Back-to-school season brings with it a big blockbustery batch of movie offerings at the theater. This fall, choose from a star-studded crop of new releases that is sure to include something for everyone. As always, there are also a couple of kid-tested, mother-approved options for the kids to watch when class lets out. Mark your academic calendars!
Not to be confused with 2014’s “Into the Woods” – this comedic adventure follows old friends Robert Redford (love him) and Nick Nolte (whoa) as they hike the Appalachian Trail … and try not to push one another off a cliff.
Black Mass (R)
Johnny Depp is practically unrecognizable as Whitey Bulger, a notorious gangster who spent time in Alcatraz – that is, when he wasn’t terrorizing South Boston, until he became an informant for the FBI. Joel Edgerton, Benedict Cumberbatch (I just love saying Cumberbatch), Kevin Bacon and Peter Sarsgaard also star.
I’m not really a thrill seeker – I prefer to watch movies about people who are. Take “Everest,” which traces the treacherous steps of two expeditions to the summit of the world’s tallest mountain in the face of a horrific storm. The cast for this flick looks amazing: Josh Brolin, Robin Wright, Emily Watson, Keira Knightley, Sam Worthington, Jake Gyllenhaal (swoon) … the list goes on.
The Intern (PG-13)
My doppelgänger (or so I’m told), Anne Hathaway, portrays a fashion-forward entrepreneur whose company has an internship program … for senior citizens. Screen legend Robert De Niro is cast as her older, wiser sidekick in this comedic drama about unexpected friendship, life lessons and today’s ever-changing digital world.
The Martian (Not yet rated)
I haven’t read the novel, but I hear it’s amazing, and the film looks terrific – how could it not be with Matt Damon as its center and director Ridley Scott at the helm, not to mention supporting actors Jessica Chastain (whose intense performance in “The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby” is worth seeing), Kristen Wiig (now breaking her way into serious roles), Kate Mara, Michael Pena and the great Jeff Daniels? I refuse to issue spoilers on this one, but watch the trailer if you like.
Look for inspiring performances from Julianne Moore and Ellen Page in this story about two women who finally find true love together. When Moore, a New Jersey police lieutenant, is diagnosed with cancer, her department threatens to prevent pension benefits from going to Page, and a legal battle ensues. Also featuring Steve Carell, Josh Charles and Michael Shannon.
From “Hook” to “Finding Neverland,” I’ve never seen a version of the Peter Pan story I didn’t like (that said, I missed the live-action performance featuring Allison Williams on NBC last year). Hugh Jackman is Blackbeard in this version of the classic tale, with Garrett Hedlund as Hook and Rooney Mara (“The Girl in the Dragon Tattoo”) as Tiger Lily. Fun for all ages. (Clap your hands if you believe.)
Steve Jobs (Not yet rated)
As an Apple devotee, I’m interested in all things, well, Apple, from the latest product launch to any film about the brand’s creator. This is the second release this fall about Apple founder Steve Jobs, and while it appears to cast the wildly successful entrepreneur (played by Michael Fassbender) in a negative light, there’s more to it than that. Based on the best-selling biography and adapted for film by famed screenwriter Aaron Sorkin, the film also stars Kate Winslet as Joanna Hoffman and Seth Rogan as Steve Wozniak.
Rock the Kasbah (Not yet rated)
Bill Murray is a modern marvel who makes me laugh without even trying. Here, he plays a washed-up music manager who discovers fresh talent while lost in Afghanistan – crazy enough for ya? Bruce Willis, Zooey Deschanel, Taylor Kinney, Kate Hudson and the always-hilarious Danny McBride also take part in this comedy from director Barry Levinson.
Meryl Streep. Need I say more? How about Carey Mulligan and Helen Bonham Carter? These formidable women play strong roles in this film about the early feminist movement, which laid the groundwork for so many others after them.