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20 movies to see this autumn

Matt Damon is stuck on Mars, Carey Mulligan is smashing windows and a little film called ‘Star Wars’ is on its way. Here are 20 good reasons to go to the cinema before the end of 2015

By Tom Huddleston
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The summer blockbuster season of sequels and reboots is over and done for another year. Autumn is here with a feast of films to look forward to, from Oscar-worthy drama, spine-tingling horror films, comedy, the return of 007 and much more else besides. We count down to the biggest and best films to see before 2015 is finished.

20. The Martian

Film Action and adventure

Will it be this year’s gasp-inducing ‘Gravity’? Or an airless drama about how hard it is to grow crops on another planet with only your own poo for fertiliser? Matt Damon is the American astronaut marooned on the red planet. Ridley Scott directs (which, in the wake of ‘Prometheus’ and ‘Exodus: Gods and Kings’, isn’t the draw it once was). But Damon should add some heft to the thin air.

For fans of: ‘Interstellar’, all-American pluck, soiled potatoes.

19. Macbeth

Film Adaptation

The curse of the Scottish play appears to have been broken (touch wood) with this scorching adaptation of Shakespeare’s grimmest tragedy. ‘Snowtown’ director Justin Kurzel brings the same punishing ferocity as his debut, while Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard are perfectly matched as the Laird and his scheming Lady.

For fans of: Muscular acting, quiet dread, kilts.

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18. Sicario

Film Drama

Director Denis Villeneuve (‘Incendies’, ‘Prisoners’) is such a dab hand with a moody psychodrama, he’s already been tapped to direct a sequel to ‘Blade Runner’. First comes this full-pelt spin on the Mexican-American drug wars starring Emily Blunt, Josh Brolin and the always watchable Benicio Del Toro. ‘Intense’ barely covers it.

For fans of: ‘Traffic’, leering, off-the-hook Del Toro.

17. Suffragette

Film

Amazingly, no one has ever made a film about the British suffragettes. Until now. Nearly 100 years after smashing shop windows and blowing up letterboxes, the feminist pioneers who won women the vote are finally getting a film they deserve, starring Carey Mulligan, Meryl Streep and Helena Bonham Carter.

For fans of: Incredible women, public disturbance, democracy in general.

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16. Crimson Peak

Film Horror

He’s got the smash ‘n’ crash Spielberg-isms of ‘Pacific Rim’ out of his system, now horror legend Guillermo del Toro is returning to familiar territory with a Gothic ghost story about a haunted Lakeland mansion, its enigmatic heir (Tom Hiddleston) and his blushing new bride (Mia Wasikowska). Expect Hitchcockian thrills and splattery spills.

For fans of: ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’, Dario Argento, fireside ghost stories.

15. The Lobster

Film Comedy

One of those see-it-to-believe-it oddities that cinema doesn’t give us often enough, ‘Dogtooth’ director Yorgos Lanthimos’s latest is set in a world where single people have 45 days to find a new partner – and if not, they’re transformed into animals and sent into the woods. With Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz in the cast, this is no arthouse oddity but a full-blown slice of grand dystopian strangeness.

For fans of: ‘Being John Malkovich’, Franz Kafka, new experiences.

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14. The Program

Film Drama

It’s the ultimate modern-day shame story: how Lance Armstrong, beloved worldwide for beating cancer and cycling really fast, turned out to be a dope fiend who fooled (nearly) all of us with his clean-cut image and boyish charm. The undervalued actor Ben Foster takes on the role of a lifetime, with ever-reliable director Stephen Frears (‘Philomena’) firing the starting pistol.

For fans of: Le Tour, public scandal, men in tight Lycra.

13. Spectre

Film Action and adventure

The ‘Skyfall’ team of director Sam Mendes, writer John Logan and star Daniel Craig reform for a globe-circling comeback tour, as Bond treks from snow-capped Austria to sweaty Mexico to (of course) London town on the trail of his arch-nemeses, the wonderfully upfront Special Executive for Counterintelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion.

For fans of: Spectacular action, sinister villains, all the other Bond movies.

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12. Brooklyn

Film Drama

The posters offer an image of Saoirse Ronan so weirdly Photoshopped that she looks like a member of the Royal family. In fact she’s playing a young working class Irish woman in the 1950s who moves to New York and finds herself torn between two men, home and a new life.

For fans of: ‘Far and Away’, triangular romance, twinkly-eyed Oirish lads.

11. Steve Jobs

Film Drama

If the Oscars were determined by early buzz alone, Danny Boyle’s biopic of the former Apple CEO would be your next Best Picture winner. Michael Fassbender embodies history’s most famous collector of turtlenecks – but can screenwriter Aaron Sorkin cut through the fan worship to the man beneath?

