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Jake Gyllenhaal as Louis Bloom in NightcrawlerVia

Twenty must-see films for autumn

Jake Gyllenhaal bugs out, Gia Coppola takes on sex in suburbia, and Bill Murray goes babysitting – here are our picks


IT'S LIKE: Drive meets TMZ

Jake Gyllenhaal bugs out and greases up as a fast-talking, funemployed entrepreneur looking to make a quick buck by selling amateur footage of fresh crime scenes to a local TV news station. It's a darker turn for Gyllenhaal – faintly reminiscent of his sociopathic character in Donnie Darko – and an extremely discomfiting thrill ride through the shlock-and-awe journalism exploited by cable news.

Nightcrawler is in cinemas 17 October 2014


IT'S LIKE: All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace meets Into the Wild

A Spell is a three-part journey through a man's life as he treks through the Finnish wilderness, visits a small Estonian island, and attends a concert in Norway. The result of a collaboration between directors Ben Rivers and Ben Russell – both respected experimental filmmakers in their own right – explores the possibility of utopia in this visually majestic triptych.

A Spell to Ward off the Darkness is in cinemas 12 September 2014


IT'S LIKE: The Bourne series meets Zero Dark Thirty

One of Philip Seymour Hoffman's last ever films, this Anton Corbijn-directed thriller based on a John le Carré novel is all kinds of espionage. When a Chechan refugee immigrates to Hamburg illegally, he is mistaken for a wanted terrorist.

A Most Wanted Man is in cinemas 12 September 2014


IT'S LIKE: Slacker meets Coffee and Cigarettes

Want to know what it's like to be Nick Cave for 24 hours? This fictitious day-in-the-life account follows Cave on his 20,000th day on earth while he records Push the Sky Away. It's an inspiring and accessible alterna-doc that offers both insight into the life of the legend, and motivates you to get up offa that thang. Plus, Kylie Minogue is in it.

20,000 Days on Earth is in cinemas 19 September 2014


IT'S LIKE: The Number 23 meets Contagion

Mike Cahill is back in this sci-fi adrenaline rush where Brit Marling and Michael Pitt play biologists attempting to prove the human eye has evolved. They make a discovery that turns their world upside down – but Pitt is constantly plagued by the number 11 and a harrowing tragedy draws him away from his work.

I Origins is in cinemas 25 September 2014


IT'S LIKE: The Real Housewives of Orange County meets Sunset Blvd.

Havana (Julianne Moore) throws her iPhone in frustration and pops pills as a fame-thirsty, flush-lipped actress who wants to do a remake of the film that made her late mother, Clarice (Sarah Gadon), famous in the 60s. Clarice ain't gone, either. She frequently haunts Havana, and that's just the tip of the iceberg in David Cronenberg's twisted hot mess on Hollywood Blvd.

Maps to the Stars is in cinemas 26 September 2014


IT'S LIKEKids meets Beverly Hills, 90210

Ahh, the old soccer coach-player love trope. Based on a James Franco novel of short stories, this brawny debut for director Gia Coppola (granddaughter of Francis Ford, niece of Sofia) follows virginal April and stoner Teddy as they navigate through high school amidst asshats and illicit crushes in dull suburbia.

Palo Alto is in cinemas 17 October 2014


IT'S LIKE: The Conjuring meets Monsters, Inc.

Not many horror films can successfully warp a children's story into a wet-the-bed, night-terror-inducing fear fest. Especially one featuring a monster based on a children's fable. The Babadook, however, manages to ground itself in the real (read: screaming children) while pulling off a core-shaking psychological scare.

The Babadook is in cinemas 24 October 2014


IT'S LIKE: Only Lovers Left Alive meets Friends

Pretend you got to hang out with Bill Murray. Okay, now pretend he's a vampire, and so are you. How much fun would that be? Horror comedy is a genre not-often touched, but this schlocky comedy about a flat full of vamps (feat. Jemaine from Flight of the Concords) is one long LOL.

What We Do in the Shadows is in cinemas 21 November 2014


IT'S LIKE: Uncle Buck meets Dennis the Menace, or Laggies with Bill Murray instead of Keira Knightley

Pretend you got to hang out with Bill Murray. Okay, now pretend that he's a belligerent curmudgeon drinking and gambling his veteran problems away. Through an unlikely pairing, Oliver (Jaeden Lieberher) ends up in Murray's care after his parents divorce. Hilarity ensues.

