2017 Fall Preview: Oscar fare, Wonder Women and ‘It’
Tis the season for Hollywood to finally start showing some good movies. Here’s the scoop on fall’s biggest and best
It’s time to get serious about movies.
The fall movie season is just around the corner, which is when Hollywood starts thinking about handsome gold statues and begins rolling out its prestige films.
It doesn’t mean that the blockbusters are going away. It just means they’re a little more buttoned up and have a little more savoir faire, as opposed to the relatively mindless summer blockbusters trotted out during the height of popcorn season (“War for the Planet of the Apes” being this year’s exception).
Between now and Thanksgiving there is a healthy mix of awards fodder and should-be crowd-pleasers on deck, so strap in. As the weather cools down, the movies heat up.
Fall’s Top 20 (note: all dates subject to change):
1. “Blade Runner 2049” — While the 1982 original has inspired countless other films, it never garnered a sequel — until now. Harrison Ford returns and is joined by a cast that includes Jared Leto and Ryan Gosling, as director Denis Villeneuve — red hot after “Sicario” and “Arrival” — takes the reins. A fanboy fantasy come true. (Oct. 6)
2. “Justice League” — Thanks to the massive success of “Wonder Woman,” the DC Universe finally has some blood pumping through its veins. Lets see if this film — which teams Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman with Batman (Ben Affleck), the Flash (Ezra Miller), Aquaman (Jason Momoa) and Cyborg (Ray Fisher) — can maintain the momentum. (Nov. 17)
3. “It” — You’re not afraid of clowns, are you? Even if you’re not, you probably will be after this massively anticipated adaptation of Stephen King’s killer clown novel, which follows a 1990 made-for-TV version that remains a cult hit. (Sept. 8)
4. “Kingsman: The Golden Circle” — The sequel to the surprise 2014 hit about a young British lad learning the ropes in an elite spy organization brings back director Matthew Vaughn and stars Taron Egerton and Colin Firth, and adds newbies Halle Berry, Jeff Bridges and Channing Tatum to the mix. Come on in, there’s room for everybody. (Sept. 22)
5. “Thor: Ragnarok” — For Thor’s third go-round — and Marvel’s big fall extravaganza — director Taika Waititi (“What We Do in the Shadows,” “Hunt for the Wilderpeople”) enlists a cast that includes Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk and Benedict Cumberbatch’s Doctor Strange characters for another superhero mash-up. It’s hammer time. (Nov. 3)
6. “Mother!” — Jennifer Lawrence stars in this psychological thriller from director Darren Aronofsky, who brought Oscar gold to Natalie Portman in the ballet head trip “Black Swan.” Here he has Lawrence and Javier Bardem as a pair whose quiet life is challenged by the arrival of a mysterious couple (Michelle Pfeiffer and Ed Harris). (Sept. 15)
7. “Home Again” — Reese Witherspoon, former sweetheart of America, stars as a single mother whose life is upended when three young men move into her home in the directorial debut from Hallie Meyers-Shyer, the daughter of filmmakers Nancy Meyers and Charles Shyer. (Sept. 8)
8. “Battle of the Sexes” — Tennis, anyone? Directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris (“Little Miss Sunshine,” “Ruby Sparks,” a bunch of great music videos in the ’90s) spotlight the 1973 tennis match between Billie Jean King (Oscar winner Emma Stone) and Bobby Riggs (Steve Carell) in this comedic drama. (Sept. 29)
9. “A Bad Mom’s Christmas” — Move over, Bad Santa. The Bad Moms are back in this holiday tale, which has Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell and Kathryn Hahn making a Christmas feast and trying to keep from losing their minds. If Hahn is there, so are we. (Nov. 3)
10. “Coco” — In Pixar’s latest, which is based on the Mexican holiday the Day of the Dead, Anthony Gonzalez is Miguel Rivera, a 12-year old aspiring musician who embarks on a journey, along with his dog, to discover his family’s history. (Nov. 22)
11. “The Lego Ninjago Movie” — The “Lego” movies have been sharp, witty and inspired so far, but do we need two in the course of a year? (“The Lego Batman Movie” was just released in February.) This Lego ninja adventure features the voices of Dave Franco, Justin Theroux and more, and should keep a high ratio of wisecracks to karate chops. (Sept. 22)
12. “Daddy’s Home 2” — Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg return in this sequel to the 2015 domestic comedy, which ended with John Cena entering the picture. Cena is on board here, as is Mel Gibson, who plays Wahlberg’s father. We don’t know whether to laugh or cringe. (Nov. 10)
13. “Suburbicon” — Matt Damon, Oscar Isaac, Noah Jupe and Julianne Moore star in director George Clooney’s latest, set in an idyllic 1959 suburban community with plenty of seediness underneath the surface. Come on, you knew it wasn’t going to be all sunshine and lemonade, didn’t you? (Oct. 27)
14. “Molly’s Game” — Master of words Aaron Sorkin makes his directorial debut with this story of an underground poker empire that becomes the target of an FBI investigation. Jessica Chastain leads the cast, which includes Idris Elba, Kevin Costner and Michael Cera. (Nov. 22)
15. “Professor Marston & the Wonder Women” — Further proving 2017 is the year of Wonder Woman, this film focuses on “Wonder Woman” creator William Moulton Marston (Luke Evans) and the origins of the iconic superhero. (Oct. 27)
