, Amy Adams and John Goodman.

24 Last Call for Planet Earth” introduces 12 contemporary architects as they question their environmental efforts and urban planning methods around the world. At the Goethe Institut.

28 “Backwards” takes an intimate look at the sacrifices Olympic-level athletes make in pursuit of their dreams. Olympic alternate Abigail Brooks retires from rowing without participating in the Games and reinvents herself as a high school rowing coach.

28 “Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel” paints an intimate portrait of the distinguished fashion columnist and editor through the eyes of her granddaughter, author Lisa Immordino Vreeland.

28 “Hotel Transylvania.” Monsters and their families live freely at Dracula’s lavish resort. Everything changes in one weekend when an ordinary man stumbles into the hotel and takes a liking to Dracula’s daughter Mavis.

28 “How to Survive a Plague” culls a huge amount of archival footage of the activist group ACT UP during the late ’80s in Greenwich Village. The group, largely made up of HIV-positive participants, raised awareness of the AIDS crisis, which was initially ignored by government officials and health organizations. Directed by award-winning journalist David France.

28 “Looper.” Time travel is controlled by the mob in this futuristic action thriller starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis and Emily Blunt.

28 “Stars in Shorts” features a number of Oscar-nominated short films with big-name celebrities, such as Judi Dench and Colin Firth.

28 “The Perks of Being a Wallflower.” Based on the best-selling novel by Stephen Chbosky, the film is a meditation on life’s growing pains and the indispensable friendships that help navigate through them. Starring Emma Watson, Paul Rudd and Logan Lerman.

--> 28 “Won’t Back Down.” In a film inspired by true events, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Viola Davis star as mothers who risk everything in attempt to transform their children’s failing inner city school.

30 The Goethe Institut presents “Family-Friendly Fairytale Films” every Sunday through Dec. 9 at the Hill Center in the Pennsylvania Avenue Old Naval Hospital.

OCTOBER

TBD “Special Forces.” French special forces seek to rescue a kidnapped journalist in Pakistan. Starring Diane Kruger and Djimon Hounsou.

1 “Our Shared Future: Islamic Culture in Germany.” The Goethe Institut invites German blogger and columnist Kubra Gumusay for a film screening and discussion on the topic of integration and migration.

4 DC Asian Pacific American Film Festival brings attention to Asian American filmmakers through film panels and screenings of shorts and feature films through Oct. 7.

--> 5 “Escape Fire: The Fight to Rescue American Healthcare” interweaves real-life patient and physician arcs with the stories of political leaders aiming to transform the broken health-care system. Directors/producers Matthew Heineman and Susan Froemke also offer pratical ways to steer through the crisis with low-cost methods of health prevention.

5 “Frankenweenie.” Monstrous consequences befall a young boy when he harnesses the power of science to bring his dead dog back to life in Tim Burton’s skeleton-filled animation.

5 “Pitch Perfect.” Young Beca (Anna Kendrick) enters the cutthroat world of college a cappella in her first year at school by revamping her group’s singing arrangements to include mash-ups. Directed by Jason Moore of “Avenue Q” fame and also starring Rebel Wilson.

5 “Sinister.” From the producer of “Paranormal Activity” and writer-director of “The Exorcism of Emily Rose” comes a story about a crime novelist (Ethan Hawke), who finds a box of mysterious home movies that give way to supernatural horror.

--> 5 “Taken 2.” Liam Neeson reprises his role as Bryan Mills, a retired CIA agent, who is kidnapped in Istanbul. He is left to strategize his escape with the help of his daughter.

5 “The Oranges.” A young woman’s (Leighton Meester) family plays matchmaker and attempts to set her up with a neighbor Toby (Adam Brody) only to find out that she is smitten with the man’s father.

5 “The Other Dream Team” documents the winning Lithuanian elite basketball team’s rise above the brutalities of living under communist rule.

5 “The Paperboy.”A steamy 1960s South Florida sets the backdrop to a sensational criminal investigation put on by a reporter (Matthew McConaughey) and his partner (David Oyelowo) as they seek to prove the innocence of a convicted murderer (John Cusack). Also starring Zac Efron and Nicole Kidman as a death-row groupie.

5 “V/H/S.” A group of misfits burglarizes a desolate house in the countryside only to find a dead body and an endless supply of cryptic footage.

10 Spooky Movie International Horror Film Festival showcases some of the best horror cinema with a screening of the movie “Excision,” directed by McLean native Richard Bates Jr. The festival runs through Oct. 18.

--> 12 “Argo.” Ben Affleck directs and stars in this film, which chronicles the covert escape of six Americans during the Iran hostage crisis in 1979.

