It’s officially fall, which means marquees of heavy-hitters with award potential (The Martian, The Walk, Freeheld) and films whose openings are a pop-culture milestone (The Force Awakens, anyone?). But the year so far has been no slouch, packed with powerful storytelling, exhilarating performances and cinematic surprises. Here, our picks for the best we’ve seen in anticipation of better yet to come (in alphabetical order).
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