It's that time of year again, when Hollywood peddles some of its best and brightest wares in the form of heavy-hitting dramas.
Fall films normally fall under the Oscar contender category, and 2013 is no slouch. We've got George Clooney and Sandra Bullock in "Gravity," a slew of celebs in "Prisoners," including Hugh Jackman and Viola Davis, and Brad Pitt and Michael Fassbender rounding out the blockbuster cast of "12 Years a Slave." And that's just the beginning.
So grab your Kleenex and get ready: These movies will either leave your heart pounding or your eyes tearing ... or perhaps both.
Gallery | 2013 Fall Movie Preview: Drama
- 'Prisoners' (Sept. 20)What It’s About: When Keller Dover (Hugh Jackman)'s daughter and friend go missing, he will do anything to find her again. Sure, the cops are trying to find them as well, but for the parents of the missing children, it's not enough.Why We’re Excited: The ensemble cast is chock-full of amazing talent, from two-time Oscar nominee Viola Davis to last year's Best Actor nominee Jackman. At the very least, we're guaranteed some fantastic acting.
- 'Rush' (Sept. 27)What It’s About: A long-term racetrack rivalry between two polar-opposite car racers, Niki Lauda and James Hunt.Why We’re Excited: Even if you're not a race fanatic, this movie is surprisingly just as entertaining off the track as it is on. Rising star Daniel Bruhl ("Ingluorious Basterds") delivers another outstanding performance, securing himself roles in the future.
- 'Gravity' (Oct. 4)What It’s About: A medical officer (Sandra Bullock) and an astronaut (George Clooney) try to survive after being stranded in space, completely alone.Why We’re Excited: We're actually a bit shocked that this hasn't been done before. The concept of being lost in space is absolutely terrifying.
- 'Runner Runner' (Oct. 4)What It’s About: A poor college student (Justin Timberlake) cracks an online poker game, but goes bust, and goes after the guy who he thinks busted him (Ben Affleck). Of course, the faceless man turns out to be a sneaky, probably murderous entrepreneur.Why We’re Excited: These two are an interesting pair, so it'll be fun to see them riff off of each other. Straight women will have a ball with this one, since it seems like there's a lot of shirtlessness.
- 'Captain Phillips' (Oct. 11)What It’s About: The true story of Captain Richard Phillips (Tom Hanks) and the 2009 hijacking by Somali pirates of the US MV Maersk Alabama, the first American cargo ship to be hijacked in 200 years.Why We’re Excited: We've seen Tom Hanks out at sea before, and it was amazing. This inspired-by-a-true-story tale will also tug at the heartstrings, especially in this time of international strife.
- 'The Fifth Estate' (Oct. 18)What It’s About: Also based on a true story, the movie follows the creation of Wikileaks and the evolution of its enigmatic founder, Julian Assange (Benedict Cumberbatch). We see the rise and semi-fall of Assange through the eyes of Daniel Domscheit-Berg (Daniel Bruhl), who joins in on the "freedom" crusade and helps Assange realize his goals.Why We’re Excited: Assange is a riveting figure, to be sure, and ironically, not much is known about his personal and private life. Cumberbatch is also the man of the hour, so more time with him is time well-spent.
- '12 Years a Slave' (Oct. 18)What It’s About: In the pre-Civil War U.S., a free black man from upstate New York (Chiwetel Ejiofor) is kidnapped and sold into slavery, where he must adapt to barbaric practices and a life of imprisonment.Why We’re Excited: An outstanding cast and some major gravitas await us in this intense story. We've seen several slavery movies as of late, and this one shadows "Django Unchained" a little bit -- minus all the comedic elements and excessive gore.
- 'All Is Lost' (Oct. 18)What It’s About: A resourceful sailor (Robert Redford) gets lost at sea, with only himself to rely on.Why We’re Excited: Reminiscent of films like "Castaway" and "127 Hours," a movie with only one actor credited usually means some pretty intense moments. Redford is one of the greats, so to spend 90 minutes with him as he flexes his acting muscles should be a pleasure.
- 'Escape Plan' (Oct. 18)
What It's About: A jail security expert (Sylvester Stallone) finds himself incarcerated after being set up by someone close to him, so he enlists the help of an inmate (Arnold Schwarzenegger) to help him escape.
Why We're Excited: Stallone and Schwarzenegger. 'Nuff said.
- 'The Counselor' (Oct. 25)What It’s About: A noted lawyer (Michael Fassbender) finds himself in over his head when he's inadvertently involved in drug trafficking.Why We’re Excited: The movie's writer is Cormac McCarthy, who's known for penning "No Country for Old Men" and "The Road," both of which were critical successes. "No Country" won Best Picture in 2008, and we have high hopes that "The Counselor" might have such success in its future.
- 'The Wolf of Wall Street' (Nov. 15)
What It's About: Based on a true story, "Wolf of Wall Street" follows the rise and fall of Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio), a wealthy stockbroker who ended up serving jail time for stock market manipulation.
Why We're Excited: Once again, DiCaprio teams with Scorsese for what looks to be "Goodfellas" meets "American Psycho." This film mixes the outrageousness of the financial industry in the 1980s (yachts, dwarf throwing, taping cash to women) with the downward spiral of a man looking to win at all costs. From the looks of the trailer, Leo may be having more fun here than he did in "Django."
- 'The Book Thief' (Nov. 15)
What It's About: In WWII Germany, a young girl named Liesel attempts to steal books and share them with others before Hitler's Nazis burn them all.
Why We're Excited: The film is based on the bestselling and critically acclaimed book by Markus Zusak and features the talented Geoffrey Rush and Emily Watson as LIesel's adopted parents. WWII has been done on screen before, which is why this tale -- about one girl's courage in the face of evil -- is a welcome new take.
- 'Nebraska' (Nov. 22)
What It's About: An alcoholic father takes a trip from Montana to Nebraska with his estranged son in order to claim prize money.
Why We're Excited: You can't go wrong with Alexander Payne. The director's last four films -- "The Descendants," "Sideways," "About Schmidt," and "Election" -- were all critical darlings. We're excited to see what legendary character actor Bruce Dern, along with "SNL" alum Will Forte in a rare dramatic role, can bring to Payne's latest project.
- 'Diana' (Nov. 1)
What It's About: The film stars Naomi Watts as the late Princess Di, and focuses on the last two years of her life, where she had an affair with a Pakistani heart surgeon.
Why We're Excited: Everyone's eyes are on Watts in this long-awaited big-screen version of the late Princess' life. Diana was one of the most famous women in the world, and her tragic end is one that still reverberates today. We can't wait to see what Watts and director Oliver Hirschbiegel do with this story.
- 'Black Nativity' (Nov. 27)
What It's About: Based on the play by Langston Hughes, the film tells the classic Nativity of Jesus story with an all-black cast.
Why We're Excited: Not only is this a unique interpretation on the Nativity story, the movie stars Oscar winners Forest Whitaker, Angela Basset, and Jennifer Hudson. Keep an eye out for Whitaker, who will sing on screen for the first time in his career.
- 'Grace of Monaco' (Nov. 27)
What It's About: The story of Hollywood legend Grace Kelly (Nicole Kidman) and her marriage to Prince Ranier III. The film takes place during France's looming invasion of Monaco, Kelly's new country.
Why We're Excited: From Hollywood actress to princess, the life of Grace Kelly is tailor-made for the big screen. We can't wait to see Kidman in the starring role. Also, keep an eye out for Tim Roth, who plays Prince Ranier.