Last week, I gave readers a sneak peek of some of the most hotly anticipated family films that will be making their way to theaters near you between now and the end of the year. Today I want to change gears a bit and focus on some upcoming movies for mom and dad in Fall/Winter 2016 to enjoy while the kids are tying up the babysitter at home.
The fall/winter season is my favorite time of the year for movies as the studios bring out their prized possessions, the films they believe are potential awards contenders. Since the year 2000, 13 of the 16 Academy Award winners for Best Picture were released after September 1.
Among the titles this year vying for Oscar gold and audience dollars are a Broadway play translated for the screen, an original musical already winning rave reviews overseas, a dramatic thriller with an all-star cast, a sci-fi epic, and a couple adaptations of popular novels that are sure to get everyone talking!
So, without further ado, away we go…
Upcoming Movies for Mom and Dad: Fall/Winter 2016
SULLY (Scheduled for release September 9) – OK, so fall doesn’t technically begin until September 22 this year, but I consider this film to be the official start of the fall/winter motion picture season. Anyone with a television or newspaper subscription back in early 2009 is bound to remember Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, the airline pilot who miraculously made an emergency landing in New York’s Hudson River after striking a flock of geese. Sully was deemed a national hero and the media found a new golden boy. This biography goes beyond the hoopla and delves into the ensuing investigation that threatened the captain’s career. Directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Tom Hanks, this could potentially be one of the more popular films of the fall. I’m not generally a fan of Eastwood’s work as a director, with a couple notable exceptions; but with Hanks on board, this is bound to be a flight many will want to take, especially those ready for the end of a disappointing summer season.
THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN (Scheduled for release October 7) – Based on the popular novel by Paula Hawkins, this film is certain to appeal to the GONE GIRL crowd from a couple years ago. Emily Blunt plays Rachel Watson, a divorcee who daily takes a train that passes her old house where her ex-husband and his new wife currently live. During her trips, she begins to focus on a couple living a few houses down and envisions a dream life for them in her head. After seeing something shocking that fills her with rage, Rachel finds herself involved in an investigation that could eventually find her guilty of murder. Early word on this film has been very high on Blunt, who is currently one of the most popular actresses at work – and rightfully so. Having just been cast as Mary Poppins in the upcoming sequel, she is definitely on a roll lately, and director Tate Taylor had a huge hit a few years back with THE HELP. I’m anxious to hear from those who’ve read the book to see if the movie is anywhere near as good.
ARRIVAL (Scheduled for release November 11) – In what sounds like an intriguing cross between INDEPENDENCE DAY and INTERSTELLAR, this film features Amy Adams as linguist expert Louise Banks, who is recruited by the military to determine whether recent alien aircraft landings across the world are of a peaceful nature or if they are a threat to Earth’s survival. I personally wasn’t overwhelmed by the trailer for this movie, but I admittedly have a soft spot for disaster movies about alien invasions! I have a feeling this will draw comparisons to Robert Zemeckis’ CONTACT, the 1997 Jodie Foster movie based on Carl Sagan’s novel.
BILLY LYNN’S LONG HALFTIME WALK (Scheduled for release November 11) – If ARRIVAL doesn’t quite sound like your type of movie, opening the same day is something completely different. Based on Ben Fountain’s novel, this film contrasts the realities of war with America’s perceptions of war as teenager Billy Flynn is brought home for a victory tour after serving in Iraq. Through flashbacks we witness what really happened to his squad. The climax of the film takes place during the halftime show of a Thanksgiving Day football game. Director Ang Lee, who has made three of my favorite films of the last 25 years (SENSE AND SENSIBILITY, THE ICE STORM, and BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN), is easily one of the top 5 directors working in film today, and this is among the most anticipated films of the year. The cast features Kristen Stewart, Vin Diesel, and Steven Martin in a rare serious role, as well as newcomer Joe Alwyn as the titular character.
NOCTURNAL ANIMALS (Scheduled for release December 9) – Fashion designer turned film director Tom Ford made possibly the best film of 2009 that no one has ever heard of, a shattering 2009 drama called A SINGLE MAN with Colin Firth and Julianne Moore about a professor dealing with the death of his partner. In his first film since then, Ford has assembled arguably the best cast of the season, including Oscar nominees Jake Gyllenhaal, Amy Adams, Laura Linney, and Michael Shannon, in this thriller based on Austin Wright’s novel TONY AND SUSAN. The plot revolves around a writer who asks his ex-wife to read a manuscript of his new novel, which turns out to be a very troubling story about violence and death. The ex-wife interprets the manuscript as a possibly veiled threat and a possible tale of revenge. Adams is probably the busiest actress of the season, and I can’t think of any actor working today who is better or more courageous in his film choices than Gyllenhaal. This is personally my most awaited film of the season.
LA LA LAND (Scheduled for release December 16) – In what could be the most exciting and original film musical since 2001’s MOULIN ROUGE, director Damien Chazelle, who brought us the award-winning WHIPLASH, casts Ryan Gosling as a jazz pianist who falls for aspiring actress Emma Stone. With success comes decisions that threaten to destroy their love affair. While I found WHIPLASH extremely overrated, I still saw flickers of greatness and what could have been, and I wholeheartedly salute anyone who works to keep movie musicals alive and vital. This film literally just premiered for the first time anywhere at the Venice Film Festival and reviewers went nuts for it – the word “masterpiece” was used more than once. I wouldn’t be surprised to see this land Oscar nominations in all the top categories, including Picture, Director, Actor, and Actress.
FENCES (Scheduled for release December 25) – Speaking of Oscar, I am going to go out on a huge limb and make a ridiculously early prediction. You heard it here first. If FENCES is even remotely good, Viola Davis will win the Best Actress Academy Award this year. Hollywood is desperate to award her, many think she should have won for THE HELP, and considering the last two years have seen no African Americans nominated in any of the acting categories, I consider her win here almost inevitable. Denzel Washington stars and directs in this film adaptation of August Wilson’s Tony award winning Best Play about race relations in the 1950s. Washington and Davis re-create their stage roles, for which Davis also won a Tony Award. I’ve heard talk that the film hasn’t been completed, so there is a slight possibility it won’t come out until 2017; however, if it is ready in time, I could potentially see this as a dark horse for Best Picture as well.
Are there any particular movies you’re looking forward to later this year?
What have been your favorite 2016 movies so far?
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