As summer fades out, Fall 2014 will come blowing in, bringing with it the usual downers like a return to school, an end to vacation, and the re-donning of long-legged, long-sleeved, wardrobe.

Along with the fade of summer goes the fade of the big blockbuster movie season, and the slow build to the holiday blockbuster season. With fall, we usually find ourselves in a split situation, cinematically; the first half (September – mid-October) tends to be lacking in quality movie options, but by the end of October (and on through December), a whole slew of films – both big blockbusters and early Oscar hopefuls – will be crowding the cineplex.

Below we’ve created a guide to the upcoming Fall Movie Season 2014, to help you determine which films are truly worth spending on. Will you need to save your money to watch everything worth watching? Or will you be spending a lot of time watching the Fall 2014 TV season? Read on and determine the answer for yourself.

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September

Bottom Line: With just one promising option in each genre, September 2014 looks pretty bleak for movie fans.

The Longest Week

Sept. 5th

Affluent and aimless, Conrad Valmont (Jason Bateman) lives a life of leisure in his parent’s prestigious Manhattan Hotel. In the span of one week, he finds himself evicted, disinherited, and… in love with Beatrice Fairbanks (Olivia Wilde).

OUR TAKE: It has Jason Bateman and Olivia Wilde, so that’s something; however, beyond the casting this sounds like the type of smaller dramedy we can wait to catch at home.

Dolphin Tale 2

Sept. 12th

The team of people who saved Winter’s life reassemble in the wake of her surrogate mother’s passing in order to find her a companion so she can remain at the Clearwater Marine Hospital.

OUR TAKE: Um, did you see the first one? That answer should pretty much determine the worth of the sequel, in your eyes.

The Drop

Sept. 12th

The film follows lonely bartender Bob Saginowski (Tom Hardy) through a covert scheme of funneling cash to local gangsters – “money drops” – in the underworld of Brooklyn bars. Under the heavy hand of his employer and cousin Marv (James Gandolfini), Bob finds himself at the center of a robbery gone awry and entwined in an investigation that digs deep into the neighborhood’s past where friends, families, and foes all work together to make a living – no matter the cost.

OUR TAKE: This is another hard-boiled crime story from author Dennis Lehane (Mystic River, Gone Baby Gone, Shutter Island); it also happens that Lehane himself adapted this screenplay out of his own short story, “Animal Rescue”. That’s a good sign in our book – the cast (Hardy, Noomi Rapace, and one of Gandolfini’s last roles) is only more reason to check this out.

(WATCH THE TRAILER)

No Good Deed

Sept. 12th

Terri (Taraji P. Henson) is a devoted wife and mother of two, living an ideal suburban life in Atlanta when Colin (Idris Elba), a charming but dangerous escaped convict, shows up at her door claiming car trouble. Terri offers her phone to help him but soon learns that no good deed goes unpunished as she finds herself fighting for survival when he invades her home and terrorizes her family.

OUR TAKE: Taraji P. Henson (Hustle & Flow) is always solid – but the real story here is Idris Elba re-teaming with his Luther director Sam Miller to play a dangerous psycho (as opposed to the noble, hunky, guy). That might make this B-movie thriller worth a look.

(WATCH THE TRAILER)

The Skeleton Twins

Sept. 12th

After ten years of estrangement, twins Maggie (Kristen Wiig) and Milo (Bill Hader) coincidentally cheat death on the same day, prompting them to reunite and confront how their lives went so wrong. As the twins’ reunion reinvigorates them both, they realize that the key to fixing their lives just may lie in fixing their relationship with each other.

OUR TAKE: Seeing former SNL stars like Wiig and Hader in a movie with Modern Family star Ty Burrell screams comedy – but this is actually a drama. However, director Craig Johnson is from the camp of TV sitcom stars making solid indie films (See also: The Duplass Brothers), and Johnson co-wrote the script with Black Swan scribe Mark Heyman. Could be worth a look – if only on VOD.

The Maze Runner

Sept. 19th

Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) wakes up in an elevator, remembering nothing but his own name. He emerges into a world of about 60 teen boys who have learned to survive in a completely enclosed environment, subsisting on their own agriculture and supplies. A new boy arrives every 30 days. The original group has been in “The Glade” for two years, trying to find a way to escape through the Maze that surrounds their living space. They have begun to give up hope. Then a comatose girl (Kaya Scadelario) arrives with a strange note, and their world begins to change.

