By Christian DiMartino
The fall film festival schedules are starting to roll out, and… whew. This is a lot to take in. Paul Schrader just announced that his next movie, Master Gardener, will be at the New York Film Festival. I also just discovered that it will actually premiere at the Venice Film Festival the month prior. This is huge news for yours truly, because Schrader is one of my guys. Trouble is, I wasn’t expecting this til next year. Will it make the deadline?
Due to my uncertainty, I didn’t mention that one in this blurb. There is one on this list though with a TBD release date that I included because… this movie to me (which will be revealed later on) is like Avengers: Endgame to everyone else, but that’s because I’m a weirdo (no disrespect to that movie, which I very much enjoyed). I’m kind of having a movie drought at the moment and theatres are in a weird place right now (Bodies Bodies Bodies and Fall were the only real releases last weekend, and nobody seemed to flock to them), so I thought I’d dive into the 10 movies in the remaining months that I can’t wait for.
There’s actually a decent amount that seem intriguing. I was a big fan of the first Shazam! movie, so that sequel should be fun. Ticket to Paradise is a romantic comedy starring George Clooney and Julia Roberts, so yes please. There’s also the new movie from Alejandro Inarritu (Birdman, The Revenant) which I’m assuming will be a knockout. Damien Chazelle’s Babylon is also (maybe?) on the way, as well as Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery. There’s a few others, but these are the 10 I ultimately chose. If there’s any truly notable omissions, let me know I guess.
Amsterdam (October 7): David O. Russell popped off The Fighter, Silver Linings Playbook, and American Hustle in a three year period, nabbing multiple Oscar nominations. 2015’s Joy was a slight step backwards, and we haven’t seen him since. He returns now with Amsterdam, which stars (allow me to catch my breath) Christian Bale, Margot Robbie, John David Washington, Mike Myers, Rami Malek, Anya-Taylor Joy, Robert De Niro, Timothy Olyphant, Zoe Saldana, Andrea Riseborough, Chris Rock, Alessandro Nivola, and Taylor Swift. Truth is, I don’t really know what this movie is about, but all of these names… I’ll be there.
Avatar: The Way of Water (December 16): Although it’s probably like my fifth favorite James Cameron movie, I’m not one of those that pretends that Avatar is bad. Perhaps lacking in the story department, but it was undeniably groundbreaking. With all of that in mind, I’d heard talk about Avatar 2 for so long that I honestly thought it was a myth. Well, it apparently isn’t, and Avatar: The Way of Water is finally almost here. And if that trailer was any indication, it’ll at least be another visual knockout. If anyone can handle the majesty of water, it’s my guy Jim.
The Banshees of Inisherin (October 21): Renowned playwright and Academy Award winning writer/director Martin McDonaugh (In Bruges, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri) returns (and reunites) with Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson for The Banshees of Inisherin. Which looks unusual but undeniably intriguing. Inisherin, which finds Farrell and Gleeson as two friends whose relationship abruptly ends, has the potential to reach the ingenious, slyly humorous and genuinely surprising heights of McDonaugh’s other efforts.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (November 11): We may be going through a little bit of Marvel fatigue, and I admittedly never flipped over the original Black Panther (though there are undeniably great things in it). There is just no denying the anticipation for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever though. Considering the untimely passing of Chadwick Boseman, the direction in which director Ryan Coogler will take this story, and a trailer that was rather sensational, we can only hope that this will be as great as it seems, sounds, and looks.
Don’t Worry Darling (September 23): I have seen the trailers for Olivia Wilde’s upcoming Don’t Worry Darling a plethora of times. I still have no idea what it’s really about, and until I see it, I’m happy to keep it that way. Because the film, Wilde’s second after Booksmart, looks very intriguing, in a Lynchian kind of way that I always welcome with open arms. Plus, not to jinx her, but Florence Pugh is on a major roll, and I’m all here for it.
Empire of Light (December 9): Not a whole lot is known about Sam Mendes’ upcoming Empire of Light besides that it’s an English love story starring Colin Firth and Olivia Colman. Those two alone are a sell, and further selling it is Mendes, the Academy Award winner of American Beauty, Road to Perdition, Skyfall, and most recently, 1917. Perhaps this is obvious, but expect an awards contender (note: this was the best picture I could find).
The Fabelmans (November 23): Coming off of West Side Story (the best movie of last year, according to yours truly), my guy Spielberg returns with The Fabelmans, which is said to be based on his childhood and is apparently his most personal film to date. If you’ve heard anything about Spielberg’s background, you’ll know that the subject of divorce and heartbreak has been present in many of his best films. What’s also significant about this film though is that it’s one of the rare occasions in which Spielberg has a writing credit (collaborating with his West Side Story, Munich and Lincoln writer Tony Kushner). Knowing what I know about Steven Spielberg, I get the vibe that this movie is going to absolutely wreck me, and his cast (Paul Dano, Seth Rogen, Michelle Williams, David Lynch, Julia Butters, Judd Hirsch, and the younger leads) are going to really work wonders here (again, best picture I could find).
Pearl (September 16): I have yacked on a few times now about Ti West’s X from earlier this year. Well, it looks like he’s giving me something else to yack on about with Pearl, a prequel starring Mia Goth as the elderly, abstinent murdering psychopath from that movie. Apparently filmed immediately after that movie, I’ve known that Pearl was coming for a few months now. I can just only hope that it’s worth the anticipation.
TÁR (TBD): So, TÁR follows a musician in the world of classical music. Sound riveting? Maybe not. BUT, I expect this film to be a major deal, and for two reasons. One being that it stars Cate Blanchett, who is perhaps my favorite actress and hasn’t returned to the Oscars since 2016 with Carol. The other is that it’s directed by Todd Field, who made two magnificent films (In the Bedroom, Little Children) in the early-mid 2000s, and hasn’t made anything since 2006. I have been waiting a long time for this.
The Whale (TBD): When I said the thing earlier about Avengers: Endgame, this was the movie I was referring to. The Whale stars Brendan Fraser as a severely obese professor who attempts to reconnect with his estranged daughter. A24 has been really scarce with the details of this one, but since it is getting a few festival releases… my hope is that we see it this year? I really can’t wait. Why am I so eagerly looking forward to this? Of all movies? Well first, A24. Second, I’ve been aboard the Brendan Fraser resurgence hype-train for a bit, and know that this is going to knock our socks off. Most importantly though, this film is directed by Darren Aronofsky (Requiem for a Dream, Black Swan, The Wrestler). When it comes to filmmakers, everyone has their guys. Aronofsky is one of my guys, near the top of the list, and I have no doubt that The Whale (his first since the hugely polarizing but brilliant mother!) is at least going to be my cup of tea.
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