12 DC Labor FilmFest boasts of an array of new and classic films that touch on the topic of work, whether it be at an American office or a factory around the globe. Through Oct. 18.

12 “Here Comes the Boom.” A 42-year-old biology teacher (Kevin James) raises money for his failing high school by moonlighting as a mixed martial arts fighter.

12 “Middle of Nowhere.” A bright medical student sets aside her professional dreams when her husband is incarcerated in this drama directed by Ava DuVernay. The filmmaker won the Best Director award for the film at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.

12 “Seven Psychopaths.” A struggling screenwriter (Colin Farrell) finds himself involved in the LA criminal underworld when his friends (Christopher Walken and Sam Rockwell) kidnap a gangster’s (Woody Harrelson) beloved puppy.

12 “Somewhere Between” profiles four Chinese adoptees in America as they wrestle with self-identity and reconnect with their home country.

--> 12 “The House I Live In” captures the stories of individuals from across the country affected by the American War on Drugs — including a dealer, grieving mother, state senator, inmate and narcotics officer.

--> 13 The National Gallery of Art presents “Journey to Italy,” Roberto Rossellini’s 1954 masterwork with Ingrid Bergman and George Sanders as an English couple in Naples. Through Oct. 14.

19 “Alex Cross.” A young homicide detective/psychologist (Tyler Perry) is pushed to the edge of his moral and psychological limits when he faces off with a serial killer (Matthew Fox.)

--> 19 “Beauty Is Embarrassing” traces the fascinating creative career of Wayne White, an underground cartoonist, puppeteer and voice-over actor on “Pee-wee’s Playhouse.”

19 Halloween on Screen. Haunted houses, teenage terrors and rom-zom-coms fill out the list of films on view at the annual horror film festival. This year’s screening of “Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror” (1922) includes a live musical accompaniment by Not So Silent Cinema. At AFI Silver through Oct. 31.

19 “Killing Them Softly.” Three knuckleheads cause the local economy to collapse when they decide to rob a mob-protected card game. Brad Pitt stars as an enforcer who tracks them down to restore order.

19 “Paranormal Activity 4.” Dianna Agron, Katie Featherston and Brady Allen star in the fourth installment of this horror film series.

19 “Smashed.” Katie and Charlie are a young married couple whose bond is built around a lot of drinking. Katie decides to join Alcoholics Anonymous to flip her life around but finds that the pursuit of sobriety is not as easy as she had hoped.

19 “War of the Buttons.” A young teen rebel stirs up a conflict between two rival kid gangs during World War II in France. The children attempt to put aside their differences when their town becomes in danger of Nazi occupation.

--> 20 Greenbelt’s Utopia Film Festival celebrates the city’s 75th anniversary with a variety of New Deal-era films, including a 1932 FBI documentary about one of Al Capone’s St. Valentine’s Day Massacre cronies. Through Oct. 21.

--> 20 Noir City DC: The 2012 Film Noir Festival features a selection of films with noir’s favorite tough guys and femmes, such as Humphrey Bogart, Robert Mitchum, Lauren Bacall and Veronica Lake. Through Nov. 1 at AFI Silver.

20 The National Gallery of Art’s “Shostakovich and the Cinema” series features scores by Dmitri Shostakovich and a presentation based on his memoirs. Through Nov. 4.

26 “Chasing Mavericks.” A young man seeks to surf Mavericks — Northern California’s most dangerous wave — in this film inspired by surfing icon Jay Moriarity.

26 “Cloud Atlas” explores the actions and consequences of personal decisions through the story of a killer whose life transforms into one of a hero through one simple, kind act. With Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugh Grant and Hugo Weaving.

26 First China Onscreen Biennial will showcase new and classic Chinese cinema at the Freer and Sackler galleries. Highlights include a screening of “Beijing Flickers” by Zhang Yuan.

26 “Fun Size.” A young girl tracks down her kid brother in lieu of attending the neighborhood Halloween party of the year in this ensemble comedy with Victoria Justice, Johnny Knoxville and Chelsea Handler.

26 “Silent Hill: Revelation 3D.” On the eve of Heather Mason’s (Adelaide Clemens) 18th birthday, she discovers her true identity, which leads her deeper into a demonic world.

26 “The Big Picture.” A fatal error sends a big-salaried lawyer into hiding and seeking a second chance in a scenic and isolated Adriatic coast. Starring Romain Duris, Marina Fois and Catherine Deneuve.

--> 26 “The Sessions” A 38-year-old man confined to an iron lung determines to lose his virginity with the guidance of his therapists and priest. Based on the autobiographical writings of journalist Mark O’Brien.

