The fall semester has officially begun, and with that marks the beginning of the fall movie season. The last few months of the year almost always bring forth a diverse mix of blockbusters and Oscar contenders, but there are a few other promising titles lined up in the coming weeks to make for a balanced movie-going experience. Here’s what you need to look out for this fall:
The Halloween season begins a month early this year with the release of “It” this weekend. A remake of the 1990 miniseries, the latest Stephen King adaptation stars Bill Skarsgård as Pennywise, a clown that emerges every 30 years, terrorizing a small town in Maine where a group of kids are forced to stop him. I’m not the biggest horror fan, but the trailers alone were enough to convince me that this movie is not your typical horror film. With a strong cast and iconic source material, “It” looks to become one of the highest grossing horror flicks yet.
Another thriller premiering in September is Darren Aronofsky’s “mother!,” starring Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem as a married couple whose life is turned upside down when a pair of uninvited guests (Ed Harris and Michelle Pfieffer) enter their home. In her past few roles, Lawrence seems to have been phoning in her performances, so I hope to see her potentially return to form here among a star-studded cast. While plot details have been kept secret throughout the film’s marketing, psychological thrillers are among my favorite genres, and it looks like Aronofsky’s latest endeavour will not disappoint.
Other September flicks include “Kingsman: The Golden Circle,” a sequel to the larger-than-life spy thriller “Kingsman: Secret Service,” and “The LEGO Ninjago Movie,” the latest animated picture from the LEGO franchise.
My most anticipated October film is “Blade Runner 2049.” As a follow-up to 1982’s “Blade Runner,” it stars Ryan Gosling as Officer K, a new Blade Runner who, with the help of original Blade Runner Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), must unravel a mystery threatening all of humanity. What excites me most about this film is not that it is a sequel to “Blade Runner,” but that it is directed by Denis Villeneuve, who directed my favorite film of 2016—“Arrival.” Add to that Roger Deakins’ amazing cinematography, and you have a winning recipe.
Also premiering in October is “Professor Marston and the Wonder Women,” which looks to provide a fresh spin on the biopic genre. This film depicts the story of how Harvard psychologist William Moulton Marston created the iconic superheroine Wonder Woman, inspired by his wife and their lover. The backstory behind this iconic character involves everything from polygamy to gender stereotypes to academia. If done well, this film could be an interesting contrast and companion to Patty Jenkins’ “Wonder Woman” from earlier this year.
These days, no movie season is complete without blockbusting superhero adaptations, and November has us covered twofold with Marvel’s “Thor: Ragnarok” and DC’s “Justice League.” I wasn’t the biggest fan of the first two “Thor” installments, but the trailers for this next film have sold me on it—particularly because of Cate Blanchett’s portrayal as the villain, Hella. The latter film is the next installment in the DC Extended Universe—a franchise that has been rocky thus far. This film has already been heavily discussed after Joss Whedon was brought on to rewrite and reshoot parts of the movie following director Zack Snyder’s departure from the project to deal with personal matters. However, if the success of “Wonder Woman” is any indication, it seems like the DCEU is back on track for this next film.
For those experiencing superhero fatigue, the indie film “Call Me By Your Name,” starring Armie Hammer and Timothée Chalamet as two men living in 1980s Italy who form a passionate relationship, is another promising movie. It already made waves at the Sundance Film Festival, particularly Hammer and his performance, and looks to be a potential Oscar contender come awards season.
Disney Pixar’s “Coco” will also hit theaters in November. This animated film follows a young boy named Coco who aspires to become a musician. His pursuit takes him on a journey into the “Land of the Dead” where he discovers things about his family and his talents. Although some comparisons have already been drawn between this and “The Book of Life,” I have faith in Pixar to bring this story to life with its always-stellar animation, and it’s also encouraging to see more diverse representation and storytelling being presented on screen.
The biggest heavy-hitter this year comes in December with “Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi.” Plot details on the next chapter of the “Star Wars” saga have been under wraps, with only one trailer having been released (a trailer that still fills me up with emotions after having seen it multiple times). This is my most anticipated film of the year, and December can’t come soon enough.
Another December release—which is currently earning praise after the Venice International Film Festival—is Guillermo del Toro’s “The Shape of Water.” The film stars Sally Hawkins as a mute janitor working in a government laboratory who befriends a mysterious creature being held there. del Toro, known for his imaginative mind with projects like “Pan’s Labyrinth” and “Pacific Rim,” seems to have hit another home run, and Hawkins is already emerging as a frontrunner in the Oscar race for her performance.
Two more films that will cap off the end of the year are “The Disaster Artist” and “The Greatest Showman.” James Franco directs and stars in the former, which depicts the making of Tommy Wiseau's “The Room,” a movie considered to be one of the worst films of all time. The latter is a musical that stars Hugh Jackman as P.T. Barnum, founder of the Barnum & Bailey circus. Jackman has already proved himself an able singer with award-winning performances in “Les Miserables” and the play “The Boy From Oz,” and this film looks to be a spectacle both visually and musically.