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2016 fall movie preview: Here comes the first batch of this year’s Oscar hopefuls

By RENE RODRIGUEZ | Miami Herald | Published: September 1, 2016

*All dates are U.S.

School’s back in session, the days are getting a tiny bit shorter and “Suicide Squad” is finally starting to drop out of theaters. In other words, the fall movie season is upon us, ready to renew your faith in Hollywood with an assortment of serious, ambitious pictures that kick off the race for next year’s Oscars.

But just because the summer is over doesn’t mean superheroes and sequels are going away altogether. Here is a list of movies opening between now and Thanksgiving. Release dates are subject to change.

SEPT. 9

“The Disappointments Room”: Kate Beckinsale and Mel Raido play a couple trying to save their crumbling marriage who move to a new home and discover they have an unwelcome guest in the attic.

“Sully”: Clint Eastwood directs Tom Hanks in this drama about the airline pilot who saved the lives of his passengers and crew by landing their disabled plane on the Hudson River and the controversy that ensued.

“When the Bough Breaks”: A surrogate mother (Jaz Sinclair) becomes a little too fond of the father-to-be (Morris Chestnut).

“The Wild Life”: This animated comedy retells the story of Robinson Crusoe through the eyes of the talking animals that inhabit his island.

SEPT. 16

“Blair Witch”: 1999’s game-changing “The Blair Witch Project” gets a follow-up in director Adam Wingard’s sequel, which takes place 20 years after the original.

“Bridget Jones’s Baby”: Renee Zellweger reprises her signature role of the romantically-challenged Bridget Jones, this time trying to figure out which of her two suitors (Colin Firth and Patrick Dempsey) is the father of her unborn child.

“The Hollars” John Krasinski directs and stars in this story of a struggling New York City artist who returns to his small hometown to take care of his ailing mother (Margo Martindale).

“Snowden”: Oliver Stone directs this dramatization of the life of Edward Snowden (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), the NSA whistle-blower who revealed the extent of the U.S. government’s surveillance of ordinary people and became a fugitive from the law.

SEPT. 23

“The Dressmaker”: A fashion designer (Kate Winslet) returns to her small home town to clean up her reputation and spread sartorial cheer.

“The Magnificent Seven”: Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke and Vincent D’Onofrio are among the seven outlaws turned heroes in director Antoine Fuqua’s remake of the classic 1960 John Sturges western, which was in turn an adaptation of Akira Kurosawa’s immortal 1954 “Seven Samurai.”

“Storks”: Andy Samberg, Kelsey Grammer and Jennifer Aniston provide the voices for this comedy about the breed of birds that was once in the baby-delivering business but now work for an online shopping giant.

SEPT. 30

“Deepwater Horizon”: Mark Wahlberg and Kurt Russell play real-life heroes in director Peter Berg’s drama about the 2010 oil rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico, one of the biggest man-made natural disasters in history.

“Masterminds”: A disillusioned armored-truck driver (Zach Galifianakis) tries to pull off an impossible bank heist. Kristen Wiig, Owen Wilson, Kate McKinnon and Jason Sudeikis are his partners in crime. Leslie Jones is the cop on their trail.

“Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children”: Eva Green is the headmistress at a special school for gifted children in director Tim Burton’s adaptation of Ransom Riggs’ novel.

“Queen of Katwe”: Mira Nair (“Salaam Bombay!” “Monsoon Wedding”) directs this fact-based drama about a girl from rural Uganda who became a world-class chess player.

OCT. 7

“The Birth of a Nation”: Nate Parker directs and stars in this Sundance Film Festival award-winning drama about the life of Nat Turner, who led a slave rebellion in August 1831.

“The Girl on the Train”: Emily Blunt is the woman fascinated by the happy couple who live in a house her train passes every day. Then she sees something awful happen. Tate Taylor (“The Help”) directs this adaptation of Paula Hawkins’ mammoth best-seller.

“Middle School”: Two teenagers declare war on their principal by deciding to break all of the school’s existing rules of behavior.

OCT. 14

“The Accountant”: A seemingly normal CPA (Ben Affleck) leads a secret life cooking the books for criminal organizations in director Gavin O’Connor’s crime drama.

“American Honey”: Sasha Lane, Shia LaBeouf and Riley Keough are members of a group of young people traveling across the country in a van and making trouble for writer-director Andrea Arnold (“Fish Tank”).

“Desierto”: Gael Garcia Bernal is one of the Mexican immigrants being hunted by a murderous border patrol (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) in this thriller.

“Kevin Hart: What Now?”: The popular comedian performs his stand-up routine for a crowd of 50,000 at Philadelphia’s Lincoln Financial Field.

OCT. 21

“Denial”: A lawyer (Rachel Weisz) battles a Holocaust denier (Timothy Spall) in a British court in this adaptation of Deborah Lipstadt’s book.

“Jack Reacher: Never Go Back”: Tom Cruise reprises the role of the detective hero of Lee Child’s series of novels, this time trying to clear his name after being implicated in a government conspiracy.

“Keeping Up with the Joneses”: Greg Mottola (“The Daytrippers”) directs this comedy about a married couple (Zach Galifianakis, Isla Fisher) trying to compete with their next-door neighbors (Jon Hamm, Gal Gadot), who happen to be government secret agents.

