The JoBlo.com 2013 Fall Preview

With Labor Day weekend having come and gone, the summer of 2013 is officially in the books. We now begin the fall movie season. For my money, this is the best movie-going season of them all, as it's during the fourth quarter (which technically kicks off in October) that all the studios release their “prestige” movies, and Oscar contenders. This week, I'll be heading off to the Toronto International Film Fest to get an early look at some of this year's big contenders, and I'll be posting my reviews throughout the fest.

Still, it's not all academy bait. The fall season is also loaded with genre fare, and more than a few massive tent-pole movies that are sure to get every kind of film buff more than a little excited. The following is our list of the most heavily anticipated movies of the season.

What Fall movie are you most ramped up for? Strikeback below!

1. The Wolf of Wall Street

Martin Scorsese's latest is poised to be the conclusion to a loose "hustler/wiseguy" trilogy he began with GOODFELLAS in 1990, and continued with CASINO is '95. While Robert De Niro is sitting this one out, Scorsese's new go-to guy Leonardo DiCaprio is all-aboard, playing real-life Wall Street stockbroker Jordan Belfort, who, in the early nineties operated a "boiler room" on Wall Street which landed him in major hot water with both the authorities, and the mob. This looks to be Scorsese (and DiCaprio) and his very best, and a sure-fire winner.

2. The Counselor

Ridley Scott takes on Cormac McCarthy with this being the author's first attempt at a screenplay. Friends of mine who have read it tell me that it's so dark it makes NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN look like Sesame Street. I'm pretty sure Ridley Scott's the ideal guy to do McCarthy justice, and to be sure, he's assembled one hell of a cast. Scott's PROMETHEUS star Michael Fassbender is on-board as the titular character, who finds himself embroiled in the drug trade. Javier Bardem, Brad Pitt, Penelope Cruz and a bug-nuts Cameron Diaz co-star.

3. Gravity

Lucky me, I'll be seeing Alfonso Cuaron's GRAVITY, his first film since his 2006 masterpiece CHILDREN OF MEN, at TIFF this weekend. You can look for my review this week, but the early buzz from Venice and Telluride is white-hot, with this apparently being a white-knuckle thriller, that finds Sandra Bullock and George Clooney marooned in space. Cuaron's a genius, and I can't wait to see what he has in store for us this time.

4. American Hustle

David O. Russell, who found himself an Oscar contender just a year ago with SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK, is back with the Abscam comedy-drama AMERICAN HUSTLE (formerly AMERICAN BULSHIT, a way cooler title). This one looks like a kind of O. Russell MVP movie, with his SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK stars Bradley Cooper (sporting a jerry-curl seventies do) and Jennifer Lawrence, teaming up with his FIGHTER stars Christian Bale (with a comb-over) and Amy Adams. This one looks like it could be this year's ARGO, only more cynical, and way less heroic.

5. Anchorman: The Legend Continues

I can't believe it's taken ten whole years, but Adam McKay and Will Ferrell have FINALLY managed to get the ANCHORMAN gang back together, for the aptly named "THE LEGEND CONTINUES" sequel. Everyone's back, from Paul Rudd, to Steve Carell, to Christina Applegate. Heck, even Baxter's back, as Ron Burgundy (a God among men) finds himself working for a CNN-style cable news company in the go-go eighties. If Burgundy doesn't wear pastels at some point, I'm going to be disappointed.

6. Thor: The Dark World

The God of Thunder, Thor is back for more fun. Fresh from THE AVENGERS, THOR: THE DARK WORLD looks even more lavish than it's predecessor, with Chris Hemsworth by now being a fully-minted superstar. GAME OF THRONES vet Alan Taylor takes over as director, and while not too much is known about it yet, it looks more fantasy based than the last movie, and packed to the brim with eye candy (most impressive of which is Natalie Portman, in her first movie in two years).

7. Lone Survivor

Peter Berg apparently redeems himself (and then some) for BATTLESHIP with LONE SURVIVOR, his fact-based account of Seal Team 10's ill-fated mission to capture a notorious Taliban leader in 2005. Mark Wahlberg heads an all-star cast, with Eric Bana, Emile Hirsch, Ben Foster, and BATTLESHIP star Taylor Kitsch all playing SEALS. This one apparently turned out so well, Universal bumped it from it's original 1st quarter 2014 release date to qualify for the Oscars.

8. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

OK, so many of us found THE HOBBIT to be more than a little long and drawn out. Granted, nobody, not even Peter Jackson, ever assumed THE HOBBIT would be able to live up to LORD OF THE RINGS, and while it wasn't "amazing", it wasn't half bad either. Part 2, THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG boasts the Benedict Cumberbatch-voiced titular character, as well as Orlando Bloom's return as Legolas, and Evangeline Lily, as another warrior elf. Hopefully this one will be a little more contained, although I'm not relishing going through the whole 48fps debacle again.

9. The Monuments Men

George Clooney. Matt Damon. Bill Murray. Cate Blanchett. Jean Dujardin. John Goodman. WW2. True Story. Nuff' said. This one is a Must-see.

