Well, I guess summer’s over. While that may be a big bummer for all you glass-half-empty-ers out there, there is totally an upside to the days slowly getting shorter and colder… it’s fall movie season! And the way this particular 2016 edition is looking, it’s shaping up to be one for the books. So before you start crying over that pile of expensive textbooks you just bought, take a look at these flicks that’ll soon be coming your way and will be perfect for your keen procrastinating methods.
Kicks – September 9th
Directed by Justin Tipping
Written by Justin Tipping and Joshua Beirne-Golden
Starring: Jahking Guillory, Christopher Jordan Wallace, Christopher Meyer, Kofi Siriboe, and Mahershala Ali
Life in The Bay can be tough, so you gotta get your kicks when you can, and in this case, it’s literally the kicks on your feet. That’s why Brandon (Jahking Guillory), the skinny kid who always gets picked on, will go to any lengths to get his back after a bunch of much bigger and much meaner guys jump him and steal his most beloved limited edition Air Jordans, no matter what the cost. Winning the award for Best Cinematography at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival, Kicks and newcomer director Justin Tipping are definitely ones to look out for.
Ithaca – September 9th
Directed by: Meg Ryan
Written by: Erik Jendresen, based on the novel by William Saroyan
Starring: Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan, Alex Neustaedter, Jack Quaid
In times of war, it’s communication that keeps communities together, and in the case of Ithaca, one teenager named Homer (Alex Neustaedter) wants to be that means of communication. Hired to be a telegraph messenger during the precarious era of WWII, Homer wants to be the fastest and most efficient carrier in his hometown of Ithaca, NY, but when he realizes the power of his role, delivering messages of pain and loss, after already dealing with much of the same within his own family, he must either give up his position or learn to grapple with hardships of life. Directed by Meg Ryan, Ithaca, a tender tale about the support and love of family and community even in the darkest of times, ought to ring true even half a century after this particular war.
Miss Stevens – September 16
Directed by Julia Hart
Written by Julia Hart and Jordan Horowitz
Starring: Lily Rabe, Timotheé Chalamet, Lili Reinhart, Anthony Quintal, Rob Huebel, Oscar Nuñez
If you thought high school was just tough on the students, think again. The directing debut from Julia Hartm Miss Stevens is a sharp and charismatic drama about an English teacher (Lily Rabe) who is unsure of the direction she’s taking in life. But when she gets the opportunity to chaperone three of her students to a drama competition, you better believe a lot of life lessons are about to be dolled out in all directions, especially between her and the young and charming Billy (Timotheé Chalamet). Sexual tension abound, Miss Stevens is about coming of age, even if you’re already an adult.
Fatima – September 16th
Directed by: Philippe Faucon
Written by: Philippe Faucon
Starring: Soria Zeroual, Zita Hanrot, Kenza Noah Aiche
After making quite a fuss at this year’s César Awards, where it won Most Promising Actress, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Film, Fatima is definitely not one to miss this season. The titular Fatima is a Moroccan mother of two teenage girls who comes to France with little of the language or culture to make her move an easy one. Naturally, her daughters don’t make it easier as the path to assimilation proves to be one paved with obstacles. Praised for not taking a cliché or heavy-handed approach, director Philippe Faucon may be bringing us one of the most unique stories about mother-daughter relationships that we’ve seen in awhile.
Goat - September 23rd
Directed by Andrew Neel
Written by David Gordon Green, Mike Roberts and Andrew Neel
Starring: Ben Schnetzer, Nick Jonas, Gus Halper, Danny Flaherty, Virginia Gardner, Jake Picking, James Franco
Sex, drugs, & brotherhood—a recipe for one hell of a time in college, and that’s exactly what Brett (Nick Jonas) promises his brother Brad (Ben Schnetzer) as he looks to become part of something, and finds that possibility in an infamous frat on campus. What Brad didn’t anticipate was just how hellish and how deeply dark the pledging process would be, as his so-called brothers begin to test him physically, mentally, and emotionally. Is the promise of a prosperous social life worth breaking his spirit? Find out in director Andrew Neel’s surprisingly tense and thrilling drama Goat.
