What to See

Fall Movie Preview: ‘Gravity,’ ‘The Wolf of Wall Street,’ and More

From ‘Gravity to ‘The Counselor,’ see what Marlow Stern is looking forward to after a miserable summer.

From stinkers like The Lone Ranger to After Earth, it was a truly miserable summer at the movies. But don’t worry! The fall movie season, when studios roll out their Oscar bait, is finally upon us. And there’s plenty to be excited about this fall, from dramas by celebrated filmmakers Martin Scorsese (The Wolf of Wall Street) and Ridley Scott (The Counselor) to blockbuster fare like Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. Here are The Daily Beast’s most anticipated movies this fall. —by Marlow Stern

Jan Thijs/Universal Pictures

‘Riddick’ (September 6)

The third installment in this franchise, following the terrific indie sci-fi flick Pitch Black and its anemic PG-13 sequel, The Chronicles of Riddick, is written and directed by David Twohy, who helmed the first two. Once again the star is Vin Diesel as Riddick, a futuristic bounty hunter with chromed-out eyes who’s out for revenge. Unlike the last film, this one is going to be rated R—thank goodness—and sees Riddick battling against alien predators and myriad bounty hunters on his path toward saving his home planet, Furya, from destruction.

Weinstein Company

‘Salinger’ (September 6)

Well, the biggest news from this mysterious Weinstein Co.–distributed documentary about the late hermit-author J.D. Salinger is already out: there are reportedly five unpublished Salinger works coming soon. But expect many other interesting reveals in Shane Salerno’s doc about the reclusive author, featuring interviews with 150 subjects, including Philip Seymour Hoffman, Tom Wolfe, and Gore Vidal, as well as some of Salinger’s closest friends and associates.

‘Blue Caprice’ (September 13)

From writer-director Alexandre Moors, this film is inspired by the Beltway sniper attacks and centers on the relationship between John Allen Muhammad, played by former Grey’s Anatomy star Isaiah Washington, and his teen accomplice, Lee Boyd Malvo (Tequan Richmond). The film premiered to rave reviews at the Sundance Film Festival, where Washington received marks for his electrifying—and terrifying—turn. The cast also includes Joey Lauren Adams, Tim Blake Nelson, and Leo Fitzpatrick.

Wilson Webb/Alcon Entertainment

‘Prisoners’ (September 20)

Denis Villeneuve, whose 2010 film, Incendies, was nominated for the best-foreign-film Oscar, directs this crime thriller, and its screenplay, written by Aaron Guzikowski, made the Black List of best unproduced screenplays. The film centers on Keller Dover (Hugh Jackman), a small-town carpenter whose 6-year-old daughter and her best friend are kidnapped. He clashes with a hotshot detective (Jake Gyllenhaal) assigned to the case before taking the law into his own hands and abducting a man (Paul Dano) he believes to be the culprit. Viola Davis, Maria Bello, Terrence Howard, and Melissa Leo round out the superb cast.

Jaap Buitendijk/Universal Pictures

‘Rush’ (September 20)

Directed by Ron Howard (Apollo 13) from a screenplay by Peter Morgan (The Queen), this sports drama is set during the 1976 Formula One season and captures the real-life rivalry between race car drivers James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) and Niki Lauda (Daniel Brühl), as the two compete for the 1976 World Championship at Fuji in Japan. The German actor Brühl (Inglourious Basterds) is already earning raves for his turn as Lauda.

Lacey Terrell/Weinstein Company

‘Enough Said’ (September 20)

This comedy, written and directed by venerable indie filmmaker Nicole Holofcener (Friends With Money), is one of the last films to feature the great James Gandolfini. Eva (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) is a divorced mother who pays the bills working as a masseuse. She meets Albert (Gandolfini), a kind man with a similar life situation, and the two fall for each other—that is, until Eva befriends Marianne (Catherine Keener), one of her new massage clients, who constantly rags on her ex—Albert.

‘Thanks for Sharing’ (September 20)

Written and directed by Stuart Blumberg, who penned the Oscar-nominated screenplay to The Kids Are All Right, this timely comedy follows three friends (Gwyneth Paltrow, Mark Ruffalo, and Tim Robbins) in New York City who meet while attending 12-step meetings to treat their sex addictions. The film also stars Josh Gad, Joely Richardson, and Alecia Moore, a.k.a. the pop diva Pink.

