September is right around the corner which means a two-fold attack of movies. 1) the wealth of riches that arrives in the more-adult-themed awards season and 2) the overlapping films that appear first during the fall film festival circuit. So, our fall preview essentially doubles for both, a few films here and there missing due to lack of release dates yet. But yes, the Venice Film Festival starts this week, the Telluride Film Festival this weekend and following that a brief reprieve before the Toronto International Film Festival and then the genre-focused Fantastic Fest in Austin and artsy and prestigious New York Film Festival in late September and early October.
Frankly, there are hundreds of films that are arriving this fall and it is one of the best fall film festival seasons on record. Coming this fall and early winter we have new films coming by auteurs like Alfonso Cuarón, Barry Jenkins, Jacques Audiard, Paul Greengrass, Nicole Holfcener, Tamara Jenkins, the Coen Brothers and dozens more. It’s the best fall film festival season on record in years and a fantastic-looking several months that should provide something for pretty much every moviegoer out there. Here we go!
Cast: Olivia Munn, Jacob Tremblay, Thomas Jane, Boyd Holbrook, Sterling K. Brown, Keegan-Michael Key
Synopsis: When a young boy accidentally triggers the universe’s most lethal hunters’ return to Earth, only a ragtag crew of ex-soldiers and a disgruntled science teacher can prevent the end of the human race.
What You Need to Know: Audiences may remember Shane Black as Hawkins, a bit part from the hit ‘80s genre classic “Predator.” Well, life has a funny way of coming full circle sometimes, as, over three decades later, Black is returning to the franchise as a writer and director of the new installment in the now-iconic franchise. The “Lethal Weapon” screenwriter and “Iron Man 3” helmer, once the highest-paid screenwriter in Hollywood, has made a return to the mainstream over the past decade after taking a much-needed break from the pressures of the studio system. He’s returning to his roots in more ways than one, reteaming with his “The Monster Squad” screenwriter Fred Dekker for “The Predator.” Fans will see some fresh new faces in Black’s new vision, but, perhaps most notably, will have the opportunity to see another R-rated “Predator” film. This means that audiences will be exposed to the most gore in the franchise since “Predator 2.” Don’t say you weren’t warned.
Release Date: September 14 – Alex Arabian
Cast: Chloë Sevigny, Kristen Stewart, Kim Dickens, Fiona Shaw
Synopsis: A psychological thriller based on the infamous murders of the Borden family in the late 1800s.
What You Need to Know: Despite the urge to disregard “Lizzie” as yet another costume-heavy, overly serious period piece sure to satisfy the few pinky-waving arthouse crowd members in attendance, it’s unlikely that the film will pass through this fall season completely unnoticed, and for good reason. With director Craig William Macneill handling the directorial duties behind the camera — the filmmaker’s full-length debut “The Boy” received a fair amount of critical praise upon its release in 2015 — and two high caliber actresses such as Sevigny and Stewart heading up the cast, “Lizzie” is almost guaranteed to showcase a noteworthy combination of gripping performances and white-knuckled tension. Taking all these factors into account, you might just find yourself tightening your corset in preparation for the flick’s theatrical unveiling.
Release Date: September 14 [our review] – Jonathan Christian
Cast: Nicolas Cage, Andrea Riseborough, Linus Roache, Bill Duke, Richard Brake
Synopsis: “Mandy” is set in the primal wilderness of 1983 where Red Miller, a broken and haunted man hunts an unhinged religious sect who slaughtered the love of his life.
What You Need to Know: Who doesn’t revel in the opportunity to see Nicolas Cage lose his shit on screen these days? Ever since that viral video was released, compiling every clip of Cage’s infamous tendency to overact throughout his filmography, Cage’s cinematic freakouts have been celebrated far and wide. Recently, audiences and critics alike lauded Cage for an appropriately unhinged performance in “Mom and Dad.” In “Mandy,” he has the opportunity to work with visionary director Panos Cosmatos (“Beyond the Black Rainbow”). Ironically, the very thing that had pushed him to the outskirts of stardom, is now bringing him back into relevance: his maniacal rage. Actor Elijah Wood is one of the producers of “Mandy,” which will feature Oscar nominee Jóhann Jóhannsson’s final score. When Oscar winner Guillermo Del Toro tells you to “Watch and be in awe!” well, you do it.
Release Date: September 14 [our review] – AA
“The Land Of Steady Habits”
Cast: Ben Mendelsohn, Edie Falco, Thomas Mann, Elizabeth Marvel, Bill Camp, Charlie Tahan, and Connie Britton
Synopsis: Feeling existentially trapped and lost, a wealthy financial advisor leaves his wife in the hopes that it will renew his lust for life.
What You Need to Know: Sharp, funny and observant indie writer/director Nicole Holofcener (“Enough Said,” “Lovely And Amazing”) takes another humanist coming of age look at middle life, but this time with her first male protagonist played by the great Ben Mendelsohn. While she’s adapted the work of male writer before, “The Land Of Steady Habits” is the first feature film she’s made based on someone else’s work and a man no less (novelist Ted Thompson). This doesn’t dull “The Land Of Steady Habits,” which reads like yet another compassionate, hilarious and insightful look at those in crisis trying to find their way through life. A terrific ensemble cast anchors the picture and given Holofcener has yet to ever direct a middling film, let alone a bum note, all eyes will be on this one when it debuts at TIFF and then hits Netflix days later.
Release Date: September 14 – Rodrigo Perez
“White Boy Rick”
Cast: Richie Merritt, Matthew McConaughey, Bruce Dern, Eddie Marsan, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Brian Tyree Henry
Synopsis: Based on a true story, Richard Wershe Jr. becomes the youngest FBI informant in history at the age of 14 in the 1980’s.
What You Need to Know: Let’s face it, White Boy Rick is a cool nickname. It’s simple, it’s catchy and it’s memorable. But most importantly, it’s just downright smooth. However, the film based on its eponymous real-life character seems to be anything but slick, but still holds all the right ingredients for an unforgettable theatrical experience. The gritty sophomore feature from director Yann Demange — the filmmaker responsible for the critically-acclaimed historical thriller “‘71” — seems to pick up where the Safdie Brothers’ “Good Time” left off. In addition to the eye-catching cast, which fuses Hollywood royalty like Matthew McConaughey and Jennifer Jason Leigh with up-and-comers such as Brian Tyree Henry and Richie Merritt — the first-time actor depicting White Boy Rick — the premise seems insane enough to turn heads and hopefully convince your average filmgoer to buy a ticket to this fever dream of a crime drama.
Release Date: September 14 –JC
Synopsis: The firebrand documentarian Michael Moore makes his big screen return with a response to the election and presidency of a one Donald J. Trump.
What You Need to Know: It would feel a bit auspicious if we slogged through this era of Trump without a rallying cry from Moore. He’d been hinting to have been working on something DJT-related, and now, we know what his next game plan is. The trailer hints to something of a nation-wide pulse check, with Moore breaking down the highlights and talking to everyday citizens about their feelings of the moment. He’s also shown taking a truck of contaminated Flint water and spraying it on the lawn of Michigan governor Rick Snyder. So, of course, he’s in fine form. Moore’s always been an impassioned filmmaker, never afraid to push the envelope or drive in discomfort to make his point. While Moore got to take a bit of a breather from hammering out at D.C.’s underbelly during the Obama years, it’ll be something to watch him wade through the Trumpian swamp. The potential is there for another “Bowling for Columbine” or “Roger and Me.”
