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25 Movies We're All About This Fall

The Wolf of Wall Street Paramount

The dog days of August are almost over, which means blockbusters are taking a backseat to all those lovely prestige pictures the studios trot out when the leaves change and Meryl Streep gets her thirst for gold like the Oscar vampire she is.

Heavy hitters like Brad Pitt, Jennifer Lawrence, George Clooney, Josh Brolin, Michael Fassbender, Tom Hanks, Kristen Wiig, Chris Hemsworth and the ubiquitous Benedict Cumberbatch all pop up in multiple movies on our annual list of the Fall's best and brightest. Fan favs like Thor (as in "The Mighty"), Ron Burgundy, Katniss Everdeen, Jack Ryan and Machete chop their way back to the big screen with much fanfare, but this time of year is all about the Oscar bait — a Golden Globe simply won't do.

Prepare accordingly for the season below. (And also check out Film.com's Ultimate Fall Movie Preview, plus all kinds of good stuff on  MTV's Fall Preview hub.)

25. 'Machete Kills'

Release Date: Oct. 11
Starring: Danny Trejo, Michelle Rodriguez, Mel Gibson, Charlie Sheen
The Scoop: Play with matches you get burned, but play with volatile ex-movie stars and you get B-movie magic. The ringleader of this incendiary circus is Robert Rodriguez, who would win the Nobel Prize for Exploitation Filmmaking if such a thing existed (it should). Trejo returns as the titular ex-Mexican Federale who gets the women and kills the bad guys, this time hired by the President of the United States (Sheen, natch) to stop a madman (Mel Gibson, natch) from launching a deadly weapon into space.

 

24. 'Carrie'

Release Date: Oct. 18
Starring: Chloë Grace Moretz, Julianne Moore, Judy Greer
The Scoop: "They're all gonna laugh at you!" Let's hope not, since a crap remake of the 1976 Brian De Palma classic would be worthy of a bucket of pig's blood on prom night. Filmmaker Kimberly Peirce ("Boy's Don't Cry") will no doubt bring some new twists to Stephen King's chilling pre-Columbine tale that proves menstruation, telekinesis, religious fundamentalism and high school bullying don't mix well. Moretz is the title teen whose psychokinetic rampage will extend beyond the prom and level a whole town this time out.

 

23. 'Rush'

Release Date: Sept. 27
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Olivia Wilde, Daniel Brühl
The Scoop: It's just like the Sylvester Stallone movie "Driven," but classy. His Thor-ness Chris Hemsworth plays famed Formula One driver James Hunt, whose bitter rivalry with Austrian wheelman Niki Lauda (Daniel Brühl) leads to tragedy and triumph on the track. Ron Howard is the director with the need for speed, taking us back to the mid-'70s when racing wasn't just a spectator sport for beer-bellied rednecks waiting to see a crash. Oh, FYI, there's a crash in this movie.

 Also Check Out: How Chris Hemsworth's Homemade Audition Got Him Into 'Rush' (MTV News)

22. 'Frozen'

Release Date: Nov. 27
Starring: Kristen Bell, Josh Gad, Idina Menzel
The Scoop: Another entry in the pantheon of Disney princess movies, with Kristen Bell as the spunky royal Anna, who teams with a mountain man named Kristoff (Jonathan Groff) to rescue her sister, The Snow Queen. A reindeer and a snowman are their cute, huggably marketable companions tailor-made for Happy Meals, so let's just hope the movie is more digestible than a McNugget.

 Also Check Out: Kristen Bell Brings Special Meaning to 'Frozen' (MTV News)

21. 'Prisoners'

Release Date: Sept. 20
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Viola Davis
The Scoop: We've seen Jackman go into berserker rages as Wolverine, but this takes things to a whole other level. The singing, dancing, fighting Aussie plays a loving father whose daughter is abducted on Thanksgiving; the only witnesses claim to have seen a man in an RV (Paul Dano) on the scene, and when the man is let go by the police, Jackman's character takes the interrogation process into his own hands. Gyllenhaal is the cop doing things by the book (and failing), with Viola Davis as the mother of another girl taken who goes along with the brutal search for a confession.

Also Check Out: Watch 'Prisoners' Exclusive Clip (MTV News)

 

20. 'The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug'

Release Date: Dec. 13
Starring: Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage
The Scoop: You will believe Benedict Cumberbatch can breathe fire. His role as the dragon Smaug could be a knockout (Cumberbatch … Freeman … "Sherlock" fans in the hizzy!), but we're less fired up about the idea of having to slog through two more of these frickin' three-hour ordeals ... in senses-slaughtering 48-frames-per-second, no less. Just get the dwarf gold back already, guys, jeez! That sense of Tolkien fatigue is due in no small part to Peter Jackson's mishandling of last year's prequel, but we're willing to give our fav Kiwi the benefit of the doubt … this time.