I.T. – September 23rd
Directed by: John Moore
Written byL Dan Kay, William Wisher
Starring: Pierce Brosnan, James Frecheville, Anna Friel, Stefanie Scott, Austin Swift
In this day and age, privacy is becoming harder and harder to stake claim over, and that’s why a film like I.T. is so terrifying. The story follows Mike Regan (Pierce Brosnan), a wildly successful businessman who becomes impressed by a certain young I.T. guy Ed (James Frecheville) who seems to be a genius in his field. Little does Mike know that Ed isn’t all right in the head, and when he starts to tap into Mike’s private life and threatening the ones he loves using the evil side of technology, Mike has to look to the past in order to save his family’s future.
Seed: The Untold Story – September 30th
Directed by: Jon Betz and Taggart Siegel
Starring: Vandana Shiva, Andrew Kimbrell, Jane Goodall
To the untrained eye, one look at any rainforest may conjure ideas of diversity, vitality, and never-ending life. In Seed: The Untold Story, however, a handful of seedkeepers from around the globe are here to tell us otherwise. A whopping 94% of the world’s seed varieties have disappeared in the last century alone, leaving us with nearly a monoculture of vegetation. Through these stories from people who have made it their mission to continue the tradition of protecting food diversity, Jon Betz and Taggart Siegel’s vastly important documentary sheds light on how we can all fight in the necessary battle.
Denial – September 30th
Directed by: Mick Jackson
Written by: David Hare, based on the book by Deborah E. Lipstadt
Starring: Rachel Weisz, Tom Wilkinson, and Timothy Spall
Conspiracy is a dangerous game of conflicting beliefs, and Mick Jackson’s latest drama explores that idea with Denial, a true story about historian Deborah Lipstadt (Rachel Weisz) accusing British historian David Irving (Timothy Spall) of being a Holocaust Denier. Irving, believing it to be a smearing campaign, accused Lipstadt of libel, and in the UK, that means Lipstadt, with the help of her lawyer (Tom Wilksinson) has to come up with evidence of the Holocaust actually happening or else she’ll face the end of her career. Written by David Hare who brought us The Reader, Denial is sure to be wrought with tension, especially with this kind of stellar cast.
ClownTown – September 30th
Directed by: Tom Nagel
Written by: Jeff Miller
Starring: Brian Nagel, Lauren Elise, Andrew Staton, Katie Keene, Jeff Denton
Sorry all of you non-clown lovers out there; it looks like It wasn’t enough. Director Tom Nagel is here to bring not one, but a band of terrorizing clowns to theaters near you. Take the classic horror trope of a group of teenagers being stranded in a seemingly abandoned town, and then throw in a handful of lunatic clowns wielding whatever weapons they can get their hands on, and voila! You have ClownTown. Might as well grab your favorite childhood stuffed animal now, looks like we’re all gonna need it.
The Birth of a Nation – October 7th
Directed by: Nate Parker
Written by: Nate Parker
Starring: Nate Parker, Armie Hammer, Mark Boone Jr., Colman Domingo, Aunjanue Ellis, Dwight Henry, Aja Naomi King, Esther Scott, Roger Guenveur Smith, Gabrielle Union with Penelope Ann Miller and Jackie Earle Haley
The film that had the Sundance Film Festival all in a frenzy this year was none other than The Birth of a Nation, the tale of a black preacher Nathaniel (Nate Parker) used by his desperate white owner (Armie Hammer) to regain control over his human property. Of course, Nathaniel can only watch his people suffer for so long, and soon uses the power of education and hope to bring his brothers out of the shadows and into freedom by leading an uprising. This film is sure to put Parker on the map as a director, writer, and actor to watch, not only this fall season, but seasons to come.