Release Date: September 21 – Cory Woodroof
“The Sisters Brothers”
Cast: Joaquin Phoenix, John C. Reilly, Jake Gyllenhaal, Riz Ahmed
Synopsis: In 1850’s Oregon, a gold prospector named Hermann Warm (Ahmed) is being pursued by two assassins named Eli and Charlie Sisters (Reilly and Phoenix).
What You Need To Know: At the helm is Jacques Audiard whose previous work includes films like “Rust And Bone” and “A Prophet” which was a Best Foreign Language Film nominee at the Oscars. Not only is “The Sisters Brothers” his English language debut but it stars an incredible quartet of actors. You have Joaquin Phoenix and John C. Reilly as the titular anti-heroes. It also has Jake Gyllenhaal and Riz Ahmed which makes this an exciting “Nightcrawler” reunion for anyone who’s a big fan of that film. What’s even more exciting is that judging by the previews, it seems like a slapstick Western. That’s something we don’t always see and I’m sure we can’t wait to see what else “The Sisters Brothers” has to offer.
Release Date: September 21 – Matt St. Clair
Cast: Oscar Isaac, Olivia Wilde, Antonio Banderas
Synopsis: As a young New York couple go from college romance to marriage and the birth of their first child, the unexpected twists of their journey create reverberations that echo over continents and through lifetimes.
What You Need to Know: From the creators of your mom’s favorite show, “This is Us,” comes yet another story of interconnected lives which span generations and explore love and loss and all that falls in between. Hitting quite the saccharine note in the trailer – unsurprising considering the writers behind the film whose credits, along with the NBC hit, also includes “Crazy, Stupid Love,” “Life Itself” has yet to cement itself as an obvious success, at the most assuming the post of the “feel good autumn movie.” With such an extensive and sprawling cast with a wealth of talents, perhaps the dialogue won’t come across as hackneyed when more context is given. At the very least we’re given a chance to see Oscar Isaac and Annette Bening in a film together.
Release Date: September 21st – Ally Johnson
“The Old Man and the Gun”
Cast: Robert Redford, Casey Affleck, Sissy Spacek, Danny Glover
Synopsis: A kindly senior citizen (Redford) robs banks and stuns bank tellers with his manners; Affleck’s detective pursues the benevolent bandit.
What You Need to Know: David Lowery has an opportunity to score a hat-trick after his folksy “Pete’s Dragon” remake and indie darling “A Ghost Story” proved that “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints” was just a foretaste of what was to come. His patient, longing style looks to match with Redford, who might be bidding his big screen farewell here. Redford’s a legend in front of and behind the camera, so this film could carry an added significance if this is truly goodbye for the actor. Affleck, Spacek, and Glover make for a strong supporting cast, and “BlacKkKlansman” star John David Washington, musician-turned-actor Tom Waits, Elisabeth Moss, Tika Sumpter and Isiah Whitlock Jr. are all scheduled to pop up. Lowery stands to be one of the more exciting new voices in cinema, and it’ll be great to see him back with Redford, spinning what’s sure to be another timeless yarn and a keen meditation on the aging process.
Release Date: September 28 – CW
“Hold the Dark”
Cast: Jeffery Wright, Alexander Skarsgård, Riley Keough, James Badge Dale
Synopsis: A wolf expert sets off into the Alaskan Wilderness to track down a missing six-year-old taken by a pack of wolves.
What You Need to Know: Considering his talent for turning stomachs and bending genres, it might’ve seemed foolish if “Hold the Dark” had attached anyone other than Jeremy Saulnier as its director. As an adaptation of William Giraldi’s novel of the same name, the Netflix-distributed thriller sets out to continue Saulnier’s streak of crafting movies lingering on the razor edge of a tightrope, a balance set somewhere between solemn character studies and deranged neo-noirs. Although “Hold the Dark” was penned by longtime collaborator Macon Blair, this forthcoming project shows that Saulnier isn’t afraid to push his brand forward, not only in terms of adapting pre-existing material but also by tackling a large-scale story. If the quality of actors attached is any indication of what’s to come, fans of Saulnier’s work can expect a film sure to leave a haunting impression on its audience, for better or worse.
Release Date: September 28 – JC
“A Star Is Born”
Cast: Lady Gaga, Bradley Cooper, Sam Elliott
Synopsis: A musician helps a young singer and actress find fame, even as age and alcoholism send his own career into a downward spiral.
What You Need To Know: “A Star is Born” sees the four-time Oscar-nominee Bradley Cooper in his directorial debut. The biggest topic of discussion around this film is that instead of lip-syncing the words over playback, Lady Gaga insisted that the duo sing the songs live to make it real. Cooper was not a singer before the film so he had to train to become one. This is a new take on a film that originally hit screens 81 years ago, with all previous iterations of “A Star Is Born” have proven popular with the Academy— the 1937 original earned a best-actress Oscar nomination for Janet Gaynor; both Judy Garland and James Mason received nominations for their performances in the 1954 version; and the 1976 reboot with Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson won the Academy Award for best song, for “Evergreen.” And, with the buzz surrounding this film since its premiere at the Venice Film Festival, that we may see some nominations for this version, as well.
Release Date: October 5 – Jamie Rogers
Cast: Kathryn Hahn, Paul Giamatti, Kayli Carter, Molly Shannon, Denis O’Hare, Emily Robinson, and John Carroll Lynch.
Synopsis: An author undergoing multiple fertility therapies to get pregnant, puts her relationship with her husband on edge.
What You Need to Know: Much like Nicole Holofcener, writer/director Tamara Jenkins (“Slums of Beverly Hills”) is a veteran of indie moviemaking with strong female character and sharply observed funny dialogue and stories. Unfortunately for her, it’s been 10 years since her last movie, 2007’s “The Savages,” but thanks to Netflix, who are becoming a bit of a patron to indie auteurs who can’t get movies made in the era of superhero blockbusters, Jenkins has returned. Starring Kathryn Hahn, who’s blown up in the world of empathetic, humanist dramas thanks to “Transparent,” “Private Life,” debuted at Sundance earlier this year to much acclaim and so we’re pleased as punch for her official return.
Release Date: September 14 [our review] – RP
Cast: Tom Hardy, Michelle Williams, Riz Ahmed, Scott Haze, Reid Scott, Jenny Slate, Woody Harrelson
Synopsis: After conducting an investigation into a mysterious corporation, a journalist finds himself infected with an alien symbiote that gives him superpowers.
What You Need to Know: Break out your anti-shark repellent and batten down the hatches, there’s another superhero movie on the horizon. I think it’s safe to say that the accepted consensus towards comic book films is that they’re here to stay and there’s nothing anyone can do about it. Nevertheless, Marvel’s track record, as of late, proves that there’s still an inkling of inspiration to be pumped out of the unkillable subgenre and more than enough financial support from American filmgoers to warrant yet another graphic novel adaptation. Given “Venom” is produced by Sony (and not Kevin Feige) the main question on everyone’s minds is mainly whether the movie will actually be any good or not. It’s hard to imagine that Tom Hardy would willingly choose a project that he didn’t approve of, but then again, in hindsight, attaching Ryan Reynolds to “Green Lantern” showed promise too.
Release Date: October 5 – JC
Cast: Anders Danielsen Lie, Jonas Strand Gravli, Jon Øigarden, Isak Bakli Aglen, Seda Witt, Maria Bock, Thorbjørn Harr
Synopsis: In Norway, on 22 July 2011, right-wing terrorist Anders Behring Breivik murdered 77 young people attending a Labour Party Youth Camp on Utøya Island outside of Oslo.
