A fall full of films

By Catherine Krummey Forum News Service In the movie business these days, it seems there are only three seasons: the summer blockbuster extravaganza (May through August), the autumn awards rush (September through December) and the winter wastelan...

By Catherine Krummey

Forum News Service

In the movie business these days, it seems there are only three seasons: the summer blockbuster extravaganza (May through August), the autumn awards rush (September through December) and the winter wasteland (January through April).

This fall will be no different, with a slew of films clamoring for the coveted Academy Awards, Golden Globes and other trophies doled out in the parade of award shows in January and February.

Of course, the film studios aren’t going to relentlessly hit you over the head with dramas, so there are also plenty of comedies, family-friendly films, musicals and animated movies to see as the year marches on.


We’ve whittled it down to 10 top picks to head out to the theater for this fall. Do note: The films with limited release dates may or may not be debuting nearby on those days, but they are all likely to expand for wider distribution in the weeks following those dates. All release dates are subject to change.


The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby

Release Dates: Sept. 12 (“Them” - limited), Oct. 10 (“Her” and “Him” - limited)

Jessica Chastain (“Zero Dark Thirty,” “The Help”) and James McAvoy (“The Last King of Scotland,” “X-Men: First Class”) are two of the most talented actors to pop up in the last decade or so, and they’re finally pairing up for “The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby.” In a unique filmmaking twist, the film is being released as three separate movies, subtitled “Her,” “Him” and “Them,” as an attempt to show how differently two people can perceive things in a relationship.


This Is Where I Leave You

Release Date: Sept. 19


With a cast that includes Tina Fey, Jane Fonda, Jason Bateman and Adam Driver, you might be expecting an all-out comedy. However, “This Is Where I Leave You” is centered on the death of a man who is the father to Fey, Bateman and Driver’s characters and the husband to Fonda’s character, which should allow all of these actors to flex their dramatic muscles, too.


Gone Girl

Release Date: Oct. 3

Based on the bestselling novel of the same name by Gillian Flynn and directed by David Fincher (“Seven,” “Zodiac,” TV’s “House of Cards”), “Gone Girl” is one of the most fan-anticipated movies of the fall. Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike star in the film, which follows a woman’s (Pike) disappearance, taking a close look at her husband’s (Affleck) possible involvement.


The Judge

Release Date: Oct. 10


When a movie stars Robert Duvall and Robert Downey Jr. as a father and son with their fair share of issues, there isn’t much left to say, right? Both actors are considered early Oscar contenders for their roles in “The Judge,” which tells the story of a hotshot lawyer (Downey) who has to come back to his hometown to defend his father (Duvall as the titular character), who may or may not have killed someone.



Release Date: Nov. 7

“Interstellar” is filmmaker Christopher Nolan’s first post-Batman movie. Starring Matthew McConaughey fresh off of his successes with “Dallas Buyers Club,” “Mud” and TV’s “True Detective,” the movie appears to be another step in the right direction for him. McConaughey joins Anne Hathaway (who was Nolan’s Catwoman) in space in an effort to save his family - and the world. One trailer for the film features Michael Caine (Nolan’s Alfred) spouting the words of Dylan Thomas, which is one indication that this might be a more austere action film, a la Darren Aronofsky’s “The Fountain” or Nolan’s own “Inception.”


Dumb and Dumber To

Release Date: Nov. 14


That’s no typo. Playing off the dimwitted nature of characters Harry and Lloyd, “Dumb and Dumber To” is finally gracing the big screen this fall. And yes, Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels are back to provide a couple more hours of mindless fun amidst the awards contenders. As a child of the ’90s, this movie is right up there with all the Oscar bait as a must-see.


The Imitation Game

Release Date: Nov. 21 (limited)

Benedict Cumberbatch, fresh off his Emmy win for “Sherlock,” stars in “The Imitation Game” as mathematician Alan Turing as he attempts to crack the Enigma code during World War II. The movie is generating some awards buzz of its own for Cumberbatch, who co-stars with Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode and Mark Strong.


Inherent Vice

Release Date: Dec. 12 (limited)


Paul Thomas Anderson (“Magnolia,” “There Will Be Blood,” “The Master”) always brings moviegoers captivating stories, and “Inherent Vice” should be no different. Joaquin Phoenix, Owen Wilson, Josh Brolin and Reese Witherspoon star in the adaptation of Thomas Pynchon’s novel, which is set in Los Angeles in 1970 and revolves around private eye Doc Sportello, his ex-girlfriend, her billionaire land developer boyfriend and an ensemble of what are sure to be enthralling characters. Warner Bros. is billing the movie as “part surf noir, part psychedelic romp.”



Release Date: Dec. 19

Anyone who missed Quvenzhane Wallis’ Oscar-nominated turn in “Beasts of the Southern Wild” will be sure to know her name come December. She stars as the titular character in “Annie,” the latest adaptation of the family favorite musical, opposite Jamie Foxx as the Daddy Warbucks character, updated here as a politician named Benjamin Stacks.



Release Date: Dec. 25


“In the Land of Blood and Honey,” Angelina Jolie’s directorial debut, was quite impressive, despite not being widely seen. Her follow-up, “Unbroken,” the story of Olympian and prisoner of war Louis Zamperini, is sure to garner the attention of critics and moviegoers alike. If you’re looking for an inspirational film to see over the holidays, this is it.


Other fall releases worth noting: “The Book of Life,” an undead animated opus from the creators of “Coraline” and “ParaNorman” (Oct. 17); “Birdman,” Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s story of a washed-up actor (Michael Keaton) known for playing an iconic superhero who mounts a comeback (Oct. 17, limited); “Foxcatcher,” the true tale of Olympic wrestling champion brothers starring Mark Ruffalo, Channing Tatum and Steve Carell (Nov. 14, limited); “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part One,” the latest installment of the blockbuster franchise (Nov. 21); and “Into the Woods,” an adaptation of the hit Broadway musical starring Meryl Streep, among others (Dec. 25).
Krummey is the Grand Forks Herald features editor.

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