‘Spectre’ and ‘The Revenant’ complete the fall movie lineup

I AIN’T AFRAID TO DIE – Leonardo DiCaprio stated in a recent interview with Vanity Fair that he slept in animal carcasses, ate raw bison and endured harsh weather conditions while filming “The Revenant.”

Every year, I get it in my head that certain films will do certain things for me, almost always leading to personal disappointment. A ton of movies end up surprising me, finding their way to a list of my favorites from the year. Those are usually the ones I respond to the most emotionally. However, this year was different, as I vowed to walk into the theater free of expectations and view most movies as purely as I could. The result has been a freeing experience for the way I view movies. Adopting this viewpoint has led to many unpredictable favorites of mine, and I can safely say I’ve actually been to the theater more this year than I ever have.

I wanted to keep this mindset moving into the end of the year. This is high time for Oscar-winners or bait, depending on how you view each film. For me, it’s undoubtedly the most exciting time of the year as awards season revs up and movies generally sway more toward the dark, slow-moving drama side of things. It’s not that the fluffier stuff is unappealing, but it’s an appreciation of all genres. It makes each season more exciting as I look ahead to what’s being released. This fall and holiday, there is no shortage of films that immediately catch my eye from any end of the movie genre spectrum.

November only exemplifies why the fall movie season is varied from start to finish. On Nov. 6, James Bond is back in “Spectre,” the newest installment in the James Bond series and the last to feature Daniel Craig as Bond. Sam Mendes, director of “Skyfall,” is also back for this Bond chapter. After the success and acclaim of “Skyfall,” it’s safe to say this will be another winning and beautifully shot film.

“Trumbo” is a more dramatic offering, a biopic starring Bryan Cranston (“Breaking Bad”) as Dalton Trumbo, a screenwriter who contributed to some of the most famous and revered screenplays in Hollywood history and who took a turn with communism, leading him to be blacklisted. The film, which also opens Nov. 6, is directed by Jay Roach, who helmed “Dinner for Schmucks” and the “Austin Powers” series among other, more politically centered offerings. Cranston is electric in every role he has played thus far, and I’m anxiously awaiting to see how he pulls off this one.

As per usual, whenever Thanksgiving rolls around, the public has another “Hunger Games” film to entertain them. “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2” is the last chapter in the “Hunger Games” series. The series has taken its place as a moneymaker, a more dignified young adult lark that will no doubt leave a hole in the “young adults have to survive” niche. I’ve yet to see any of the other “Hunger Games” films beyond the first one, but maybe I’ll give the series a marathon after all’s said and done.

December is poised to be the biggest month of the year for films with “Star Wars Episode VII” stomping in to potentially make billions and leave a heavy trace. Everyone can pretty much nod in agreement when asked if they’re going to see the newest “Star Wars” film, myself included. It’s “Star Wars,” why wouldn’t you freak out and go see it as soon as possible? The other films occupying December are mostly Oscar-directed ones. There’s “Joy,” the newest from director David O. Russell, sure to have all the Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper you can muster.

The one film that has me thinking about it nonstop is Alejandro G. Inarritu’s “The Revenant.” Set in the 1820s, a frontiersman named Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio) is mauled by a bear and left for dead by John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy). Inarritu directed my favorite film of last year, “Birdman,” and “The Revenant” is set to be one of my favorites. With a fantastic director, two of the best actors working today, and amazing cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki (“Gravity,” “Birdman”), there is no way “The Revenant” can’t be unforgettable.

Perhaps the rest of the year will follow tradition and change my expectations. It’s hard to remain neutral with so many films that pique my interest coming out so close to each other. As a moviegoer, I am beyond excited. This holiday season will be assuredly hectic, so it’s great to have different types of movies coming up. Changing the way I view movies lately has made each experience distinctive. Here’s hoping that attitude continues through the end of 2015.