While Summer movie season didn’t exactly make waves at the box office, except for a few noteworthy exceptions, Fall looks to deliver on our lofty expectations and put butts in seats. From horror movies, blockbusters, and awards season contenders, this year’s Fall movie season is shaping up to be one of the best. After the year we’ve had so far, we could all use a little more movie magic in our lives.  We’ve put together a preview of the films we’re most looking forward to, and made a few bold predictions while we were at it. Crack open the cider, we’re toasting the new season!


 

Paramount Pictures

mother! (Paramount Pictures) Release Date: September 15, 2017

Bold Prediction: Jennifer Lawrence will be nominated for her 5th Academy Award, but will lose the gold to Jessica Chastain

I don’t really know anything about Darren Aronofsky’s latest film and that’s the way I’d like to keep it. I’ve seen the teaser, but avoided the full trailer. I’ve seen some wonderful posters, a couple reminiscent of Rosemary’s Baby, but haven’t delved any further. What I do know is that Aronofsky’s previous foray into horror, Black Swan, remains one of my favorite films of the 21st century, and that the cast is stacked. I’m basically waiting with baited breath for this one, and there’s no other film all year that I’ve sought this hard to remain surprised by except for The Last Jedi. I don’t know what to expect, but with Aronofsky, Lawrence, and Bardem, it’s sure to be one of my favorite things of the year. -Richard Newby

 


 

Kingsman: The Golden Circle (20th Century Fox) Release Date: September 22, 2017

20th Century Fox

Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014) was an entertaining, self-aware take on James Bond and the spy genre adapted from Mark Millar’s 2012 comic of the same name. Due largely to solid performances by Colin Firth and a lovable protagonist in Taron Egerton’s “Eggsy,” Kingsman pulled off a fantastic combination of parody and sincerity. Its sequel, Kingsman: The Golden Circle finds the Kingsmen stateside in what looks to be a brilliant follow up to the English sensibility of the series’ previous installment. The whiskey, lasso and shotgun-wielding Statesman, the American equivalent of the English Kingsman, are a lovable ribbing on the ludicrous but undeniably enjoyable tropes of the Western genre. Taron Egerton, Colin Firth, and Mark Strong are all returning, along with new cast members, including Halle Berry, Channing Tatum, Jeff Bridges, Julianne Moore, and Pedro Pascal. Kingsman: The Golden Circle seems to offer similar sensibilities (including some insane, truly creative fight choreography) to The Secret Service, without rehashing the plot points of the previous installment, daring to take both old and new characters to new places and push the series’ humor and action to its limits. – Christina Tucker

 


 

Warner Bros.

The LEGO Ninjago Movie (Warner Bros.) Release Date: September 22, 2017

Easily one of the most entertaining franchises of the 2010s, LEGO returns to movie theaters with their second 2017 release this September, The LEGO Ninjago Movie. Based on the popular line of LEGO toy sets, this is the first time the Ninjago crew will be hitting the big screens—though fans might already know the Green, Red, Blue, Gray, and White Ninjas from their popular television show Ninjago: Masters of Spinjitzu. Phil Lord and Chris Miller, writers of The LEGO Movie, serve as producers, and Spinjitzucreators Dan and Kevin Hageman developed the film’s story. The LEGO Ninjago Movie is LEGO’s first deviation from characters introduced in 2014’s The LEGO Movie, and launches a whole new action-packed world for both kids and adults to enjoy. However, like the previous LEGO films, Ninjago’s story seems to be focused on family, particularly the relationships between sons and their fathers. It’s a theme that connects The LEGO MovieThe LEGO Batman Movie, and now The LEGO Ninjago Movie—all three deal with fatherhood in different ways and perspectives. If you haven’t already, watch them all to see what I’m talking about. With a voice cast of Dave Franco, Justin Theroux, Kumail Nanjiani, Abby Jacobson, Jackie Chan, and more, The LEGO Ninjago Movie is built to be another fun instalment in the LEGO universe.


 Blade Runner 2049 (Warner Bros.) Release Date: October 6, 2017

Warner Bros.

Bold Prediction: If this succeeds, Denis Villeneuve will be the heir-apparent to Christopher Nolan and have free reign to pick any projects of his choosing.

