Featured: Most Anticipated Films for Fall 2018
Last week I wrote a (at least for me) lengthy piece about how great summer 2018 was for film. At this point, we may be on a collision course for this being the best cinematic year of the decade, but we’ll have to see how the fall plays out before we can hand it any sort of crown. It, undoubtedly, will have some disappointments but the lineup on paper looks very, very good. The fall/winter season will include new films from Steve McQueen (his first since his Oscar winning 12 Years A Slave), Barry Jenkins, Damien Chazelle, Alfonso Cuarón, Yorgos Lanthimos, Bradley Cooper, Paul Dano, Jonah Hill, Joel Edgerton, David Lowery, Pawel Pawlikoswki, Luca Guadagnino, David Gordon Green, Claire Denis, the Coen bros (hopefully), Hirokazu Kore-eda, Jason Reitman, Jean-Luc Godard, and even Orson Welles. Yes, you read that correctly. We are getting a new film from the legendary Orson Welles, and I cannot wait. There are, of course, many more filmmakers I could list here that have potentially great films coming out in the next few months as well. We’ll see what happens, but the fall and winter could be equally as special as what the summer had to offer.
With that said, here are the films that I’m most anticipating as we lead into the fall movie season. (these are in no particular order)
From director Steve McQueen, Widows tells the story of four women who have seemingly nothing in common except a debt left behind by their dead husbands’ criminal activities. The film stars Viola Davis, Elizabeth Debicki, Carrie Coon, Michelle Rodriguez, Liam Neeson, Jon Bernthal, Colin Farrell and Robert Duvall among others. That’s one hell of a lineup. This may be McQueen’s most commercial film yet, but so far each of his other outings have made my Top 10 for their respective years, and I’m excited to see if Widows continues that trend.
If the reports from Venice are true, First Man seems to be another hit from Damien Chazelle. Given his work on Whiplash and La La Land, I am not surprised at all to hear those initial reactions. Chazelle has supplanted himself as the next great director that could end up having a Hall of Fame career, and it sounds as if First Man makes him a robust 3-for-3. It tells the story of Niel Armstrong and his mission to the moon in 2969, and stars Ryan Gosling, Claire Foy and Jason Clarke.
If Beale Street Could Talk
Barry Jenkins is back coming off the heels from his Oscar-winning Moonlight. If Beale Street Could Talk is about a women in Harlem who desperately scrambles to prove her fiance is innocent of a crime. It is inspired from a book by James Baldwin, which I haven’t read, but knowing Baldwin’s works this sounds very enticing. It starts KiKi Layne, Stephan James and Regina King. The trailer looks great and I’m very eager to see what Jenkins does with this material – despite some of the initial test screenings reportedly not going very well. I have faith in Jenkins though, and I think in the end this will be a satisfying experience.
Alfonso Cuarón is back and I could not be more excited! Gravity seems like ages ago and Children of Men feels like a lifetime. To be fair, while Cuarón takes his time in between projects, the results are usually spectacular. Both Gravity and Children of Men made my Top 10 for their respective years, and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is easily one of the best Potter films. Let’s also not forget Y Tu Mamá También, which was also great when it came out in 2001. That is to say, I’m very excited for Roma purely because it’s Alfonso Cuarón. I’m also eager because it’s a black and white film that takes Cuarón back to his Mexican roots as it takes place in Mexico City in the 1970’s.
A Star is Born
I cannot get enough of this trailer. A Star is Born could falter and become a trite musician struggle story, but there’s something about the heart of that trailer that keeps me optimistic. This is, of course, Bradley Cooper’s directorial debut so it’s hard to fully gauge where it’s going to go. But if the film is at all what the trailer suggests, I think it’s going to be something special – regardless of its Oscar play. Bradley Cooper looks great as always (and if that is indeed his singing voice, kudos), but like most people I’m more intrigued by Lady Gaga. She looks so normal, and ironically that’s very strange to see. But there’s something about her normality that is striking to me in terms of the films ideas – as presented in the trailer anyway – on insecurity.
Yorgos Lanthimos may not be for everyone, but he is a (ahem) favorite director of mine. Dogtooth, Alps, The Lobster and The Killing of a Sacred Deer are all good films that I at the very least enjoy. Dogtooth and The Lobster I absolutely adore despite their dark underbellies. The Favourite is interesting though because it’s garnered some Oscar buzz, and I don’t usually equate Lanthimos with the Academy Awards. His films tend to be black comedies that aren’t exactly in the Academy’s wheelhouse, so this has an extra level of excitement to it. It stars Olivia Colman, Rachel Weisz, Emma Delves and Emma Stone. Sign me up!
Ralph Breaks the Internet
How about a change of pace? I *loved* Wreck-It Ralph when it came out in 2012 and was severely disappointed when it lost the Oscar to a rather mediocre Brave. Ralph was funny, clever, warming and surprisingly thematically rich. To say that I’m excited for this sequel is putting it mildly. And that trailer, wow, taking these characters to the internet seems like it’s going to be a lot of fun. The gags relating to parenthood and young children are all too relatable, the Disney princesses is brilliant and the digital aesthetics look spot-on.
