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Big new movies to see this fall: 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens,' 'The Martian' and more

As the fall movie season begins, conflict and controversy are the order of the day.

Name an issue, and Hollywood is probably trying to tackle it. We'll see two films about people changing gender, "The Danish Girl," starring Oscar-winner Eddie Redmayne, and "About Ray," starring Elle Fanning, both of which have already drawn criticism for casting non-transgender leads. "Truth," with Robert Redford as Dan Rather, may reignite old arguments about politics and the media, while "Spotlight," starring Mark Ruffalo as a Boston Globe reporter, will surely open old wounds about the Catholic Church scandal. Things could heat up even further in December, when the football drama "Concussion" and Oliver Stone's "Snowden" are released. It's enough to make a movie like "Black Mass," about murderous Boston mobster Whitey Bulger (Johnny Depp), sound almost tame.

Hollywood has always loved a story ripped from the headlines -- especially during awards season -- but this year seems jam-packed with them. It could be a response to the popularity of television, which is becoming increasingly topical with shows like "Transparent," "Homeland" and "Mr. Robot." Of course, this fall features some purely escapist entertainment, too, including the latest James Bond film, "Spectre," and the final entry in the "Hunger Games" series.

Here are 30 of the fall's biggest films.

About Ray

Elle Fanning plays a teenage girl who needs
Photo Credit: The Weinstein Company

Elle Fanning plays a teenage girl who needs her father's permission to become a boy. With Naomi Watts and Susan Sarandon. Out Sept. 18.

Black Mass

The story of Boston mobster James
Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures.

The story of Boston mobster James "Whitey" Bulger, played by a nearly unrecognizable Johnny Depp. Directed by Scott Cooper ("Crazy Heart"). Out Sept. 18.

Everest

An IMAX-size adventure film about mountain climbers battered
Photo Credit: TNS / Universal Pictures

An IMAX-size adventure film about mountain climbers battered by a massive snowstorm in 1996. Filmed partly on location. With Josh Brolin, Keira Knightley and Emma Watson. Out Sept. 18.

Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials

In the second chapter of the sci-fi franchise,
Photo Credit: TNS / 20th Century Fox

In the second chapter of the sci-fi franchise, Thomas (Dylan O'Brien) navigates a desolate new landscape. Wes Ball returns to direct. Out Sept. 18.

Hotel Transylvania 2

An animated comedy with Adam Sandler returning as
Photo Credit: Columbia Pictures / Sony Pictures

An animated comedy with Adam Sandler returning as the voice of Vlad, the hotel-managing vampire. Out Sept. 25.

The Walk

The story of Philippe Petit (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), who
Photo Credit: TriStar Pictures

The story of Philippe Petit (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), who in 1974 performed a high-wire walk between the World Trade Center's Twin Towers. In IMAX 3-D. Directed by Robert Zemeckis ("Flight"). Out Sept. 30.

Freeheld

In the years before gay marriage, an ailing
Photo Credit: Lionsgate / Phil Caruso

In the years before gay marriage, an ailing New Jersey cop (Julianne Moore) attempts to leave her pension to her partner (Ellen Page). Based on Cynthia Wade's short documentary. Out Oct. 2.

Matt Damon stars as an astronaut deserted on
Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox / Aidan Monaghan

Matt Damon stars as an astronaut deserted on Mars in Ridley Scott's "The Martian," in theaters Oct. 2.

Legend

Tom Hardy does double duty as Reggie and
Photo Credit: Universal Pictures

Tom Hardy does double duty as Reggie and Ronnie Kray, the infamous twin gangsters who cast dark shadows over Swinging London. Written and directed by Brian Helgeland ("42"). Out Oct. 2.

Pan

A live-action Peter Pan story. With Hugh Jackman
Photo Credit: TNS / Warner Bros. Entertainment

A live-action Peter Pan story. With Hugh Jackman as the pirate Blackbeard and Garrett Hedlund as a friendly Hook. Out Oct. 9.

Steve Jobs

Michael Fassbender plays the co-founder of Apple Inc.
Photo Credit: TNS / Universal Pictures

Michael Fassbender plays the co-founder of Apple Inc. Written by Aaron Sorkin ("The Social Network") and directed by Danny Boyle ("Slumdog Millionaire"). With Kate Winslet and Seth Rogen. Out Oct. 9.

Bridge of Spies

Director Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks (
Photo Credit: DreamWorks II / Jaap Buitendijk

Director Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks ("Saving Private Ryan") reteam for a Cold War drama about a lawyer negotiating the release of an American captured by Russians. Co- written by the Coen brothers. Out Oct. 16.

Crimson Peak

A lovesick woman enters a house full of
Photo Credit: Legendary Pictures and Universal Pictures

A lovesick woman enters a house full of secrets in the latest from Guillermo del Toro ("Pan's Labyrinth"). With Mia Wasikowska and Jessica Chastain. Out Oct. 16.

Goosebumps

A teenager (Dylan Minnette) unwittingly moves in next
Photo Credit: Hopper Stone, SMPSP

A teenager (Dylan Minnette) unwittingly moves in next door to young-adult horror writer R.L. Stine (Jack Black). Out Oct. 16.

