The JoBlo.com 2015 Fall Movie Preview

Now that the bang, pop, and sometimes fizzle of the summer box office is at a close it's time to gear up for the fall roll out, which bears some carry over of summer spectacle, but way more of your golden trophy contenders. This fall sees a number of high-profile titles and we narrowed down our list to the Top 25 that we're most excited to see. From sequels to adaptations to rejuvenated franchises to biopics and beyond, there's plenty to choose from this season. Westerns, sci-fi, comedy, action, animation, drama, biopics, drama, etc. Hell, the only thing missing from the Fall line-up is a bonafide big-budget comic book film! Take that everyone who says there's too many comic book movies! You're practically funny-book free till DEADPOOL in February! But, yeah 2016 has you covered year round on that front. So, enjoy the fall 2015 docket and be sure to let us know what you think of the upcoming slate, as well as what flicks YOU'RE most excited for.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (December 18th)

It's been a long time in the waiting for a proper return to the STAR WARS universe and with the massive $4 billion sale of Lucasfilm to Disney in 2012 that time is finally upon us. STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS, the continuation of the original trilogy of films, finds director J.J. Abrams at the helm of potentially the biggest new film of the century, bringing back old favorites like Han, Luke, Leia, and Chewie, as well as a new group of young stars to lead the charge in the revitalized franchise, that's giving us a new STAR WARS film every year for the foreseeable future. It all starts (or begins again) here, and with such great talent behind the "awakening" of this series we can only "hope" for something that recaptures the magic of the originals, while ushering in new audiences to carry the torch into the future. Containing excitement for this is simply not an option.

STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS opens on December 18th.

#2 The Revenant (December 25th)

Based on the novel by Michael Punke, this true life tale of survival and revenge is the perfect fit for the principals involved, namely Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, and director Alejandro González Iñárritu (BIRDMAN). Iñárritu shot on location and used only natural light for the production, which was dubbed "a living hell" by cast and crew, paving the way for something that was uncompromising in its vision. Judging by the first trailer, the blood, sweat, and tears appear to have made it to the screen; astonishing and breathtaking visuals with peeks at yet another intense (Oscar-worthy) performance from DiCaprio? We're sold and then some. This one looks to be the very definition of a cinematic experience and a dangerous voyage we're ready to take.

THE REVENANT opens in limited theaters on December 25th.

#3 The Hateful Eight (December 25th)

Sometimes a name is enough to get you excited about a project and Quentin Tarantino's certainly applies. However, it's not just his name that makes THE HATEFUL EIGHT so high on our must-see list; Kurt Russell, Samuel L. Jackson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Michael Madsen, Tim Roth, Walton Goggins, Bruce Dern, Demian Bichir, and potentially a Channing Tatum guest spot? Yeah, that's once recipe for awesome that we're ready for. Jumping back into the western genre saddle and mixing it into one of his signature claustrophobic settings, Tarantino looks to have crafted yet another classic-in-the-making with this one, complete with the verbal and physical throwdowns we've come to expect from the master craftsman.

THE HATEFUL EIGHT opens in limited engagements (and 70mm) on December 25th (wide on January 8th).

#4 Spectre (November 6th)

Bond is back...again! Director Sam Mendes reteams with current 007 Daniel Craig after the most successful jaunt of the franchise with 2012's SKYFALL, this time getting deeper into the origin of the British agent in SPECTRE. Returning cast members Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris, and Ben Whishaw are joined by newcomers Christoph Waltz, Léa Seydoux, Dave Bautista, and Monica Bellucci in the 24th outing of the series, which finds Bond on the trail of a "sinister organization" that he may or may not have ties to. It's definitely a more mysterious looking film than the last effort, but that certainly hasn't changed our expectations for a good show from the ol' chap. In the end, it's more Bond from a very capable team and that's enough to get us to the theater.

SPECTRE opens on November 6th.

