Well folks, the summer months are drawing to a close, and you know what that means: it’s Good Movie Season. To be fair, this summer didn’t turn out to be nearly as dire as we’d predicted, thanks to an atypical influx of quality flicks like Logan Lucky, Atomic Blonde, The Beguiled, Detroit, Dunkirk, War for the Planet of the Apes, Baby Driver, Okja, Good Time, and Wonder Woman; if the traditional math holds true, and the last four months yield far better movies than the previous, we’re in for quite a fall. Here are the ten flicks we’re looking forward to the most.
It (September 8)
Stephen King’s masterpiece of doorstop horror has had quite a bumpy ride to the big-screen, with a long-gestating adaptation directed by Cary Fukunuga cancelled at the eleventh hour; the appointment of successor Andrés Muschietti (who helmed the forgettable Mama) and the first photos from the set didn’t exactly inspire confidence. But then the trailers began to drop, and holy shit – it looks absolutely terrifying, magnificently capturing the childhood nostalgia and straight-up terror of King’s text. And, as with the 1990 TV miniseries, this is the first of a two-part film, so they won’t go nuts smashing those thousand-plus pages into two or so hours.
The Florida Project (October 6)
Sean Baker’s Tangerine was one of 2015’s surprise sleeper sensations, a micro-budget story of trans sex workers, shot on the fly (and on an iPhone), yet transcending all sensationalism to tell a story filled with warmth and humanity. As is often the case with the follow-up to a tiny hit, Baker’s got a movie star this time – Willem Dafoe, in an already acclaimed performance – and is working on a much bigger canvas, with a tale of kids hanging out and causing trouble while growing up in a Florida motel.
Faces Places (October 6)
Back in 2000, the great French filmmaker Agnès Varda took her camcorder into the countryside to document the lives of scavengers of all types, and come up with (per the New York Times) one of the great films of our young cenutry, The Gleaners and I. In this spiritual sequel, the nearly-90-year-old director hits the road again, teaming with young French photographer JR to travel around France taking large-scale photographs of the people and places they encounter. If the trailer (and its initial Cannes reviews) are any indication, the results are frisky, fresh, and inspiring.
Wonderstruck (October 20)
After making some of the most bold, provocative, and romantic movies in recent memory, director Todd Haynes set his eyes on his most surprising goal yet: the PG rating. There’s some precedent; his latest is an adaptation of a book by Brian Selznick, who provided the source material for Martin Scorsese’s similarly unexpected family picture Hugo. But Haynes has brought along some familiar faces – including leading lady Julianne Moore (their fourth collaboration) and I’m Not There co-star Michelle Williams – and word from Cannes (where he also launched Carol ) is very good indeed.
Blade Runner 2049 (October 6) / Thor: Ragnarok (November 3)
Sometimes in this movie-going life, you hear about a film that sounds rather less than promising – say, a seemingly unnecessary follow-up to a 35-year-old classic, or the third film in a series that has yet to work – and you write it off. And then you find out a director you love is at the helm, and you have to rethink your stance. Such is the cast with these two high-profile studio releases; Blade Runner 2049 finds Harrison Ford welcoming co-star Ryan Gosling as Arrival director Denis Villeneuve takes over for Sir Ridley Scott (still credited as an executive producer), while the reliably lead-footed Thor franchise welcomes Cate Blanchett, Idris Elba, and, best of all, idiosyncratic What We Do in the Shadows and Hunt for the Wilderpeople director Taika Waititi. To be clear, these movies still sound like bad ideas. But if any filmmakers can transcend bad ideas, it’s these two.
The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) (October 13)
Writer/director Noah Baumbach has been on a real hot streak lately, rotating his acidic Ben Stiller vehicles (Greenberg, While We’re Young) with sunnier efforts starring his real-life partner Greta Gerwig (Frances Ha, Mistress America). Stiller’s back for his latest, which should give us some idea of its disposition; it also features Adam Sandler in one of his occasional “No really, I can act when I’m bothered to” turns, plus Dustin Hoffman, Emma Thompson, Grace Van Patten, and Elizabeth Marvel. And it concerns a dysfunctional family of creative types – a dynamic that has given Baumbach some of his richest material.
Lady Bird (November 10)
And where is Ms. Greta in Baumbach’s latest, you ask? Well, she had some shit of her own to take care of – namely, her solo debut as a writer/director. And, unsurprisingly, she put together a hell of a cast: Brooklyn star Saoirse Ronan as a rebellious teenager who dreams (as so many do) of moving to New York and showing all those assholes back home what she’s made of, while actor’s-actors Laurie Metcalf and Tracy Letts appear in supporting roles.
Call Me By Your Name (November 24)
This adaptation of André Aciman’s novel from director Luca Guadagnino (I Am Love, A Bigger Splash) has been greeted with rapturous notices since its debut at the Sundance Film Festival all the way back in January. (Yes, that was just January. Trump Time sure is something.) As we’re coming to expect, Guadagnino’s latest is a luxurious, sun-soaked piece of work, a coming-of-age (and sex) story that’s reportedly as luminous as it is erotic. Armie Hammer, Timothée Chalamet, and Michael Stuhlbarg star.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi (December 15)
Y’know, just doing our part to shine the spotlight on the lesser-known movies in this very crowded marketplace.
Untitled Paul Thomas Anderson / Daniel Day-Lewis Film (December 25)
The last time writer/director Anderson and actor Day-Lewis teamed up, the result was There Will Be Blood – one of the finest movies of our era (recently chosen as the very finest, in fact, by the Times), netting Day-Lewis his second Oscar and nominations for Best Director, Screenplay, and actor for Anderson. We don’t know a whole lot about their latest just yet; there’s not even a title, much less a trailer. But we know it’s set in London’s fashion industry in the 1950s, and we know Day-Lewis intends it to be his final film as an actor. And that’s good enough for us.