Black Mass (September 18; Johnny Depp, Joel Edgerton, Benedict Cumberbatch. Directed by Scott Cooper.) Depp attempts to play a real person in this biopic of notorious Boston gangster Whitey Bulger, who used his position as an FBI informant to take down his enemies.
Sicario (September 25; Emily Blunt, Benicio del Toro, Josh Brolin. Directed by Denis Villeneuve.) This thriller from the director of Prisoners premiered at the Cannes Film Festival to great acclaim, especially for Blunt’s lead performance as an FBI agent caught in the crossfire between a Mexican drug lord and her superiors.
The Walk (September 30; Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ben Kingsley, Charlotte Le Bon. Directed by Robert Zemeckis.) The true story of Philippe Petit’s 1974 high-wire walk between the twin towers of the World Trade Center, previously recounted in the documentary Man on Wire, gets the big-budget IMAX and 3D treatment.
The Martian (October 2; Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig. Directed by Ridley Scott.) This adaptation of the bestselling novel by Andy Weir stars Damon as an astronaut stranded on Mars while scientists on Earth desperately try to figure out how to rescue him.
Steve Jobs (October 9; Michael Fassbender, Seth Rogen, Kate Winslet. Directed by Danny Boyle.) Fassbender plays the revered co-founder and longtime CEO of Apple in this biopic written by Aaron Sorkin and focused on three major moments in Jobs’ career.
Bridge of Spies (October 16; Tom Hanks, Alan Alda, Amy Ryan. Directed by Steven Spielberg.) This Cold War thriller stars Hanks as an American lawyer recruited by the CIA to help negotiate the release of an American pilot captured by the Soviets.
Crimson Peak (October 16; Mia Wasikowska, Jessica Chastain, Tom Hiddleston. Directed by Guillermo del Toro.) After the big-budget spectacle of Pacific Rim, del Toro returns to his gloomy horror roots with this story about a young woman (Wasikowska) who finds herself living in a haunted house when she moves in with her new husband and his sister.
Jem and the Holograms (October 23; Aubrey Peeples, Stefanie Scott, Hayley Kiyoko. Directed by Jon M. Chu.) The 1980s cartoon about a glam rock star with a secret identity gets a makeover for the social-media age in this live-action movie, with Jem as a YouTube sensation who must navigate the treacherous world of corporate rock stardom.
The Peanuts Movie (November 6; voices of Noah Schnapp, Alexander Garfin, Mariel Sheets. Directed by Steve Martino.) Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Peppermint Patty and all their pals return in a computer-animated movie that attempts to replicate the style of original comic-strip creator Charles M. Schulz.
Spectre (November 6; Daniel Craig, Monica Bellucci, Christoph Waltz. Directed by Sam Mendes.) One of James Bond’s classic antagonists, the evil SPECTRE organization, returns in a new form in the super-spy’s latest adventure, featuring Waltz as a villain with ties to Bond’s past.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2 (November 20; Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth. Directed by Francis Lawrence.) The post-apocalyptic series reaches its conclusion, as teenage hero Katniss Everdeen (Lawrence) leads a rebellion against the corrupt government of Panem.
Creed (November 25; Michael B. Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, Tessa Thompson. Directed by Ryan Coogler.) Rocky Balboa returns, this time as a supporting character in the story of Adonis Creed (Jordan), son of late Rocky opponent Apollo Creed and himself a troubled aspiring boxer who needs Rocky’s guidance.
The Good Dinosaur (November 25; voices of Raymond Ochoa, Frances McDormand, Jeffrey Wright. Directed by Peter Sohn.) Pixar’s latest animated movie imagines a world in which dinosaurs never became extinct, and follows a young apatosaurus as he befriends a human caveboy named Spot.
Also: The Transporter Refueled (September 4); Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials (September 18); Hotel Transylvania 2 (September 25); Goosebumps (October 16); Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension (October 23); Rings (November 13).
Three limited-release films we hope make it to Las Vegas
The Forbidden Room The latest exercise in retro-fueled insanity from Canadian filmmaker Guy Maddin (My Winnipeg, The Saddest Music in the World) takes the form of a Russian-doll nested labyrinth of stories within stories, all of them carefully crafted to look like lost silent movies and inspired by actual silent movies that are now lost. It’s Maddin’s most ambitious project to date, and one of his best.
Carol Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara star in Todd Haynes’ chilly yet steamy adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s novel The Price of Salt, which tells the story of a lesbian romance from the perspective of the ultra-repressed 1950s. Mara won Best Actress at Cannes earlier this year for her performance, but Blanchett is equally at home in Haynes’ lushly gorgeous portrait of desire seeping through the portals of restraint.
Breathe Actress Mélanie Laurent (Inglourious Basterds, Beginners) steps behind the camera for this bracing tale of a toxic friendship between two French teenage girls, one of whom uses her popularity and status as a weapon against the other. It’s a film that only a woman could make with such disturbing acuity, and Exhibit A regarding why we need more female directors. –Mike D’Angelo