 

19. 'Oldboy'

Release Date: Nov. 27
Starring: Josh Brolin, Elizabeth Olsen, Samuel L. Jackson
The Scoop: Okay, pretty much anyone who experienced Park Chan-wook's South Korean masterpiece ten years ago is scared s**tless about this Americanized remake and whether it will have the stones to go to the dark icky places the original did. The trailers make it look like a virtual carbon copy, with Brolin as an executive kidnapped for 20 years with no explanation and then released just as inexplicably. Once he sets out for revenge, it's hammer time. Lee and Jackson reunite for the first time since 1991's "Jungle Fever," setting aside any acrimony over Sammy J saying the N-word a lot in Tarantino films.

 Also Check Out: Spike Lee Takes On Infamous Hammer Scene (MTV News)

18. 'The Counselor'

Release Date: Oct. 25
Starring: Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt, Penélope Cruz, Cameron Diaz, Javier Bardem
The Scoop: Javier Bardem makes a return trip to Cormac McCarthy country, but "The Counselor" promises to be all the pretty horses of a different color. First off, it's not based on a book by the "No Country For Old Men" author but a spec script he wrote personally, and director Ridley Scott is bringing his signature stylistic tools to McCarthy's contemporary western stomping grounds. The story of a lawyer who gets his feet wet in the drug trafficking trade promises sexy thrills and plenty of bloodshed before it all ends.

 

17. 'Labor Day'

Release Date: Dec. 25
Starring: Kate Winslet, Josh Brolin, Tobey Maguire |
The Scoop: "Young Adult" showed a distinct shift towards more downbeat themes for director Jason Reitman, who continues that trend here. Based on Joyce Maynard's book, "Labor Day" is a three-hander about a single mom (Winslet) who takes in a hurt fugitive (Brolin) despite all signs pointing to it not being such a hot idea. The film will have a splashy premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, which hopefully gets the awards season ball rolling in one direction or the other. Gattlin Griffith, playing Winslet's 13-year-old son, has some buzz, and this could also lead to a career comeback for James Van Der Beek. You read that right.

Labor Day Paramount

16. 'Jack Ryan'

Release Date: Dec. 25
Starring: Chris Pine, Kevin Costner, Keira Knightley, Kenneth Branagh
The Scoop: Think about this for one second – with the exception of "Clear and Present Danger" (1994), every movie about Jack Ryan has been a reboot with a brand-new Ryan actor. After Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford and (*choke*) Ben Affleck had their go-round as Tom Clancy's reluctant hero, Chris Pine now becomes the CIA analyst in yet another origin story that Paramount hopes will pave the way for a whole cinematic "Clancyverse." Go get 'em, tiger. Costner plays Ryan's mentor William Harper, while Branagh does double duty as both the villain and director.

Jack Ryan Paramount

15. 'Saving Mr. Banks'

Release Date: Dec. 20
Starring: Emma Thompson, Tom Hanks, Colin Farrell
The Scoop: If you thought Disney was going to stop making movies based on their theme park rides, think again: they've now made a movie about the making of one of their movies. Talk about the snake eating its own tail. Tom Hanks is a zippity-doo-dah Walt Disney trying to convince ill-tempered author P. L. Travers (Thompson) to let his company adapt her book "Mary Poppins." The idea of Hanks playing Uncle Walt is genius, but will audiences be chomping at the bit to see what amounts to a dramatization of a DVD special feature?

 

14. 'Captain Phillips'

Release Date: Oct. 11
Starring: Tom Hanks, Catherine Keener, Barkhad Abdi
The Scoop: And in a complete one-eighty from Disney studio politics, we find Hanks battling Somali pirates in international waters as Maersk Alabama skipper Richard Phillips. The heroic cargo ship captain stood steadfast against hijackers in 2009, was captured and eventually rescued by a SEAL team, and although there were no major "Under Siege"-like ass-kicking moments, his courage was praised by President Barack Obama. Paul Greengrass of the "Bourne" movies will shaky-cam the hell out of this real-life crisis situation.

 

13. 'August: Osage County'

Release Date: Dec. 25
Starring: Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Ewan McGregor
The Scoop: Meryl Streep is catnip for the Academy. The versatile star is gonna go for an even 18 nominations (one for every 3 and a half years she's been alive) with this adaptation of Tracy Letts' play about a drug-addicted woman suffering from cancer whose husband commits suicide, causing a catastrophic family get-together for the funeral. That's right, it's the Oscar triple-play of addiction, suicide and the c-word, which means Streep is as unstoppable as The Terminator.

