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Originally published August 31, 2014 at 6:15 AM | Page modified September 2, 2014 at 5:00 PM

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34 movies to look for this fall

Highlights of the fall movie season, as detailed by Seattle Times movie critic Moira Macdonald.

Seattle Times movie critic


Nick and Amy, Katniss and Peta, Lloyd and Harry, Christopher Nolan and Michael Caine ... this fall, the multiplexes will be full of familiar duos. Here’s a quick stroll through some of the season’s offerings (in addition to those mentioned in the preview of the Toronto International Film Festival); note that dates are tentative and may change as quickly as, well, the plot of “Gone Girl.”

By the book

I read it, you’ve probably read it, and now “Gone Girl” is finally coming to the big screen, Oct. 3. Which means we can spend the rest of the month discussing how we feel about the casting of Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike, about whether the movie captures the novel’s uncanny chill, and about That Ending.

The “Hunger Games” saga continues its march on the box office with “Mockingjay” (Nov. 21), with Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and one of the final screen appearances, sadly, of Philip Seymour Hoffman.

Patricia Highsmith’s books have inspired some very stylish thrillers (“The Talented Mr. Ripley,” “Strangers on a Train”), and now her 1964 novel “The Two Faces of January” comes to the screen (Oct. 10), starring Viggo Mortensen and Kirsten Dunst. Jonathan Tropper’s novel “This Is Where I Leave You” (Sept. 19) is now a big-screen ensemble comedy, starring Jason Bateman, Tina Fey and Jane Fonda. And “The Maze Runner,” based on yet another post-apocalyptic young-adult book series, debuts Sept. 19.

Reel life

Kevin Kline plays Errol Flynn, Dakota Fanning his teenage love interest and Susan Sarandon her pushy mother in “The Last of Robin Hood” (Sept. 12), based on a true Hollywood story from the 1950s. “Tracks” (Sept. 19) tells the story of Robyn Davidson (played by Mia Wasikowska) and her 1,700-mile trek across the Australian desert. “Jimi: All Is by My Side” (Sept. 26) looks at a crucial stage in Jimi Hendrix’s career, and “The Better Angels” (Nov. 14) takes place during the childhood years of Abraham Lincoln.

Look! Up in the sky!

Christopher Nolan’s long-awaited follow-up to his Batman trilogy, “Interstellar” (Nov. 7), is a no-doubt-surprising space odyssey, starring Matthew McConaughey (the McConaissance continues), Anne Hathaway and Nolan regular Michael Caine.

Oh, the drama

Birdman” (Oct. 17), from Alejandro González Iñárritu (“21 Grams,” “Babel”), is not a superhero movie, but an intriguing-sounding tale of an actor (Michael Keaton) trying to regain past glory by staging a Broadway play. Emma Stone, Zach Galifianakis and Edward Norton co-star. “The Homesman” (Nov. 7) is a Western — every fall season has one, right? — directed by Tommy Lee Jones, and starring Jones and Hilary Swank.

Kristen Stewart joins the military in “Camp X-Ray” (Oct. 31), and Brad Pitt and Logan Lerman take on World War II in “Fury” (October). And Gugu Mbatha-Raw (so good in “Belle,” earlier this year) stars as a young musician on the brink of stardom in Gina Prince-Bythewood’s “Beyond the Lights” (Nov. 14).

Are we laughing yet?

Jennifer Aniston’s evil dentist (that phrase is fun to type) returns for another round in “Horrible Bosses 2” (Nov. 26), with the returning trio of Jason Sudeikis, Jason Bateman and Charlie Day. Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels reunite for “Dumb and Dumber To” (Nov. 14) — and no, that is not a typo. And the satire “Dear White People,” a prizewinner at the Seattle International Film Festival last spring, comes to theaters Oct. 24.

The horror! The horror!

It’s Halloween season, and horror comes in all flavors: unending sequels (“Paranormal Activity 5,” Oct. 24), psychological thrillers starring Nicole Kidman and Colin Firth (“Before I Go To Sleep,” Oct. 31), creepy-doll scarefests (“Annabelle,” Oct. 3), classic-vampire reboots (“Dracula Untold,” Oct. 17), a Kevin Smith horror/drama/comedy involving a mysterious seafarer (“Tusk,” Sept. 19), and a Daniel-Radcliffe-grows-horns thriller called, appropriately, “Horns” (Oct. 31).

For the kids

The longest movie title of the season easily goes to “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” (Oct. 10), based on the Judith Viorst children’s book and starring Steve Carell and Jennifer Garner. Morgan Freeman and Ashley Judd star in “Dolphin Tale 2” (Sept. 12), the continuing story of Winter the dolphin.

Animated offerings include Disney’s robot comedy “Big Hero 6” (Nov. 7), the fantastic-journey saga “Book of Life” (Oct. 17), and the penguin spy adventure “The Penguins of Madagascar” (Nov. 26), in which Benedict Cumberbatch voices some sort of animal CIA agent. (Which just might be fun for all ages.)

A little romance

Love Is Strange” (Sept. 12) stars John Lithgow and Alfred Molina as a newly married longtime couple facing an unwanted separation. “The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Them” (September) was once two films — called “Him” and “Her” — but writer/director Ned Benson has combined them into one, a relationship saga starring Jessica Chastain and James McAvoy. And “The Best of Me” (Oct. 17) has two former high-school sweethearts — Michelle Monaghan and James Marsden — reuniting after years apart. Awww.

Movies with Dan Stevens in them

OK, let’s just be honest: “Downton Abbey” isn’t the same without Matthew, right? Here are two of the movies that Dan Stevens left the show for: the crime drama “A Walk Among the Tombstones” (Sept. 19), with Liam Neeson, and the thriller “The Guest” (Sept. 17), both of which will presumably show Cousin Matthew packing heat. Let’s hope it was worth it.

Moira Macdonald: 206-464-2725 or

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