Get Ready For Fall Movies! 38 Dramas You Need To Know About Now

There's a reason we love fall. Pop culture junkies like us have an ongoing love affair with the season of changing leaves and crisp temperatures because it's the beginning of Serious Movie Season. Get ready for the heady.

Among the prestigious pictures we can look forward to: a Cold War spy thriller from Steven Spielberg, a Victorian ghost story from Guillermo del Toro, and Angelina Jolie directing herself and her real-life husband, Mr. Pitt. Oh, yeah — and a new Star Wars movie.

Even better, this fall is packed with movies of substance that tackle issues important to women — from the right to vote to a lesbian couple battling homophobia to violence against women, and more. We've given a special shout-out to the movies that feature major roles for the female portion of humanity.

The following slideshow is not meant to be a comprehensive list of every single film hitting theaters from September 1 to December 31 — there are approximately zillions — but rather, our carefully considered guide to what we think you'll be most excited to see, discuss, and form your own opinions about. So, take these in, and check back here for Esther Zuckerman's analysis of the Oscar race. Awards season begins now.

P.S. More of a comedy fan? We've got those, too.

Photo: Courtesy of Universal Pictures.

Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine (September 4)

Directed by: Alex Gibney

Steve Jobs (October 9)

Directed by: Danny Boyle

Starring: Michael Fassbender, Kate Winslet, Seth Rogen

Yes, two movies on the Apple founder. First up is Alex Gibney's documentary that offers, as Variety put it, a “coolly absorbing, deeply unflattering portrait of the late Silicon Valley entrepreneur.”

Then there's Danny Boyle's biopic, which has weathered a bumpy road to the big screen. Written by Aaron Sorkin, the movie went through a change of stars (Michael Fassbender took over for Christian Bale as Jobs), a change of directors (Boyle stepped in for David Fincher), and a change of studios (Universal swept in for Sony). Plus, the production’s dirty laundry was aired to the world during the Sony hack last year. Still, the combination of talent and material — the film is structured around three product launches — makes it a must-see. Sorkin previously turned technological innovation fascinating (if not entirely truthful) with The Social Network. Will he do for Steve Jobs what he did for Mark Zuckerberg — for better or worse?

Watch the trailer.
Photo: Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics.
Coming Home (September 9)

Directed by: Zhang Yimou

Starring: Gong Li, Chen Daoming, Zhang Huiwen

Frequent collaborators Zhang Yimou and Gong Li reunite for an eighth film with Coming Home, a love story about a man (Chen Daoming) taken political prisoner, who returns home to find that his wife (Li) has lost her memory. The film received mixed reviews following its Cannes debut last year, but the pairing of director and star is always one to watch.

Watch the trailer.
Photo: Courtesy of The Weinstein Company.
About Ray (September 18)

Directed by: Gaby Dellal

Starring: Elle Fanning, Naomi Watts, Susan Sarandon

Will About Ray be another landmark moment for its depiction of a transgender teen and his family’s reaction to the transition? Or will the family drama flirt too heavily with melodrama? Elle Fanning stars as Ray, formerly Ramona, who needs the consent of his estranged father (Tate Donovan) to complete his medical transition. (Read why Dellal chose to cast Fanning as Ray here.) One thing that’s not in doubt — a fantastic cast that includes Naomi Watts as Ray’s mom, and Susan Sarandon as his grandmother.

Watch the trailer.
Photo: Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures.
Black Mass (September 18)

Directed by: Scott Cooper

Starring: Johnny Depp, Joel Edgerton, Benedict Cumberbatch, Dakota Johnson

Is this the return of Johnny Depp, movie star character actor? Perhaps. In Black Mass, a blue-eyed, receding-hairlined, decidedly freaky-looking Depp stars as the notorious gangster Whitey Bulger, an Irish mob boss from South Boston, who became an FBI informant while still living a life of high crime. Watch this, then go home and rewatch The Departed. Jack Nicholson’s character was based on Bulger, so who nails the better Bahston accent?