Blade Runner is my favorite film of all time. When a sequel was originally announced, I admittedly had my doubts. Blade Runner isn’t a film that needs a sequel. Then Denis Villeneuve was brought on and everything changed. If anyone can deliver a Blade Runner sequel that’s worthy of the effort, it’s Villeneuve who hasn’t failed to impress yet. The cast of Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Robin Wright, Jared Leto and Mackenzie Davis also went a long way in terms of inspiring confidence. Just from the trailers alone, it’s clear that Roger Deakins’ cinematography is absolute dreamscape, and it may just earn him his first, long-deserved Oscar. What’s even more impressive is how well the trailers have managed to showcase the film without giving much away. I think that like the original, Blade Runner 2049 is going to offer surprises, debates, analysis, and introspection to last decades. – Richard Newby

 


A24

The Florida Project (A24) Release Date: October 6, 2017

Bold Prediction: This will be nominated for Best Picture

Sean Baker’s Tangerine was one of the biggest surprises of 2015, and The Florida Project looks like another surprise, one that will reach and even larger audience. The color palate of the film alone is something to marvel at. But beyond the technical skills, Baker’s story of a 6-year old girl and her mother living in an extended-stay motel looks the like the kind of deeply affecting, empathetic story of humanity that made Moonlight such a triumph last year. The trailer alone is enough to make your heart swell, and I think that right now it’s particularly important that film’s look in on the people that movies and society so often ignores. Stars, special effects, and big-budgets are all great tools, but when it comes down to it, the greatness of film is that it connects us to the human experience. The Florida Project looks like a film that will strengthen that connection. -Richard Newby


The Snowman (Universal Pictures) Release Date: October 13th, 2017

Universal Pictures

Allow me to share with you a tantalizing recipe. Start with Jo Nesbø’s gripping horror/detective series chronicling antihero Harry Hole. Add director Tomas Alfredson, who gave us the haunting and endearing Let the Right One In. Combine with the ingenuity of cinematographer Dion Beebe, mastermind of Edge of Tomorrow’s sharp and gritty aesthetics. And for good measure, add Michael Fassbender’s incomparable ability to bring both intense ferocity and tender vulnerability to a single performance. If you’re like me, you’re already salivating over The Snowman. Like The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Snowman revolves around a serial killer intent on punishing women. While violence against women is always treacherous material, Nesbø’s novel offers a complex story about who does—and doesn’t—get to determine someone else’s guilt or innocence. Shot in the story’s original setting of Norway, the wintry environment looks to be just as crucial a player in the film as its cast. (A cast that also features Val Kilmer, by the way.) If Alfredson accomplishes what I think he has, this one is going to be a thrilling ride. – Brandi Blahnik

 


Universal Pictures

Happy Death Day (Universal Pictures) Release Date: October 13, 2017

Bold Prediction: The will be the most fun you’ll have watching a horror movie all Fall.

Blumhouse gets a lot of flack, too much flack considering the volume of high-quality horror they’ve put out vastly exceeds the bad. Their big fall release this year is Happy Death Day, which blends a Groundhog Day-esque time travel narrative with the slasher movie. Sure, it may not be the most original film to come out of the genre this year, but I’ve been itching for a good masked killer and a clever twist on slasher tropes. With a prime release date of Friday the 13th, Happy Death Day has a chance to be the breakout horror film of October. I’m not expecting it to reinvent the genre, but I think like Unfriended it could be a major surprise that’s perfect for horror movie nights. -Richard Newby

 


 Thor: Ragnarok (Walt Disney Pictures) Release Date: November 3, 2017

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Bold Prediction: This will be one of Marvel Studios top-tier films

Sometimes things just fall into place, giving you something you wanted in a form you never expected. It happened when Ryan Coogler gave a new perspective and energy to an old series with the wonderfulCreed, and it happened when Captain America: The Winter Soldier was envisioned as a 70s political thriller. Now, after two movies that were a mixed bag if you ask me, the third Thor movie has been given to director Taika Waititi, the mind behind such absurdist comedy as The Hunt for the Wilderpeople and What We Do In The Shadows. And as the magnificent trailer showed, this was a match made in heaven. It seems that Chris Hemsworth’s comedic talents are being allowed to run wild and the Planet Hulk storyline is being loosely adapted, but the rest of this universe isn’t being left at the wayside. Beloved characters like Loki and Heimdall are returning, while the weird and overwhelmingly cool visuals of the strangest corners of the comic universe are giving us Jeff Goldblum as the ancient Grandmaster, Tessa Thompson as The Valkrie (I’m in love) and Cate Blanchett as Hela, the literal god of death. I’m getting excited just writing about it. -Jack Godwin


