The hot summer months are behind us, signaling the season when movie studios turn serious. As we draw nearer December, the cinematic hotbed of silliness and sci-fi shrinks, as likely Oscar nominees arrive.
This year's prestige films share noticeable trends. Often the material is dark, even when the actors are likable. Steve Carell ("Foxcatcher"), Bradley Cooper ("American Sniper") and Mark Wahlberg ("The Gambler") star in movies whose essential premises are matters of life and death.