Well, after a speedy 2015 movie year, we are finally back to the season when Hollywood launches the best in their cinematic canon. What films have stood out so far? I can count them on my fingers, starting with the big releases (Mad Max:Fury Road, Straight Outta Compton), and the art-house (The Wolfpack, Love and Mercy, Irrational Man). But I have a feeling those numbers will change big time in the next few months, combining colossal epics (Spectre, Star Wars: The Force Awakens), and major Oscar targets (Steve Jobs, Carol, The Revenant). Here 12 films this fall season not to be missed –
Black Mass [September 18th]
Let’s face it, the real buzz behind this gangster biopic has been the return-to-form performance of Johnny Depp, who plays real life mob boss Whitey Bulger, one of Boston’s most feared criminals. Instead of covering his whole life though, director Scott Cooper(Crazy Heart, Out of the Furnace) focuses on when Bulger helped the FBI take down the Italian mafia. Hey, they say Depp kills it in this one. I’m there.
Sicario [September 18th]
If you haven’t seen any of director Denis Villeneuve’s work (Incendies, Prisoners, Enemy), then get fucking busy. This guy knows how to unravel a twisty story. And Sicario, which means “hitman” in Spanish, about a play-it-straight FBI agent (Emily Blunt) a midst a shady drug operation, including a questionable CIA agent (Josh Brolin) and a dangerous mercenary (Benicio Del Toro). Expect this kind of genre to be turned on it’s empty head.
The Martian [October 2nd]
There has been a lot of playful marketing for this new sci-fi from director Ridley Scott, which hints at how fun this space film will end up being. Matt Damon, back in the smart-ass mode we love, plays an astronaut who has been stranded on Mars. Don’t expect any alien mayhem however. And don’t fret. Doing a sort of funnier Cast Away in space, Ridley Scott and Matt Damon will keep the screen popping for sure.
Steve Jobs [October 9th]
First of all, fuck the Ashton Kutcher film biopic of the late Apple genius. If anyone can bring this kind of of story to the screen, it would be screenwriter Aaron Sorkin(remember what he did with The Social Network?) working with uber-visceral director Danny Boyle. Michael Fassbender has already propelled himself to the top of the best actor spot for his take on Jobs, this film showing him during the release of three Apple products. Ready the fireworks, this could be one of the year’s very best.
Pan [October 9th]
Director Joe Wright(Atonement, Hanna) is doing a live-action Peter Pan adaptation, starring Levi Miller as Pan, Rooney Mara as Tiger Lilly, and Hugh Jackman as Blackbeard the pirate. Need I say more?
Bridge of Spies [October 16th]
When a Cold War film comes out starring Tom Hanks, written by the Coen Brothers, and directed by Steven Spielberg, you better believe it front-runs itself into the Oscar race. Hanks plays a lawyer recruited by the CIA to protect a Soviet spy, in order to make an eventual trade for an American u-2 pilot. Destined to be Spielberg’s most provocative film since Munich.
Crimson Peak [October 16th]
The definite “guilty-pleasure watch” of the film season. Guillermo Del Toro hasn’t made anything this violent or scary since his 2006 classic Pan’s Labyrinth. And when he does a spooky-house film, starring Tom Hiddleston as an 19th century aristocrat and Mia Wasikowska as his bride to be, it seems hopeful that this will also be the scary movie event of the year. Let’s hope. Bring a night-light.
Spectre [November 6th]
I’ll be straight, I’m almost getting burned out by James Bond films. I mean, how much more can they dish out on our beloved agent? Luckily, Sam Mendes is back directing this one after doing Skyfall, the biggest Bond film to date. And Spectre is rumored to be an origin story for our boy, with actor Daniel Craig bringing it on for the fourth time as 007, and two time Oscar-winner Christoph Waltz as the mysterious villain. The box office numbers set by Skyfall are about to explode even further.
Carol [November 20th]
Easily one of my most anticipated films for this season, mostly because I love everything director Todd Haynes(Far From Heaven, I’m Not There) puts out, and that it stars Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara, as lovers in the 50’s, when lesbianism was unspoken of. Blanchett and Mara are two of the best actors on the planet. And Todd Haynes is a world-class director, who can cast a dreamy spell over anything.
Stars Wars: The Force Awakens [December 18th]
Talk about a cinematic nuclear missle. Whatever the plot may be for J.J. Abrams’ next chapter in the Star Wars saga, we definitely know it will be huge, with box-office numbers set to hit record numbers. But will it be good? Early footage suggest it will definitely best the last three installments, scaling back on the CGI to make it feel more like the originals. And with the original cast members showing up (Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher), mixing it with the new-comers (Oscar Issac as hero, Adam Driver as villain) anticipation can’t be any higher. My advice? Buy tickets asap.
The Hateful Eight [December 25th]
After the original script leaked for Quentin Tarantino’s new ultra-violent western, it seemed at first that The Hateful Eight would never make it to the screen. After re-writes though, Tarantino is now ready to unleash his next pulp attack, this one acting like a Civil War-Reservoir Dogs, putting eight dangerous outlaws in a cabin, while a killer-blizzard rages outside. With the cast including the likes of Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Samuel L. Jackson, Tim Roth, Bruce Dern, and Michael Madsen, expect for things to get bloody-wild, with endless Tarantino dialogue to quote along the way. No film lover would dream of missing it.
Joy [December 25]
Go ahead and start beating the award drums for this one. Whenever you put Jennifer Lawrence in a film directed by crazy-boy David O. Russell(The Fighter, Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle), it’s an immediate algorithm for Oscar attention. And with this one being about the rise of the Miracle Mop-tycoon Joy, Russell gives Lawrence the leading role of a lifetime, upping the scale he achieved with his last three films. Expect awards all around.
The Revenant [December 25]
No film coming out this year has me drooling more than Alejandro G. Innaritu’s follow-up to his Oscar winning Birdman. Said to have been a living hell for the cast and crew members involved, The Revenant has certainly already gained controversy, but is also already said to be a new classic, the very thing to put Innaritu back on the Oscar stage. Starring a bearded Leonardo DiCaprio as legendary fur-trapper Hugh Glass, the film follows Glass as he exacts revenge on his fellow fur-trappers (Tom Hardy and Domhnall Gleeson), who left him for dead after a brutal bear mauling. Innaritu, once again using genius cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki(Gravity, Birdman), worked together to film only in natural lighting, creating a more realistic and raw atmosphere in the frozen Canadian wilderness. The actors, basically froze their dicks off, and the initial budget soared over double. Will it all pay off? Nobody makes magic like Innaritu and Lubezki.