Fall movie preview: Top films to see

The season for smart movies is finally here, but there are plenty of blockbusters — including Star Wars — on deck, too

Adam Graham Detroit News Film Critic

After a disappointing summer at the movies, it’s time to put away the superhero costumes (well, most of them, anyway) and switch things up. Goodbye blockbuster season, hello awards season.

Fall is the time when the studios roll up their sleeves and roll out their prestige films, the serious projects that attract Oscar talk (and, eventually, actual Oscars). But there’s still blockbusters in the mix as well: We’re getting a new “Star Wars” film in December, after all.

Here’s a breakdown of the 10 biggest fall films to look forward to, followed by the rest of the season’s slate. Dates are subject to change, as always, but the anticipation is here to stay.

Sept. 9

“Sully”: Tom Hanks stars as “Sully” Sullenberger, the pilot who landed a commercial jet on New York’s Hudson River in 2009. Directed by Clint Eastwood.

“When the Bough Breaks”: A woman picked to be a surrogate mother turns out to be a little nutty in this thriller with Morris Chestnut and Regina Hall.

“The Wild Life”: The story of Robinson Crusoe is told in this animated adventure imported from Belgium.

Sept. 16

“Blair Witch”: “The Blair Witch Project” was a sensation in 1999, and director Adam Wingard (“The Guest”) picks up the story in this continuation of the series.

“Kicks”: Sneakers are a status symbol that lead a 15-year-old down a path of trouble in this snapshot of inner-city life from newcomer Justin Tipping.

“Snowden”: Oliver Stone’s portrait of secret-spiller Edward Snowden finally lands after being shuffled off the fall schedule last year.

Sept. 23

“Storks”: Storks get back in the baby delivery business in this animated adventure featuring the voices of Andy Samberg and Jennifer Aniston.

“Queen of Katwe”: Mira Nair (“Vanity Fair”) helms this story of a young Ugandan girl who dreams of being a chess champion. With David Oyelowo and Lupita Nyong’o.

“The Hollars”: John Krasinski (“The Office”) stars in and directs this comedy about a man who returns home after his mother falls ill.

Sept. 30

“Deepwater Horizon”: Mark Wahlberg and Kurt Russell star in Peter Berg’s story about the massive 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

“Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children”: That’s a tongue twister. Here’s the deal: Tim Burton does his Tim Burton thing in this story about a school for kids with secret powers.

“Masterminds”: Zach Galifianakis heads up a group of hapless crooks in this comedy inspired by a true story. With Kristen Wiig and Owen Wilson.

“The Dressmaker”: Kate Winslet plays the titular dressmaker who returns to her Australian hometown and gets tangled up in a web of small-town drama.

Sept. TBD

“Complete Unknown”: Rachel Weisz plays a woman constantly reinventing herself, literally, in this examination of identify from “Maria Full of Grace’s” Joshua Marston.

Oct. 7

“American Honey”: This road trip movie about a girl who runs away from home and becomes a door-to-door salesman was a big hit at Cannes this year.

“Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life”: A kiddie comedy about the horrors of middle school, or a prequel to “High School: Even Worse.”

“Generation Startup”: A group of young entrepreneurs in Detroit highlight this documentary about what it takes to launch a startup.

Oct. 14

“The Accountant”: Ben Affleck stars as a math savant who cooks books for some shady clients in this thriller co-starring J.K. Simmons and Anna Kendrick.

“Kevin Hart: What Now?”: The latest concert film from the comic superstar chronicles his 2015-2016 tour, which included a date for more than 50,000 fans in Philly.

“Desierto”: This thriller set along the U.S.-Mexican border centers on a man who decides to take immigration policies into his own hands.

Oct. 21

“Keeping Up with the Joneses”: “Superbad’s” Greg Mottola directs this comedy about a couple (Zack Galifianakis and Isla Fisher) who discover their neighbors are spies.

“Ouija: Origin of Evil”: The 2014 movie based on the spirit board you played with at sleepovers as a child made $50 million, so now you get a sequel. Good job!

“Tyler Perry’s Boo! A Madea Halloween”: The poster parodies John Carpenter’s “Halloween,” which may be as clever as Madea’s latest big screen adventure gets.

“The Pickle Recipe”: A Detroit-set comedy about a man who sets out to steal his grandmother’s coveted recipe for pancakes. Just kidding, it’s for pickles.

Oct. 28

“American Pastoral”: Ewan McGregor makes his directoral debut and stars in this film about a family affected by the political and social upheaval of the ’60s.

“Inferno”: Tom Hanks stars in this third entry in the “Da Vinci Code” series, co-starring “Rogue One’s” Felicity Jones.

