2015 Fall Movie Preview

Martian and Balck Mass posters

A long, hot summer movie season is coming to an end. It’s back to school, and so long to superheroes. Time to get serious as the heavier fare starts to hit theaters and the long march to the awards season begins. 

Looking back, one thing is for sure: One of this summer’s biggest unanticipated hits will be “Straight Outta Compton,” which has won the last two box office weekends, earning over $100 million in two short weeks. Good news for Universal, who backed the movie after other studios passed, and has dominated all summer long with its other movies like “Trainwreck”, and “Jurassic World.”

Among the more anticipated movies to look forward to is “Black Mass” starring Johnny Depp as real life gangster Whitey Bulger. Remember a few years ago when Bulger was finally captured after years on the run with his girlfriend? This story picks up long before that as it traces Bulger’s violent career in the Boston underworld. Arriving Sept. 18.

Also opening Sept. 18 is “Sicario,” translated from Spanish as “hitman.” Directed by Denis Villeneuve, who helmed the very dark “Prisoners” a few years ago, this stars Emily Blunt and Benicio Del Toro as drug enforcement agents on opposite sides of the border. Blunt is no stranger to action movies after her stint in “Edge of Tomorrow.” Expect intensity.

Josh Brolin pops up everywhere in the aforementioned “Sicario,” and in “Everest,” also coming out in September. Based on Jon Krakauer’s account of 1996 tragedy that killed eight climbers, this also stars Jason Clark and Jake Gyllenhaal.

Your favorite Martian could be Matt Damon, who stars in “The Martian,” definitely not based in any way on the old TV show with Bill Bixby and Ray Walston. This is a deep space adventure with Damon as an astronaut left behind on a mission to Mars and the attempts to save him. Let’s hope his astronaut in this movie has a better grip on reality than the one he played in Christopher Nolan’s “Interstellar.” Directed by Ridley Scott, this also stars Jessica Chastain and Chiwetel Ejiofor. Coming Oct. 2

High on the list of anticipated movies is “Steve Jobs” starring Michael Fassbinder as the mercurial genius behind Apple. What adds value to this project is the screenplay by ace wordsmith Aaron Sorkin and direction by seasoned vet Danny Boyle (“Slumdog Millionaire”). Kate Winslet figures in as his long-suffering assistant. October 9

I’m just not feeling “Pan,” director Joe Wright’s new take on the classic character of Peter Pan. Hugh Jackman stars as Blackbeard and Garret Hedlund co-stars as a younger character based on Captain Hook. Previous attempts to re-imagine this timeless story have proved less than stellar. Anyone remember Julia Roberts as Tinker Bell? Oct. 9.

Steven Spielberg offers up “Bridge of Spies” starring Tom Hanks this October. Set during the Cold War, Hanks plays an attorney negotiating a trade with Russia for a captured U.S. pilot. This feels like an Oscar vehicle for Hanks, unless there has been some enormous resurgence in the interest of this historical era.

The period-piece entry to the fall lineup is “Suffragette” starring Carey Mulligan as a young feminist campaigning for the right to vote in England in the early 1900s. It’s hard to imagine women never having the right to vote; sometimes it’s good to be reminded of the past. Also starring Meryl Streep as Emmiline Pankhurst, an iconic figure of the movement. Oct. 23

Sandra Bullock returns to the screen in “Our Brand is Crisis,” a George Clooney/Grant Heslov script initially written for Clooney, but flipped to a female lead just for her. In a political thriller based on the behind-the-scenes machinations of strategists, Bullock plays a consultant who’s not afraid to play dirty. This is Politics 101. Coming in late October.

Also this fall, there are at least four movies on the way featuring LGBT themes. First, “Stonewall” from director Roland Emmerich recounts the famous riot that set the gay rights movement in motion, followed by “ Freeheld” with Oscar-winner Julianne Moore and Ellen Page as the real life lesbian couple who challenge New Jersey’s partner benefits law. In November, “Carol” opens starring Cate Blanchett as a 1950s disenchanted socialite who falls in love with a shop girl played by Rooney Mara. Based on the Patricia Highsmith novel “The Price of Salt,” and directed by Todd Haynes. There is already buzz about an Oscar nom for Blanchett. Finally, “The Danish Girl” stars Eddie Redmayne as Lili Elbe, considered one of the first males to transition to a female by surgery. “It girl” of the moment Alicia Vikander plays Elbe’s wife, who encouraged him to make the change.

By the end of the year, “Hunger Games” will have seen its final installment, James Bond will return, and the “Star Wars” franchise will be back in business, as well as a new movies from Julia Roberts, David O. Russell and Alejandro Innaritu, who took the Oscar prize last year for “Birdman.”