#5 The Martian (October 2nd)

Based on the bestseller by author Andy Weir, THE MARTIAN looks to put the fun back into the astronaut genre, while still retaining the suspense of its predecessors. Stranded on Mars after his crew is forced to abandon the planet, Matt Damon's Mark Watney must use his brain (and a little brawn) to "science the shit" out of surviving the hostile planet and finding a way back to Earth. The book is chock full of "real" science and matching action of Watney on Mars, his crew in space, and NASA on Earth trying to figure out how to save him, making this a true suspense thriller...but with some humorous antics from Damon's Watney. It's like a long lost Michael Crichton novel come to life, spearheaded by legendary director Ridley Scott, who seems to be letting himself have some fun for once in a more contemporary sci-fi flick. With a bang-up cast that includes Jessica Chastain, Jeff Daniels, Kristen Wiig, Kate Mara, Chiwetal Ejiofor, Michael Pena, Sebastian Stan, and Donald Glover, this could be a gem in the making

THE MARTIAN opens on October 2nd.

#6 Black Mass (September 18th)

After falling into a long string of questionable or downright silly roles of late, Johnny Depp appears to be ready to let you know he's not out of the game just yet with BLACK MASS, the Whitey Bulger biopic directed by Scott Cooper (CRAZY HEART, OUT OF THE FURNACE). If the trailers for the gangster flick are any indication, Depp is back in top form with what looks to be a vicious, creepy, and unflinching look at the notorious criminal. Boasting an all-star cast, including Joel Edgerton, Benedict Cumberbatch, Dakota Johnson, Kevin Bacon, Corey Stoll, Adam Scott, Jesse Plemons, Peter Sarsgaard, and Juno Temple, BLACK MASS has all the makings of a classic gangster drama and with Depp leading the charge in a sure-to-be powerhouse performance, this is one offer we can't refuse.

BLACK MASS opens on September 18th.

#7 Steve Jobs (October 9th)

After a not-so-great biopic starring Ashton Kutcher, screenwriter Aaron Sorkin and director Danny Boyle are moving forth with a more refined, star-powered biopic for STEVE JOBS, this time starring Michael Fassbender as the late Apple innovator. Fassbender is flanked by Kate Winslet, Seth Rogen, Jeff Daniels, Katherine Waterston, Sarah Snook, and Michael Stuhlbarg with a film that is said to be broken up into "three iconic product launches" during his career, telling the story around these events. After a musical chairs journey from studio to star to director, the film finally found life with the current line up and pressed forward for an Oscar-season release. Sorkin has delivered some great biopic talkers so far, including MONEYBALL and THE SOCIAL NETWORK. With Boyle at the helm and Fassbender in the lead, we expect a meaty and lively film about the enigmatic CEO. Don't count on a "Jai Ho" dance number at the end, though.

STEVE JOBS opens on October 9th.

#8 Creed (November 25th)

Ding. Ding. Rocky is back. Well, sort of. Michael B. Jordan steps into the ring as the late great Apollo Creed's son in CREED, a pseudo-continuation of the ROCKY series, which sees Rocky Balboa teaming up with Adonis Johnson (Jordan) to train him. It's a full-circle kind of story, which finds Rocky as Mickey (his late trainer) and Adonis as Rocky. Filmmaker Ryan Coogler directed Jordan to a terrific performance in his 2013 drama FRUITVALE STATION and seems sure-handed to bring CREED to a rousing and emotional boxing drama. Star Sylvester Stallone taking on the role of mentor will be both uplifting and bittersweet, but having him train the son of his former friend/rival makes it feel like the most obvious and fitting approach. We can't wait to see the torch passed and the sweat fall both in the ring and on the streets of Philly.

CREED opens on November 25th.

#9 Crimson Peak (October 16th)

It feels like we've been waiting a long time for this one to open (and, indeed, we have), but our curiosity and fervor for a new Guillermo del Toro horror pic is unwavering regardless. The stylish director returns to his dark and creepy roots with a haunted house tale that brings along a bevy of scene-stealing stars, including Jessica Chastain, Tom Hiddleston, Mia Wasikowska, and Charlie Hunnam (with Doug Jones in an undisclosed role to boot). The gothic period piece is a horror/romance/ghost story that is oozing with del Toro's visual flair and looks to have some genuine chills and creepy scares to keep us enthralled from start to finish. No matter what, though, we expect a visual feast and are prepared for a long and hopefully satiating meal with CRIMSON PEAK.