What You Need to Know: Director Peter Greengrass may be known largely for the ‘Bourne’ series, but before that, he was a documentarian and he brought that sense of photo-journalistic realism to his dramas. One of his favorite approaches is taking a docu-drama approach to a real-life event such as “Bloody Sunday” and “United 93,” where he tracked the tragic fate of one of the hijacked planes on 9/11 that never reached its destination. Greengrass once again taps this method in “22 July” which tackles the infamous Norwegian domestic-terrorist tragedy. The film mostly stars relatively unknown Norwegian actors, but does feature Anders Danielsen Lie known internationally for Joachim Trier‘s “Reprise” and “Oslo, August 31st.” Netflix scooped the rights to the film earlier this year and thus essentially scooping it away from a Cannes debut. The film will appear first, however, in Venice and Toronto in September.
Release Date: October 10 – RP
“Bad Times At The El Royale”
Cast: Tom Hardy, Chris Hemsworth, Jon Hamm, Dakota Johnson, Nick Offerman, Jeff Bridges
Synopsis: Seven strangers, each with a secret to bury, meet at Lake Tahoe’s El Royale, a rundown hotel with a dark past. Over the course of one fateful night, everyone will have a last shot at redemption – before everything goes to hell.
What You Need to Know: Whenever Drew Goddard announces a new original work, audiences can expect something that is subversive, innovative and thought-provoking in anticipation of its release. Goddard has built a steady name for himself in the science-fiction, action, and horror genres. The filmmaker has worked prominently in both film and television, having acted as a writer on the classic franchise “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” the mind-bending series “Lost,” and the successful superhero show “Daredevil,” as well as writing such films as the meta-horror comedy “Cabin in the Woods” and the Oscar-nominated “The Martian.” Both Godard and Hemsworth call it “love letter” to ’60s film noir and crime fiction, as well as Goddard’s shot at making a big ensemble picture. Well, you saw the cast, and what an ensemble it is. Goddard is co-producing the film with Jeremy Latcham, known for his work on critically acclaimed Marvel films including “Iron Man,” “Iron Man 2,” “The Avengers,” “Guardians of the Galaxy,” “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” “Spider-Man: Homecoming.” Oscar winner (“Up,” “Lost”) Michael Giacchino is scoring the film, adding to its prestige.
Release Date: October 12 – AA
Cast: Ryan Gosling, Claire Foy, Jason Clarke, Kyle Chandler, Shea Whigham, Christopher Abbott, Corey Stoll
Synopsis: A biographical drama focusing on astronaut Neil Armstrong in the years leading up to the Apollo 11 moon landing.
What You Need to Know: Damien Chazelle’s track record is perfect. With two of the most critically lauded films of the decade tucked safely beneath his belt, the director’s proven himself as one of the foremost voices in the new school, though “First Man” may force Chazelle to overcome challenges that the filmmaker’s yet to face in his still-blossoming career. As with any film based on a real-life event, especially an incident so historically iconic as the Apollo moon landings, there’s a certain amount of awareness people are required to leave at the door in order to fully immerse themselves in the film, but whether audiences are willing to suspend their disbelief is yet to be determined. Everyone knows the story of Neil Armstrong — or do they? Maybe there’s a side to Armstrong’s story that general American audiences will be surprised to learn? If nothing else, Chazelle’s prior works boast incredible performances, and the director’s decision to keep “La La Land” alumni Ryan Gosling on payroll certainly won’t hinder the film’s chances of box office success or Oscar nominations with awards season just around the corner.
Release Date: October 12 – JC
Cast: Timothée Chalamet, Steve Carell, Maura Tierney
Synopsis: Based on the best-selling pair of memoirs from father and son David and Nic Sheff, “Beautiful Boy” chronicles the heartbreaking and inspiring experience of survival, relapse, and recovery in a family coping with addiction over many years.
What You Need To Know: Timothée Chalamet plays spiraling drug addict Nic Sheff in Felix van Groeningen’s “Beautiful Boy,” the harrowing drama based on the memoirs of Sheff and his father, author David Sheff, played by Steve Carell. Chalamet, who is bound to earn himself a second Oscar nomination, really put himself to the test for this role: vomiting, passing out, sobbing until every tear is used up. Combining both Chalamet and Carell’s abilities to give such honest and moving performances with the heavy source material, “Beautiful Boy” is bound to be a heart-wrenching film full of tear-jerking moments.
Release Date: October 12 – JR
Cast: Dan Stevens, Lucy Boynton, Kristine Froseth, Michael Sheen
Synopsis: A man travels to an island to rescue his sister after she’s been kidnapped and ransomed by a religious cult.
What You Need to Know: Action auteur Gareth Evans is back behind the camera for what promises to be another rip-roaring yarn in the spirit of his earlier “The Raid” work. This time around, it’s a lost-love/revenge period thriller about a desperate man looking to rescue his sister from religious nut-jobs. “Apostle” is Evans’ first English-language film since his 2006 debut, “Footsteps,” and has a lot of buzz around it with its distribution deal through Netflix already locked down. Only time will tell if the streaming giant gives this new action corker the platform and visibility it needs to thrive, but its strong cast, which includes Dan Stevens, Lucy Boynton, Kristine Froseth, and Michael Sheen means it won’t suffer from a lack of talent in front of the camera.
Release Date: October 12 – Warren Cantrell
“The Kindergarten Teacher”
Cast: Maggie Gyllenhaal, Gael Garcia Bernal, Parker Sevak, Haley Murphy, Ajay Naidu
Synopsis: A potential child prodigy captures the attention of his Kindergarten teacher, who believes the boy is destined for greatness.
What You Need to Know: An English-language remake of a 2014 Israeli film of the same name by Nadav Lapid, “The Kindergarten Teacher” boasts an impressive cast behind a proven narrative property. Gyllenhaal once again proves that she isn’t afraid to take on challenging, complex roles that explore the full range of human emotions, often juxtaposed against each other. Her character in this film is meant to be both a blessing and a curse, for her faith in her young pupil often borders on obsession. At what point does a mentor become something like a stalker, and how does one quantify or gauge what is truly best for a child? Director Sara Colangelo seems determined to get at the root of these questions, and with supporting talent from the likes of Gael Garcia Bernal, Haley Murphy, Ajay Naidu, and young Parker Sevak, it should be an interesting journey to discovery.
Release Date: October 12 – WC
Cast: Sunny Suljic, Lucas Hedges
Synopsis: One boy’s coming-of-age in Los Angeles during the tail end of the 20th century, as he struggles with the responsibilities of adulthood and ambles around with his skate rat buddies.
What You Need to Know: Jonah Hill has come along way since his breakout performance in “Superbad.” In fact, his rise from lowbrow comedy darling to Oscar worthy-talent is one of the most understated transformations you will ever see from an actor. With two Academy Award nominations to his name, Hill has long surpassed his days as Seth and is now a force to be reckoned with no matter what role he takes on. Nevertheless, Hill looks to keep the arrow pointing up with “mid90s,” his directorial debut featuring A24 stars Lucas Hedges (“Lady Bird”) and Sunny Suljic (“The Killing of a Sacred Dear”). Taking inspiration from films brimming with grunge-y adolescence like Larry Clark’s “Kids,” Hill’s coming-of-age tale attempts to depict ’90s-era Los Angeles where skating and punk ass kids were the name of the game. Shot on 16mm and at times, super 8, there’s enough here film buffs to excited for while Hill’s name by itself will draw casual audiences.
Release Date: October 19 – Kyle Kohner
Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Diane Lane, Djimon Hounsou, Jason Clarke
Synopsis: The mysterious past of a fishing boat captain comes back to haunt him when his ex-wife tracks him down with a desperate plea for help.
