Fall Preview 2016: TheWrap picks the movies you need to see before the year's end, from superhero films to critically acclaimed indies.
"The Light Between Oceans"Cast: Michael Fassbender, Alicia Vikander, Rachel WeiszDirector: Derek CianfranceRelease Date: Sept. 2What it's about: A lighthouse keeper (Fassbender) and his wife (Vikander) rescue a baby girl who washes up in a rowboat and unofficially adopt her. When the girl grows older, an encounter with a certain woman on the mainland threatens to break up their happy life.Why we're dying to see it: This is the movie that started the real-life Fassbender-Vikander romance. We have to see the chemistry that unfolds between them on screen.
"The Magnificent Seven"Director: Antoine FuquaCast: Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan HawkeRelease Date: Sept. 23What it's about: A remake of the classic Western about seven outlaws as they help a town under siege by an industrialist villain. Why we're dying to see it: It's an A-list remake that showcases some good diversity. Plus Antoine Fuqua directed "Training Day," in which Denzel Washington won an Academy Award for Best Actor.
Walt Disney Pictures
"Queen of Katwe"Director: Mira NairCast: Lupita Nyong'o, David Oyelowo, Madina Nalwanga Release Date: Sept. 23What it's about: A biographical drama about Phiona Mutesi, a Ugandan chess prodigy who earned Woman Candidate Master at the World Chess Olympiads.Why we're dying to see it: It's an untold story of a Ugandan chess player who grew up in the slum of Katwe. Rarely do we get to see feel-good stories about Africa on the big screen.
"The Girl on the Train"Cast: Emily Blunt, Rebecca Ferguson, Haley BennettDirector: Tate TaylorRelease Date: Oct. 7What it's about: The story follows a recently divorced woman (Blunt) who fantasizes during her daily commute about the seemingly perfect couple who live in a house that her train passes every day, until she sees something shocking and becomes entangled in a mystery.Why we're dying to see it: It's based on Paula Hawkins' best-selling novel and has the same feel as "Gone Girl."
Fox Searchlight Pictures
"The Birth of a Nation"Cast: Nate Parker, Armie Hammer, Mark Boone Junior, Gabrielle UnionDirector: Nate ParkerRelease Date: Oct. 7What it's about: Parker stars as the 19th-century slave Nat Turner, who was taught to read the Bible to preach to fellow slaves but wound up leading a famous rebellion in 1831.Why we're dying to see it: Parker's directorial debut was phenomenon at Sundance, where it was bought for a festival-record $17.5 million.
"Kevin Hart: What Now?"Cast: Kevin HartDirector: Leslie SmallRelease Date: Oct. 14What it's about: A stand-up comedy film that features his performance from the recently concluded "What Now?" tour.Why we're dying to see it: It's been five long years since his last stand-up film, "Laugh at My Pain."
"A Monster Calls"Cast: Liam Neeson, Sigourney Weaver, Felicity JonesDirector: J.A. BayonaRelease Date: Oct. 21What it's about: A young boy deals with a terminally ill mother and bullies at school with the help of an ancient monster tree (voiced by Liam Neeson).Why we're dying to see it: Patrick Ness' fantastical children's novel, based on an idea from a woman with terminal cancer, was adapted for the screen by Ness himself.
Walt Disney Studios
"Doctor Strange"Cast:Rachel McAdams, Benedict Cumberbatch, Benedict Wong, Mads Mikkelson, Tilda SwintonDirector: Scott DerricksonRelease Date: Nov. 4What it's about: Dr. Stephen Strange (Cumberbatch) is an egotistical but brilliant surgeon whose career is destroyed after a car accident ruins his hands. Searching the globe to repair them, he encounters the Ancient One (Swinton), a sorcerer who trains Strange to defend the world from evil.Why we’re excited to see it: Doctor Strange is one of Marvel’s more eccentric (and lesser known) heroes and the trailers have promised plenty some seriously trippy, magical mayhem.