CRIMSON PEAK opens on October 16th.

#10 Sicario (September 18th)

SICARIO (a Latin American term which means "hitman") brings together a really kickass cast for director Denis Villeneuve's third studio film, including Emily Blunt, Benicio Del Toro, Josh Brolin, Jon Bernthal, and Victor Garber. Taking place in the world of the U.S.-Mexican border drug trade war, Blunt leads the film as an idealistic FBI agent assigned to a government task force, which, naturally, is not what it appears. Ultimately, this just looks like a cool action-thriller with Blunt kicking ass in the lead role. We've been running on empty when it comes to real-world actioner's (aka non superhero/fantasy action flicks) and SICARIO looks like a breath of fresh air in that respect. As big fans of Villenueve's PRISONERS, we're looking forward to a gritty and violent flick that says something about the overall conflict, while delivering some much-needed action thrills with a cast that knows their craft.

SICARIO opens on September 18th.

#11 In The Heart Of The Sea (December 11th)

Ron Howard's epic sea-faring adventure based on the real-life event that inspired the classic tale of Moby Dick, IN THE HEART OF THE SEA, is finally setting sail, after a delay changed course to the Oscar season earlier this year. Based on the amazing trailers, we can only assume that this was a good move, especially with a strong crew to back it up, including two bonafide Marvel superheroes, Chris Hemsworth (Thor) and Tom Holland (the newly-minted Spider-Man), as well as back-up shipmates Cillian Murphy, Brendan Gleeson, Ben Whishaw, Charlotte Riley, Michelle Fairley, and Benjamin Walker. Since we've never really gotten a really great version of Moby Dick, IN THE HEART OF THE SEA feels like the version of that story that we've long waited for, even if it's the nonfiction version. Looking both thrilling, horrific, and visually stunning, this is one ship we're looking forward to setting sail on.

IN THE HEART OF THE SEA opens on December 11th.

#12 Joy (December 25th)

After the hat trick of THE FIGHTER, SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK, and AMERICAN HUSTLE, director David O. Russell is on fire, especially when it concerns family drama. Of course, that's where he started with SPANKING THE MONKEY and FLIRTING WITH DISASTER, so it's no surprise that he's elevated his style to new heights with bigger stars and they don't get much bigger than Jennifer Lawrence these days. The HUNGER GAMES star once again teams up with Russell and an ensemble cast for JOY, the story of four generations of a family and the woman (Lawrence) who rises to be the matriarch of the family business. Originally thought to be a biopic of Joy Mangano, the film has distanced itself from that aspect to focus on the story rather than it's true life inspiration. Either way, you've got what looks like yet another performance-driven powerhouse from all involved, including the supporting cast of Bradley Cooper, Robert De Niro, Virginia Madsen, Diane Ladd, Édgar Ramírez, and Isabella Rossellini. Russell has led Lawrence to one win and one nomination for her acting in two of his films and it's a safe bet that this is a shoe-in for more of the same.

JOY opens on December 25th.

#13 Everest (September 25th)

When you think of who should direct a disaster pic about the climbing of EVEREST you probably aren't thinking of Baltasar Kormákur, helmer of the Mark Wahlberg led pics CONTRABAND and 2 GUNS. However, if you've seen either of those films there's an undeniable energy to them that makes a grand-scale epic the next logical step when trying to up your cinematic game. Toss in a killer cast that includes Jason Clarke, Jake Gyllenhaal, Josh Brolin, John Hawkes, Keira Knightley, Emily Watson, Sam Worthington and Robin Wright and you've got yourself a mountain-climbing flick! It's been a while since we've had a true-to-life disaster pic that really resonated and EVEREST looks like it has potential to fill that void. If nothing else, it's got some really great big-screen potential that should take you on a dangerous trek without ever having to strap on a backpack or climb any rope. Better them than us!

