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

2016 fall movie preview manchester by the sea

8. Manchester by the Sea

Kenneth Lonergan’s last directorial effort didn’t go so well. His messy but ambitious Margaret went through its legal and release troubles, and during that time, it sat on a shelf for too much time. Thankfully, the playwright has had better luck with his third directorial effort. So far, Manchester by the Sea is a huge success story, having earned rave reviews at this year’s Sundance and being bought by Amazon Studios for a total of $10 million. Angie gave the film, which deals with loss, a 10 out of 10 at Sundance. “This film wrecked me, to the point that I started crying all over again while working on this very review,” she wrote. – JG

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (Donnie Yen) Ph: Film Frame ©Lucasfilm LFL

7. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

If there’s any movie coming out in the next few months that needs no introduction, it’s one. And yet, Lucasfilm is rolling the dice with Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, the first spin-off Star Wars film and the first entry in the saga to not center around the Skywalker family and their various allies. Instead, this is a prequel of sorts, telling the story of the Rebel soldiers who stole the Death Star plans in the days before the original film, allowing those adventures to occur in the first place. Director Gareth Edwards says that he set out to make a war movie with Rogue One and the trailers showcase a movie that, while certainly set in a familiar universe, looks utterly unlike anything that has come before. While that is certainly a risk, it’s also what makes this movie look so damn exciting. – JH

2016 fall movie preview rules don't apply

6. Rules Don’t Apply

It’s been far, far too long since Warren Beatty has graced the screen with his presence. The actor and director’s career has almost always been influenced by quality over quantity, and partly because of that, we haven’t seen Beatty act since 2001’s disastrous Town & Country, and nor has he directed since his wonderful and hilarious 1998 film, Bulworth. 18 years later, he’s returning with a longtime passion project of his, Rules Don’t Apply. In the period romance, Beatty plays Howard Hughes, and he looks delightful in the role. The trailer is meandering, but who cares? This is the return of Warren Beatty, the director who gave us movies as varied and as entertaining as Reds, Dick Tracy, Bulworth, and half of Heaven Can Wait. Another feature film from this man is an event. – JG

2016 fall movie preview billy lynn's long halftime walk

5. Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk

What, exactly, is Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk? For starters, it’s an Iraq War drama from director Ang Lee with one seriously bonkers cast, including Kristen Stewart, Vin Diesel, Chris Tucker, Garrett Hedlund, Steven Martin, Tim Blake Nelson. It’s based on a 2012 novel by Ben Fountain. It was shot in 3D at 120 frames per second, the highest rate for a major feature film to date. And it will apparently take place predominately at a Dallas Cowboys halftime show where the title character and a few other war heroes are paraded before the American people before they’re shipped back to Iraq. All of that makes me say “Huh?”, but there’s no getting around how fascinating this all sounds. Lee is one of the most ambitious filmmakers a live today and his films have often been windows that allow us to peer at great truths and engage with stunning beauty. If he wants to make an anti-war drama set mostly at a football game while experimenting with film technology that is apparently next-level astonishing, I will will happily pay for a ticket. – JH

2016 fall movie preview arrival

4. Arrival

Denis Villeneuve has proven himself time and time again to be one of the most exciting directors working at the moment and the thought of this sophisticated, thoughtful, and intense filmmaker tackling hard science fiction is exciting stuff. Arrival looks like a cousin to movies like Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Contact, sci-fi movies that don’t treat alien life as a threat that has arrived to blow up skyscrapers, but as a beautiful and intriguing mystery that needs to be solved. Amy Adams stars as a linguist who is brought in by the United States government to find a way to communicate with the extraterrestrial spacecrafts that have suddenly arrived on Earth with Jeremy Renner playing a mathematician who assists her with her mission. In a year where everyone is talking about Star Wars, Arrival sounds like a necessary change of pace. Smart, adult science fiction is a rarity and it should be treasured. – JH

2016 fall movie preview la la land

3. La La Land

After Whiplash, I decided I was ready to follow director Damien Chazelle wherever he went next…and he apparently decided that a colorful, romantic musical starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone was the way to go. And can you blame him? The early teaser trailers for La La Land suggest only the most basic skeleton of the plot  – Gosling’s jazz pianist falls for Stone’s aspiring actress and they sing and dance and look gorgeous – but they are stunning to behold, showcasing lush colors, cleverly composed set pieces, and the flavor of an old technicolor musical gracefully transported to the year 2016. It looks sweet and melancholy and magical. In Chazelle I trust. – JH

2016 fall movie preview loving

2. Loving

Jeff Nichols is four-for-four, with Shotgun Stories, Take Shelter, Mud, and Midnight Special deserving consideration for any list of the best movies released in the past decade. Loving continues his trend of rotating between thoughtful genre fare and deeply personal Southern dramas – of course he’d follow the movie about a kid with mysterious superpowers with a historical romance about Mildred Jeter and Richard Loving, an interracial couple who were arrested imprisoned after getting married in Virginia in 1958. While that story sounds like a perfect foundation for a straightforward and Oscar-friendly biopic, Nichols is one of our most sensitive and observational filmmakers, the kind of director who favors small moments of grace instead of sweeping gestures. I’m fascinated by what he’ll do with this material. It helps that the film finds him once again teaming up with Joel Edgerton, who’s so incredibly good in Midnight Special. And it definitely helps that he shares the screen with Ruth Negga, who had me at hello with her work on AMC’s Preacher and continues to be one of the most exciting modern presences on both film and television. – JH

2016 fall movie preview silence

1. Silence

Martin Scorsese has always been a deeply religious filmmaker, an artist obsessed with sin and guilt and the possibility (and improbability) of of redemption. He has a fascination with monsters and the violence they visit upon the world, but he also explores the darkest nooks and crannies of his Catholicism, looking for some kind of light in the darkest places. The Last Temptation of Christ remains the finest film ever made about religion, a moving and humanistic examination of what it means to serve the greater good and the sacrifices that such a life involve. So yeah, Scorsese making a new movie that is directly and entirely about faith and Christianity is a reason to celebrate…and possibly to steel yourself. Silence, which stars Andrew Garfield, Adam Driver, Liam Neeson, and Ciaran Hinds, follows two Jesuit Catholic priests who travel to Japan in the 17th century to track down their mentor and spread the gospel. Things do not go well, as both men endure various trials and persecution. The film doesn’t have a release date yet (and it supposedly runs north of three hours), but this is the exact kind of movie that you can expect to see squeezed in during the final days of December to guarantee a shot at end-of-the-year awards. This could be something truly special. – JH

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