What You Need to Know: No, this is not a remake of the Joss Whedon film nor is it a spinoff to “Interstellar,” but what Stephen Knight’s latest film lacks in sci-fi charm may be amended with sleazy, noir-tinged scandal. While he’s known primarily for his screenwriting — the writer’s scripts range from the David Cronenberg crime thriller “Eastern Promises” to the upcoming “The Girl in the Spider’s Web” — Knight proved he was a capable director with the emotionally riveting, one-man drama “Locke,” although his newest outing seems to shift gears in favor of a more conventional, sultry thriller. Unlike “Locke,” which confined Tom Hardy to a single location and slowly unveiled its narrative in real time, “Serenity” seems entirely devoid of any gimmicks, which considering its basic plot, raises a few red flags in terms of quality. Nevertheless, a cast composed of beautiful people and Knight’s solid resume may be enough to warrant a watch.
Release Date: October 19 – JC
“The Hate U Give”
Cast: Regina Hall, Amandla Stenberg, KJ Apa, Russell Hornsby
Synopsis: Starr Carter is constantly switching between two worlds: the poor, mostly black, neighborhood where she lives and the rich, mostly white, prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer.
What You Need to Know: Bypassing director George Tillman Jr.’s less than stellar track record, the adaptation of the highly popular Young Adult novel looks promising. With an insanely gifted cast of newcomers and some favorite familiar faces along with a storyline that is painfully and purposefully timely, “The Hate U Give” has the potential to buck the expectations of what constitutes as a YA movie adaptation. Written by Angie Thomas, the book only came out in 2017 but was met with immediate praise and excitement, making its transition to the big screen all the more predicted. However, due to the sensitive topic it addresses and to the fervor that surrounded the novel, writers Tina Mabry and Audrey Wells along with Tillman have a lot resting on their shoulders.
Release Date: October 19 – AJ
Cast: Judy Greer, Jamie Lee Curtis, Virginia Gardner
Synopsis: Laurie Strode comes to her final confrontation with Michael Myers, the masked figure who has haunted her since she narrowly escaped his killing spree on Halloween night four decades ago.
What You Need to Know: It’s easy to reboot a horror classic (“Friday the 13th,” “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” “A Nightmare on Elm Sreet”) without anyone ever taking notice or really caring at all. While this has also been the case for numerous sequels, detours and reconfigurations through the “Halloween” franchise, devotees to the beloved and groundbreaking 1978 film may finally have a reason to be excited. With the return of the by the butcher knife-wielding, masked murderer, the 11th film of the “Halloween” franchise will disregard all events since ’78 and pick up 40 years after Jamie Lee Curtis’ Laurie Strode narrowly fled Michael Myers murderous trail on Halloween night—and yes you heard right, Curtis is back. Aside from Curtis’ highly anticipated reprised role, John Carpenter returns to the franchise as producer and composer. In an attempt to bring an outsider’s perspective to the storied but flawed brand, helming the director’s chair is David Gordon Green, who is joined by writer and producer Danny McBride to complete a mini “Pineapple Express” reunion.
Release Date: October 19 – KK
“Can You Ever Forgive Me?”
Cast: Melissa McCarthy, Richard Grant, Dolly Wells, Jane Curtin
Synopsis: Lee Israel is a best-selling celebrity biographer who made her living in the 1970’s and 80’s profiling the likes of Katharine Hepburn, Tallulah Bankhead, Estée Lauder and journalist Dorothy Kilgallen. When Lee found herself unable to get published because she had fallen out of step with the marketplace, she turned her art form to deception, abetted by her loyal friend Jack.
What You Need to Know: With her 2015 film,”The Diary of a Teenage Girl,” director Marielle Heller proved her ability to delicately straddle the line of dark comedy with a topic that tackled female sexuality with wit and tension. With her upcoming film, she has put a highly recognizable comedic face at the core with Melissa McCarthy playing the leading role. Based on Lee Israel’s biography, McCarthy has demonstrated her ability to bring poignancy to all of her larger than life roles in the past but with “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” she’s being given even more room to play with what lies in her arsenal of talents. Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty share writing credits for the film and between the two of them, the story it’s based on and Heller’s eye for strangely engaging stories, the film looks to be a possible genre-defying surprise of the fall.
Release Date: October 19 – AJ
Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Carey Mulligan, Bill Camp, Ed Oxenbould
Synopsis: A boy witnesses his parents’ marriage falling apart after his mother finds another man.
What You Need to Know: Zoe Kazan is one of the most talented people in show business of the millennial generation. She’s turned memorable performances in “Revolutionary Road,” “In Your Eyes,” “The Monster,” “The Big Sick,” and “Ruby Sparks,” her screenwriting debut. Why is this writing endeavor noteworthy? Well, her parents are famous screenwriters, having previously collaborated on Danny DeVito’s adaptation of Roald Dahl’s “Matilda,” though they are each successful screenwriters in their own right. Her father, Nicholas Kazan, was nominated for an Oscar for “Reversal of Fortune,” and her mother, Robin Swicord, was nominated for “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.” “Ruby Sparks” not only solidified her talent as an emerging screenwriter, but it marked her first collaboration with longtime partner Paul Dano. “Wildlife” signifies the couple’s first collaboration on a screenplay, and something tells me that, unlike Kazan’s parents, it won’t be the last script they write together. The film stars Kazan’s good friend, Carey Mulligan, and serves as Dano’s directorial debut. Everyone attached to this project seems to have a great working and personal relationship, including Jake Gyllenhaal and Dano, who previously starred in “Prisoners” and “Okja” together. “Wildlife” is also the first of two films that Dano plans to write and direct about movies. Whether or not Kazan will join him on the next film remains to be seen.
Release Date: October 19 – AA
Cast: Yoo Ah-in, Steven Yeun, Jong-seo Jun
Synopsis: “Burning,” tells the story of three individuals and a mysterious incident they experience. Jongsu bumps into an old friend, Haemi, on a part-time delivery job. Haemi asks Jongsu to take care of her cat while she leaves on a trip to Africa. When she returns, Haemi introduces Jongsu to Ben, a man she met in Africa. One day, Ben and Haemi pay Jongsu a visit, and Ben reveals his secret interests to Jongsu.
What You Need to Know: While knowledge of director Lee Chang-dong’s previous work may allow you to have a greater context to his upcoming work, it matters little with the buzz surrounding it is so enthusiastically voluminous with more than one critic calling it a masterpiece. For those who are aware of Chang-dong’s prior films, it’s well known that easy access happiness is far from his line of interest, rather, pulling from trauma, human spirit (good and bad) and circumstantial loss to make up the backbone of his film. All three stars including “The Walking Dead” alum Steven Yeun (who needs a starry leading role by now) reportedly deliver stunning work. Our critic after seeing it at this years Cannes Film Festival said “Simmering with ambiguity, ‘Burning’ plays its staging, writing, dialogue, acting, music, everything with carefully calibrated minimalism, but in turn it makes some grandiose of statements.”
Release Date: October 26th [our review] – AJ
Cast: Sofia Boutella (“Atomic Blonde”) and a cast of professional dancers
Synopsis: A party descends into delirium and nightmarish madness over the course of one wintry night when a dance troupe discovers they’ve been pounding cups of sangria laced with potent LSD.
What You Need to Know: How do you top a 3D softcore porno that saw jizz flying at the screen in stereoscopic visuals at the screen (that was admittedly, melancholy and tender in the end)? If you’re enfante terrible and provocateur Gaspar Noé (“Irreversible,” “Enter the Void,” the aforementioned “Love”), you don’t so much try and top yourself, but return to your roots of strobing lights and dance party madness elements of which featured in “Irreversible and much of “Enter The Void”). “Climax” doesn’t sound like it has much of a plot, and our review from Cannes described it as an “orgy of sex, drugs, horror, and death” so, in that regard, it may not be for everyone. But Noé films are always a shocking experience and it sounds like he takes the viewer on a wild trip this time.