“Hacksaw Ridge”Cast:Andrew Garfield, Sam Worthington, Vince Vaughn, Teresa PalmerDirector:Mel GibsonRelease Date: Nov. 4What it’s about: It's based on the true story of U.S. Army medic Desmond T. Doss (Garfield) during World War II. Doss refused to kill anybody or bear arms, becoming the first conscientious objector to receive the Medal of Honor from President Harry Truman.Why we’re excited to see it: The story sounds fascinating, and this is Mel Gibson’s first film as a director since 2006’s “Apocalypto.”
"Loving"Cast: Joel Edgerton, Ruth Negga, Nick KrollDirector: Jeff NicholsRelease Date: Nov. 4What it's about: An interracial couple wages a legal fight against imprisonment in the mid-20th-century South, leading to the landmark 1967 Supreme Court decision Loving v. Virginia.Why we're dying to see it: The film has been building buzz since its debut at Cannes, particularly for co-star Ruth Negga.
Open Road Films
"All Eyez on Me"Cast: Demetrius Shipp Jr. Danai Gurira, Lauren CohanDirector: Benny BoomRelease Date: Nov. 11What it's about: A biopic on Tupac Shaku's rise to fame all the way to his death during a drive-by in Las Vegas.Why we're dying to see it: Tupac has had multiple films made about his life, but the last one worth watching ("Tupac: Resurrection") was released 13 years ago. Plus, Tupac.
"Arrival"Cast: Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Forest WhitakerDirector: Denis VilleneuveRelease Date: Nov. 16What it's about: After alien spacecrafts descend on Earth, a linguist (Adams) is hired by the U.S. government to investigate them.Why we're dying to see it: The film has a strong pedigree, Adams has been nominated for five Oscars and the director's last film, "Sicario," received three Oscar nominations.
"Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk"Cast: Kristen Stewart, Chris Tucker, Vin Diesel, Garrett HedlundDirector: Ang LeeRelease Date: Nov. 11What it's about: Based on a novel of the same name, the film follows an Iraq war hero whose victory tour back in the U.S. is interrupted by jarring flashbacks.Why we're dying to see it: Great source material, and Ang Lee's first film since another eye-catching literary adaptation, "The Life of Pi."
“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”Cast:Eddie Redmayne, Ezra Miller, Colin FarrellDirector: David YatesRelease Date: Nov. 18What it’s about: Before Harry Potter even existed, there was Newt Scamander (Redmayne). The wizard -- and future author of a textbook mainstay at Hogwarts — visits the Magical Congress of the United States in 1926, but loses control of a special briefcase containing a number of dangerous beasts.Why we’re excited to see it:J.K. Rowling. Wizards. Eddie Redmayne.
“Nocturnal Animals”Cast:Jake Gyllenhaal, Amy Adams, Isla Fisher, Armie HammerDirector:Tom FordRelease Date: Nov. 18What it’s about: In an adaptation of Austin Wright's 1933 novel “Tony and Susan,” Adams stars as an art gallery owner who begins receiving the manuscript of her ex-husband’s violent thriller novel. As Susan reads more of the story, she begins to interpret it as a threat.Why we’re excited to see it: This will be fashion designer Tom Ford’s second directorial feature, following 2009’s “A Single Man.” The dynamic cast is sure to make this thriller a memorable one.
"Manchester by the Sea"Cast:Casey Affleck, Michelle Williams, Kyle Chandler, Lucas HedgeDirector: Kenneth LonerganRelease Date: Nov. 18What it’s about: An uncle (Affleck) must take care of his teenage nephew (Hedge) and return to his hometown after the death of the boy’s father.Why we’re excited to see it: The film received high praise when it premiered at Sundance and Lucas Hedge delivers a breakout performance as the nephew, Patrick.
"Moana"Cast:Dwayne Johnson, Auli’i Cravalho, Phillipa SooDirector: Ron Clements, John MuskerRelease Date: Nov. 23What it’s about: A young woman, Moana (Cravalho), sets sail for a fabled island and is joined by demigod Maui (Johnson) along the way.Why we’re excited to see it: The animated musical is Disney’s first story about a Polynesian princess and will feature original music by “Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda. Plus, the Rock sings!