Sony Pictures Animation

‘Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2’ (September 27)

Based on an original screenplay by the screenwriting team behind Horrible Bosses, this sequel to the 2009 3-D animated sci-fi comedy is set in the aftermath of the disastrous food storm caused by Flint Lockwood’s machine. He is tasked with cleaning the island, and all seems to be going well—until Lockwood learns that his machine is still alive and creating bizarre mutant food beasts like living pickles, hungry tacodile supremes, shrimpanzees, and more. Most of the voice actors from the first film will reprise their roles, including Bill Hader, Anna Faris, James Caan, Andy Samberg, and Neil Patrick Harris.

‘Don Jon’ (September 27)

Marking the feature directorial debut of dimple-faced actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt, this raunchy dramedy—which had several pornographic scenes excised from its Sundance cut—centers on Jon Martello (Gordon-Levitt), a porn-addicted Jersey guido who treats women like disposable objects. He soon falls for Barbara Sugarman (Scarlett Johansson), who believes in fairytale endings, and along the way he gains some interesting insight on love from Esther (Julianne Moore), a mature single woman with a more artistic take on porn.

Carole Segal

‘Metallica: Through the Never’ (September 27)

This Imax feature is directed by Hungarian filmmaker Nimrod Antal (Kontroll) and is equal parts concert film and thriller. It’s named after a 1991 Metallica song and follows Trip (Dane Dehaan), a roadie for the band sent off on a mission to retrieve an item during a mega-concert that doesn’t exactly go as planned. Trip must square off against a death-dealing horseman and navigate an anarchic crowd to complete his odyssey. Metallica, naturally, play themselves.

Warner Bros. Picture

‘Gravity’ (October 4)

Its been seven years since we’ve been blessed with a film by the immensely talented Mexican filmmaker Alfonso Cuarón—he of Y Tu Mamá También and Children of Men fame. Medical engineer Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) is accompanied by veteran astronaut Matt Kowalsky (George Clooney) on her first space-shuttle mission, but during a routine spacewalk, debris from a satellite crashes into their vessel, leaving them stranded in space and in a desperate fight for survival. Cuarón is said to have used cutting-edge technology for the 3-D film, which has received rave reviews out of the Venice and Telluride film festivals.

Scott Garfield/Twentieth Century Fox

‘Runner, Runner’ (October 4)

Directed by Brad Furman (The Lincoln Lawyer) and produced by Leonardo DiCaprio, this slick crime thriller stars Justin Timberlake as Richie Furst, a Princeton student who is swindled out of all his tuition money by an online poker company. When he travels to a remote island to confront the owner (Ben Affleck), Richie ends up becoming his boy Friday. The shit really starts to hit the fan when an FBI agent (Anthony Mackie) approaches Richie and forces him to help the bureau bring the crook down. Runner, Runner will be Affleck’s first acting gig since his big Batman announcement.

Rico Torres/Open Road Films

‘Machete Kills’ (October 4)

Robert Rodriguez’s sequel to the 2010 bonkers exploitation flick Machete sees Danny Trejo reprise his role as the blade-wielding rogue Federale agent, whom the president of the United States (Charlie Sheen, really) asks to take out a psychotic billionaire arms dealer (Mel Gibson) with designs on spreading mass war and hysteria. The diverse cast of this very violent flick includes Jessica Alba, Amber Heard, Antonio Banderas, Zoe Saldana, and pop diva Lady Gaga.

‘Parkland’ (October 4)

Written and directed by Peter Landesman, produced by Tom Hanks, and based on Vincent Bugliosi’s book Four Days in November, this ensemble drama re-creates the day of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination through the eyes of various participants, including doctors and nurses at Parkland Hospital, members of the Secret Service, the FBI, and more. The film boasts a talented cast, including Zac Efron, Tom Welling, Jacki Weaver, Paul Giamatti, Jackie Earle Haley, Billy Bob Thornton, and Marcia Gay Harden.

Hopper Stone/Columbia Pictures

‘Captain Phillips’ (October 11)

Directed by shaky-cam extraordinaire Paul Greengrass (The Bourne Ultimatum), Captain Phillips tells the real-life tale of Richard Phillips (Tom Hanks), who was taken hostage by Somali pirates in the 2009 Maersk Alabama hijacking. It’s a hyperkinetic action thriller, much like the Oscar-nominated Greengrass film United 93; was produced by the team behind The Social Network; and also features Catherine Keener as Mrs. Phillips. Captain Phillips is the opening-night film of the 2013 New York Film Festival.

