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Big new movies to see this fall: 'Birth of a Nation,' 'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,' more

Do you ever feel like there’s nothing playing in theaters? That shouldn't happen too often in the coming months. The movie schedule from late September through the end of the year is crowded with star-studded attention-getters, intriguing question marks and obvious crowd pleasers.
In the latter category you could put the new J.K. Rowling movie, "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them," along with the first "Star Wars" spinoff of the new era, "Rogue One." At least two sets of star-pairings could light up the big screen: Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt in the interstellar romance "Passengers," and Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone in the musical "La La Land." As for the question marks, how about the return of both Mel Gibson and Warren Beatty as directors? Or the reportedly triumphant comeback of Shia LaBeouf? If that doesn't get your attention, nothing will.
Here are the movies that will be jostling for space this fall and winter.


Samuel L. Jackson in
Photo Credit: The Weinstein Co./Andrew Cooper

Oliver Stone directs this potential pot-stirrer starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt (pictured) as Edward Snowden, the computer whiz who leaked classified documents showing that the U.S. Government was surveilling millions of its citizens. With Shailene Woodley and Melissa Leo. Coming out Sept. 16.


Chris Pratt stars in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures and Columbia
Photo Credit: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer / Columbia/Sam Emerson

A reworking of John Sturges’ 1960 Western — itself a version of Akira Kurosawa’s “Seven Samurai” (1957) — about a band of gunslingers hired to protect a Mexican village. With Denzel Washington, Peter Sarsgaard and Chris Pratt (pictured). Directed by Antoine Fuqua. Coming out Sept. 23.


Lupita Nyong'o and Madina Nalwanga star in the
Photo Credit: Disney/Edward Echwalu

The true story of Phiona Mutesi, a Ugandan girl who pursues her dream of becoming an international chess champion. With David Oyelowo, Lupita Nyong’o (right) and Madina Nalwanga (left). Directed by Mira Nair. Coming out Sept. 23.


Meet some of the very special
Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox/Jay Maidment

Eva Green, the show-stealing vampire in Tim Burton’s “Dark Shadows,” reunites with the director to play the headmistress of a school for children with strange powers. Based on the popular children’s novel. With Asa Butterfield, Chris O’Dowd and Samuel L. Jackson. Meet some of the very special “Peculiars” From left: Olive (Lauren McCrostie), Bronwyn (Pixie Davies), Millard (Cameron King), the twins (Thomas and Joseph Odwell) and Emma (Ella Purnell). Coming out Sept. 30.


Nate Parker as
Photo Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures

The success story of Sundance was this ambitious historical film from director Nate Parker (pictured), who also stars as Nat Turner, a Southern slave who leads a revolt. It sold to Fox Searchlight for $17.5 million, a festival record. With Armie Hammer, Aja Naomi King and Gabrielle Union. Coming out Oct. 7.


EMILY BLUNT stars in DreamWorks Pictures'
Photo Credit: DreamWorks Pictures/Barry Wetcher

Emily Blunt (pictured) plays a troubled woman whose daily commute passes the house of a seemingly perfect couple. One day, the wife vanishes. Directed and co-written by Tate Taylor (“The Help”) from the best-selling novel by Paula Hawkins. With Rebecca Ferguson, Justin Theroux and Allison Janney. Coming out Oct. 7.


: (L-r) ANNA KENDRICK as Dana and BEN
Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures/Chuck Zlotnick

Ben Affleck (right) takes on the unlikely role of a socially inept math genius who cooks the books for criminal organizations. Oscar-winner J.K. Simmons plays the government agent who closes in. With Anna Kendrick (left) and Jeffrey Tambor. Directed by Huntington-raised Gavin O’Connor. Coming out Oct. 14.


Aunt Bam (Cassi Davis, left) and Madea (Tyler
Photo Credit: Lionsgate/Daniel McFadden

Tyler Perry (right) is always busy — he’s been directing TLC’s “Too Close to Home” series and battling the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles — but he never stays away long from his famous cantankerous granny creation. Here, she battles ghouls and zombies along with neighborhood troublemakers. Cassi Davis (left) plays Aunt Bam. Coming out Oct. 21.


Left to right: Tom Cruise plays Jack Reacher,
Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures / Skydance Prod/Chiabella James

Tom Cruise (left) returns as the military-trained loner who likes to tell you exactly how this fist fight will end (you lose). This time, Reacher must help an old buddy (Cobie Smulders) and uncover a government conspiracy. Based on the 18th novel in Lee Child’s popular series. Directed by Edward Zwick. Coming out Oct. 21.


Tom Hanks and Felicity Jones star in Columbia
Photo Credit: Columbia Pictures/Jonathan Prime

Tom Hanks (left) and director Ron Howard join forces for their third film in the “Da Vinci Code” franchise. This time, world-renowned symbologist Robert Langdon suffers amnesia while investigating a mystery involving Dante Alighieri. With Felicity Jones (right). Coming out Oct. 28.


