The new season: Fall movie preview

Tom Hanks as Zachry and Halle Berry as Meronym in a scene from "Cloud Atlas," an epic spanning centuries and genres, from the filmmakers behind "The Matrix" and "Run Lola Run."
AP/Warner Bros. Pictures, Jay Maidment

(CBS News) The curtain is going up on a new season at the movies. Bill Whitaker in Hollywood has saved us a seat:

It happens every year. As the weather cools down, the big screen sizzles.

It's Los Angeles Times critic Kenneth Turan's "happy time."

Turan was our guide through this fall's films.

"As a film fan we think this year there are going to be really good films in the fall, and sometimes there are. Sometimes that actually happens," Turan said.

One he is looking forward to is "Lincoln" starring Daniel Day Lewis. The actor, known to transform himself, does so to uncanny effect against the sweep and drama (and Steven Spielberg's commanding images) of the Civil War.

In "Hyde Park on Hudson," Bill Murray plays FDR, hosting the King of England on the brink of World War II.

Screens this fall will be full of action! Daniel Craig as James Bond is back in "Skyfall" - heart-pounding from Shanghai to Istanbul with really bad guy Javier Bardem.

Can you take more? Liam Neeson returns in "Taken 2."

"What happened in 'Taken,' Liam Neeson killed all these people," Turan said, "but apparently there are even more of them, so they take him on again! Like, Didn't you see the film? Don't take this guy on!"

Tom Cruise takes on Jack Reacher, an ex-military loner, who dispenses his own brand of tough justice - from the best-selling novels by Lee Child.

In "Flight," two-time Oscar-winner Denzel Washington plays a heroic airline pilot whose image withers under the glare of the public spotlight.

Books inspired several fall movies. Keira Knightly is Tolstoy's "Anna Karenina." Jack Kerouac's Beat Generation Bible, "On the Road," will be on the screen in December.

And director Ang Lee did what many thought impossible - made a move of Yann Martel's novel, "Life of Pi," about a boy, a lifeboat and a hungry Bengal tiger.

What about the last of the "Twilight" saga?

"Yeah, 'Twilight' has been a phenomenon into and of itself," said Turan. "Certainly there's going to be a huge wanna-see among the Twi-hards of the world."

Of course, there's something for the kids: "Wreck It Ralph," about a video game bad guy who longs to be good.

"Frankenweenie" is the tale of a boy and his dog as only Tim Burton can tell it.

For comedy, there's "This Is 40" from director-writer Judd Apatow; and "Seven Psychopaths," the story of a hapless gang of dog-nappers.

"An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind."

"No, it doesn't. There'll be one guy left with one eye."

"Silver Linings Playbook" has Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence maneuvering through mental illness toward love. It was the toast of the Toronto Film Festival.

There's also a big-screen version of the Broadway hit, "Les Miserables," with major star power: Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway. "Everyone's crossing their fingers, you know, that they haven't screwed it up

Several movies are based on true events. "The Impossible" is about a family caught up in the 2004 tsunami.

"Zero Dark Thirty" about the hunt for Osama bin Laden.

And "Argo" is about a CIA operative posing as a movie producer to rescue six Americans from Tehran during the 1979 hostage crisis.

Director Quentin Tarantino tackles American slavery with a James Brown beat in "Django Unchained."

"It's going to be an over-the-top, insane story, without even having seen an inch of the footage I can guarantee that, and we'll see if he can pull it off," said Turan.

The Wachowski siblings, makers of "The Matrix" are back bending minds and time with a cinematic version of the book "Cloud Atlas." The cast, including Tom Hanks and Halle Berry, meet and mate through the ages.

And finally . . . Peter Jackson, who gave us the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, takes us back into J.R.R. Tolkien's world with "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey."

So, overall, a good year? "I think it's one of the strongest Falls I can remember," said Turan.