Fall Movie Preview 

A select list of the many intriguing films slated for cooler weather.

click to enlarge "Jimi: All Is By My Side" Sept. 26.

"Jimi: All Is By My Side" Sept. 26.


"The Guest" — Fall starts with a bang in this low-budget but high-pulse-rate thriller about a vet who returns to live with the family of a fallen comrade. Sept. 19

"The Drop" — The late James Gandolfini's last role is a curious caper film based on a novel by Dennis Lehane ("Gone Baby Gone") that revolves around a lost pit bull. Sept. 19

"A Walk Among the Tombstones" — Liam Neeson tries to put on a different act in a reputedly different kind of thriller, a knotty, unpredictable thriller about a private detective on the hunt for a missing woman. Sept. 19

"Jimi: All Is by My Side" — Outcast rapper André Benjamin (aka André 3000) stars as Jimi Hendrix in this biopic from writer and director John Ridley, who wrote the acclaimed "12 Years a Slave." Owners of songs by Hendrix reportedly have denied their use, putting a little damper on the experience. Sept. 26


click to enlarge "Birdman" Oct. 17
  • "Birdman" Oct. 17


"Gone Girl" — David Fincher's arguable best film is the unsolvable murder mystery "Zodiac," making fans quiver with anticipation for his (potentially) unsolvable missing-person saga "Gone Girl," based on Gillian Flynn's best-selling novel. Ben Affleck stars as an object of police scrutiny when his wife of five years goes missing. The trailer suggests Fincher strenuously will push his method of creating stories within stories and mysteries within mysteries, which suits the source. Oct. 3

"The Judge" — Maybe the most natural casting choice this fall is Robert Downey Jr. as a slick, successful and sleazy big-city defense lawyer who returns to his hometown to defend his father, judge Robert Duvall, on murder charges. Oct. 10

"Whiplash" — Usually the safe bet is to tread carefully toward festival-audience favorites, but this story about a young drummer pushed to the brink by his instructor also won the Sundance Grand Jury award. Oct. 10

"Birdman" — The trailer struggles to convey what sounds like a promising concept, that Michael Keaton is a washed-up former movie superhero (a la Tim Burton's "Batman") who may or may not will himself into becoming that hero in real life while trying to mount a comeback via a stage adaptation. High-concept, drama and comedy collide through "Babel" director Alejandro Iñárritu. Oct. 17

"Dracula Untold" — Universal reboots its Dracula monster in a reconceived, "Batman Begins"-style, ultra-dark origin story. Oct. 17

"Fury" — World War II actioner stars Brad Pitt, commanding a tank outfit fighting overwhelming odds in Germany. Looks like "Saving Private Ryan" meets "Das Boot." Oct. 17

"St. Vincent" — Bill Murray and Melissa McCarthy seem an unlikely comic paring, but this is an unlikely late-period Bill Murray vehicle, a feel-good, sentimental comedy about an older man who befriends a single mother's son and takes him under his wing. Oct. 24

"Horns" — Halloween gets something different from low-budget horror for a change in a fun-looking horror comedy featuring Daniel Radcliffe ("Harry Potter") as a young man who wakes up one day with horns growing out of his head and new supernatural abilities. Oct. 31


"Interstellar" — Scientists implore us to forget the notion of a great invention saving the planet from environmental disaster, but science-fiction writers love the concept. It bodes well as entertainment in Christopher Nolan's sci-fi epic about astronauts (Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway) sent to find new habitable worlds while our own implodes. Nov. 7

"Blackbird" — Small-scale drama tackles big issues in a story about a teenage boy imprisoned for perceived Columbine-style threats. Nov. 14

"Dumb and Dumber To" — That's not a misspelling that heralds the original actors' return, 20 years later, to characters that have become cult classics. Nov. 14

"Foxcatcher" — Early reviews say Steve Carell is unrecognizable (in a good way) as the du Pont heir who killed his friend, an Olympic champion, in the 1990s while battling schizophrenia in this true story by "Capote" director Bennett Miller. Nov. 14

"The Imitation Game" — Alan Turing was an amazing man, and Benedict Cumberbatch is a great choice to play him, but movies about math have an uphill battle with audiences. Nov. 21


click to enlarge "Annie" Dec. 19
  • "Annie" Dec. 19


"Wild" — Think feel-good "Into the Wild" with Reese Witherspoon as real-life author and thousand-mile trekker Cheryl Strayed. At the very least we have a film about a female protagonist searching for something other than a husband. Dec. 5

"Exodus: Gods and Kings" — Ridley Scott chariots what feels like "The Ten Commandments" for a generation bred on "Gladiator," charting the rivalry and eventual hostility between Moses and the pharaoh Ramses. Christian Bale takes on the Charlton Heston role and Joel Edgerton stands in for Yul Brynner. Dec. 12

"Inherent Vice" — Paul Thomas Anderson delves back into 1970s Los Angeles with an adaptation of Thomas Pynchon's challenging detective story. Joaquin Phoenix and Josh Brolin lead an all-star cast. Dec. 12

"Annie" — Jay-Z's passion project revamps the Broadway musical with black actors as leads and a contemporary soundtrack. Dec. 19

Movie release dates indicate first theatrical U.S. release at time of publication and are subject to change.



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