Release Date: TBD late September/early October [our review] – RP
Cast: Dakota Johnson, Tilda Swinton, Mia Goth, Jessica Harper, Chloë Grace Moretz
Synopsis: A darkness swirls at the center of a world-renowned dance company, one that will engulf the artistic director, an ambitious young dancer, and a grieving psychotherapist. Some will succumb to the nightmare. Others will finally wake up.
What You Need to Know: A remake of Dario Argento‘s 1977 giallo masterpiece “Suspiria” has been in the works for ten years. Initially, David Gordon Green was attached for seven years; however, he dropped out in 2015 because his vision for a remake was more expensive than the typical budget for studio horror movies allowed for. Of course, Argento was notoriously close to the project, and wouldn’t let somebody remake it without his creative input. Eventually, Argento had to remove himself from the remake altogether. It’s hard watching your babies grow up, isn’t it? Luca Guadagnino took over the project, and stripped the film of its giallo guise, ridding it of its vibrant color palette. Guadagnino gave audiences at Cinemacon a small preview of his vision, which had some critics walking out and some trying not to throw up their lunch. This included a clip of a woman being manipulated by actor Dakota Johnson’s dance, as though she were a voodoo doll. With each dance move, Johnson’s Susie Bannion, originally played by Jessica Harper, who also has a role in the film, slowly kills the dancer until she is a twisted bundle of bones, muscles, tendons, and skin, torn apart while urinating, bleeding, and spitting. So, that’s what audiences are in for. Hey, Guadagnino has to do something bold to upstage the original, which famously boasts the most violent murder scene of all time. Apparently, it was just as difficult on the cast as it was for Cinemacon audiences, especially for Johnson, who had to seek therapy after filming. Brace yourselves.
Release Date: November 2 – AA
“The Other Side of the Wind”
Cast: John Hutson, Peter Bogdanovich, Oja Kodar, Bob Random, Susan Strasberg
Synopsis: Orson Welles’ uncompleted film stands as a satire on the creative process, told through the lens of a mockumentary about the filming of a Michelangelo Antonioni movie.
What You Need to Know: Well, there’s a new Orson Welles film coming out this year. That might be all any of us really need to know to be convinced to watch this film. It took a village to get this one to print, but after years and years of folks passing this one around like a lost curio, Netflix stepped in and pushed it home. When a composing legend like Michel Legrand is willing to step in and do the music in his latter 80s, that signifies how special a moment this is. We’re going to see the final-final work of a Mount Rushmore face of the cinema, and if you’re lucky, you’ll get to eschew watching this at home and catch it at your local arthouse. Either way, we get another Welles, and that should be enough to get your rightly excited.
Release Date: November 2 – CW
Cast: Rami Malek, Lucy Boynton, Joseph Mazzello
Synopsis: A chronicle of the years leading up to Queen’s legendary appearance at the 1985 Live Aid concert.
What You Need To Know: From Sacha Baron Cohen disputing with band members and Dexter Fletcher leaving and later returning, this film experienced over eight years of casting and directorial struggles, as well as creative differences plaguing the project. Thankfully, though, this movie still looks promising, even if it’s been quite the journey to get to the finish line. Getting into character required extensive work for Malek, who worked with a movement coach to nail Freddie Mercury’s distinct dance moves and a dialogue coach to get the accent right. He also was fitted with prosthetic teeth because Mercury had a famous overbite and four extra upper teeth. Malek, however, was unable to master singing like Mercury, so the signing in the film will be from recordings of Mercury, as well as, Canadian singer Marc Martel.
Release Date: November 2 – JR
Cast: Lucas Hedges, Nicole Kidman, Russell Crowe, Joel Edgerton, Xavier Dolan
Synopsis: The son of a Baptist preacher is forced to participate in a church-supported gay conversion program after being forcibly outed to his parents.
What You Need to Know: Let’s be honest. The odds that “Boy Erased” will turn out to be anything other than one of 2018’s best are exceedingly slim. If you didn’t wipe your teary eyes at least once after watching that debut trailer, you’re soulless. Based on the memoir of the same name written by Garrard Conley, Joel Edgerton’s daring directorial follow-up to “The Gift” is sure to incite conversation due to its controversial subject matter and almost guaranteed to spark more than a few Academy Award nominations. Nevertheless, whether it’s blatant Oscar bait or not, “Boy Erased” seems poised to take the prize as the bittersweet tearjerker of the year.
Release Date: November 2 – JC
“The Front Runner”
Cast: Hugh Jackman, Vera Farmiga, Molly Ephraim, J.K. Simmons, Mike Judge, Bill Burr
Synopsis: The true story of U.S. Senator Gary Hart’s sex scandal-plagued 1988 presidential campaign.
What You Need to Know: 1988 has never felt further away than when one looks at the devastation a sex scandal wrought on the political hopes and dreams of U.S. Senator Gary Hart. In “The Front Runner” Hugh Jackman plays the embattled politician whose romantic affair becomes public knowledge and ruins the very real chance he had at claiming the presidency. It almost seems trite to think about a sex scandal upending the political landscape the way this story’s very real narrative did, what with the state of the news cycle thirty years on. Director Jason Reitman might have something special on his hands with this one, though, dropping the picture right on the doorstep of the U.S. mid-terms, and with a loaded supporting cast that includes Vera Farmiga, Molly Ephraim, J.K. Simmons, Mike Judge, and Bill Burr.
Release Date: November 7 –WC
“The Girl In The Spider’s Web”
Cast: Claire Foy, Sverrir Gudnason, Lakeith Stanfield, Sylvia Hoeks, Stephen Merchant
Synopsis: Computer hacker Lisbeth Salander (Foy) and journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Gudnason) become caught up in a web of spies and deceit.
What You Need To Know: 2018 is undoubtedly becoming the year of Claire Foy. In addition to having a starring role in the horror film “Unsane” early this year, she’ll appear in both “First Man” and of course, “The Girl In The Spider’s Web.” As the famed hacker Lisbeth Salander, Foy has some pretty big shoes to fill since Rooney Mara, the last actress to play the role, scored a Best Actress nomination for her portrayal. But given how Foy is a 2-time Emmy nominee, there’s little doubt in our minds that she’ll do wonders with the role. She’ll also be teaming with director Fede Alvarez who previously helmed “Don’t Breathe” and the 2013 remake of “Evil Dead.” With a pairing like this, “The Girl In The Spider’s Web” may provide proof that not all remakes or reboots are underwhelming.
Release Date: November 9 – MS
Cast: Chris Pine, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Florence Pugh, Billy Howle, Tony Curran, Stephen Dillane, James Cosmo, Sam Spruell
Synopsis: A true David v Goliath story of how the great 14th Century Scottish ‘Outlaw King’ Robert The Bruce used cunning and bravery to defeat and repel the much larger and better equipped occupying English army.
What You Need To Know: Scottish filmmaker David Mackenzie’s been making films for two decades now and received early acclaim with 2002’s “Young Adam” with Ewan McGregor, but despite working constantly, it wasn’t until 2013’s prison drama “Starred Up,” that he started to get noticed on the international stage and began to get on a serious role. The Best Picture-nominated neo crime western “Hell or Highwater” followed and now he’s got the pick of the litter for casts and whatever script he wants to make. Always eclectic in his choices, for his latest he turns to medieval Scotland and a story about a defeated nobleman turned outlaw hero during the country’s 14th century occupation once again tapping his ‘Highwater’ lead, Chris Pine. “Outlaw King” makes its world premiere at TIFF in just a few short days.
