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Screen Rant's 2014 Fall Movie Preview

October

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

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Annabelle

Annabelle movie trailer

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.

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The Good Lie

The Good Lie Movie

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).

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Gone Girl

Gone Girl Ben Affleck Rosamund Pike Entertainment Weekly cover

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.

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Addicted

Addicted Movie 2014 Preview

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...

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

Alexander and the No Good Very Bad Day Movie

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.

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The Judge

The Judge Trailer with Robert Downey Jr

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?

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Kill The Messenger

Jeremy Renner in 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.

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Whiplash

Whiplash starring Miles Teller and JK Simmons

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)

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Birdman

Michael Keaton and Edward Norton in 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.

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Book of Life

The Book of Life trailer

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.

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Dear White People

Dear White People trailer

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)

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Dracula Untold

Dracula Untold trailer with Luke Evans

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.

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Fury

Fury trailer with Brad Pitt

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.

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Men, Women & Children

Men Women and Children header

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)

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 Ouija

Ouija trailer and poster

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.

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Reach Me

Sylvester Stallone in 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.

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St. Vincent

St-Vincent-Murray

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.

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Before I Go to Sleep

Before I Go to Sleep poster

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.

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Horns

Horns Release Date

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.

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Nightcrawler

Nightcrawler poster excerpt

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.

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NEXT PAGE: November Movies...

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