OUR TAKE: YA movie adaptations are typically a mixed bag of interesting concepts, middling action/adventure, and the anchor weight of soapy tweenage romance. The Maze Runner seems to favor the first two over the latter piece, so that’s a good start. Some darker concepts and themes also have us intrigued – but the budgeted effects could be drawback.

(WATCH THE TRAILER)

This is Where I Leave You

Sept. 19th

When their father passes away, four grown siblings are forced to return to their childhood home and live under the same roof together for a week, along with their over-sharing mother and an assortment of spouses, exes and might-have-beens.

OUR TAKE: This one has a dynamite cast (Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Jane Fonda, Adam Driver, Rose Byrne, Corey Stoll, Kathryn Hahn, Connie Britton, Timothy Olyphant, Dax Shepard and Abigail Spencer), a good director in Shawn Levy (Real SteelNight at the Museum) – and the author of novel (Jonathan Tropper) is the one writing the screenplay. Could be worth a look.

(WATCH THE TRAILER)

Tusk

Sept. 19th

A man (Justin Long)  is captured by a maniac (Michael Parks) and tortured, physically and mentally, into becoming a walrus.

OUR TAKE: Kevin Smith’s latest is a weird one, for sure. But that will likely only make Kevin Smith fans more intrigued to see what the director has done. For the larger audience? Maybe not so much appeal.

(WATCH THE TRAILER)

A Walk Among the Tombstones

Sept. 19th

Private investigator Matthew Scudder (Liam Neeson) is hired by a drug kingpin to find out who kidnapped and murdered his wife.

OUR TAKE: The latest Liam Neeson action/mystery/thriller. So if you liked Non-Stop

(WATCH THE TRAILER)

The Boxtrolls

Sept. 26th

A young orphaned boy raised by underground cave-dwelling trash collectors tries to save his friends from an evil exterminator. Based on the children’s novel ‘Here Be Monsters’ by Alan Snow.

OUR TAKE: Laika set itself apart as an animation studio with darkly quirky films like Coraline and ParaNormanThe Boxtrolls looks like it will continue that steady trend of uniquely fun filmmaking.

(WATCH THE TRAILER)

The Equalizer

Sept. 26th

A former black ops commando (Denzel Washington) who faked his death for a quiet life in Boston comes out of his retirement to rescue a young girl (Chloe Grace-Moretz) and finds himself face to face with Russian gangsters.

OUR TAKE: Antoine Fuqua made a gritty throwback action flick with Olympus Has Fallen, and we can only hope for even better things from this action flick that re-teams Fuqua with his Oscar-winning Training Day star. If there is one film we’re saving our money for in September, it’s probably this one.

(WATCH THE TRAILER)

Jimi: All Is By My Side

Sept. 26th

A drama based on Jimi Hendrix’s pre-fame years.

OUR TAKE: The film can’t use Hendrix’s music – however, the intrigue of having Outkast’s André 3000 in the lead; actresses Imogen Poots (Need for Speed) and Hayley Atwell (Agent Carter) co-starring; and Oscar-winner John Ridley (12 Years a Slave) both writing and directing? That’s enough for us to give this biopic a shot.

(WATCH THE TRAILER)

October

Bottom Line: October 2014 is full of cinematic gambles, with actors, writers, franchises and directors all stepping onto some untested ground.

Annabelle

Oct. 3rd

John Form has found the perfect gift for his expectant wife, Mia – a beautiful, rare vintage doll in a pure white wedding dress. But Mia’s delight with Annabelle doesn’t last long. On one horrific night, their home is invaded by members of a satanic cult, who violently attack the couple. Spilled blood and terror are not all they leave behind. The cultists have conjured an entity so malevolent that nothing they did will compare to the sinister conduit to the damned that is now… Annabelle.

OUR TAKE: The Conjuring was a throwback horror movie success story – but that was largely due to having director James Wan at the helm. This profit-driven spinoff is being helmed by Wan’s longtime cinematographer, John R. Leonetti, but his actual directing credits include duds like Mortal Kombat: Annihilation and Butterfly Effect 2. In short: don’t expect lighting to strike twice.

(WATCH THE TRAILER)

The Good Lie

Oct. 3rd

A Sudanese refugee is taken in by a straight-talking American woman (Reese Witherspoon) in their new home in the United States.

