Fall flicks: Must watch films to stem college stresses

By Nicole Prieto | The Duquesne Duke

No new school year would be complete without some unplanned procrastinating, and what better way to take a study break than to catch a new movie? Here is The Duke’s lineup of seven upcoming films to get you off the campus and into the box office.

“Kubo and the Two Strings”

Laika, the stop-motion studio behind acclaimed films “Coraline,” “ParaNorman” and “The Boxtrolls,” returns with another literally handcrafted production — this time set in ancient Japan.

This fantasy epic follows young Kubo (Art Parkinson) and his journey with Monkey (Charlize Theron) and Beetle (Matthew McConaughey) as they attempt to retrieve his father’s magic armor. This will be animator Travis Knight’s directorial debut, so expect some bumps in the execution of this ambitious tale. With the studio’s strong production history and a top-notch cast, “Kubo” may make waves nonetheless.

Get reacquainted with your inner kid when “Kubo” comes out tomorrow.

“Blair Witch”

Those with an early Halloween itch will want to watch this sequel to the original film. The 1999 “Blair Witch Project” is a found-footage classic, and this follow-up looks to pay homage to its legacy.

“Blair Witch” originally went under the faux title “The Woods” before its real identity was unveiled at a San Diego Comic-Con screening. The new entry in the series follows the younger brother of one of the original film’s victims as he tries to piece together what happened to his sister. The movie is directed by Adam Wingard and written by Simon Barrett, who both worked on the “V/H/S” horror movies, “You’re Next” and “The Guest.”

Find “Blair Witch” in theaters on September 16.

“The Girl on the Train”

Paula Hawkins’ acclaimed 2015 novel makes its film debut in a mystery thriller starring Emily Blunt as divorcee Rachel Watson, a train commuter with a vidid imagination. One day, while passing the home of a seemingly perfect couple she daydreams about, Rachel witnesses something horrible— and finds herself in the middle of a missing person’s case.

Taylor, the director and screenplay writer for 2011’s award-winning “The Help,” takes the lead on this adaptation. Hawkins’ book was a top New York Times bestseller for 13 straight weeks. It sold over 11 million copies worldwide, with Hawkins earning a spot as a Forbes highest-paid author. One of the major changes between the book and the movie is the setting, which is being changed from the U.K. to the U.S., though London actress Blunt will keep her native accent throughout.

Watch “The Girl on the Train” come alive on October 7.

“Doctor Strange”

Marvel’s Phase 3 is in full swing, and “Doctor Strange” will follow on the heels of this summer’s “Captain America: Civil War.”

Benedict Cumberbatch stars as the eponymous surgeon, Dr. Stephen Strange, in a reality-bending origin story (yes, another one). When his career ends after an accident, Dr. Strange takes a journey that leads him to becoming the protégé of a mystic known as the Ancient One (Tilda Swinton). The film’s “Inception”-esque trailers promise engaging visuals on top of Marvel’s signature superhero showdowns.

Keep an eye out for “Doctor Strange” on November 4.

“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”

Fans still reeling from the release of “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” can get their next fix with “Fantastic Beasts,” set to hit theaters later this year.

Eddie Redmayne stars as magizoologist Newt Scamander, a young British wizard meeting with the Magical Congress of the United States of America (MACUSA) in 1920s New York. All hell breaks loose when dangerous creatures escape Newt’s magic suitcase. The film will be Rowling’s screenwriting debut.

Catch “Fantastic Beasts” in theaters on November 18.

“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”

Last year’s “The Force Awakens” signaled the return of the “Star Wars” franchise to theaters since 2008’s Razzie-nominated “Clone Wars” production, though in much better standing.

With a box office blowout preceding it, “Rogue One” has a lot to live up to for a new generation of fans. This standalone anthology film is set just prior to “Star Wars: A New Hope” and stars Felicity Jones as Jyn Erso, a Rebel Alliance fighter with a complicated past, who is on a mission to steal the Death Star’s plans. If the official trailer is any indication, expect to see the return of Darth Vader as well (voice reprised by James Earl Jones).

“Rogue One” takes the stage on December 16.

“Assassin’s Creed”

After nearly 10 years since the original game’s release — and a bulk of sequels, short films, comics and novel adaptations later — “Assassin’s Creed” is finally hitting the silver screen, featuring new character played by Michael Fassbender. The movie follows Callum Lynch, a descendant of the secretive Assassins society. With the help of a revolutionary device, Callum is able to experience the genetic memories of his ancestor’s 15th-century escapades.

While hammy acting, an esoteric plot and too many gameplay-specific references could kill Ubisoft’s attempt at capitalizing on its successful franchise, a not-terrible, action-heavy trailer featuring Fassbender and Marion Cotillard shows that all bets are off with how “Assassin’s Creed” will fare.

Treat yourself to a post-finals break when “Assassin’s Creed” hits theaters on December 21.

Photo Courtesy of Marvel Studios “Dr. Strange” is the fourteenth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and stars Benedict Cumberbatch as the titular character.

Photo Courtesy of Marvel Studios “Dr. Strange” is the fourteenth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and stars Benedict Cumberbatch as the titular character.

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