What's on offer this fall on the big screen
As the temperature cools, expect fewer superheroes, more Oscar bait and family-friendly fare
With the inevitable change in seasons comes an equally unavoidable change in Hollywood's offerings. Over the past five months, we've become accustomed to seeing dinosaurs, an ever-running Tom Cruise and a ComicCon's worth of superheroes. This fall's crop of films may be lighter on explosions and shared cinematic universes, but between Oscar bait, true-life thrillers and family-friendly fare, there are more than enough movies to take your mind off the fact that our days are about to get a lot shorter. (All release dates are subject to change.
The Visit (Sept. 11)
Directed by M. Night Shyamalan
Starring Kathryn Hahn, Ed Oxenbould, Olivia DeJonge
M. Night Shyamalan takes a break from working on his TV series, Wayward Pines, and returns to direct a feature film for the first time since 2008's much-decried The Happening. A found-footage horror flick about two young children who visit their eerie grandparents is almost sure to give you second thoughts about spending a night with grandma and grandpa.
Black Mass (Sept. 18)
Directed by Scott Cooper
Starring Johnny Depp, Joel Edgerton, Benedict Cumberbatch, Dakota Johnson
You'll hardly recognize Johnny Depp as Whitey Bulger, a Boston gangster who strikes an alliance with the FBI in order to take down the Italian mob who are invading his turf. Making its Canadian premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival next week, director Scott Cooper's feature looks poised to be one of the fall's most talked-about movies.
Captive (Sept. 18)
Directed by Jerry Jameson
Starring Kate Mara, David Oyelowo, Michael Kenneth Williams
Looking to put the drama surrounding this summer's underwhelming Fantastic Four movie behind her, Kate Mara in Captive takes on the role of Ashley Smith, a recovering drug addict and single mother turned hostage by an escaped murderer (Oyelowo) who's looking to be reunited with his son. Based on a true story, Smith attempts to use Rick Warren's faith-heavy self-help book The Purpose Driven Life to help set her abductor on the right path.
Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials (Sept. 18)
Directed by Wes Ball
Starring Dylan O'Brien, Kaya Scodelario, Thomas Brodie-Sangster
The second movie in the Maze Runner trilogy picks up where its predecessor left off, as Thomas and Co. have escaped the confinements of the maze only to face their next obstacle: learn more about the mysterious organization known as WCKD while surviving the desolate, postapocalyptic landscape known as the Scorch.
Everest (Sept. 18)
Directed by Baltasar Kormakur
Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Keira Knightley, Robin Wright
A big-budget disaster flick with an all-star cast, Everest is based on the deadly 1996 Mount Everest tragedy and focuses on two climbing groups led by Scott Fischer (Gyllenhaal) and Rob Hall (Jason Clarke), who get caught in a storm as they attempt to reach the mountain's summit.
Sicario (Sept. 25)
Directed by Denis Villeneuve
Starring Emily Blunt, Jon Bernthal, Josh Brolin, Benicio Del Toro
In Sicario, Emily Blunt further expands her already wide range by taking on the role of an FBI agent who gets in over her head after she travels to Mexico to help fight the escalating war on drugs. Judging by its reception at Cannes, Québécois director Denis Villeneuve's latest feature looks poised to be just as successful as (if not more than) his 2013 movie Prisoners.
Hotel Transylvania 2 (Sept. 25)
Directed by Genndy Tartakovsky
Starring Adam Sandler, Selena Gomez, Nick Offerman, Kevin James
Following the events of its animated predecessor, Dracula (voiced by Sandler) is broadening his horizons after opening his resort to humans. Although things seem to be going smoothly for the Count, he is worried that his half-vampire, half-human grandson isn't showing enough of his vampire side, so he enlists the likes of Frankenstein and the rest of his ghoulish buddies to help put him through a monster-in-training boot camp.
The Intern (Sept. 25)
Directed by Nancy Meyers
Starring Anne Hathaway, Robert De Niro
Director Nancy Meyers's first movie since 2009's It's Complicated sees Robert De Niro take on the titular role of Ben, a 70-year-old widower turned intern at a New York fashion website. Despite not fitting in with his scruffy, hoodie-wearing, tech-savvy co-workers, Ben's life experiences prove to be invaluable to his boss, the company's young CEO Jules (Hathaway).