OUR TAKE: One of those Blind Side, The Help, feel-good, race-relation movies with a big-name starlet. It’ll probably make a ton of money courtesy of slow-burn word-of-mouth momentum (if history is any indicator).

Gone Girl

Oct. 3rd

On the occasion of his fifth wedding anniversary, Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) reports that his wife, Amy (Rosamund Pike), has gone missing. Under pressure from the police and a growing media frenzy, Nick’s portrait of a blissful union begins to crumble. Soon his lies, deceits and strange behavior have everyone asking the same dark question: Did Nick Dunne kill his wife?

OUR TAKE: Affleck is at the center of a comic book movie storm now that he’s the new Batman; Gone Girl looks like it could be a showcase of the acting talent behind the celebrity persona.

(WATCH THE TRAILER) 

Addicted

Oct. 10th

Based on the best-selling novel by Zane, Addicted is a sexy and provocative thriller about desire and the dangers of indiscretion. Successful businesswoman Zoe Reynard (Sharon Leal) appears to have attained it all – the dream husband she loves (Boris Kodjoe), two wonderful children and a flourishing career. As perfect as everything appears from the outside, Zoe is still drawn to temptations (read: affairs) she cannot escape or resist. As she pursues a secretive life, Zoe finds herself risking it all when she heads down a perilous path she may not survive.

OUR TAKE: An erotic drama headlined by African-American and Latino stars? Well, it looks better than Fifty Shades of Grey

(WATCH THE TRAILER)

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Oct. 10th

Alexander wakes up with gum in his hair, and things just get worse as his day progresses.

OUR TAKE: The Judith Viorst book is a classic way for kids to learn how to cope with bad experiences. With a cast featuring the likes of Steve Carell, Megan Mullally, Jennifer Coolidge, Donal Glover, Jennifer Garner and Dick Van Dyke, we’re hoping the movie will be an amusing, single-day comedy with heart and message underneath.

(WATCH THE TRAILER)

The Judge

Oct. 10th

Big city lawyer Hank Palmer (Robert Downey Jr.) returns to his childhood home where his father, the town’s judge (Robert Duvall), is suspected of murder. Hank sets out to discover the truth and, along the way, reconnects with his estranged family.

OUR TAKE: A good cast (Duvall, Billy Bob Thorton, Vera Farmiga, Vincent D’Onofrio) and RDJ in the lead of a drama? We’re curious, how about you?

(WATCH THE TRAILER)

Kill The Messenger

Oct. 10th

A reporter (Jeremy Renner) becomes the target of a vicious smear campaign that drives him to the point of suicide after he exposes the CIA’s role in arming Contra rebels in Nicaragua and importing cocaine into California. Based on the true story of journalist Gary Webb.

OUR TAKE: Even with a stacked cast (Michael Sheen, Ray Liotta, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Michael K. Williams, Oliver Platt, Paz Vega, Robert Patrick, Andy Garcia), biopics can either be intriguing and revelatory, or procedural and boring. Never any way to tell but to watch. For Renner, this could be a strong showcase of his acting talent.

(WATCH THE TRAILER)

Whiplash

Oct. 10th (Limited)

Andrew Neyman (Miles Teller) is an ambitious young jazz drummer, single-minded in his pursuit to rise to the top of his elite east coast music conservatory.Terence Fletcher (J.K. Simmons), an instructor equally known for his teaching talents as for his terrifying methods, leads the top jazz ensemble in the school. Fletcher discovers Andrew and transfers the aspiring drummer into his band, pushing Andrew to the brink of both his ability – and his sanity.

OUR TAKE: Teller and Simmons are one of those pairings we would’ve never thought of, but sounds so obviously smart when you hear it (banter levels through the roof). Both are dynamic, and can range from funny to super-serious at a pin drop. This sounds like an indie film worth checking out.

(WATCH THE TRAILER)

Birdman

Oct. 17th

A washed-up actor (Michael Keaton) who once played an iconic superhero must overcome his ego and family trouble as he mounts a Broadway play in a bid to reclaim his past glory.

OUR TAKE: The meta humor of Keaton (a former Batman) taking on this role is enough of a selling point. The fact that 21 Grams and Babel director Alejandro González Iñárritu is helming it only makes us more intrigued about what this superhero/showbiz rumination is going to really be about.

