30 movies to see this fall

From prestigious biopics and Oscar bait to a new film from the Jackass crew, we’ve got the scoop on the movies you need to see this fall.

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  • The chill in the air can't come soon enough, because it means the fall movies are here: the ones that win awards, the films that stimulate brain cells long dormant from a season of popcorn-fed explosions. New York City in autumn is the most magical place anywhere, and fall movie fans have Lincoln Center's New York Film Festival to anticipate. Additionally, two of our town's signature directors have new work on deck: Martin Scorsese returns with The Wolf of Wall Street, while Spike Lee serves up an inventive remake of the Korean thriller Oldboy. Elsewhere, we expect wrenching performances bound to jostle for space at the Oscar podium—turns from Robert Redford (All Is Lost), Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave), Nicole Kidman (Grace of Monaco) and Bruce Dern (Nebraska). And what if you crave more summer-style silliness? No shame in that. There's Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa, too.

    Click the right arrow on the image above to see our 30 movies to see this fall.

  • Fall movies: Riddick

    Vin Diesel returns as the take-no-prisoners space warrior from Pitch Black (2000) and The Chronicles of Riddick (2004); this time he’s marooned on an alien planet, where he must deal with bounty hunters and, soon enough, a much more terrifying threat. (September 6)

  • Fall movies: Wadjda

    A festival favorite and the first feature film directed by a female Saudi director, Haifaa Al-Mansour’s narrative debut follows a young Muslim girl who’ll do anything—selling bootleg music tapes, winning her school’s Koran-reading competition—to procure a prized bike. Paging Vittorio De Sica! (September 13)

  • Fall movies: After Tiller

    A wrenching documentary on the subject of third-trimester abortions, this tough-minded profile follows the last four doctors in America who continue to provide the service, at great risk to their safety. The religious right stands firm, unconvinced as scientific reasons for the procedure are offered. (September 20)

  • Fall movies: Prisoners

    Canadian filmmaker Denis Villeneuve’s follow-up to the Oscar-nominated Incendies (2010) pairs Hugh Jackman as a father searching for his missing daughter with Jake Gyllenhaal as the cop looking for whoever took her. When a suspect emerges, well…let’s just say its called Prisoners for a reason. (September 20)

  • Fall movies: Rush

    Among Formula One fans, their rivalry was legendary: Britain’s James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) faced off against Austrian daredevil Niki Lauda (Daniel Brühl). Ominously, a crash is on the horizon, but will it stop them? Director Ron Howard returns to the claustrophobic action of Apollo 13. (September 20)

  • Fall movies: Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2

    Flint and the rest of the crew from the surprisingly savvy 2009 adaptation of Judi and Ron Barrett’s kids’ book return to their giant-snack–covered town to find that a whole new ecosphere (imagine a foodie version of Jurassic Park) has developed in their absence. One word: tacodile. (September 27)

  • Fall preview: Don Jon

    We like the idea of sharp-witted Joseph Gordon-Levitt stepping behind the camera to write and direct, especially when the results sound so Moonstruck-earthy: He plays a prowling New Jersey bachelor with a hefty porn addiction who finally falls for the right girl (Scarlett Johansson), even though he might not be ready for reality. (September 27)

  • Fall movies: 51st New York Film Festival

    The premier event of any NYC filmgoer’s calendar returns, and it’s sure to be stocked with new works from big-name art-house auteurs and award-season heavy hitters. The announced title that we’re really salivating over: Her, Spike Jonze’s love story about a man (Joaquin Phoenix) and the Siri-like voice on his phone’s operating system, which isn’t due in theaters until late December. (September 27–October 13)

  • Fall movies: Gravity

    We’ll see anything by the highly talented Alfonso Cuarón, who directed the best Harry Potter installment (2004’s Prisoner of Azkaban) and the memorably dystopic Children of Men (2006). If the awe-inspiring trailers for his sci-fi thriller about two astronauts (Sandra Bullock and George Clooney) stranded in space are any indication, we’re in for an even wilder ride than usual. (October 4)

