It’s hard to believe it’s already November. While James Bond and Charlie Brown are coming to cinemas this weekend to save the box office, the awards season is right around the corner. With new flicks from Oscar-winners Quentin Tarantino, David O. Russell and Alejandro González Iñárritu, just to name a few, this upcoming season looks to continue the trend of great fall/winter flicks hitting the cineplex.


Nov. 13

By the Sea

Starring Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie Pitt

Rated R

The buzz: Hollywood’s power couple star opposite each other again (they were previously paired in the actioner “Mr. and Mrs. Smith”) for this romantic drama set in the 1970s about a couple growing apart. This could be a vanity project, but both Jolie Pitt and Pitt are good, if not sometimes great, actors. At least, Pitt is sporting an awesome mustache.

The 33

Starring Cote de Pablo, Antonio Banderas and Rodrigo Santoro

Rated PG-13

The buzz: Based on the true story of the Chilean miners trapped underground for nearly 70 days, “The 33” has the pedigree to be a feel-good story. However, early reviews are lukewarm, saying the script treats the event too lightly.

Love the Coopers

Starring Olivia Wilde, Diane Keaton, John Goodman, Amanda Seyfried and Marisa Tomei

Rated PG-13

The buzz: Ahh, the holiday ensemble dramedy that asks, “Does anyone watch these?” “Love the Coopers” is about four generations of a family, coming together for a Christmas Eve celebration. It doesn’t seem like a good sign that the studio is releasing a Christmas film in the middle of November.

Nov. 20

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 2

Starring Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth

Rated PG-13

The buzz: The final film in “The Hunger Games” franchise is sure to be one of the biggest films of the year at the box office. Here, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) is bringing together armies against President Snow (Donald Sutherland). Hopefully, it can do the series justice and be as exciting as its predecessors.

The Night Before

Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen and Anthony Mackie

Rated R

The buzz: Seth Rogen gets more innocuous this season after last year’s “The Interview.” This comedy is set around three dudes’ annual Christmas debauchery. Why not just call this what it is — an excuse for more party montages.

Secret In Their Eyes

Starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Nicole Kidman and Julia Roberts

Rated PG-13

The buzz: An adaptation of the 2009 Oscar winner from Spain, “Secret In Their Eyes” looks to make a dent in the awards season with its stellar cast and direction from Billy Ray (“Breach,” “Shattered Glass”). I’m cautiously optimistic about this crime drama. However, it does feel like it’s been a while since we’ve seen a good performance from Julia Roberts, right? This could be it.

Carol (in limited theaters)

Starring Rooney Mara and Cate Blanchett

Rated R

The buzz: This romance is centered on two women in the 1950s. Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara are already getting critical acclaim for their turns. This looks to be another stunner from director Todd Haynes (“I’m Not There,” “Far From Heaven”).

Nov. 27

The Good Dinosaur

Featuring the voices of Raymond Ochoa, Jeffrey Wright and Steve Zahn

Rated PG

The buzz: Pixar continues to go to the originality well. This time, the studio is bringing a tale about a dinosaur who befriends a little boy. If it’s anything like “Inside Out,” bring a box of Kleenex.


Starring Michael B. Jordan and Sylvester Stallone

Not yet rated

The buzz: The umpteenth movie in the “Rocky” franchise shifts focus to tell the story of Apollo Creed’s son, who is mentored by Rocky Balboa. Though I dig Michael B. Jordan and director Ryan Coogler’s last collaboration, “Fruitvale Station,” this is clearly a “Rocky” reboot in disguise. If it does well, expect “Creed II-VI” over the next 30 years.

Victor Frankenstein

Starring Daniel Radcliffe and James McAvoy

Rated PG-13

The buzz: I guess the world really needs another Frankenstein movie. Can’t be worse than “Pan.”

The Danish Girl (in limited theaters)

Starring Eddie Redmayne, Alicia Vikander and Amber Heard

Rated R

The buzz: Eddie Redmayne, who won an Oscar for last year’s “The Theory of Everything,” goes for another statue in this film about transgender pioneer Lili Elbe. Conservatives will probably hate this. Others will say Redmayne is “brave” and ignore his work in “Jupiter Ascending.”