(WATCH THE TRAILER)

Book of Life

Oct. 17th

From producer Guillermo del Toro and director Jorge Gutierrez comes an animated comedy with a unique visual style. Book of Life is the journey of Manolo, a young man who is torn between fulfilling the expectations of his family and following his heart. Before choosing which path to follow, he embarks on an incredible adventure that spans three fantastical worlds where he must face his greatest fears. Rich with a fresh take on pop music favorites, Book of Life encourages us to celebrate the past while looking forward to the future.

OUR TAKE: This Latin-themed animated film is a welcome change of pace in visual design and aesthetic. Hopefully the actual film lives up to the style. With the likes of Channing Tatum, Zoe Saldana, Ice Cube, Diego Luna, Christina Applegate, Dany Trejo and Ron Perlman in the voice cast, filling seats shouldn’t be too hard.

(WATCH THE TRAILER)

Dear White People

Oct. 17th (Limited)

A satire that follows the stories of four black students at an Ivy League college where a riot breaks out over a popular African American-themed party thrown by white students. With tongue planted firmly in cheek, the film explores racial identity in post-racial America while weaving a universal story of forging one’s unique path in the world.

OUR TAKE: Writer/Director Justin Simien’s searing satire about modern race relations looks more insightful and bitingly, unflinchingly funny than most films that take on this hot-button topic. This has cult-hit potential written all over it.

(WATCH THE TRAILER)

Dracula Untold

Oct. 17th

A re-imagining of the Dracula origin story.

OUR TAKE: Vampires might seem like they’re played out, but this looks to be an at least somewhat fresh take on the Dracula mythos – and Luke Evans (The Hobbit, Fast & Furious 6) is a strong choice in leading man to tackle the role.

(WATCH THE TRAILER)

Fury

Oct. 17th

April, 1945. As the Allies make their final push in the European Theatre, a battle-hardened army sergeant named Wardaddy (Brad Pitt) commands a Sherman tank and her crew (including Shia LaBeouf, Michael Peña and Jon Bernthal) on a deadly mission behind enemy lines. Outnumbered and out-gunned, and with a rookie soldier (Logan Lerman) thrust into their platoon, Wardaddy and his men face overwhelming odds in their heroic attempts to strike at the heart of Nazi Germany.

OUR TAKE: Writer/Director David Ayer is known for focusing on the California cop/crook struggle in films like S.W.A.T.Training Day and End of Watch – there’s no telling how he’s going to fare with WWII action/drama. The principal cast looks like a solid and tight-knight crew, and we’re eager to see some tank warfare action scenes. We’ll be checking this one out, no doubt.

(WATCH THE TRAILER)

Men, Women & Children

Oct. 17th

Men, Women and Children follows the story of a group of high school teenagers and their parents as they attempt to navigate the many ways the internet has changed their relationships, their communication, their self-image, and their love lives. As each character and each relationship is tested, we are shown the variety of roads people choose – some tragic, some hopeful – as it becomes clear that no one is immune to this enormous social change that has come through our phones, our tablets, and our computers.

OUR TAKE: This movie was sort of already made a year or so ago – it was called Disconnect. However, as technology and the social structure continues to evolve, there’s room for more examination, we guess. Just remember that writer/director Jason Reitman (Juno, Up In the Air, Young Adult) is a rather bleak storyteller. This film may not improve your world view.

(WATCH THE TRAILER)

 Ouija

Oct. 24th

A girl is mysteriously killed after recording herself playing with an ancient Ouija Board, which leads a close group of friends to investigate this board. They later find out that some things aren’t meant to be played with, especially the ‘other side’.

OUR TAKE: Fresh young faces starring in a movie about a board game that hinges on delusion – as directed by Stiles White, a special effects guru from the Stan Winston studio, who has written films like Knowing and The Possession, but is admittedly making his directorial debut with this movie. Yeah… we don’t know what to make of this, either.

(WATCH THE TRAILER)

Reach Me

Oct. 24th

A comedy/drama centered on a group of people who all have a connection to a self-help book authored by a reclusive former football coach.

OUR TAKE: This movie looks like the self-help version of Crash. Are people still into these episodic ensemble films with swollen celebrity casts? Guess we’ll find out.

