Colin Vanden Berg
Assoc. Arts & Culture Editor
After a summer with great films (Wonder Woman, Dunkirk), and disappointing films (Pirates 5, nearly every comedy), now it’s time for the consistently most diverse movie season of each year: fall. Nowadays, the major studios include blockbusters in fall’s usual lineup of horror films, Oscar contenders, and family films. The fall 2017 film preview lists 16 notable films, categorized by genre.
On Sept. 8, the massively successful It opened the fall horror season with a cast of relatively unknown actors — a common practice in the genre. The year’s remaining horror films, however, each star at least one well-known lead performer. Mother!, directed by Daren Aronofsky (Black Swan), debuts on Sept. 15 and stars Jennifer Lawrence (The Hunger Games, Silver Linings Playbook) and Javier Bardem (No Country for Old Men) as a couple whose relationship is tested by uninvited guests. Flatliners (Sept. 29), a remake of the 1990 psychological thriller, stars Ellen Page (Juno, Inception) and Star Wars alum Diego Luna. The trailers for this remake focus more on the horror elements than the original; however, the film could also feature some compelling drama. The Snowman (Oct. 20), about a serial killer who leaves the calling card of a snowman, stars Michael Fassbender (X-Men: First Class, 12 Years a Slave) and Rebecca Ferguson (Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation).
Kingsman: The Golden Circle, the sequel to 2014’s Kingsman: The Secret Service, promises the same fun, spy thrills as the original, with cast members and Mathew Vaughn (Kick-Ass) returning to direct. The Kingsmen will meet their American counterparts, The Statesmen, led by Halle Berry (James Bond, X-Men), Channing Tatum (21 Jump Street, Magic Mike), and Jeff Bridges (The Big Lebowski, Iron Man). Thor: Ragnarok (Nov. 3), the third installment of the Thor franchise, takes full advantage of its inclusion in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) and Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) join Chris Hemsworth’s Thor in this epic space adventure.
Nov. 17 brings the big-screen debut of DC’s popular Justice League comic book. Director Zack Snyder’s previous DC Extended Universe films, Man of Steel and Batman V. Superman, caused fan skepticism due primarily to fan unhappiness with the scripts. Justice League, however also features the writing and uncredited directing talents of Joss Whedon (The Avengers). The latest trailer promises a greater focus on character interactions, particularly involving Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman. Hopefully, the film will incorporate both Snyder’s unique visual flair and Whedon’s skill with writing and directing actors.
Brad’s Status (Oct. 15) stars Ben Stiller (Night at the Museum) as a man who sends his son to college while also dealing with a midlife crisis. Though the film is a drama, the plot provides good opportunities for laughter. The Disaster Artist (Dec. 1, limited) explores the story of the making of the cult classic independent film, The Room, widely considered one of the worst films of all time. In Daddy’s Home 2 (Nov. 10, limited), Will Ferrell and Mark Walberg reprise their roles as stepdad and dad to three kids, this time joined by Mel Gibson and John Lithgow as their own fathers.
Wonder (Nov. 10), based on the popular novel, stars Jacob Tremblay as Auggie, a boy with physical deformities, and how he tries, or doesn’t try, to fit in. Pixar’s Coco (Nov. 22) follows a young Mexican/American boy who finds himself in the literal land of the dead. Goodbye Christopher Robin, with a similar story-line to 2013’s Saving Mr. Banks, explores author A.A. Milne’s creation of Winnie the Pooh based off his son Christopher Robin’s imaginary friends.
Stronger (Sept. 22, limited) stars Jake Gyllenhaal as Jeff Bauman, a spectator at the 2013 Boston Marathon Bombing who lost his legs and his girlfriend. On Nov. 10, Kenneth Branagh (Hamlet, Cinderella) directs Murder on the Orient Express, adapted from the famed mystery novel. Darkest Hour, starring Gary Oldman, chronicles legendary Prime Mister Winston Churchill’s efforts to win World War 2. On Dec. 8, Guillermol Del Toro (Pans Labrunth, Crimson Peak) helms the science-fiction romance film The Shape of Water.