Murder on the Orient Express

20th Century Fox

Murder on the Orient Express (20th Century Fox) Release Date: November 10, 2017

I haven’t read the book of Murder on the Orient Express, nor have I seen the 1977 adaptation with Albert Finney, and in all honesty, when this movie was announced, I had little interest in it despite being a fan of Kenneth Branagh. Then the cast list appeared. Dame Judi Dench, Daisy Ridley, Michelle Pfieffer, Josh Gad, Sir Derek Jacobi, Willem Dafoe, Penelope Cruz, and, most excitingly, Olivia Coleman and Leslie Odom Jr! This is an ensemble cast like no other and to see them interact under the watchful gaze of Branagh’s Poirot is too good a thing to ever miss.  I’m hoping for a lot of backstabbing (literal and figurative), accusations, romance, and that fun that comes with watching period dramas about posh people.  – Sean Fallon

 


Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri (Fox Searchlight Pictures) Release Date: November 10, 2017

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Fox Searchlight Pictures

If Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri were just a 90 minute loop of Frances McDormand punting teenagers in the groin, or if it were just the big screen union of John Hawkes and Peter Dinklage and Woody Harrelson and Sam Rockwell, or if it were just the next movie from writer/director Martin McDonagh of In Bruges and Seven Psychopaths fame, I’d line up to see it sight unseen, without knowing anything else. But, thanks to a mindblowingly cool trailer campaign, we know that it’s actually all of those things at once. Count me as one of those folks who thinks that McDonagh’s Seven Psychopaths is every bit as funny and bold as its predecessor and if his latest feature falls anywhere near his earlier work, we’re in for something of a treat. The redband trailer indicates a film perhaps too irreverent for Oscar contention, but maybe too emotionally poignant to be ignored by the same measure.

 


Lionsgate

Wonder (Lionsgate) Release Date: November 17, 2017

Bold Prediction: Jacob Tremblay Gets His First Academy Award Nomination

 You read that right. Tremblay was an undeniable breakout star in Lenny Abrahamson’s Room – a role that required his emotional intelligence to be higher than that of a kid his age. Wonder is yet another one of those roles, as Tremblay undertakes the character of a facially deformed child facing serious bullying at school. Since this film is beautifully poised for Oscar season – thanks to its prime release date – it would be no surprise to see Hollywood’s love for this young star be rewarded with a prestigious nomination. Needless to say, also, that Wonder will simultaneously be emotionally draining and celebratory of life due to some feel-good moments. It has all the makings of a by-the-numbers Oscar darling. – Christopher Aguiar 

 


Justice League (Warner Bros.) Release Date: November 17, 2017 

Justice League

Warner Bros. Pictures

We’ve all probably hit superhero fatigue at one point or another in the past couple years. After all, we’ve either been blessed with or endured over twenty films from Marvel and DC over the past ten years. But Wonder Woman’s arrival in the DC Extended Universe was a breath of fresh air. She landed with shield and golden lasso, unapologetically feminine and strong. She also reinvigorated the superhero genre with her earnest storyline and fresh visuals. So, when I say I’m excited for Justice League this fall, it’s in no small part because I’m eager to see more of Diana Prince. Trailers for DC’s newest property have alluded to an Avengers-like assembly of heroes, and by that I mean Justice League looks to be littered with more fun than any DC release thus far. Ezra Miller’s take on the Flash seems lighthearted and endearing, while Ray Fisher brings a stoic Cyborg to life. Jason Momoa’s Aquaman looks visually stunning (in more ways than one). Plus, more Batfleck, Superman’s return, and maybe a glimpse at the Green Lantern? Not even the most dire of Snyder vs. Whedon rumors could turn me off of this one. – Brandi Blahnik

 


STX Entertainment

Molly’s Game (STX Entertainment) Release Date: November 22, 2017

On the surface, it seems that Molly’s Game has it all. It is based on a true story, has a big name cast, and is penned by one of the most respected screenwriters in, well, ever. However, that screenwriter, Aaron Sorkin, is making his feature film directorial debut. This is, of course, no small leap. Sorkin has such a style that it is easy for him to fall in love with his words, even sacrificing performances. We will find out if directors of his previous work have been reigning him in, and if he has the chops to be a director. The aforementioned cast, featuring Jessica Chastain, Idris Elba, and Kevin Costner will certainly help keep the audience’s attention even if the direction struggles. The intriguing thing is not to see if Jessica Chastain can carry a film, she has proved that time and time again, especially after Miss Sloane last year. It will be to see if Idris Elba can finally star (even in a supporting role) in a critically and financially successful picture. As one of the few immediately recognizable and relatively young actors of color, this is another chance (especially after The Dark Tower) to move into an upper tier of actors who can carry a film. Given this writer, paired with this charismatic cast, there is hope for a memorable foray into the world of high stakes poker. – David Hart