(WATCH THE TRAILER)

St. Vincent

Oct. 24th

A young boy whose parents just divorced finds an unlikely friend and mentor in the misanthropic, bawdy, hedonistic, war veteran (Bill Murray) who lives next door.

OUR TAKE: Bill Murray in a movie with Melissa McCarthy, Chris O’Dowd, Terrence Howard and Naomi Watts? We’re intrigued.

(WATCH THE TRAILER)

Before I Go to Sleep

Oct. 31st

A woman (Nicole Kidman) wakes up every day, remembering nothing as a result of a traumatic accident in her past. One day, new terrifying truths emerge that force her to question everyone around her.

OUR TAKE: There are many Memento clones, but none have lived up to Nolan’s amnesia mind-bender. This one has the cast (Kidman, Colin Firth, Mark Strong) but writer/director Rowan Joffe (writer of The American, 28 Weeks Later) is relatively untested behind the camera.

(WATCH THE TRAILER)

Horns

Oct. 31st

In the aftermath of his girlfriend’s mysterious death, a young man (Daniel Radcliffe) awakens to strange horns sprouting from his temples – horns which compel people to confess their deepest secrets to him – or compel them to do uninhibited, even violent acts.

OUR TAKE: Alexandre Aja (High Tension, Hills Have Eyes) is a pretty significant horror icon – and this premise alone sounds like grounds for the kind of sick twisted fun Aja has with his films. With Radcliffe there to carry things, this is THE Halloween horror film we want to see.

(WATCH THE TRAILER)

Nightcrawler

Oct. 31st

A young man (Jake Gyllenhaal) stumbles upon the underground world of L.A. freelance crime journalism.

OUR TAKE: Gyllenhaal has been slanting more toward the arthouse side of things as of late (see: PrisonersEnemy), and Dan Gilroy’s crime drama looks like a continuation of that trend.

(WATCH THE TRAILER)

November

Bottom Line: The second half of blockbuster movie season 2014 begins in November – but there are plenty of smaller genre films in the mix as well.

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Big Hero 6

Nov. 7th

From Walt Disney Animation Studios, the team behind “Frozen” and “Wreck-It Ralph,” comes “Big Hero 6,” an action-packed comedy-adventure about the special bond that develops between Baymax, a plus-sized inflatable robot, and prodigy Hiro Hamada. When a devastating event befalls the city of San Fransokyo and catapults Hiro into the midst of danger, he turns to Baymax and his close friends adrenaline junkie Go Go Tomago, neatnik Wasabi, chemistry whiz Honey Lemon and fanboy Fred. Determined to uncover the mystery, Hiro transforms his friends into a band of high-tech heroes called “Big Hero 6.”

OUR TAKE: Disney Animation (not to be confused with Pixar) has been churning out some good flicks, and while the marketing for this film curiously doesn’t stress it, Big Hero 6 hails from camp Marvel. We’ll be checking this one out if only to get a beat on what “Disneyfied” Marvel truly looks like.

(WATCH THE TRAILER)

Interstellar

Nov. 7th

A group of explorers make use of a newly discovered wormhole to surpass the limitations on human space travel and conquer the vast distances involved in an interstellar voyage.

OUR TAKE: A Chris Nolan sci-fi film starring Matthew McConaughey at the height of his career? Yeah. We’ll be there.

(WATCH THE TRAILER)

Jessabelle

Nov. 7th

Returning to her childhood home in Louisiana to recuperate from a horrific car accident, Jessabelle (Sarah Snook) comes face to face with a long-tormented spirit that has been seeking her return — and has no intention of letting her escape.

OUR TAKE: The trailer looks like a mix of so many other horror movies – and we’re not sure our horror interest will extend beyond the Halloween holiday (at least not for this film).

(WATCH THE TRAILER)

Open Windows

Nov. 7th

An actress named Jill (Sasha Grey) refuses to have dinner with Nick (Elijah Wood), a fan who won a date with her in an Internet contest. In return, a guy named Chord (Neil Maskell), posing as Jill’s campaign manager, helps Nick to follow in the footsteps of the actress from his own computer. But Nick soon realizes that he is only a puppet into the manic plans devised by Chord, to hunt down the star.

OUR TAKE: On the surface this looks like a B-movie thriller with the hook of starring a former porn star (Grey). However, a look beneath the surface reveals that it is also the latest work by director Nacho Vigalondo, who impressed many with his stripped-down time travel movie, Timecrimes. That’s certainly a boost.