 

12. 'The Secret Life of Walter Mitty'

Release Date: Dec. 25
Starring: Ben Stiller, Kristen Wiig, Adam Scott
The Scoop: Jim Carrey, Owen Wilson, Mike Myers, Sacha Baron Cohen and Johnny Depp all vied to play James Thurber's eponymous schmoe who daydreams of being a hero before Ben Stiller took up the mantle. Re-teaming with his favorite director (also Ben Stiller), the "Tropic Thunder" star is bringing elements of contemporary ennui and global adventure to Mitty's fantasy life, where he romances his work crush Carol (Kristin Wiig). Early footage provoked awards buzz, and the nearly dialogue-free trailer promises this won't be the usual-usual for Stiller.

 

11. 'Thor: The Dark World'

Release Date: Nov. 8
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Christopher Eccleston
The Scoop: The mighty Avenger returns to catch up with long-distance girlfriend Jane Foster (Portman) and stop pointy-eared freaks from plunging the Earth into darkness, which is the worst thing you could plunge the Earth into. Director Alan Taylor will bring "Game of Thrones"-style verisimilitude to Asgard and the Nine Realms, assuming dark elf Malekith the Accursed (Eccleston) doesn't trash the place. Hemsworth is bringing the thunder, but the ladies know it's all about Hiddleston; last-minute reshoots are lensing as we speak to add more of everyone's favorite prankster god, but you know what they say: "Mo Loki mo problems."

 

10. 'Ender’s Game'

Release Date: Nov. 1
Starring: Asa Butterfield, Harrison Ford, Hailee Steinfeld, Ben Kingsley
The Scoop: Orson Scott Card's beloved 1985 sci-fi tome has been a touchstone for a generation of geeks salivating at the idea of this "Harry Potter in space" coming to the screen. After years of development hell (in no small part due to Scott Card's tight control of the property), filmmaker Gavin Hood is finally setting 12-year-old military prodigy Ender Wiggin (Butterfield) loose on hordes of alien Formics. We visited the set last year and were cautiously optimistic about what war games we saw (Hood did make "X-Men Origins: Wolverine," after all), though it will be awesome to see Han Solo himself in a space jam once again.

 

9. '12 Years a Slave'

Release Date: Oct. 18
Starring: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt
The Scoop: Between "Django Unchained" and "The Butler" this has been an interesting year for African American hardship on screen, and now controversial filmmaker Steve McQueen ("Shame") makes it a trilogy. This true story of Solomon Northup, a free black man from New York in the mid-1800s who was kidnapped and sold into slavery on a New Orleans plantation, has all the earmarks of a triumph over adversity masterpiece. Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Dano, Paul Giamatti, Michael K. Williams and littlest Oscar nominee Quvenzhané Wallis add up to one prestigious cast.

 

8. 'The Hunger Games: Catching Fire'

Release Date: Nov. 22
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth
The Scoop: Get ready to hear the phrase "Quarter Quell" a lot. That's the cycle of Hunger Games initiated by the oppressive Capitol every 25 years to pit winners of the competition against each other in mortal combat (that's combat with a "c" not a "k," video game nerds). J-Law returns as the spunky Katniss Everdeen, whose noble victory in the last film sparked a wave of rebellion in the Districts ... but can she turn it into a revolution? If the trailers are any indication, director Francis Lawrence has done away with the last film's over-reliance on shaky cam, much to the relief of migraine sufferers everywhere.

 

7. 'The Monuments Men'

Release Date: Dec. 20
Starring: George Clooney, Cate Blanchett, Matt Damon, Bill Murray
The Scoop: It's "Ocean's Eleven" in World War II. Clooney leads a ragtag group of militarily green historians and art experts on a wild romp through Europe to save cultural treasures before Hitler (or the Allies, for that matter) blow them to smithereens. It's a different kind of war picture than we've seen in recent years, one that tries to put the cost of war not just in lives but in history. Also, it features our nation's greatest treasure, Mr. Bill Murray.

 

6. 'Her'

Release Date: Dec. 18
Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, Scarlett Johansson
The Scoop: A man falls in love with a computer program (not Lara Croft). That's the quirky premise for quirky director Spike Jonze's quirky new movie, which promises to inspire new heights of overuse of the word "quirky," so start getting used to that. Samantha (Scarlett Johansson) is everything Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix) ever wanted from a relationship, except for the whole being an operating system thing, but they manage to work around that like any modern couple would. You'll never look at your overly friendly phone apps the same way again.

