2016 Fall Movie Preview: 34 Films We Can’t Wait to See

20th century women

25. 20th Century Women

Mike Mills makes really tender, empathetic dramas. The writer-director behind Thumbsucker and Beginners is back with 20th Century Women, a Megan Ellison-produced picture starring Annette Benning, Alia Shawkat, Elle Fanning, and Billy Crudup. The 1970s-set story will make its debut at next month’s New York Film Festival, so we’ll see first reactions to the film soon. We’re hoping 20th Century Women is another slightly off-center, poignant drama from the filmmaker, as that seems to be his specialty so far. – JG

2016 fall movie preview moana

24. Moana

Just about everyone involved with Moana has created a masterpiece at one time or another. There’s directors Ron Clements and John Musker, who kickstarted the Disney Animation Renaissance of the early ’90s with The Little Mermaid and Aladdin (and later the very good The Princess and the Frog). There’s the presence of Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, who is contributing original songs alongside Opetaia Foa’i and Mark Mancina (did somebody say EGOT?). And then there’s the voice of Dwayne Johnson, a man whose every single day appears to be a masterpiece of life itself (I would like to be his best friend, thank you very much). All of these people, making an animated musical adventure set in the South Pacific that’s full of magic and demigods and a new princess character with an adorable pig sidekick? Sign me up, please. – JH


23. Gold

The Academy Award-winning screenwriter behind Traffic, Stephen Gaghan, hasn’t directed a feature since 2005’s Syriana. It was a promising debut, with a great, image-twisting performance from George Clooney and some thrilling sequences. After Syriana, Gaghan worked on a few projects that, for whatever reason, didn’t come to fruition. But maybe the wait will be worth it, as he has an alluring story and cast in the case of Gold, a film about two men (played by Matthew McConaughey and Édgar Ramírez) searching the Indonesian jungle for gold – a synopsis which calls to mind The Treasure of the Siera Madre. McConaughey’s physical transformation alone warrants purchasing a ticket to this drama, which co-stars Bryce Dallas Howard, Toby Kebbell, Bill Camp, Stacy Keach, and, an actor who rarely disappoints, Bruce Greenwood. – JG

2016 fall movie preview the accountant

22. The Accountant

Gavin O’Connor (Miracle) arguably hasn’t reached the level of success that he should have. Putting aside his one notable misfire, Pride & Glory, he makes the kind of sincere, heart-on-their-sleeves dramas that deserve a bigger audience. Maybe that’ll change with The Accountant, a movie that looks far more commercial but no less appealing than his previous efforts. The thriller stars Ben Affleck, Anna Kendrick, J.K. Simmons, John Lithgow, and Jeffrey Tambor. O’Connor almost always gets top-tier performances, and with an ensemble that good, that’s reason enough to look forward to The Accountant. – JG

certain women

21. Certain Women

If only Michelle Williams and Kelly Reichart could continue to work together until the end of time. The actress and director first collaborated on Wendy & Lucy, a movie that repeatedly rips your heart out with its depiction of a woman’s love for her dog. They followed up that pic with another intimate drama (and western), Meek’s Cutoff, and now they’re back with Certain Women. Reichart’s story is about four women crossing paths in a small American town, which is pretty much all the story the director needs to make another quietly hypnotic film. – JG

2016 fall movie preview fantastic beasts and where to find them

20. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

While the story of Harry Potter and and his friends has moved forward on the London stage, creator J.K. Rowling is using the big screen to take us back in time and across the ocean to explore the Wizarding World in New York City circa 1926. Rowling herself wrote the screenplay and David Yates, who helmed the last four Harry Potter movies, is back behind the camera. In other words, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is as official as the Harry Potter movies…just without the boy wizard himself. And yet, this rich and detailed world is a star itself, and the chance to explore it in a different era, to see how the American Wizarding World compares to the magical England of the seven novels and eight movies, sounds downright magical. Of course, that setting is backed up the Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Samantha Morton, Colin Farrell, Ezra Miller, and Dan Fogler. – JH

2016 fall movie preview allied

19. Allied

Robert Zemeckis’ work has been hit or miss over the past decade, but at the end of the day, he’s still Robert Zemeckis, the director that made Back to the Future, Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, Romancing the Stone, Used Cars, Death Becomes Her, and other film fan favorites. This war romance, which stars Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard, looks like an intense, refreshingly grounded movie from the filmmaker. The pairing of Pitt and Cotillard has potential, but what’s truly promising about Allied is Zemeckis directing a script from screenwriter Steven Knight (Locke) – a writer that could give the director another great tale to tell. – JG

2016 fall movie preview the handmaiden

18. The Handmaiden

I feel very comfortable calling Park Chan-wook a genius. The South Korean filmmaker made his fair share of masterpieces in his home country (including Oldboy, Thirst, and Sympathy For Mr. Vengeance) before he took a quick jaunt to Hollywood to show us westerners how it’s done with 2013’s exceptional Stoker. Now, he’s back home and returning to theaters with The Handmaiden, a psychological thriller set in the 1930s about a thief who gets herself hired as the maid of a wealthy woman as part of a plot to rob her of her wealth and ruin her reputation. Since this is a Park Chan-wook film, things don’t go as planned. South Korea continues to cultivate one of the most exciting film industries in the world and The Handmaiden looks like the kind of intense, fearless, and downright kooky thriller that other nations would shy away from. God bless, South Korean film. Bring on The Handmaiden. – JH

2016 fall movie preview the girl on the train

17. The Girl on the Train

Paula Hawkins’ novel is an exciting, suspenseful, and often darkly funny page turner. What’s most thrilling about Hawkins’ story is that, as fun as the mystery is, it’s Rachel (Emily Blunt) and her personal struggles that make The Girl on the Train such an entertaining read. How she’ll resolve her issues is more engaging than who’s behind Megan Hipwell’s (Haley Bennett) disappearance. It’s a great character, and Emily Blunt should work wonders with the role in Tate Taylor’s (The Help) film. – JG

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