Release Date: November 9 on Netflix. – RP
Cast: David Bamber, Rory Kinnear, Alastair Mackenzie, Nico Mirallegro
Synopsis: In 1819, British forces charge on a peaceful pro-democracy rally at Peter’s Field in Manchester, England, which results in the Peterloo Massacre
What You Need to Know: Mike Leigh returns with his first film in four years with “Peterloo,” following his Oscar-nominated biopic “Mr. Turner.” Returning to the 19th century, his newest film traces the post-Napoleon protests that emerged to demand economic reform. Featuring a cast of relative newcomers, including a number of TV actors, Leigh appears to be shaking up his usual theatrical company for a film that could possibly be an Oscar contender.
Release Date: November 9 – Christian Gallachio
Cast: Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, Elizabeth Debicki, Cynthia Erivo, Colin Farrell, Brian Tyree Henry, Daniel Kaluuya, Robert Duvall, Liam Neeson
Synopsis: Four women plot a heist after their husbands are killed.
What You Need to Know: Well, here it is — the cinephile movie of the year. Filled to the brim with a top-notch cast, eye-popping cinematography, and a confrontational demeanor, Steve McQueen’s timely twist on the heist genre seems intent on stealing the top spot on any film geek’s favorite films of the year list. Based on the ‘80s British mini-series of the same name, “Widows” finds McQueen crafting his pulpiest project to date, and alongside co-writer Gillian Flynn, the author responsible for penning “Gone Girl,” “Sharp Objects” and “Dark Places,” it’s a cinema enthusiast’s dream come true. Let’s hope it can deliver.
Release Date: November 16 – JC
“The Ballad of Buster Scruggs”
Cast: Tim Blake Nelson, Zoe Kazan, Tom Waits, Liam Neeson, James Franco
Synopsis: An anthology film weaves together the stories of six individuals in the old West at the end of the Civil War.
What You Need to Know: We should always expect the unexpected when it comes to the Coen Brothers, for they have mastered the element of surprise over the course of their prestigious filmmaking careers. But when news broke that “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs” would release as a feature-length film instead of the Netflix Original series it was intended to be, everyone and their mother was shocked. While their latest features a stacked cast that includes the likes of Tim Blake Nelson (a Coen Brothers staple), Liam Neeson, Tom Waits and Zoe Kazan, the inclusion of James Franco may raise a few eyebrows and draw a considerable backlash. Nevertheless, the darkly comedic duo have many waiting anxiously as they’ve kept information regarding the plot relatively under wraps. However, we do know the film will retain the originally planned anthological structure, with each tale being a separate chapter connected to the titular character. With ‘Buster Scruggs’ recently announced as part of this year’s loaded Venice Film Festival lineup, expectations are sky high.
Release Date: November 16 – KK
“Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald”
Cast: Eddie Redmayne, Johnny Depp, Katherine Waterston, Ezra Miller, Zoe Kravitz, Jude Law
Synopsis: Dark Wizard Grindelwald (Depp) escaped custody and has set about gathering followers, most unsuspecting of his true agenda: to raise pure-blood wizards up to rule over all non-magical beings. In an effort to thwart Grindelwald’s plans, Albus Dumbledore (Law) enlists his former student Newt Scamander, who agrees to help, unaware of the dangers that lie ahead.
What You Need to Know: In an alternate universe where Colin Farrell had remained cast as Grindelwald and Johnny Depp’s hadn’t squirmed his way onto set, perhaps it would be easier to enjoy another nostalgia grab adventure into the wonderful world of witches and wizards. Instead, we’ll have to put up with him for the entire runtime along with Jude Law’s Dumbledore (whose sexuality won’t be addressed, for…reasons) and the rest of our ragtag team of Harry, Hermione and Ron rip-offs. Bitterness aside, the sequel does look to be ramping up the excitement and Law looks to be delightful as a younger, more ruthless Dumbledore and while none of the cast made much of an impression the first time around, with more familiarity under their belt, perhaps this sequel will charm more fans.
Release Date: Nov 16 – AJ
Cast: Michael B. Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, Tessa Thompson, Dolph Lundgren, Florian Muntean
Synopsis: Adonis Creed returns to the ring to take on the son of Ivan Drago, the Russian boxer who killed his father.
What You Need to Know: After “Creed” situated itself as one of the decade’s most explosive and best tentpole releases, some wondered if a follow-up would pursue the “Rocky IV” storyline. After all, it’s by Drago’s glove that the younger Creed no longer has a father. There’s no doubt Jordan will play the drama with the same aplomb he did in the first film, and we’re curious to see how Steven Caple Jr., one of our 25 breakthrough directors from 2016 for his film “The Land,” fills in for rising auteur Ryan Coogler.
Release Date: November 21 – CW
Cast: Olivia Colman, Emma Stone, Rachel Weisz
Synopsis: The close relationship between Queen Anne (Colman) and Sarah Churchill (Weisz) is threatened by the arrival of Sarah’s cousin, Abigail Masham (Stone), resulting in a bitter rivalry to be the Queen’s favorite.
What You Need to Know: For many directors, choosing to helm a Victorian-era period piece may seem like an ordinary artistic decision, but for Yorgos Lanthimos it’s a perplexing choice, especially considering that the director’s resume includes romantically dystopian dramas about humans turning into animals. Compared to his prior works, “The Favourite” seems uncharacteristically normal, although such a drastic departure might be the best tactic for Lanthimos to broaden his audience, though it’s doubtful that the man responsible for “Dogtooth” will create anything that won’t at least raise an eyebrow at one point or another.
Release Date: November 23 – JC
Cast: Lily Franky, Sakura Ando, Mayu Matsuoka, Kirin Kiki
Synopsis: After one of their shoplifting sessions, Osamu and his son come across a little girl in the freezing cold. At first reluctant to shelter the girl, Osamu’s wife agrees to take care of her after learning of the hardships she faces.
What You Need to Know: Only one thing really – that Hirokazu Kore-eda is one of our finest directors working today who in a single scene possesses more humanistic empathy for his characters than many do in their entire film. An intimate and emotionally stirring storyteller who has an innate ability to make us weep at the smallest of moments, “Shoplifters” won the Palme d’Or at this years Cannes Film Festival and fans of his films won’t be surprised. Use the time in between now and its release to catch up on the filmmakers equally beautiful work including “Still Walking,” “After the Storm,” “Our Little Sister,” “Like Father, Like Son” and more. Our critic called it “technically impeccable,” saying “Trying to pick apart his native country’s struggles between tradition and modernity, legality and crime, Kore-eda takes the time to affectionately dissect the way family functions, before carefully deconstructing it and revealing the contoured complexities that live within. “
Release Date: November 23 – AJ
“If Beale Street Could Talk”
Cast: KiKi Layne, Stephan James, Regina King, Colman Domingo, Finn Wittrock, Ed Skrein, Dave Franco
Synopsis: A woman in Harlem desperately scrambles to prove her fiancé innocent of a crime while carrying their first child.
