In the aftermath of a lackluster summer movie season, Fall can’t come quickly enough for us movie fans. As the election draws closer we’ll all be looking for a little respite from the political circus with films that remind us, yes humans are still capable of wonderful things. We’ve put together a preview of the films we’re most looking forward to, and made a few bold predictions while we were at it. Here’s to wonderful things!

Sully (Warner Bros. Pictures) Release Date: September 9, 2016
Bold Prediction: This Will Win Best Picture

Sully

Warner Bros. Pictures

There were certainly plenty of honorable independent features released within the first quarter of 2016 (see The WitchGreen Room, and The Lobster), but none of those releases quiet reached the kind of audience that will likely tune in to watch the Oscars early next year. That being said, Clint Eastwood’s forthcoming bio-drama Sully could be the Best Picture winner by default. Considering the fact that Eastwood is almost always acknowledged in some way by the Academy for his work (yes, even for American Sniper), and coupled with the fact that his new movie stars Tom Hanks and is a feel good drama about an unambiguous American hero, it might be a shoe in based on inoffensiveness alone. – Sean K. Cureton


Blair Witch
(Lionsgate), Release Date: September 16, 2016

Blair Witch

Lionsgate

I’ve made it a point to know very little about Blair Witch, I don’t even know who’s in the movie, but I can tell you it’s been on my most anticipated list ever since the teaser hit and it was known as The Woods. Really, that teaser was all that was needed to sell me on the film. Of course the film tapping into the mythology of the one of the all-time great horror films, The Blair Witch Project, is a draw, but really it’s just an added bonus in terms of attracting my interest. We’ve been on a horror high of late with each of the past few years topping the previous, or at least equaling its quality when it comes to the genre. So really all I need to know is Adam Wingard is exploring a dark presence in the woods and that’s enough to merit the purchase of ticket for me. Will it really be one of the scariest movies ever made? Marketing ploy or not I’m ready to find out! – Richard Newby

Denial (Bleecker Street), Release Date: September 30, 2016
Bold Prediction: This Will Be My Mother’s Favorite 2016 Film  

Denial

Bleecker Street

At press time, I’m not convinced there’s anything less cinematic than:

Guy: You know that thing that every non-asshole in the world knows happened? Yeah, it didn’t.

Audience: What? No, fuck you.

Rachel Weisz: Yeah, fuck you man.

My mother is not quite so keyed into the rhythms of dramaturgy, so expect the Holocaust denial flick, uh, Denial, to absolutely dominate her fall season. I anticipate long letters detailing her deep-seated infatuation with the film’s brave moral stance against Third Reich Truther: Timothy Spall. When I return home for thanksgiving, I will no doubt be confronted at my doorstep by my mother’s new hairdo— wavy auburn locks inspired by the wig of bacon wrapped roast-beaf Weisz wears throughout the film. Every Criterion Blu Ray in our house— because who the fuck needs those when you have DENIAL— will be burned over with a copy of Mick “The Bodyguard” Jackson’s cinematic howl into the night. I am actively looking forward to this. – Julian Towers

Voyage of Time (Broad Green Pictures), Release Date: October 7, 2016
Voyage of Time

Broad Green Pictures

 As if having three different cuts of The New World wasn’t enough to drive the completists of the world insane (including yours truly, who lives in perpetual fear that there might exist somewhere a more “definitive” version of whatever he’s watching), Terrence Malick has— for some fucking insane reason— decided to simultaneously release two different versions of his long-awaited documentary, Voyage of Time: a 40 minute IMAX cut and a feature length one, with Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett respectively playing the role of heavenly tour-guide. “WHY CAN’T THE LONG ONE BE IN IMAX TOO?” you want to scream; but we’re all a bunch of suckers, so we’ll see both anyway. In either version it will no doubt be a transfixing look at the wonders of nature, although those hoping for any kind of science will probably leave upset. Malick is very much the cinema’s Sufjan Stevens, so expect this thing to be boldly CHRIS-TIAN. – Julian Towers
American Pastoral (Lionsgate), Release Date: October 21, 2016
American Pastoral

Lionsgate

Philip Roth’s novels share an unfilmable quality that attributes every new adaptation with hesitancy. Many – Ben Kingsley, Al Pacino, and Anthony Hopkins included – have tried and failed to capture the complexities of their source material. The year has already seem the pattern broken however, with an extremely well-received adaptation of Indignation just now exiting theaters from first time director James Schamus. Such imbues the second adaptation – another directorial debut, this one from Ewan McGregor – with an inspiring sense of hope. Will he in the lead as the awe-inspiring Swede Levov, who finds his American Dream shattered after his daughter commits an act of terrorism – and a supporting cast of Jennifer Connelly and Dakota Fanning – be able to accurately portray the heartbreak, or will tragedy befall his iteration as well. It is iffy, but it is one of those great cinematic gambles, which will either pay off in spades, or disappoint significantly.- Jason Ooi
Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (TriStar Pictures), Release Date: November 11, 2015
Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk

TriStar Pictures

There are so many reasons why I am looking forward to Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk. The war drama is brought to us by Ang Lee, one of the greatest living filmmakers. It has got an astounding cast, in particular we can look forward to seeing the likes of Steve Martin, the eternally underrated Kristen Stewart, and the most wonderful man on the planet, Vin Diesel. Of course, the introduction of a new actor like Joe Alwyn in such a prominent film is always going to be worth seeing. However what’s most fascinating about the movie is the prospect of seeing it’s supposedly game-changing filmmaking technique in action. You see, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk is the first film to ever be shot in 120 frames per second. It’s aiming to be one of the most immersive movie-going experiences of all time, a prospect that is difficult not to be even a little curious about. Come November, this is without a doubt going to be a film worth seeing and I for one could not be more excited. – Ryan MacLean

Doctor Strange (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures), Release Date: November 4, 2016

Doctor Strange

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

It shows how far the MCU has come, or how deep its tentacles are in my brain, that the idea of a Doctor Strange movie would be exciting. Strange is a character I’ve never read a comic book about and he exists as a bit player in series I do read. And yet, come the end of the year I’ll be there in the cinema, my wife by my side, excited to see what the Sorcerer Supreme is going to do and how all the trippy imagery of the trailer is going to come together. And I should note my wife will be by my side for one reason only: Benedict Cumberbatch aka my wife’s second husband. And I’ll mostly be there for Mads Mikkelson and Chiwetel Ejiofor aka the other two corners in the polygamous triangle that I probably shouldn’t be writing about/dreaming of.- Sean Fallon

Loving (Focus Features/Universal Pictures), Release Date: November 4, 2016
Bold Prediction: This Movie Will Be an Oscar Darling
Loving

Focus Features/Universal Pictures

 I’ve made this prediction once and I’ll make it again. Loving by Jeff Nichols will get Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga Oscar nominations, if not wins. It is just alluring enough for the Oscars, but subversive enough to be respectable and purposeful, and actually good without leaving a saccharine taste in the mouth. It may just be the change the whole system is in need of – and what better person that Nichols to provide it.– Jason Ooi

Arrival (Paramount Pictures), Release Date: November 11, 2016

Arrival

Paramount Pictures

Before we see Denis Villeneuve explore the world of replicants in his Blade Runner sequel, we’ll see his first step into the world of science-fiction with Arrival. Alien invasion stories have become commonplace within blockbuster cinema with even our comic book movies opting to use visitors from another world. But where Arrival differs is that it looks to have the budget of a blockbuster and the kind of scholarly insight that have propelled some of our greatest science-fiction narratives. Simply put, Arrival looks to put the science back in sci-fi and offer a unique look at how language unities and separates us. With a pitch-perfect trailer that leans heavily on intrigue as opposed to reveals, and a cast consisting of Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Michael Stuhlbarg, and Forest Whitaker, Arrival looks like another high mark on Villeneuve’s perfect record. Don’t surprise if after this film Villeneuve ranks alongside Christopher Nolan as a director whose meteoric rise changed blockbusters and what we ask for in our science-fiction films.– Richard Newby

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (Warner Bros. Pictures), Release Date: November 18, 2015

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Warner Bros. Pictures

Following the release of the original stage production Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, there could perhaps be no better time for a film like Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them to come out. Regardless of how any individual fan might have felt about series author J.K. Rowling’s latest published work in the franchise, it would be hard to deny the fact that more people than ever are interested in seeing another Harry Potter movie. Directed by returning lead filmmaker David Yates, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them appears primed to offer another thrilling glimpse into Rowling’s inspired fantasy realm. Furthermore, Rowling will be providing the screenplay for the new movie for the first time ever, which should result in a more polished viewing experience for her most devoted acolytes in light of her more recent collaborative effort for the stage. – Sean K. Cureton

Moana (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures), Release Date: November 23, 2016

Moana

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Lilo and Stitch carved out a beautiful story of family for Disney back in 2002 and it’s about time we went back to a story with a Pacific Island setting. With Disney’s recent track record from Tangled to Zootopia, they seem untouchable in the quality department. Frozen and Wreck It-Ralph still make me cry without fail. If Moana is half as good as any of Disney movie in the last five years, we’re in good hands. With the inclusion of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Lin-Manuel Miranda contributing to the soundtrack and a story imbued with Pacific Island folklore, this could be one of the most important films in Disney’s catalogue. Also the cute pig in the trailer makes me happy. – Diego Crespo

