Just as summer-movie burnout settles in, along come the films of fall to give us something to talk about other than special effects and action setpieces and how on Earth can Batman possibly fight Superman.
Sure, there will still be plenty of would-be blockbusters, including another Thor movie and the second installment in the Hunger Games franchise. But there are also new movies from Paul Greengrass, Ridley Scott, Martin Scorsese, Alexander Payne, Alfonso Cuaron and Steve McQueen, along with several adaptations of popular novels and celebrated smaller pictures that have earned praise on the festival circuit.
Here are some movies coming our way between now and Thanksgiving:
“Battle of the Year 3D”: So you think you can dance? Josh Peck plays a basketball coach recruited by an American team to help them win the annual dance crew world championship held in France.
“C.O.G.”: This adaptation of David Sedaris’ essay stars Jonathan (“Glee”) Groff as an arrogant East Coast intellectual who moves to Oregon and becomes an apple picker.
“Prisoners”: The Oscar buzz has begun for director Denis (“Incendies”) Villeneuve’s thriller about the increasingly desperate father (Hugh Jackman) of an abducted girl and the detective (Jake Gyllenhaal) scrambling to find her.
“Baggage Claim”: Intent on getting engaged before her younger sister’s wedding, a flight attendant (Paula Patton) gives herself a month to find her perfect man.
“Blue Caprice”: Isaiah Washington and Tequan Richmond star as the deranged team who embarked on the Beltway sniper attacks that left 10 people dead in October 2002.
“Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2”: Bill Hader returns as the voice of the hapless inventor who came up with a machine that made food rain down from the sky.
“Don Jon”: Joseph Gordon-Levitt wrote, directed and stars in this comedy about a promiscuous online-porn addict who falls for an innocent woman (Scarlett Johansson) weaned on happily-ever-after Hollywood romances and fairy tales.
“Enough Said”: Julia Louis-Dreyfus stars for writer-director Nicole Holofcener as a divorced single mom who realizes the man (James Gandolfini) she has started to fall for is the ex-husband of her new best friend (Catherine Keener).
“Metallica Through the Never”: Shot in IMAX 3-D, this thriller centers on a Metallica roadie (Dane DeHaan) who is sent on an increasingly surreal mission during one of the band’s concerts.
“Rush”: Ron Howard directs this no-nonsense, R-rated look at the legendary rivalry between Grand Prix drivers James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) and Niki Lauda (Daniel Bruhl) during the 1970s, on and off the race track.
“Concussion”: After getting conked on the head by her son’s baseball, a married lesbian housewife (Robin Weigert) suffers a mid-life crisis, breaks free from domestic life and becomes a high-end escort. No, I am not making this up.
“Gravity”: The word on director Alfonso Cuaron’s sci-fi thriller about two astronauts (Sandra Bullock, George Clooney) sent floating through space after an accident is that the movie is good enough to stand alongside “2001: A Space Odyssey.”
“Runner Runner”: A broke grad student (Justin Timberlake) travels to Costa Rica to confront the online gambling tycoon (Ben Affleck) who may have conned him out of his money.
“All the Boys Love Mandy Lane”: Amber Heard stars as one of the teenagers having a party at a remote farm who start getting picked off one by one.
“Captain Phillips”: Paul “Shakycam” Greengrass directs this fact-based thriller about the 2009 hijacking of an American cargo ship by Somali pirates. Tom Hanks stars as the captain trying to keep his cool under great duress.
“Escape from Tomorrow”: Randy Moore’s already-legendary thriller, shot at Walt Disney World without permission, follows a husband and father who learns he has been fired during the final day of a family vacation at the Magic Kingdom.
“Machete Kills”: Mel Gibson, Lady Gaga, Antonio Banderas and Sofia Vergara join the self-conscious B-movie fun in the second installment of writer-director Robert Rodriguez’s campy action series.
“Romeo & Juliet”: Hailee Steinfeld (“True Grit”) and Douglas Booth play the star-crossed lovers in screenwriter Julian (“Downton Abbey”) Fellowes’ adaptation of one of Shakespeare’s most obscure, least-filmed plays.
“12 Years a Slave”: “Shame” director Steve McQueen returns with another artful provocation, this one based on the true story of a free black man from upstate New York in the pre-Civil War era who was abducted and sold into slavery.
“Carrie”: Chloe Grace Moretz takes over for Sissy Spacek as the bullied teen with telekinetic powers in this “reimagining” (a.k.a. “Don’t Call It a Remake!”) of the Stephen King novel.
“Escape Plan”: Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzegger co-star for the first time (no, “The Expendables” movies don’t count) as convicts who attempt a daring prison break. Directed by Mikael Hafstrom (“1408,” “Evil”).
“The Fifth Estate”: Bill Condon gets back to real movies with this drama about the price WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and Daniel Domscheit-Berg paid after they posted classified documents online.
“The Counselor”: Revered novelist Cormac McCarthy makes his screenwriting debut with this thriller about a lawyer (Michael Fassbender) who dabbles in the drug trade and quickly finds out you can’t just “dabble” in the drug trade.
“Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa”: Johnny Knoxville stars as an 86-year-old grandfather who takes his 8-year-old grandson on a cross-country trip, stopping at every inappropriate spot possible.
“Ender’s Game”: Filmmaker Gavin Hood adapts Orson Scott Card’s popular sci-fi novel about an unusually gifted boy (Asa Butterfield) drafted into military school by two officers who are helping defend Earth against an alien invasion.
“Last Vegas”: Four lifelong sixtysomething friends (Michael Douglas, Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman and Kevin Kline) head to Las Vegas for a bachelor party. You know, like “The Hangover” but with the cast of “Cocoon.”
“Man of Tai Chi”: Keanu Reeves makes his directorial debut with this chopsocky adventure about a young martial artist (Tiger Hu Chen) who joins an underground fight club.
“Dallas Buyers Club”: Matthew McConaughey is already expected to land a Best Actor Oscar nomination for his performance as the cowboy Ron Woodroof, who learned he had AIDS in 1985 and was given 30 days to live.
“Thor: The Dark World”: Alan Taylor makes his feature-film debut with this second movie about the adventures of the hammer-wielding God of Thunder (Chris Hemsworth). Natalie Portman, Idris Elba and Anthony Hopkins all return.
“The Best Man Holiday”: Old flames, ancient rivalries and buried hatchets all rise to the surface when a group of friends reunites over the Christmas holiday for the first time in 15 years in this sequel to 1999’s “The Best Man.”
“The Book Thief”: In World War II Germany, a little girl escapes the horrors of the real world by stealing books and sharing them with other people.
“Kill Your Darlings”: The young Allen Ginsberg (Daniel Radcliffe,) Jack Kerouac (Jack Huston) and William Burroughs (Ben Foster) were brought together in 1944 after implication in a murder by a classmate (Dane DeHaan).
“The Wolf of Wall Street”: Leonardo DiCaprio teams up with Martin Scorsese for the fifth time for this adaptation of Jordan Belfort’s memoir about his meteoric rise and inevitable fall as a corrupt stockbroker.
“Delivery Man”: Vince Vaughn plays the underachiever who discovers his donations at sperm banks over a 20-year period made him the father of 533 children, many of whom suddenly want to meet him.
“The Hunger Games: Catching Fire”: After winning the 74th Hunger Games competition, Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) go on a victory tour that inadvertently sparks a rebellion.
“Nebraska”: Alexander Payne gets out of his comfort zone in using black-and-white film to tell the story of a cranky old drunk (Bruce Dern) who goes on a road trip with his reluctant son (Will Forte) to claim a magazine sweepstakes prize.