Director: Christopher Nolan
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, John Lithgow, Michael Caine
I am a huge fan of Christopher Nolan, the visionary director of Inception and The Dark KnightTrilogy. This film may be his biggest challenge to date. It is still shrouded in secrecy, but a couple of trailers have been released. I am stunned and awed by everything I am seeing so far. It has been in the works for the past few years and was originally inspired by physicist Kip Thorne and his theories behind using wormholes in space to time travel. Matthew McConaughey continues his hot streak by leading this ensemble cast as one of the brave few willing to travel to the far reaches of space in hopes of saving the universe. If you were moved by last year’s hit Gravity, you will want to check out Interstellar.
Release Date: November 7
2. INTO THE WOODS
Director: Rob Marshall
Starring: Meryl Streep, Anna Kendrick, Emily Blunt, Johnny Depp, Christine Baranksi
The latest big screen adaptation of a Broadway musical is based on Stephen Sondheim’s hitInto the Woods. Rob Marshall is no stranger to directing musicals after his work on Chicagoand Nine. He has another all-star cast led by Meryl Streep as the Witch who makes an offer to a baker (Corden) and his wife (Blunt) that they can’t refuse. The two of them must face other fairy tale characters like Cinderella, the Big Bad Wolf, Little Red Riding Hood, and Rapunzel and steal some precious items for the Witch in order for her to reverse the curse of infertility that has been placed over their home. If you know the staged version, you are already familiar with the beautiful music and insanely creative word play in the lyrics. You also know how dark and grim the story can be at times. With this being a Disney property, I will be curious to see how faithful they stay to the original story. There have been rumors floating around that specific numbers and side plots have been cut from the movie that would potentially make it more family friendly. Sondheim was involved in the process so I am going to remain optimistic about it and not give those rumors too much thought.
Release Date: December 25
Director: Angelina Jolie
Starring: Jack O’Connell, Domhnall Gleeson, Garrett Hedlund, Jai Courtney
The highly anticipated film is based on the book of the same name by Laura Hillenbrand which stayed on the bestseller list for three years. I recently started reading it, and I can already tell that this will be one incredibly powerful and moving story. It tells the remarkable true story of Louis Zamperini (O’Connell), a record breaking Olympic runner who became an airman in World War II. His plane was shot down and he was left stranded on a raft in the middle of the Pacific. Forty-seven days later, he was rescued only to become a prisoner of war in the Japanese camps. The film is getting massive buzz due its story of survival and perseverance. It’s directed by Angelina Jolie with a screenplay by Joel & Ethan Coen, Richard LaGravenese, and William Nicholson. Expect lots of Oscar buzz around this one.
Release Date: December 25
4. GONE GIRL
Director: David Fincher
Starring: Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Neil Patrick Harris, Sela Ward, Tyler Perry
If you have seen any of director David Fincher’s work like Seven, The Social Network, or The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, you know he is the perfect choice to tackle Gillian Flynn’s bestselling novel “Gone Girl”, He is exceptional at capturing these dark and mysterious stories. Amy (Pike) and Nick (Affleck) Dunne seem like the perfect gorgeous couple. On their fifth anniversary, Amy goes missing and Nick becomes the number one suspect. What follows is a twisty ride of deceit, deception, and mystery that was their marriage. It should be known that author Gillian Flynn wrote the screenplay for the movie. In an article in “Entertainment Weekly”, Ben Affleck mentioned how she rewrote the whole third act of the movie that takes it in a different direction than the book. Who knows if that is true or a ploy to keep the movie a mystery, but I am intrigued to see what these changes are going to be like.
Release Date: October 3
Director: Bennett Miller
Starring: Steve Carell, Channing Tatum, Mark Ruffalo, Vanessa Redgrave
If you are a fan of funny man Steve Carell, like I am, you will want to take note of his latest,Foxcatcher. He received all sorts of early Oscar buzz for his role after it screened at the Cannes Film Festival. This is far different than anything we have seen from him before. The film is based on a bizarre true story with Carell playing millionaire philanthropist John du Pont. He was known for sponsoring and mentoring Olympic wrestling brothers Mark (Tatum) and Dave (Ruffalo) Schultz. It started off as promising friendship and working relationship, but tragedy strikes as du Pont’s growing paranoia, suspicion, and erratic behavior leads to murder. Don’t be surprised if Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo also receive high praise for their performances. The film is directed by Bennett Miller who has previously directedMoneyball and Capote, also based on true events.
