Fall movie preview: A full slate of adventure and thrills

Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart in "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1."
Summit Entertainment
Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart in "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1."
Summit Entertainment

(CBS) After a summer of sequels, pre-boots and reboots, the fall movie season is shaping up to be an interesting one. With only a couple of sequels on the horizon, the run-up to Oscar season promises some fresh stories, well chosen adaptations of popular books, big name stars, timely political thrillers and, of course, some holiday cheer the whole family can enjoy.

Here's a breakdown of some of the more entertaining films to look for.

Video: The Showbuzz's fall film preview

Warner Brothers comes to play with one of the most diverse end-of-year slates with a slew of noteworthy films.

"Contagion" finds its way into theaters Sept. 9th. Directed by the incomparable Steven Soderbergh, this IMAX, PG-13 film features a top-notch cast that includes Oscar winners Marion Cotillard, Matt Damon and Kate Winslet, along with Gwyneth Paltrow, Jude Law and Lawrence Fishburne. "Contagion" follows the rapid progress of a lethal airborne virus that quickly turns into a worldwide pandemic. As the global medical community searches for a cure, ordinary people struggle to survive in a society coming unraveled. Look for many of the hallmarks that have come to be synonymous with a Soderbergh film, including his way of weaving a non-linear narrative together, and conveying the raw emotions of his characters using hand held cameras and jarring shots.

Also in September, watch for "Dolphin Tale" in 3D and 2D. Director Charles Martin Smith and writers Karen Janszen and Noam Dromi tells the inspiring true story of a brave dolphin caught in a crab trap, severely damaging her trail. She is rescued and transported to a marine hospital in Florida, where her prognosis for survival is dim. Harry Connick Jr, Ashley Judd and Kris Kristofferson and Morgan Freeman help forge the story around the groundbreaking miracle that might not only save Winter's life, but extend hope to millions of other people touched by this heartwarming story of recovery and rehabilitation.

Hollywood's highest paid actor - you guessed it, Leonardo DiCaprio - returns to the big screen this fall in "J. Edgar," alongside Naomi Watts and Dame Judi Dench. Clint Eastwood slides into the director's chair once again, to explore the public and private life of one of the most powerful and controversial figures of the 20th century. As the face of law enforcement for nearly 50 years, J. Edgar Hoover was both revered and reviled by Americans. Look for this powerful point-of-view film, which hit theaters starting Nov. 9, to unlock secrets into his character that would have ultimately destroyed not just his career, but his life.

In time for the holidays comes a comedy with an all-star cast, including Halle Berry, Sarah Jessica Parker, Robert De Niro, Josh Duhamel, Zac Efron and Ashton Kutcher (the list goes on, but you get it) that takes a hilarious poke at what some describe as the most overrated night of the year - "New Year's Eve" in New York City. Ironically, it may just be the perfect date night movie to indulge in for those wanting to stay away from amateur night antics.

One of the few sequels to hit theaters this fall is one definitely worth catching, especially if the first is anything to go by. In "Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows," Robert Downey Jr. reprises his role as the world's smartest detective, paired with his formidable sidekick Dr. Watson, played by Jude Law. Downey's Holmes may have met his match as he encounters a new criminal mastermind on the prowl - Professor Moriarty - in this December release from Warner Brothers, directed by Guy Ritchie.

Of course, the sequel teenage girls (and guys) cannot wait to sink their teeth into opens nationwide on Nov. 18. Summit Entertainment's latest "Twilight" saga installment "Breaking Dawn: Part 1" brings back favorite vampires and werewolves Edward (Robert Pattinson), Jacob (Taylor Lautner) and Bella (Kristen Stewart), who continue down a difficult path in pursuit of true love. This time director Bill Condon takes us on an adventure where the Quileute and Volturi close in on expecting parents Bella and Edward, whose unborn child poses a threat to both the vampire coven and the wolf pack.

And if you can't wait to get your fix, Taylor Lautner fans can look out for him in a tale of international intrigue and espionage in "Abduction." The Hollywood hottie not only exercises his muscles in this Lionsgate release, but displays some strong acting chops and performs all his own stunts to boot. Drooling teenage girls don't have long to wait, the John Singleton directed thriller will hit theaters this September.

Staying in the thriller vein, look out for "Tinker Taylor Soldier Spy" in November. Based on the acclaimed novel, this international spy remake of the 1970s original is set at the height of the Cold War and stars Gary Oldman and last year's Oscar winner for best actor, Colin Firth, and is directed by Tomas Alfredson.

And ending on a high note, or two, or make that three - "Chipwrecked" brings those lovable critters Alvin, Simon and Theodore back to the big screen. This time they turn a luxury cruise liner into their personal playground, with more than just a little hijinks to keep the entire family entertained over the holidays.

And that's the buzz on some of the films to watch for this fall. For more keep watching "The Showbuzz" on CBSNews.com. See you at the movies!