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ScreenCrush’s Fall Movie Preview – The Greatest Fall Movie Preview In the History of the Internet

Fall Preview 2017

Get lost, summer! The heat, the humidity, the dumb movies with dialogue that sounds like it was written by Google Translate, it’s enough already. Bring on the fall, with its crisp air, cool temps, and awards contenders. We are ready.

With August about to turn into September, and the dog days about to transform into the most wonderful time of the year (at least for movie lovers and school supply stores), we’re turning our attention to what’s ahead, and the exciting titles headed our way from September through November. They run the gamut from major players at the year’s film festivals to major entries in some of the biggest cinematic universes in the world. Get your calendar app open; you’re going to want to remember when these 25 movies are coming to a theater near you.

It

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The patron saint of scary clowns has returned, and despite a curious affinity for Victorian-era garb, this iteration of Pennywise looks downright terrifying. Based on Stephen King’s classic novel, It follows a group of misfit tweens who set out to defeat the sinister entity that lurks in the sewers and wreaks murderous havoc on their small town. In addition to inspiring countless clown phobias, King’s beloved horror story had a sizable influence on Stranger Things — so it’s not too surprising that the new film stars one of the kids from the hit series. Although it’s damn near impossible to top Tim Curry’s iconic portrayal of Pennywise in the 1990 TV miniseries, Bill Skarsgard seems up to the task with his menacing take in the new adaptation from director Andy Muschietti (Mama). And hey, maybe there’s hope for at least one good Stephen King movie this year. (September 8) — Britt Hayes


mother!

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A new Darren Aronofsky thriller is enough of a reason to get excited, but mother! seems especially intriguing. The official synopsis is vague and the trailers have featured minimal footage, reusing one tracking shot that follows Jennifer Lawrence around an empty house as haunting music and intense dialogue plays. What we do know is that Lawrence and Javier Bardem play a couple whose relationship is tested by the unexpected arrival of two visitors, played by Michelle Pfeiffer and Ed Harris. Aronofsky has a brilliant way of cracking open the disturbed psyches of his characters and unspooling their deepest anxieties and fears on screen. If mother! is a trip half as wild as Black Swan or as visceral as Requiem for a Dream, then we’re in for a real treat. But maybe don’t bring your mom to this one, definitely doesn’t look like a mom movie. (September 15) — E. Oliver Whitney


Brad’s Status

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Mike White is the genius behind Enlightened, School of Rock, and one of the best episodes of Freaks and Geeks — which should be all the convincing you need to see Brad’s Status. Written and directed by White, the film stars Ben Stiller as a dad named Brad, whose confidence is shaken when he runs into an old, far-more-successful pal while touring colleges with his son. White has a remarkably empathic ability to convey pathos, often heightening the complex, flawed realism of humanity into something darkly funny and oddly poignant. With a fantastic supporting cast that includes Jemaine Clement, Jenna Fischer and Michael Sheen, Brad’s Status is a must-see. (September 15) — BH


Kingsman: The Golden Circle

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When last we left Colin Firth’s super-spy Harry Hart, he was dead. <Extreme Monty Python Voice>He … he got better.</Extreme Monty Python Voice> And in Kingsman: The Golden Circle, Firth returns for another bombastic spy film along with Taron Edgerton as his protégé Eggsy and Mark Strong as Merlin, their armorer and trainer. New additions to the cast for the sequel include Jeff Bridges and Channing Tatum, members of an American counterpart to the Kingsman spy agency, and Julianne Moore, whose Poppy is The Golden Circle’s main antagonist. The first film, directed by Matthew Vaughn, smartly updated old-fashioned Roger Moore-style 007 films for the present day, and Vaughn and his frequent collaborator Jane Goldman both returned to complete this particular circle. We still have no clue how Firth survived a literal bullet to the brain, but if the Bond movies have taught us anything, it’s that you only live twice. (September 22) — Matt Singer


Battle of the Sexes

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It’s one of the most famous tennis matches in the history of the sport: Bobby Riggs versus Billie Jean King, in a winner-takes-all contest for $100,000 and gender bragging rights. Now the match is a movie; Battle of the Sexes, from Little Miss Sunshine directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris. They’ve got Emma Stone as King and Steve Carell as Riggs, and a script by Simon Beaufoy, the Oscar-winning writer of Slumdog Millionaire. If the movie lives up to its cast and pedigree it could be game set match for the title of our favorite biopic of the fall. (I’m so sorry.) (September 22) — MS