What You Need To Know: How many James Baldwin novels have been made into films? None. That all changes on November 30 thanks to “Moonlight” director Barry Jenkins. On August 2, Baldwin’s birthday, Jenkins released arguably the most astoundingly beautiful and breathtaking trailer in the history of film. It is a sight to behold. In the hate-filled, post-Trump era, which has stomped on the notion of a post-racial society, Jenkins’ “If Beale Street Could Talk” adaptation’s timing couldn’t be more impeccable. Baldwin can be heard speaking throughout the trailer in an aggregation of his various quotes compiled by Jenkins: “When I was growing up, I was trying to make a connection between the life I saw and the life I lived. There are days when you wonder what your role is in this country, and what your future is in it. This is one of them. The thing that tormented me the most was the very thing that connected me to all the people who are alive. I’ll tell you a story if I may.” Baldwin is known for being outspoken on race, class, sexuality, racism, and social justice. He was specifically perturbed by how American society is set up to limit black people from succeeding. Famously an expatriate, Baldwin escaped America in order to avoid the persecution he would inevitably face as a young, black, gay man. Though he died in 1987 at the age of 63, he lives on forever through his writing, and, now, through film adaptations such as “If Beale Street Could Talk,” surely not the last.
Release Date: November 30 – AA
“Mary Queen Of Scots”
Cast: Saoirse Ronan, Margot Robbie, David Tennant, Guy Pearce, Gemma Chan
Synopsis: The film chronicles the life of Mary Stuart (Ronan) and her attempts to overthrow her cousin, Elizabeth I, the Queen Of England (Robbie).
What You Need To Know: For starters, it’s got Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie, two of the best actresses of their generation, squaring off against each other. Not to mention, after both Ronan and Robbie were recently nominated in Best Actress for “Lady Bird” and “I, Tonya,” respectively, they could find themselves on the hunt for afterglow nominations. At the helm is theater director Josie Rourke who is making her feature film debut which is pretty exciting. We’ve seen television directors transition to film and have even seen actors step behind the camera. But it feels rare to see a theater director to segue into movies. An added bonus is that the film also has Gemma Chan who is a breakout star in “Crazy Rich Asians.” There are all sorts of reasons to get excited. Now, let’s watch the film and see Ronan and Robbie duke it out on screen.
Release Date: December 7 – MS
“Under the Silver Lake”
Cast: Andrew Garfield, Riley Keough, Topher Grace
Synopsis: A man sets out to find the woman he met the night before in his apartment complex’s swimming pool after she goes missing.
What You Need to Know: A24 strikes again with another movie sure to seize the hearts of the indie film scene and boost a relatively unknown director up to god status in the hearts of college kids everywhere. In all seriousness, it’s great to see David Robert Mitchell back on the radar. After the release of “It Follows” nearly four years ago, the filmmaker rocketed out from the depths of obscurity to being the poster child of an entire genre. But almost as soon as he appeared, Mitchell vanished without a trace, leaving the mysterious “Under the Silver Lake” as a lingering remnant to his name. Now, he’s returned from the wilderness bearing a project interlaced with LA-based conspiracies and Thomas Pynchon-esque intrigue. Sound fun? Surprisingly, early reviews seem fairly mixed on how critics feel about the offbeat crime comedy. Although Mitchell may not receive the same amount of critical or audience success with this flick as he did with “It Follows,” we’re interested to see how the indie director plans to flip the noir genre on its head with an A-list cast and a bigger budget.
Release Date: December 7 – JC
“Ben is Back”
Cast: Lucas Hedges, Julia Roberts, Kathryn Newton, Courtney B. Vance
Synopsis: Follows the charming yet troubled Ben Burns (Hedges), who returns home to his unsuspecting family one fateful Christmas Eve. Ben’s wary mother Holly Burns (Roberts) welcomes her beloved son’s return, but soon learns he is still very much in harm’s way.
What You Need to Know: It’s pretty safe to say that this film might be one that has legs this awards season. Lucas Hedges is emerging as a serious contender with not one but three films premiering this year at the Toronto Film Festival. Alongside Oscar winner Julia Roberts, who has her Amazon Studios series “Homecoming” also premiering at the festival, “Ben is Back” will undoubtedly pull on those proverbial heartstrings. Both written and directed by Peter Hedges, the Oscar nominee has penned more than a few critically acclaimed films including “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape,” “Dan In Real Life,” and “About a Boy.” With these brilliant films under his belt, odds are this film will be yet another gem Hedges can add to his stellar, decade-spanning career.
Release Date: December 7 – MO
Untitled Adam McKay Dick Cheney Film
Cast: Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Steve Carell, Sam Rockwell, Alison Pill, Bill Pullman
Synopsis: Filmmaker Adam McKay tells the tale of infamous former Vice President Dick Cheney.
What You Need to Know: After a rigorous change of pace in 2015 with the Oscar-nominated “The Big Short,” McKay returns with what’s sure to be a malevolent hoot of a character piece following Cheney and his shadowy time in the White House. Bale, ever the chameleon, underwent quite the transformation for the role and should court plenty of awards buzz, as should the rest of the ensemble. What’s most exciting is simply to see how McKay splices together the story of one of the more mysterious power brokers in D.C. history, and how that’ll reflect the times we’re in. Oh, and we’re very curious if he chooses to dramatize the time Cheney shot someone in the face. That might top seeing the real-life former VP sign one of Sasha Baron Cohen’s waterboarding containers for surreal moments involving a Cheney, real or fictional, this year.
Release Date: December 14 – CW
“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse”
Cast: Shameik Moore, Hailee Steinfeld, Nicolas Cage, Mahershala Ali, Liev Schreiber, Lily Tomlin
Synopsis: Spider-Man crosses parallel dimensions and teams up with the Spider-Men of those dimensions to stop a threat to all reality.
What You Need to Know: The ever-expanding Sony/Marvel multi-verse unleashes yet another spider-powered masked hero. In this animated tale, your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man takes on a new incarnation – Miles Morales. With Peter Parker himself (voiced by Jake Johnson) as his mentor, Morales (played by Shameik Moore) learns how to manage the responsibilities of high school and being a superhero preparing to embark on his greatest mission yet. This feature is produced by Sony’s Amy Pascal who also helmed the super-successful “Spider-Man: Homecoming” and is currently working on the film’s sequel “Spider-Man: Far From Home” having just wrapped Tom Hardy’s “Venom.” No word on if our favorite symbiote could potentially appear in the film but one thing is certain, the premise of an alternate universe where multiple Spider-Men from different dimensions can simultaneously work together to save the world is going to be unlike anything fans have seen before.
Release Date: December 14 – Martine Oliver
Cast: Hailee Steinfeld, John Cena, Bumblebee the Transformer
Synopsis: In the rockin’ 80s, a young girl with military roots meets Bumblebee, and together, human and car robot alike comes of age.
What You Need to Know: Before you sharpen your pitchforks and light the torches to run the newest “Transformers” film out of your local multiplex, consider that darling trailer and the film’s director, Travis Knight and co-screenwriter Kelly Fremon Craig. Knight willed “Kubo and the Two Strings” to life with Laika two years ago, and Craig wrote and directed Steinfeld for 2016’s comedy “The Edge of Seventeen,” which has grown in esteem since its release. Perhaps all that the “Transformers” films needed was a restraining order from Bayhem to reach for something more. This might not be the Next Great Family Film, but with the talent involved, don’t sleep on it. “Bumblebee” could be the surprise tentpole release of the winter and a stark departure from what the series has done before.
Release Date: December 21 – CW
“Welcome To Marwen”
Cast: Steve Carell, Eiza González, Diane Kruger
Synopsis: A victim of a brutal attack finds a unique and beautiful therapeutic outlet to help him through his recovery process.
What You Need To Know: “Welcome to Marwen” is based on a true story. The story follows Mark, played by Steve Carell, who was beaten and left for dead outside a bar in his hometown of Kingston, NY and when he awoke from his coma, he had no memory of the thirty-eight prior years of his life, including his ex-wife, family, artistic talents, or military service. To reconstruct his past, he built, in his backyard, Marwencol, an imaginary village set in World War II Belgium, where everybody is welcome—Germans, Americans, French, British, and Russians—as long as peace is kept.
