Now that the 2015 summer movie season is fading out, it’s time to look forward to the unpleasant transition into fall. The end of vacation, back to school, with weather that’s not quite as warm and welcoming – it’s a bummer leaving summer behind, but when it comes to movies, the pain can be lessened with a trip to the theater for a fun viewing experience.
Of course, the stretch from September through mid-October can be especially rough when it comes to finding quality movies to spend your money on – so it pays to know which films are mostly likely to be worth your time and dollar. To help point you in the right direction, here are the 25 Films to see during the Fall 2015 movie season.
The Transporter Refueled (Sept. 4th)
Plot Summary: In the south of France, former special-ops mercenary Frank Martin enters into a game of chess with a femme-fatale and her three sidekicks who are looking for revenge against a sinister Russian kingpin.
The Breakdown: The Transporter series was a cult-hit that helped launch actor Jason Statham into his long-running career as an action movie badass. Transporter Refueled doesn’t seem like all that much of a challenging reboot, conceptually, but star Ed Skrein (Game of Thrones) isn’t an established action star… yet. Skrein has big comic book movie action role coming up in Deadpool next year, so action fans looking for a fall film and early test of Skrein’s star power have Transporter Refueled to fulfill their needs.
Sleeping With Other People (Sept. 11th)
Plot Summary: A good-natured womanizer (Jason Sudeikis) and a serial cheater (Alison Brie) form a platonic relationship that helps reform them in ways, while a mutual attraction sets in.
The Breakdown: September can be a great time to discover some indie-style films that may otherwise fly under the radar. Sudeikis (Horrible Bosses) and Brie (Community, Mad Men) are two likable leads for a comedy, while writer/director Leslye Headland is proving to be an acerbic comedy maestro with a growing cult following. Headland’s previous film, Bachelorette, wasn’t for everyone, but those who got it, really got it. Sleeping With Other People looks like it could do something similar for the issue of love vs. infidelity.
The Visit (Sept. 11th)
Plot Summary: A single mother finds that things in her family’s life go very wrong after her two young children visit their grandparents.
The Breakdown: The story behind The Visit is that is the latest spooky film offering from Sixth Sense director M. Night Shyamalan, whose name has become synonymous with the idea of a film career that starts out brilliantly, only to spiral into failure. However, Shyamalan showed signs of life writing the story for the 2010 horror/thriller parable Devil, and early word (including some of our own SR staff) is that The Visit is some good midnight fright-flick fun.
Black Mass (Sept. 18th)
Plot Summary: The true story of Whitey Bulger (Johnny Depp), the brother of a state senator (Benedict Cumberbatch) and the most infamous violent criminal in the history of South Boston, who became an FBI informant to take down a Mafia family invading his turf.
The Breakdown: Trailers for Black Mass have showcased an electric performance from Johnny Depp – possibly the best we’ve seen from him in years. When Depp is on point there are few better, and unlike the forgettable Public Enemies, this seems like a gangster flick that could become another classic entry in the genre. Finally, the material and its historical relevance could be the perfect framework for director Scott Cooper’s (Crazy Heart, Out of the Furnace) brand of slow-burn character drama.
Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials (Sept. 18th)
Plot Summary: In this next chapter of the epic “Maze Runner” saga, Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) and his fellow Gladers face their greatest challenge yet: searching for clues about the mysterious and powerful organization known as WCKD. Their journey takes them to the Scorch, a desolate landscape filled with unimaginable obstacles. Teaming up with resistance fighters, the Gladers take on WCKD’s vastly superior forces and uncover its shocking plans for them all.
The Breakdown: The Maze Runner turned out to be one of the more solid YA adaptions of the last few years, as well as being a solid feature-film debut for director Wes Ball. With a bit of experience under his belt, a talented young cast returning and an expanded budget, there’s no reason to think that Scorch Trials won’t improve upon its predecessor, offering a solid dystopian sci-fi film for viewers.
Sicario (Sept. 18th)
Plot Summary: An idealistic FBI agent (Emily Blunt) is enlisted by an elected government task force to aid in the escalating war against drugs at the border area between the U.S. and Mexico, and ends up coming into contact with a mysterious hitman (Benicio Del Toro).
