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A few fall films 15 for 15

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The summer of 2015 was a good one for the box office, featuring a number of record-breaking films including a few that cleared the billion-dollar hurdle. Massive blockbusters were thick on the ground, and while there were a few duds, there weren't as many as you might expect. All told, it was a pretty great cinematic summer.

However, just because autumn has arrived doesn't mean that there's going to be a massive drop-off. In fact, there's plenty to like in the fall of 2015. There are box office giants and popular properties and a few prestige pictures as well; it's time to take a look at some of what's in store. This past weekend really marked the start of the fall season, with films such as 'Black Mass' and 'Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials' (both reviewed in this week's edition) hitting the screen, but there's more much more on the way.

Of course, there's no way to make mention of every single offering that's coming our way between now and Thanksgiving plenty of quality films have been left off the list. Rather, this is an attempt to offer a cross section of the wide-release projects that will be hitting screens over the weeks to come.

Let's go to the movies.

Hotel Transylvania 2' Sept. 25

We can all agree that Adam Sandler has pretty much reached the end of the line in terms of the quality of films he seems content to produce. And that's fine if he's comfortable with it, so should we all be. However, there's an interesting caveat the first 'Hotel Transylvania' was surprisingly fun, despite having almost all the ingredients of your standard Sandler disaster. While sequels rarely live up to the original, it's reasonable to expect a family-friendly, fun movie with a few laughs certainly an appropriate film for the Halloween season.

The Intern' Sept. 25

Much has been made of Robert De Niro's late career turn toward the comedy realm. It seems odd that one of the greatest film actors of his generation has leaned so heavily into the comedic turn, but who are we to judge? Anyway, his latest comic effort sees him playing a 70-something retiree deciding to reenter the working world as an intern for a fashion website. As ridiculous as it sounds, with De Niro and Anne Hathaway starring for writer/director Nancy Meyers, this movie has a shot to be a bit of a surprise.

The Walk' Sept. 30

Few actors in Hollywood are making the sorts of interesting choices that Joseph Gordon-Levitt makes. On the surface, this seems an odd pick the true story of Phillippe Petit's high-wire walk between the towers of the World Trade Center back in 1974. However, Gordon-Levitt is more than capable of making something like this work. Plus, the always excellent Ben Kingsley is on board. With Robert Zemeckis directing the thing (he also co-wrote the screenplay), we can expect strong aesthetic choices and some real emotional impact.

The Martian' Oct. 2

This is one of the more eagerly anticipated films of the fall, with early reports labelling it as a sort of cross between 'Cast Away' and 'Gravity' (which is one hell of an elevator pitch, truth be told). Matt Damon stars as Mark Watney, an astronaut on a Mars mission who is presumed dead by his team and left behind. Based on the novel of the same name by Andy Weir, it's the sort of high-concept science fiction that will offer a broad appeal. It doesn't hurt that the film is directed by Ridley Scott, a guy who knows a thing or two about iconic sci-fi.

Legend' Oct. 2

This is one of the more intriguing offerings of the fall. The movie tells the story of Ronald and Reggie Kray, twin brothers who were major players in the English underworld in the 1960s. That alone would be enough to inspire interest I love gangster movies and I love period pieces but this goes next level by way of casting. Tom Hardy is playing both Ronald and Reggie; a guy with his level of talent should be able to really crush it. Expect a significant amount of stylish violence from director Brian Helgeland, working from his own script.

Pan' Oct. 9

I'll admit to being very curious about this one. It has been awhile since Hollywood explored the Peter Pan story, and the team behind this one (director Joe Wright, screenwriter Jason Fuchs) seems prepared to take things in a different direction. Of course, the biggest appeal to the whole thing is the presence of Hugh Jackman. He's going to make an outstanding pirate. The rest of the cast is pretty strong as well, with notables such as Rooney Mara, Garrett Hedlund and Amanda Seyfried. We're ready for the darker take on this tale that this movie promises to be.