Release Date: December 21 – JR
“Holmes and Watson”
Cast: Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly, Lauren Lapkus, Ralph Fiennes, Rob Brydon
Synopsis: Ferrell and Reilly take on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic sleuths Sherlock Holmes and John Watson in yet another reimagining.
What You Need to Know: Did we really need another Sherlock Holmes movie? Well, while you ponder how often we really need to go to to the well of 221B Baker Street to find new movies, Ferrell and Reilly are going to take their patented slapstick charm to the literary giants. The duo has always, at the very least, been good to deliver a fun time, though, Etan Cohen’s the sole writer and director on this. Let’s hope the new comedy is a dramatic improvement over 2015’s unpleasant “Get Hard.” The ceiling here feels like we’ll get the “Step Brothers”-ification of Sherlock and Watson with Masterpiece Theater polish; quite funny, if nothing revolutionary. But hey, even if the movie doesn’t work out, it’ll be a gas to watch Fiennes play Professor Moriarty and see budding comedic talents like Lapkus and Brydon get to shine in a big studio venture. Oh, and the reliable trio of Kelly MacDonald, Rebecca Hall and Hugh Laurie are in the supporting cast, too. Maybe this one will crack the case. Or, at least, rebound from that awful poster.
Release Date: December 21 – CW
Cast: Jason Momoa, Nicole Kidman, Amber Heard, Patrick Wilson, Willem Dafoe, Randall Park, Djimon Hounsou
Synopsis: Arthur Curry discovers that he is heir to the underwater kingdom of Atlantis, and must decide whether he will embrace his destiny as a hero.
What You Need to Know: Meant to be the first leg of the DC extended universe in the post-“Justice League” era, there’s a lot riding on Momoa and his “Aquaman.” Diminishing returns for WB’s ‘Superman‘ and ‘Batman‘ A-list franchises don’t bode well for this second-tier standalone outing, yet if “Wonder Woman” can surprise, there’s room to hope that this one’s release in the midst of the December Oscar glut will buck trends. If nothing else, the studio is giving the film all the supporting talent it could hope for, with Nicole Kidman, Amber Heard, Patrick Wilson, and Willem Dafoe all signed up.
Release Date: December 21 – WC
Cast: Nicole Kidman, Tatiana Maslany, Sebastian Stan, Toby Kebbell, Scoot McNairy
Synopsis: An LAPD officer reconnects with people from a previous undercover assignment in order to make peace with her past.
What You Need to Know: Very little is actually known about Karyn Kusama’s upcoming crime thriller other than the actors involved, a vague premise and an ominous title. The film reteams the “Girlfight” director with Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi, the screenwriting duo behind Kusama’s criminally underseen “The Invitation,” which may infer that another moody, atmospheric feature is set to result from their forthcoming collaboration. Despite the air of ambiguity surrounding the project, it’s probably safe to assume that whoever or whatever “Destroyer” turns out to be, it will not be your typical Christmas release.
Release Date: December 25 – JC
“On The Basis of Sex”
Cast: Felicity Jones, Armie Hammer, Justin Theroux, Kathy Bates, Sam Waterston
Synopsis: Ruth Bader Ginsburg teams up with her husband Marty to bring a groundbreaking case before the U.S. Court of Appeals and overturn a century of sex discrimination.
What You Need to Know: Coming off her great work producing/directing on “The Leftovers,” Mimi Leder steps behind the camera for her first feature film since the 2009 crime thriller “The Code,” which I’m assuming no one saw (right?), and brings her “Leftovers” star Justin Theroux with her to tell the story of a young RBG. Felicity Jones has been doing amazing work for years, but it’ll be exciting to see her inhabit a real-life character, much like her Oscar-nominated take on Jane Hawking, in a starring role. The release date suggests an award hopeful, so expect an uplifting biopic about a young RBG fighting for gender equality, which is way more prescient than it should be.
Release Date: December 25 – CG
Cast: Yalitza Aparicio, Nancy García García, Marina de Tavira, Diego Cortina Autrey, Carlos Peralta, Marco Graf, Daniela Demesa, Verónica García
Synopsis: A story that chronicles a year in the life of a middle-class family in Mexico City in the early 1970s.
What You Need to Know: Premiering at Venice Film Festival and screening Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), Oscar winner Alfonso Cuarón’s (“Gravity”) “Roma” is the filmmaker’s self-proclaimed most personal film of his career. Among a career spanning over 35 years, this will mark only Cuarón’s eighth feature. Suffice it to say, he makes quality films over quantity, having only directed one film that received a rotten score by Rotten Tomatoes (“Great Expectations”). “Love, Courage, Hope, Change, Home” are the words that display on screen during the gorgeous black and white trailer, hinting at some of the universal themes that “Roma” will cover. It is also Cuarón’s most personal film to date, as it is “inspired by the women from his childhood and the matriarchy that shaped his world,” according to the production. “Roma” deals with classism and racism set against the backdrop of a rapidly evolving Mexico characterized by a conflict between a government-backed militia and student demonstrators. The film will certainly parallel the border issue facing the Trump administration and its deplorable followers today, and their conflict with virtually anyone with a rational mind. Netflix will distribute the film in select theaters and on its streaming platform later this year.
Release Date: TBD (Premiere at Venice) – AA
There’s obviously tons of more films coming out this fall that are worthy and frankly, we could be here forever. But a few that come to mind that we had to cut for time are Robert Greene‘s acclaimed documentary’s “Bisbee ’17” (Sept. 5); “Paul Weitz‘s “Bel Canto” with Julianne Moore and Ken Watanabe (Sept. 14); “Colette” with Keira Knightley (Sept. 21), Melanie Laurent’s “Galveston” with Elle Fanning and Ben Foster (Oct. 10); the Hal Ashby doc “Hal” (Oct. 14); the M.I.A. doc “Matangi/Maya/M.I.A.” (Sept. 28); Jim Hosking’s “An Evening With Beverly Luff Linn” starring Aubrey Plaza (Oct.19); Hilary Swank in “What They Had” (Oct. 19); Frederick Wiseman‘s “Monrovia, Indiana”(Oct. 26).
Joseph Kahn’s “Bodied” (Nov. 2); documentarian Matthew Heineman’s narrative feature debut “A Private War” with Rosamund Pike (Nov. 2); the J.J. Abrams-produced “Overlord” (Nov. 9); Corneliu Porumboiu’s new drama “Infinite Football” (Nov 9); Lukas Dhont’s Cannes fave “Girl” (Nov. 16); Peter Farrelly’s “Green Book” which also premieres at TIFF (Nov. 21); Alice Rohrwacher’s “Happy as Lazzaro” (Nov 30); Julian Schnabel’s “At Eternity’s Gate” (TBD Nov); Nicolas Pesce‘s “Piercing” with Christopher Abbott and Mia Wasikowska (Dec. 7); critically-acclaimed Cannes drama “Capernaum” (Dec. 4); Paweł Pawlikowski’s “Cold War” (Dec. 21), whew.
And you know what? A lot of this changes after Telluride, Venice, and TIFF. If there’s a film premiering there that don’t have a release date but lands major buzz — perhaps films like Sebastián Lelio‘s “Gloria Belle” with Julianne Moore, Claire Denis‘ “High Life,” “Vox Lux” starring Natalie Portman, “The Mountain” featuring Jeff Goldblum, Jennifer Kent’s “The Nightingale,” S. Craig Zahler‘s “Dragged Across Concrete” with Mel Gibson and Vince Vaughn and more — expect some company to swoop in, buy it and stake a place in the fall or awards season landscape somewhere. Keep your eyes peeled and enjoy the fall.