Dec. 4


Starring Adam Scott, Toni Collette, Allison Tolman and David Koechner

Rated PG-13

The buzz: Finally, a movie about the Christmas demon we always wanted to see. This could either be “Gremlins”-like holiday fun or a bomb. For Adam Scott’s sake, I hope it’s the former.


Starring Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard

Not yet rated

The buzz: William Shakespeare’s tragedy about the troubled Thane of Scotland returns to the silver screen. This time, the adaptation packs some awards season heat with the always-reliable Michael Fassbender in the title role. The trailer looks amazing.

Dec. 11

In the Heart of the Sea

Starring Chris Hemsworth, Cillian Murphy, Brendan Gleeson and Ben Whishaw

Rated PG-13

The buzz: Ron Howard tackles the real-life maritime disaster that inspired Herman Melville’s “Moby Dick.” A ship is attacked by a humongous sperm whale, then the crew must stay alive in the open sea. Howard is great at adventure films, but it’s been 10 years since he made a great film.


Starring Tom Hardy

Rated R

The buzz: Tom Hardy pulls double duty, playing identical twin brothers and gangsters Reggie and Ronnie Kray. Any time Hardy is on the screen, he’s absolutely electric. But writer/director Brian Helgeland (“L.A. Confidential,” “Payback”) doesn’t exactly inspire confidence that this will be a sure bet.

The Big Short

Starring Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling and Brad Pitt

Not yet rated

The buzz: Combine this cast with writer/director Adam McKay and a timely plot about the credit collapse of the mid-2000s, and you could have a recipe for gold. It seems like McKay (“Step Brothers,” “Anchorman”) has been wanting to do something a little more biting and less outlandish. You should watch the trailer and look at everyone’s ridiculous hair, though.

Dec. 18

Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens

Starring Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver and Oscar Isaac

Not yet rated

The buzz: Well, here it is, and it can’t be worse than the prequels. Director J.J. Abrams (“Star Trek,” “Super 8”) tries to bring “Star Wars” back to its old glory. It does look good, but how much you enjoy it will depend on your nostalgia.


Starring Tina Fey and Amy Poehler

Rated R

The buzz: Two of the funniest women alive team up for a comedy that sounds like a female version of “Step Brothers.” Yeah, I’m there.



Starring Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro and Bradley Cooper

Not yet rated

The buzz: The combination of Jennifer Lawrence and director David O. Russell has been a winning one. The streak doesn’t look like it will stop this year. Here, Lawrence plays the matriarch of a family business, and the film shows her rise to power.

Daddy’s Home

Starring Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg

Rated PG

The buzz: Hoping to mine some of that comedic gold found in “The Other Guys,” Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg return for this comedy about a father and stepdad fighting over their family’s attention span. Ferrell always makes me laugh, but I wish this were rated R.


Starring Will Smith and Alec Baldwin

Rated PG-13

The buzz: The biggest problem with the NFL? Brain trauma stemming from concussion injuries. At least, that’s what this drama is hoping to convince you. At the end of the day, people will still watch football long after this film hits, but if this film rouses audiences to start questioning the league, I’m totally fine with that.

The Hateful Eight (in limited theaters)

Starring Kurt Russell, Samuel L. Jackson, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Channing Tatum

Not yet rated

The buzz: Director Quentin Tarantino tackles the post-Civil War world as a group of bounty hunters try to find shelter during a blizzard. Like many Tarantino films, this will probably be a little boring and overrated, but ultimately a pretty good revenge film full of blood and Samuel L. Jackson yelling.

The Revenant (in limited theaters)

Starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy

Rated R

The buzz: Director Alejandro González Iñárritu took home top honors at last year’s Oscars for the psychological comedy “Birdman.” This year, he gets tough with a western set in the 1820s about a frontiersman out for blood after being left behind to die. Reportedly one of the toughest film shoots the cast and crew had ever been a part of, “The Revenant” looks brilliant.