Summer's cinematic stretch of sequels, bad remakes, and overblown action flicks has come to an end at last, opening movie screens up to some very solid-looking films starring some big names (Hathaway! Hiddleston! Hardy! Hardy!) It's hard to pick just a few recommendations, so we've sorted through some upcoming fall films and chose the ones we're most excited for, and some we find less thrilling but feel like writing up anyway. Note that we've left out documentaries and some of the heavy-hitting Oscar contenders with post-December 21st release dates—expect more expert recommendations when the winter snow begins to fall.
BLACK MASS: This opens today so the anticipation is almost over. Lest you thought Johnny Depp doused his career with Mortdecai-branded gasoline and lit a match, his turn as Whitey Bulger in this hotly-anticipated mobster film has been fairly well-received. Plus, Depp's physical body seems to have merged with the Ghost of Marlon Brando's Twilight Years during this press tour, for added entertainment value.
THE INTERN: We can argue over whether or not Nancy Meyers makes watchable movies (point: The Parent Trap, counterpoint: The Holiday). The Intern, with its QUIRKY GENRE-CHANGING BFF-pairing of geezer intern Robert De Niro and fresh-faced hotshot CEO Anne Hathaway, unfortunately looks like it'll veer into It's Complicated territory, but you can be sure to expect crisp buttondowns, lady sweaters and kitchen porn galore.
THE WALK: Even the trailer for this film, based on the true story of Philippe Petit's 1974 walk between the Twin Towers, is anxiety-provoking. But still, it's been getting some decent press, the cinemetography looks spectacular, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt is cute as a button in a turtleneck.
THE MARTIAN: I have mixed feelings about Matt Damon these days, but space is pretty cool. Director Ridley Scott is particularly good at space. +1.
THE LEGEND: Tom Hardy stars in this movie twice, and that's all you need to know.
THE FINAL GIRLS: Taissa Farmiga, Malin Akerman, Alia Shawkat Nina Dobrev star in this lauded indie film about a group of friends who find themselves transported into a 1980s slasher film. Ackerman plays the film-within-a-film's star, who happens to be Farmiga's recently deceased mother. Farmiga has proved, through various roles on American Horror Story, that she is very good at crying—she is hopefully also good at comedy.
STEVE JOBS: Sigh, I mean, I guess.
CRIMSON PEAK: Here's the plot, from what I can tell—beautiful man-creature Tom Hiddleston brings new bride Mia Wasikowska back to his Gothic mansion, where he lives with his sister, beautiful woman-creature Jessica Chastain. Some creepy shit happens, there's some wild sex and apparently even some incest, and the whole thing is written and directed by Guillermo del Toro. It's unclear whether this will actually be **good**, but as well-stated by the first comment on the trailer's YouTube video, which I have watched no fewer than 15 times: "I literally only came here for that one scene with Tom Hiddleston." Sold!
GOOSEBUMPS: Few childhood book series stick with millennials quite like Goosebumps—children transformed into dogs, ghosts lived on beaches, dummies came alive and sleepaway camps were the stuff of nightmares. And at last, there's a movie ABOUT Goosebumps: Jack Black plays the one and only R.L. Stine, and some child actors play unwitting young folk who unleash his fictional creations upon the IRL universe. Bring a third grader, scare it for life, consider it a deed well done.
BRIDGE OF SPIES: I hated War Horse so much that I vowed never to see another war-related Spielberg film. I also hated The Terminal, so I vowed never to see another Spielberg film that starred Tom Hanks. Bridge of Spies is a convergence of all the things I hate, though the war in question is the Cold War and Tom Hanks uses his regular accent, so perhaps this will soothe my rage. Typical Spielbergian period-schmaltz aside, the Coen brothers wrote this one, so it can't be thaaaaat bad, right?
BEASTS OF NO NATION: Netflix is making movies now, and this film about a young West African Boy who is forced to become a child soldier, is one of its first forays into the medium. And it looks like it's going to be a hell of a moviemdash;it's directed by Cary Fukunaga (True Detective season one), stars Idris Elba, and has already netted an award at the Venice Film Festival for first-time child actor Abraham Attah.
SCOUTS GUIDE TO THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE: I want to watch the zombies eat the teenagers.
MISS YOU ALREADY: Vulture described this Drew Barrymore-directed film as "the Beaches of our time," which means it will be the best movie of the decade. I'm going to bring my mom!
SPECTRE: We've only got so much time left in the Daniel-Craig-as-Bond-verse, and Skyfall was pretty dope, though **SPOILER ALERT** we did lose Judi Dench as M. Spectre takes Bond to Mexico City and Rome, where he beds some pretty ladies and battles bad guys, one of whom is played by Christoph Waltz, naturally.
THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY PART 2: It still baffles me that they needed to turn the least interesting Hunger Games installment into a two-parter, but whatever. Katniss takes on the vicious cycle of a Revolution and chooses between Peeta (gross) and Gale (less gross), blah blah blah. But hey, special EF-FECTS!
CAROL: Carol is based on The Price of Salt, a Patricia Highsmith novel that I was supposed to read for a class in college but never did. Regardless, Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara should be in every movie.
THE NIGHT BEFORE: Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg made a Christmas movie! And James Franco's blessedly not in it! But Joseph Gordon Levitt, Anthony Mackie and Lizzie Caplan are! Let's all see it together.
THE DANISH GIRL: Oscar buzzzzzzzzzzzz.
MACBETH: 2015 is the Year Of Fassbender, and to round it all out, he's starring as a certain Shakespearean Scottish duke who takes advice from some nutty witches and his even wickeder wife. This film looks so good it makes my stomach hurt.
SISTERS: It's been seven years since Tina Fey and Amy Poehler co-starred in Baby Mama, and it's about damn time they gifted us with another comedic masterpiece. Here, they play semi-adult sisters who throw one last party at their parents' home—expect cameos from Ike Barinholtz, Rachel Dratch, Maya Rudolph and Kate McKinnon.
And last, but CERTAINLY not least:
STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS: DON'T LET US DOWN, J.J.!!!!!! FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, DON'T LET US DOWN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!