Frank Connor/DreamWorks II

‘The Fifth Estate’ (October 11)

Directed by Bill Condon (Dreamgirls), this topical thriller is based on Inside WikiLeaks, a book by Julian Assange’s former righthand man, Daniel Domscheit-Berg. The film features Benedict Cumberbatch as WikiLeaks founder Assange and Daniel Brühl as Domscheit-Berg, and traces the birth of WikiLeaks as well as the duo’s battle over the leak of the biggest trove of highly classified intelligence documents in U.S. history. The film also stars Laura Linney, Stanley Tucci, Anthony Mackie, and Carice van Houten.

‘Escape From Tomorrow’ (October 11)

This neo-noir fantasy film, the debut feature from Randy Moore, became one of the Sundance Film Festival’s most talked-about films, as it was shot on location at Walt Disney World and Disneyland without the notoriously protective amusement parks’ permissions. It centers on a man who begins to have disturbing visions during the last day of a family vacation to Walt Disney World. Moore was so paranoid about Disney that he edited the film in South Korea, and preliminary reviews have compared Escape From Tomorrow to the early works of David Lynch.

R & J Releasing

‘Romeo and Juliet’ (October 12)

This new U.K. film adaptation of the Shakespeare classic is directed by Italian filmmaker Carlo Carlei from a screenplay by Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes. It’s a modern-day version of the romantic tragedy that is apparently similar Franco Zeffirelli’s revered 1968 film adaptation and stars Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit) as Juliet and Douglas Booth as Romeo. The film also features Damian Lewis, Paul Giamatti, and Ed Westwick.

‘Paradise’ (October 18)

The directorial debut of Oscar-winning screenwriter Diablo Cody (Juno), this dark romantic comedy centers on Lamb Mannerhelm (Julianne Hough), a 21-year-old conservative Christian woman who, after narrowly surviving a plane crash, heads to Las Vegas to indulge in all the sinful deeds she’s been missing out on. Along the way, she makes friends with William (Russell Brand) and Loray (Octavia Spencer). The film also features Nick Offerman and Holly Hunter as Lamb’s strict parents.

Michael Gibson/Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

‘Carrie’ (October 18)

This remake of Brian De Palma’s 1976 horror classic, based on the novel by Stephen King, is directed by Kimberly Peirce (Boys Don’t Cry). Filling Sissy Spacek’s shoes as Carrie White is Chloe Grace Moretz, who previously starred in the American remake of the Swedish vampire film Let the Right One In. Carrie is a teen pariah with secret telekinetic powers who eventually exacts revenge on all the popular kids who’ve been bullying her. Julianne Moore co-stars as her overprotective, religious mom, a role previously played by Piper Laurie.

Alan Markfield/Summit

‘Escape Plan’ (October 18)

This so-bad-sounding-it-might-be-fun action flick stars Sylvester Stallone as Ray Breslin, a structural engineer who designs prisons. When he’s wrongly convicted of a crime and sentenced to the very prison he helped design, he teams up with fellow convict Swan Rottmeyer (Arnold Schwarzenegger) to bust out. The film also features rapper 50 Cent as a computer expert who aids the duo in their escape, Jim Caviezel as the villain, Vinnie Jones as a dirty prison security guard, Vincent D’Onofrio as the prison warden, and Amy Ryan as Stallone’s love interest.

Jaap Buitendijk/20th Century Fox

‘12 Years a Slave’ (October 18)

Based on the biography of Solomon Northup, a free man who was kidnapped and sold into slavery in 1841, 12 Years a Slave traces Northup’s (Chiwetel Ejiofor) harrowing journey from Saratoga, New York, to a New Orleans plantation. Directed by Steve McQueen (Hunger, Shame), the film also stars Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Giamatti, Brad Pitt, and fantastic newcomer Lupita Nyong’o.

‘All Is Lost’ (October 18)

Will Robert Redford finally win an acting Oscar? That’s the question on everyone’s minds with All Is Lost, a virtually dialogue-less survival drama starring Redford as a man lost at sea and struggling to survive. The film is one big monument to Redford, who is the only actor credited and appears in every scene. J.C. Chandor, who helmed the Sundance fave Margin Call, is the writer-director.

‘Kill Your Darlings’ (October 18)

Marking the feature filmmaking debut of writer-director John Krokidas, Kill Your Darlings tells the real-life tale of David Kammerer’s (Michael C. Hall) murder by Lucien Carr (Dane DeHaan) in 1944. Kammerer, an English professor and childhood friend of William S. Burroughs’s, had allegedly been pursuing the younger Carr, a prominent Beat figure, for quite some time. The shocking murder draws together Beat poets Allen Ginsberg (Daniel Radcliffe), Burroughs (Ben Foster), and Jack Kerouac (Jack Huston). The film marks another entry in Radcliffe’s post–Harry Potter oeuvre and also stars Elizabeth Olsen, Kyra Sedgwick, and Jennifer Jason Leigh.

