EW critics' fall movie picks -- ''Elite Squad,'' ''Happy-Go-Lucky,'' Milk,'' ''The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,'' and more top our reviewers' must-see lists

By Owen Gleiberman and Lisa Schwarzbaum
Updated August 15, 2008 at 04:00 AM EDT

Burn After Reading

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EW critics’ fall movie picks

Owen Gleiberman
Al Pacino and Robert De Niro had only two scenes together in Heat, but they sizzled like a ’70s dream. That’s enough to prime me for Righteous Kill, in which the two legends team up as New York cops on the trail of a serial killer….Now that the Coen brothers have climbed the Hollywood awards beanpole, I can’t wait to see what they’ll do in Burn After Reading (starring George Clooney), which sounds like the light-comedy version of No Country for Old Men…. And Elite Squad, an underworld drama about the Rio de Janeiro military police, entices me because it’s the first fiction feature from José Padilha, whose documentary Bus 174 was as riveting as any thriller.

Lisa Schwarzbaum
I’m cheating when I say I’m looking forward to Happy-Go-Lucky: Truth is, I’m eager to see it again, since I already know the title emotion is contagious in Mike Leigh’s buoyant comedy about an upbeat young woman…. Religulous (10/3) could be hilarious (from director Larry Charles, who wrestled Borat into feature-length anarchy) or aggravating (er, it’s Bill Maher’s thoughts on religion), but either way I’m ready for the sermon…. After seeing the excellent work he did directing episodes of HBO’s great shrink series In Treatment, I’m curious to see how Rodrigo Garcia steers Anne Hathaway and Patrick Wilson through the horror-thriller Passengers.

Two years ago, Casino Royale was the BBME (Best. Bond. Movie. Ever.), so the stakes are high indeed for Quantum of Solace. Will Daniel Craig and the series’ new director, Marc Forster, once again make 007 a man whose depth rivals his danger?… Gus Van Sant tries to find the shades of gray in Milk, an enticing-sounding biopic in which Sean Penn stars as the pioneering gay pol Harvey Milk…. And I know I’m not alone in my eagerness to see if Hollywood can do justice to The Road, Cormac McCarthy’s great postapocalyptic father-son saga, with a cast that features Viggo Mortensen and Charlize Theron.

What happens when an award-winning play with a memorable cast is adapted for the screen with a different, movie-starry cast? With Meryl Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman playing nun and priest in John Patrick Shanley’s Doubt, I’m willing to temper my own qualms…. I have little doubt, though, that after his superb Zodiac, director David Fincher will astonish me — his specialty — with The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, starring Brad Pitt…. Finally, I’ve been hearing such raves about the French film The Secret of the Grain that this Brad Pitt-free story about an immigrant Arab family in France is high on my must-see list.

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Burn After Reading

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