16. “Stronger” — Jake Gyllenhaal stars as Jeff Bauman, who lost both his legs during the bombing of the 2013 Boston Marathon in this story of his recovery and comeback after the incident. David Gordon Green directs. (Sept. 22)
17. “American Made” — Tom Cruise reteams with his “Edge of Tomorrow” director Doug Liman in this 1980s-set true story of a former TWA pilot (Cruise) who was a drug smuggler for the Medellín Cartel turned DEA informant. (Sept. 29)
18. “Tyler Perry’s Boo 2: A Madea Halloween” — Last year’s “Boo! A Madea Halloween,” which began as a Chris Rock joke in “Top Five,” wound up being Tyler Perry’s second highest grossing film (behind “Madea Goes to Jail”). As you can see, Perry wasted no time ordering up a sequel. Joke’s on you, Rock. (Oct. 20)
19. “Flatliners” — In this sequel to Joel Schumacher’s 1990 film, Ellen Page, Diego Luna and Nina Dobrev star as a crew of medical students who attempt to cheat death in a series of near death experiments. Keifer Sutherland, who starred in the original, is set to reprise his role. (Sept. 29)
20. “Jigsaw” — Somehow it’s been seven years since the last “Saw” movie, and you can’t exactly say the nation is in a better place now than it was then. This return to the “Saw” world attempts to remedy our wounded nation, and focuses on a new set of killings that mirror the infamous “Saw” murders. Welcome back, old friend! (Oct. 27)
“Darkest Hour” — Gary Oldman, who in his impressive career has already played Ludwig van Beethoven (“Immortal Beloved”), Dracula (“Bram Stoker’s Dracula”) and Sid Vicious (“Sid and Nancy”), tries his hand at playing Winston Churchill. Might as well just hand him the Oscar now. (Nov. 22)
“Call Me By Your Name” — In this buzzed-about Sundance hit from director Luca Guadagnino (“A Bigger Splash”), Timothée Chalamet and Armie Hammer play two young men who fall in love in Italy in the 1980s. (TBA)
“Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool” — Four-time Oscar nominee Annette Bening may finally get the big prize that keeps eluding her with this story in which she plays a Hollywood veteran who falls for her younger co-star (Jamie Bell). (TBA)
“Last Flag Flying” — In the latest from director Richard Linklater (“Boyhood”), Bryan Cranston, Steve Carell and Laurence Fishburne star as three ex-Marines who reunite when one of their sons is killed in the line of duty. (Nov. 17)
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” — A woman takes the law — or at least three billboards in her hometown — into her own hands when her daughter is murdered and the police investigation slows to a crawl. From director Martin McDonagh (“In Bruges”). (Nov. 10)
A father attempts to save his daughter from a life of drugs and crime in “The Oath” (Sept. 8); Michael Keaton and Taylor Kitsch star in the counter terrorism tale “American Assassin” (Sept. 15); “Beach Rats” stars Harris Dickinson as a young man balancing boredom, his girlfriend and his relationships with older men on the internet (Sept. 15); “Rebel in the Rye” stars Nicholas Hoult as a young J.D. Salinger (Sept. 15); in “Brad’s Status,” Ben Stiller is a man taking stock of his life against the lives of his college pals (Sept. 22); “Friend Request” is a tale of social media horror (Sept. 22); “Victoria and Abdul” stars Dame Judi Dench as Queen Victoria and focuses on her relationship with her Indian servant, Abdul Karim (Ali Fazal) (Sept. 29); Kirsten Dunst has a bad cannabis experience in “Woodshock” (Sept. 29); Willem DaFoe is getting Oscar buzz for his role as a hotel owner in “The Florida Project” (Oct. 6); after a plane crash, Kate Winslet and Idris Elba are stranded in the wilderness with a mountain between them in “The Mountain Between Us” (Oct. 6); Jackie Chan goes on a mission of revenge in the action thriller “The Foreigner” (Oct. 13); “Goodbye Christopher Robin” explores the life of “Winnie the Pooh” author A.A. Milne (Domhnall Gleeson) (Oct. 13); “Happy Death Day” is a good old fashioned slasher-thriller opening on, you guessed it, Friday the 13th (Oct. 13); “Independence Day” producer Dean Devlin makes his directorial debut with the environmental disaster thriller “Geostorm” (Oct. 20); Josh Brolin, Miles Teller and Jeff Bridges head up the firefighter tale “Only the Brave” (Oct. 20); Michael Fassbender is a detective investigating a disappearance in the wintertime-set chiller “The Snowman” (Oct. 20); hey, Bronies need love too, and they finally get some with the release of “My Little Pony: The Movie” (Oct. 6); Miles Teller is a soldier returning home after serving in Iraq in “Thank You for Your Service” (Oct. 27); Colin Farrell and Nicole Kidman star in “The Lobster” director Yorgos Lanthimos’ latest, “The Killing of a Sacred Deer” (Nov. 3); “Lady Bird” marks the directorial debut of Greta Gerwig and follows a family finding their way in early 2000s America (Nov. 10); Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Penelope Cruz and Daisy Ridley are among those suspected of a “Murder on the Orient Express” (Nov. 10); “The Star” (Nov. 10) is an animated tale based on the nativity of Jesus; Julia Roberts, Owen Wilson and “Room’s” Jacob Tremblay star in “Wonder,” based on the best-selling novel about a boy born with disfigured facial features (Nov. 17); Denzel Washington is a lawyer in an existential crisis in “Nightcrawler” director Dan Gilroy’s latest, “Roman Israel, Esq.” (Nov. 17); Eli Roth directs “Death Wish,” a remake of the Charles Bronson original with Bruce Willis as a man out for revenge after the murder of his wife (Nov. 22).