Truth

Robert Redford plays Dan Rather, the legendary newsman
Photo Credit: Sony Pictures Classics

Robert Redford plays Dan Rather, the legendary newsman brought down by a botched investigation into the military records of George W. Bush. Out Oct. 16.

Burnt

Bad-boy chef Adam Jones (Bradley Cooper) decides he
Photo Credit: The Weinstein Company / Alex Bailey

Bad-boy chef Adam Jones (Bradley Cooper) decides he wants his Michelin stars back. With Sienna Miller and Uma Thurman. Out Oct. 23.

Suffragette

Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham Carter and Meryl Streep
Photo Credit: TNS

Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham Carter and Meryl Streep are fighters in Britain's radical women's suffrage movement. Directed by Sarah Gavron. Out Oct. 23.

Our Brand Is Crisis

Two political strategists (Sandra Bullock and Billy Bob
Photo Credit: Patti Perret

Two political strategists (Sandra Bullock and Billy Bob Thornton) do battle during a Bolivian election. Inspired by Rachael Boynton's 2005 documentary. Out Oct. 30.

The Peanuts Movie

The first theatrical
Photo Credit: Twentieth Century Fox & Peanuts Worldwide

The first theatrical "Peanuts" film in 35 years will use state-of-the-art 3-D animation. Out Nov. 6.

Spectre

Daniel Craig returns as James Bond; Sam Mendes
Photo Credit: TNS

Daniel Craig returns as James Bond; Sam Mendes ("Skyfall") returns to direct. With Léa Seydoux ("Blue Is the Warmest Color"), Monica Bellucci, a villainous Christoph Waltz and Ralph Fiennes replacing Judi Dench as M. Out Nov. 6.

Spotlight

Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo and Rachel McAdams star
Photo Credit: Open Road Films / Kerry Hayes

Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo and Rachel McAdams star in a drama about The Boston Globe's investigation into the Catholic Church's child-sex scandal. Out Nov. 6.

The 33

The story of the Chilean miners who spent
Photo Credit: TNS / Beatrice Aguirre

The story of the Chilean miners who spent 69 days trapped underground. With Antonio Banderas and Juliette Binoche. Out Nov. 13.

By the Sea

In the 1970s, an American writer and his
Photo Credit: Universal Pictures

In the 1970s, an American writer and his wife (Brad Pitt and writer-director Angelina Jolie Pitt) face a personal crisis while staying in a French seaside resort. Out Nov. 13.

Carol

Two women (Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara) fall
Photo Credit: The Weinstein Company / Wilson Webb

Two women (Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara) fall in love in 1950s New York. Directed by Todd Haynes ("Happiness"). Out Nov. 20.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay -- Part 2

Jennifer Lawrence takes her final bow as dystopian
Photo Credit: Lionsgate / Murray Close

Jennifer Lawrence takes her final bow as dystopian rebel Katniss Everdeen. With Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth. Out Nov. 20.

Creed

Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) begins training Adonis Johnson
Photo Credit: Barry Wetcher

Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) begins training Adonis Johnson (Michael B. Jordan), son of the late Apollo Creed. Directed by Ryan Coogler. Out Nov. 25.

The Good Dinosaur

A Disney-Pixar film about Arlo the Apatosaurus and
Photo Credit: Pixar

A Disney-Pixar film about Arlo the Apatosaurus and his unlikely human friend. Out Nov. 25.

The Night Before

A holiday comedy from the team that made
Photo Credit: Sarah Shatz

A holiday comedy from the team that made "50/50." Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen play guys who party hard each Christmas Eve. Jonathan Levine directs. Out Nov. 20.

The Danish Girl

The story of Einar Wegener, a male artist
Photo Credit: Focus Features

The story of Einar Wegener, a male artist who in 1930 became Lili Elbe, one of the first cases of sex-reassignment surgery. With Eddie Redmayne and Alicia Vikander. Directed by Tom Hooper ("The King's Speech"). Out Nov. 27.

I Saw the Light

A biopic about country music legend Hank Williams
Photo Credit: Sony Pictures Classics / Sam Emerson

A biopic about country music legend Hank Williams (Tom Hiddleston). Based on Colin Escott's book. Out Nov. 27.

Sisters

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are siblings whose
Photo Credit: Universal Studios / K. C. Bailey

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are siblings whose childhood home is being sold. Filmed partly on Long Island. Out Dec. 18.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Place your bets now on how quickly this
Photo Credit: AP / Film Frame

Place your bets now on how quickly this movie will outgross "Avatar." Out Dec. 18.

The Hateful Eight

A Quentin Tarantino Western starring Samuel L. Jackson,
Photo Credit: The Weinstein Company / Andrew Cooper

A Quentin Tarantino Western starring Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell and Jennifer Jason Leigh. Out Dec. 25.

Joy

Jennifer Lawrence plays Long Island entrepreneur Joy Mangano.
Photo Credit: AP / Merie Weismiller Wallace

Jennifer Lawrence plays Long Island entrepreneur Joy Mangano. Out Dec. 25.

Snowden

Writer-director Oliver Stone tackles the story of NSA
Photo Credit: Open Road Films

Writer-director Oliver Stone tackles the story of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden (Joseph Gordon-Levitt). Out Dec. 25.

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