Fall 2013 Movie Preview: Coming soon to a theatre near you

A scene from 'The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.'.
A scene from 'The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.'. Handout

TORONTO — Temperatures are dropping, leaves are changing colours and cinemas are rolling out a fresh batch of big movies — including everything from blockbusters to Oscar bait.

Here’s a look at some of the highlights of the Fall 2013 movie season:

October 4

Gravity – Alfonso Cuarón’s sci-fi spectacle stars Sandra Bullock and George Clooney as astronauts set adrift into space after disaster strikes during an otherwise routine spacewalk. See it in IMAX and 3D for the full effect.

Runner Runner – Justin Timberlake and Ben Affleck star in this crime drama about a college student who goes after an online poker opponent he believes cheated him.

October 11

Captain Phillips – Tom Hanks portrays Capt. Richard Phillips in director Paul Greengrass’ dramatization of the hijacking by Somali pirates of an American cargo ship in 2009.

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Machete Kills – Danny Trejo stars as Machete in the latest action flick from Robert Rodriguez, which boasts appearances by dozens of big names, including Mel Gibson, Sofia Vergara, Jessica Alba, Charlie Sheen, Lady Gaga, Antonio Banderas and Vanessa Hudgens.

October 18

Carrie – The made-in-Toronto remake of the 1976 film — based on Stephen King’s novel — stars Chloe Grace Moretz as the titular telekinetic teen and Julianne Moore as her abusive mother.

Escape Plan – The aging testosterone flows in this thriller starring Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger about a structural security expert (Stallone) who is framed and imprisoned in a prison he designed. The cast includes Jim Caviezel, Vincent D’Onofrio, Sam Neil and 50 Cent.

The Fifth Estate – Benedict Cumberbatch plays WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange in this based-on-true-events drama that also stars Daniel Bruhl, Anthony Mackie and Stanley Tucci.

October 25

The Counselor – Ridley Scott’s latest cinematic caper is about a lawyer who takes on more than he can handle when he decides to try drug trafficking. The stellar cast includes Brad Pitt, Michael Fassbender, Cameron Diaz and Penelope Cruz.

Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa – Is there anything funnier than Johnny Knoxville disguised as an 86-year-old man traveling across America with his grandson (Jackson Nicoll)?

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November 1

Diana – This controversial biopic stars Naomi Watts as Princess Diana and chronicles the last two years of her life. Naveen Andrews portrays her beloved Dr. Hasnat Khan.

Dallas Buyers Club – Directed by Montreal’s Jean-Marc Vallée, this is the story of Texas electrician Ron Woodroof (Matthew McConaughey) and his battle with the medical establishment after being diagnosed with HIV.

Last Vegas – Three men throw a bachelor party in Las Vegas for their friend in this comedy that stars Robert De Niro, Michael Douglas, Morgan Freeman and Kevin Kline.

Ender’s Game – More than half a century after an alien war, a gifted child (Asa Butterfield) is sent to a military academy to prepare for another invasion. Based on the book of the same name by Orson Scott Card, it also stars Harrison Ford, Abigail Breslin and Ben Kingsley.

Free Birds – Just in time for U.S. Thanksgiving comes this animated comedy about two turkeys who set aside their differences to travel back in time in hopes of getting turkey off the holiday menu. Real-life pals Woody Harrelson and Owen Wilson lends their voices.

November 8

Thor: The Dark World – Chris Hemsworth reprises his role as the titular hero in this fantasy adventure co-starring Natalie Portman and — according to one poll — the second sexiest male movie star, Tom Hiddleston.

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November 15

The Wolf of Wall Street – Leonardo DiCaprio is Jordan Belfort in director Martin Scorsese’s drama about the successful Long Island stockbroker who plunged into a life of crime and ended up in prison. Matthew McConaughey and Jonah Hill also star.

The Best Man Holiday – This comedy — mostly shot in Toronto — brings back characters from 1999’s The Best Man. Taye Diggs, Terrence Howard, Regina Hall, Harold Perrineau and Nia Long are among the stars of the flick, which is set in New York in the lead-up to Christmas.

November 22

The Hunger Games: Catching FireJennifer Lawrence, Liam Hemsworth and Josh Hutcherson are back for the second chapter in the series based on the movies of Suzanne Collins.

Delivery Man – In this comedy, an underachiever (Vince Vaughn) finds out he’s fathered more than 500 children after 142 of them file a lawsuit to reveal his identity. Chris Pratt and Vancouver native Cobie Smulders co-star.

November 27

Frozen – In this animated adventure from the creators of Tangled and Wreck-It Ralph, Kristen Bell and Jonathan Groff set out on a frosty adventure, where they encounter a wacky snowman (Josh Gad) and other cool characters.

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Homefront – James Franco and Jason Statham star in this action thriller about a former DEA agent (Statham) who moves his family to a small town only to have to tangle with its local meth dealer (Franco). Winona Ryder, Kate Bosworth and Montreal’s Rachelle Lefevre are also part of the cast.

Oldboy – Spike Lee directed this drama about a man (Josh Brolin) who embarks on a mission to find out why he was kidnapped and locked up for 20 years. Elizabeth Olsen, Samuel L. Jackson and University of British Columbia grad Hannah Simone.

Black Nativity – Heavyweight thespians Forest Whitaker and Angela Bassett star alongside Jennifer Hudson, Mary J. Blige and Tyrese Gibson in this musical drama about a teen who travels to New York to spend the holidays with his estranged family.

December 13

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug – The journey to get the gold back from the Dragon Smaug (Benedict Cumberbatch) continues in part two of Peter Jackson’s epic trilogy starring Ian McKellen, Cate Blanchett and Alberta native Evangeline Lilly.

December 18

The Monuments Men – Directed and co-written by George Clooney, this movie follows a group of art historians and museum curators who race to recover renowned works of art stolen by the Nazis. Clooney stars, too, opposite Matt Damon, Bill Murray, John Goodman and Cate Blanchett.

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December 20

Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues – Will Ferrell is back as the moustached newsman in this comedy sequel that sees him moving on to a 24-hour news channel in New York City. The cast is packed with funny folks, including Kristen Wiig, Tina Fey, Paul Rudd, Steve Carell and Toronto’s Jim Carrey.

December 25

47 Ronin – Toronto-raised Keanu Reeves headlines this fantasy adventure about samurai avenging the death of their master.

Grudge Match – Three decades after they battled in the ring, two boxing rivals (Robert De Niro and Sylvester Stallone) come out of retirement for one more fight.

Jack Ryan: Shadow One – Chris Pine plays the titular character (created by Tom Clancy) previously portrayed on screen by Ben Affleck, Alec Baldwin and Harrison Ford. This time, Ryan uncovers a plot by the Russians to crash the U.S. economy. Directed by Kenneth Branagh, the thriller also stars Keira Knightley, Kevin Costner and Ontario resident Colm Feore.

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty – Ben Stiller and Kristen Wiig star in this reboot of the 1947 original about an office worker with a fantasy life. The movie, which Stiller directed, also features Sean Penn and Shirley MacLaine.