The Late Bloomer – October 7th
Directed by: Kevin Pollak
Written by: Joe Nussbaum, Mark Torgove, Paul A. Kaplan, Kyle Cooper, Austyn Jeffs
Starring: Johnny Simmons, Maria Bello, Brittany Snow, Jane Lynch, J.K. Simmons, Kumail Nanjiani, Beck Bennett, Paul Wesley
I guess we should all be lucky that we go through puberty at the same time as our peers, more or less. Dr. Pete Newmans (Johnny Simmons), however, isn’t so lucky, and as The Late Bloomer, we get to watch him go through the full-fledged evolution from boy-man to man-man in the prime of his 30s. Did I mention he’s a sex therapist by trade? Well, add that on top of a talent-packed comedic cast, including Jane Lynch and J.K. Simmons, and you’ve got one of the more uncomfortable rom-coms of the fall.
The Greasy Strangler – October 7th
Directed by Jim Hosking
Written by Jim Hosking and Toby Harvard
Starring: Michael St. Michaels, Sky Elobar, Elizabeth De Razzo, Gil Gex, Jesse Keen, Joe David Walters
If you’re looking for an offbeat, crude, and constantly surprising cinematic experience, look no further than The Greasy Strangler. It’s a story centered around an oddball father and son business—a Disco Walking Tour business to be precise—and the gross happenings that take place when they fight over a tourist they’ve both set their sights on. Throw in the maniacal murders of latest serial killer on the streets, The Greasy Strangler, and you’ve got the wild ride you’ve maybe been waiting.
Tower - October 12th
Directed by Keith Maitland
Executive Produced by Luke Wilson and Meredith Vieira
In the midst of a socio-political scene in which mass shootings have become almost an expectation in our daily lives, we often forget to look back to when it all began. In Tower, an animated documentary feature that reframes America’s first school shooting at the University of Texas in 1966, director Keith Maitland shows us how tragedy can reveal the best in humanity in its response and in growth. Coming back from SXSW this year with three awards, including Best Documentary and Grand Jury Prize, it is clear that Tower is an important addition to screens across the world this fall.
Christine – October 14th
Directed by Antonio Campos
Written by Craig Shilowich
Starring: Rebecca Hall, Michael C. Hall, Tracy Letts, Maria Dizzia, J. Smith-Cameron, John Cullum
We’ve seen a lot of stories about journalists and reporters who dream of covering news that matters. Back in 1974, Christine Chubbuck was one of those reporters, but her story is quite unique. Director Antonio Campos, who brought us Simon Killer (2012) and Afterschool (2008), relays this true story about a woman who’s motivation to put hard-hitting news on TV pushes her to the edge and beyond. Starring Rebecca Hall as Christine, this will be a drama to make us reconsider our thirst as viewers for edgy programming.
In a Valley of Violence – October 21st
Written and Directed by Ti West
Produced by Blumhouse
Starring: Ethan Hawke, John Travolta, James Ransone, Taissa Farmiga, Karen Gillan
To bring something new to the world of westerns is a tough mission, but Ti West, who is most known for directing some of the most terrifying modern horror films (V/H/S), seems to have lived up to the task. This gritty, often wryly humored drama explores a tale of revenge through the eyes of a loner (Hawke) as he mercilessly brings to justice those who did him wrong. Starring alongside a delightfully styled John Travolta, In A Valley of Violence looks to be a refreshing new look at a classic genre.
A Monster Calls – October 21st
Directed by: J.A. Bayona
Written by: Patrick Ness, based on his novel and Siobhan Dowd’s original idea
Starring: Sigourney Weaver, Felicity Jones, Toby Kebbell, Lewis MacDougall, and Liam Neeson
It seems this year is one filled with helpful giants. First BFG, and now A Monster Calls. Though the titular Monster, voiced by Liam Neeson, looks a little more menacing than its counterpart, his role in aiding young Connor (Lewis MacDougall) is no less powerful as the boy must face the reality of his mother’s (Felicity Jones) illness as well as the often-unbearable obstacles teenagers battle with. From the director J.A. Bayona who brought us the wonderfully horrifying film The Orphanage, A Monster Calls is a fantasy rooted in the darkness of the real world, and it ought to appeal to both youngsters and adults alike with its hard-hitting message about courage and hope.