Sean Cliver/Paramount Pictures

‘Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa’ (October 25)

The Jackass boys are back. Directed by Jeff Tremaine, who helmed all the Jackass movies, and written by Tremaine, Johnny Knoxville, and Spike Jonze, this rowdy comedy is the first film from the crew to feature a plot tying the hidden camera pranks and gags together. It centers on Irving Zisman (Knoxville), an 86-year-old tasked with transporting his grandson across the country to his father after the boy’s mother is jailed. Expect plenty of chaos ... and geriatric nudity.

‘Blue Is the Warmest Color’ (October 25)

Abdellatif Kechiche’s three-hour French drama is one of the most honest depictions of first love ever put on screen. The film centers on Adele (Adele Exarchopoulos), a 15-year-old girl whose initial sexual forays leave much to be desired—until she crosses paths with Emma (Lea Seydoux), a blue-haired art student in college. The two begin a torrid love affair, and the film traces their relationship over several years. In a Cannes first, Kechiche, Exarchopoulos, and Seydoux were all awarded the Palme d’Or, and the mesmerizing film has also garnered a bit of controversy for its incredibly graphic lesbian sex scenes.

Kerry Brown/Twentieth Century Fox

‘The Counselor’ (October 25)

Directed by Ridley Scott from a screenplay by novelist Cormac McCarthy, this thriller centers on a lawyer (Michael Fassbender) who gets mixed up in a drug-smuggling ring and realizes he’s bitten off a lot more than he can chew. The film also stars Penélope Cruz, Cameron Diaz, Javier Bardem, and Brad Pitt.

Richard Foreman/Summit

‘Ender’s Game’ (November 1)

Directed by Gavin Hood (The Wolverine), this sci-fi action flick is adapted from a novel by Orson Scott Card and, with a budget of $110 million, distributor Summit is hoping it’s the first in a franchise. When an alien race dubbed the Formics attacks Earth, the International Fleet trains youngsters to be the next generation of fighter pilots, including Ender Wiggin (Asa Butterfield) and Petra Arkanian (Hailee Steinfeld). The film also features Harrison Ford as Colonel Graff, leader of the Fleet; Ben Kingsley as Mazer Rackham, who trains Ender; Viola Davis; and Abigail Breslin.

‘Last Vegas’ (November 1)

It’s like The Hangover ... but for seniors. In this comedy from director Jon Turteltaub, four best friends in their late 60s convene in Las Vegas to throw an epic bachelor party for the last member of the crew to get married. The foursome is played by Michael Douglas, Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman, and Kevin Kline, and the film also features Mary Steenburgen and rappers 50 Cent and T.I. in supporting roles.

‘Thor: The Dark World’ (November 8)

This 3-D sequel to the 2011 Marvel superhero film is set one year after the events of The Avengers. Thor (Chris Hemsworth) teams up once more with astrophysicist-flame Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) to do battle against his former nemesis, Loki (Tom Hiddleston), as well as a primeval race called the Malekith, led by Malekith the Accursed (Christopher Eccleston). Idris Elba, Rene Russo, and Anthony Hopkins also reprise their roles from the first film.

Jules Heath/2013 Twentieth Century Fox

‘The Book Thief’ (November 15)

Based on the novel of the same name by Australian author Markus Zusak, this historical drama is helmed by Emmy-winning Downton Abbey director Brian Percival. In World War II Germany, a young girl named Liesel (Sophie Nelisse) finds solace in stealing books and sharing them with other children. Meanwhile, her adoptive parents, Hans Hubermann (Geoffrey Rush) and Rosa Hubermann (Emily Watson), are hiding Jews under the stairs of their home.

Mary Cybulski/Paramount

‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ (November 15)

Written by The Sopranos’ Terence Winter and directed by the legendary Martin Scorsese, this black comedy stars Leonardo DiCaprio as Jordan Belfort, a Long Island penny stockbroker who rises to become a Wall Street power player during the early ’90s—that is, until he gets mixed up in a securities fraud case involving the mob. The film also stars Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie, Matthew McConaughey, Jon Favreau, Kyle Chandler, Rob Reiner, and The Artist’s Jean Dujardin.