Watch the trailer.
Photo: Courtesy of Lionsgate.
Sicario (September 18)

Directed by: Denis Villeneuve

Starring: Emily Blunt, Benicio Del Toro, Josh Brolin, Jon Bernthal

Emily Blunt gets her Jessica-Chastain-in-Zero-Dark-Thirty moment with this gritty drama about an FBI agent chasing drug cartels on the Mexican/U.S. border. (The title, incidentally, refers to the Spanish word for "hitman.”) Directed by Canada’s Denis Villeneuve (Prisoners), the super-intense, violent tale of crime and corruption corruption co-stars Benicio Del Toro and Josh Brolin as somewhat shadowy government operatives, who aren’t sharing all they know with Blunt’s character. It’s a terrific ensemble cast, but let’s be honest, the real draw is the chance to see the ever-delightful Blunt sink her teeth into another badass leading lady role — with an American accent, no less. We never get tired of those.

Watch the trailer.
Photo: Courtesy of Drafthouse Films.
The Keeping Room (September 25)

Directed by: Daniel Barber

Starring: Brit Marling, Hailee Steinfeld, Muna Otaru, Sam Worthington

In what’s being billed as a feminist Western that dramatically reimagines the genre, two Southern sisters (Brit Marling and Hailee Steinfeld, who was nominated for an Oscar in her first Western outing, True Grit) have to fend off drunken, violent soldiers during the twilight of the Civil War. Sounds like a light-hearted romp.

Watch the trailer.
Photo: Courtesy of Lionsgate.
Freeheld (October 2)

Directed by: Peter Sollett

Starring: Julianne Moore, Ellen Page, Steve Carrell

Freeheld is based on the true story of New Jersey police lieutenant Laurel Hester (Julianne Moore) and her life partner Stacie Andree (Ellen Page). When Hester is diagnosed with terminal cancer, her request to have her pension transferred to her spouse is denied. As her health declines, she embarks on a battle to provide for the woman she loves. Hester and Andree’s story happened just 10 years ago, and thankfully, the country’s attitude toward gay marriage has evolved significantly since then. Vital viewing in the wake of the Marriage Equality Act. #LoveWins.

Watch the trailer.
Photo: Courtesy of Fox Searchlight.
He Named Me Malala (October 2)

Directed by: Davis Guggenheim

Prepare to be moved and inspired all over again by 18-year-old activist Malala Yousafzai. Davis Guggenheim (an Oscar winner for An Inconvenient Truth) directed this documentary, which presents the day-to-day life of the Taliban-defying, Nobel Peace Prize laureate by following her around the world, as she spreads her message of empowerment and education for girls.

Watch the trailer.
Photo: Courtesy of Sony Pictures Entertainment.
The Walk (October 2)

Directed by: Robert Zemeckis

Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ben Kingsley, Charlotte Le Bon

Can The Walk live up to — or even surpass — Man On Wire, the Oscar-winning documentary that told the same story of French high-wire artist Philippe Petit?

Robert Zemeckis’ film follows the build-up to Petit’s history-making 1974 performance, in which he crossed a metal chord connecting the Twin Towers, 1,350 feet above the ground. (Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays Petit.) One way that Zemeckis is enhancing the experience: presenting the film in IMAX 3D to capture what it might feel like to be suspended in the sky. Whether that experience impresses viewers more than Gordon-Levitt’s French accent will be key.

Watch the trailer.
Photo: Aidan Monaghan.
The Martian (October 2)

Directed by: Ridley Scott

Starring: Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Chiwetel Ejiofor

Having to fend for oneself alone in space seems like a recipe for bitterness —see Matt Damon's character in Interstellar — but in The Martian, Damon plays a surprisingly jovial botanist abandoned on Mars.

In Ridley Scott's new film, Damon is Mark Watney, whose crew —led by Damon's fellow Interstellar-er Jessica Chastain — evacuates during a storm, presuming him dead. With no immediate obvious way to get back home, Mark must figure out how to survive, and, as he declares in the trailer, “science the shit out of this.” The film is based on a novel by Andy Weir, which was initially self-published, and is (obviously) hypothetical, but intensely and scientifically researched. Scott, meanwhile, could use a return to form after The Counselor and Exodus: Gods and Kings.

