Fall 2015: My Most Anticipated Films


Having caught M. Night Shyamalan’s “The Visit” at an early screening (and loved it, see my review here), I thought I’d give you a glimpse at what I’m getting excited for, and what you ought to be marking your calendars for in September and October.


Black Mass

Director Scott Cooper (Crazy Heart, Out of the Furnace) goes big with a brawny crime epic about the unsavory exploits of one Whitey Bulger. Johnny Depp portrays the mafia don in what appears to be (hopefully) a dramatic return to form following several disappointing performances. Cooper must have clout, because he’s rounded out the cast with Joel Edgerton, Benedict Cumberbatch, Peter Sarsgaard, and Dakota Johnson. Though I worry about the makeup and indistinguishable accents.


While I’m disappointed Jake Gyllenhaal is going supporting here, I can’t complain about that visceral trailer. Besides, Jason Clarke is no slouch (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Zero Dark Thirty) and John Hawkes and Josh Brolin tag along too. It’s surprising Everest has been absent from narrative moviemaking for…pretty much ever, but this looks to make up for it. My only reservations are the heretofore mediocre director and watching Keira Knightley possibly stuck in the role of a weeping wife.


An unassuming Emily Blunt leads an FBI operation through the lawless regions of Mexico in Denis Villeneuve’s follow-up to his riveting 2013 drama “Prisoners.” With Josh Brolin as her cohort and Benicio Del Toro as the title’s translation (hitman), you couldn’t ask for a better recipe for a bad-ass thriller. According to early reviews, it doesn’t shy away from the futility of it all, and any drug war movie that actually addresses the drug war honestly is something to look forward to.


The Martian

Ridley Scott, much like M. Night Shyamalan, is a filmmaker I’m endlessly forgiving. Despite recent disappointments like “Exodus” and “The Counselor,” I’ll still show up to see if he’s got it again. Matt Damon is marooned in space again, this time on Mars where he hopes to “science the shit” out of his alarming situation. Scott’s typical technical prowess, an impressive cast that includes Jessica Chastain, Jeff Daniels, and Michael Pena, and the unending mystery of Mars make this essential viewing.


This one snuck up on me. When I heard Brie Larson was starring in the next little-indie-that-could as a woman trapped in one room with her young child for years, I didn’t exactly jump for joy in excitement. Larson has proven herself a capable actress, but none of that compares to the potential breakout performance in store based on the trailer for this alone. Looking exquisitely photographed (a rarity for little indies) and impossibly poignant, “Room” will probably factor in this year’s race for Best Actress.

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