All isn't lost. It's fall, when undumb movies push through the din of summer idiocy, when excitement is human instead of digital, when topping the Oscar list is (almost) as important as topping the box office. Don't get me wrong. The greed thing doesn't disappear between Labor Day and New Year's Eve. That's why sequels to The Hunger Games, Anchorman, Thor and The Hobbit are on the fall table. But fall is the season when Hollywood itches for a little respect. And the filmmakers at work – Martin Scorsese, David O. Russell, the Coen brothers, Alfonso Cuarón, Alexander Payne, Paul Greengrass, Steve McQueen, Spike Jonze – are top-tier. It's been quality famine so far in 2013. Fruitvale Station, Before Midnight, Blue Jasmine, Mud – and then what? You can barely fill a tweet. The movies on this list want to drop-kick a drag-ass year to glory. Game on.
By Peter Travers