  • Fall movies: Narco Cultura

    We’ve all heard about how Mexico’s drug-cartel violence have turned places like Ciudad Juárez into war zones; this compelling documentary looks at the problem from a different angle, via the narcocorrido singers, filmmakers, etc., who gain fame and fortune by telling these murderous kingpins’ stories. (October 4)

  • Fall movies: Captain Phillips

    This year’s Danish import A Hijacking has already set the bar ridiculously high for Somali-pirate thrillers, yet if anyone can pull off the bona fide heroic tale of the 2009 Maersk Alabama hijacking, it’s action genius Paul Greengrass (United 93), working with star Tom Hanks. (October 11)

  • Fall movies: Machete Kills

    Danny Trejo’s unstoppable ex-Federale is back for more copious bloodletting! Robert Rodriguez’s sequel follows our imposing, texting-opposed hero as he takes on an arms dealer (Mel Gibson) with plans for global domination. (October 11)

  • Fall movies: Romeo and Juliet

    Every generation gets its own movie version of the Bard’s immortal tragedy—and even if Leo DiCaprio’s Romeo is probably safe this time (Douglas Booth?), we were way impressed with Hailee Steinfeld’s turn in True Grit and look forward to her pugnacious Juliet. Adding to our excitement: The script is by Downton Abbey’s Julian Fellowes. (October 11)

  • Fall movies: Camille Claudel, 1915

    Graphic sexuality, rigorous art-house formality and Old Testament overtones: Bruno Dumont’s confrontational brand of cinema is certainly an acquired taste. But we’re very much looking forward to his biopic about the unstable French sculptor Camille Claudel, if for no other reason than she’s played by the exquisite Juliette Binoche. (October 16)

  • Fall movies: All Is Lost

    Robert Redford has launched a film festival and seduced millions of fans over decades, but can he carry a film without the benefit of a single costar? That will be the test with this cool-sounding survival film, about a boater stranded on choppy waters with only his wits to save him. (October 18)

  • Fall movies: Carrie

    Brian De Palma’s 1976 classic didn’t scream out for a remake, but if Hollywood needed to go there (it did, evidently), some smart choices were made: Kick-Ass’s Chloë Grace Moretz plays the telekinetic loner, Julianne Moore is the crazy mom, and director Kimberly Peirce (Boys Don’t Cry) brings the pig blood. (October 18)

  • Fall movies: Escape Plan

    The titans of ’80s muscle cinema—Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger—team up for this prison drama, in which two inmates must hatch a scheme (see title) to break out of the world’s most heavily fortified jailhouse. Did we mention that Stallone’s character also designed the impenetrable facility? (October 18)

  • Fall movies: The Fifth Estate

    He killed it as Khan in the most recent Star Trek film, and for this fact-based thriller, British actor Benedict Cumberbatch assays a different kind of dissident: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, as he rises from hacktivist subversion to government-discrediting prominence. (October 18)

  • Fall movies: 12 Years a Slave

    Having taken on suicide by starvation (Hunger) and sex addiction (Shame), British visual-artist-turned-filmmaker Steve McQueen turns to another s-word: slavery. This adaptation of Solomon Northup’s memoirs about being sold to a Southern plantation has an impressive cast—Brad Pitt, Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Giamatti—but we’re betting that it’s Chiwetel Ejiofor’s name that will be on everybody’s list come Oscar time. (October 18)

  • Fall movies: Blue Is the Warmest Color

    The latest feature from Tunisian-French director Abdellatif Kechiche (The Secret of the Grain) won top prize at Cannes this year; it’s an enthralling three-hour character study of a young woman (the terrific Adèle Exarchopoulos) whose sexual and social identity is shaped, for better and for worse, by a slightly older art student (Léa Seydoux). (October 25)

  • Fall movies: The Counselor

    Ridley Scott’s star-studded thriller can be summed up as succinctly as novelist-turned-screenwriter Cormac McCarthy’s cut-to-the-quick prose: A lawyer (Michael Fassbender) gets involved in drug trafficking. Trouble ensues. It’s gotta be better than Prometheus, right? (October 25)

