Our 2016 Fall Movie Preview: 'Harry Potter' And 'Star Wars' Are Here To Save Us
Yeah, it has been a dire summer movie season filled with more superhero movies and unwanted remakes and sequels. So bad, that it has prompted Bret Easton Ellis to officially declare the death of the artform (never mind that it has been declared dead several times since the 1940s). But with Labor Day weekend in our rear view, the studios have pivoted into Oscar Season, unleashing the contenders and the prestige pictures upon us. That might instill a whole new sense of dread for some people, but at the very least it's a welcome change. After all, what could be worse than Suicide Squad? Here's what's coming out this fall that has our interest:
No spoiler alerts necessary, as we know that all 155 people on-board U.S. Airways Flight 1549 survived the Miracle on the Hudson thanks to the heroic efforts of Captain Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger. Instead, we're here for another one of Clint Eastwood's thoughtful examinations of heroism and a subtle character study, anchored by Tom Hanks "who has magnetized all his external charm into a quiet, forceful reserve," writes LAist critic Peter Labuza in his glowing review.
Behind every great film and film director is a someone holding the camera. But what does it actually mean to hold that camera and be the person who documents the world before them? Cameraperson is a highly personal film essay from Kristen Johnson, who has spent 25 years recording such images for documentaries, including Fahrenheit 9/11 and Citizenfour. In Cameraperson, Johnson examines the relationship between the person who captures the images and their subject, and the moral burden of the job.
Cameraperson is in theaters on September 9 in New York, and September 23 in Los Angeles.
Bridget Jones's Baby
Two hookups, one baby. Are you #TeamJack or #TeamMark? Aside from the return of Renee Zellweger, Baby also brings director Sharon Maguire back into the franchise. Maguire directed the first Bridget Jones's Diary film and is a close friend of author Helen Fielding, who based the character Shazzer on Maguire.
Produced and initially promoted under the title The Woods, it was only until Comic-Con that it was revealed that this film was the second (!) sequel to the groundbreaking Blair Witch Project. The film is directed by Adam Wingard, who directed You're Next and The Guest.
Of course Oliver Stone would do a movie about Edward Snowden! The notoriously crackpot director made waves at Comic-Con last month when he said Pokemon Go would bring on a robot society. Joseph Gordon Levitt and a weird accent star as the NSA whistleblower alongside Zachary Quinto as investigative journalist Glenn Greenwald.
The Magnificent Seven
Director Antoine Fuqua returns to the Denzel Washington well for this remake of the 1960 Western (which itself is a remake of Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai). It'll be the third time the pair have worked together, after Training Day and The Equalizer. Some of the other Seven include raptor whisperer Chris Pratt, Korean star Byung-hun Lee, and Ethan Hawke.
Leave it to director Peter Berg—who earlier this year wrote that he wanted Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson to be "the best President we've had since Ronald Reagan"—to turn a real-life story about the disastrous exploitation of the environment and labor into a gritty survivor's tale. Starring Berg muse Mark Wahlberg.
British director Andrea Arnold (who broke through with 2009's Fish Tank) turns to the American heartland with a band of milennial misfits as they travel across the Midwest. Starring Shia LaBeouf, American Honey won the Jury Prize at this year's Cannes Film Festival.
The Birth of a Nation
Fox Searchlight bought the rights to Nate Parker's depiction of the Nat Turner rebellion out of Sundance with the largest deal out of that festival to date ($17.5 million). However, its release has become embroiled in controversy, with Parker's and co-screenwriter Jean Celestine's rape allegation resurfacing as the release of the movie approaches.
The Girl on the Train
Paula Hawkins' novel The Girl on the Train debuted at No. 1 on the New York Times' bestsellers list in 2015, held that position for 13 weeks and was touted as the "next Gone Girl." Director Tate Taylor (The Help) adapts this psychological thriller, and it stars Emily Blunt as a woman who becomes obsessed (perhaps to homicidal ends) with a young couple who live down the street from her ex-husband.
After receiving a shower of accolades (though perhaps not enough) with Selma, director Ava DuVernay returns to nonfiction with her documentary feature The 13th. Named after the 13th Amendment, DuVernay's film tackles the racial inequality of the justice system. It was the first nonfiction film selected to open the New York Film Festival.
The 13th will also be on Netflix.
Oldboy director Park Chan-wook sets his eyes on the Japanese colonial era of Korea, adapting the Victorian novel Fingersmith. This psychosexual drama is, at its very heart, a con(wo)man film and was a smash hit at the Cannes film festival.
Jack Reacher: Never Go Back
Tom Cruise, for all of his Scientology craziness, is still a magnetic and compelling screen presence. While not a smash, the first Jack Reacher rightfully earned itself a following. With a title like Never Go Back, you know that Reacher does end up going back and uncovering something he wishes he hadn't.
Earning rave reviews at Telluride, Barry Jenkins' Moonlight is adapted from the play In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue by Tarell Alvin McCraney. Trevante Rhodes plays a young black man whose struggles with his identity and sexuality are told in three chapters. Also starring André Holland and Janelle Monáe.
In a Valley of Violence
Has Ethan Hawke found himself in a career revival thanks for Richard Linklater and Westerns? Indie horror maven Ti West directs this throwback to grindhouse Westerns, also starring John Travolta (remember him?) and Taissa Farmiga.