The Walk (Sept. 30)
Directed by Robert Zemeckis
Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ben Kingsley, Charlotte Le Bon
Theory of Everything director James Marsh's documentary Man on Wire brought the story of French high-wire artist Philippe Petit's (Gordon-Levitt) 1974 attempt to cross between the World Trade Center's twin towers into mainstream consciousness. Now, Robert Zemeckis aims to tell a dramatized version of that same story.
The Martian (Oct. 2)
Directed by Ridley Scott
Starring Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig
Based on Andy Weir's best-selling novel of the same name, The Martian stars Matt Damon as Mark Watney, a stranded astronaut who must learn to survive on Mars while the rest of his crew figures out a way to bring him back to Earth. No word on whether the film contains a Matthew McConaughey cameo, as payback for Damon's surprise appearance in Interstellar.
Legend (Oct. 9)
Directed by Brian Helgeland
Starring Tom Hardy, Emily Browning, Taron Egerton, Paul Bettany
The fact that L.A. Confidential co-writer Brian Helgeland's latest feature is almost entirely anchored by Tom Hardy makes it similar to 2013's Locke, as the acclaimed British actor will further flex his acting chops by starring as both Ronald and Reginald Kray, a pair of identical twins who ruled London's underworld until they were arrested in the late 1960s.
Steve Jobs (Oct. 9)
Directed by Danny Boyle
Starring Michael Fassbender, Kate Winslet, Seth Rogen
Don't make the mistake of confusing Oscar-winner Danny Boyle and Aaron Sorkin's Steve Jobs biopic with 2013's Jobs. Unlike that middling Ashton Kutcher flick, this dramatized biography stars Oscar-nominee Michael Fassbender as the co-founder and face of Apple's billion-dollar brand, chronicling his life through three iconic product launches.
Pan (Oct. 9)
Directed by Joe Wright
Starring Hugh Jackman, Rooney Mara, Cara Delevingne
Director Joe Wright's first movie since 2012's critically acclaimed Anna Karenina tells the origin story of Peter Pan (Levi Miller), an orphan who is taken to Neverland, where he must help defeat the villainous pirate Blackbeard (Jackman). At the very least, the movie's fantastical setting and heavy use of CGI should be enough to keep audiences of all ages engaged until the end.
Goosebumps (Oct. 16)
Directed by Rob Letterman
Starring Ken Marino, Jack Black, Odeya Rush
Almost every kid growing up in the nineties had at least one nightmare directly linked to R.L. Stine's book series. Luckily for them, this live-action movie aims to blend nostalgia and comedy with a few scares as Jack Black and company attempt to capture the Abominable Snowman, Slappy the ventriloquist doll and other Goosebumps monsters after they escape from the fictional world.
Bridge of Spies (Oct. 16)
Directed by Steven Spielberg
Starring Tom Hanks, Alan Alda, Amy Ryan
Three years after Lincoln dominated award season, Steven Spielberg returns to tell another story based on American history, this time in the form of a dramatic thriller. Set at the height of the Cold War, Bridge of Spies centres around James Donovan (Hanks), a Brooklyn lawyer who is enlisted by the CIA to negotiate the release of a captured American pilot.
Crimson Peak (Oct. 16)
Directed by Guillermo del Toro
Starring Charlie Hunnam, Jessica Chastain, Tom Hiddleston, Mia Wasikowska
There's a lot of mystery surrounding Guillermo del Toro's upcoming gothic horror movie, but what we do know about his ghost story is that it unfolds inside a haunted mansion and follows the story of a young woman (Wasikowska) who begins to suspect that there's more to her new husband
(Hiddleston) and his suspicious sister (Chastain) than meets the eye.
Burnt (Oct. 23)
Directed by John Wells
Starring Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller, Omar Sy
A year after they teamed up in Clint Eastwood's critically acclaimed American Sniper, Bradley Cooper and Sienna Miller again co-star in Burnt, a story about two-star Michelin chef Adam Jones, whose rock-star tendencies derailed his promising career. After cleaning up his act, Jones opens a new restaurant in the hopes of landing three Michelin stars.
