Texarkana Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - By Aaron Brand

Af­ter a dis­mal sum­mer sea­son for the Hol­ly­wood box of­fice, fall of­fers the chance for cin­e­matic re­demp­tion in 2017 with at least two sci-fi block­busters, a cou­ple of su­per­hero ad­ven­tures and, true to tra­di­tion for these up­com­ing months, brainier fare.

Here’s a look at this movie lover’s most keenly an­tic­i­pated top 10 movies for the fall flick lineup, plus a men­tion of oth­ers sure to be of in­ter­est: “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” (De­cem­ber)— With two new suc­cess­ful Star Wars movies in re­cent years, the hype builds over the next in­stall­ment in this beloved space opera fran­chise. But what’s this about the end of the Jedi, an idea teased in the trailer? And what ex­actly hap­pened in that meet­ing be­tween Luke Sky­walker and Rey? There are so many tan­ta­liz­ing ques­tions to ex­plore, and plucky he­roes like Rey, Finn and Poe Dameron, not to men­tion BB-8, are the right ones to an­swer them.

“The Shape of Wa­ter” (De­cem­ber)—The wildly fer­tile imag­i­na­tion of Guillermo del Toro has crafted what ap­pears to be part sweet ro­mance, party creepy crea­ture flick, all of it dropped in­side a cold bath of Cold War ten­sion. The “Pan’s Labyrinth” di­rec­tor won awards and rave reviews with this movie at the Venice Film Fes­ti­val, so this looks promis­ing in­deed. Sally Hawkins plays a jan­i­tor who, while she may not be able to speak, de­vel­ops a friend­ship with an am­phibi­ous be­ing held cap­tive by the gov­ern­ment.

“Disas­ter Artist” (De­cem­ber)—Ah, that James Franco! Here with “Disas­ter Artist,” Franco may have found his per­fect ma­te­rial to di­rect: a comedic biopic about the cre­ation of one ter­ri­ble cult flick, “The Room.” Franco plays its writer, di­rec­tor and pro­ducer, a mys­te­ri­ous man named Tommy Wiseau, while his brother Dave Franco plays Greg Ses­tero, who co-starred in the movie and later wrote a non-fic­tion ac­count of the strange ex­pe­ri­ence. It looks up­roar­i­ously funny and was a big hit at South by South­west.

“Down­siz­ing” (De­cem­ber)—Alexan­der Payne re­turns as di­rec­tor with a satir­i­cal science fic­tion flick that sees Matt Da­mon and his wife (Kris­ten Wiig) choose to go small and down­size—lit­er­ally. You see, down­siz­ing has become the so­lu­tion to the world’s pop­u­la­tion prob­lem. Peo­ple may shrink,

but the ben­e­fits of liv­ing as a lit­tle are touted as big, big, big. The great Christoph Waltz, Hong Chau and Ja­son Sudeikis also star.

“Lady Bird” (Novem­ber)—First time di­rec­tor Greta Ger­wig’s de­but fea­ture, “Lady Bird,” fea­tures two-time Academy Award nom­i­nee Saorise Ro­nan in this com­edy about a teenager man­ag­ing fam­ily dy­nam­ics and life in 1980s Sacra­mento, Calif. The ad­vance buzz is strong for this one and the comic tim­ing be­tween Ro­nan and Lau­rie Met­calf (as her mom) looks sen­sa­tional and gen­uinely funny. “Mur­der on the Ori­ent Ex­press”

(Novem­ber)—Thir­teen strangers, one mur­der and a clas­sic tale orig­i­nat­ing with the Agatha Christie mys­tery novel, “Mur­der on the Ori­ent Ex­press” charges into the cinema once again, this time un­der the di­rec­tion of Ken­neth Branagh, who also plays the Bel­gian de­tec­tive of all de­tec­tives, none other than Her­cule Poirot. A fine en­sem­ble cast in­cludes Willem Dafoe, Judi Dench, Pene­lope Cruz, Daisy Ri­d­ley, Josh Gad, Derek Ja­cobi, Les­lie Odom Jr., Michelle Pfeif­fer and more.

“Blade Run­ner 2049” (Oc­to­ber)—The orig­i­nal, 1982 “Blade Run­ner” re­mains an iconic piece of science fic­tion film­mak­ing, stylish and yet the­mat­i­cally thought­ful about the hu­man con­di­tion in a neo-noir, fu­tur­is­tic, dystopian Los An­ge­les where hu­man-like repli­cant ro­bots have re­turned to Earth to cause may­hem. In this se­quel, Ryan Gosling plays a new blade run­ner (Of­fi­cer K) who must lo­cate Deckard, the repli­cant hunter made fa­mous by Har­ri­son Ford in the orig­i­nal film.

“Mar­shall” (Oc­to­ber)—The first AfricanAmer­i­can to serve as a jus­tice on the Supreme Court, Thur­good Mar­shall made a life of ground­break­ing ac­com­plish­ments, in­clud­ing a vic­tory for de­seg­re­ga­tion with Brown v. Board of Ed­u­ca­tion. Mar­shall, whose grand­fa­ther and great-grand­fa­ther were slaves, served on the Supreme Court for 24 years, but be­fore his ac­com­plish­ments there he was chief coun­sel for the NAACP Le­gal De­fense Fund. This film, star­ring Chad­wick Bose­man (“Get on Up” and “Cap­tain Amer­ica: Civil War”) in the ti­tle role, chron­i­cles his de­fense of a black chauf­feur ac­cused of sex­ual as­sault and at­tempted mur­der. “The Killing of a Sa­cred Deer” (Oc­to­ber)— An­other movie that cranks up the creepy fac­tor is this horror-tinged thriller from Greek di­rec­tor Yor­gos Lan­thi­mos of “The Lob­ster,” again paired with Colin Far­rell in a lead­ing role. The­mat­i­cally sim­i­lar to some other films com­ing out this fall, this drama deals with the un­set­tling con­se­quences when a doc­tor bonds with a teen boy who be­friends his daugh­ter. Ni­cole Kid­man also stars.

“Mother!” (Septem­ber)—Darren Aronof­sky makes the most un­nerv­ing movies around, and that ap­pears to be the case with this horror thriller star­ring Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bar­dem as a mar­ried cou­ple who, while she is preg­nant, al­low un­in­vited strangers into their home. Lawrence may be hyped but she’s one of our great ac­tresses, and Bar­dem is a mes­mer­iz­ing ac­tor with such dis­tinc­tive cred­its as “Biu­ti­ful,” “No Coun­try for Old Men,” “The Sea In­side” and “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” to his credit. He’s un­der-ap­pre­ci­ated, so this is a wel­come ap­pear­ance and a pair­ing of great tal­ents.

Also on the radar: “Thor: Rag­narok,” “Jus­tice League,” “The Snow­man,” “Amer­i­can Made,” “Stronger,” “Kings­man: The Golden Cir­cle,” “Won­der,” “Coco,” “The Cur­rent War,” “The Square,” “The Moun­tain Be­tween Us,” “Call Me By Your Name,” “Dark­est Hour,” “Won­der­struck.”


n "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" is ex­pected in the­aters in De­cem­ber.

Twen­ti­eth Cen­tury Fox

n Josh Gad, left, and Johnny Depp in "Mur­der on the Ori­ent Ex­press."

Warner Bros. Pic­tures

n Ryan Gosling in a scene from "Blade Run­ner 2049."

Open Road Films

n Chad­wick Bose­man stars in "Mar­shall."

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