If you live anywhere but California, you can usually use the weather as a means to transition between seasons. Not here though. In true Hollywood fashion, we usually know Autumn and Winter are coming once the Summer Blockbuster Season is over. As such, Winter is coming, which means the heat of an Avenger’s sized explosion or a dinosaur’s hot breath will not be around to warm your cold theater nights anymore. But, that is not to say that we are done watching movies until next year. We still have some major releases in the chilly months of September through December. I do however, want to look past the major names coming our way in these later months. We all know about Spectre: 007 (11/6/15), Star Wars: The Force Awakens (12/18/15), and the Hateful Eight (12/25/15). So, I want to look at some of the lesser known films coming to theaters as we wrap up 2015.

LEGEND (Release Date: October 2. 2015)

Directed by Brian Helgeland; Starring: Tom Hardy, Emily Browning, and Taron Egerton

This is a highly anticipated film on my radar heading out of the summer blockbuster season. Based on a true story, Legend is a crime thriller revolving around Ronald “Ronnie” Kray and Reginald “Reggie” Kray. They were two of England’s most notorious gangsters in the 50’s and 60’s. They brutally fought, stole and killed their way through England’s streets, cementing themselves as two of the country’s most dangerous villains of all time. As you may have surmised from the names, they were indeed brothers. But more than brothers, they were twins. The interesting thing about this bit of information is that Tom Hardy plays both Ronnie and Reggie Kray. Now, what could be better than twice the Tom Hardy in one movie? Maybe twice the Michael Peña…but that’s beside the point. Tom Hardy has become one of the best actors working today. He has had great performances from Bronson, to Bane, to his scene stealing moments in Inception as Eams, and in Warrior as Tom “Tommy” Conlon. Also worth noting is the movie, The Drop, which he stars in alongside James Gandolfini. If you guys haven’t seen that movie yet, you are definitely missing out. I don’t want to give too much away, but I will say, this film reveals Tom Hardy’s ability to depict a wide spectrum of emotions, motivations, and actions. Pretty vague, right? Yeah, I Know! It’s just better if you watch it.

The Kray’s, as with most twins it seems, physically look similar but are in fact, completely opposite. Aside from their lust for power and their devotion to one another, the Kray brothers couldn’t have been more different. Reggie Kray was the suave and smooth gangster, referred to as "the gangster prince of the East End". But like the bullet that quietly slept in the chamber of his gun; he could explode at a moment’s notice with unprejudiced violence and cruelty. Ronnie on the other hand was insane. Both literally and figuratively, Ronnie was a feral beast unencumbered by the weight of morals or sanity itself. And it is this slow and troubled deterioration into insanity that led to the eventual demise of the Kray Empire. So, I am excited to see how Tom Hardy is able to, for one: play both characters almost simultaneously in regards to their look, mannerisms, speech patterns, etc and two: how embodying one character leads him to portray the other. Most notably, how Reggie sympathizes for his brother Ronnie being that he will understand his motivations and his thought process going into each and every psychotic action he commits.

So, aside from Tom Hardy putting in what will no doubt be another great performance, we also have England playing a major part in this film. There are cities in film that by mere virtue of their aesthetic, play a grander part in not just the look of the movie, but the feel. I love it when cities themselves become characters in a movie. And this seems no different. England has that sort of dark, gritty, back alley sort of mysticism that is both haunting and alluring. Pair that with the fact that this film takes place in the 50’s and 60’s: lavish lifestyles, dapper men, and elegant woman, and we have a setting that will not only look great, but again, will engage us and in turn,  allow us to feel and emotionally invest or connect with it. This film looks like it’s just oozing with a certain Frank Sinatra meets Guy Ritchie type of cool. And I can't wait to see that play out on screen.

If this kind of piques your interest, but you're not quite convinced yet, check it out for yourself. Click the button below to watch the trailer:

BLACK MASS (Release Date: September 18, 2015)

Directed by: Scott Cooper; Starring: Johnny Depp, Benedict Cumberbatch, Kevin Bacon

Another highly anticipated crime thriller based on a true story is Black Mass. It sees Johnny Depp completely transformed and terrifying as James Joseph "Whitey" Bulger, Jr. Bulger was the infamous Irish Mob Boss of the Winter Hill Gang. Much like the Kray's in England, Whitey terrorized the city of Boston for several years and was a fugitive for nearly 17 years, 12 of which he spent as the second most wanted man in America. Osama Bin Laden was number one. Just to give you an idea of how highly regarded and sought after this man was. Even creepier is that this man lived under our noses here in Santa Monica, CA as a fugitive for well over 10 years.