10. Machete Kills

Truth be told, I didn't really care for the first MACHETE. The fake trailer before GRINDHOUSE was great, but the movie itself was very so-so. However, I must admit the trailers for MACHETE KILLS have been awesome so far, with Charlie Sheen on-board as a sex and drug crazed U.S president (HAIL to the chief baby!!!) and Mel Gibson returning to the big-screen in a rare villainous turn as Machete's adversary. I'm game.

11. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

OK, so at first I wasn't terribly enthused about Ben Stiller doing a remake of the 1947 Danny Kaye movie, THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY. It's been one of those projects seemingly every comedic leading man has been attached to at some point. I get why it's an appealing concept, with the everyman hero daydreaming about becoming a hero to win the woman he loves. However, I must admit I was blown away by the first trailer, which looks positively epic. Who would have thought that a Ben Stiller comedy would be tipped as the next LIFE OF PI, and perhaps even an Oscar contender?

12. Jack Ryan

Kenneth Branagh's reboot of the JACK RYAN series (based on Tom Clancy's books) is an exciting prospect, but so far, there's been so little buzz surrounding it, I'm wondering if it's actually going to make it's Christmas release date, or if it'll be pushed to Spring. Whatever the case, once it finally does see the light of day, there's a lot riding on it, with Paramount obviously hoping for the beginning of a viable new franchise for leading man Chris Pine. We'll see.

13. 47 Ronin

Carl Erik Rinsch's 47 RONIN is one of the more troubled projects to get a release this fall. It originally began shooting way back in March 2011, but reshoots and trouble on the set has led to delay after delay and a budget that hovers somewhere around $175-200 million. This is Keanu Reeves' first big scale action movie in awhile, and being a major fan of the man both as an actor and a human being, I hope it's worth the wait. The early trailers are intriguing.

14. Escape Plan

It's FINALLY here, the action movie fans have been dreaming of since the 1980's. After years of promises, rumors and a couple teases (thanks to EXPENDABLES 2) Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone are finally going mano-a-mano in a big action team up. Formerly titled THE TOMB (a way better title) ESCAPE PLAN sees Sly and Arnie as two inmates in a futuristic prison, who plan a prison break. Sounds cool, and the buzz coming out of the early comic con screening has been good.

15. 12 Years a Slave

By the time this article runs on JoBlo.com, I will have hopefully seen Steve McQueen's follow-up to SHAME, with this being the true story of a free black man who was made a slave in the pre-civil way south. Coming off triumphant screenings at Venice and Telluride, star Chiwetel Ejiofor is being tipped as an early front-runner for Best Actor at this year's Oscars. One thing's for certain: if it's a McQueen movie, it'll be powerful and controversial.

16. Insidious: Chapter 2

INSIDIOUS was a box office sleeper back in 2011, with James Wan's spooky, POLTERGEIST-style thriller, delivering enough thrills and chills that fans were begging for a follow-up. Coming off this summer's smash hit, THE CONJURING, and primed to helm the next FAST & FURIOUS installment, Wan's suddenly rocketed to the A-list, and fans are expecting great things from what he's saying just may be his last ever horror film.

17. Jackass: Bad Grandpa

I'm an unapologetic JACKASS fan. While I was never big on the show, I had a ball with the three big-screen JACKASS movies, and this vehicle, which spins off Johnny Knoxville's obnoxious Grandpa character into his own film, should be fun. The trailers, which promise lots of hidden camera gags tied together by a loose plot, are very funny, so here's hoping this is going to be a blast.

18. Out of the Furnace

The great Christian Bale has two buzzy Oscar hopefuls coming out this fall, with OUT OF THE FURNACE being the first to hit theaters. A gritty, revenge drama directed by Scott Cooper (CRAZY HEART), this stars Bale as an ex-con who's drawn into his depressed Mill Town's underworld in order to avenge his brother (Casey Affleck). Sounds gritty and cool.

19. Ender's Game

Thanks to Orson Scott Card's diarrhea of the mouth- with his rampant homophobia just about pissing everyone off- the long-awaited ENDER'S GAME adaptation hits theaters this fall under a nasty cloud. That said, Card's books have entertained generations of readers, and while he may well be a homophobic jerk, that doesn't change the fact that his novel has become a classic. Gavin Hood, who last directed the execrable X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE is at the helm, with Harrison Ford and HUGO's Asa Butterfield starring. The early buzz is pretty decent.

20. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

OK- so I know THE HUNGER GAMES is a little tweenish, but I have to admit, the first movie wasn't half bad. I still haven't read the books, but I really liked Jennifer Lawrence in her star-making part as Katniss, and I'm looking forward to this Francis Lawrence (I AM LEGEND)- directed follow-up, which will likely turn out to be one of the biggest financial hits of the year. Hopefully it'll improve on it's predecessor and be the anti-TWILIGHT a lot of it's fans have been claiming it is.

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