Let’s get this out of the way right from the start: there are a LOT of great movies coming out this Fall Movie Season, but there’s really only one that I absolutely HAVE to see…seven times. As usual, I have compiled a small list of the titles I’m most looking forward to the last quarter of the year. If you want a more expansive preview, I suggest you check out Entertainment Weekly’s—they do a good job. Also remember, these titles are listed in order of release as they stand now. All dates are subject to change. So, without further ado, let’s go to the movies!
Black Mass (9/18) – Johnny Depp looks like Ray Liotta in this trailer, which is appropriate considering Liotta’s most famous role is real life gangster Henry Hill in Goodfellas and Depp is playing the notorious James “Whitey” Bulger, who ruled the streets of Boston. If you watch the latest trailer for Black Mass and feel that Bulger’s story is familiar, it’s because you have seen The Departed and Jack Nicholson’s character was a fictionalized version of Bulger. This film, directed by Scott Cooper tells the whole story of how Bulger worked for the feds and used his immunity to terrorize an entire city. It looks like a great flick and it’s really fantastic to see Depp tackling a role like this. He’s been making so many dodgy films lately, it’s easy to forget he was once considered one of the best actors in Hollywood. Black Mass may help him lay claim to that praise yet again. Joel Edgerton and Benedict Cumberbatch also star.
Sicario (9/18) – Director Denis Villeneuve followed up the fantastic Prisoners with the mind-bending Enemy and now he takes on the Mexican drug cartels with the pitch black Sicario. Emily Blunt stars as an FBI agent who gets recruited by a mysterious government agent (Josh Brolin) to strike at the Mexican cartels. They are joined by an equally mysterious Mexican national played by Benicio Del Toro, whose allegiances are not totally clear. It looks to be a dark thriller and I’m excited to see Blunt in a role like this after the great work she did in last year’s Edge of Tomorrow. Jon Bernthal and Jeffrey Donovan also star.
Legend (10/2) – Tom Hardy has become one of my favorite actors in the last five or six years and with Legend, audiences will get a double dose of him. Hardy plays the Kray Twins, notorious gangsters that ruled the London underworld in the 1950s and 1960s. (If you’re a fan of Morrissey, you’re familiar with the Krays). The film looks like raucous fun and Hardy appears to be killing it in both roles. The rest of the cast is filled out by Emily Browning, Paul Bettany, David Thewlis, Christopher Eccleston, and Taron Egerton, who starred in Kingsman earlier this year. The trailer looks great and as soon as I heard Hardy was doing double duty, I was sold. One of my most anticipated films this year.
The Martian (10/2) – Matt Damon plays a stranded astronaut on Mars in this adaptation of the novel by Andy Weir. The film looks to be a cross between Interstellar and Cast Away, which could make for an interesting mix. Ridley Scott is in the director’s chair for this one and that could be good or bad as his output has been, shall we say, erratic at best lately. The cast is topnotch though with Kate Mara, Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, Jeff Daniels, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Peña, and Sean Bean. I’ve heard mixed things about the novel the film is based on, but mostly positive. We’ll see how it all pans out on October 2nd.
The Walk (10/9) – Director Robert Zemeckis brings us the dramatized version of a story presented in the documentary Man on Wire. The Walk tells the story of French high-wire artist Philippe Petit (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and his illegal “walk” between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in 1974. It looks to be part history lesson and part heist film. Knowing Zemeckis and after seeing the trailer, this may be one of those films that I have to waive my general reluctance to see a film in 3D. The visuals look spectacular and I’m sure Zemeckis has pulled off all kinds of visual tricks with this one.
Steve Jobs (10/9) – This film, directed by Danny Boyle, should be an interesting one. Unlike the last Steve Jobs film, Jobs, with Ashton Kutcher, this one is based on the authorized biography written by Walter Isaacson. It has also been adapted by screenwriter extraordinaire Aaron Sorkin, so that already makes the film one to watch. From the trailer, star Michael Fassbender looks nothing like Steve jobs, but he sounds like him, which should make for an interesting performance. Jobs is a fascinating figure of modern history and to get a biopic like this from an authorized source should be very compelling.
Beasts of No Nation (10/16) – Writer-Director Cary Fukunaga vaulted into the limelight with his expert direction of True Detective Season One for HBO, so his next project was always going to have a lot of interest. That brings us to Beasts of No Nation, a film about child soldiers in Africa starring Idris Elba. Expect some heavy material, but also be prepared to not even leave your couch for this one as the film is being released to both theaters and Netflix on the same day. This could be the future of film distribution, especially for smaller-budgeted films, so pay attention to this one for that reason as well as the drama-filled subject matter.