--> 27 The National Gallery of Art’s “Ernie Kovacs: Video Art for the Intimate Vacuum” event dives into the comedian’s definition of TV with viewings of legendary sketches from the “Eugene Show” and a discussion about his absurd gags and video effects by Kovacs experts.

29 The documentary-theater piece “Rimini Protokoll: Soil Sample Kazakhstan (Bodenprobe Kasachstan)” follows five Berlin-based theater performers as they trace the route of an oil piepline from Kazakhstan. At the Goethe Institut.

NOVEMBER

TBD “A Late Quartet.” The four members of a world-renowned string quartet struggle to stay together after dealing with death, egos and insuppressible lust. Starring Philip Seymour Hoffman, Catherine Keener and Christopher Walken.

1 Festival of New Spanish Cinema is a traveling series of some of Spain’s newest films. Organized by Pragda with the Embassy of Spain and the Ministry of Culture of Spain-ICAA.

2 “ALIEN: Retrospective” revisits Ridley Scott’s inventive ALIEN incarnations, including this summer’s “Prometheus.” Through Nov. 9 at AFI Silver.

2 “Flight.” Questions arise as a seasoned pilot (Denzel Washington) miraculously lands his plane after a midair catastrophe. Also starring Don Cheadle, John Goodman and Melissa Leo.

2 “The Loneliest Planet.” A young engaged couple backpacks in the Caucasus Mountains in Georgia only to make a momentary misstep that changes the course of their relationship.

2 “The Man With the Iron Fists.” Inspired by kung fu classics of yore, Quentin Tarantino creates a winner-takes-all battle for gold fortune in this action flick led by Russell Crowe and Lucy Liu.

2 “Wreck-it Ralph.” Video game character Ralph (John C. Reilly) is sick and tired of always playing a villain, so he sets off on a journey to prove that he’s got what it takes to be a hero at the arcade. The animation is also voiced by Sarah Silverman, Jack McBrayer and Jane Lynch.

9 “Holy Motors” is a series of vignettes about Monsieur Oscar, a man who dresses up as different characters and meets with a variety of people in his chauffeur-driven limo.

--> 9 “Lincoln” pairs director Steven Spielberg with actor Daniel Day-Lewis in the historical drama, which recounts the 16th president’s pursuit of the abolishion of slavery.

9 “Skyfall.” Daniel Craig returns as James Bond in the 23rd installment of the longest-running film franchise. The safety of MI6 headquarters is in danger, and the loyal Agent 007 must destroy the threat.

9 “This Must Be the Place.” A former rock-goth star (Sean Penn) goes on a hunt for a Nazi guard who tortured his father.

--> 10 AFI European Union Film Showcase brings together a selection of films picked by the AFI Silver Theatre, the Delegation of the European Union and the Cultural Counselors of the Member States of the European Union. Through Nov. 20.

--> 11 The National Gallery of Art presents “Chris Marker: A Tribute,” an homage to the late French filmmaker who brought acclaimed works such as “Sans Soleil” and “La Jetee” to th e screen. Through Nov. 23.

16 “Anna Karenina.” Leo Tolstoy’s timeless classic explores the heart’s capacity for love and expression in an image-obsessed imperial Russia. The wife (Keira Knightly) of a high-ranking government official (Jude Law) strikes up an affair with a dashing cavalry officer (Aaron Taylor-Johnson).

16 “Chasing Ice” uses time-lapse camera shots to show evidence of the planet’s climate change.

16 “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 2.” It’s an end of an era for Twihards fans as the vampire romance series wraps up its final installment, starring Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner.

17 “Vaclav Havel: Leaving” features the late Czech Republic president’s film work inspired by his stage comedy. On view at the National Gallery of Art.

21 “Life of Pi.” Ang Lee’s latest directorial vision hurtles a young man on an epic life journey after he becomes marooned in a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger.

21 “Red Dawn.” Foreign paratroopers invade an unassuming Washington state, and young patriots rally together as guerilla fighters to take back their freedom. With Chris Hemsworth.

21 “Rise of the Guardians” Folkloric bigwigs Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, Sandman and Jack Frost join forces to protect children from the evil spirit known as Pitch.

--> 21 “The Silver Linings Playbook.” Pat Solitano (Bradley Cooper) is determined to rebuild his life and marriage after he finds himself living with his parents (Jacki Weaver, Robert De Niro) after a brief stint at a state institution. Things become complicated when he meets Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), a mysterious girl with problems of her own. The duo forge an unexpected bond as life starts to look up for both of them.