Just because it's the heart of Oscar season doesn't mean it's a bad time for a Marvel movie! Benedict Cumberbatch stars as the titular superhero who is able to tap into a mystical realm for his powers. Also starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams and Tilda Swinton (!).
After earning accolades for his indie smashes Take Shelter and Mud, Jeff Nichols seems to have cemented himself as leading the next wave of American filmmakers. This year already saw his Spielberg throwback Midnight Special, and now he's shifted into Prestige Spielberg mode with Loving, a dramatization of the relationship between Richard and Mildred Loving (Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga), whose Supreme Court case ended the ban on interracial marriage across the United States.
The Mel Gibson comeback is in full swing! Earlier this year he starred in the well-received Blood Father, and now he's back in the director's seat with Hacksaw Ridge. Andrew Garfield stars in this biopic of Desmond Doss, who was the first conscientious objector to receive the Medal of Honor. Doss was a medic in World War II, and refused to carry a weapon onto the battlefield.
Amy Adams, Forrest Whitaker and Jeremy Renner star in this sci-fi thriller, where mankind's fate possibly is in the hands of experts who fight to communicate with aliens that have arrived on Earth. Based on the award-winning novella Story of Your Life by Ted Chiang and directed by Sicario's Denis Villenueve, who is also handling the Blade Runner sequel.
Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk
Ang Lee's Iraq War drama introduces British newcomer Joe Alwyn as the titular soldier, who reminisces on his tour of duty before he's to appear at a halftime show for the Dallas Cowboys. Also starring Kristen Stewart, Vin Diesel, Garrett Hedlund and Steve Martin.
Paul Verhoeven, rarely one to make an uninteresting film, is back with his first feature in 10 years. Isabelle Huppert stars in this rape-revenge thriller that debuted at Cannes.
Fashion designer Tom Ford returns to film with Nocturnal Animals, seven years after his debut adaptation of A Single Man. Amy Adams stars as a woman who becomes tormented by her ex-husband's (Jake Gyllenhaal) novel, which she interprets as a thinly veiled threat against her. If A Single Man is any indication, this will be one stylish film.
Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them
Can't get enough of the Harry Potter-verse? Eddie Redmayne is Newt Scamander, the wizard who wrote the titular textbook belonging to Harry, who visits the United States in 1926. Also starring Katherine Waterston and Colin Farrell.
Manchester By The Sea
With the legal battle over Margaret behind him, director Kenneth Lonergan's highly anticipated third film comes to us with a wave of critical praise. Casey Affleck stars as a man who returns back to the hometown he left behind, and now much grapple with the death of his brother (Kyle Chandler) and his estranged wife (Michelle Williams).
Rules Don't Apply
Is there anything more megalomaniacal than directing and starring in a movie in which you play Howard Hughes? Is there, Warren Beatty? Rules Don't Apply will make it's world premiere at the AFI FEST.
Brad Pitt is opposite Marion Cotillard in Robert Zemeckis' film about love during wartime. Pitt is an undercover assassin who falls in love with Cotillard's French Resistance fighter in Casablanca in 1942—just what exactly is it about that city and World War II?
Disney goes to the South Pacific in Moana, with the voice talents of newcomer Auli'i Cravalho and one Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. It can't be any worse than Lava, right?
La La Land
A throwback musical set in Los Angeles and shot with a color palette reminiscent of Punch-Drunk Love? Color us excited. Directed by Whiplash directed Damien Chazelle and starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone. We're already swooning.
With the passing of Abbas Kiarostami and the semi-imprisonment of Jafar Panahi, Asghar Farhadi now carries the torch as Iran's filmmaker ambassador. Rightfully winning an Oscar for 2011's A Separation and wrongfully snubbed for his French film The Past, he returns to his home country for this domestic drama.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
What else is there to say? Star Wars meets The Guns of Navarone—we can't wait.
After the mediocre The Club, director Pablo Larraín dives back into Chilean history (a subject he masterfully tackled in NO) with Neruda. Starring Gael García Bernal as a police officer searching for the titular poet after Pinochet's regime outlaws poetry.
Michael Keaton plays Ray Kroc, the businessman who took over McDonald's from the brothers who started the franchise. Is there anything more American than a tale of capitalistic guile in the world of fast food?
20th Century Women
Director Mike Mills (Beginners) dives back into his family history, with a semi-autobiographical tale of a single mother (Annette Bening) raising her teenage son in Santa Barbara while living with a punk (Greta Gerwig) and a precocious teen (Elle Fanning).
Pedro Almodóvar's twentieth film is based on three short stories from Alice Munro's Runaway. It is Spain's entry for Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars.
Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt fall in love when they are accidentally awoken from suspended too early on a spaceship bound for disaster with 5,257 sleeping souls on board. Directed by Morten Tyldum (The Imitation Game).
It looks like Matthew McConaughey's stockbroker character in The Wolf of Wall Street ran out of money and is now teaming up with Édgar Ramírez (who is always wonderful) to look for gold in Indonesia. Talk about an odd couple!
It has been seven years since German director's Maren Ade's excellent drama Everyone Else, and she's returned with a comedy about a father who reconnects with his daughter by playing pranks on her. Toni Erdmann received raves at Cannes and apparently has some good fart jokes. Nice.
Adam Driver plays Paterson, a bus driver who just so happens to live in the New Jersey city of the same name. In the latest from Jim Jarmusch's latest, he lives a life of idyll—or ennui, depending on how you see it.