Matt Fox’s Fall movie preview
– The end of summer can be a wearying time for moviegoers. From about the middle of August until October is a dodgy time. And right now, we are currently in somewhat of a movie wasteland.
As Harvey Dent said in “The Dark Knight,” “The night is darkest just before the dawn. And I promise you, the dawn is coming.” That dawn begins in October and rolls right through December. Here’s a look at 10 releases I’m excited about the rest of this year.
The Martian, Friday, Oct. 2
About: “The Martian,” based on the novel by Andy Weir, is about an astronaut, Mark Watney (Matt Damon), who is presumed dead after a storm impacts a mission on Mars. In reality, he’s left behind. Soon, he discovers that he’s going to have to find a way to survive until help can arrive, which means finding a way to sustain life on a planet where that isn’t the case. This has a brilliant cast, and is directed by Ridley Scott. If the trailer doesn’t bring you to your feet, I don’t know what to say. I am excited to see this film come together. This could end up being one of the year’s best.
Pan, Friday, Oct. 9
About: This re-telling of the Peter Pan story from director Joe Wright has long been in the works. In fact, it was supposed to be a summer release, but it was pulled and delayed until fall. That could be a bad sign, or it could be a sign that those involved think this is a movie that might have award potential. I’m going to choose to believe the latter. The film stars Hugh Jackman as Blackbeard, Rooney Mara as Tiger Lily, and Garret Hedlund as a younger, nobler Hook. The special effects look amazing, and I think this has a potential to be an inventive and creative take on a classic story. Plus it looks like a good film for the whole family.
Steve Jobs, Friday, Oct. 9
About: Jobs, who is now dead, is revered for his creativity and ingenuity in leading Apple. His influence is still felt all over the world (I’m typing on one of his computers right now). And the biography of him, penned by Walter Isaacson, has been a must-read for a few years. It makes sense we’d get a great biopic of him — there have been others in recent years, but none that looked like this. With a script penned by Aaron Sorkin and direction by Danny Boyle, this film boasts an all-star cast that includes Michael Fassbender, Kate Winslet, Seth Rogen and Jeff Daniels. I think this could be one of the best films of the year.
Bridge of Spies, Friday, Oct. 16
About: Honestly, the film had me at Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks. Anyone remember “Saving Private Ryan?” How about “Band of Brothers?” When these two collaborate, particularly on a period piece grounded in history, it’s magic. This film, based on a true story with a script credit that includes Joel and Ethan Coen, looks like a fascinating slice of history. It’s about American lawyer James Donovan (Hanks) and probably the most important case of his life, one that involved staving off war between the United States and U.S.S.R. The trailer looks great, and this looks like an award contender.
Spectre, Friday, Nov. 6
About: James Bond films used to be stand-alone spy adventures. But since Daniel Craig donned the mantle in “Casino Royale,” that has changed. “Spectre” is Craig’s fourth Bond film, and it again pairs him with director Sam Mendes, who helmed “Skyfall.” It promises to bring a lot of elements of Craig’s previous three Bond films together — this time pitting him against a villain played by Christoph Waltz. Personally, I have been really drawn to this new, inter-connected world of Bond, and I can’t wait to see how the story evolves in “Spectre.”
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2, Friday, Nov. 20
About: This series, based on the young adult fiction novels from Suzanne Collins, has been a Box Office phenomenon. Now in its fourth — and final — installment, that won’t change. Bowing the Friday before Thanksgiving week, it will dominate the last half of the month. And it should. The films feature a fascinating story, good characters and a compelling narrative that asks bigger questions about our society and our future. Jennifer Lawrence is one of the best — and most popular — young actresses working today, and this is one of two big films featuring her this fall. I can’t wait to see how it ends.
Star Wars, Episode VII: The Force Awakens, Friday, Dec. 18
About: Do I even need to pitch this movie to you? I had you at “Star Wars,” right? It’s been a decade since we’ve had an installment of the story from long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away, but the fervor for it hasn’t diminished. It’s been 32-years since we saw Han Solo (Harrison Ford), Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) and Luke Skywalker (Mark Hammil), but our fervor for them hasn’t diminished. Now they’re back, and we get a movie that will launch an entire new run of “Star Wars” films. I’m excited to see what director J.J. Abrams — who re-booted “Star Trek” in 2009 — is able to do with this franchise. This is going to be great.
Sisters, Friday, Dec. 18
About: Why would anyone open a movie opposite “Star Wars?” That question might never be answered. However, when you’ve had your fill of space drama — or if that’s not your thing — we have an alternative. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are comedy gold, whether it’s hosting the Golden Globes or starring in films together. “Sisters” is their latest comedy, and I was sold even before seeing the hilarious trailer. Take a break from the shopping and catch these two ladies making you laugh.
Joy, Friday, Dec. 25
About: The last time David O. Russell and Jennifer Lawrence worked together, it was in the Best Picture nominee “American Hustle,” which earned Lawrence an Academy Award nomination. Prior to that, they worked together on “Silver Linings Playbook,” which earned Lawrence an Academy Award as Best Actress. So, yeah, their collaborations create some great and memorable films. There’s no reason that will change with “Joy,” the story of a family across four generations and the woman who rises to become founder and matriarch of a powerful family business dynasty. The film also features Bradley Cooper in a supporting role.
Concussion, Friday, Dec. 25
About: This might seem like a downer. It’s a biopic about the doctors who discovered concussion-related CTE syndrome and forever changed the NFL. That doesn’t scream Christmas, but I think this will be an important film, and one worth seeing. I love football. I come alive for games in the fall. But you can’t ignore the findings in “League of Denial,” and I think this movie will further shed light on an important topic. I’m also excited to see what Will Smith does in such a serious role.