The best season of the year has arrived. Fall is here which means one thing, Oscar season is approaching. It is now well known that from late September to December a slew of films come out that are potential Oscar winners. This isn’t to say what comes before September should be overlooked (i.e. Annihilation, First Reformed) but the later year does give us some excellent films worthy of a golden statue. Sometimes it may seem over bearing between film festivals and social media buzz, so to help just a little I have given you a guide to my most anticipated films this fall in order of release date.
The Old Man and the Gun (9/28)
Robert Redford himself has stated that this will be his “final film” and while that may be upsetting to hear and a loss to cinema all around this seems like the perfect one for Redford to go out on. Based around the true story of Forrest Tucker who is, yes you guessed it, an old man with a gun. A bank robber who just can’t seem to stop what he is good at. Much like Redford himself, Tucker can charm himself into any bank vault all while escaping the hands of detective John Hunt (Casey Affleck). Director David Lowery is known for ability to create engaging stories with a total sense of calmness as seen in “A Ghost Story” and his next feature is sure to be a breath of fresh exciting air.
A Star is Born (10/5)
“A Star is Born” has been made three times before, most famously in 1954 with Judy Garland, but I mean come on does it get any better than Lady Gaga. This time we get Bradley Cooper as Jackson Maine a drunk has been rocker who instantly falls for small time girl Ally (Gaga). The story is familiar, but there can be no doubt of greatness when Gaga is involved. Anyone who has seen the trailer, which at only 2:30 is already the best short film of the year, knows that Gaga isn’t holding back giving off what will certainly be some of her best songs yet. Cooper is behind the camera and appears to have channeled the great concert films of the 70’s. “A Star is Born” has gathered enough festival praise that it is quickly becoming a front runner for Best Picture, and for once I’m ready for all the hype.
The feelings towards the most recent “Halloween” installments haven’t been too kind. This is understandable since Rob Zombie’s attempt to relaunch the franchise shared none of the excitement or empathy the original one had. But fear not because Michael Myers is back along with original scream queen Jamie Lee Curtis reprising her role of Laurie Strode. Director David Gordon Greene (Snow Angels, Pineapple Express) and cowriters Danny McBride and Jeff Fradley all decided to honor John Carpenter’s creation and ignore any sequels following the original. This film takes place forty years after Michael Myers terrorized Laurie and her friends. Michael has once again escaped, but this time Laurie is ready for him. Bringing back Jamie Lee Curtis is the film’s strongest move and now we can finally see a proper showdown between the two. “Halloween” is back and hopefully better than ever.
Eventually every actor gets behind the camera, thankfully Jonah Hill is a wonderful actor. Hill has been able to create a filmography of both great comedic and dramatic roles giving him the chance to work with some of the best directors like Scorsese and the Coen Brothers. Now he is taking the skills he has learned to tell the story of 13-year-old Stevie (Sunny Suljic) an L.A kid who spends his time avoiding his troubled home with a group of skateboarders who get into even more trouble. Hill has said that this isn’t directly based on his childhood, but from the trailer which has Wu-Tang Clan and “Street Fighter” this is clearly a trip down memory lane. Coming of age films tend to be crowd pleasers and “Mid90s” seems to be going for the jugular with co-stars Lucas Hedges as Sunny’ abusive brother, Katherine Waterson as Sunny’s struggling single mother and a slew of new faces making up the skateboarding gang. “Mid90s” will hopefully be the start of a successful directing career for Jonah Hill.
Dario Argento’s “Suspiria” is a masterpiece and does not to be remade. But, if it must happen than Tilda Swinton as the headmistress of the mysterious dance academy is the best way to go about it. Luca Guadagino follows up last year’s Call Me By Your Name with a very ambitious project. The film follows Susie Bannon (Dakota Johnson) a ballerina who enters a world-renowned dance academy with pure evil at the center of it. Guadagino and Tilda Swinton have worked together four times before and “Suspiria” will once again show the world why Swinton is the most transcendent actress working today. The original “Suspiria” is known for its bright colors, but Guadagino has decided to remove all of it and give the film a much drearier tone proving that he is not out to remake the film but give it a re imagining. Being in the shadow of Argento can be difficult, but one thing is for sure; when Tilda Swinton is involved all bets are off.