Watch the trailer.
Photo: Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures.
Pan (October 9)

Directed by: Joe Wright

Starring: Hugh Jackman, Rooney Mara, Garrett Hedlund, Levi Miller

“Another retelling of J.M. Barrie’s tale, so close to Peter Pan Live!?” you wonder. Ah, but NBC’s rinky-dink TV movie will be but a distant memory to the big-screen Pan, which is brought to you by director Joe Wright, who has done lush period films such as Atonement (2007), Pride & Prejudice (2005), and Anna Karenina (2012). In this new twist on the story, 12-year-old Peter (Levi Miller) has spent his entire life in an orphanage. One night, he’s whisked off to the Neverland, where he teams up with James Hook (Garrett Hedlund) and Tiger Lily (Rooney Mara) to save the magical kingdom from the evil pirate Blackbeard (Hugh Jackman, loving every minute of playing the villain). Peter also searches for his long-lost mother as part of the Peter Pan origin story that’s somehow never been told.

Watch the trailer.
Photo: Courtesy of
Shout Gladi Gladi (October 9)

Directed by: Adam Friedman and Iain Kennedy

Meryl Streep narrates this documentary about the women's health crisis in Africa, with a focus on fistula. This shockingly common condition is often a result of prolonged childbirth and poor maternity care, causing incontinence and rendering its victims outcasts from their community. Here, philanthropist Ann Gloag works with women in Kenya, Malawi, and Sierra Leone to overcome their condition, with Melinda Gates and Nobel Peace laureate Wole Soyinka offering their support in improving access to quality health care. It's time to raise awareness about this horrifying women's health issue, and this documentary aims to do just that.

Watch the trailer.
Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.
Beasts of No Nation (October 16)

Directed by: Cary Fukunaga

Starring: Idris Elba, Ama K. Abebrese, Abraham Attah

A boy named Agu (Abraham Attah) is taken from his family and forced to join a band of mercenaries fighting in an African country’s civil war. They’re led by a warlord, known as the Commandant (Idris Elba), who takes Agu in and instructs him in the ways of combat. Cary Fukunaga adapted Beasts of No Nation from the novel by Nigerian-
American author Uzodinma Iweala. Fukunaga, who received an Emmy for his stellar work on True Detective’s first season (when was the last time people raved this much about a tracking shot?), also directed the film.

Watch the trailer.
Photo: Courtesy of DreamWorks Studios.
Bridge of Spies (October 16)

Directed by: Steven Spielberg

Starring: Tom Hanks, Mark Rylance, Amy Ryan, Scott Shepherd

This film has all the makings of Oscar bait. It marks Steven Spielberg’s return to directing after 2012’s Lincoln. Tom Hanks, a frequent Spielberg collaborator, stars. Joel and Ethan Coen polished the screenplay, which was British playwright Matt Charman’s very first feature-length script. Spielberg bought Charman’s as-yet-unwritten screenplay based on a phone pitch (the stuff of which Hollywood dreams are made). Bridge of Spies’ story itself is tight and compelling. The Cold War thriller is inspired by real events from the life of Brooklyn lawyer James Donovan (Hanks), who’s sent to the Soviet Union by the CIA to negotiate the release of a captured pilot.

Watch the trailer.
Photo: Courtesy of Universal.
Crimson Peak (October 16)

Directed by: Guillermo del Toro

Starring: Mia Wasikowska, Jessica Chastain, Tom Hiddleston, Charlie Hunnam

Guillermo del Toro mastered dark fairy tales with Pan’s Labyrinth (2006), and now he’s taking on Gothic horror with a terrifying old house full of sinister secrets. Edith Cushing (Mia Wasikowska) is an aspiring novelist who gets ensnared in the clutches of Sir Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston) and his sister, Lady Lucille Sharpe (Jessica Chastain), when she moves into the siblings’ decrepit home. It’s a living, breathing place that has never forgotten the past atrocities that took place within its walls. Think season 1 of American Horror Story, but on an infinitely grander scale — and with many more lacy, high-necked nightgowns.

Watch the trailer.
Photo: Courtesy of A24.
Room (October 16)

Directed by: Lenny Abrahamson

Starring: Brie Larson, Jacob Tremblay, Joan Allen

Our eagerness to see Lenny Abrahamson’s Room, based on the book by Emma Donoghue, is mixed with slight dread. Donoghue’s book, told from the perspective of a five-year-old (Jacob Tremblay) who has been imprisoned in a very small space with his mother (Brie Larson), is a taxing, but brilliant read. But the reason we most want to see Room is Larson. She is a crazy talented actress who has proved adept at comedy (Trainwreck and 21 Jump Street) and drama (she blew us away in Short Term 12). "Brie committed herself to this with such intensity," Donoghue, who adapted her own novel, tells Refinery29. "She wrote entire teenage diaries for the character." This could be the performance that catapults her career into the upper echelons of Hollywood.