Release Date: November 14
6. THIS IS WHERE I LEAVE YOU
Director: Shawn Levy
Starring: Tina Fey, Jason Bateman, Corey Stoll, Adam Driver, Jane Fonda, Connie Britton, Rose Byrne, Kathryn Hahn
It’s become a joke with my parents that I love movies about dysfunctional families. As an actor, I’m always drawn to those types of large ensemble dramas as there are rich characters for the actors to play with. I was immediately drawn to This is Where I Leave Youwhen I first saw the cast list and a publicity photo in “Entertainment Weekly”. Jane Fonda, Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Corey Stoll, Adam Driver, Connie Britton, and Dax Shepard are just some of the fantastic actors that appear in this adaptation of the Jonathan Tropper novel of the same name. Jane Fonda stars as the matriarch of the Foxman family and insists her children (played by Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Corey Stoll, and Adam Driver) reunite after their father passes away. As you can tell by the trailer, some of them are going through their own drama on top of the death in the family. The cast boasts quite a few actors known for their television work, and I’m excited to see them tackle a different medium. I recently finished the book and absolutely loved it!
Release Date: September 19
Director: Alejandro González Iñárritu
Starring: Michael Keaton, Zach Galifianakis, Edward Norton, Emma Stone, Naomi Watts, Amy Ryan
I grew up watching Michael Keaton in Batman and Batman Returns. Frankly, the Caped Crusader or Beetlejuice will probably be the roles he will always be remembered for. His career seemed to stall a bit after those films. He would have a few hits here or there, but none seemed to have as big of an impact on his career like Batman had. It’s great to see him back in prime form in a role that seems perfectly catered toward him. In Alejandro González Iñárritu’s (Babel) latest, he plays a washed up actor best known for playing an iconic superhero. He struggles to open a new Broadway play in an attempt to revitalize his career. It’s been playing at some early festivals to critical acclaim, so hopefully this is the film to catapult Keaton’s career back into the public eye.
Release Date: October 17, 2014
Director: David Ayer
Starrring: Brad Pitt, Logan Lerman, Shia LaBeouf, Michale Pena, Jon Bernthal, Scott Eastwood, Jim Parrack,
After seeing 2012’s End of Watch, I was fully on board the David Ayer train. I thought it was a visceral, front of the line approach to what it’s like to be a police officer in the worst area of Los Angeles. His next film was Sabotage with Arnold Schwarzenegger which was released earlier this year. Talk about a complete turn of opinion as I hated that film. It will surely be on my worst of the year list. With Fury, he looks to bring his A-game back into play with the heavy handed World War II drama. Brad Pitt leads the film as Wardaddy who vows to protect his four comrades and tankers in the final days of the war. I can only assume that this will be one of the most brutal and realistic war films we have seen in years. Maybe Ayer will have films on both my best and worst of the year lists.
Release Date: October 17
9. ST. VINCENT
Director: Theodore Melfi
Starring: Bill Murray, Melissa McCarthy, Naomi Watts, Chris O’Dowd, Terrence Howard
I’ve watched the trailer for St. Vincent a couple of times now, and I am naturally drawn to the feel good vibe and Bill Murray’s performance. Others may find it too sappy. St. Vincent (Murray) is that cantankerous old man neighbor that we would rather not deal with on a daily basis. Single mom Maggie (McCarthy) feels no choice but to ask for his help by taking care of her young son. The budding friendship between young boy and kooky neighbor leads to all sorts of adventures that are far too risqué and dangerous for someone so young. I’ll be curious to see how moviegoers and critics feel about this one. Will Murray have Oscar potential? Will McCarthy win us back after the dreadful Tammy?
Release Date: December 17
10. THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF FIVE ARMIES
Director: Peter Jackson
Starring: Martin Freeman, Lee Pace, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage, Benedict Cumberbatch, Cate Blanchett, Luke Evans
Fans have been a bit hesitant when it comes to The Hobbit movies. I can understand the frustration as Peter Jackson and his writing team of Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens took one book and turned it into three movies by adding characters and taking details from the appendices. So far, they are nowhere near as good as The Lord of the Rings trilogy, but I feel like The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug was heading in the right direction. I have a strong inclination that this will be the best of this trilogy. Jackson may redeem himself from how the series started. I haven’t read the book yet which I am embarrassed to admit, but I think that makes it a bit easier to judge the movies without any preconceived notions of what Tolkien’s story originally had in store.
Release Date: December 17
*HONORABLE MENTIONS: THE JUDGE (Oct. 10), THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY PART 1 (November 21)
Those are my picks for ten of the films I’m looking forward to in the upcoming months. I’d love to hear from you! What films are you most looking forward to as we come into the fall season?