By: Joel Bryant
Autumn is finally upon us. As many Americans get ready for cooler temperatures, create plans for holidays, and settle back into football season, Hollywood companies are preparing to release some of their biggest films of the year. Whether they are being released in the Fall for Oscar consideration, or to take advantage of crowds on chilly days, movie fans across the country all win. This year’s Fall lineup may go down as one of the most diverse of all time, thanks to the return of some major franchises that look to fill the gap between expected Oscar heavyweights. This is our list of the 11 most anticipated movies due to release before the new year.
First up is Sicario, a crazy action movie starring Emily Blunt, Benicio Tel Toro, and Josh Brolin. Set in the lawless area known as the US-Mexican border, Sicario tells story of Kate Macy (Blunt), an idealistic FBI agent tasked with assisting a task force official (Brolin) in the war on drugs. The two are led by a highly skilled hitman (Del Toro) with a very foggy backstory. Sicario comes from director Denis Villeneuve, the mind behind one of 2013’s best films, Prisoners. Sicario releases on October 2nd.
Famous sci-fi director Ridley Scott brings us The Martian, a theatrical adaption of Andy Weir’s stunning novel of the same name. The Martian tells the story of the Ares 3 mission crew, a team tasked with exploring the surface of Mars for 30 days. When a violent storm approaches, they are forced to flee the planet, leaving behind Mark Watney. With his crew thousands of miles away, Watney (played by Matt Damon) has to find a way to survive with limited resources. In addition to Damon, The Martian comes with a loaded cast, including Jessica Chastain, Kate Mara, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Sebastian Stan, Kristen Wiig, Donald Glover, and Jeff Daniels. Early reviews are very promising, the film currently has a 97% on Rotten Tomatoes. The Martian releases on October 2nd.
Bridge of Spies
Director Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks team up to bring you Bridge of Spies, a heavy drama set in the period of the Cold War. It’s a given that Spielberg and Hanks will bring it, and if the trailers are any indication, they may be on the top of their games. There really isn’t much more that can be said. Bridge of Spies is a lock to be nominated for best picture. Look for Bridge of Spies in theaters on October 16th.
This November, audiences will finally get to see Spectre, the 24th James Bond film. Daniel Craig is back as 007 while Skyfall director Sam Mendes returns behind the camera. Mendes says Spectre is a strong continuation of the events that took place in Skyfall, the only Bond film to gross over $1 billion worldwide. The film will take us further into Bond’s mysterious backstory, and provide worthy threats in Franz Oberhauser (Christoph Waltz) and his henchman Mr. Hinx (Guardians of the Galaxy‘s Dave Bautista). Spectre enters theaters on November 6th.
Spotlight isn’t going to set the box office on fire (mainly because Spectre will already be doing so), but there is a very good chance that it will be a serious Oscar contender. Based on real events, the tense drama focuses on the staff of the Boston Globe as they try to uncover a massive scandal and cover-up within the Catholic Church. Up writer Tom McCarthy directs a stellar cast of Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, John Slattery, and Stanley Tucci. Spotlight will begin to thrill audiences on November 6th.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay- Part 2
Mockingjay Part 2 is the final installment of the Hunger Games saga. The Jennifer Lawrence-led franchise has been a worldwide phenomenon, grossing over $2.3 billion across the globe. In its final chapter, director Francis Lawrence is tasked with sending one of the biggest young adult franchises in history off with a bang. Many fans are hoping he can provide a better film than last year’s Mockingjay Part 1, and he’s going to need to if he wants a better performance at the box office. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 will be in theaters on November 20th.
The Good Dinosaur
For the first time ever, Pixar is releasing two films in one year. In June, the company unleashed Inside Out, the movie about the emotions in our minds. It was a smash-hit both critically and commercially, and considered by many to be a return to form for the legendary animation studio following back-to-back-to-back duds. While Inside Out managed to get fans back on board, the success of The Good Dinosaur will determine whether the studio is truly back to their old ways. The Good Dinosaur poses the question: what if the asteroid that ended dinosaur existence… missed? The heart of the film is the journey of a dinosaur named Arlo and his human companion, Spot, as they trek the prehistoric earth and form an unbreakable bond. The Good Dinosaur arrives in theaters on November 25th.
Michael B. Jordan stars in Creed, the seventh movie in the Rocky franchise. Jordan plays Adonis Johnson, the son of Apollo Creed- the late friend and former rival of Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone). At this point, Rocky has lost just about everyone, so it’s hard for him to say no when Adonis comes to his door seeking help. In his new role as mentor, Rocky trains Adonis both in the ring and in life. But don’t get it wrong: this is Michael B. Jordan’s film. Jordan is one of the most talented young actors out there and Creed will help boost his stardom. The story comes from the mind of Ryan Coogler, who also served as the director. Coogler and Jordan worked together on Fruitvale Station, one of the best movies of this decade. Creed will arrive in theaters on November 25th.
Star Wars: Episode VII- The Force Awakens
This is the big one. At long last, the Star Wars franchise finally returns to the big screen. The seventh episode of the saga, The Force Awakens, takes place 30 years after the events of Return of the Jedi. In those 30 years, remnants of the Galactic Empire have resurfaced in the form of The First Order, a Nazi-like group devoted to restoring the power of the Empire. As The First Order increases in power and prepares to unleash chaos throughout the galaxy, newcomers Rey (Daisy Ridley), Finn (John Boyega), and Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) enlist the help of Han, Luke, and Leia to help thwart their plans. Everything we have seen from the J.J. Abrams-directed film looks absolutely incredible. Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens is going to break every box office record possible. You can catch Chewie, R2-D2, and C-3PO in theaters on December 18th.
Renowned director David O. Russell brings us Joy, the story of a family across four generations and the woman (Jennifer Lawrence) who rises to become founder and matriarch of a powerful family business dynasty. Lawrence is joined by Oscar-winner Robert De Niro and 4-time Oscar nominee Bradley Cooper who play Joy’s father and co-worker respectively. The last time the team of Russell-Lawrence-Cooper-De Niro collaborated together, something magical happened in the form of Silver Linings Playbook. Hopefully, Joy will be just as good. See Joy in theaters on Christmas Day.
Last up is The Revenant, the pulse-pounding depiction of frontiersman Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his legendary quest for vengeance upon those who abandoned him in the Frozen Tundra. The Revenant comes from director Alejandro González Iñárritu, the winner of last year’s Best Achievement in Directing for his work on the Best Motion Picture, Birdman. It is widely known that DiCaprio has yet to win an Oscar, despite being nominated on four separate occasions. Can Leonardo break the trend with his Revenant performance? With a director of González Iñárritu’s capability and the support of Tom Hardy, it is certainly possible. The Revenant opens on Christmas Day.