The Breakdown: Director Denis Villeneuve broke out with the mystery/thriller Prisoners, and this film looks like a solid mix of strong genre tropes (good cop descends into moral grayness of crime fighting) and equally strong cinematic vision. As far as fall thrillers go, Sicario looks like a good bet.
Everest (Sept. 25th)
Plot Summary: A climbing expedition on Mt. Everest is devastated by a severe snow storm.
The Breakdown: A first this may seem like a generic survival thriller, but with a cast that includes Josh Brolin, Jake Gyllenhaal, Jason Clarke, Sam Worthington, Keira Knightley and Robin Wright (among others), it seems more like an solid ensemble thriller that’s worth a second look.
The Martian (Oct. 2nd)
Plot Summary: During a manned mission to Mars, Astronaut Mark Watney (Matt Damon) is presumed dead after a fierce storm and left behind by his crew. But Watney has survived and finds himself stranded and alone on the hostile planet. With only meager supplies, he must draw upon his ingenuity, wit and spirit to subsist and find a way to signal to Earth that he is alive.
The Breakdown: The 2011 book by Andy Weir was a hit that jumped from Amazon Kindle release to the New York Times bestsellers list, gaining acclaim with sci-fi fans everywhere. Those same fans may take solace in the fact that Drew Goddard (Cabin in the Woods) is handling the script, and from the look of the trailer, this could be a much better sci-fi film than we’ve seen from director Ridley Scott in years. WARNING: Don’t watch too much of the trailer if you want to preserve the viewing experience, it tends to get a little SPOILERY.
Pan (Oct. 9th)
Plot Summary: The story of an orphan who is spirited away to the magical Neverland. There, he finds both fun and dangers, and ultimately discovers his destiny — to become the hero who will be forever known as Peter Pan.
The Breakdown: Director Joe Wright has gained much acclaim for crafting fine cinematic films like Atonement and Hannah, and with Pan he’ll be taking on his most high-profile property yet. With a cast that includes Hugh Jackman, Rooney Mara, Amanda Seyfried, Garrett Hedlund and model/actress Cara Delevingne, there’s plenty of star power to carry this film to box office success.
Steve Jobs (Oct. 9th)
Plot Summary: His passion and ingenuity have been the driving force behind the digital age. However his drive to revolutionize technology was sacrificial. Ultimately it affected his family life and possibly his health. In this revealing film we explore the trials and triumphs of a modern day genius, the late CEO of Apple inc. Steven Paul Jobs (Michael Fassbender).
The Breakdown: So why watch this Steve Jobs biopic instead of the others we have or will see onscreen? Four words: Script by Aaron Sorkin. Having Fassbender in the lead doesn’t hurt either, and the last time director Danny Boyle tackled a true-life story (127 Hours) it resulted in a ton of awards season acclaim. That’s a lot of potential to consider.
Bridge of Spies (Oct. 16th)
Plot Summary: An American lawyer (Tom Hanks) is recruited by the CIA during the Cold War to help rescue a pilot detained in the Soviet Union.
Crimson Peak (Oct. 16th)
Plot Summary:Edith Cushing (Mia Wasikowska) is running away from a childhood trauma. She is now torn between her childhood friend, Dr. Alan McMichael (Charlie Hunnam), and a mysterious stranger, Sir Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston). She marries Thomas and comes to live with him and his sister, Lady Lucille Sharpe (Jessica Chastain). However, Edith starts to find out that the Sharpe’s home bleeds, breathes, and remembers, and that it is filled with spirits.
The Breakdown: Guillermo del Toro directing a film with supernatural elements is something that a lot of fans have waited a long time to see again. Crimson Peak also happens to be a project that has had a long fan following behind it. The anticipation is there; here’s hoping del Toro delivers something special that can meet expectations.
Goosebumps (Oct. 16th)
Plot Summary: A young kid teams up with the niece of young adult horror author R.L. Stine (Jack Black) after the writer’s imaginary demons are set free on the town of Greendale, Maryland.
The Breakdown: It’s been a long time since we’ve had a good scary movie for the kids, and Goosebumps has been the biggest and best name in delivering just that. With a solid concept behind it (iconic Goosebumps monsters brought to life from the book pages), and a fun lead in Jack Black, the kids could get some spooky enjoyment all their own out of this Halloween season.