Bridge of Spies (10/16) – Did you even know that Steven Spielberg has a film releasing this year? Well, he does, and Bridge of Spies marks his fourth collaboration with Tom Hanks. Hanks plays James Donovan, a lawyer recruited by the U.S. Government to help with the recovery of a U.S. pilot in the hands of the Soviets. The Americans have a spy of their own and attempt to use Donovan to work an exchange. Based on true events, the story takes place at the height of the Cold War and, judging from the trailer, explores themes of patriotism and loyalty. The screenplay was written by Matt Charman and then revised by Joel and Ethan Coen. I’m intrigued by the premise and all the talent involved, but the first trailer didn’t really grab me. Spielberg’s name felt just kind of tacked on there, so I’m interested to see how it all plays out. You’d think with the most successful director of the last forty years at the helm, the studio would make a bigger deal about that.
Crimson Peak (10/16) – Traditionally, I am not a horror fan. However, when the subject is gothic horror directed by one of the most talented directors in the business, I might steel up my courage and check the film out. The film in question is Crimson Peak from Director Guillermo del Toro. There looks to be a lot of gore in this film, but it is tastefully done—at least in the trailer—and it really boils down to being an old fashioned haunted house film. Mia Wasikowska plays the lead role with Tom Hiddleston, Jessica Chastain, and Charlie Hunnam filling out the supporting cast. It looks to be a spooky film and I loved del Toro’s last brush with horror in Pan’s Labyrinth, so I’m hoping to enjoy this one as much.
The Lobster (10/16) – This is going to be a weird one, but it looks great. Colin Farrell plays a man who, by the laws of his near future society, must meet a partner in forty-five days or he will be transformed into an animal and set loose in the wild. This is the case for all singles in this society and Farrell finds himself in the same boat with John C. Reilly, Ben Whishaw, and Rachel Weisz. The film looks to be funny, sweet, and bizarre all rolled into one. Can’t wait.
Room (10/16) – There is one reason why I want to see Room: lead actress Brie Larson. I love Larson. She was stunningly good in the indie film Short Term 12—go to Netflix now if you’ve never seen it—and she’s been on my radar as an actress to watch. Judging from the trailer, Room looks like it will be a tour de force for Larson and I can’t wait to see it. Author Emma Donoghue adapts her own novel and the film is directed by Lenny Abrahamson, who directed last year’s quirky and touching Frank. The film focuses on Larson and her child as they live in a single room for years. It brings to mind recent cases of long-kidnapped individuals finally finding freedom and it looks like this film will play along those lines. Keep your eye out for this one and Brie Larson in particular.
Spectre (11/6) – I liked Director Sam Mendes’ last James Bond film, Skyfall, quite a bit, but I didn’t love it. Something about the third act didn’t feel right to me and Javier Bardem’s villain felt suitably weird for a Bond villain, but he also felt like he borrowed a bit much from Heath Ledger’s Joker. However, with James Bond’s twenty-fourth screen adventure, it looks like we have finally gotten a villain comparable to the classic Bond villains of yore in Christoph Waltz, who in the trailer claims to be the “author of all of [Bond’s] pain.” Awesome. Also, longtime Bond fans will note that calling this film Spectre is no accident as Mendes and the Bond brain trust are resurrecting the old villainous organization that played such a large role in the Bond films of the past. Ever since Daniel Craig took over the role with the spectacular Casino Royale, his films have been building to getting James Bond from reboot to familiar gentleman spy. According to Mendes, this is the final piece of that puzzle, so I’m excited to see where it goes from here. Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris, and Ben Whishaw return in their roles from the last film and Lea Seydoux and Monica Bellucci do time as the Bond Girls this time around.
Spotlight (11/6) – When I saw the trailer for Spotlight, I was completely blown away because I had no idea this movie was even in production and the cast involved is incredible. Also, the subject matter is not only incendiary, but important as well. The film focuses on the writers and editors at the Boston Globe that broke the story of the Catholic Church’s molestation scandal. The cast is crazy good and includes Michael Keaton, Liev Schreiber, Rachel McAdams, Mark Ruffalo, Stanley Tucci, John Slattery, and Billy Crudup. Co-written and directed by Tom McCarthy, Spotlight looks to be a great drama that will surely receive some attention come awards season.
Trumbo (11/6) – Bryan Cranston stars in this biopic from Director Jay Roach about screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, who was blacklisted in Hollywood during the Red Scare of the 1940s and 50s and then proceeded to write under a pen name to much success. The cast is fantastic and it looks like Cranston is out to add an Oscar to his collection of Emmys for Breaking Bad. Looking at the trailer it looks like this one will deftly mix comedy with drama to tell Trumbo’s story. John Goodman, Diane Lane, Louis C.K., and Helen Mirren also star.