St. Vincent is in cinemas 31 October 2014


IT'S LIKE: Skins meets Apocalypse Now

After a riot in the streets of Belfast in 1971 at the apex of the Troubles, British soldier Gary Hook (rising star Jack O'Connell) gets accidentally abandoned by his unit. The Yann Demange-directed thriller follows Hook as he sifts friend from foe as he navigates the post-riot wreckage.

'71 is in cinemas 10 October 2014


IT'S LIKE: Noah meets Juno

If you've been swiping right on Tinder to no avail, this one's for you. Imagine a life of sexual frustrations (tough, I know) and it will give you a pretty good idea of what's to come from Juno director Jason Reitman.

Men, Women & Children is in cinemas 24 October 2014


IT'S LIKE: Boyz n the Hood meets 20 Feet from Stardom

Marking the 20th anniversary of Nas's formidable debut album which changed the face of hip hop forever, this documentary puts the making of Illmatic and its enduring spirit under the microscope.

Nas: Time is Illmatic is in cinemas 24 October 2014


IT'S LIKE: Lost meets Lord of the Flies

Every night the maze opens. Every night a set of runners try to find a way out. A hierarchical society is birthed out of a group of boys stranded together in "the Glade". Everything is kosher until they realise they are no longer going to be gifted supplies. Based on the novel by James Dashner, this is one thrilling turnoff on the highway of recent dystopian YA yawns (see: DivergentThe Giver).

The Maze Runner 19 September 2014


IT'S LIKE: Dreamgirls meets Ray

Outkast's André 3000 plays Jimi Hendrix in this biopic that wades through the pre-fame years, charting his time in Britain in the swinging 60s before the release of his debut album, Are You Experienced.

Jimi: All is by My Side is in cinemas 24 October 2014


IT'S LIKE: This Boy's Life meets Big Fish

Garden State fans rejoice. It only took 10 years, but Zach Braff (the director) is back with another gut-wrenching emotional rollercoaster that is equal parts laughs and tears. Braff flexes his 'you-can't-go-it-alone' muscle once again as he navigates through life as a struggling actor with a family to support (alongside wife Kate Hudson) and an ailing father to take care of, not exactly knowing how to juggle human responsibility – tough stuff. You'll want to call your mum after.

Wish I was Here is in cinemas 19 September 2014


IT'S LIKE: The Social Network meets Kill Your Darlings

Basically the Project X of ivy league British universities, The Riot Club is like a frathouse for the majorly wealthy. Expect carnage on another level when two first-year Oxford students join the club and get in a bit deeper than they first expect.

The Riot Club is in cinemas 19 September 2014


IT'S LIKE: Jarhead meets The Expendables

One of those 'against all odds' movies, Fury is about Wardaddy (Brad Pitt) and his tank crew in WWII Germany, which naturally includes a stinky Shia Labeouf. “People were asking if he smelled bad because he didn’t shower and yes, he did smell bad," Logan Lerman told me back in April, "but he’s playing a soldier who’s been at war for three years, so it makes sense.”

Fury is in cinemas 19 October 2014


IT'S LIKE: The Before series meets The Double

Speaking of Shia, he's slowly becoming a force to be reckoned with. This sordid tale of unrequited love sees Charlie Countryman (Labeouf) bump into a Romanian babe, whose hurt is so palpable she ain't ready for that jelly. Fun fact: Zac Efron was almost going to play Charlie.

Charlie Countryman is in cinemas 31 October 2014


IT'S LIKE: The Sound of Music without the music meets Samantha

About to take her vows and sing to the hills, Anna is sent away to visit her only living relative, whom she's never met and is definitely not what she expects. Like, at all. She discovers a dark family secret and everything soon unfolds in B&W. That was a double entendre, by the way.

Ida is in cinemas 26 October 2014

NEXT YEAR'S QUICK LIST: Check out The Goob, Steve Carrell's dark turn in Foxcatcher, Reese Witherspoon's comeback in Wild, Xavier Dolan's Cannes-winning Mommy, Miles Teller's breakout moment in Whiplash, Thomas Vinterberg's Far from the Madding Crowd, and fucked up K-Stew romp Clouds of Sils Maria.