Watch the trailer.
Photo: Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics.
Truth (October 18)

Directed by: James Vanderbilt

Starring: Cate Blanchett, Robert Redford, Elisabeth Moss

Recent history is documented once again in Truth, a film about the Killian documents scandal, which involved CBS and Dan Rather’s erroneous report on George W. Bush’s military service. Robert Redford (who should have received an Oscar nomination for his performance in All Is Lost) plays Rather, while Cate Blanchett plays Mary Mapes, his producer. The cast makes the movie worth paying attention to, and the last time the movies delved into 60 Minutes, the result was rather terrific: The Insider.
Photo: Steffan Hill / Focus Features.
Suffragette (October 23)

Directed by: Sarah Gavron

Starring: Carey Mulligan

Suffragette is the rare film that not only focuses on the accomplishments of women, but is actually written and directed by women. This movie about British women fighting for their right to vote in the early 20th century stars Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham Carter, and the goddess known as Meryl Streep. Sarah Gavron (Brick Lane) directs from a screenplay by Abi Morgan, who wrote the screenplay for Streep’s last Oscar-winning role, in The Iron Lady. Here, Streep plays another historic British figure, feminist pioneer Emmeline Pankhurst in a relatively small role. But the story unfolds from the point of view of Carey Mulligan’s young Maud, a composite character. The largely female production was the first, Gavron told Refinery29, to shoot in the houses of Parliament. "We were a predominantly female cast and crew filming in the very place that banned women for so long," Gavron said. "There was something great about that. It was another lucky moment in the film."

Watch the trailer.
Photo: Patti Perret.
Our Brand is Crisis (October 30)
Directed by: David Gordon Green

Starring: Sandra Bullock, Billy Bob Thornton, Anthony Mackie, Joaquim de Almeida

Sandra Bullock stars as an American political consultant hired to help a struggling Bolivian presidential candidate win his election. Bullock faces off against rival Billy Bob Thornton, with personal issues surfacing as she fights to win at any cost. The prospect of Bullock as a take-no-prisoners consultant — nicknamed "Calamity" Jane, no less —is the draw here, though George Clooney and Grant Heslov also produced, and they have a knack for capturing morally murky political stories (see: The Ides of March). Nothing like a morality tale to get us ready for next year's election. Oh, and Olivia Pope? Watch your back.
Photo: Courtesy of Fox Searchlight.
Brooklyn (November 6)

Directed by: John Crowley

Starring: Saoirse Ronan, Domhnall Gleeson, Emory Cohen

We’ve already professed our adoration for this love story about a girl who emigrates from Ireland to Brooklyn in the 1950s. The film, based on Colm Toíbín’s novel, stars Saoirse Ronan as Eilis Lacey, a young lass who finds love with a sweet Italian-American boy (Emory Cohen). The movie is beautiful to look at — and will likely leave a beautiful mark on your soul as well.

Watch the trailer.
Photo: Courtesy of Sony Pictures.
Spectre (November 6)

Directed by: Sam Mendes

Starring: Daniel Craig, Monica Bellucci, Léa Seydoux, Christoph Waltz

007 is back for a Bond flick that looks darker than ever, in the pall cast following M’s (Judi Dench) death in Skyfall. MI6 has a new M (Ralph Fiennes), but James Bond (Daniel Craig) just wants to go off the grid and brood. A spy’s work is never done, though, and new threats will always emerge, so his sulking is cut short. This time, that threat is a terrorist group known as Spectre, and its leader (Christoph Waltz), takes credit for being “the author of all [of James’] pain.” That’s a bold claim, considering all the women, cars, gadgets, and fellow spies he’s loved and lost over the years. What we’re most excited to see in Spectre is Bond squaring off against something entirely new for him: an age-appropriate love interest (Monica Bellucci).

Watch the trailer.
Photo: Courtesy of Open Road.
Spotlight (November 6)

Directed by: Tom McCarthy

Starring: Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams

It’s been more than a decade since The Boston Globe’s “spotlight” team released a series of groundbreaking stories about sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. In his first lead role since Birdman, Michael Keaton stars as the editor of the Globe’s team of dogged investigative reporters (Rachel McAdams, Liev Shreiber, and Mark Ruffalo) who chase down the story of corruption and cover-up at the highest levels of governmental, legal, and religious power.

