Bring out the blankets!
Brew that hot cocoa!
Light all those fancy candles and curl up on the couch while the wind rattles the windowpanes — the days are growing shorter, and that means more time for movies every night!
Here are a few that just feel right this time of year; the perfect cappers as the temperature drops and the leaves (finally) fade to yellow ...
6. "CLUE" (1985). On a dark and stormy night, seven strangers are drawn to a remote mansion by a blackmailer — and a bevvy of murders and revelations follow. It's a classic thriller setup Agatha Christie used more than once, and yet here it's played for riotous laughs. The hysterical cast (Madeline Kahn, Michael McKeen, Martin Mull, Christopher Lloyd) and clever dialogue make this a screwball comedy that entertains even after the umpteenth rewatch. While everyone does solid work — Kahn's "Flames! On the side of my face!" may be the most quoted line from the entire film — it's Tim Curry as butler Wadsworth who really steals the show.
5. "JANE EYRE" (2006). Charlotte Brontė's masterpiece is adapted anew every other year, but for my bottom dollar there's no topping the 2006 miniseries starring Ruth Wilson (she of the duck lips and fantastic eyebrows) as Jane and Toby "Son of Maggie Smith" Stephens as human disaster Rochester. In my circles, this version is fondly referred to as the "Sex Riot Jane Eyre," thanks to the scorching chemistry between the leads (who still barely touch or kiss in true period film fashion). Fall begs for a pinch of gothic melodrama, and this classic tale of a defiant governess falling for her broody employer with a dark secret is the gold standard of the genre. Wilson's passionate performance in particular has yet to be surpassed.
4. "V FOR VENDETTA" (2005). The Wachowski Sisters' ultra-political, ultra-bleak adaptation of Alan Moore's graphic novel always feels timely around election seasons; the rallying cry of "Remember, remember the fifth of November" can easily be altered to "the sixth of November." Evey's (Natalie Portman) life in a fascist England is turned upside down when she meets the revolutionary known only as V (Hugo Weaving). It's an incredibly painful story — particularly for the LGBTQ community — that nevertheless needs to be told (and retold), if only to warn against future tyrannies. It's a cathartic film that makes you feel the full gamut of emotion by the closing credits.
3. "THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS" (1992). In the midst of the French and Indian War, the last of a dying tribe — Uncas (Eric Schweig), his father Chingachgook (Russell Means) and his adopted white brother Hawkeye (Daniel Day Lewis) — fight to protect the daughters of a British colonel. Hawkeye quickly falls for Cora (Madeleine Stowe), while Uncas and Alice (Jodhi May) have a tender connection, but the romances take a backseat to the bloody conflict of the story and the natural beauty of the film's rugged wilderness setting. With the gorgeous cinematography, sweeping soundtrack and impassioned action, "Mohicans" is one I curl up with each fall.
2. "THE GOONIES" (1985). A group of misfit kids in search of pirate treasure on the rainy Pacific Northwest coast cross paths with a family of fugitive robbers in this charmer that launched the careers of Sean Astin (who played starry-eyed leader Mikey) and Josh Brolin (as his older, exasperated brother Brand). This is one of those iconic family films that has just enough darkness — there's a dead guy in the freezer! — to keep it from being too saccharine. There are stellar performances from the child actors, fantastical dashes of whimsy and plenty of heart; the kids' main motivation in finding the treasure is so their parents can keep their houses from a greedy developer.
1. "THE ILLUSIONIST" (2006). Eisenheim the Illusionist (Edward Norton) dazzles turn-of-the-century Vienna with his conjuring on stage — but can he save childhood love Sophie (Jessica Biehl) from the violent temper of her powerful betrothed, the Crown Prince Leopold (Rufus Sewell)? Filmed in hazy sepia tones, with a haunting soundtrack courtesy of Philip Glass, the entire film feels like a daguerreotype brought to life. There are some unexpected twists leading to a beautiful ending in this magic-and-ghost-tinged romance tailor-made for a chilly fall night.
• ANGIE BARRY is a page designer and columnist for The Times. To suggest future topics for The B-List, which covers pop culture, history and literature, contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.