It’s great to see Johnny Depp back in a mob/gangster movie again. He’s been in classic gangster/mob movies like Donnie Brasco, Blow, and Public Enemies, all of which he was great in. I feel like his eyes have that engaging yet subversive quality that makes him a believable and charming bad guy. With Whitey Bulger, this is even more so as his chilling bluish-gray eyes have the cold blank stare of a shark stalking its prey, giving his portrayal of Bulger a far more menacing and evocative look than what he’s done with his previous renditions of evil people. This film also boasts a massive list of talented actors from Benedict Cumberbatch as Whitey's brother, William, to Joel Edgerton, Kevin Bacon, Dakota Johnson, Adam Scott, and Corey Stoll, just to name a few. This cast is amazing and stacked with great talent and by that account alone, I believe it is worth the watch.

If you do a quick Wikipedia search on Whitey Bulger, you’d be astonished at all of the things this man did. To put it simply, he makes the Godfather look like Jaime Kennedy in Malibu’s Most Wanted. He has been charged for: Racketeering, Murder (19 counts), Conspiracy to commit murder, Conspiracy to commit extortion, Narcotics distribution, Extortion, Shoplifting, etc... From the trailers, it appears that they will focus on a lot of those crimes listed above via Bulger’s “partnership” with the FBI, in which he exchanged information regarding his rivals and essentially manipulated the FBI to eliminate his enemies for him. The story itself appears to be quite riveting considering that this all really happened.

Again, if you're not too into it yet, click the button below to see Depp fully embody fear and terror as James "Whitey" Bulger. A secret is a secret, even if it is a recipe:

Honorable Mentions

Other than the two above, there are a few others that may be shrouded in obscurity but I believe would still be worth your time:

  1. Sicario (Release Date: September 18, 2015)
    • Directed by: Denis Villeneuve; Starring: Emily Blunt, Benicio Del Toro, Jon Bernthal, Josh Brolin
    • What's it about: After rising through the ranks of her male-dominated profession, idealistic FBI agent Kate Macer (Emily Blunt) receives a top assignment. Recruited by mysterious government official Matt Graver (Josh Brolin), Kate joins a task force for the escalating war against drugs. Led by the intense and shadow… Morey Alejandro (Benicio Del Toro), the team travels back-and-forth across the U.S.-Mexican border, using one cartel boss (Bernardo Saracino) to flush out a bigger one (Julio Cesar Cedillo).
  2. The Martian (Release Date: October 2, 2015)
    • Directed by: Ridley Scott; Starring: Matt Damon, MICHAEL PEÑA, Jessica Chastain, Sean Bean, Sebastian Stan, Jeff Daniels
    • What's it about: During a manned mission to Mars, Astronaut Mark Watney is presumed dead after a fierce storm and left behind by his crew. But Watney has survived and finds himself stranded and alone on the hostile planet. With only meager supplies, he must draw upon his ingenuity, wit and spirit to subsist and find a way to signal to Earth that he is alive.
  3. Crimson Peak (Release Date: October 10, 2015)
    • Directed by: Guillermo Del Toro; Starring: Tom Hiddleston, Jessica Chastain, Charlie Hunnam, Mia Wasikowska
    • What's it about: In the aftermath of a family tragedy, an aspiring author is torn between love for her childhood friend and the temptation of a mysterious outsider. Trying to escape the ghosts of her past, she is swept away to a house that breathes, bleeds...and remembers.
  4. CREED (Release Date: November 25, 2015)
    • Directed by: Ryan Coogler; Starring: Michael B. Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, Graham McTavish
    • What's it about: The former World Heavyweight Champion Rocky Balboa serves as a trainer and mentor to Adonis Creed, the son of his late friend and former rival Apollo Creed.
  5. The Revenant (Release Date: December 25, 2015)
    • Directed by: Alejandro Gonzalez Iñarritu; Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio; Tom Hardy, Domhnall Gleeson
    • What's it about: Inspired by true events, THE REVENANT captures one man's epic adventure of survival and the extraordinary power of the human spirit. In an expedition of the uncharted American wilderness, legendary explorer Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio) is brutally attacked by a bear and left for dead by members of his own hunting team. In a quest to survive, Glass endures unimaginable grief as well as the betrayal of his confidant John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy). Guided by sheer will and the love of his family, Glass must navigate a vicious winter in a relentless pursuit to live and find redemption.

What are your thoughts? What are some of the movies you guys are looking forward to seeing this fall/winter? Are there any movies I didn't mention that you'd like people to check out? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Later kids!