The Disaster Artist (A24) Release Date: December 8, 2017

Bold Prediction: This will be a Best Picture nominee

 A December release date? Check. A movie about another movie? Check. An Academy Award nominee? Check. A studio that prolifically promotes its Oscar-contending movies? Check.  The Disaster Artist has all the makings of a Best Picture nomination. It opened to standing ovations at South by Southwest and, of the admittedly few reviews online, many are making it out to be a strong comedic outing. Therein lies the caveat. The Academy often overlooks comedies, but those specifically about movies tend to fare well. It looks fresh, sounds hilarious and is run amok by many cameos that should keep the laughs rolling in a la The Big Short and The Grand Budapest Hotel. – Christopher Aguiar


Fox Searchlight

The Shape of Water (Fox Searchlight) Release Date: December 8, 2017

Crimson Peak is one of my favorite films of the past few years, and Pan’s Labyrinth is one of my favorites movies ever, so to say I am excited for The Shape of Water might be the year’s biggest understatement. There is no better director for feeling empathy for “monsters” than Guillermo del Toro. This love story between an underwater creature (Doug Jones) and an isolated mute woman (Sally Hawkins) shaken out of her tedious working life seems destined for greatness. Add in the rest of the stellar cast, including Michael Shannon, Octavia Spencer, and Richard Jenkins, and this could be the movie that catapults Guillermo del Toro into the awards conversation for the first time since Pan’s Labyrinth. Watching the trailer, I was struck by the sheer beauty and composition of the film, particularly the gorgeous blue of the opening shot. Guillermo del Toro is certainly no slouch when it comes to memorable imagery and this will be no different. Yes, this is yet another gothic fairytale from him, but it feels somehow even more heartfelt. The beauty in finding someone who is not looking to fix you, but instead accepts you for exactly who you are is a phenomenon we can all connect with. Guillermo del Toro is a master of his craft, and I am confident that besides being one of the best-looking films of the year, it could also be one of the very best. – David Hart


Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures) Relase Date: December 15th, 2017

I’ve been a fan of Rian Johnson since his fantastic high school noir, Brick so when he was announced as the director of The Last Jedi my heart grew a hundred times and I was ready to be blown away. As of writing, we’ve only had a scant amount of footage and behind the scenes pics, but Johnson’s enthusiasm and joy for the project are infectious and the stuff we’ve seen looks mysterious, nostalgic, and also huge. It’s going to be heartbreaking seeing Carrie Fisher as General Organa one last time but I’ll be there opening night ready to see her off, find out what those cool spaceships bouncing along in the teaser trailer are, and see if Poe and Finn finally kiss. – Sean Fallon

 

 


The Post (20th Century Fox) Release Date: December 22, 2017

Bold Prediction: Critics will praise this as Spielberg’s “comeback”

After the lukewarm reception of The BFG and the audience consensus on Bridge of Spies being “an okay film with those good Tom Hanks and Mark Rylance performances,” I have no doubt Steven Spielberg’s next film, The Post, will be heralded by many as his “comeback.” I’ll play along. The Post looks to be a great film. It is Hanks and Spielberg’s 10th collaboration (the last one earning Hanks an Oscar nomination) and Streep and Spielberg’s second collaboration. It’s not an ensemble piece, but with a supporting cast comprised of Carrie Coon, Bob Odenkirk, Sarah Paulson, Jesse Plemons, and Michael Stuhlbarg, among others, the audience will certainly be in for captivating watch. The film chronicles the legal battle of The Washington Post to publish the Pentagon Papers, which contained information of what America’s actual involvement in the Vietnam War was, so expect a lot of “press vs. government” conflict in this film. Also expect a very pro-investigative journalism + teamwork film as well, since this coming from Spielberg and Spotlight co-writer Josh Singer. Hopefully, this is a good film and, if so, a strong awards contender. I plead that we don’t have to sit through weeks of “Has Spielberg Lost His Touch?” thinkpieces again. Spielberg needs some love. Can’t we all just appreciate having four consecutive years of Spielbergian goodness? – Anton Reyes