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Our 25 Most-Anticipated Fall 2016 Films

Written by on August 25, 2016 


In continuing our fall preview, after highlighting the 25 best films we’ve already seen, today brings a look at the unknown. We’ve narrowed down 25 works with (mostly) confirmed release dates that are coming over the next four months and have us intrigued. While some won’t show up until late December, a good amount will first premiere over the next few weeks at various film festivals, so check back for our reviews.

See our list below, and return soon for our final preview: the festival premieres we’re most looking forward to.

25. Assassin’s Creed (Justin Kurzel; Dec. 21)

Assassins Creed

Along with a good chance of earning the highly-patented title of Best Video Game Movie, Justin Kurzel’s (Snowtown, Macbeth) upcoming, massive-video-game-franchise-to-big-screen-adaptation Assassin’s Creed also has the potential for so much more. Michael Fassbender stars as a man in the modern era who is kidnapped by a shady corporation (led by Marion Cotillard) and transported — via the memories of his ancestors through a machine called the Animus — to the Spanish Inquisition, where he embraces his ancestral occupation of being a master assassin. This involves leaping off massive buildings, stabbing people with hidden blades, and looking cool in a hood. The pairing of Kurzel, Fassbender, and Cotillard, along with cinematographer Adam Arkapaw was dynamite in last year’s Macbeth, and their re-teaming tips the scales in favor of an end-of-the-year blockbuster with edge, style, and, most importantly, substance. It also stars Michael K. Williams, Jeremy Irons, and Brendan Gleeson, which is always worth a mention. – Mike M.

24. Sully (Clint Eastwood; Sept. 9)

Sully 1

To a certain brand of cinephile, that static, silver Warner Bros. logo and thin, melancholy score is like coming home after a long day, regardless of however the final product turns out. Clint Eastwood follows American Sniper — a rather knotty, engrossing, and admirable film, in no small part because much of it’s fairly troubling – with Sully, the story of Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger’s (a gray-haired Tom Hanks) miraculous landing on the Hudson and the unwanted attention that followed. More than being the first narrative feature shot almost entirely with (digital) IMAX cameras, Sully intrigues for how it might continue the director’s investigation of American exceptionalism’s many complications. And what’s this about the whole story fitting into 96 minutes? That should be something else to behold. – Nick N.

23. Hidden Figures (Theodore Melfi; Dec. 25)

Hidden Figures

Starring Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, and Janelle MonáeHidden Figures tells the true story of a group of brilliant African-American women who worked at NASA during the mission to launch John Glenn into orbit. St. Vincent director Theodore Melfi hasn’t quite impressed us yet, but with this fascinating angle on the space race that clearly hasn’t been given enough of the spotlight yet, hopefully it’s a surprise later this season. Add in a supporting cast of Kevin Costner, Kirsten Dunst, Jim Parsons, Mahershala Ali, Aldis Hodge, and Glen Powell, and this is at least one of the year’s best ensembles. – Jordan R.

22. The Monster (Bryan Bertino; Nov. TBD)

There Are Monsters

After crafting one of the more effective horror features of the last decade with The Strangers, writer-director Bryan Bertino is back with The Monster. Starring Zoe Kazan and Ella Ballentine, it follows a mother and daughter trapped and tormented in a black forest by a screeching creature. Unfortunately, not a great deal else is yet known about the project, but with A24 backing in, that’s all we need to know to look forward to a hopefully frightful time at the movies. – Jordan R.

21. Miss Sloane (John Madden; Dec. 9)

Miss Sloane 1

Despite a deliciously evil supporting turn in Crimson Peak and being an integral part of The Martian‘s large ensemble, it’s been some time since we’ve seen Jessica Chastain in a lead role. Thankfully, that’ll arrive this fall as she stars in Miss Sloane, a new drama from John Madden (who reteams with the actress after The Debt) that follows her as a lobbyist in D.C. attempting to get a background-check bill through the U.S. Senate as she fights for gun control. Considering how prevalent and necessary an issue this is, we can’t imagine a better-timed release. – Jordan R.

20. The Queen of Katwe (Mira Nair; Sept. 23)

Queen of Katwe

She broke out in 12 Years a Slave, but we actually haven’t seen Lupita Nyong’o onscreen since. Yes, she did motion-capture work for Star Wars: The Force Awakens and The Jungle Book, but those hoping for a more substantial role from the actress will get as much this year. Mississippi Masala and Monsoon Wedding director Mira Nair has adapted Tim Crothers‘ book, based on his own article for ESPN, with Queen of Katwe, which follows the true story of Phiona Mutesi, who emerged from the slums of Kampala, Uganda and became a chess prodigy as a teenager. Shaping up to be an authentic, feel-good drama, it’ll premiere at TIFF soon. – Jordan R.

19. Jack Reacher: Never Go Back (Edward Zwick; Oct. 21)

Jack Reacher Never Go Back

While it didn’t reach his outings as Ethan Hunt, Jack Reacher‘s $200 million-plus gross was enough for Paramount to greenlight a sequel. As Christopher McQuarrie has now been put on Mission: Impossible duty (and doing a mighty fine job to boot), director Edward Zwick has stepped in to make the sequel. This time around, the adventure, based on Lee Child‘s 18th book, finds our lead and Cobie Smulders‘ new character on the run. As a major fan of the no-frills ’70s / ’80s vibe in the first film, we hope Zwick continues that here. – Jordan R.

18. A Monster Calls (J.A. Bayona; Dec. 23)

A Monster Calls

Sometimes you want to go to a movie just to feel something. Sometimes, that thing you want to feel is cathartic sadness. Judging just from its trailer — which has sent this writer’s wife into tears twice — A Monster Calls will be that tear-jerker hit of the fall. The film features a young boy dealing with the death of his mother through the help of a monster (voiced by Liam Neeson) who helps him feel a bit of control in this out-of-control world. The trailer is rife with emotionally fraught moments and beautifully loving bits of dialogue, and if the full movie reaches even a fraction of its emotional impact, audiences can expect to be in for an experience that won’t be easy to shake. – Brian R.

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