“Moonlight”: The childhood, adolescence and adulthood of a Miami man are examined in this buzzed-about drama about masculinity and sexuality.

“Rings”: A mystery surrounds a videotape — probably centering on the lack of a machine to play it on — in this latest entry in the “Ring” franchise.

October TBD

“Certain Women”: The women include Kristen Stewart, Laura Dern and Michelle Williams, so we’re certainly on board. From Kelly Reichardt (“Wendy and Lucy”).

Nov. 4

“Trolls”: Anna Kendrick and Justin Timberlake give voice to characters in this animated story based on those troll dolls, the ones with the big hair.

“Bleed for This”: Miles Teller gets in the ring in this boxing tale with a built-in comeback narrative. Also starring Aaron Eckhart and Katey Sagal.

“Loving”: In his second film of 2016 (after “Midnight Special”), Jeff Nichols directs this story of an interracial marriage that spurred a Supreme Court case.

Nov. 11

“Almost Christmas”: All a man (Danny Glover) wants for Christmas is for his family to get along in this comedy that co-stars Mo’Nique, Omar Epps and Kimberly Elise.

“Shut-In”: Naomi Watts battles a deadly winter storm to rescue a young boy in this New England-set thriller.

“Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk”: Ang Lee’s Iraq war story is turning heads for its lifelike visuals, filmed at 120 frames per second, nearly five times the industry standard.

Nov. 18

“Edge of Seventeen”: Hailee Steinfeld stars as a high school junior navigating her awkward phase in this coming-of-age film from debut filmmaker Kelly Fremon Craig.

“Manchester by the Sea”: An early Oscar favorite, with Casey Affleck as a Massachusetts man dealing with the death of his brother and his separation from his wife.

Nov. 23

“Allied”: Robert Zemeckis directs Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard in this WWII story about an officer and a fighter whose relationship is strained by war.

“Moana”: An animated Disney adventure about a young girl’s voyage across the Pacific Ocean, with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson lending a vocal assist.

“Rules Don’t Apply”: A young couple’s love is forbidden by their boss, Howard Hughes, in Warren Beatty’s return to the big screen after a 15-year absence.

Nov. 25

“Lion”: An Indian man returns to his family after getting separated from them 25 years earlier in this buzzy drama starring Dev Patel and Nicole Kidman.

November TBD

“The Monster”: During a road trip, a mother and daughter are terrorized by a monster in this horror tale from “The Strangers” writer-director Bryan Bertino.

Dec. 2

“Kidnap”: When her son is kidnapped, Halle Berry gets her Liam Neeson on in what looks like a gender-flipped “Taken.”

“Keep Watching”: In the great tradition of “Don’t Breathe,” “Lights Out” and “You’re Next” comes another horror tale whose title says it all. With Bella Thorne.

Dec. 9

“The Bye Bye Man”: A supernatural horror tale about a mysterious being whom a group of college students learn is behind a rash of unsolved killings.

“Miss Sloane”: A powerful Washington, D.C., lobbyist squares off against gun control opponents in this political thriller starring Jessica Chastain.

“Nocturnal Animals”: Amy Adams and Jake Gyllenhaal are a divorced couple discovering dark truths about each other in the latest from writer-director- style icon Tom Ford.

“Office Christmas Party”: Jason Bateman, T.J. Miller, and Jennifer Aniston are among those in this bawdy tale that looks like the “Hangover” of Christmas movies.

Dec. 16

“Collateral Beauty”: Will Smith, Edward Norton, Kate Winslet and Keira Knightley star in this story of a New Yorker pushed to the brink and pulled back by his friends.

“La La Land”: “Whiplash” writer-director Damien Chazelle returns with this Los Angeles-set musical starring Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone and J.K. Simmons.

Dec. 21

“Assassin’s Creed”: An impressive cast, including Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard and Jeremy Irons, lends this based-on-a-video- game property a strong pedigree.

“Passengers”: Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt awake from suspended animation 90 years too early in Morten Tyldum’s (“Imitation Game”) sci-fi thriller.

“Sing”: Matthew McConaughey leads a voice cast in this animated tale about a bunch of animals trying out for an “American Idol”-style singing competition.

“The Space Between Us”: A boy raised on Mars returns to Earth to find his father.

Dec. 25

“Fences”: Denzel Washington stars in and directs this tale about a father raising his family in the 1950s amid heated racial tension. With Viola Davis.

“Gold”: Matthew McConaughey is a modern prospector who travels to the Indonesian jungle in search of gold in “Syriana” director Stephen Gaghan’s latest.

“Why Him?”: James Franco is the last boyfriend Bryan Cranston wants his daughter to bring home in this comedy from “I Love You, Man” director John Hamburg. \

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