Watch the trailer.
Photo: Courtesy of Bleecker Street Media.
Trumbo (November 6)

Directed by: Jay Roach

Starring: Bryan Cranston, Helen Mirren, Diane Lane, Elle Fanning, Louis C.K.

Dalton Trumbo (a mustachioed Bryan Cranston) was a successful Hollywood screenwriter until he was blacklisted for his Communist ties, and spent 11 months in jail for refusing to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1947. Directed by Jay Roach (Game Change), the film tells the story of the Trumbo’s life, his politics, and his career (he eventually won two Oscars, for The Brave One and Roman Holiday). Helen Mirren co-stars as Trumbo’s nemesis, Hollywood gossip columnist Hedda Hopper, and Diane Lane plays Trumbo’s wife Cleo. Expect some awards season buzz on this biopic.

Watch the trailer.
Photo: Courtesy of Universal Pictures.
By the Sea (November 13)

Directed by: Angelina Jolie Pitt

Starring: Angelina Jolie Pitt, Brad Pitt, Mélanie Laurent, Melvil Poupaud

Angelina Jolie Pitt and Brad Pitt return as co-stars for the first time since Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005), but their new film is a much quieter, more character-driven affair than their fateful assassins-in-love-and-war flick. Jolie Pitt wrote and directed By the Sea, and she and her husband both produced.

Roland, an American writer (Pitt), and his wife Vanessa (Jolie Pitt) are visiting a tranquil seaside resort in 1970s France, but their marriage is in a period of extreme turmoil. Mr. & Mrs. Smith 2, this is not, but it’ll be interesting to watch Jolie Pitt direct her husband in her first film that isn’t grounded by a biographical account (Unbroken) or real-world tragedy (In the Land of Blood and Honey). Some additional fascinating background information: The Jolie Pitts filmed this movie about a deeply unhappy couple during their honeymoon.

Watch the trailer.
Photo: Courtesy of The Weinstein Company.
Carol (November 20)

Directed by: Todd Haynes

Starring: Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara, Kyle Chandler

Todd Haynes made an exquisite homage to Douglas Sirk’s 1950s with Far From Heaven (2002). He’s returned to the Eisenhower Era again with Carol, starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara as a lesbian couple in a secret relationship. Based on Patricia Highsmith’s The Price of Salt, Carol won rave reviews at the Cannes Film Festival in May, with Variety calling Blanchett’s performance “incandescent.” It’s hard to imagine that Blanchett will not be in contention for her third Oscar this year. But screenwriter Phyllis Nagy tells Refinery29 that Carol is as much Mara's film as it is Blanchett's. "It’s difficult to talk about them separately because they are so perfectly complementary as actors," she says.

Watch the trailer here.
Photo: Courtesy of Lionsgate.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 2 (November 20)

Directed by: Francis Lawrence

Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Liam Hemsworth, Josh Hutcherson

The age of The Hunger Games is coming to an end. This fall, Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) and her army will battle evil President Snow (Donald Sutherland) one final time. Anyone who has read Suzanne Collins’ final book knows that she pulls no punches in showing the devastation of war. In turn, fans should be wary that no matter how beloved a character, none is safe from harm. This movie will pick up where Mockingjay — Part 1 left off, with Katniss reeling from the knowledge that Peeta's mind has been so manipulated by the Capitol that he wants to kill her.

Watch the trailer.
Photo: Courtesy of STX Entertainment.
Secret In Their Eyes (November 20)

Directed by: Billy Ray

Starring: Nicole Kidman, Julia Roberts

Frequent screenwriter/infrequent filmmaker Billy Ray returns to the director’s chair for the first time since the grossly underrated Breach (2007). A remake of El secreto de Sus Ojos, the Argentinian film that won the Best Foreign Language Oscar in 2010, Secret In Their Eyes stars Julia Roberts and Chiwetel Ejiofor as FBI agents, whose lives are upended when the murdered body of a young woman turns out to be Roberts’ character’s daughter. The knife in the side? They know who did it — but they can’t seem to get him convicted. Banding together with the district attorney (Nicole Kidman), the team sets out on a crusade to bring down the killer, legally or not.