By the Sea (11/13) – By the Sea marks the third feature film directed by Angelina Jolie—she also wrote the screenplay. It also marks the first onscreen collaboration between Jolie and Brad Pitt since 2005’s Mr. & Mrs. Smith. Jolie and Pitt play a married couple in the mid-1970s. They head to France in what looks to be the midst of their break-up and the story plays out from there. Pitt and Jolie had fantastic chemistry in Mr. & Mrs. Smith—clearly since they are now married—so as soon as I found out they would be starring opposite each other, I was onboard for this one. Also, I enjoyed Jolie’s work on last year’s Unbroken and found the faults in the film to be more in the way of the script, not in the way Jolie handled the material, so I’m interested in seeing how By the Sea plays out.
Carol (11/20) – Based on the novel The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith and directed by Todd Haynes, Carol tells the story of a married woman (Cate Blanchett) and the lesbian relationship she strikes up with a department store clerk (Rooney Mara) in the 1950s. The film was a hit at Cannes earlier this year and any movie with these two great actresses is worth checking out.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay: Part 2 (11/20) – I guess I have to see this. After really enjoying the first Hunger Games film and being completely underwhelmed by Catching Fire, I actually enjoyed the first part of Mockingjay, though the splitting of the story into two films offends me—Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was 759 pages, Mockingjay was 390; one of these needed two movies, the other…does not. I liked the world-building in the first Mockingjay a lot and I’m interested to see how it all turns out, but I guess I’m suffering from a little bit of Hunger Games fatigue. I love Jennifer Lawrence, but I can’t stand the two dudes her character is forced to choose between. Can’t she just hook up with Natalie Dormer’s character? Also, this will probably the last performance we see from Philip Seymour Hoffman, unless someone unearths some lost film of his, so I’ll see it for that reason alone.
Secret in Their Eyes (11/20) – The moment I saw this trailer, I knew I had to see this film. Julia Roberts—in a role originally intended for a male actor—and Chiwetel Ejiofor play FBI investigators operating under the direction of a District Attorney (Nicole Kidman). Their world is destroyed when they come across their latest murder victim—Roberts’ daughter. Roberts then goes vigilante when the guy accused of the crime goes free. The film, written and directed by Billy Ray—and based on a novel by Eduardo Sacheri—looks great and based on the trailer, it looks like Roberts gives a fantastic performance. Really looking forward to this one, but I like dark dramas/thrillers.
The Good Dinosaur (11/25) – For the first time ever, Pixar will release two films in the same year. Now, this wasn’t the original plan, as The Good Dinosaur was supposed to be released last year. However, behind the scenes problems—original Director Bob Peterson was taken off the film in 2013 and replaced by Peter Sohn—delayed the film. The story takes place in a pre-historic world where the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs passed Earth by and the dinos continue living their lives. It is a boy and his dog story, but in this tale, the boy is Arlo (Raymond Ochoa), a young Apatosaurus and the dog is a human boy named Spot (Jack Bright). The trailers look like Pixar may have captured that magic again and from what I’ve read about the story, you’d better bring the Kleenex for this one too. After this summer’s Inside Out, I have confidence in Pixar again and I’m hoping that The Good Dinosaur keeps the train rolling.
The Danish Girl (11/27) – Eddie Redmayne looks to add to his Oscar collection with Director Tom Hooper’s The Danish Girl, based on the historical novel by David Ebershoff. The film focuses on Lili Elbe (Redmayne), who is believed to be the first person to undergo gender-confirmation surgery. Alicia Vikander plays Gerda Wegener, an artist and Lili’s wife, who undertakes the journey with Lili. When I first heard about this film, I thought it would be a lot of Oscar bait and I wasn’t totally sold on seeing it, but the trailer won me over.
Macbeth (12/4) – Based on the play by some guy named Shakespeare, Michael Fassbender plays the titular man who would be king and Marion Cotillard plays his queen. The film, directed by Justin Kurzel, looks to be a bloody affair in the vein of films like Braveheart. Fassbender has been on a hot streak for a while and the only question may be, will he get nominated for this or for Steve Jobs? Ever since the first images were released for this film I started looking forward to it and the trailer just whetted my appetite even more. Bring it on, I say.
