It’s time for the stars of summer –Godzilla, the Guardians of the Galaxy, those rebellious apes, and Tom Cruise– to make way for the more adult pleasures of FALL. Things are getting serious now as movies designed to jolt the brain as much as the blood pressure are set to hit the big screen, many of them already earning OSCAR buzz. Look for our biggest stars: BEN AFFLECK in a best-seller, JESSICA CHASTAIN working overtime in three movies, JENNIFER LAWRENCE still hungering, and man of the moment MATTHEW McCONAUGHEY in outer space! Here’s what I can’t wait to see, week by week, month by month until Thanksgiving!


THE SKELETON TWINS–SNL alums Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader play twins (Is anyone surprised?).  Estranged for ten years, they reconnect after a weird coincidence and try to figure out where their relationship went wrong. It’s a drama– but Wiig and Hader are bound to do a little rib tickling.

THIS IS WHERE I LEAVE YOU– Imagine Jane Fonda as the mother of Tina Fey, Jason Bateman, Corey Stoll and Adam Driver, siblings who return home for dad’s funeral and spend the week under one roof– looking for a way out.  Now that’s what I call family fun.


THE DISAPPEARANCE OF ELEANOR RIGBY: THEM– This is one of three films which looks at a broken marriage, each from a different point of view: hers– Jessica Chastain, his– James McAvoy, and theirs. Fascinating premise for a movie, and big OSCAR buzz already.

JIMI: ALL IS BY MY SIDE– Love Jimi Hendrix, and here OutKast’s Andre 3000 plays the guitar genius on the cusp of fame in a script written/directed by “12 Years a Slave” Oscar winner John Ridley. Hey Ya.


GONE GIRL-– Dying to see the film version of the bestseller about a woman who disappears on her 5th wedding anniversary. Did her husband kill her or is he as desperate to find her as he appears? Ben Affleck plays the suspicious spouse, the gorgeous Rosamund Pike the absent wife; Tyler Perry as Affleck’s defense attorney, and Neil Patrick Harris fill out the cast directed by David Fincher (“The Social Network”). If you’ve read the book– don’t spoil it for the rest of us, but folks are already whispering OSCAR.


THE JUDGE–Robert Duval and Robert Downey Jr. co-star as father and son in this courtroom drama which finds a big city lawyer coming home to defend his father, a judge, who’s been accused of murder. The casting doesn’t get any better– but you be the judge.


ST. VINCENT–Bill Murray and Melissa McCarthy costar in this comedy about a raunchy curmudgeon who somehow ends up mentoring the next door neighbor’s son after his parents split up. Murray and McCarthy? I’m laughing already.


NIGHTCRAWLER– Jake Gyllenhaal (“Zodiac,” “Prisoners”) once again trains those haunted eyes on the dark side, this time the underground world of freelance crime journalism.

BEFORE I GO TO SLEEP– Nicole Kidman loses her memory after a traumatic event in this thriller co-starring Colin Firth and adapted from the best-seller.


INTERSTELLAR– This year’s Best Actor Oscar winner Matthew McConaughey is out of this world as an astronaut in another Chris Nolan (“Batman” series) sci-fi saga, costarring Anne Hathaway and Jessica Chastain. All right, all right, all right.

THE HOMESMAN–Hilary Swank and Tommy Lee Jones play a pioneer woman and a claim jumper who team up (and this is how every plot summary puts it) ”to escort three insane women from Nebraska to Iowa.” Comedy? Horror flick? Western thriller? I’m intrigued.


A MOST VIOLENT YEAR–We’re talking 1981, New York City one of the most violent years ever documented in the city’s history. Jessica Chastain and Oscar Isaac (“Inside Llewyn Davis”) costar in a thriller about an immigrant family caught in the corruption and decay of the wormy big apple.


FOXCATCHER-– An intriguing true story starring an unusually cast triumvirate of actors: a barely recognizable Steve Carell plays the heir to the Dupont fortune who sponsored the Olympic-wrestling Schultz brothers played by Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo. Oscar-nominated director Bennett Miller (“Capote” “Moneyball”) spent eight years bringing this twisted tale to the big screen.


THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY–PART 1–Plucky Jennifer Lawrence returns as the best-dressed and best-monikered heroine Katniss Everdeen as she continues to rebel against the Capitol. Luckily, the late Philip Seymour Hoffman’s performance as Plutarch Heavensbee was shot before his untimely death, while Julianne Moore makes her first appearance in the franchise as the devious President Alma Coin.

By Thanksgiving we’ll know which ones are the turkeys; then I’ll have another big bundle of picks for Christmas!

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