Jem and the Holograms (Oct. 23rd)
Plot Summary: As a small-town girl (Aubrey Peeples) catapults from underground video sensation to global superstar, she and her three sisters begin a journey of discovering that some talents are too special to keep hidden.
The Breakdown: If you were ever a fan of the ’80s cartoon series, then this one is definitely on your radar. This being the era of Pitch Perfect fervor, a girl-power glam-rock flick could come along and capture some attention.
Last Witch Hunter (Oct. 23rd)
Plot Summary: The modern world holds many secrets, but the most astounding secret of all is that witches still live amongst us. Armies of witch hunters battled the unnatural enemy across the globe for centuries, including KAULDER (Vin Diesel), a valiant warrior who managed to slay the all-powerful QUEEN WITCH, decimating her followers in the process. In the moments right before her death, the QUEEN curses KAULDER with her own immortality, forever separating him from his beloved wife and daughter in the afterlife. Today KAULDER is the only one of his kind remaining, and has spent centuries hunting down rogue witches, all the while yearning for his long-lost loved ones. However, unbeknownst to KAULDER, the QUEEN WITCH is resurrected and seeks revenge on her killer, causing an epic battle that will determine the survival of the human race.
The Breakdown: Vin Diesel has a legion of fans sworn to follow the handful of characters he’s famous for playing (Fast and Furious, Riddick, xXx) and Kaulder looks like he could be another successful addition to the portfolio. With The Crazies director Breck Eisner at the helm, there’s no reason to think we won’t get at least an entertaining genre movie out of this one.
Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension (Oct. 23rd)
Plot Summary: The Ghost Dimension, follows a new family, The Fleeges – father Ryan (Chris J. Murray), mother Emily (Brit Shaw) and their young daughter Leila (Ivy George) – who move into a house and discover a video camera and a box of tapes in the garage. When they look through the camera’s lens, they begin to see the paranormal activity happening around them – including the re-emergence of young Kristi and Katie.
The Breakdown: Paranormal Activity presented in 3D might seem like found-footage gimmickry taken to the next level… and it pretty much is. But if you’ve slogged through the convoluted mythos of the Paranormal Activity franchise so far, it’s almost required viewing to see this, supposedly the final (and answered-filled) chapter.
The Peanuts Movie (Nov. 6th)
Plot Summary: Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Lucy, Linus, and the rest of the beloved “Peanuts” gang make their big-screen debut, like they’ve never been seen before, in state-of-the-art 3D animation. Snoopy, the world’s most lovable beagle and flying ace embarks upon his greatest mission as he takes to the skies to pursue his arch-nemesis The Red Baron, while his best pal, Charlie Brown, begins his own epic quest. From the imagination of Charles M. Schulz and the creators of the ICE AGE films, THE PEANUTS MOVIE will prove that every underdog has his day.
The Breakdown: For the elder generation who grew up on the original Peanuts cartoons and comic strips, this film could be the perfect vehicle for re-introducing Charles M. Schulz’s characters to a younger generation.
Spectre (Nov. 6th)
Plot Summary: A cryptic message from Bond’s past sends him on a trail to uncover a sinister organization. While M battles political forces to keep the secret service alive, Bond peels back the layers of deceit to reveal the terrible truth behind SPECTRE.
The Breakdown: Director Sam Mendes made a LOT of fans happy with his last Bond film, Skyfall. With Mendes now comfortable in the director’s chair, and a more “classic Bond” approach to Daniel Craig’s 007, there are understandably high expectations for this to be both a great Bond movie, and a fall blockbuster smash.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 (Nov. 20th)
Plot Summary: After being symbolized as the “Mockingjay”, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and District 13 engage in an all-out revolution against the autocratic Capitol.
The Breakdown: You’re only getting half a movie with this one – but the good news is that it’s a much more action-packed and exciting half than Mockingjay – Part 1. If you’ve been watching the Hunger Games movies to this point, might as well finish it out. And if you haven’t read the books, AVOID SPOILERS AT ALL COSTS.