Rosewater

Nov. 7th

A journalist (Gael García Bernal) is detained in Iran for more than 100 days and brutally interrogated in prison.

OUR TAKE: This Daily Show star Jon Stewart’s first foray into directing – and it proves that not everything is a joke to the comedian behind the news desk.

The Theory of Everything

A look at the relationship between the famous physicist Stephen Hawking (Eddie Redmayne) and his wife (Felicity Jones).

OUR TAKE: The world knows Stephen Hawking – but not like this. Redmayne (Les Mis) and Jones (Like Crazy) are solid talents to lead this biopic drama.

The Best of Me

Oct. 17th

A pair of former high school sweethearts (Michelle Monaghan and James Marsden) reunite after many years when they return to visit their small hometown.

OUR TAKE: A pair of semi-famous actors in a sappy romantic drama based on a Nicholas Sparks novel. There’s always a crowd for that. (Just not us.)

Beyond the Lights

Nov. 14th

A talented young musician (Nate Parker) on the brink of super stardom struggles with the pressure of her new-found success.

OUR TAKE: This one is a curious animal, with a cast that places the likes of Minnie Driver and Belle star Gugu Mbatha-Raw alongside Danny Glover. However, it does look closer to director Gina Prince-Bythewood’s breakout film, Love & Basketball, which will lure a certain audience in.

Dumb and Dumber To

Nov. 14th

20 years after the dimwits set out on their first adventure, Harry (Jeff Daniels) and Lloyd (Jim Carrey)  head out in search of one of their long-lost children in the hope of gaining a new kidney.

OUR TAKE: The first trailer brought accusations that the filmmaking team had lost a step – but we’re hoping that green-band restrictions are simply hiding the true depraved fun of this long-awaited sequel.

(WATCH THE TRAILER)

Foxcatcher

Nov. 14th

Based on the true story of Mark Schultz, an Olympic wrestler whose relationship with sponsor John du Pont and brother Dave Schultz would lead to unlikely circumstances.

OUR TAKE: Director Bennett Miller (Capote, Moneyball) is known for turning the most unlikely of stories into compelling character drama films. With an intense performance from Channing Tatum as Mark Schultz, an oddball dramatic turn from Steve Carell as du Pont, and Mark Ruffalo as Schultz’ brother, there are definite hints of dark-horse greatness in this film.

(WATCH THE TRAILER)

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1

Nov. 21st

Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) reluctantly becomes the symbol of a mass rebellion against the autocratic Capitol.

OUR TAKE: Have you watched the series so far? It got exponentially better when director Francis Lawrence (Constantine) took over the sequel – and he’s back for this two-part final chapter. With the cast now well into their characters, and a bigger budget for a good director to play with, we expect a great start to the end of The Hunger Games.

(WATCH THE TRAILER)

The Imitation Game

Nov. 21st

Based on the real life story of legendary cryptanalyst Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch), the film portrays the nail-biting race against time by Turing and his brilliant team of code-breakers at Britain’s top-secret Government Code and Cypher School at Bletchley Park, during the darkest days of World War II.

OUR TAKE: Math code doesn’t usually entice viewers into theater seats – but Cumberbatch does have a growing circle of fans. This may only add to his prestige – if it can rise above the level of a B-movie biopic.

(WATCH THE TRAILER)

Horrible Bosses 2

Nov. 26th

Fed up with answering to higher-ups, Nick (Jason Bateman), Dale (Charlie Day) and Kurt (Jason Sudeikis) decide to become their own bosses by launching their own business. But a slick investor (Christoph Waltz) soon pulls the rug out from under them. Outplayed and desperate, and with no legal recourse, the three would-be entrepreneurs hatch a misguided plan to kidnap the investor’s adult son (Chris Pine) and ransom him to regain control of their company.

OUR TAKE: In our humble opinion, Horrible Bosses was one of the better new comedies of the last few years, and it sounds like the sequel has found a way to revisit the property without going all Hangover 2 on us. Could be fun.

(WATCH THE TRAILER)

The Penguins of Madagascar

Nov. 26th

Super spy teams aren’t born…they’re hatched. Discover the secrets of the greatest and most hilarious covert birds in the global espionage biz: Skipper, Kowalski, Rico and Private. These elitists of the elite are joining forces with a chic undercover organization, The North Wind. Led by handsome and husky Agent Classified (we could tell you his name, but then…you know). Together, they must stop the villainous Dr. Octavius Brine, from destroying the world as we know it.