Marvel's DOCTOR STRANGE..Doctor Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch)..Photo Credit:
Photo Credit: Marvel

Benedict Cumberbatch (pictured) joins the Disney-Marvel universe as Stephen Strange, a surgeon who seeks to regain the use of his hands by joining a mystical enclave called Kamar-Taj. Trailers suggest a “Matrix”-meets-“Inception” vibe from director Scott Derrickson. With Chiwetel Ejiofor and Rachel McAdams. Coming out Nov. 4.


Andrew Garfield stars as 'Desmond Doss' in HACKSAW
Photo Credit: Lionsgate/Mark Rogers

The story of conscientious objector Desmond Doss (Andrew Garfield, pictured), the only American soldier sent to the front lines of World War II with no weapon. It’s the first film Mel Gibson has directed since “Apocalypto” (2006). Also starring Sam Worthington, Rachel Griffiths and Vince Vaughn. Coming out Nov. 4.


This image released by Paramount Pictures shows Amy
Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures/Jan Thijs

When mysterious spacecraft touch down on Earth, a team is sent to investigate and find out their intentions. Amy Adams (pictured) plays the leader and linguistics expert Louise Banks. With Jeremy Renner and Forest Whitaker. Directed by Denis Villeneuve. Coming out Nov. 11.


This image released by Sony Pictures shows Joe
Photo Credit: Sony-TriStar Pictures/Mary Cybulski

A young Iraq veteran (Joe Alwyn, pictured), hailed as a hero in his small hometown, struggles with his memories of what really happened in the war. With Kristen Stewart, Vin Diesel, Garrett Hedlund and Steve Martin. Directed by Ang Lee. Coming out Nov. 11.


EDDIE REDMAYNE as Newt Scamander in Warner
Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures/Jaap Buitendijk

Harry Potter’s first-year textbook at Hogwarts is now a movie starring Eddie Redmayne (pictured) as author Newt Scamander, who arrives in New York City in 1926 with a suitcase full of magical creatures. “Potter” veteran David Yates directs from J.K. Rowling’s first-ever screenplay. With Ezra Miller, Katherine Waterston and Colin Farrell. Coming out Nov. 18.


Casey Affleck in Kenneth Lonergan’s
Photo Credit: Amazon Studios and Roadside Attractions/Claire Folger

Casey Affleck (pictured) plays a solitary Boston janitor who finds himself appointed guardian of his 16-year-old nephew (Lucas Hedges). It’s the latest from playwright-turned-filmmaker Kenneth Lonergan and already a hot tip in the Oscar race. Coming out Nov. 18.


Brad Pitt plays Max Vatan and Marion Cotillard
Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures/Daniel Smith

In North Africa in 1942, an intelligence officer (Brad Pitt, right) meets a French Resistance fighter (Marion Cotillard, left) on a deadly mission behind enemy lines. Directed by Robert Zemeckis. With Lizzie Caplan and Matthew Goode. Coming out Nov. 23.


This image released by Discney shows characters Moana,
Photo Credit: Disney

Disney’s animated adventure, inspired by the history and myths of Polynesia, tells the story of a chieftain’s daughter (newcomer Auli’i Cravalho) trying save her people with the help of the demigod Maui (Dwayne Johnson). Lin-Manuel Miranda, the creator of “Hamilton,” contributed to the music. Coming out Nov. 23.


Small town beauty queen and aspiring actress
Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox/Francois Duhamel

Howard Hughes (Warren Beatty), his new chauffeur (Alden Ehrenreich, right) and an aspiring actress (Lily Collins, left) form a love triangle in this romantic comedy. Beatty wrote the screenplay, and for the first time in nearly 20 years, directs. With Matthew Broderick, Annette Bening, Alec Baldwin, Steve Coogan and Oliver Platt. Coming out Nov. 23.


This image released by Summit Entertainment shows Ryan
Photo Credit: Summit Entertainment/Dale Robinette

Ryan Gosling (left), as a hard-luck jazz pianist, and Emma Stone (right), as a struggling actress, star in their third film together, an original musical by “Whiplash” director Damien Chazelle. It’s already being cited as a best picture Oscar contender; London’s The Guardian called it a “masterpiece.” Coming out Dec. 2.


Photo Credit: Lucasfilm/Jonathan Olley

The first of the new “Star Wars” stand-alone films stars Felicity Jones (pictured) as a newcomer to the Rebel Alliance whose mission is to steal the plans to the Death Star. The cast includes Diego Luna, Ben Mendelsohn, Donnie Yen and Forest Whitaker. The director is Gareth Edwards. Coming out Dec. 16.


Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence star in Columbia
Photo Credit: Columbia Pictures/Jaimie Trueblood

Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt star in director Morten Tyldum’s space romance about two travelers who awake from suspended animation 90 years too early. Coming out Dec. 21.


Matthew McConaughey and Edgar Ramirez in Gold Photo
Photo Credit: The Weinstein Co./Patrick Brown

A modern-day prospector (Matthew McConaughey, left) goes searching for gold in the uncharted jungles of Indonesia. The Oscar-winning actor sports a new look for this movie: He’s half-bald. With Edgar Ramirez (right) and Bryce Dallas Howard. Coming out Dec. 25.

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