Fall Arts Preview, the Redux 

Take your choice – indoors or out.

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The big fall show at the Sculpture Center is The Tragedy of the Commons, a collaborative installation by Ali Momeni, Robin Meier, and 50,000 tiny helpers. The piece consists of a colony of leafcutter ants placed in an environment at once self-contained but open to up-close audience viewing. The terrarium is filled with piles of food, inedible filler and assorted irritants. The ants' struggle to coordinate and track down only the nutritious fare is meant to symbolize the perilous but irresistible dynamics of contemporary economic schemes. The Sculpture Center encountered some difficulty securing permits for the ants, but an opening is tentatively scheduled for Oct.12.

At the Bonfoey Gallery, a series of oil paintings on panel and paper by Stephen Pentak titled Persistent Image is opening Oct. 12. His mountainous vistas are grassy, lined by streams, and unpopulated except for a few trees. They are informed by traditionalism, but also visually playful. The trees are often doubled by their own reflections on still water.

Barry Underwood's Fables opens Nov. 9 at the 1point618 Gallery at Gordon Square. The chair of the Cleveland Institute of Art's photography department takes time-lapsed pictures of neon light installations in pristine natural settings. This exhaustive process creates narrative scenes meant to invoke the feeling of undefined magical promise of mythology.

You can escape election blitzing on Nov. 3 by spending a few sweet hours in Lakewood's Screw Factory, which holds its biannual, building-wide Open Studio Event from noon to 7 p.m. The former Templar Park auto factory rents showrooms and workspaces to 40 makers of fine arts, crafts, and objects at once so practical and aesthetic as to collapse the distinction. If you can't make it in November, you can come in December for some holiday shopping. The Last Minute Market offers work by Screw Factory's resident artisans, plus at least 50 other vendors.

And don't let the weather keep you away from the Cleveland art community's most reliable monthly events. The Tremont Art Walk is celebrating its 20th anniversary of combining creativity, cuisine, and cardio. It runs on the second Friday of every month. And every third Friday, the 78th Street Studios welcome visitors to an open house.

– Joseph Clark

Mainstream Movies

Now that Hollywood has gotten the summer sequels, superheroes, and 3D extravaganzas out of the way, it's time for something a little less brain-numbing to hit the multiplexes. The fall movie schedule is typically divided into two parts: the leftover summer crap that would have lost a gazillion dollars competing with Batman, and the three-hour prestige films hoping for Oscar gold. Thankfully, there's quite a bit of treasure spread out over the next three months, so you won't have to wait until the week of Christmas, when awards bait is usually cast out, to go to the theater again. Here are the movies on our must-see list this fall.

Ben Affleck directs and stars in Argo (opening Oct. 12). Set during the 1979 Iran hostage crisis, the film recounts the CIA's efforts to free six Americans hiding in the Canadian Embassy. The risky plan involves shooting a fake sci-fi movie. John Goodman (who played a blustery movie exec in last year's The Artist) and Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad's soulless prof-turned-meth-cooker) costar, along with Affleck's awesome period facial hair.

The Matrix's Wachowski siblings teamed up with Run Lola Run's Tom Tykwer for Cloud Atlas (opening Oct. 26), an ambitious and epic fantasy based on David Mitchell's award-hogging novel about a group of people whose stories crisscross over time and space. Tom Hanks and Halle Berry tie their fates to the past and future, as centuries unravel around them. Minds will undoubtedly be blown as audiences try to put it all together.

Fresh from kicking some undead ass this past summer in Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, the 16th president gets a proper late-career biopic in Lincoln (opening Nov. 9), courtesy of director Steven Spielberg and star Daniel Day-Lewis, who's made only one other movie since he won a well-deserved Oscar for 2007's There Will Be Blood. The guy's a slave to his craft, so we're expecting his Abe to be the most precise portrait ever put onscreen.

James Bond celebrates his 50th anniversary with Skyfall (opening Nov. 9), a new adventure starring Daniel Craig, returning to the role for the third time since 2006's Casino Royale. Javier Bardem, with another bad haircut, plays the bad guy this time, and Sam Mendes, who made American Beauty, directs. As always, the convoluted plot is merely a premise for all the gizmos, gadgets, girls, and explosions.

The maybe-crazy director David O. Russell adapted Silver Linings Playbook (opening Nov. 21) from a novel about a maybe-crazy teacher, fresh from a mental institution, who is living with his parents and trying to pick up the pieces of his shattered life. He hopes to get back together with his ex-wife (the one he almost killed) while forging a relationship with a woman who's hauling plenty of baggage herself. Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence star.

Life of Pi (opening Nov. 21) is directed by Ang Lee, whose career includes both notable highs (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Brokeback Mountain) and lows (Hulk). He should be in his element with this story about a zookeeper's son stranded at sea with some hungry animals, including a tiger that has a man's name. The film is based on a 2001 fantasy novel that goes deep into spiritual and metaphysical terrain, which the wide-thinking Lee never shies away from.

Director Peter Jackson recently expanded his two-movie adaptation of Tolkien's Lord of the Rings prequel to a trilogy, which – like his Oscar-winning Rings movies – will be released over a three-year period. The first part, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (opening Dec. 14), is the setup and backstory, so don't expect too much Return of the King-style grandeur. But there should be plenty of heart, as well as familiar faces, including Ian McKellen as Gandalf.


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