EVEREST opens on September 25th.

#14 The Walk (October 9th)

Whether you love the final result or not, Robert Zemeckis always puts his all into his films. Be it live-action adventure, experimental animation, or deep, dark drama, Zemeckis knows his way around the camera when it comes to delivering a great movie-going experience and he seems more than up to task for this biographical drama, THE WALK, which chronicles French high-wire artist Philippe Petit's attempt to cross the World Trade Center towers in 1974 (also covered in the documentary MAN ON WIRE). Maximizing the use of IMAX and 3D, Zemeckis has assembled a solid cast, including Joseph Gordon-Levitt (as Petit), Ben Kingsley, James Badge Dale, Charlotte Le Bon, and Ben Schwartz to recreate the events leading up to and during the daring (and crazy) real-world stunt. While it may not be the most necessary biopic, it's sure to be an exciting and interesting one with Zemeckis at the helm.

THE WALK opens on October 9th.

#15 Legend (October 2nd)

If there's one thing we love these days, it's Tom Hardy. If there's two things we love these days (okay, just about all the time), it's gangster movies. Pair those two up and you've got us head over heels. LEGEND tells the story of the notorious gangster twin brothers Ronnie and Reggie Kray, both of whom terrorized London in the 1950's and 60's. Directed by Brian Helgeland (42, PAYBACK), the real-life gangster flick has Hardy playing dual roles, with a supporting cast that consists of Emily Browning, Paul Bettany, David Thewlis, Christopher Eccleston, Chazz Palminteri, and KINGSMAN's Taron Egerton. Not a bad line up for a London-based mob movie, but let's be honest here, the whole show will be Hardy's double-duty performance, which is sure to be a blast to watch unfold. Watching him tear it up solo is a hell of a show as it is, so we're pretty damn excited to see what happens when there's two on the stage. Just don't piss him off, eh?.

Legend opens on October 2nd.

#16 Bridge of Spies (October 16th)

Director Steven Spielberg hasn't put out a film since 2012's LINCOLN, so it's great to have the master back in the directing chair with BRIDGE OF SPIES, reteaming with his SAVING PRIVATE RYAN/THE TERMINAL star Tom Hanks to boot. That said, it's a Cold War spy drama, so it's not exactly JURASSIC PARK, MINORITY REPORT, or WAR OF THE WORLDS in terms of cinematic excitement. However, when it's Spielberg, it's Spielberg, and we're always game for what he has up his sleeve, even if we're always holding out hope for some of the popcorn fare he's been holding out on (thankfully, he's got READY PLAYER ONE on his docket, eh?). Hanks plays the good-man-in-a-tough-position yet again, so it's not exactly a stretch for him, but who can resist his great presence? Not us, that's for sure. While this may be a courtroom talker with a lot of political intrigue, the pic is written by none other than Joel & Ethan Coen, so there's definitely an ace in the hole there. We're not counting on any appearances from The Dude, though.

BRIDGE OF SPIES opens on October 16th.

#17 The Night Before (November 25th)

Last Christmas we were hip deep in the Sony hack and near cancellation of Seth Rogen and James Franco's THE INTERVIEW as a result. Thankfully, the film found its way to multiple venues and left the door open for Rogen and his writing/directing partner Evan Goldberg to continue their shenanigans with THE NIGHT BEFORE, this time with 50/50 director Jonathan Levine on directing duties. The R-rated Christmas comedy teams up Rogen with Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Anthony Mackie as three pals out on their final venture of an annual Christmas bender. A simple enough premise that's wide open for the outrageous antics that accompany a flick with Rogen & Goldberg attached. The team has had great success with their films, be it writing, directing, acting, or some assortment of such, including SUPERBAD, PINEAPPLE EXPRESS, THIS IS THE END, and THE INTERVIEW, and Rogen is one of our go-to comedy staples at this point (okay, except for when he did that Streisand pic), so THE NIGHT BEFORE is an easy sell when it comes to a seasonal comedy. We've got our sweaters and bongs ready.

