By Michael Slezak
August 08, 2007 at 12:00 PM EDT

Three fall movie trailers, which have me respectively feeling: (A) nada; (B) mixed emotions; and (C) the excited tinglies.

Lions for Lambs (Nov. 9) It doesn’t get much more Oscar-bait-y than Meryl Streep starring in a Robert Redford-directed political drama about the war in Afghanistan and its implications in Washington and the world of academia. So how come the trailer plays so stiff and turgid? Lines like, “What is relevant is the implementation of a new strategy” don’t help, but the thing that’s really bogging me down is Tom Cruise’s performance as a powerful U.S. senator. Take his big, hoo-hah question to Streep’s reporter: “Do you wanna win the war on terror? Yes or no? This is the quintessential yes-or-no question of our time. Yes or no?” Doesn’t he deliver this in almost the same exact tone that he once asked Matt Lauer, “Do you know what Aderol is? Do you know Ritalin? Do you know now that Ritalin is a street drug? Do you understand that?” Maybe my perception’s been thrown off by the photo of Cruise dirty dancing with Katie Holmes in that copy of Us that I accidentally bought last night — yes, accidentally! it can happen! — but I can’t take “Serious Cruise” seriously anymore.

Things We Lost in the Fire (Oct. 26) Halle Berry needs a good movielike I need my early-morning Diet Coke. Which is to say, desperately.Will this drama about a widow who invites her late hubby’s long-timefriend (fellow Oscar winner Benicio Del Toro) to move in with her (andher kids) provide the needed caffeine career boost? It’shard to tell, based on this trailer. I just hope they don’t end updoing the horizontal mambo. I mean, think about it: Your dead bestfriend’s wife/dead husband’s best friend? Skeezy!

The Kite Runner (Nov. 2) Okay, so this adaptation of Khaled Hosseini’sbest-seller just has to be good, right? I mean, not even Hollywoodexecs could mess up a book this riveting, right? Relative unknownKhalid Abdalla takes the pivotal role of Amir, while FindingNeverland‘s Marc Forster directs, and while I’m pre-programmed to lovethis one, the two minutes of footage here look lush and evocative —just the way I hoped they would.