Of course the big news in New York movies this weekend is the New York Film Festival which kicks off tomorrow at Lincoln Center. However, in an attempt reserve our NYFF excitement for a full post tomorrow, let's just focus on the regular releases. Here we go.

Jon Heder is making a whole career out of this lovable loser shtick. His newest movie School for Scoundrels doesn't feature quite as pathetic a character as he played in Napoleon Dynamite, but unfortunately it has a severely Botoxed Billy Bob Thorton in it instead. Todd Philips (Old School) at least knows how to direct comedy, so the only truly sad thing is that most of the stellar supporting cast (look for Gothamist favs Aziz Ansari and Paul Scheer) don't get enough screen time. Related: When is Todd Louiso getting his own movie? He's wonderful here, as usual.

The very punk'able Ashton Kutcher has two movies hitting theaters this weekend, as he contributes his celeb voice to the animated Open Season, and he spars with Kevin Costner in The Guardian. They both look like decent enough movies, though neither will probably be that memorable.

Gothamist Pick:
2006_09_arts_saints.jpgAfter watching A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints, you'll have a whole new appreciation for former model Channing Tatum. He's totally mesmerizing playing the brutal but tender thug Antonio in Dito Montiel's semi-autobiographical recollections of growing up in Queens during the '80s. In addition to an heart wrenching story about his childhood friendships, Montiel also is doing some interesting cinematic experiments with depicting memory on screen. Plus, the rest of the cast is also stellar with Robert Downey Jr., Dianne Wiest, Shia LaBeouf and Rosario Dawson all giving great performances. This incredibly powerful first feature from Montiel is a must see for anyone with an interest in what it's like to grow up in our metropolis.

For more biographical life experiences from a completely different part of the globe, The Last King of Scotland is also worth seeking out. Forest Whitaker is getting some much deserved buzz for his performance as Uganda's dictator Idi Amin. The way he stalks about the screen, the film's protagonist Nicholas doesn't know if Amin's going to next hug him or order his death. It's some pretty scary stuff. Apparently, this movie is one of the few times Uganda has been captured in a fiction film and you can tell from the beautiful photography, it's a gorgeous country.

It isn't getting to be October if you don't have candy corn, pumpkins and scary movies on the horizon. The Pioneer theater is screening a bunch of horror films next month starting with an appearance by director Harry Kumel on October 2nd for a special Fangoria screening of his 1971 lesbian vampire classic Daughters of Darkness at Two Boots.

For some real European cinema classics, try to catch at least some of the Otto Preminger: Notorious series at MoMA, which begins this weekend. According to MoMA, "This centenary tribute to the provocative director offers a chance to view his most beloved films along with seldom-screened work." Bonjour Tristesse with the gorgeous gamine Jean Seberg plays this Monday at 8:30 pm.

In the mood for a non fiction film about the minority comic scene? The Latin Legends of Comedy begins theatrical release at City Cinemas East Village this Friday. A documentary with comics Joey Vega, J.J. Ramirez and Angel Salazar, it's played at a bunch of different film festivals around the country including the New York International Latino Film Festival earlier this summer.

Film Forum has been running a Monty Python series "Pythonalot" which continues this week. Director Terry Gilliam will appear in person at the Houston St. theater next Tuesday, October 3 to present his movie, Time Bandits at the 7:30 pm show. While Gilliam's career has become a touch spotty in the last few years, he is the guy who gave us Brazil and the under-rated Twelve Monkeys, so he's sure to make for an intriguing Q&A subject.