Movies For Grown-ups Back In Style This Fall

Bob Strauss

As kids head back to campus, thoughts of chilly football stadiums, keggers, all-nighters and mid-terms fill the imagination. Quick Clicks What are best exercises for kids? While the reality of the college experience for most people is likely more about studying and surviving than partying, we’ve collected five iconic movies that fulfill every stereotype about college life. Two of our featured flicks take us onto Harvard’s campus. Although very few of us ever get to experience Harvard Yard, movies for generations have used the Ivy League backdrop for comedies. Before Anthony Edwards became known as Dr. Mark Greene on the popular drama “ER,” he played second fiddle and Super Nerd in another of our choices. And, of course, what review of college movies is complete without the most-quoted, hilarious fraternity movie of the last century? Hint: “Seven years of college down the drain!” says the chubby protagonist. So, without further ado, let’s hit the books … No. 5: “Back To School” (1986) Millionaire Thornton Mellon (Rodney Dangerfield) didn’t go to college and wants his son Jason (Keith Gordon) to experience what he did not.

Rodney Dangerfield and Keith Gordon in Back to School

Drinking Buddies (R) Drinking Buddies is helped enormously by its relaxed pacing, exuberant alt-rock soundtrack and photogenic lead players, all of whom are still young enough to drink copious glasses of hoppy libations without one broken blood vessel or expanding waistline. Wilde and Johnson are particularly convincing as opposite-sex buds who are so in synch that they raise their glasses at the same time. Ann Hornaday Winnie Mandela (R) In truth, the casting is probably the only reason Winnie Mandela is in theaters today. Despite the marquee names and their obvious talent, the film feels like a made-for-TV movie. Its slight and episodic, with a weirdly scrupulous ambivalence about its subject, whom it seems torn between loving and loathing. Michael OSullivan 1/2 Riddick (R) Riddick can be cheesy and silly, not to mention excessively violent, but its also fun. The story moves quickly along, and even when the outcome is plain, the journey remains entertaining. Diesel looks like an oaf but makes for a winning anti-hero. Stephanie Merry Adore (R) Adapted by the playwright Christopher Hampton ( Dangerous Liaisons , Atonement ), the film adheres to Lessings own spare, unyielding prose a framework Fontaine regrettably festoons with vapid beauty shots and longingly pretty gazes. Ann Hornaday Follow the Leader (Unrated) As a portrait of baby politicos, Follow the Leader contains some fascinating insights. While still in high school, Nick suffers a classic example of mudslinging, when his campaign Web site for student body president is hacked and replaced by mocking material. Maybe all politics is just like high school, the film suggests. Michael OSullivan Terraferma (R) The movie excels at atmospherics, including a strings-heavy soundtrack and the evocative sounds of open water, whether its a faint whale call or the underwater sloshing of an old boat drifting over waves. The cinematography is similarly expressive. One early image sticks out: A panorama captures Filippo dancing around the bow of his grandfathers boat as it scoots along the shimmery water. Stephanie Merry The Ultimate Life (PG) such sloppy attention to period detail is the least of the films worries. Such gaffes will likely not be noticed by viewers, most of whom will have fallen asleep by that point. Michael OSullivan Afternoon Delight (R) Afternoon Delight doesnt break new ground when it comes to midlife-crisis analysis for the minivan set. Soloway steers clear of broad, wacky scenarios that easily could have steered Delight down more mainstream avenues. When Rachel invites McKenna into her home as a live-in nanny, the movie asks complicated questions and waits for us to find our own answers. Sean OConnell Instructions Not Included (PG-13) Although mostly a predictable comedy about parental ineptitude, Instructions not Included takes a surprisingly dark turn toward the end. Despite coming out of left field, the serious conclusion actually makes for a far more interesting package.

On Movies: Keep an eye on Toronto for Oscar contenders

Julianne Nicholson (left), Meryl Streep, and Julia Roberts in "August: Osage County."

The results of just-completed summer 2013 make this look like a good idea, too. Dumb, loud and expensive action spectaculars long the majors main focus began running out of steam by midsummer. Meanwhile, The Great Gatsby, an F. Scott Fitzgerald adaptation of all things, made nearly $149 million during the moron-movie months. And Lee Daniels The Butler, a cinematic history lesson if there ever was one, topped the box-office charts for the last three weeks of summer. Showbiz observers predict a lot of serious coin will be made by the rest of the years dramas. I think its highly likely, Boxoffice.coms chief analyst Phil Contrino says. There are a lot of films that are opening between September and December that look like they have a lot of promise. Contrino is especially high on Gravity, an space survival story that eschews aliens and other fantasy elements to focus on two astronauts (Sandra Bullock and George Clooney) whose orbiting capsule gets demolished. He also likes the chances of Silver Linings director David O. Russells 1970s political corruption piece American Hustle; Saving Mr. Banks, in which Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) tries to convince author P.L.

‘Riddick,’ ‘Drinking Buddies’ and other new movies, reviewed

Matthew McConaughey reportedly lost 50 pounds to play the crazed dude diagnosed with HIV in Dallas Buyers Club. Putting your health at risk for your art – Academy members love that stuff! But TIFF, now in its 38th year, is not just a launching pad for awards-season contenders and wannabes. It happens to be the biggest, and year in and year out the most rewarding, film festival in North America. With so many entries from so many countries (70), even the most obsessed festgoer can manage only a fraction of the program’s schedule. So if you’re a maniac for midnight movies, or for films from France or China or Brazil, or family abduction thrillers ( Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal in Prisoners) or documentaries (this year there are 22 nonfiction entries, including new ones from masters Errol Morris and Frederick Wiseman) . . . whatever the predilection, you have your festival cut out for you. Inevitably, there are surprises, the unexpectedly good, and here and there the shockingly bad. Fading Gigolo, directed by actor John Turturro (who did the beautiful self-guided music doc Passione a few years back), sounds like a risky venture, but a potentially intriguing one: He plays a guy who becomes a professional Don Juan to help his cash-strapped friend ( Woody Allen).