Rejoice, cinephiles! The summer is over. Those hazy, humid months are generally a wasteland for film, and this one proved no different, with more comic-book action films and dim-witted sequels than you could shake a lightsaber at. (Schadenfreude alert: Most of the summer films tanked, with a few notable exceptions, including the irresistible Guardians of the Galaxy and the luminous arthouse hit Boyhood.) But fall is here and with it serious films aimed at—cue the angels singing—actual adults. Here are five I’m looking forward to.
Birdman: This comeback film for Michael Keaton, directed by Alejandro G. Inarritu (Babel), is getting the kind of ecstatic reviews that filmmakers can only dream of. Variety called it “a triumph on every creative level.” Keaton, in a somewhat meta turn, plays a washed-up action hero trying to reinvent himself as a serious Broadway actor. Emma Stone plays his daughter. (October 17)
The Theory of Everything: The life story of Stephen Hawking (Eddie Redmayne), focusing on his enduring relationship with his wife, Jane Wilde (Felicity Jones), from his days as a restless genius at Cambridge University, to his crushing diagnosis with motor neuron disease, to his ascendance as one of the most celebrated physicists of all time. (November 7)
Foxcatcher: Serious Oscar buzz is building for all three leads—Steve Carell, Channing Tatum, and Mark Ruffalo—in this fact-based, Bennett Miller (Capote) helmed film about the strange subculture of Olympic wrestling. A nearly unrecognizable Carell plays John du Pont, heir to the du Pont fortune, who became an obsessed sponsor of the sport, with dire consequences. (November 14)
The Imitation Game: All reports say that Benedict Cumberbatch knocks it out of the park in this biopic about cryptanalyst Alan Turing, a key figure in cracking the Nazi’s Enigma code, who was later persecuted for his homosexuality. Some are calling this a more rigorous version of A Beautiful Mind. (November 21)
Top Five: Chris Rock writes, directs, and stars in this droll comedy about a famous actor whose interview with an incisive journalist (Rosario Dawson) becomes a life-changing experience—for both of them. As of press time, the film had no distributor but had sparked a furious bidding war. (December 5)