As the summer draws to a close and autumn fast approaches it’s time to say farewell to the big blockbusters and begin to prepare ourselves for the inevitable slide into awards season.
August to October is always a strange time in cinema as distributors move away from the big tent-pole movies into the more dramatic, kudos-likely fare. But, as always, there are plenty of films that are worth getting excited about.
Absolutely Anything (August 14)
Simon Pegg, Kate Beckinsale, Joanna Lumley and Eddie Izzard star in this comedy about a disillusioned schoolteacher who finds he suddenly has the ability to do absolutely anything, a power which is bestowed upon him by a group of aliens. The things that really excite me about this film is that not only are the aliens voiced by the Monty Python team but Pegg’s dog, Dennis, is voiced by the late, great, Robin Williams. Just the thought of all that talent involved in one film makes me hope this is going to be good.
Man From UNCLE (August 14)
I’ll be honest, this one could go either way. It could be great or it could be terrible, I just don’t know. But I am intrigued by it. Guy Ritchie directs a reboot of the classic 1960s TV series this time starring Henry Cavill (aka Superman) and Armie Hammer (from The Social Network). The supporting cast includes Alicia Vikander (an actress who is on a huge upwards trajectory) and Hugh Grant. I’m not a huge fan of Guy Ritchie’s films and when a distributor releases a 5-minute-long trailer I do tend to worry. But I guess we’ll see…
45 Years (August 28)
A complete change of pace to the summer blockbusters, 45 years is a drama about a couple who are about to celebrate their wedding anniversary. But then the husband receives a letter to tell him the body of his first love has been found in a glacier in the Swiss Alps. Will the marriage survive to the anniversary party? The film stars Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay and both have already won awards for their performances.
Straight Outta Compton (August 28)
The story of the rise of NWA from the streets of Compton, California, to revolutionising the world of pop culture. Will it do justice to the music? That remains to be seen, but early reviews out of the US have been positive and Dr Dre and Ice Cube are among the producers.
Ricki and the Flash (September 4)
Meryl Streep stars alongside real-life daughter Mamie Gummer is this comedy/drama about a female rocker who returns to the family she left behind. The cast also includes Kevin Kline and Broadway legend Audra McDonald. Plus, Meryl sings and we all know how much audiences enjoy that! It’s directed by Jonathan Demme whose previous work includes The Silence of the Lambs and Philadelphia – could he direct Meryl to yet another nomination?
Legend (September 9)
A proper Brit gangster thriller now with Tom Hardy playing both Ronnie and Reggie Kray. If you don’t know your 1960’s London gangland history it’s when the twins ruled the capital with an iron baseball bat. The supporting cast includes Emily Browning, David Thewlis, Taron Egerton and Christopher Eccleston. If it’s half decent then expect to see Hardy score at least a BAFTA nomination come the new year.
Everest (September 18)
I saw the trailer for this on the IMAX screen recently and oh my word does it look epic! In fact just watching it on the small screen almost gave me vertigo! It’s the true story of a group of climbers who are hit by a devastating snowstorm whilst on the world’s largest mountain. The all-star cast includes Jake Gyllenhaal, Keira Knightley, Jason Clarke, Josh Brolin and Robin Wright. The film is opening this year’s Venice Film Festival – something that Gravity did in 2013 – could Everest emulate that film’s success?
A Walk in the Woods (September 18)
Robert Redford plays renowned author Bill Bryson in this adaptation of Bryson’s book about his attempt to hike the 1000-mile-long Appalachian Trail in 1998. Nick Nolte co-stars as Bryson’s childhood friend Stephen Katz who really isn’t in the right shape to attempt a journey of this sort and Emma Thompson appears as Bryson’s wife Cathy. I read the book earlier this summer so I’m interested to see how they make it into a film.
Macbeth (October 2)
Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard star in the latest adaptation of Shakespeare’s Scottish play which won rave reviews at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. Expect it to be gritty and bloody but also exhilarating and captivating.
The Martian (October 2)
In recent years films set in space have garnered plenty of awards-worthy attention (Gravity, Interstellar). Expect 2015 to be no different wi the release of The Martian, Ridley Scott’s adaptation of Andy Weir’s best-selling novel. Matt Damon stars as astronaut Mark Watney who is left for dead during a trip to Mars. Except he’s not. Again, I read the book this is based on earlier this year and I absolutely loved it. If they can make it half as absorbing as the book then this could be brilliant.
The Walk (October 9)
Have you ever heard of Philippe Petit? He’s the French high-wire artist who attempted to walk between Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in 1974, and this is his story. It stars Joseph Gordon Levitt alongside Ben Kingsley and is directed by Robert Zemeckis (Back to the Future, The Polar Express). The trailer ratchets up the tension, Lord knows what the final film will be like!
Suffragette (October 12)
Carey Mulligan and Meryl Streep star on this British-made drama about the women of the early feminist movement. The story focuses on Mulligan’s character Maud as she grows more political with Streep starring as the iconic Emmeline Pankhurst. Helena Bonham Carter, Anne-Marie Duff, Romola Garai and Ben Whishaw are among the supporting cast. It’s been chosen to open the BFI London Film Festival on October 7 so expect to see a major push come awards season.
Burnt (October 16)
Bradley Cooper goes for his fourth Oscar nomination in as many years as a chef who destroys his career with drugs and bad behaviour. In order to rebuild his life, Adam moves to London where he aims to lead a restaurant to the elusive three Michelin stars. Cooper’s supporting cast includes the aforementioned Alicia Vikander, Jamie Dornan, Uma Thurman, Sienna Miller, Lily James and Emma Thompson. No trailer yet unfortunately.
Crimson Peak (October 16)
A proper horror movie from a horror movie maestro. Crimson Peak sees the return of Guillermo Del Toro to what he does best, scaring the pants off you! Dark secrets haunt a house where a man lives with his sister and new bride. Tom Hiddleston, Jessica Chastain, Mia Wasikowska and Charlie Hunnam star.
Spectre (October 26)
So there’s this little film coming out in October, not sure you’ve heard about it… Ok, to get serious – can it live up to everyone’s expectations after Skyfall? That’s really the only question.
And that’s just a brief taster! There’s loads to more to come towards the end of the year, including the film many pundits think could be the first to make $1 billion during its opening weekend – the new Star Wars. But that’s for later in the year. Until then, enjoy some of the delights on offer this autumn.