The Pitch fall guide to film
The summer of Kelsey Grammer now gives way to the autumn of Reese Witherspoon. Remember her? You’re about to have three chances to rediscover America’s Onetime Sweetheart: The Good Lie, Wild and Inherent Vice. That ought to just about make us all forget about her drunken run-in with the law two Aprils ago. Release dates — you know the drill — are subject to change.
Friday, September 5
The Identical | A minister and his wife (Ray Liotta, Ashley Judd), unable to have children, adopt at birth the twin brother of an eventual rock star.
Forrest Gump | Mama always said, “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know when you’re gonna bite into a 20th-anniversary IMAX rerelease.”
God Help the Girl | An emotionally troubled Scottish girl recovers through songwriting, then spends a whirlwind summer putting a band together and bringing her songs to life.
Kelly & Cal | Juliette Lewis stars as a suburban wife and mother who rediscovers her freak flag when she befriends a teenage neighbor (Jonny Weston).
Friday, September 12
No Good Deed | A fairly standard-looking, if intense, woman-in-jeopardy picture just waiting to be elevated by the presence of Idris Elba and Oscar nominee Taraji P. Henson.
Dolphin Tale 2 | If just one kid aspires to be a marine biologist after seeing this predictably earnest, by-the-numbers sequel, then our work here is done.
The Drop | After a botched robbery at a bar that operates as a front for the mob, a lonely bartender (Tom Hardy) becomes embroiled in age-old neighborhood conflicts involving his once-powerful cousin (James Gandolfini).
Friday, September 19
The Maze Runner | This Hunger Games knockoff pits a group of teens against a menacing, seemingly impenetrable maze. Their greatest adversary, though, is a cliché-ridden trailer that makes you long for the low-budget 1997 Canadian thriller Cube.
This Is Where I Leave You | Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Adam Driver and Corey Stoll star as four siblings coming to grips with more than just their father’s death when they spend a week together under the same roof.
Tracks | A young woman (Mia Wasikowska) embarks on a 1,700-mile journey across the deserts of Australia. Please tell us that she remembered sunscreen.
A Walk Among the Tombstones | Liam Neeson stars as Lawrence Block’s disgraced cop and recovering alcoholic turned private eye Matt Scudder, in a story adapted and directed by Scott Frank and co-starring Downton Abbey‘s Dan Stevens as a drug lord seeking revenge.
The Zero Theorem | When a computer hacker (Christoph Waltz) gets too close to uncovering our reason for being, the Management throws obstacles and distractions in his path in Terry Gilliam’s candy-colored counterpart to Brazil.
Friday, September 26
The Equalizer | Denzel Washington reunites with Training Day director Antoine Fuqua for this adaptation of the 1980s TV series, starring as a former commando who comes out of retirement to protect a young girl from Russian mobsters.
The Boxtrolls | An orphan raised by underground-dwelling trash collectors must fight to save his extended family from extermination.
The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby | Boy (James McAvoy) meets girl (Jessica Chastain), loves girl, loses girl, tries to get girl back in an ambitious love story told from both points of view, to be released in three different versions: first Them, followed by Him and Her in a limited, three-hour dual release.
The Skeleton Twins | Saturday Night Live alums Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig take a serious turn as estranged siblings who reunite after 10 years to sort out where their lives went wrong.
Friday, October 3
Gone Girl | David Fincher directs Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike in Gillian Flynn’s adaptation of her best-selling nail-biter about a husband under suspicion for his wife’s disappearance and probable murder.
The Good Lie | Reese Witherspoon is the latest Virtuous White Woman™ (we own that trademark, so don’t get any ideas, Lifetime) cast as the heroine of a story that would be more compelling if it focused instead on the Sudanese refugees she champions and learns life lessons from.
Hector and the Search for Happiness | Simon Pegg stars in this Walter Mitty–like tale of a psychiatrist who drops everything to travel the world in search of the secret to a happy life. And possibly to avoid the countless malpractice suits waiting for him back home.
Annabelle | A young mother-to-be is reunited with a creepy-ass doll she inexplicably loved as a child. Naturally, murder ensues.
Friday, October 10
The Judge | Roberts Duvall and Downey Jr. play an estranged father and son, respectively, brought together when the latter defends the former in a murder case.
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day | After dark dramatic turns for both, Steve Carell and Jennifer Garner were probably giddy to headline this slapstick adaptation of the popular children’s book.
Addicted | An infidelity melodrama whose trailer tells us twice that it’s “based on the best-selling novel by Zane.” It was better 12 years ago as Adrian Lyne’s Unfaithful.
Whiplash | An aspiring jazz drummer (Miles Teller) is pushed to his limits by his mentor (J.K. Simmons), a Great Santini–like figure who takes music education way too seriously.
Friday, October 17
Fury | Five American soldiers and one Sherman tank take on an entire German battalion behind enemy lines, led by Sgt. Brad Pitt. Written and directed by David Ayer (writer-director of End of Watch and writer of Training Day).
The Best of Me | The latest Nicholas Sparks adaptation finds James Marsden and Michelle Monaghan rekindling their romance 21 years after a fateful night, distracted by the sounds of hot-and-bothered women everywhere screaming, “Just release Fifty Shades of Grey already!”
Birdman | Michael Keaton as the washed-up star of a superhero franchise, struggling to maintain his relevance and sanity as he mounts a Broadway production in twilight.
The Book of Life | Torn between his family’s expectations and his heart’s desire, Manolo (Diego Luna) embarks on a fantastic adventure in this Guillermo del Toro–produced animated feature.