The Handmaiden – October 21st
Directed by: Park Chan-wook
Written by: Chung Seo-kyung and Park Chan-wook
Starring: Kim Tae-ri, Kim Min-hee, Ha Jung-woo, Cho Jin-woong
As one of the great visual storytellers in contemporary cinema, Korean director Park Chan-wook continuously raises the bar for what we can achieve in the medium. From Oldboy to Stoker, Park’s sense of frame and tension is always meticulously calculated, and that’s why we are very excited about his next project The Handmaiden, a luscious drama about a Japanese woman (Kim Min-hee) who lives on a lonely estate in Korea and hires a handmaiden to help with the daily running of things. Little does she know that a conman (Ha Jung-woo) is out to steal her inheritance using the handmaiden as a pawn. What ensues is a sexually pulsing story of betrayal, greed, and lust. We can’t wait.
Jack Reacher: Never Go Back – October 21st
Directed by: Edward Zwick
Written by: Richard Wenk & Edward Zwick & Marshall Herskovitz
Starring: Tom Cruise, Cobie Smulders, Robert Knepper, Aldis Hodge
You know it’s not a proper movie season without a ball-busting Tom Cruise action flick thrown in the mix. That’s why Jack Reacher: Never Go back, the sequel to it’s pretty successful 2012 predecessor, is one to look out for. Heading back to his old military stomping grounds, Reacher (Cruise) finds that an old homicide is coming back to haunt him, and he has to figure out how to clear his name, only to realize it’s all much bigger than himself. With the help of Agent Turner (Smulders) they go to uncover the conspiracy that has the government and military up in arms.
The Eagle Huntress – October 28th
Directed by: Otto Bell
Starring: Daisy Ridley, Aisholpan
In this stunning documentary by newcomer Otto Bell, we are launched into the world of eagle hunting, an ancient tradition that traces back through the centuries in Mongolian history. Usually a ritual practiced only by males of the family, The Eagle Huntress shows us a pivotal moment for the books. One precocious and fearless thirteen-year-old is set on following in her father and countless other ancestors’ footsteps and become the first eagle huntress in the history of the sport. While her father may support her no matter what, she faces generations of men who are awaiting her failure. Little do they know, she is not easily intimidated by a soaring eager or old men. Narrated by Star Wars’ new star Daisy Ridley, The Eagle Huntress is a perfect movie for the family, as well as any adventurer looking to dive into some beautiful wilderness.
Rings – October 28th
Directed by: F. Javier Gutiérrez
Written by: Jacob Aaron Estes & Akiva Goldsman & David Loucka
Starring: Laura Wiggins, Aimee Teegarden, Johnny Galecki
Just when you thought one movie about a girl crawling out of your TV was enough, some sick minds thought otherwise and now present us with Rings. This time around, our heroes aren’t trying to figure out what happened to the little girl in the video that kills you in seven days, but figure out why there now seems to be a video within the video that allows its deathly message to spread even more rapidly than we originally thought. With Akiva Goldsman (A Beautiful Mind, I Robot) helping on the screenplay, Rings ought to be a surprisingly smart sequel.
Shut In – November 11
Directed by: Farren Blackburn
Written by: Christina Hodson
Starring: Naomi Watts, Jacob Tremblay, Oliver Platt, David Cubitt, Crystal Balint, Charlie Heaton
A heart-pounding thriller about a widowed child psychologist who lives in an isolated existence in rural New England. Caught in a deadly winter storm, she must find a way to rescue a young boy before he disappears forever.
Elle – November 11th
Directed by: Paul Verhoeven
Written by: David Birke, based on the novel by Philippe Djian
Starring: Isabelle Huppert, Laurent Lafitte, Anne Consigney
In Elle, screenwriter David Birke explores the psychosis of victimhood. It’s a story about a break-in, and the woman (Isabelle Huppert) who had to suffer physically, mentally, and emotionally in its aftermath. But it’s not that simple. With her fear she also feels excitement, and she begins to use her status as an object to manipulate her loved ones around her, all the while trying to catch the guy who threw her down this path. It’s an exciting return to form for director Paul Verhoeven, who brought us similar sexually tense drama in Basic Instinct, and with Huppert’s veteran quality on screen, Elle is sure to be that uncomfortable gem in theaters this fall.