Watch the trailer.
Photo: Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures.
Creed (November 25)

Directed by: Ryan Coogler

Starring: Michael B. Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, Tessa Thompson

We’ve been burned enough recently to be wary of a reboot of a classic franchise. Creed is is at least trying to be something different. It features the re-teaming of Ryan Coogler and Michael B. Jordan, who first collaborated on Fruitvale Station. And, the idea for this movie, all about the son of Rocky’s opponent-turned-friend Apollo Creed, appears not to be a cynical studio cash grab. “It was an idea I took to [MGM] and met with Stallone for his blessing,” Coogler told The Hollywood Reporter last year. Jordan and Stallone star alongside Tessa Thompson, whose career is getting a big kick forward following her awesome performance in Dear White People (2014).

Watch the trailer.
Photo: Courtesy of Working Title Films.
The Danish Girl (November 25)
Directed by: Tom Hooper

Starring: Eddie Redmayne, Alicia Vikander, Amber Heard

Get ready for another awards season with Eddie Redmayne. Last year’s Best Actor winner stars as Lili Elbe, the Danish transgender artist who was one of the first recipients of sexual reassignment surgery in 1930. (The film is based on a historical novel about Elbe.) The past couple of years have been groundbreaking in how trans people are portrayed in media, and the fact that Redmayne is playing the part instead of a trans actor has already been a source of controversy. Redmayne is bound to face the same scrutiny Jared Leto did when he won an Oscar for his role in Dallas Buyers Club. (See also: Elle Fanning in About Ray.) The film is directed by Tom Hooper, and co-stars Alicia Vikander as Elbe’s wife (Gerda Wegener).
Photo: Courtesy of 20th Century Fox.
Victor Frankenstein (November 25)

Directed by: Paul McGuigan

Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, James McAvoy, Jessica Brown Findlay

In case you weren’t convinced by his nude performance in Equus, Daniel Radcliffe is no longer Harry Potter. Just look at his very grown-up role in the forthcoming Victor Frankenstein!

Radcliffe plays Igor, assistant to Viktor Von Frankenstein (James McAvoy), who everyone fancies a mad scientist. You’ve seen iterations of the classic Mary Shelley tale before, but this one promises a darker perspective. Think: a creation that’s less Herman Munster and more The Walking Dead.

Plus, Radcliffe and McAvoy’s Comic-Con appearance promised a decidedly homoerotic chemistry, which should prove interesting. And, for Downton Abbey fans who are having Lady Sybil withdrawal, this is your chance to see Jessica Brown Findlay’s return to the Victorian setting in which she belongs.

Watch the trailer.
Photo: Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics.
I Saw the Light (November 27)

Directed by: Marc Abraham

Starring: Tom Hiddleston, Elizabeth Olsen, Cherry Jones, Bradley Whitford

Tom Hiddleston has one of his highest profile roles to date (at least outside of a Marvel movie) with this biopic of country singer Hank Williams. This isn’t the first time the British actor has played an American icon —remember his F. Scott Fitzgerald in Midnight In Paris? — but here he's the lead. The actor has already started to convince the public of his country chops, playing at the Wheatland Music Festival. Elizabeth Olsen plays Hank’s wife Audrey Mae.
Photo: Courtesy of Studio Canal.
Macbeth (December)

Despite all of the blood, Macbeth is one of Shakespeare’s many fun plays. Sure, you’re dealing with a thane (Michael Fassbender) who murders his way to the top with help from his equally conniving wife (Marion Cotillard), but anyone who has watched a television drama in the past ten years knows that anti-heroes make for good entertainment. Macbeth and his lady are the father and mother of them all. Director Justin Kurzel’s interpretation received rave reviews at Cannes, and mixes the classic speeches (“Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow”) with action that will be more familiar to Lord of the Rings fans. Variety’s review called it a “Brisk, bracing update, even as it remains exquisitely in period.” We’re ready to get that damned spot out.

Watch the trailer.
Photo: Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures.