Woodshock

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If you prefer to take your Kirsten Dunst with a dose of existential dread (think Melancholia), then Woodshock is the film for you. Sisters Laura and Kate Mulleavy, the creative duo behind fashion label Rodarte, make their directorial debut with a film about a woman (Dunst) who consumes a reality-altering drug to cope with the devastating emotional impact of a recent loss. The first trailer for Woodshock is certainly evocative, calling to mind the female-driven psycho-torment of Lars von Trier and the luxe aesthetic of fellow designer-turned-director Tom Ford. Woodshock is being distributed by the illustrious A24, whose involvement all but guarantees a quality time at the movies. (September 22) — BH


Lucky

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John Carroll Lynch steps behind the camera for the first time to make his directorial debut with Lucky. Harry Dean Stanton plays the title character, a 90-year-old atheist who goes on a spiritual journey across a small desert town. That synopsis should get the attention of anyone who loves watching Stanton wander across the desert in Paris, Texas. Written by first-time screenwriters Logan Sparks and Drago Sumonja, Lucky also features a supporting cast that includes Tom Skerritt, David Lynch, Ed Begley Jr., Ron Livingston, and Beth Grant. The film debuted to positive reactions at SXSW and while it may be overshadowed by the fall’s bigger awards season contenders, it’s hard to refuse a Stanton performance, or a movie where Lynch shouts about a missing tortoise. (September 29) — EOW


Blade Runner 2049

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The original Blade Runner was set in the distant future of 2019. With its dystopian vision just over the horizon, director Ridley Scott returns to one of his signature series, this time as producer, for a long-awaited sequel. Harrison Ford’s android hunter Rick Deckard returns, though in a supporting role; the new lead is Ryan Gosling as a blade runner named K, who uncovers some kind of potentially world-breaking secret and must track down Deckard to set things right. If the premise and cast don’t get you, perhaps the eye-meltingly amazing cinematography by Roger Deakins will. Even if the story is a disaster, this will definitely be fun to look at. (October 6) — MS


The Florida Project

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Sean Baker blew us away in 2015 with Tangerine, a film unique for its technical achievement and the way it authentically captured lives often omitted from the screen. The filmmaker returns this year with The Florida Project, another examination of the day-to-day struggles of the blue-collar Americans. Set at a budget motel just outside of Disney World, TFP follows a single mother (Bria Vinaite), her young daughter Moonee (Brooklynn Prince), and a band of kids living at the motel run by Willem Dafoe’s Bobby. Dafoe has already garnered huge praise for his performance since the film’s Cannes debut, but Baker’s unknown cast is what we’re most looking forward to. Baker got a pair of bracing, unvarnished performances from Mya Taylor and Kitana Kiki Rodriguez in Tangerine, and here non-professional actors Vinaite (who Baker discovered via Instagram) and Prince are bound to shine. Based on the first trailer, brimming with pastel colors and sun-dappled buildings, The Florida Project looks like a stunning follow-up about finding slivers of joy in the bleaker eras of life. (October 6) — EOW


The Snowman

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The Snowman has more than enough going for it to help you get past Michael Fassbender playing a character named Harry Hole. The latest film from director Tomas Alfredson (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) is a mystery thriller in which Fassbender’s detective investigates the disappearance of a woman whose pink scarf is found tied around a particularly disturbing snowman. Alfredson also directed the original Swedish adaptation of Let the Right One In, so he knows a thing or two about crafting atmospheric stories set in chilly climates. The Snowman boasts a killer roster of talent: It’s based on the acclaimed novel by Jo Nesbo (Headhunters) and co-stars Rebecca Ferguson, Chloe Sevigny, Val Kilmer, J.K. Simmons … the list goes on, but that’s plenty justification for the cost of a movie ticket. (October 20) — BH


Wonderstruck

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Fresh from the Cannes and New York Film Festival appearances, Todd Haynes’ Wonderstruck follows two different deaf children from two different time periods, 1927 and 1977, who run away from home. The scenes set in the earlier time frame are styled like a silent film; shot in black and white with occasional intertitles. The movie’s unique technical approach, intricate sound design, and impressive cast (including Julianne Moore and Michelle Williams) earned strong reviews at Cannes. Fans of Martin Scorsese’s Hugo take note: Wonderstruck is based on another novel by The Invention of Hugo Cabret author Brian Selznick. (October 20) — MS


BPM (Beats Per Minute)

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There have been a handful of movies about the AIDS epidemic, from documentaries to historical dramas, but few in the latter category have stood out as exceptionally artful and nuanced in their depictions of tragedy. But Robin Campillo’s BPM might just change that. The French drama debuted at Cannes to near-unanimous praise, winning four awards including the Grand Prix and Queer Palm. Set in France in the early ’90s, the film follows the Paris chapter of ACT UP, the HIV/AIDS advocacy organization, as its members protest and push for medication, while also living and dancing a little. A film about remembering this period in history while fearlessly embracing queerness and resisting oppression is especially needed right now. (October 20) — EOW