OUR TAKE: The Madagascar franchise needs no marketing help by now. Its fanbase is practically guaranteed.

(WATCH THE TRAILER)

DECEMBER

 Bottom Line: The month of December is pretty dry – that is, until the Christmas Day flood.

 Wild

Dec. 5th

A chronicle of one woman’s 1,100-mile solo hike undertaken as a way to recover from a recent catastrophe.

OUR TAKE: Dallas Buyers Club director Jean-Marc Vallée teams with Resse Witherspoon for what looks like a female version of Into the Wild. Witherspoon can deliver when given the right material (see: Mud) and with author Nick Hornby adapting Cheryl Strayed’s memoir, the right material may indeed be in Witherspoon’s hands.

(WATCH THE TRAILER)

Demonic

Dec. 12th

A police officer (Frank Grillo) and a psychologist (Maria Bello) investigate the deaths of five people who were killed while trying to summon ghosts.

OUR TAKE: This horror flick has three really good things going for it: Frank Grillo (The Purge: Anarchy) and Maria Bello (Prisoners) as leads, and a story by horror maestro, James Wan (The Conjuring).

Exodus: Gods and Kings

Dec. 12th

An account of Moses’ (Christian Bale) hand in leading the Israelite slaves out of Egypt.

OUR TAKE: You can’t have the holiday season without a classic biblical epic, and Ridley Scott has seemingly crafted one that’s as close to the scope of The Ten Commandments as anything we’ve seen. Here’s hoping the final result turned out better than Kingdom of Heaven and/or Robin Hood

(WATCH THE TRAILER)

Inherent Vice

Dec. 12th (Limited)

In Los Angeles in 1970, drug-fueled detective Larry “Doc” Sportello (Joaquin Phoenix) investigates the disappearance of a former girlfriend.

OUR TAKE: Paul Thomas Anderson adapting a Thomas Pynchon novel seems like an esoteric intellectual match made in heaven. Add in actors like Joaquin Phoenix, Josh Brolin, Reese Witherspoon, Benecio Del Toro, Eric Roberts and Martin Short, and you have something that could be much more lively than the last few PTA movies.

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

Dec. 17th

The Company of Thorin has reached Smaug’s lair; but can Bilbo and the Dwarves reclaim Erebor and the treasure? And, if so, can they hold on to it? Or will their quest plunge the rest of Middle-earth into all-out war?

OUR TAKE: The final chapter in Peter Jackson’s six-part adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Hobbit and Lord of the Rings books is a milestone event; although, one that comes with the burden of having to be the best entry in the less-loved Hobbit trilogy. No pressure.

(WATCH THE TRAILER)

Annie

Dec. 19th

Business tycoon and mayoral candidate Benjamin Stacks (Jamie Foxx) launches a campaign to take in Annie (Quvenzhané Wallis), a young girl who has been living with her mean foster mom Miss Hannigan (Cameron Diaz) since her parents left her as a baby.

OUR TAKE: A more colorful (pun) take on the classic story that some may sneer at, but the cast is solid, Jay-Z is handling the music, and director Will Gluck (Easy A, Friends with Benefits) is known for creating fun contemporary films. This Annie remake may not have such a hard knock life after all.

(WATCH THE TRAILER)

Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb

Dec. 19th

Larry (Ben Stiller) leaves New York City for London on a quest to save the magic before it is gone forever.

OUR TAKE: By this third chapter you should know if you enjoy Shawn Levy’s historical magical adventure series – but the fact that this film contains one of Robin Williams’ last onscreen performances will lend the project the clout of morbid curiosity.

(WATCH THE TRAILER)

American Sniper

Dec. 25th

A Navy SEAL recounts his military career, which includes more than 150 confirmed kills.

OUR TAKE: Clint Eastwood (taking over for Steven Spielberg) directs Bradley Cooper and Sienna Miller in a film based on the real life experiences of SEAL sniper Chris Kyle. Biopics can be boring, but this has the makings of an interesting and intense character drama with larger thematic implications.

Big Eyes

Dec. 25th

A drama centered on the awakening of the painter Margaret Keane (Amy Adams), her phenomenal success in the 1950s, and the subsequent legal difficulties she had with her husband (Christoph Waltz), who claimed credit for her works in the 1960s.