The Old Man and the Gun
The Old Man and the Gun is compelling to me for a couple of reasons. One, David Lowery is a director that is quietly creating a very strong resume. Pete’s Dragon was well reviewed, but mostly went under the radar. A Ghost Story and Ain’t Them Body Saints were two great indies that absolutely went under the radar for most people – cinephiles excluded (but even among cinephiles there were certain sects that overlooked them). The Old Man and the Gun very well could be his most commercial yet and hopefully it launches Lowery more into the mainstream. Beyond that though, this is one of Robert Redford’s last performances since he announced his retirement. So enjoy this people. It very well may be the last time you see this legend on the big screen. The film also stars Sissy Spacek, who hasn’t done any film acting since Deadfall in 2012.
I cannot watch this trailer without becoming a waterfall. Maybe it’s subjective since I’m a relatively new father (my son is two), but every time I see this trailer I can’t help but sympathize heavily with wanting to “save” your son. Steve Carrell looks great and his chemistry with Timothée Chalamet seems palpable. Felix Van Groeningen isn’t a director that most people will know, but The Broken Circle Breakdown is really good and deserved its Oscar-nomination back in 2013. So, I’m excited to see what he does with an American setting and American actors. It could be schmaltzy, but it gives me all the feels and that’s what I’m here for.
Under the Silver Lake
Despite what my co-host says, It Follows is a great horror film that ambiguously asks some profound questions – both within the context of the film’s premise but also the humanities at the center of that film. It doesn’t matter what David Robert Mitchell was going to do next, I was going to be on board regardless. Under the Silver Lake is about a young man who discovers a mysterious woman in his pool one night, only for her to disappear without a trace. So, as a young man would, he sets off to find out what happened to her. It stars Topher Grace, Sydney Sweeney and Riley Keough.
Here’s another directorial debut, this time from Paul Dano, who also co-wrote the screenplay with Zoe Kazan (who starred in last year’s The Big Sick). Wildlife tells the story of a young boy who witnesses the falling out of his parents’ marriage. It stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Carey Mulligan and Ed Oxenbould among others. From all accounts, Gyllenhaal and Mulligan will be major Oscar contenders for their respective categories. Beyond that though, I’m just thrilled to see great performances from these two actors that I love. I’m perhaps more eager for Mulligan, as we haven’t seen her as much lately and I’m dying for more Carey Mulligan in my life. Reviews from earlier in the year suggest that Dano’s direction is very good as well.
I noted above that these are in no particular order, but if I was ranking these, Shoplifters is probably my #1 most anticipated film of the fall/winter season. Hirokazu Koreeda is one of my favorite filmmakers working today and this Palm d’Or winner sounds like a film tailor-made just for me. It’s about a family who takes in a child they find on the street. This has pathos written all over it. If you’re not familiar with Koreeda, he’s a filmmaker that loves to relish in emotion and subtlety, lingering on the small ticks that make humans human. If this moved David Ehrlich in extreme ways (and I say that as a fan of David, but he tends to be a harsher critic than me), I am screwed. But I look forward to being emotionally destroyed by Koreeda.
Granted, I haven’t seen everything from Pawel Pawilkowski, but Ida was sooooo good that I can’t help but be excited for Cold War. It’s about a passionate love story between two people of different backgrounds and temperaments, set against the backdrop of the Cold War in 1950s Poland. So, there’s some clear symbolism going on there, but it still sounds enticing. The reviews from the festival circuits are excellent as well, amplifying my anticipation.
The Other Side of the Wind
Guys, we are getting a *new* film from Orsen Welles this fall. In 2018. A new film from the master himself. How is this a reality? Originally filmed between 1970-1976, The Other Side of the Wind had reportedly finished its principal photography, but couldn’t finish its post-production and editing due to financial problems. Eventually Netflix purchased the rights and worked feverishly to finish the film, and here we are. It tells the story of a Hollywood director who emerges from semi-exile with plans to complete a new innovative feature. It stars John Huston (you know, one of the best directors of his time, so that’s appropriate), Peter Bogdanovich, Susan Strasberg and others.
No doubt I could write about another dozen films or so that I’m looking forward to this fall season. There is so much to look forward too as we come down the stretch in 2018. Drew Goddard’s Bad Times at the El Royale looks great. David Gordon Green’s Halloween looks to be a great revival for that franchise. The Jacques Audiard films The Sisters Brothers looks really funny, especially when you pair John C. Reilly and Joaquin Phoenix. Speaking of Phoenix, it’d be nice if we get Garth Davis’ Mary Magdalene, also starring Rooney Mara. Steven Knight is back in the director’s chair with Serenity after making my favorite film from 2014 in Locke. Marielle Heller is back with Can You Ever Forgive Me? starring Melissa McCarthy, who looks really good in that role.
We’re also getting The Little Stranger from Room director Lenny Abrahamson. We’ll get another directorial debut in Mid 90’s from Jonah Hill, and I dug that initial trailer quite a bit. High Life from Claire Denis looks appealing as well. Luca Guadagnino’s Suspiria looks to be the year’s best “wtf” experience, and I can’t wait for that. Speaking of, films such as Mandy and Madeline’s Madeline will give Suspira a run for its money if the reviews are to be trusted.
Lastly, a few mainstream honorable mentions for me. Aquaman could end up being the funnest film in the DCEU thus far. I’m looking forward to Mary Poppins Returns as a big fan of Emily Blunt and I’m curious what music Lin Manuel-Miranda brings to the film. But more than any other mainstream fall film, Bumblebee has my attention. Travis Knight directed one of the best animated films of the decade so far in Kubo and the Two Strings, and Bumblebee looks like a great continuation of what I loved about Kubo. Hopefully it works as a great reboot for that franchise.
What about you though? What films are you most anticipating this fall season?