Arrival – November 11th
Directed by: Denis Villaneuve
Written By: Eric Heisserer
Starring: Jeremy Renner, Amy Adams, Forest Whitaker
While director Denis Villaneuve’s work has mostly been rooted in the grit of crime as with Sicario and Prisoners, his latest adventure Arrival takes us to space—or rather, he brings space to us. When a series of UFOs land across the world, the government dispatches a team of experts to find out what their intentions are. Some members of the crew may be skeptical of forming any kind of meaningful structure of communication, but expert linguist Louise Bands (Amy Adams) believes she can be the one to find out what these aliens want with our planet by way of patience and getting dangerously close. With Villaneuve’s keen sense of intensity and rising action, Arrival ought to be rich with high stakes that’ll glue us to the screen.
Manchester by the Sea – November 18th
Directed by: Kenneth Lonergan
Written by: Kenneth Lonergan
Starring: Casey Affleck, Michelle Williams, Kyle Chandler, Lucas Hedges, Gretchen Mol, C.J. Wilson
Writer/director Kenneth Lonergan (Analyze This, You Can Count on Me) is here to remind us that the past will always catch up with you in the emotionally rich drama Manchester by the Sea. It’s a story about Lee Chandler (Casey Affleck), a New England fisherman by trade, who has to return to his small-town Massachusetts home after the sudden death of his brother. Not only is he forced to claim guardianship of his teenage nephew Patrick (Lucas Hedges), but he also has to face the tragic events that led to his break up with his beloved wife Randi (Michelle Williams).
Nocturnal Animals – November 18
Directed by: Tom Ford
Written by: Tom Ford, based on the novel “Tony and Susan” by Austin Wright
Starring: Amy Adams, Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Shannon, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Isla Fisher, Karl Glusman, Armie Hammer, Laura Linney, Andrea Riseborough, Michael Sheen
From writer/director Tom Ford comes a haunting romantic thriller of shocking intimacy and gripping tension that explores the thin lines between love and cruelty, and revenge and redemption. Academy Award nominees Amy Adams and Jake Gyllenhaal star as a divorced couple discovering dark truths about each other and themselves in “Nocturnal Animals.”
Allied – November 23rd
Directed by: Robert Zemeckis
Written by: Steven Knight
Starring: Brad Pitt, Lizzy Caplan, Marion Cotillard
It’s always a treat to see the likes of powerhouses Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard share the stage together, especially when one of the greatest powerhouse directors is behind the camera. In Allied, Robert Zemeckis throws us into the terror of WWII, where secrets are the means to safety. In this case, Cotillard plays a French resistance soldier who, upon reuniting with an old acquaintance and intelligence agent (Pitt) in London, must play their deck close to their chest if they want to survive. And with a script by Steven Knight (Eastern Promises), there’s too many deft hands involved to ignore what Allied has to offer moviegoers.
Miss Sloane – December 9
Directed by: John Madden
Written by: Jonathan Perera
Starring: Jessica Chastain, Mark Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Michael Stuhlbarg, Alison Pill
Miss Sloane is the story a ruthless lobbyist (Jessica Chastain) who is notorious for her unparalleled talent and her desire to win at all costs, even when it puts her own career at risk. The thriller pulls back the curtain on how Capitol Hill games are played and won as Sloane faces off against the most influential powers in D.C.
The Salesman – December 9th
Directed by: Asghar Farhadi
Written byL Asghar Farhadi
Starring: Alexandre Mallet-Guy, Shahab Hosseini, Taraneh Alidoosti, Babak Karimi
Sweeping up some big prizes at Cannes this year, like Best Actor and Best Screenplay, was none other than The Salesman by the masterful Iranian director Asghar Farhadi (The Past, A Separation). Furthering his trend of focusing on marital discord through the background of political turmoil, The Salesman is a continuation of form as it centers on a young married couple that must relocate after their home is damaged. But when a former tenant of their new home draws violence to their front doorstep, they must evaluate the value of partnership and strength.