Steve Jobs' Oct. 9

Despite the fact that we've already seen a Jobs movie or two, it still seems too soon for the legendary Apple guru to be getting the biopic treatment. Apparently, this one aims to tell the story of Jobs through the lens of product launches an interesting and seemingly apt take. It's hard to argue with the pedigree here Michael Fassbender stars as Jobs, with a star-studded supporting cast that includes Kate Winslet and Seth Rogen among others. The film is directed by Danny Boyle, while the screenplay comes courtesy of Aaron Sorkin. We can probably expect some awards buzz about this one.

Goosebumps' Oct. 16

People of a certain age likely carry some fondness in their hearts for the 'Goosebumps' series of books by author R. L. Stine. Considering the trend of mining nostalgia for film purposes, it's no surprise that these books have been targeted. However, the story something about how Stine (played by Jack Black) has to team up with some kids to defeat the monsters from his books that have somehow come to life and become real makes this sound like some sort of meta misfire. Here's hoping that your childhood memories aren't irreparably tainted.

Bridge of Spies' Oct. 16

It's always interesting when Hollywood heavyweights come together to make a movie. That's what we have with this one Tom Hanks stars in this story about an American lawyer recruited by the CIA in an effort to negotiate the release of a pilot detained in the USSR during the Cold War. The film is directed by Steven Spielberg, a fellow of whom you may have heard. Oh, and two of the three screenwriters are Joel and Ethan Coen. This is a dynamite creative team; it seems safe to expect some Oscar buzz surrounding this one.

Jem and the Holograms' Oct. 23

One wonders if this is the movie that finally convinces Hollywood that not every vaguely-remembered property from the previous generation's childhood warrants being made into a nostalgia-sploitation film. Based on the cartoon show of the same name, this update features a young singer who achieves global stardom through the internet or whatever. It appears that this film bears little actual similarity to the source material that allegedly inspired it. There is little doubt in my mind that this is going to be a simply terrible movie.

Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse' Oct. 30

I've got a hunch about this one. Yes, the zombie genre is largely played out. Yes, horror-comedy tends to be very hit or miss. But there's something about this film the story of three Boy Scouts attempting to use their survival skills to save mankind from a zombie outbreak that makes me think it is going to work. What is that something, you ask? One word Schwarzenegger. Not Arnold, mind you, but his son Patrick. Just the idea of the Schwarzenegger legacy continuing into the future is enough to make me want to see this movie.

Spectre' Nov. 6

You can never go wrong with more James Bond. Daniel Craig is back as the iconic secret agent, bringing his rugged, edgy take on 007 back to the big screen. It's a chance to revisit the shadowy and sinister organization that was once such a major part of the Bond mythos. Plus and this might be the most exciting part to me personally Christoph Waltz is playing the big bad. Waltz as a Bond villain along is worth the price of admission, but with Sam Mendes at the helm, there's no doubt that 'Spectre' is going to be another outstanding installment in this reinvigorated franchise.

The Peanuts Movie' Nov. 6

If you're like me, you have some really fond memories of Charlie Brown, Snoopy and the rest of the Peanuts gang. Charles Schultz's creation has been a pop culture cornerstone for over half a century. So I'll admit to a degree of trepidation regarding this attempt to bring the characters to the big screen particularly since they're trying to go the computer animation route. It's all going to boil down to how the characters are treated. If the filmmakers can find a balance between respecting the material and reinventing it, this could be a good way to introduce a new generation to a beloved classic.

By The Sea' Nov. 13

The jury is still out on Angelina Jolie as a director; she's shown flashes of talent, but doesn't appear to have really found her voice. This film which she also wrote looks like it might be the one that tells us who she is behind the camera. Of course, she's also going to be in front of the camera alongside husband Brad Pitt. It's a story of relationship discovery set in France in the 1970s; by all accounts, it is a low-key, quiet drama. It will be interesting to see what directing her own script does in terms of Jolie's work both in running the show and performing in it.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2' Nov. 20

We'll close our preview with this, the final installment of one of the most successful film franchises in recent memory. As is par for the course with any property derived from a book series, the final book in Suzanne Collins's 'Hunger Games' trilogy was made into two films after all, there's money to be made. It seems like YA fiction has been film fodder forever, but this series really kickstarted the trend. It seems safe to assume that this film will allow the franchise to go out with a bang, bringing a story that was years in the making to a (hopefully) satisfying close.

Last modified on Tuesday, 22 September 2015 19:15

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