‘Delivery Man’ (November 22)

Produced by Steven Spielberg and directed by Ken Scott, this comedy is a remake of Scott’s 2011 French-Canadian film, Starbuck, and centers on David Wozniak (Vince Vaughn), a sperm donor who, under the alias “Starbuck,” has fathered 533 children. But his girlfriend, Emma (Cobie Smulders), is still debating whether he’ll make a good father. When a large group of Starbuck’s kids petition to have their donor-father reveal his true identity, David must decide whether to step forward.

Murray Close/Lionsgate

‘The Hunger Games: Catching Fire’ (November 22)

Francis Lawrence (I Am Legend) replaces Gary Ross in the director’s chair, and Michael Arndt (Toy Story 3) and Simon Beaufoy (Slumdog Millionaire) take over screenwriting duties for this sequel to the 2012 sci-fi blockbuster. Following their Victory Tour, Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) find themselves competing in the Hunger Games once more and squaring off against a more experienced group of killers. Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Lenny Kravitz, Donald Sutherland, and Stanley Tucci reprise the roles from the first film, and are joined by newcomers Philip Seymour Hoffman (as Plutarch Heavensbee), Jeffrey Wright (as Beetee), and Jena Malone (as Johanna Mason).

Merie W. Wallace/Paramount

‘Nebraska’ (November 22)

Directed by the great Alexander Payne (Election, Sideways) from an original screenplay by Bob Nelson, this black-and-white road trip dramedy centers on Woody Grant (Bruce Dern), an aging man with Alzheimer’s who convinces his son (Will Forte) to take him on a road trip from Montana to Nebraska to claim a $1 million Mega Sweepstakes Marketing prize. Dern was awarded Best Actor at the Cannes film festival for his touching turn, and the cast also includes June Squibb as the family’s hilarious mother and Bob Oedenkirk as their other son.

‘Homefront’ (November 27)

This just sounds completely bonkers. Directed by Gary Fleder from a script co-written by Sylvester Stallone, grisly action film Homefront follows a DEA agent (Jason Statham) whose family life is turned upside down when he runs afoul of Gator, a meth kingpin played by James Franco. The film also stars Winona Ryder, Kate Bosworth, Vincent D’Onofrio, Frank Grillo, and Mischa Barton.

Hilary Bronwyn Gayle/OB Productions

‘Oldboy’ (November 27)

This Spike Lee–directed remake of Park Chan-wook’s 2003 South Korean revenge classic stars Josh Brolin as Joe Doucett, an ad executive who’s kidnapped one evening and imprisoned for 20 years without explanation. When he’s suddenly released, he goes on the hunt for his captor(s). The movie also stars Elizabeth Olsen, Samuel L. Jackson, and Sharlto Copley as the slick antagonist.

Phil Bray/Fox Searchlight Pictures

‘Black Nativity’ (November 27)

Written and directed by Kasi Lemmons (Eve’s Bayou), this contemporary adaptation of the Langston Hughes play is a movie-musical boasting an all-black cast. Langston (Jacob Latimore), a troubled Baltimore teen, travels to New York to spend the holidays with his estranged relatives, the Rev. Cobb (Forest Whitaker) and his wife, Aretha (Angela Bassett). Unable to abide by the reverend’s ultra-strict rules, he embarks on a journey back home to reunite with his mother (Jennifer Hudson). The film also stars Tyrese Gibson, Mary J. Blige, Vondie Curtis-Hall, and rapper Nas.

‘Grace of Monaco’ (Nov. 27)

Can you say “Oscar bait”? Directed by Olivier Dahan (La Vie en Rose), this French-American biopic stars Nicole Kidman as Grace Kelly, the Hollywood actress turned princess, and follows her crisis of marriage and identity during a heated dispute between her husband, Prince Rainier III of Monaco (Tim Roth), and France’s Charles de Gaulle, who is threatening to invade the principality. The film also stars Frank Langella, Parker Posey, and Derek Jacobi.

Kerry Hayes/Relativity Media

‘Out of the Furnace’ (November 27)

Directed by Scott Cooper (Crazy Heart), this intense drama tells the tale of Russell (Christian Bale) and Rodney (Casey Affleck), two brothers from an economically depressed mill town in the heartland. While Russell is in prison, Rodney falls in with a vicious gang of criminals, and when he goes missing, the recently freed Russell is ready do whatever it takes to find him. The film, produced by Leonardo DiCaprio and Ridley and Tony Scott, also stars Woody Harrelson, Zoe Saldana, Forest Whitaker, Willem Dafoe, and Sam Shepard.