Nightcrawler | Jake Gyllenhaal goes full Bickle in writer-director Dan Gilroy’s tale of an intense young man who finds his calling as a freelance crime reporter.
Dracula Untold | Vlad the Impaler gets an origin story and much gaudier special effects than Bela Lugosi ever had.
Friday, October 24
Kill the Messenger | Jeremy Renner stars as journalist Gary Webb, whose life, livelihood and family were threatened after he uncovered the CIA’s role in the arming of Nicaraguan Contras — funded by the trafficking of cocaine to the United States — in the 1980s.
Kingsman: The Secret Service | MI6 meets MIB, minus the aliens: Colin Firth as the veteran mentor, Taron Egerton as the brash young recruit, plus some 007-ish hardware and Sir Michael Caine.
(Editor’s note: This title has been moved to 2015.)
Laggies | Panicked by adulthood, a young woman (Keira Knightley) retreats into adolescence with an assist from an actual adolescent (Chloë Grace Moretz).
Ouija | Exactly what it sounds like. Produced by Michael Bay.
Paranormal Activity 5 | Seriously, you guys?
St. Vincent | Divorced mom Melissa McCarthy entrusts her young son to the dubious mentorship of hard-drinking, misanthropic neighbor Bill Murray. A kid can learn a lot from the Murricane.
Friday, November 7
Interstellar | Engineer Matthew McConaughey and astronaut Anne Hathaway boldly go in search of a new world to replace the rapidly dying one we’re stuck on. Christopher Nolan directs.
Friday, November 14
Foxcatcher | Bennett Miller directs the true story of Olympic- and world-champion wrestlers Mark and Dave Schultz (Channing Tatum, Mark Ruffalo) and their unusual relationship with their sponsor, multimillionaire John du Pont (Steve Carell).
Beyond the Lights | Writer-director Gina Prince-Bythewood’s story of a young singing sensation torn between a stage mother who pushes her to superstardom and an ordinary man whose love keeps her grounded.
Dumb and Dumber To | The Farrelly brothers finally reunite Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels as Lloyd and Harry. Guys, Coppola waited 20 years to make a sequel, too, and it didn’t work out so great.
Friday, November 21
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1 | Katniss Everdeen inspires the districts to rebel against the Capitol — and millennials to dream up increasingly goofier baby names.
The Theory of Everything | The love story of physicist Stephen Hawking (Eddie Redmayne) and his first wife, Jane (Felicity Jones), in health and in sickness. We wanted to say something here about love encompassing the infinite expanse of time, but he left her for his nurse in 1995.
The Imitation Game | Benedict Cumberbatch stars as British mathematician Alan Turing, who helped crack the German Enigma code during World War II while struggling to hide his homosexuality.
V/H/S: Viral | This third installment in the horror franchise will ironically be available on DVD and Blu-ray in just a couple of months.
Friday, November 28
Horrible Bosses 2 | Nick, Dale and Kurt decide to go into business for themselves, but first there’s the small matter of a kidnapping they must perpetrate. Jason Bateman, Charlie Day and Jason Sudeikis return.
Penguins of Madagascar | Skipper, Kowalski, Rico and Private spin off into their own animated spy franchise.
Friday, December 5
Wild | The journey of a thousand miles begins with a series of personal setbacks and ends with self-discovery, in this adaptation of Cheryl Strayed’s memoir, starring Reese Witherspoon.
Friday, December 12
Inherent Vice | Paul Thomas Anderson adapts Thomas Pynchon’s loopy detective novel, set in 1970s Los Angeles and starring Joaquin Phoenix, Josh Brolin and Benicio Del Toro. As Dr. Thompson said, when the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.
Exodus: Gods and Kings | Ridley Scott moves onto Cecil B. DeMille’s turf, with a screenplay by Steven Zaillian and Christian Bale as his Moses.
Friday, December 19
Annie | Jay Z’s still making bank off that “Hard Knock Life” sample, producing this modern update of the beloved musical, with Jamie Foxx standing in for Warbucks and Quvenzhané Wallis as his Annie.
The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies | How happy do you think Peter Jackson will be never to see another pointy ear or hairy foot for the rest of his life?
Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb | This third installment of this Ben Stiller–anchored franchise will be bittersweet for the final appearance of Robin Williams as Teddy Roosevelt.
Thursday, December 25
American Sniper | Clint Eastwood directs this adaptation of Chris Kyle’s memoir, starring Bradley Cooper as the Navy SEAL who claimed to have recorded the most confirmed kills of any sniper in U.S. military history.
Big Eyes | Tim Burton teams up again with the writers of Ed Wood for this biography of artist Margaret Keane (Amy Adams), whose husband, Walter (Christoph Waltz), claimed credit for her distinctive paintings of wide-eyed waifs.
Hot Tub Time Machine 2 | John Cusack isn’t in the sequel. Did he travel into the future to see how it would turn out?
The Interview | Seth Rogen and James Franco star as tabloid journalists recruited by the CIA to assassinate their “big get”: North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un. This had better be hilarious — don’t make us side with Kim on this one.
Into the Woods | Stephen Sondheim himself says the changes to his dark, grown-up compendium of fairy tales aren’t a big deal, and we shouldn’t be concerned. (Pssst, Stephen! Blink twice if you’re being held hostage by Disney CEO Bob Iger.)
Unbroken | Angelina Jolie directs this adaptation of Laura Hillenbrand’s best-seller about Louis Zamperini, Olympic athlete turned World War II bombardier and shark-punching prisoner of war.