“Ouija: Origin of Evil”: Set in 1965, this sequel to the 2014 horror hit finds out how that silly board game became so evil.

“Tyler Perry’s Boo! A Madea Halloween”: Madea battles zombies, ghosts and killers while babysitting a group of misbehaving teens in the latest installment in Tyler Perry’s comedy franchise.

OCT. 28

“American Pastoral”: Ewan McGregor directs and stars in this adaptation of Philip Roth’s novel that follows the lives of an all-American decades over the course of several turbulent decades. Jennifer Connelly, Dakota Fanning, Uzo Aduba and David Strathairn co-star.

“Inferno”: Tom Hanks and director Ron Howard reunite for their third adaptation of a Dan Brown novel about the trouble-magnet symbologist Robert Langdon.

“Rings”: Remember that creepy videotape from 2002’s “Ring” that doomed anyone who watched it to die in seven days? Well, it’s made the leap to the internet and still causing trouble. Be careful what you click on.

NOV. 4

“Bleed for This”: Miles Teller muscles up to play Vinny Pazienza, the professional boxing champ whose career was almost derailed by a car accident that broke his neck.

“Doctor Strange”: The Marvel Comics Universe takes a step into fantasy with this first installment in the adventures of the Greenwich Village neurosurgeon (Benedict Cumberbatch) who defends our realm from otherworldly evil. Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams and Tilda Swinton co-star for director Scott Derrickson (“Sinister,” “Deliver Us from Evil”).

“Eagle Mistress”: In the Mongolian steppe, a 13-year-old girl trains to become the first female eagle hunter in her Kazakh family in 12 generations.

“Hacksaw Ridge”: Mel Gibson’s first outing as a director since 2006’s “Apocalypto” tells the true story of an American soldier (Andrew Garfield) who saved 75 men without firing or carrying a gun during one of World War II’s bloodiest battles.

“The Handmaiden”: Park Chan-wook (“Old Boy,” “Stoker”) directs this critically-acclaimed drama about a servant plotting to defraud her wealthy boss in 1930s Japan.

“Moonlight”: Writer-director Barry Jenkins’ made-in-Miami drama tells three chapters in the life of a young man growing up in Liberty City and struggling with his sexuality.

“Trolls”: That Justin Timberlake ear-worm that’s been on the radio since May is only one of five songs the singer contributed to this animated comedy about a world inhabited by relentlessly happy, optimistic trolls. Timberlake, Anna Kendrick, Russell Brand and James Corden provide the voices.

NOV. 11

“Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk”: Director Ang Lee used 4K 3D technology and shot at 120 frames per second to bring an immersive, you-are-there feel to his adaptation of Ben Fountain’s novel about a 19-year-old Iraq War veteran (Joe Alwyn) who recalls his battlefield experiences while being honored during the Dallas Cowboys’ Thanksgiving game halftime show. Kristen Stewart, Vin Diesel, Garrett Hedlund, Chris Tucker and Steve Martin co-star.

“Almost Christmas”: Kimberly Elise, Omar Epps, Danny Glover and Gabrielle Union are among the members of an extended family trying to spend five days of the holiday season together under the same roof without killing each other.

“Arrival”: Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner are part of a team of scientists and military personnel investigating strange alien spacecraft that have touched down around the world. Denis Villenueve (“Sicario”) directs.

“Shut In”: A reclusive child psychologist (Naomi Watts) is forced out of isolation to rescue a young boy during a ferocious winter storm.

NOV. 18

“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”: Eddie Redmayne stars as the author of one of the textbooks Harry Potter would go on to read 70 years later at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in this adaptation of J.K. Rowling’s best-selling novel.

“Loving”: Acclaimed at May’s Cannes Film Festival, the latest from director Jeff Nichols (“Midnight Special,” “Take Shelter”) centers on an interracial couple (Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga) who spent nine years in court fighting for the right to live together in their hometown.

“The Edge of Seventeen”: A high school junior (Hailee Steinfeld) tries to survive her adolescence in this teenage comedy “in the vein of ’Sixteen Candles’ and ’The Breakfast Club,’” it says here.

NOV. 23

“Allied”: Robert Zemeckis (“Back to the Future”) directs Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard in this tale about the repercussions of a dangerous secret mission behind enemy lines during World War II.

“Bad Santa 2”: Billy Bob Thornton and Tony Cox return as the world’s worst shopping-mall Santa Claus and his elf assistant for more crude, R-rated laughs.

“Elle”: Paul Verhoeven (“Basic Instinct,” “Showgirls”) directs this thriller about a woman (Isabelle Huppert) trying to exact revenge on the man who raped her.

“Moana”: Dwayne Johnson, Jemaine Clement and Nicole Scherzinger provide the voices for this Walt Disney animated adventure about a young woman who sets sail to a mystical island.

“Rules Don’t Apply”: After a 15-year absence from the screen, Warren Beatty returns as writer, director and star of this biopic about the famously reclusive mogul Howard Hughes. Alden Ehrenreich and Lily Collins play a young couple whose relationship is tested by the billionaire’s erratic behavior.

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© 2016 Miami Herald

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