Creed (Nov. 25th)
Plot Summary: The former World Heavyweight Champion Rocky Balboa (Sly Stallone) serves as a trainer and mentor to Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan), the son of his late friend and former rival Apollo Creed.
The Breakdown: On paper, this seemed like a film destined for the bargain bin at Walmart; however, that first trailer demonstrated that director Ryan Coogler and his Fruitvale Station star Michael B. Jordan are taking this as everything but a joke. Stallone’s Rocky Balboa actually seems to fit into the story in a meaningful way, and for Jordan, this could be the perfect vehicle to help people forget that Fantastic Four reboot debacle. We’re in.
The Good Dinosaur (Nov. 25th)
Plot Summary: “The Good Dinosaur” asks the question: What if the asteroid that forever changed life on Earth missed the planet completely and giant dinosaurs never became extinct? In this epic journey into the world of dinosaurs, an Apatosaurus named Arlo makes an unlikely human friend. While traveling through a harsh and mysterious landscape, Arlo learns the power of confronting his fears and discovers what he is truly capable of.
The Breakdown: If Jurassic World can make $1.6 billion, and Pixar’s summer film Inside Out can make $700 million, then it stands to reason that Pixar’s dinosaur movie (which looks promising so far) can scrape together a pretty penny at the box office this holiday season.
The Night Before (Nov. 25th)
Plot Summary: Ethan (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), Isaac (Seth Rogen) and Chris (Anthony Mackie) have been friends since childhood, and for a decade, their yearly Christmas Eve reunion has been an annual night of debauchery and hilarity. Now that they’re entering adulthood, the tradition is coming to an end, and to make it as memorable as possible, they set out to find the Nutcracka Ball – the Holy Grail of Christmas parties.
The Breakdown: Add us to the growing list of those who like a little Bad Santa mixed in with their traditional heartwarming holiday flicks. In that spirit, The Night Before looks like a lot of fun – especially with its three leads and the lineup of funny people set to make an appearance. That’s not to mention that director Jonathan Levine has demonstrated skill turning off-beat stories like a cancer dramedy (50/50) and zombie romance film (Warm Bodies) into enjoyable movie experiences. Could we have a new holiday comedy tradition in the making? Maybe.
Victor Frankenstein (Nov. 25th)
Plot Summary: James McAvoy and Daniel Radcliffe star in a dynamic and thrilling twist on a legendary tale. Radical scientist Victor Frankenstein (McAvoy) and his equally brilliant protégé Igor Strausman (Radcliffe) share a noble vision of aiding humanity through their groundbreaking research into immortality. But Victor’s experiments go too far, and his obsession has horrifying consequences. Only Igor can bring his friend back from the brink of madness and save him from his monstrous creation.
The Breakdown: At first glance another Frankenstein movie may seem like a bad prospect – especially with the memory of I, Frankenstein still not-so-fresh in mind. However, in this case there are a few factors to consider. Writer Max Landis (Chronicle, American Ultra) is gaining notice for his unique cinematic creations – but more importantly, the pairing of McAvoy and Radcliffe is almost reason enough for price of admission.
Sisters (Dec. 18th)
Plot Summary: Two sisters (Tina Fey, Amy Poehler) decide to throw one last house party before their parents sell their family home.
The Breakdown: The trailers aren’t the greatest sell, but Fey and Poehler have proven to be a potent duo (see: The Golden Globes), and this concept at least looks better than their last movie collaboration, Baby Mama. With Melissa McCarthy having already swept through to collect her box office loot this year (see: Spy), this could be the female-led comedy flick that catches the holiday rush.
Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens (Dec. 18th)
Plot Summary: Thirty years after Return of the Jedi the Rebels vs. Imperial war continue on, with new factions like the First Order rising from the ashes of the Empire. Amidst this conflict, three young strangers – a First Order defector (John Boyega), a resistance pilot (Oscar Isaac) and a young scrap scavenger (Daisy Ridley) cross paths and embark on a journey that lands them in the company of the Galactic War’s greatest legends. And that fateful meeting will awaken something in the force that brings the wielders of both the light and dark sides back into the fray.
The Breakdown: This is THE movie experience of the season, year, maybe even the last few years. GO SEE IT. And may the Force be with J.J. Abrams and Co., as they attempt to reach new Star Wars greatness.