FALL FLICKS LOOK OUT OF THIS WORLD,
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.
n Josh Gad, left, and Johnny Depp in "Murder on the Orient Express."
n Ryan Gosling in a scene from "Blade Runner 2049."
n Chadwick Boseman stars in "Marshall."