 

5. 'Inside Llewyn Davis'

Release Date: Dec. 6
Starring: Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, John Goodman
The Scoop: At this point most peeps know that any movie that bears the branding of The Coen Brothers is going to be of a certain caliber. Since the debut of "Inside Llewyn Davis" at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival (where it won the runner-up Grand Prix Award), word has it that the Minnesota Nice duo have concocted a little movie that is exemplary even for them, covering the heady days of New York's Greenwich Village folk music scene in the early 1960s. The amazing Oscar Isaac ("Drive") finally gets a starring showcase for both his leading man-ness and guitar pluckability.

 Also Check Out: Oscar Isaac Talks About His Role (MTV News)

4. 'Gravity'

Release Date: Oct. 4
Starring: Sandra Bullock, George Clooney
The Scoop: Alfonso Cuarón hasn't made a movie since his groundbreaking sci-fi classic "Children of Men" (2006), mostly because he's been tinkering with this even crazier project set entirely in the lonely confines of outer space. Bullock and Clooney are NASA astronauts whose shuttle is destroyed during a routine repair and they must struggle to survive with limited air and no link to mission control. F***************CK! The extended scenes of the trailer are absolutely terrifying, with a real-time ticking clock that promises to be the most immersive cinematic experience of the season … or possibly ever.

 

3. 'Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues'

Release Date: Dec. 20
Starring: Will Ferrell, Paul Rudd, Steve Carell, Christina Applegate
The Scoop: Great Odin's raven! It's about time the Channel 4 news team capitalized on the decade of residual goodwill their 2004 movie has built up. Indeed, the most quotable comedy team of the new millennium wants to take us on a mustache ride into the 1980s at the dawn of 24-hour cable news, where Ron Burgundy can once again have salon-quality hair and read the news. The whole gang is back, as well as a laundry list of celeb cameos including Harrison Ford, Jim Carrey, Will Smith and Nicole Kidman, all of whom want to bask in Burgundy's reflected glory.

 

2. 'American Hustle'

Release Date: Dec. 13
Starring: Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence
The Scoop: Bellbottoms and deception are in style this year. Following on the heels of "Argo" comes another FBI-centric true story, this one about the much-publicized ABSCAM operations where the Bureau employed a con man (a bald and chubby Christian Bale) to help run a sting operation in which one senator and six members of the House of Representatives were convicted of corruption. The trailer looks glitzy and Scorsese-like, with director David O. Russell currently the front-runner for Best Picture/Best Director by almost all Oscar handicappers.

 Also Check Out: Jennifer Lawrence 'Brings It' in 'American Hustle' (MTV News)

1. 'The Wolf of Wall Street'

Release Date: Nov. 15
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Matthew McConaughey, Jonah Hill
The Scoop: When the manic Kanye West-powered trailer for Martin Scorsese's latest debuted it nearly broke the Internet with its awesomeness. The mad rush of success via stock market chicanery is quickly met by downfall as real-life dubious broker Jordan Belfort (DiCaprio) succumbs to all the temptations money offers, including a sexy Lolita played by Margot Robbie. It's "Goodfellas" on the Bull market, with what looks to be a scene-stealing turn by McConaughey as a fellow broker with a fondness for Native American war chants.

 

Runners-Up

SEPTEMBER
Vin Diesel makes you afraid of the dark again in "Riddick" (Sept. 6); a documentary uncovers a reclusive legend in "Salinger" (Sept. 6); Patrick Wilson and family get re-haunted "Insidious Chapter 2" (Sept. 13); and we like the look of that weather for "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2" (Sept. 27).

OCTOBER
New Batman Ben Affleck teaches Justin Timberlake about the drug trade in "Runner Runner" (Oct. 4); Benedict Cumberbatch does the WikiLeaks mambo in "The Fifth Estate" (Oct. 18); Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone teaming up somehow becomes boring in "Escape Plan" (Oct. 18); and old men on walkers will be pushed over in "Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa" (Oct. 25).

NOVEMBER
The geezer version of "The Hangover" has the Viagra jokes ready in "Last Vegas" (Nov. 1); the gang reunites after a decade for "The Best Man Holiday" (Nov. 15); Alexander Payne helps Bruce Dern get an Oscar nod for "Nebraska" (Nov. 22); and Idris Elba goes to jail in "Mandela: Long Walk of Freedom" (Nov. 29).

DECEMBER
Matthew McConaughey gets skinny for your amusement in "Dallas Buyers Club" (Dec. 6); Keanu Reeves pretends he's Japanese in "47 Ronin" (Dec. 25); Sly Stallone and De Niro go head-to-head in a "Grudge Match" (Dec. 25); and Mark Wahlberg soldiers on as the "Lone Survivor" (Dec. 27).

Also Check Out: The 10 Most Anticipated Cult Movies This Fall (MTV Geek)

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