Jigsaw

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It seemed like the Saw franchise was laid to rest forever following 2010’s Saw 3D, which was also known, not quite accurately, as Saw: The Final Chapter. But you know how these slasher movies go; the killer always looks dead before they reappear to torture the heroes one final time. And so here comes Jigsaw, in which the eponymous serial killer (or perhaps a very dedicated copycat) emerges and begins a new wave of terror and bloodshed. Elaborate traps will be set, people will die in horrible ways, and Tobin Bell will whisper “Would you like to play a game?” Well, would you? (October 27) — MS


Suburbicon

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A new Coen brothers movie is on the way, and this one is helmed by George Clooney. The actor steps into the director’s seat for the sixth time with Suburbicon, which looks like a hilarious dark comedy about a 1950s suburban town, at least in the trailers. However Clooney has insisted his film isn’t a comedy; he claims it’s super dark with a twist he’s equated to an acid trip. Either way, count us in! There’s a home invasion, a murder, some blackmail, a plot involving the mob, and Matt Damon bashing a guy’s face in the middle of the street, then politely eating a sandwich while covered in blood. Julianne Moore and Oscar Isaac co-star, so what’s not to love? (October 27) — EOW


The Killing of a Sacred Deer

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The Lobster was one of the best and most original films of 2016, so of course we’re excited for Yorgos Lanthimos’ follow-up, which once again sees Colin Farrell in full-on schlub mode (mustache included). Lanthimos and Farrell’s reunion is made all the more irresistible by the inclusion of Nicole Kidman, who has spent the latter part of her career engaging with challenging material — and few are more challenging and subversive than Lanthimos. In The Killing of a Sacred Deer, Farrell plays a brilliant surgeon whose life takes an incredibly dark turn when he adopts a disturbed teenage boy. That plot description doesn’t quite match up with the trailer, but Lanthimos’ films are rarely that easily defined. (October 27) — BH


The Square

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Elisabeth Moss’ career got off to a strong start with Mad Men, and her refusal to be defined by that role has led her to make consistently bold and interesting choices — the latest of which is starring in a new film from Ruben Ostlund, the director of the brilliantly sardonic marital drama Force Majeure. Ostlund is at it again with The Square, in which he turns his satirical eye toward the art community with the story of a Swedish curator who hires a PR team to generate interest in his museum. The Square has a seemingly innocuous and incredibly simple premise, but so did Force Majeure, and that film was downright genius. (October 27) — BH


Professor Marston & the Wonder Women

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Wonder Woman showed us the awesome fictional origins of one of the most iconic superheroes of all time, but her real-life origin story is just as compelling (if a little lacking in the badass combat department). Luke Evans stars as the professor in question, whose relationship with his wife, Elizabeth (Rebecca Hall), and their shared mistress, Olive (Bella Heathcote), inspired him to create Diana of Themyscira — a feminist superhero defined by her commitment to truth and justice. Little attention has been paid to Wonder Woman’s real-life history or the initial controversy around her; at the time, a female superhero with feminist ideals was just about as unconventional as the man who created her. It’s a fascinating story in print; hopefully it’s equally compelling on screen. (October 27) — BH


Thor: Ragnarok

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A Marvel movie directed by Taika Waititi where Cate Blanchett plays the villain? If you’re still not sold what’s wrong with you? Just watch the bonkers trailer. It doesn’t really matter how you feel about the MCU or the previous two Thor entries because the New Zealand filmmaker’s touch is all over Thor: Ragnarok, which easily looks like the most fun you’ll have at the movies this fall. Set four years after The Dark World, the third Thor film finds Chris Hemsworth’s God of Thunder held captive by Jeff Goldblum’s blue-lipped, gold-robed Grandmaster. Thor’s gotta duke it out with his pal the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) in the gladiator pit so he can head back to Asgard and defeat the evil Hela (Banchett). Tessa Thompson also shows up as the badass Valkyrie and Tom Hiddleston’s Loki is back too. (November 3) — EOW


Lady Bird

TIFF
TIFF

It seems like it’s been years since we first caught wind of this long-overdue solo directorial debut from indie queen supreme Greta Gerwig. But Lady Bird finally has a release date, and even without a trailer, Gerwig’s latest effort has miles of appeal. Saiorse Ronan stars as Christine ‘Lady Bird’ McPherson (that name is clearly a Gerwig invention), a rebellious young woman desperate to escape her conservative, small-town life and move to New York — not unlike Gerwig’s real-life background. The coming-of-age comedy (obviously) co-stars two actors who gave breakout performances in recent films: Timothee Chalamet of Call Me By Your Name and Danielle Macdonald of Patti Cake$. (November 10) — BH


Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

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If a foul-mouthed Frances McDormand kicking teenagers in the crotch and drilling holes in dentists sounds like your kind of movie, you best make sure Three Billboards is in your radar. McDormand plays Mildred Hayes, a mother who’s sick and tired of the local police failing to solve her daughter’s murder case, so she paints local billboards to call out Woody Harrelson’s revered chief. It’s been a minute since we’ve seen anything new from Martin McDonough, and this dark comedy looks everything we’d want from the In Bruges and Seven Psychopaths filmmaker. Its supporting cast is also overflowing with great names like Sam Rockwell, Peter Dinklage, John Hawkes, and Caleb Landry Jones. (November 10) — EOW


Justice League

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Justice League might not be the best superhero movie of the fall, but it’s hard to imagine it won’t be the most interesting. How can you not be fascinated by this thing? It’s a Justice League movie without Superman (at least for a significant portion, him being, y’know, dead and all at the moment). It was started by Zack Snyder and finished by Joss Whedon, who brought in a new composer and did who knows how much reconfiguring of the story and characters behind the scenes. And it’s the first DC movie since Wonder Woman became a cultural phenomenon. Will Justice League make it two in a row for DC and Warner Bros.? Or will all the turmoil behind the scenes lead to an Apokolips for this cinematic universe? We can’t wait to find out. (November 17) — MS


Last Flag Flying

Last Flag Flying
Amazon Studios

Richard Linklater is on a spiritual sequel kick. His last directorial effort was the college comedy Everybody Wants Some!!, a kind of thematic extension of his high school picture Dazed & Confused. Now he’s about to unveil Last Flag Flying, which picks up the story of the characters from the classic Hal Ashby film The Last Detail decades later. It turns out that Darryl Ponicsan, author of The Last Detail novel, wrote a sequel in 2005. It looks like Linklater’s version changed the characters a little (or at least they all have different names in the description on the New York Film Festival website), so it may not be a direct and overt continuation of Ashby’s ’70s masterpiece. Still, the chance to see Linklater work in Ashby’s world, with actors like Bryan Cranston, Laurence Fishburne, and Steve Carell, sounds unmissable. (November 3) — MS


Coco

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If you love Pixar but Cars (understandably) isn’t your thing, then you’ll probably want to make Coco a big priority this fall. Pixar’s second animated film of the year is a vibrant story inspired by Dia de Muertos, the annual Latin American holiday in which people celebrate their deceased loved ones. Featuring a primarily Latin cast, including the voices of Benjamin Bratt, Gael Garcia Bernal and the great Alanna Ubach, Coco follows aspiring musician Miguel on an odyssey through the Land of the Dead to find the spirit of his idol. Although there’s much ado about music, Pixar has made it very clear that Coco is not a musical — which should prove attractive to moviegoers who typically cringe at song-and-dance numbers. Coco is a film about family and heritage and pursuing your dreams; you know, all the good, inspirational, warm-and-fuzzy stuff that’s bound to make you sob uncontrollably. (November 22) — BH


Molly’s Game

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Aaron Sorkin is an acclaimed playwright, TV series creator, and an Oscar-winning screenwriter. He hasn’t been a film director to date, but that will change with Molly’s Game, Sorkin’s adaptation of the memoir of the same name by Molly Bloom detailing a woman’s journeys in the world of underground poker. Jessica Chastain stars as the title character, and the cast also includes Idris Elba, Chris O’Dowd, Michael Cera, and Kevin Costner. Sorkin is an unknown quantity as a director, but still, this much is already clear: Idris Elba delivering Sorkin dialogue sounds like the best idea I’ve ever heard. (November 22) — MS


Call Me By Your Name

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Luca Guadagnino’s films have a way of expressing desire and sensuality beyond language. In I Am Love, Tilda Swinton has a mind-blowing experience eating a plate of shrimp, and in A Bigger Splash, the skin peeking out of bathing suits becomes the catalyst for passion and destruction. How fitting, then, for the Italian filmmaker to adapt Andre Aciman’s Call Me By Your Name, a 2007 queer romance novel about the aches of an unspoken lust between two men. Timothée Chalamet (Interstellar) plays Elio, a 17-year-old American living in Italy over a summer in the 1980s, and Armie Hammer is Oliver, a scholarly strapping 20-something who quickly becomes the eye of Elio’s affection. The two begin a back-and-fourth game of flirtation across the backdrop of sun-soaked Italian countryside. If this movie doesn’t make you swoon, nothing will. (November 24) — EOW

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