For fans of: ‘The Social Network’, nerds, the colour white.

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10. The Lady in the Van

Film Drama

In the late 1960s playwright Alan Bennett let an elderly homeless woman who lived in a knackered campervan on his street move into his front garden for a couple of weeks – she stayed for 15 years. Bennett has written a memoir and a play about life with Miss Shepherd. Now comes the film, directed by his long-time collaborator Nicholas Hytner. With grey-pound poster girl Maggie Smith in the lead, this looks well Dench, in all senses.

For fans of: ‘Philomena’, milky tea, funny little crochet hats.

9. Love

Film Drama

From ‘Irreversible’ to ‘Enter the Void’, French director Gaspar Noé has always pushed boundaries (and buttons). His new film is a 3D erotic drama featuring bucketloads of relentless, right-in-your-face rumpy-pumpy. But is anyone really going to care, particularly in the wake of Lars von Trier’s similarly ‘shocking’ ‘Nymphomaniac’?

For fans of: Enfants terrible, the third dimension and (let’s face it) porn.

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8. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2

Film Action and adventure

It’s time to bow our heads, stick three fingers in the air and shed a noble, solitary tear as Katniss Everdeen lays down her bow. The ‘Hunger Games’ series has revitalised the female action heroine, scored a few salient points about the culture of violence and, best of all, delivered the most likeable, talented and all-round awesome movie star of the twenty-first century thus far.

For fans of: J-Law, forgettable boys, listening to the tweeners in the row behind sniffling uncontrollably.

7. Black Mass

Film Drama

Remember Johnny Depp? He used to be an actor – then he discovered piracy, guyliner and Keith Richards hair and it all went south. Now Johnny’s back in a big way with this gangster epic, playing notorious Boston criminal turned FBI informant Whitey Bulger. If the riveting trailer is anything to go by, expect bug eyes, big shades and proper, actual acting.

For fans of: ‘Goodfellas’, old-school Depp, chewy Bawston ack-sents.

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6. Carol

Film Drama

‘Far From Heaven’ maestro Todd Haynes directing Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara in an adaptation of a Patricia Highsmith novel about two women falling in love in dreamy 1950s New York? It almost sounds too good to be true.

For fans of: Exquisitely designed drama, meaningful glances, great cinema.

5. The Good Dinosaur

Film Animation

This summer’s ‘Inside Out’ was Pixar’s riskiest movie in years, but they’re reining those instincts back with this surefire family smasher. Set in a world where dinosaurs and man coexist, it’s the story of a curious Apatosaurus who adopts a lost cave-boy and names him Spot. We’re imagining ‘The Jungle Book’, only scalier.

For fans of: ‘Ice Age’, cartoon slapstick, boy-and-his-dog adventures.

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4. Sunset Song

Film Drama

If ever there was a perfect match of director and source material this is it. The great Terence Davies (‘The Deep Blue Sea’) adapts Lewis Grassic Gibbon’s beloved novel of forbidden love in a turn-of-the-century Scottish croft. We’re expecting pent-up emotion, family angst (Peter Mullan plays a brooding patriarch) and Malick-esque landscape loveliness.

For fans of: ‘Days of Heaven’, doomed love, sunsets.

3. Victor Frankenstein

Film Fantasy

Daniel Radcliffe perfects his ‘yesh mashter’ as the mad scientist’s sidekick Igor, here promoted from Dr Frankenstein’s drooling lackey to his dashing lab assistant. The Frankenstein story has been told so many times that it’s hard to imagine what else there is to say, but the trailer looks like juicy, old-school Gothic fun.

For fans of: ‘The Woman in Black’, forked lightning, ‘The Munsters’.

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2. By the Sea

Film Drama

It seems mean to say it, but Angelina Jolie’s directing career isn’t going great guns thus far. Will hauling the hubby in for an intimate relationship drama turn things around? Set in the ’70s, ‘By the Sea’ stars Brad and Ange as an American couple attempting to repair their marriage on a French beach holiday. Ah, l’ennui d’amour!

For fans of: European artiness, moustaches, meaningful stares.

1. Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Film Science fiction

Just a simple tale of a girl, a guy, their cute robot and an army of space-Nazis. The plot is gradually falling into place for this long-awaited sequel: you either know it, or you don’t want to. We won’t spoil things – just to say that the trailers are gob-slapping, the cast rules, the behind-the-scenes footage looks amazing and they’re selling free-flying Millennium Falcon drones in toyshops now. Life is good.

For fans of: You really need this answered?

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