THE NIGHT BEFORE opens on November 25th.

#18 Pan (October 9th)

Another film delayed from earlier this year, Joe Wright's PAN is finally gearing up to take flight in theaters, serving as a definitive origin story of the fantasy hero Peter Pan, portrayed here by young Levi Miller, who is joined by Hugh Jackman as Blackbeard, Rooney Mara as Tiger Lily, Garrett Hedlund as Captain Hook, Cara Delevingne as a Mermaid and Amanda Seyfried as Mary. A fun cast, for sure, and what looks to be an adventurous and awe-inspiring journey, especially with Wright's signature talents (HANNA, ATONEMENT, ANNA KARENINA) and Jackman's sure to be scene-stealing performance, but there's still some question if audiences are ready to see yet another Peter Pan film. In many ways this looks like a prequel to Steven Spielberg's own Pan flop HOOK, which begs the question of its necessity. However, we're willing to give the benefit of the doubt, especially with all the talent involved in bringing this to life. We're just hoping it's got enough fairy dust to make it fly.

PAN opens on October 9th.

#19 The Peanuts Movie (November 6th)

Put simply, we love The Peanuts gang. No matter what age you are, chances are you've grown up with Charlie Brown, Snoopy, and the rest of the crew, be it through the numerous TV specials, cartoon strips, or even a stuffed animal on your bed. Now, the property is back in the hands of the Schultz family and the gang can once again make their impression on the next generation of kids and adults alike, taking on an enhanced, yet nostalgic animated style that respects the characters we've grown up with, while giving them an upgrade for modern audiences. Judging from what we've seen so far, THE PEANUTS MOVIE should be a fun and spirited trip back to childhood and a welcome return to form for Charles Schultz beloved characters. Here's to hoping we get some of those great, relaxing old tunes from the Vince Guaraldi Trio in there.

THE PEANUTS MOVIE opens on November 6th

#20 Snowden (December 25th)

One of the most controversial figures in recent times, Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor who leaked sensitive documents regarding national security, is not getting the biopic treatment from one of the most controversial directors of recent times, Oliver Stone. it's really not surprising at all that Stone would tackle such a topic, given his focus on political figures (and politics in general), but given the current climate regarding the topic of Snowden's leak (and the content of the data), this could very well be a step in the right direction for Stone, who arguably hasn't delivered a surefire hit since 1999's ANY GIVEN SUNDAY. While SNOWDEN is hardly an energetic topic, it's one that's well worth a deeper look, especially with the themes of security, hacks, and the world of electronic information being a hot button issue. Perhaps this could rejuvenate Stone's career a bit, while giving a boost to the cast talents of Joseph Gordon-Levitt (as Snowden), Shailene Woodley, Nicolas Cage, Scott Eastwood, Timothy Olyphant, Zachary Quinto, Joely Richardson, Melissa Leo, and Rhys Ifans.

SNOWDEN opens on December 25th.

#21 Spotlight (November 6th)

When done well, a true-life investigative story can be made into a compelling and thought-provoking film and that's certainly what we're hoping for in the ensemble drama SPOTLIGHT, based on the real story about how the Boston Globe uncovered a massive child molestation scandal and cover-up within the local Catholic Archdiocese, which had a ripple effect within the Catholic Church. The strong cast includes Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber, John Slattery, Billy Crudup, and Stanley Tucci, all under the direction of Tom McCarthy (THE STATION AGENT, THE VISITOR). If there's one thing we always look forward to it's a tale that involves the truth being exposed and the good guys winning the day, which doesn't always have to be done with explosions and spectacle, but the on-the-ground, real-world triumphs that help define our day-to-day lives. Here's to hoping SPOTLIGHT uncovers that kind of drama on the big screen.

SPOTLIGHT opens on November 6th.