30 “The Collection.” A psychopathic killer kidnaps a young girl (Emma Fitzpatrick) and sends her to a hotel transformed into a private maze of torture. Also starring Josh Stewart and Christopher McDonald.

DECEMBER

TBD “The Sweeney.” A London detective enforces the law with more brutality than the criminals he chases in a film based on the ’70s British TV show.

7 “Playing for Keeps.” Gerard Butler plays a washed-up soccer star who returns home to coach a boys soccer team in an effort to rebuild a relationship with his son. Meanwhile, attractive soccer moms thwart his noble mission by pursuing him at every turn.

--> 8 James Benning. The noted artist and minimalist filmmaker makes a guest appearance at the National Gallery of Art with a sneak preview of his new work. Through Dec. 9.

--> 14 “Hyde Park on Hudson” is a historical tale set in 1939 when the king and queen of England visit President Franklin D. Roosevelt (Bill Murray) at his home in Hyde Park, N.Y. The president’s neighbor and intimate, Daisy (Laura Linney), observes the entire spectacle.

--> 14 “Les Miserables” adapts Victor Hugo’s epic tale into a cinematic musical about the survival and resilience of the human spirit. Hugh Jackman plays the ex-prisoner Jean Valjean, hunted for decades by policeman Javert (Russell Crowe). Valjean agrees to take care of factory worker Fantine’s (Anne Hathaway) daughter Cosette.

14 “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.” Bilbo Baggins joins the company of 13 dwarfs on a quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor from a fearsome dragon. Along the way, Bilbo meets Gollum and his “precious” ring, which changes the fate of Middle Earth.

19 “Monsters, Inc. 3D.” The friendly monsters return in 3D with Sulley (John Goodman) and Mike Wazowski (Billy Crystal) helping little Boo (Mary Gibbs) find her way home from Monstropolis.

--> 19 “Zero Dark Thirty.” Director/producer Kathryn Bigelow and screenplay writer Mark Boal (“The Hurt Locker”) partner for a second run, this time focusing their film on the Special Operations forces who helped capture and kill Osama bin Laden.

21 “Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away.” Filmmakers James Cameron and Andrew Adamson bring the big top to the screen, staging dance performances in 3D dreamlike worlds.

21 “Jack Reacher.” Ex-military investigator Jack Reacher (Tom Cruise) is targeted as a shooting spree suspect in this story based on the the New York Times bestseller by Lee Child.

--> 21 “Not Fade Away” is director David Chase’s feature debut, which revolves around a group of young musicians in a 1960s New Jersey. Starring James Gandolfini and Brad Garrett.

--> 21 “Rust and Bone” tells the story of an unemployed man (Matthias Schoenaerts) who falls in love with a killer-whale trainer (Marion Cotillard).

--> 21 “This Is 40.” Writer/director Judd Apatow expands on his blockbuster hit “Knocked Up” by checking on a couple’s current state of life with kids. Starring Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann.

22 “Marcel Carne Restored.” The National Gallery of Art screens two films — “Port of Shadows” and “Children of Paradise” — from the famous poetic realist works. Through Dec. 30.

--> 25 “Django Unchained” stars Jamie Foxx as Django, a slave who teams up with a German-born bounty hunter (Christoph Waltz) on a search for the South’s most wanted and murderous criminals, including an infamous plantation proprietor (Leonardo DiCaprio).

25 Parental Guidance.” Clashing parenting methods spin a once-orderly household out of control when two grandparents (Billy Crystal and Bette Midler) take care of their daughter’s (Marisa Tomei) three kids.

25 “The Guilt Trip.” Andy Brewster is about to embark on the road trip of a lifetime when his mother guilts him into bringing her along for the ride. Beyond all her annoyances and antics, Andy comes to realize that their lives have more in common than he originally thought.

JANUARY

TBD “On the Road.” Based on the iconic novel by Jack Kerouac, a young writer (Sam Riley) and his fast-talking friend (Garrett Hedlund) travel cross-country on a personal quest for freedom and self-discovery. They meet an eclectic group of men and women en route to their destination (Viggo Mortensen, Kirsten Dunst, Amy Adams, Elisabeth Moss, Alice Braga, Tom Sturridge).

TBD “Wish You Were Here.” A carefree holiday in Cambodia turns into a nightmare when three friends lose their fourth traveling companion.

3 The 23rd annual Washington Jewish Film Festival will be held through Jan. 13.

--> 11 “Amour.” An elderly couple’s relationship is severely tested when one of them suffers through a stroke in their last days together. Directed with the deft eye of Michael Haneke.

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