"La La Land"Cast:Emma Stone, Ryan Gosling, J.K. Simmons, Finn WittrockDirector: Damien ChazelleRelease Date: Dec. 2What it’s about: Stone and Gosling star as an aspiring actress and a jazz pianist, respectively, in modern-day L.A. The two meet and soon fall in love, but as each begins to find success in their dream careers, their relationship threatens to tear apart.Why we’re excited to see it: We’ve already seen the chemistry between Stone and Gosling in “Crazy, Stupid, Love” and “Gangster Squad,” so we can’t wait to see what happens with the two of them when dancing and music are added in this romantic comedy-drama musical.
20th Century Fox
"Fences"Director: Denzel WashingtonCast: Denzel Washington, Viola Davis, Jovan AdepoRelease Date: Dec. 16What's it about: A once-promising baseball player ends up working as a garbageman in 1950s Pittsburgh.Why we're dying to see it: August Wilson's Pulitzer Prize winning play with two amazing actors -- who won Tonys in 2010 for playing these very roles on Broadway.
"Rogue One: A Star Wars Story"Cast:Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Riz Ahmed, Mads MikkelsenDirector: Gareth EdwardsRelease Date: Dec. 16What it’s about: Essentially a prequel to “Star Wars: A New Hope,” the film follows a group of Rebel spies as they attempt to steal plans for the Death Star.Why we’re excited to see it: Not only is it the first standalone film in the "Star Wars" franchise, but the trailer promises a badass female lead and plenty of fight scenes.
"Collateral Beauty"Cast:Will Smith, Keira Knightley, Helen Mirren, Kate Winslet, Edward NortonDirector: David FrankelRelease Date: Dec. 16What it’s about: An advertising executive in New York faces a downward spiral after a tragic event, prompting his colleagues to seek a plan to get him out his funk.Why we’re excited to see it: “The Devil Wears Prada” director returns to New York City with an all-star cast.
"The Founder"Cast:Michael Keaton, Laura Dern, Nick Offerman, John Carroll LynchDirector: John Lee HancockRelease Date: Dec. 16What it’s about: The biographical film follows Ray Kroc (Keaton) meeting Mac and Dick McDonald and developing the first McDonald’s franchise.Why we’re excited to see it: Aren’t you curious to hear how McDonald’s started? And Keaton could be back in the Oscar race for the third straight year.
"Passengers"Cast:Jennifer Lawrence, Chris Pratt, Michael Sheen, Laurence FishburneDirector: Morten TyldumRelease Date: Dec. 21What it’s about: Lawrence and Pratt play two passengers aboard a spacecraft that’s on a 120-year journey to a distant planet. Due to a malfunction, two passengers are prematurely woken up with 90 years left to go on the voyage.Why we’re excited to see it: Two of Hollywood's biggest stars team for a sci-fi romance that seemed very promising from the first footage shown at CinemaCon in April.
20th Century Fox
"Why Him?"Cast:James Franco, Zoey Deutch, Bryan Cranston, Keegan-Michael Key, Adam DeVine, Megan MullallyDirector: John HamburgRelease Date: Dec. 25What it’s about: A father (Cranston) meets his daughter’s wealthy and eccentric boyfriend (Franco) and immediately dislikes him -- and resists all of Franco's attempts to win him over. Why we’re excited to see it: Cranston and Franco seem like the perfect oddball pairing-- plus it's great to see them both in a comdy.
"Toni Erdmann"Cast: Peter Simonischek, Sandra Hüller, Michael WittenbornDirector: Maren AdeRelease Date: Dec. 25What it’s about: An older father (Simonischek) tries to reconnect with his adult daughter (Hüller) by playing pranks on her.Why we’re excited to see it: The comedic film, a hit at Cannes, boasts a 91 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes. TheWrap’s Steve Pond described it as a “hysterically funny but deeply touching father-daughter story that ... doesn’t waste a moment.”