Rock the Kasbah (Oct. 23)
Directed by Barry Levinson
Starring Bill Murray, Bruce Willis and Zooey Deschanel
The forever popular Bill Murray takes on the role of a washed-up music manager who discovers that his last remaining client (Deschanel) has abandoned him during a tour in Afghanistan. Without a nickel to his name, he discovers a talented young singer and helps her through an Afghan reality singing competition.
The Peanuts Movie (Nov. 6)
Directed by Steve Martino
Starring Francesca Capaldi, Madisyn Shipman and Noah Schnapp
Charlie Brown, Lucy, Linus, Schroeder, Woodstock and Snoopy – need we say more? Based on Charles Schulz's iconic comic strip, The Peanuts Movie will see everyone's favourite beagle take on his arch-nemesis, the Red Baron, while his best pal Charlie Brown attempts to build a new image for himself.
By the Sea (Nov. 13)
Directed by Angelina Jolie
Starring Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie
Co-starring in their first movie together since 2005's Mr. and Mrs. Smith, husband and wife Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie star as Roland and Vanessa, an estranged married couple who come to terms with some unresolved issues in their lives after travel to a tranquil resort in 1970s France.
Spectre (Nov. 6)
Directed by Sam Mendes
Starring Daniel Craig, Christoph Waltz, Léa Seydoux
The hype surrounding Daniel Craig's latest James Bond film has been riding a year-long high ever since the infamous Sony hack yielded key plot points and script leaks. The franchise's 23rd instalment will see Agent 007 receive a cryptic message from his past that leads him to uncover a dangerous and highly secret organization led by Christoph Waltz's Franz Oberhauser.
Spotlight (Nov. 13)
Directed by Tom McCarthy
Starring Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Mark Ruffalo, Liev Schrieber
Set to make its international premiere at TIFF, Spotlight is the dramatic retelling of the Boston Globe's Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative team that discovered a scandal and decades' long cover-up after digging into a number of child-abuse allegations surrounding the local Catholic church.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 (Nov. 20)
Directed by Francis Lawrence
Starring Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth
The final instalment to the highly successful Hunger Games franchise takes Katniss (Lawrence), Peeta (Hutcherson) and Gale (Hemsworth) to the war-torn streets of Panem on a mission to free its citizens and assassinate the evil President Snow.
Creed (Nov. 25)
Directed by Ryan Coogler
Starring Sylvester Stallone, Michael B. Jordan
The latest chapter in the Rocky franchise, Creed follows the story of Adonis Johnson (Jordan), a young boxer whose father was the legendary Apollo Creed. After travelling to Philadelphia and tapping Rocky Balboa (Stallone) as his new trainer, Johnson begins to train for his title bout against a deadly opponent.
The Night Before (Nov. 25)
Directed by Jonathan Levine
Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen, Anthony Mackie
This holiday comedy has nothing to do with Santa Claus or Christmas miracles. Instead Seth Rogen's latest flick is, as the trailer so eloquently puts it, about "three dudes, three bros, three ride-or-die homies" who plan on ending their yearly Christmas Eve tradition of drunken, drug-abused debauchery with a bang.
The Good Dinosaur (Nov. 25)
Directed by Peter Sohn
Starring Raymond Ochoa, Jeffrey Wright, Steve Zahn
Fresh off the success of Inside Out, Pixar's latest animated feature takes place in a world where the Earth was never hit by an asteroid and dinosaurs never faced extinction. After a traumatic, life-altering event, a fun-loving apatosaurus named Arlo strikes up an unlikely friendship with a young caveboy.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Dec. 18)
Directed by J.J. Abrams
Starring: Oscar Isaac, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, Harrison Ford
Outside of the fact that it's set to take place 30 years after the events of Return of the Jedi, little is known about the first Star Wars film to hit the silver screen in more than a decade. But between funky-looking lightsabers, chrome-plated stormtroopers, a grey-haired Han Solo and 60 million trailer views, it's safe to say that The Force Awakens will take the box office by storm.
The Hateful Eight (Dec. 25)
Directed by Quentin Tarantino
Starring: Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason Leigh
Director Quentin Tarantino aims to once again take viewers through another Western, but, unlike 2012's Django Unchained, this one is set in post-Civil War Wyoming and centres around eight deadly strangers who cross paths while seeking shelter from a violent storm.
Special to The Globe and Mail