James Cole Clay has been working as a film critic for the better part of a decade covering new releases, blu ray reviews and the occasional drive-in cult classic. His writing is dedicated to discovering social politics through diverse voices, primarily focusing on Women In Film and LGBTQ cinema.
The fall, that’s when the heavy hitters come to play. Not the kind that miraculously morph from car to an otherworldly robot, or any form of a caped crusader. This is the time when Hollywood releases their prestige products that supposedly hone in on the more “refined” topics of cinema.
The ostensible goal is to usher in a few gold statues for the studio’s film in question, which of course means more monies for all parties involved. That’s a cynical take, but this is a business and luckily these usually are the last pieces of celluloid (R.I.P.) standing on the end of year best of lists. We’ll only be covering the titles from now to Thanksgiving, because after that the flood gates open and all bets are off at the local megaplex.
BLACK MASS (September 18)
Scott Cooper’s last film, OUT OF THE FURNACE, didn’t live up to its promise and proved to be a sophomore slump. Yet, leave it to him to take Johnny Depp’s career back from the artist formally known as Johnny Depp. No bones about it, the tale of Boston crime lord Whitey Bulger (Depp) looks nothing short of pulse pounding. This may be the crime film of the year.
EVEREST (Sept. 18)
This looks a lot better than it should be, EVEREST appears to be a lost relic left behind by the 1990s disaster film craze. However, all you need is a killer trailer and a good cast to have this hit you like an avalanche.
SICARIO (Sept. 25)
Bring on the sleaze with Denis Villeneuve’s latest about an idealistic agent who takes on a drug cartel. Pretty standard stuff, but those who know Villeneuve’s last two American made films, PRISONERS and ENEMY, will quickly realize he isn’t going to cut us moviegoers any breaks. Are you up for the challenge?
THE MARTIAN (Oct. 2)
This is Ridley Scott’s road to redemption after his swords and sandals picture EXODUS: GODS & KINGS took a nasty one of the chin last year. But he’s an iconic filmmaker and this is a separate genre. Plus, you got Matt Damon on the front lines dropping some insanely charming dry humor for all you space geeks out there, and I say that with love.
THE WALK (Sept. 30 in IMAX, October 2 everywhere)
There are a few questions involved with Robert Zemeckis’ high-wire drama THE WALK. Does this story even need to be retold after the spectacular documentary MAN ON WIRE? What’s up with Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s off-putting French accent? Well, all will be revealed on the biggest screen of all come the end of the month.
LEGEND (Oct. 2)
Featuring Tom Hardy in a dual role as the Kray twins, two of Britain’s most infamous criminals of the 50s and 60s. Not too big of a fan of director Brian Helgeland’s golden waved biopic about Jackie Robinson, 42, but two Hardy’s for the price of one? Get real. That’s enough to put this butt in a seat.
Joe Wright did make one of the best films of the century in ATONEMENT, but Hugh Jackman as Captain Hook? C’mon. Haven’t we seen this rehash before?
STEVE JOBS (Oct. 9)
Directed by Danny Boyle. Written by Aaron Sorkin. Starring Michael Fassbender.
BRIDGE OF SPIES (Oct. 16)
Steven Spielberg teams up again with Tom Hanks, which has proved to be a winning combination. The Cold-War spy thriller is sort of a dead topic, but let’s see if they can strike up the furnace again on our nation’s most paranoid era.
CRIMSON PEAK (Oct. 16)
American Gothic meets up with the man, Guillermo Del Toro, who redefined the modern fairy tale with the likes of CRONOS, THE DEVILS BACKBONE and the masterpiece PAN’S LABYRINTH. Things get real weird, sexy and violent when a 19th century aristocrat (Tom Hiddleston) takes his young bride (Mia Wasikowska) to live in a spooky old mansion. You had me at Guillermo… and Hiddleston.
ROOM (Oct. 16)
The jury is still out on filmmaker Lenny Abrahamson who made last year’s left of center FRANK to great success and a glowing review from yours truly. ROOM is another promising vehicle for Brie Larson who is having a banner year. Larson plays a mother who is bound by love to her young son who is relegated to spend his life in a single “room.” By design I have yet to watch the trailer, but early buzz says this is the tearjerker of the year. Hopefully that’s your thing.
SPECTRE (November 6)
Daniel Craig’s fourth journey into the mind of the angsty James Bond is bound to have some surprises, especially with Christoph Waltz in the villain role. However, Sam Mendes may not be able to add anymore layers to the onion of this franchise that we already didn’t get with the masterful SKYFALL back in 2012.
Last year wasn’t the kindest to Thomas McCarthy, as his collab with Adam Sandler in THE COBBLER bolted at breakneck speed to Netflix. The finest always bounce back and boy does he bring a cast with him, including Michael Keaton as an editor at the Boston Globe who cracks open with his team of reporters (Mark Ruffalo and Rachel McAdams) the Pulitzer Prize-winning story about the Catholic Church’s sexual abuse cover up in 2003.
BY THE SEA (Nov. 13)
It’s a gutsy move to act alongside your spouse in a romantic drama, especially when one of the two is the writer and director of the project. Well, Brangelina (Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie-Pitt) have decided to do just that in a bold turn as a couple who are on the rocks, and set their sights on rural France where they secluded but start to draw closer to some of the locals.
THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY-PART 2 (Nov. 20)
This is the end. And could quite possibly be the latest big film of the YA craze that’s been churning out since TWILIGHT hit the scene back in 2008. While MOCKINGJAY PART 1 was more of a meditation than the spectacle that we may have been expecting, Katniss and Co. are in their last ditch efforts to take over the capital, and that means MORE ACTION!