In The Heart of the Sea
(December 11)

Directed by: Ron Howard

Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Cillian Murphy, Brendon Gleeson

The Revenant (December 25)

Directed by: Alejandro González Iñárritu

Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy

What’s that you say? You’re in the mood for some pure testosterone, unadulterated by more than a drop of estrogen? Then get ready for these two flicks, which are all about the dudes — and both set in 1820! Ron Howard’s In the Heart of the Sea (pictured here) tells the tale that inspired Moby Dick: After a sperm whale attacks a ship, a crew of shellshocked, seasick, hungry men waste away at sea for 90 days. Meanwhile, in Alejandro González Iñárritu’s The Revenant, Leonardo DiCaprio stars as Hugh Glass, the 19th century fur trapper and frontiersman who unleashed holy revenge hell on the jerks who left him for dead after he was attacked by a bear.

Watch the trailer for In the Heart of the Sea and The Revenant.
Photo: Courtesy of Lucasfilm.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens (December 18)

Directed by: J.J. Abrams

Starring: Oscar Isaac, Daisy Ridley, Domhnall Gleeson, Adam Driver, John Boyega

Chewie, we’re home.

Actual plot details about the new Star Wars movie are scant, although fans are positively salivating over what they do know (and the fact that there won’t be any mention of midi-chlorians). The events of the film take place 30 years after Return of the Jedi (1983), and many of the original characters are back, including Han Solo (Harrison Ford), Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), and Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher). They’re joined by new heroes, villains, stormtroopers, rebels, and even R2-D2 has another pal: a droid named BB-8. Just try not to get excited for the intergalactic battle between good and evil when that signature John Williams’ score swells in the trailer.

Watch the trailer.
Photo: Stewart Cook/REX USA.
Concussion (December 25)

Directed by: Peter Landesman

Starring: Will Smith, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Alec Baldwin

This one’s going to generate plenty of hot-take reactions — including an inevitable response from the NFL.

Concussions are rampant in professional football. And, a study from the American Academy of Neurology claims NFL players are three times more likely than the rest of us to experience brain trauma like Alzheimer’s and ALS.

Concussion is the true story of Dr. Bennet Omalu (Will Smith), who was the first person to discover Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), a brain disease common in athletes as a result from repetitive concussions. Based on previous experiences with the starring cast, Smith will probably make us ugly cry, and Alec Baldwin, who plays Dr. Julian Bailes, could possibly provide moments of comic relief.

(No photo from the movie was available at press time.)
Photo: Courtesy of The Weinstein Company.
The Hateful Eight (December 25)

Directed by: Quentin Tarantino

Starring: Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason Leigh

The Quentin Tarantino script that famously leaked — and almost had Tarantino suing Gawker — is finally coming to the screen. Following the script’s leak, Tarantino declared that he wasn’t going to make the movie, but staged a reading of the script. And by the time 2014’s Comic-Con rolled around, Tarantino was making the film — a Western about bounty hunters, a fugitive, Civil War vets, and other misfits stranded during a snowstorm. The movie is going old school: It will be shown in 70mm and Western maestro Ennio Morricone is scoring it. Tarantino regulars Samuel L. Jackson and Kurt Russell star as bounty hunters, and in extra-very-extremely-tremendously enticing news, Channing Tatum has an as-yet-undisclosed role as well.

Watch the trailer.
Photo: Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox.
Joy (December 25)

Directed by: David O. Russell

Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper, Robert De Niro

David O. Russell. Jennifer Lawrence. Bradley Cooper. Robert De Niro. Where have you heard that lineup before? Well, the gang from Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle is back once again for a third go-around. The new movie is based on the life of Joy Mangano, the inventor of the Miracle Mop. From the looks of the trailer, the film features the character played by Lawrence, who may earn her fourth Oscar nomination before she turns 26. What have you done with your life?

Watch the trailer.
Photo: Courtesy of Open Road.


Directed by: Oliver Stone

Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Shailene Woodley, Zachary Quinto, Scott Eastwood

What better way to let celebrate the holidays than with an Oliver Stone drama about the world's most famous whistleblower? In his second major Oscar-baiting role of the season (see also: The Walk), Gordon-Levitt portrays the controversial computer whiz who leaked NSA secrets to The Guardian in 2013, at which point the world collectively lost its shit. Stone, no stranger to a polarizing political drama, co-wrote the script, and reportedly paid $1.7 million for the rights to tell the story. His films have been hit-or-miss of late, but we're eager to see JGL bring some humanity to the still-exiled Snowden. Equally exciting? The prospect of Shailene Woodley taking on a dramatic role in a non-YA film — even if it is the part of "the girlfriend."

Watch the trailer.
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