  • Fall movies: Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa

    Life-threatening stunts are apparently not enough for Johnny Knoxville. Now he wants to play an actual character (offensive old man Irving Zisman), interact with a grandson and invade Sacha Baron Cohen’s territory of semiscripted provocation. We applaud the ambition—and hope for plenty of spills. (October 25)

  • Fall movies: Ender’s Game

    His regrettable views on gay marriage notwithstanding, novelist Orson Scott Card can claim to have written one of the most provocative sci-fi stories of the past 30 years: a tale of future children trained to become military geniuses long before their ethics catch up. Here’s hoping the script isn’t dumbed down. (November 1)

  • Fall movies: Faust

    Plenty of filmmakers have tried their hand at the story of the man who makes a binding deal with the devil, but Russian director Aleksandr Sokurov (The Sun) is sure to put his defiantly personal stamp on the material; it certainly impressed the jury at the 2011 Venice Film Festival, where it took home the coveted Golden Lion. (November 15)

  • Fall movies: The Wolf of Wall Street

    Who wants a Goodfellas set in world of finance? Judging from its amazing, amped-up trailer, that’s exactly what we’ll get with Martin Scorsese’s blistering take on Jordan Belfort’s book about the rise and fall of a shady stock-market hotshot (Leonardo DiCaprio, of course)—and we could not be more psyched. Bring it, Marty! (November 15)

  • Fall movies: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

    We missed you, Katniss: Jennifer Lawrence has, since the first installment, won an Oscar and cornered the talk-show market on lovable rawness. Now she returns to her already-iconic role, and, fortunately for the actor, Suzanne Collins’s second book gets a whole lot more serious. (November 22)

  • Photo Credit: Merie W. Wallace

    Fall movies: Nebraska

    Alexander Payne has carved out a niche as a chronicler of everyday schlubs looking for a leg up on the world, or at least a chance to end their long losing streaks. He’s also an extraordinary director of actors, and the word on the street is that his black-and-white road movie about an elderly man cashing in a lottery ticket will nab Bruce Dern a long-deserved statuette. Fingers crossed. (November 22)

  • Fall movies: Grace of Monaco

    It’s the role Nicole Kidman was born to play, but don’t expect tons of Hollywood intrigue. This portion of Grace Kelly’s life story takes place after the former Hitchcock blond’s retreat to Europe, as tensions rise between the outrageously wealthy (led by Tim Roth’s Prince of Monaco) and a potentially invasive Charles de Gaulle. (November 27)

  • Fall movies: Oldboy

    If we have to have an American remake of South Korean filmmaker Park Chan-wook’s jaw-dropping 2003 revenge thriller, at least we’re getting a top-notch cast in front of the camera (Josh Brolin, Samuel L. Jackson, Elizabeth Olsen!) and a visionary director behind it (Spike Lee!!!). The story remains the same: A man is released from an inexplicable, decades-long imprisonment and goes looking for answers—along with some payback. (November 27)

  • Fall movies: Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom

    Idris Elba has been doing solid character work in television (The Wire, Luther) and big-studio blockbusters (Pacific Rim) for years; he’s been long overdue for a starring vehicle, and this biopic on antiapartheid activist Nelson Mandela should make perfect use of his charisma and commanding presence. (November 29)

The chill in the air can't come soon enough, because it means the fall movies are here: the ones that win awards, the films that stimulate brain cells long dormant from a season of popcorn-fed explosions. New York City in autumn is the most magical place anywhere, and fall movie fans have Lincoln Center's New York Film Festival to anticipate. Additionally, two of our town's signature directors have new work on deck: Martin Scorsese returns with The Wolf of Wall Street, while Spike Lee serves up an inventive remake of the Korean thriller Oldboy. Elsewhere, we expect wrenching performances bound to jostle for space at the Oscar podium—turns from Robert Redford (All Is Lost), Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave), Nicole Kidman (Grace of Monaco) and Bruce Dern (Nebraska). And what if you crave more summer-style silliness? No shame in that. There's Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa, too.

Click the right arrow on the image above to see our 30 movies to see this fall.

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