OUR TAKE: A feminist-minded biopic drama with the charming and talented Amy Adams at its center. If that doesn’t interest you, this might: Big Eyes is a Tim Burton film that does NOT have Johnny Depp in it. Could be the filmmaker’s best dramatic work since Big Fish eleven years ago.

Hot Tub Time Machine 2

Dec. 25th

When Lou, who has become the “father of the Internet,” is shot by an unknown assailant, Jacob and Nick fire up the time machine again to save their friend – this time headed 10 years into the future.

OUR TAKE: John Cusack is out, but he was never really the selling point of the franchise anyway. Parks and Rec star Adam Scott is a welcome replacement, and the plot somehow manages to continue to justify this franchises ridiculous hook, a time-traveling hot tub. Not too shabby.

(WATCH THE TRAILER)

The Interview

Dec. 25th

In the action-comedy The Interview, Dave Skylark (James Franco) and his producer Aaron Rapoport (Seth Rogen) run the popular celebrity tabloid TV show “Skylark Tonight.” When they discover that North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un is a fan of the show, they land an interview with him in an attempt to legitimize themselves as journalists. As Dave and Aaron prepare to travel to Pyongyang, their plans change when the CIA recruits them – perhaps the two least-qualified men imaginable – to assassinate Kim Jong-un.

OUR TAKE: This movie was enough to push America to the brink of war with North Korea; we GOTTA see what all the fuss was about. Hopefully there are some genuinely good laughs in there, too.

(WATCH THE TRAILER)

Into the Woods

Dec. 25th

Into the Woods is a modern twist on the beloved Brothers Grimm fairy tales in a musical format that follows the classic tales of Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk, and Rapunzel – all tied together by an original story involving a baker and his wife, their wish to begin a family and their interaction with the witch who has put a curse on them.

OUR TAKE: Meryl Streep as a Disney witch is enough of a hook on its own; add in Pitch Perfect star Anna Kendrick, Johny Depp, and other stars like Emily Blunt, Chris Pine, James Corden and Lucy Punch, and what you have is a bonafide Disney tentpole film that will clean up big during the holiday block.

(WATCH THE TRAILER)

Paddington

Dec. 25th

A young Peruvian bear (Ben Whishaw) with a passion for all things British travels to London in search of a home. Finding himself lost and alone at Paddington Station, he begins to realize that city life is not all he had imagined – until he meets the kindly Brown family, who read the label around his neck (‘Please look after this bear. Thank you.’) and offer him a temporary haven. It looks as though his luck has changed until this rarest of bears catches the eye of a museum taxidermist (Nicole Kidman)…

OUR TAKE: A familiar brand, a cutesy CGI protagonist and a cast that includes Nicole Kidman, Julie Walter, Sally Hawkins, Jim Broadbent and new Doctor Who Peter Capldi? Yeah, Diseny’s Into the Woods will have some competition on X-Mas day.

(WATCH THE TRAILER)

Selma

Dec. 25th (Limited)

A biopic about Martin Luther King Jr. (David Oyelowo), Lyndon B. Johnson (Tom Wilkinson) and the civil rights marches that changed America.

OUR TAKE: It is now semi-standard practice for an Oscar-bait historical drama to release (at least in limited range) on Christmas Day. Will Selma be the next Lincoln? Director Ava DuVernay doesn’t have enough films behind her for us to call it at this point.

Unbroken

Dec. 25th

A chronicle of the life of Louis Zamperini (Jack O’Connell), an Olympic runner who was taken prisoner by Japanese forces during World War II.

OUR TAKE: Angelina Jolie is still look for a big breakout as a filmmaker, but this biography of the late (and great) Zamperini has been cultural fixation since the book’s release. With subject matter that is more inspirational and heartwarming than the dark days of the Civil Rights Movement, Unbroken could overshadow Selma as the historical drama to see.

(WATCH THE TRAILER)

Conclusion

Look, all things being honest, there’s not much at the movies this fall that we’re 100% compelled to see. However, as always, a few gems in the rough could be all we need to make the Fall 2014 season worthwhile.

Here’s hoping the ones that look promising actually deliver on that promise – and maybe a few films we have yet to get excited about will turn out to be greater than we initially thought. Could happen.

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