Following summers of superheroes, aliens, action, adventure, special effects and over-the-top comedies, fall is a much quieter time at the movies.
After Labor Day, there’s room for drama, thoughtful scripts, more thoroughly realized characters and introspective performances. It’s a time when smaller films, artistically ambitious projects, even challenging subjects can find space at the ineplex.
Movies scheduled to open between Sept. 5 and late November include the deep crime drama “The Drop,” featuring a great performance by the late James Gandolfini; and Oscar nominee Robert Downey Jr. and Oscar winners Robert Duvall and Billy Bob Thornton in the comedy-drama “The Judge.”
Director Christopher Nolan, best known for his artful “Batman” trilogy, may have an early Oscar contender with “Interstellar.” The film’s stellar cast includes Oscar winners Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Ellen Burstyn and Michael Caine and Oscar nominee Jessica Chastain.
There also may be much interest in “Rosewater,” a drama written and directed by comedian Jon Stewart. The film is based on journalist Mazir Bahari’s memoir about his captivity in a brutal Iranian prison.
The following films are Beaucoup’s choices of the upcoming films most likely to be among the fall movie season’s best. Films are arranged according to opening dates. Dates are subject to change and may vary from city to city.
Beaucoup picks for fall movies
“THE DROP”: Oscar-nominated director Michaël R. Roskam helms this crime drama from a screenplay by Dennis Lehane (“Mystic River”). Tom Hardy plays a nondescript Brooklyn bartender who works with his bitter cousin, Marv, former owner of the bar. Marv was reduced to bar manager after he lost ownership of the bar to the Chechen mob. The late James Gandolfini co-stars as the unscrupulous Marv, one of finest performances.
“PRIDE”: An unlikely alliance develops in 1984 after Britain’s National Union of Mineworkers goes on strike, raising the ire of the Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. A group of gay and lesbian activists in London decide to raise money to support the striking workers’ families. Rebuffed by the national union, the group carries on by delivering its donation in person to a small mining village in Wales. The cast includes Bill Nighy, Imelda Staunton, Dominic West and Paddy Considine. Opening in limited release.
“THIS IS WHERE I LEAVE YOU”: Mixing comedy and drama, “This is Where I Leave You” follows four world-weary adult siblings as they return home for their father’s funeral. Based on the best-selling novel by Jonathan Tropper, the film features Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Jane Fonda, Adam Driver and Rose Byrne.
“THE EQUALIZER”: Oscar winner Denzel Washington stars as McCall, a man who believes he has put his mysterious past behind him and found a new, quiet life. But then he meets Teri (Chloë Grace Moretz), a young woman under the brutal heels of Russian gangsters. Compelled to help, McCall leaves retirement and applies his unique skills to saving Teri.
“THE BOXTROLLS”: From the makers of “Coraline” and “ParaNorman,” this animated film introduces audiences to the Boxtrolls, a community of mischievous creatures who live in a cavernous home beneath the streets of a town called Cheesebridge. The Boxtrolls lovingly raise an orphaned human boy named Eggs (Isaac Hempstead Wright). When the town’s villain, Archibald Snatcher (Ben Kingsley), plots to destroy the Boxtrolls, Eggs ventures above ground, meets the feisty Winnie (Elle Fanning) and, together, they devise a plan to save the Boxtrolls.
“GONE GIRL”: David Fincher (“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” “Fight Club”) directs this adaptation of the best-seller by Gillian Flynn. Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck), on the occasion of his fifth wedding anniversary, reports that his wife, Amy (Rosamund Pike), is missing. Pressed by police and the media, Nick’s image of a blissful marriage crumbles.
“THE JUDGE”: Oscar nominee Robert Downey Jr. stars as a big city lawyer who returns to his hometown, where his estranged father, a judge, is suspected of murder. Billed as a comedy-drama, the film also features Vera Farmiga, Oscar winner Robert Duvall, Vincent D’Onofrio and Oscar winner Billy Bob Thornton. David Dobkin (“Wedding Crashers”) directs. Oct. 10
“MEN, WOMEN & CHILDREN”: Teenagers and their parents deal with the many ways that the Internet has changed their lives. Video games, anorexia, infidelity, lust for fame and the abundance of illicit material on the Internet come into play. Jason Reitman (“Up in the Air,” “Juno”) directs Kaitlyn Dever, Rosemarie DeWitt, Ansel Elgort and Jennifer Garner in this mix of comedy and drama.
“FURY”: Brad Pitt, star of Quentin Tarantino’s 2009 World War II drama “Inglourious Basterds,” returns to the front as tough army sergeant Wardaddy. In April 1945, the Allies are making make their final push against the Nazis. Wardaddy leads his five-man tank crew on a heroic strike against the heart of Germany. Logan Lerman and Shia LaBeouf co-star.
“BIRDMAN”: This dark comedy directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu features Michael Keaton as a has-been actor who’s famous for portraying a superhero. Keaton’s character is simultaneously struggling to stage a Broadway play, battle his ego and save his family, his career and himself. The strong cast features Emma Stone, Edward Norton, Naomi Watts and Zach Galifianakis. Opening in limited release.
“ST. VINCENT”: Melissa McCarthy’s Maggie, a single mother, moves into a new home in Brooklyn with her 12-year-old son, Oliver. During her long hours at work, she entrusts Oliver with their new neighbor, Bill Murray’s Vincent. Vincent takes Oliver with him as he makes his daily stops. These include a race track, a local bar and a strip club. Naomi Watts, Chris O’Dowd and Terrence Howard co-star. Opening in limited release.
“ROSEWATER”: Comedian Jon Stewart directed and wrote the screenplay for this drama about a journalist who’s held in a brutal Iranian prison for more than 100 days. Based on Mazir Bahari’s memoir, “Then They Came for Me.” Featuring Gael García Bernal, Shohreh Aghdashloo and Golshifteh Farahani.
“THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING”: Academy Award winner James Marsh (“Man on Wire”) helms a romantic drama starring Eddie Redmayne (“Les Misérables”) as the famous physicist Stephen Hawking, author of “A Brief History of Time.” The movie is set in the 1960s, when Hawking is a student at Cambridge University who’s fallen love with art student Jane Wilde. Her memoir, “Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen,” inspired the film. Opening in limited release.
“INTERSTELLAR”: Christopher Nolan (the “Batman” trilogy, “Inception”) directs an all-star cast in a science-fiction story about explorers who use a newly discovered wormhole to surpass limitations on human space travel and conquer the vast distances. The cast features Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Bill Irwin, Ellen Burstyn and Michael Caine.