Oscar hopefuls, blockbusters-to-be, franchise films: what to watch at theaters this fall

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September is here, which is when the movies start getting serious. 

Sure, there are still blocks to be busted, and plenty of films have big box office receipts in their sights. 

But this is the time of year when studios start trotting out their awards fare, the films that will be lining up for Oscars come February. 

Between the franchise fare, the Oscar hopefuls and the crowd pleasers that will (hopefully) have you cheering in your seats, here are the 20 hottest movies rolling out to theaters between now and Thanksgiving: 

Note: Release dates subject to change. 

"White Boy Rick": Based on the true story of the teenage drug dealer turned FBI informant in 1980s Detroit, "'71" director Yann Demange's drama stars newcomer Richie Merritt as the title character and Matthew McConaughey as his father. (Sept. 14) 

"Fahrenheit 11/9": In this spiritual sequel to his "Fahrenheit 9/11," which stands as the highest grossing documentary film of all-time, Michael Moore takes on the presidency of Donald Trump, and we're guessing he's not going with the subtle approach. (Sept. 21) 

"A Star is Born": Lady Gaga takes on the role played by Judy Garland in the 1954 version and Barbra Streisand in the 1976 telling, while Bradley Cooper makes his writing and directing debut. We have stars in our eyes already. (Oct. 5) 

"Venom": The Spider-Man villain gets an origin story as Tom Hardy takes on the role of Eddie Brock, an investigative journalist who comes in contact with an alien entity and grows some really nasty looking teeth. (Oct. 5) 

"First Man": Ryan Gosling saved jazz in "La La Land," his last collaboration with director Damien Chazelle. For their follow up, Chazelle puts Gosling on the moon, as the Baby Goose takes on the role of Neil Armstrong. Consider this film one big step toward Oscar. (Oct. 12) 

"Beautiful Boy": Academy Award nominee Timothée Chalamet ("Call Me By Your Name") plays a young man struggling with meth addiction and Steve Carell is his father in this drama based on a real life story of recovery. (Oct. 12) 

"Wildlife": Carey Mulligan and Jake Gyllenhaal star in the story of a 1960s couple whose marriage is falling apart in this drama which marks the the writing and directing debut of Paul Dano ("There Will Be Blood"). (Oct. 19) 

"Can You Ever Forgive Me?": Melissa McCarthy goes the dramatic route and is already earning Oscar talk for her role as a down-on-her-luck writer forced to forge letters from famous writers in order to pay the bills. (Oct. 19) 

"The Hate U Give": Amandla Stenberg ("Everything, Everything") stars as a young woman forced to stand up for what's right when she witnesses the murder of her best friend at the hands of a police officer in this drama based on the 2017 novel of the same name. (Oct. 19) 

"Halloween": Michael Myers is back, again, in this latest version of the horror tale, which comes 40 years after John Carpenter's original horror masterwork. Jamie Lee Curtis returns to the series as Laurie Strode, who just can't seem to shake the specter of Myers. (Oct. 19) 

"Mid90s": Jonah Hill makes his writing and directing debut in this story of a youngster growing up around the Los Angeles area in the 1990s. Sunny Suljic and Lucas Hedges star, and Nine Inch Nails' Trent Reznor contributed the film's score. (Oct. 26) 

"Suspiria": Director Luca Guadagnino completely shifts gears from last year's "Call Me By Your Name" with this remake of Dario Argento's 1977 horror classic about the strange goings on at a Berlin dance academy. With Dakota Johnson and Tilda Swinton. (Nov. 2) 

"Boy Erased": Fall's other-other highly anticipated "Boy" movie (behind "White Boy Rick" and "Beautiful Boy"), Joel Edgerton's drama stars Lucas Hedges as a young man sent to a gay conversion therapy program, with Nicole Kidman and Russell Crowe as his parents. Based on a true story. (Nov. 2) 

"Bohemian Rhapsody": "Mr. Robot's" Rami Malek takes on the role of a lifetime as Freddie Mercury, the flamboyant lead singer of rock band Queen, who died in 1991. The film focuses on the lead-up to the band's legendary performance at Live Aid in 1985. (Nov. 2) 

"The Front Runner": Hugh Jackman stars as Gary Hart, whose campaign for president in 1988 was derailed by a love affair in this political drama that marks director Jason Reitman's second film of the year, following May's "Tully." (Nov. 7) 

"The Girl in the Spider's Web": Remember David Fincher's "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo?" Well, forget it. Lisbeth Salander is back, but here she's played by Claire Foy ("The Crown") and directorial duties are handled by "Don't Breathe's" Fede Alvarez in this reboot-sequel of the Salander series. (Nov. 9) 

"Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald": A sequel to the 2016 film that expanded the Harry Potter universe. Eddie Redmayne returns as  magizoologist Newt Scamander, but most of the pre-release chatter has focused on Johnny Depp, who stars as a dark wizard, much to the internet's chagrin. (Nov. 16) 

"Widows": Viola Davis, Robert Duvall, Colin Farrell, Michelle Rodriguez and Liam Neeson star in this crime drama from director Steve McQueen ("12 Years a Slave") about a group of armed robbers who are gunned down, only to have their widows finish the job. (Nov. 16) 

"Creed II": Michael B. Jordan returns to the role of Adonis Creed in this sequel to the 2015 "Rocky" spinoff. Sylvester Stallone returns to his signature role of Rocky Balboa, who trains Creed to fight Ivan Drago’s (a returning Dolph Lundgren) son, who killed Creed’s father in “Rocky IV.” (Nov. 21) 

"Green Book": Viggo Mortensen and Academy Award winner Mahershala Ali ("Moonlight") star in this comic-drama about a New York nightclub bouncer (Mortensen) who takes a job as a chauffeur for a jazz pianist (Ali) in the 1960s. Peter Farrelly, one half of the Farrelly Brothers filmmaking duo, directs. (Nov. 21) 

agraham@detroitnews.com

@grahamorama

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