#22 The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2 (November 20th)

Suzanne Collins epic Young Adult adaptation that has redefined the genre and spawned an onslaught of similar franchises is bringing the journey of Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and the world of Panem to a close with THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY - PART 2. The film series started off with a bang and has stayed on fire ever since, spreading to the masses and securing a spot as a cultural icon, as well as a model for success in the YA department. Lawrence launched her blockbuster career off of it, while director Francis Lawrence guided the ship after the first entry, taking it beyond the YA genre and into genuine dystopian sci-fi. While not everyone has drunk the Hunger Games Kool-Aid, it's undeniable in its success and has proven that the genre can transcend beyond the simplicity of TWILIGHT fare, giving a powerful message, while delivering on cinematic spectacle. No matter how it shakes out, the franchise will be long remembered for its effect on the genre (and the current film climate in general) and we look forward to seeing how it all ends when the credits roll on Katniss and her cohorts.

THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY - PART 2 opens on November 20th.

#23 Secret in Their Eyes (November 20th)

It may seem like an odd choice, but there's one standout reason that we're excited for this one: Julia Roberts. Yeah, you heard it right. After her strong turn in 2013's AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY, Roberts seems to be priming herself for meatier roles that go against the grain of where the once PRETTY WOMAN kicked off her career. The Oscar-winning actress can bring the heat when she's on top of her acting game and SECRET IN THEIR EYES has all the material you could want to bring that out. Based on the 2009 foreign language flick THE SECRET IN THEIR EYES, Roberts plays an FBI agent faced with a devastating tragedy, which puts her on the quest for revenge over the course of several decades. Seeing Roberts pushed to the brink and having stellar back-up in the form of Chiwetal Ejiofor, Nicole Kidman, Michael Kelly, and Dean Norris make this an even more enticing affair. While some folks are turned off by the English-language remake aspect, we're excited to see what they can do, especially with the types of performances on deck for such weighty material and with writer/director Billy Ray (SHATTERED GLASS, THE BREACH) at the helm.

SECRET IN THEIR EYES opens on November 20th.

#24 The Last Witch Hunter (October 23rd)

With so much serious dramatic fare, biopics, and even big-budget spectacles crammed into the fall movie season, we'd like to see at least one silly action flick with some supernatural flair. Enter: Vin Diesel's THE LAST WITCH HUNTER, which has all the trimmings of your standard horror genre flick, but with a fun cast, crazy visuals, and some old-fashioned, one-liner throwdowns. Diesel has helped supercharge the FAST & FURIOUS franchise, but it's nice to see him venture out into some other territory from time to time and THE LAST WITCH HUNTER is a welcome playground for him to cut loose a bit, while still maintaining his Dom Toretto swagger. With a back-up cast that includes Elijah Wood, Rose Leslie (you know nothing Jon Snow!), and Michael Caine, this little witch-huntin' actioner from director Breck Eisner could do us all a favor and just show us a good time, leaving the heavy-handed stuff for the rest of the Oscar season players. We'll gladly take a break for some flame sword action.

THE LAST WITCH HUNTER opens on October 23rd.

#25 The Good Dinosaur (November 25th)

The long-delayed Disney/Pixar dino-romp known as THE GOOD DINOSAUR is finally migrating to theaters and, although there are rumors of some major retooling on the film, we're still and always game for some new Pixar magic. The first trailer for the film sold us on the visuals for the most part, but the story (or what we know of it so far) is still a bit cloudy. All we know is that the premise surrounds dinosaurs having never gone extinct and an Apatosaurus named Arlo joins up with a human boy on an adventure to...somewhere. Huh. Okay, then. It wouldn't be the first time that we've been confused by a Pixar premise, but some of those have turned out to be some of their best films, especially this past summer's INSIDE OUT. Here's to hoping first time director Peter Sohn can lead the voice talents of Jeffrey Wright, Steve Zahn, A.J. Buckley, Sam Elliot, Anna Paquin, Frances McDormand, and Raymond Ochoa to a box office victory.

THE GOOD DINOSAUR opens on November 25th.

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