In the Heart of the Sea (12/11) – Here’s another film that was delayed, but for probably much different reasons. Director Ron Howard’s In the Heart of the Sea was all set to be released back in March when all of a sudden, it was pushed to December. In this case, though, it was probably for awards positioning more than anything else. The film tells the story of the real-life boat and whale encounter that inspired Melville’s Moby Dick. The film also inadvertently features the first Marvel team-up with Spider-Man as newly cast web-slinger Tom Holland appears with Thor himself, star Chris Hemsworth. Excelsior!
Sisters (12/18) – Sisters features another theatrical team-up between former SNL co-stars and gal pals Tina Fey and Amy Poehler in which the two play—duh—sisters. However, the two couldn’t be more different as Fey plays the slightly dim party girl, while Poehler is the nerdy overachiever. The two return to their childhood home to find that their parents (James Brolin and Diane Wiest) are selling the house and they need the siblings to clean out the room they once shared. The girls decide to have one last blowout house party and hilarity ensues. The screenplay was written by Saturday Night Live writer Paula Pell and the film is directed by Jason Moore. Clearly, Sisters has been scheduled as counterprogramming to a certain sci-fi blockbuster that will crush all box office opposition, so it’ll be interesting to see how this does financially. Fey and Poehler make a great team and the film’s R-rating should allow them to properly cut loose.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens (12/18) – This little indie film has come out of nowhere to dominate the fall movie conversation and looks to make a tidy little profit over the Christmas holiday. Who am I kidding? If there is only one movie on this or any other list to see this fall, it’s the latest chapter—the seventh—in the Star Wars saga. The film, co-written and directed by J.J. Abrams, tells the story of what happened after the Rebels destroyed the second Death Star and Darth Vader killed the Emperor—oh sorry, spoiler alert. Set 30 years in the future, the story follows three new leads: Finn (John Boyega), Rey (Daisy Ridley), and Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) and the antagonists are now an organization called the First Order. New Star Wars stories with new characters whose fates are not pre-determined by the prequel nature of their adventures are good enough, but add to the fact that the original cast (Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford) are all returning as well and you have the makings of a colossal hit. I was never totally sold on Abrams’ take on Star Trek, but a lot of that had to do with the scripts, which he didn’t write, and on Star Wars he has legendary screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan helping him out, so I’m very excited to see where this story goes. Information about the film has been trickling out of Disney—even the new toys manage not to spoil anything!—and fans are anxiously awaiting the third and final trailer. Personally, I hope they don’t release another look at the film. I want to be as in the dark as possible before heading into the theater. Here’s to hoping that by the end of this film we’ll all be saying, “Chewie, we’re home.”
The Hateful Eight (12/25) – Writer-Director Quentin Tarantino is back with the film he vowed he would never make after his screenplay leaked a little while back. However, after a live read of the script, Tarantino went back and made some changes and set out to make his eighth picture. The film centers on a collection of characters in the late 1800s all holed up waiting out a snowstorm. Bounty hunter Kurt Russell is attempting to bring fugitive Jennifer Jason Leigh to justice and he meets a former Union officer (Samuel L. Jackson) and five other mysterious players brought to life by Walton Goggins, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Bruce Dern, and Demian Bichir. It’s a great cast and Tarantino returns to a genre he had great success with on Django Unchained. The film is in limited release on Christmas and goes wide the second weekend of January.
Joy (12/25) – Jennifer Lawrence and Writer-Director David O. Russell have proven to be a potent duo in the last several years. Their first collaboration, Silver Linings Playbook, netted Lawrence an Oscar and their second, American Hustle, was one of the best-reviewed films of 2013. So, for their third team-up, they bring us Joy, a story that traces the life of a woman, Joy (Lawrence), as she starts her own business and hits all the landmarks of life—married, kids, etc. Edgar Ramirez co-stars as her husband and she’s also joined by her former Russell co-stars Robert De Niro and Bradley Cooper. Russell has been hitting it out of the park lately and I’m interested to see what he and Lawrence have cooked up for us this time.
The Revenant (12/25) – The Revenant is Director Alejandro González Iñárritu’s follow-up to the Oscar-winning Birdman, so right there, anticipation is already high. Add to the fact that the film stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy and that equals a must-see film. DiCaprio stars as a frontiersman looking for revenge on the men who left him for dead after a bear attack. The film has had a rough road to theaters and I’m hoping that it actually makes this date. The first trailer is absolutely haunting.
And that’ll do it. There are several other films I want to see this fall, but these are the main ones. Also, you may be wondering why Everest didn’t make the list. It did, but I’ve already seen it on a screener and the review is on its way! Again, if you want a more complete Fall Preview, head on over to Entertainment Weekly. Until next time, see you at the movies!