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2015 Fall Movie Preview: Strong Female Leads and True Stories

Roey Ahram

We’re in that transitional period of time when schools are starting, the weather will soon start to get cooler, baseball will be supplanted by football, and summer blockbuster movies will be replaced in theaters by some of the films that will compete for Oscars come award season.

In fact, some of those films are already opening in an effort to be at the forefront of viewers' minds come Oscars season. Film contributor Dave Luhrssen notices a trend of strong female leads or storylines and "based on a true story" films for this upcoming season.

Strong Female Leads:

"Aside from the costume drama and the period pieces, what I'm noticing this fall is the overall theme of female empowerment, girl power, and even lesbian themes. There's been a movement towards more of this in recent years," says Luhrssen.

1. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2

2. Suffragette

"It seems to be very well researched. The director, Sarah Gavron is determined to make a movie that looks like everyday life in London at that time. So it's not going to be quite as beautiful as the typical costume drama we think of...but kind of a grittier look, demonstrations on the streets, all kind of terrible things happened - women being arrested for protesting, hunger strikes, being force-fed - I think we'll see a bit of that in this film," Luhrssen says.

Based on True Stories:

3. Black Mass - Starring Johnny Dep as Whitey Bulger the Boston criminal kingpin

4. Everest - Based on a 1996 climbing disaster that took eight lives

5. The Walk - Based on the 1974 tight rope walk by a French acrobat between the Twin Towers

6. Bridge of Spies - A Steven Speilberg film based on a trial of a Soviet Spy during the Cold War

7. Trumbo - Based on the events surround a Hollywood screenwriter blacklisted during the Cold War

8. Steve Jobs - Explores "more of the 1980s era as Steve was experimenting with different types of products. Apple hadn't quite conquered the world yet at that point," says Luhrssen.

9. A Walk in the Woods - "Nick Nolte is really the best part of the movie. It's a well developed cranky, eccentric character...Basically the movie is an odyssey type of thing, one of the oldest sorts of stories we have. They meet weird, interesting, strange people along the way, they have incidents they have to overcome, challenges along the way...The movie I think is more about the need to keep trying things, whether you succeed entirely or not," Luhrssen says.

"The best moments of the movie are intentionally funny. It's moderately enjoyable, it's not a great film, but if you like either of the two main actors you'll enjoy it," Luhrssen says.

Local Film Festivals to look forward to this fall:

1. MKE Film Festival - September 24 - October 8

2. Milwaukee Short Film Festival - September 11 - 12

3. Milwaukee Jewish Film Festival - October 18 - 22

4. Milwaukee LGBT Film Festival - October 15 - 25

Bonnie North
Bonnie joined WUWM in March 2006 as the Arts Producer of the locally produced weekday magazine program Lake Effect.
David Luhrssen is arts and entertainment editor of the Shepherd Express, co-founder of the Milwaukee International Film Festival and co-author of A Time of Paradox: America Since 1890. He is the winner of the Pace Setter Award for contributions to Milwaukee's film community from the Milwaukee Independent Film Society. David Luhrssen has taught at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design and Milwaukee Area Technical College.