La La Land (Summit Entertainment), Release Date: December 2, 2016
Bold Prediction: This Will Win Best Picture and We’ll All Be Glad of It

La La Land Still

Summit Entertainment

 Damien Chazelle’s Whiplash was my favorite film of 2014, and for many it was a promise of bold, new artistic vision within the industry. Lucky for us, Chazelle didn’t get swept up in a blockbuster gig and judging by the reaction La La Land is receiving at the Venice Film Festival, Chazelle is making all the right career decisions. It isn’t news that the Academy loves films about themselves and the love story of an aspiring actress and musician in LA, set to a musical background that’s reminiscent of Hollywood’s Golden Age, is right up their alley. But beyond simply gaining the adoration of Hollywood’s most prestigious, I also predict audiences will fall in love with La La Land and lead the vast majority of us to say, for the first time in a long while, the Academy got it absolutely right in deeming it the Best Picture of 2016. – Richard Newby

Rogue One (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures) – Release Date: December 16, 2016

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

My love of Star Wars has been well documented on this website so it probably comes as no surprise that the movie I’m most excited for is a new Star Wars movie. So far the cast, crew, trailers, and story of this movie all sound fantastic. There have been some attempts to sow fear in the public with sensationalist headlines about dreaded reshoots but my confidence is unwavering. Gareth Edwards made Godzilla so he has my trust. The cast is insane and the images released so far are amazing. If this movie is good it will prove that we can have movies in the Star Wars universe that don’t involve Skywalkers meaning that the universe can be filled up and fleshed out, and the franchise can go on forever and ever and ever. – Sean Fallon

A Monster Calls (Focus Features), Release Date, December 23, 2016

A Monster Calls

Focus Features

There’s a unique power in fantasy, one that can make it the most empathetic of genres. J.A. Bayona, who tapped into fierce emotional resonance with The Orphanage and The Impossible, looks to again explore the relationship between mothers and sons with his adaption of Patrick Ness’ book. Ness also wrote the screenplay for the film which was featured on 2013’s Blacklist for the best unmade scripts of that year. The film, which follows a boy who finds aid in a tree monster to cope with his mother’s illness, looks to blend elements of Spielberg with the kind of dark coming of age story that made Let the Right One in such a memorable look at boyhood. With Felicity Jones playing the boy’s mother and Liam Neeson voicing the monster, A Monster Calls may be one of the surprise cinematic achievements of the year.– Richard Newby

Assassin’s Creed (20th Century Fox), Release Date: December 21, 2016

Assassins Creed

20th Century Fox

In last year’s Fall prediction post, I bet that Michael Fassbender would win an Academy Award for his role in either Steve Jobs or Macbeth. I was very wrong when it came to Macbeth, but I almost got it right with my Steve Jobs prediction. Now, Fassbender is back together with Macbeth director Justin Kurzel and co-star Marion Cotillard in the upcoming Assassin’s Creed film, and (against better judgement) I bet that it will be well-received. True, the last time I thought a video game movie would turn out good, audiences were given Warcraft, but I have a little more faith this time. The only teaser trailer released so far only shows us Michael Fassbender, history, violence, and parkour… so pretty much a casual person’s impression of an Assassin’s Creed game. I, however, think that there’s enough history in the Spanish Inquisition to create an exciting narrative and that the Templar/Assassin modern day story is easily transferrable to film. I have faith Kurzel and Fassbender will be able to deliver a stunningly brutal interpretation of the world established by Ubisoft, and I think all audiences will be ready to embrace it. – Anton Reyes

Sean Fallon’s Bold Prediction: This year will one day end and the sun will rise again

Star Trek Beyond

Paramount Pictures

2016 has been a real kick in the nuts for everyone. Too many incredible people have died, Brexit happened, Trump continues to happen, and too many movies have been disappointing. Maybe if we can finish 2016 on a high note it will break the gypsy’s curse that put us in this mess and 2017 will the turnaround. When these last movies of the year are good then we can strike 2016 from the history books and use it as a story we tell children who won’t eat their veggies and that teenagers tell around a campfire:

“And sometimes, on quiet nights like this, you can still hear 2016…Harambe…Make America Great Again…Jared Leto went full method for playing The Joker…Girls can’t bust ghosts!” – Sean Fallon

Featured Image: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures/Summit Entertainment