“This Is Where I Leave You” (Sept. 19) — Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Corey Stoll (“House of Cards”) and Adam Driver (“Girls”) star as four siblings who return home to attend their father’s funeral. In spite of the comedic talent at hand, director Shawn Levy’s resume, which includes “Cheaper by the Dozen” and “The Internship,” inspires little confidence, but hopefully the fully stacked cast — including Jane Fonda and Rose Byrne — will be enough to elevate the material.
“The Zero Theorem” (Sept. 19) — Like all films from Terry Gilliam (“Brazil,” “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas”), “Zero Theorem” seems to go far beyond anything a few sentences could properly sum up, but we’ll give it a shot. Christoph Waltz stars as a neurotic yet brilliant computer scientist tasked with solving an equation that could reveal the origin of existence. As with any Gilliam movie the only thing one can expect is pure, intoxicating insanity. The movie came out on video-on-demand last month if you can’t wait to see it on the big screen.
“Jimi: All Is by My Side” (Sept. 26) — Starring André 3000, “All Is by My Side” doesn’t feature any Hendrix songs — the musician’s estate wasn’t willing to give writer-director John Ridley (who wrote “12 Years a Slave”) the rights to his music. While making a film about one of the most famous guitarists of all time without using any of his actual songs may seem like a foolish endeavor, Ridley has devised a solution. The film will only cover an early period of Hendrix’s life, when he still mostly performed covers.
“Gone Girl” (Oct. 3) — David Fincher’s newest film is an adaptation of the Gillian Flynn bestseller about a man (Ben Affleck) who quickly comes under suspicion when his wife (Rosamund Pike) disappears. “Gone Girl” seems to have all the eerie qualities inherent to Fincher’s work and continues his recent trend of literary adaptations, but hopefully this won’t be the start of a new trend that sees Tyler Perry being cast in otherwise quality movies.
“Birdman” (Oct. 17) — Michael Keaton starring in a film about a has-been actor trying to reclaim his past glory could be a documentary, but it’s not. Alejandro Iñárritu’s (“21 Grams,” “Amores Perros”) showbiz satire chronicles a once-iconic celebrity’s effort to prove his worth as a serious actor to the public and himself. Edward Norton, Zach Galifianakis, Emma Stone and Naomi Watts round out the rest of the cast in what could be this year’s dark horse Oscar contender.
“Fury” (Oct. 17) — Following the struggles of an Allied tank crew during the end of WWII, “Fury” seems to be another take on an old story of brotherhood being forged in the fire of war. But since writer-director David Ayer’s “End of Watch” managed to make a found-footage cop thriller entertaining, he could possibly breath fresh air into this stale concept. Next to Brad Pitt, Shia LaBeouf and Michael Peña, the film stars one of, if not the last, surviving operational Tiger tanks. It’s the first time an actual Tiger will be used in a film production, so “Fury” should, at least, display some brilliant battle scenes.
“Interstellar” (Nov. 7) — At this point in his career, it’s not a question of whether or not Christopher Nolan’s newest film will be a hit. The only question now is how big, and judging by the first glimpses being released, it may be his biggest yet. While the finer points of the plot are being kept secret (as with any Nolan movie), the story seems to be about Matthew McConaughey’s journey from a dying Earth into space, in hopes of finding a new home for our civilization. The rest of the cast includes Nolan favorites Michael Caine and Anne Hathaway, as well as Jessica Chastain.
“Rosewater” (Nov. 7) — Jon Stewart’s directorial debut, widely lauded at the Telluride Film Festival last weekend, has all the makings of an Oscar contender. Starring Gael García Bernal, it’s based on the memoir of Maziar Bahari, who runs what’s basically Iran’s version of “The Daily Show,” where he writes about being imprisoned and tortured by the Iranian government for allegedly being a Zionist and CIA spy.
“Foxcatcher” (Nov. 14) — Under the direction of Bennett Miller (“Capote,” “Moneyball”) an unrecognizable Steve Carell takes on his most dramatic performance yet as disturbed millionaire John du Pont. The film tells the true story of du Pont’s involvement in training Olympic hopeful Mark Schultz (Channing Tatum), with Mark Ruffalo as Schultz’s brother, David. The film screened to great reviews at the Cannes (where Miller won best director) and Telluride film festivals and is a definite awards contender.
“The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1” (Nov. 21) — At this point in the “Hunger Games” series, you’re either in or you’re out. Once again, J-Law takes the screen as Katniss Everdeen, a symbol of hope for the people of Panem, but an enemy to its government. “Catching Fire” was the rare movie that ended on a proper cliffhanger and now we’ll see what happens next.
“Exodus: Gods and Kings” (Dec. 12) — Ridley Scott’s (“Alien,” “Blade Runner”) movie about the biblical exodus from Egypt — starring Christian Bale as Moses, Aaron Paul as Joshua and Joel Edgerton and Sigourney Weaver as Egypt’s monarchs — has come under fire for its whitewashed casting, but it still looks like a proper swords-and-sandals epic of a caliber we haven’t seen in awhile. Good thing it’s from the director of “Gladiator.”
“The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” (Dec. 17) — In his ongoing quest to make Bilbo Baggins’ quest longer than it actually was, Peter Jackson made a third “Hobbit” movie. Luckily, it looks like the most fun one in the trilogy. With all the expository baggage out of the way, “Battle of the Five Armies” promises to be a Smaug-slaying, special effects extravaganza. It’ll also probably make a billion dollars.