Boy Erased (11/2)
Lucas Hedges has made quite the name for himself since his breakout performance in “Manchester By the Sea” for which he earned a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nom. From a memorable supporting role in last year’s “Lady Bird” to starring in two other films this year, Hedges is on his way to earning his second Oscar nomination in Joel Edgerton’s film about a young boy forced into a gay conversion program. Nicole Kidman and Russell Crowe costar as Jared’s Church loving parents, but Hedges is used to going up against powerhouse actors and always finds a way to outshine them all. It is unfortunate that a story about gay conversion camps are needed, but the pain behind it all can easily be seen in Hedges as he continues to be one of the freshest faces in Hollywood.
Sometimes you just need a movie that is just freaking nuts. “Overlord” will most likely be the closest we get to a “Wolfenstein” movie. The movie has enough to satisfy any gamer and maybe take its place as the perfect Saturday afternoon schlock fest. Following a small group of soldiers behind enemy lines on the eve of D-Day, our heroes must reach a remote enemy tower, but lo and behold Nazi scientists have found a way to create an army to guarantee their thousand-year plan. Bring out the science experiment from Hell. Our soldiers quickly find themselves facing off against evil Nazi zombie creatures. “Overlord” comes off as the type of film you beg your parents to see when you are thirteen, but there is always hope for some deeper emotions especially with up and coming actor Jovan Adepo who was excellent acting opposite Denzel Washington in Fences. “Overlord” may be another bloodbath of a film, but there is always time to watch some Nazis get destroyed.
Studio movies have not carried the weight of great intelligence lately. This is what makes the upcoming Steve McQueen film about struggling widows so exciting. A heist film with real life stakes that can be felt at every corner. Not to mention McQueen has the powerhouse of Viola Davis front and center. Davis plays a recently widowed woman who along with three other widows must repay the debts left to them by their husbands. The husbands all criminals left unfinished business between them and a slew of underworld characters. Davis has always been the strongest force whenever she is on screen, from her time going up against Denzel Washington in “Fences” to her lead role in “How to Get Away With Murder”, and “Widows” is only her next step in a resume full of powerful women. McQueen who is known for gritty dramas such as “Shame” and “12 Years a Slave”, brings together a collection of top game actors including, Liam Neeson, Robert Duvall, Michelle Rodriguez and Daniel Kaluuya.
Creed II (11/21)
“Creed” was the biggest surprise hit for me and a personal favorite. Bringing the “Rocky” franchise back to life while establishing an even better character to carry on the story for years. Michael B. Jordan and Ryan Coogler hit all the right notes with their 2015 hit. This time around Coogler takes a producing role and Steven Caple Jr. steps behind the camera. Adonis Creed (Jordan) is now a household name, but he still has not come to terms with his fathers ill fated match against the menacing Ivan Drago. So when Drago’s son Viktor challenges Creed to a match it becomes a personal fight one that will affect Creed’s new family which includes his girl Bianca (Tessa Thompson) their baby and mentor and friend Rocky (Sylvester Stallone). “Creed II” is set out to be not only an intense sports film, but a continuation of a loving family which has always drove the boxing franchise. The first “Creed” surprised everyone with how hard hitting its story ended up being so here is hoping that the “Creed” franchise is here for another win.
If Beale Street Could Talk (11/30)
Barry Jenkins makes art. If you need any convincing just watch the swimming scene in “Moonlight”, or the entire third act of “Moonlight.” Actually, just go watch “Moonlight.” Jenkins is back with his next feature and if the trailer gives us any indication we are looking at Jenkins next trip to the Oscars. “If Beale Street Could Talk” is based on the novel by James Baldwin and tells the story of 19 year old KiKi (Tish Rivers) from Harlem who is trying to prove her fiancé’s (Alonzo ‘Fonny’ Hunt) innocence while pregnant with their child. Set in the 1970’s the film is carried along with a melancholy jazz underscore as well as a stellar supporting cast of Regina King, Colman Domingo and Brian Tyree Henry. Beale Street is quickly making its way through every festival with great acclaim, but this should come with no surprise since it is Jenkins who has already made a name for himself by being one of the most elegant filmmakers today.