Office Christmas Party – December 9th
Directed By: Josh Gordon & Will Speck
Written By: Justin Malen, Jon Lucas, Lauren Solon, & Scott Moore
Starring: Jason Bateman, Jennifer Aniston, Kate McKinnon, TJ Miller, Olivia Munn
The holiday season is (kinda) almost here, and so come the holiday movies that get us feeling all warm and cozy inside. Unless it’s Office Christmas Party, because this raunchy comedy, with a plot that you can basically surmise from the title, is sure to get you riled up for all the raucous celebrations that the Yule Tide brings. Stocked up with some of the best of the comedic bigwigs around these days, and directed by the dudes who brought us Blades of Glory, you can sure this one’s going to be a ridiculously fun time.
Neruda – December 16th
Directed by: Pablo Larraín
Written by: Guillermo Calderón
Starring: Luis Gnecco, Gael García Bernal, Alfredo Castro, Mercedes Morán
As WWII ended and The Cold War began, a breeding ground for paranoia and persecution spread across the globe. Chilean Senator and a notable poet, Pablo Neruda (Luis Gnecco) was one of those people who found themselves in the center of the storm after proclaiming his own government of betraying the greater Communist Party. Impeached by his president and on the run from persecution, it is up to one policeman (Gael García Bernal) to bring the poet to justice, all the while inspiring artists across the globe to take up brushes and pens in Neruda’s defense. Neruda is a tongue and cheek historical account of an era of unrest that was defined by the creative minds of the time who lived through it.
Julieta – December 21st
Directed by: Pedro Almodóvar
Written by: Pedro Almodóvar, Alice Munro
Starring: Adriana Ugarte, Rossy de Palma, Emma Suárez
It’s fun to talk about movies in terms of what is worth buying a $16 ticket for, because we can learn extremely fast what moves us most. When it comes to Spanish writer/director Pedro Almodóvar’s films, (Talk to Her, Volver) the answer is a huge, resounding yes, and this year’s Julieta is no exception. Like most of his stories, this is one weaved of various women’s lives, lost and forgotten, or just now blossoming and searching for truth. It’s always exciting to see the modern world interact with the roots of its traditions and superstitions of the past, and Julieta is all about confronting what we may not want to.
Toni Erdmann – December 25th
Directed by: Maren Ade
Written by: Maren Ade
Starring: Peter Simonischek, Sandra Hüller, Michael Wittenborn
Right as the holiday season chimes in, quirky director Maren Ade brings us Toni Erdmann, a family dramedy about a down-and-out father attempting—and mostly failing—to reconnect with his daughter who has been doing fine without him all these years. But he’s family after all, and thought he doesn’t say it outright, he needs her help, so through a variety of mis=happenings the two face the matter of their estrangement and settle on the course of their future relationship. Offbeat and charming, Toni Erdmann ought to have some solid messages about the strength of a family bond.
The Red Turtle – January 20th, 2017
Directed by: Michael Dudok de Wit
Written by: Michael Dudok de Wit & Pascale Ferran
The latest venture from Studio Ghibli (My Neighbor Totoro, Spirited Away) comes in the form of The Red Turtle, a dialogue-less animation about a man becoming stranded on a deserted island with no one to keep him company but the creatures surrounding him. What makes this piece rather special, however, is that it’s Ghibli’s first outsourced production, partnering with France to render its final product. While director/animator Michael Dudok de Wit’s film seems to be a simpler piece in comparison to Ghibli’s notable counterparts, The Red Turtle’s often melancholic yet inspiring story will surely be of note years to come.
Table 19 – January 20th, 2017
Directed by: Jeffrey Blitz
Written by: Jeffrey Blitz, story by Mark and Jay Duplass
Starring: Anna Kendrick, Craig Robinson, June Squibb, Lisa Kudrow, Stephen Merchant, Tony Revolori, Wyatt Russell, Amanda Crew
Weddings can be just as painful as they are fun, and that’s what Eloise (Anna Kendrick) can attest to. Kicked out of the maid of honor role after a break-up with the best man (Wyatt Russell), she decides to attend the wedding anyway, but to her dismay she is assigned to a table full of losers and misfits. When they all realize that the bride and groom see them as a team of expendables, they band together to prove everyone otherwise. With a hilarious ensemble cast, Table 19 seems like its gonna be the feel-good comedy of January.