Hollywood tries to make up for a disappointing summer with a slate of film vying for Oscar honors and audiences
We had to wait until the very end of the summer to discover two truly excellent films with widespread appeal (Hell or High Water, easily the best film of the year so far, and Florence Foster Jenkins, a close second), so we can only hope that Hollywood is reserving its big guns for the fall. That’s typically when the prestige pictures come out, the ones vying for Oscars as well as dollars, starting Labor Day is over.
Here, then, is our rundown of the hottest, biggest or most gay-interest films of the season. The list isn’t exhaustive (release dates are national roll-outs; release dates may change locally), but it should give you an idea of what to put on your to-do list from now until Christmas.
Sully. Tom Hanks stars as the airline pilot whose safe emergency landing of a jet in the Hudson River made him a national hero. But what went on behind the scenes that we didn’t see? Clint Eastwood directs.
Dancer. A documentary about ballet bad boy Sergei Polunin, who at the height of his fame (he did the viral video for directer Dave LaChapelle of Hozier’s “Take Me to Church”) said he was walking away from his career.
Snowden. Bumped from last Christmas, Oliver Stone’s hotly anticipated biopic tracks the efforts of Edward Snowden (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) to force governmental transparency through any means necessary. Zachary Quinto plays gay journalist Glenn Greenwald.
Bridget Jones’ Baby. Second sequel to the popular series, with Renee Zellweger as the British feminist making her way through parenting.
The Magnificent Seven. Denzel Washington reunites with Ethan Hawke (Training Day) and adds Chris Pratt in this Western remake.
The Dressmaker. Kate Winslet stars in this quirky comedy written by P.J. Hogan (Muriel’s Wedding) about a woman with a bad reputation who returns to her home town and exacts a brand of revenge.
Deepwater Horizon. What really happened in the Gulf of Mexico?
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. More comic fantasy from director Tim Burton, about a school for magically-endowed teens.
The Birth of a Nation. The most buzzed-about film of 2016 is this slave drama from writer/director Nate Parker.
The Girl on the Train. Emily Blunt plays a divorcee who imagines a fantasy world for a couple who she sees every day on her commute. When something tragic happens, she wonders if she had something to do with it. Directed by Tate Taylor (The Help).
The Accountant. Ben Affleck stars as a math savant who cooks the books for some illegal operations, and makes a daring move when the Feds start circling.
The Handmaiden. Park Chan-Wook, director of Old Boy, adapts this story of Sapphic desire for the screen.
Moonlight. A gay African-American man undergoes a sexual awakening, from youth to adulthood. Janelle Monae has a supporting role.
Keeping Up with the Joneses. A comedy about suburbanites who are international spies … Joneses, mind you, not Smiths.
American Pastoral. Philip Roth’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel on the effect the turmoil of the 1960s has on one family, directed by and starring Ewan McGregor.
Inferno. Tom Hanks again, returning as symbologist Robert Langdon in the latest DaVinci Code adventure.
Doctor Strange. Benedict Cumberbatch in the latest entry into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk. Two-time Oscar winner Ang Lee directs a wild cast (Vin Diesel, Steve Martin, Kristen Stewart) in the adaptation of this acclaimed novel, set in Dallas during a Cowboys game but with the Iraq War as the backdrop.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Wizards and wands and J.K. Rowling and director David Yates … only not a Harry Potter film. Close enough, though, and it stars Oscar-winner Eddie Redmayne.
Manchester by the Sea. Writer-director Kenneth Lonergan’s latest film, about a lonely Boston janitor (Casey Affleck) made the guardian of his teenaged nephew. Michelle Williams and Kyle Chandler co-star.
Allied. Brad Pitt, Marion Cottillard and Lizzy Caplan star in director Robert Zemeckis’ romance, set at the outset of World War II.
Moana. Lin-Manuel Miranda (Hamilton) contributed songs to this animated adventure set on the high seas of the Pacific.
Rules Don’t Apply. Hollywood legend Warren Beatty directs and stars as Howard Hughes in this, his first feature film since Town & Country.
La La Land. Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone and J.K. Simmons star in the latest film from director Damien Chazelle (Whiplash), a musical about a jazz musician who falls for an actress.
Miss Sloane. Jessica Chastain stars as a lobbyist who faces off against the gun lobby in order to get gun control legislation passed.
Collateral Beauty. Will Smith, Helen Mirren, Edward Norton and Kate Winslet star in a drama about a man beset by grief following a tragedy.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. What do you really need to know?
Fences. Tony Kushner adapted August Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play for the screen, reuniting Broadway cast members (and Tony winners) Denzel Washington and Viola Davis.
Assassin’s Creed. Michael Fassbender as a man who discovers he is part of a long line of talented assassins.
Passengers. Oscar-nominated director Morten Tyldum (The Imitation Game) helms this sci-fi epic about a spacecraft filled with hyper-sleep passengers when something goes wrong. Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt star.
Sing. Animated feature about a koala (Matthew McConaughey) who is looking for a singing star to save his troubled theater.
Gold. Matthew McConaughey’s second Christmas feature is this adventure from Stephen Gaghan (Syriana) about adventurers looking for gold in Indonesia.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 2, 2016.