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The Movies/TV 8 Ball: The Top 8 Most Anticipated Fall Films — It, Thor, Blade Runner, More

August 8, 2017 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas

Top 8 Anticipated Fall Films

Welcome, one and all, to the 8 Ball in the Movie Zone! I’m your host Jeremy Thomas and as always, we will be tackling a topic and providing you the top eight selections of that particular category. Keep in mind that this list is meant to be my personal opinion and not a definitive list. You’re free to disagree; you can even say my list is wrong, but stating that an opinion is “wrong” is just silly. With that in mind, let’s get right in to it!

The heights of the summer movie season are gone, and now we’re in the dog days of summer. In recent years, August has seen some surprise successes of the likes of Guardians of the Galaxy, Straight Outta Compton, Don’t Breathe and even Suicide Squad, but the remainder of the month doesn’t look too promising. The good news is that fall is right around the corner and there are plenty of great films lined up there. This week I thought we would take a look at the most exciting-looking films populating the fall months this year.

Caveat: Nice and simple: any film released from the beginning of September up to the week before Thanksgiving was eligible. After that it becomes the holiday season. No other caveats!

Just Missing the Cut

American Assassin
American Made

#8: mother! (September 15th)

First up on our list is one that’s probably flying under a lot of people’s radar. I certainly don’t blame them for that, as there’s been very little revealed about it. But that’s Darren Aronofsky’s way and whenever the director has a new project coming out, I’m interested. While his record isn’t perfect, even the somewhat lesser entries in Aronofsky’s filmography (Noah, The Fountain) have been visually interesting experiences. When he’s on the right project he excels, with The Wrestler, Requiem for a Dream and Black Swan all being (deservedly) well-loved efforts.

For mother!, the director appears to be going back to the surreal horror that he nailed in Black Swan. He’s brought what may be one of his best casts yet on board including Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Michelle Pfeiffer, Ed Harris and Kristen Wiig. All that’s known of the story is that uninvited guests show up at a couple’s house and disrupt their lives. That said, the trailer that released last week promises an intense, creepy film that looks to be right in Aronofsky’s wheelhouse. It won’t be the biggest hit of the fall, but I’m definitely on board.

#7: Murder on the Orient Express (November 3rd)

Some of the best films come from classic stories. People complain about how many remakes there are these days, but I think that the bigger problem is many of them are remaking things that weren’t that good to begin with. When you have a good story that resonates through multiple eras, no one has a problem with them being remade over and over (within reason). If some of the remakes had chosen better source material, we wouldn’t have nearly as many complains about the recycling of Hollywood.

Case in point: Agatha Christie. The legendary mystery author’s works make great material for Hollywood films, to the point that I’m surprised we don’t get them more frequently. Leave it to Kenneth Branagh to try and bring her back. The director has lined up a phenomenal cast for his take on Murder on the Orient Express, which releases on November 3rd. That cast includes the likes of Penélope Cruz, Willem Dafoe, Judi Dench, Johnny Depp, Josh Gad, Derek Jacobi, Leslie Odom Jr., Michelle Pfeiffer and Daisy Ridley. Branagh himself will play the great detective Hercule Poirot. Despite three live-action adaptations to date and the story being well-known, I’m very excited to see how this one unfolds under his hand.

#6: Justice League (November 17th)

One of the last films to released before the holiday season begins is, perhaps, one of the most-talked about. It’s certainly one of the biggest on this list. Many considered the DC Extended Universe to be in a bad place at the end of last year. While Batman V Superman and Suicide Squad were both very profitable films, they both had a strong negative reception from critics and many fans. Things seemed to be approaching a critical point until Wonder Woman turned things around in June. Now all eyes are turned forward to see if that film was an anomaly or a sign of things to come.

To be clear, Justice League is this far down the list specifically because I’m concerned it may be more BvS than Wonder Woman. Zack Snyder seems to have a certain vision and while Geoff Johns & Jon Berg are trying to turn that around, Justice League was already well into pre-production at that point. But some aesthetic concerns aside, the movie definitely seems from the marketing to lean away from the dourness of the earlier film and Joss Whedon’s involvement in post-production will very likely help. At worst, it’ll be great to see Diana back on the big screen and at best, it’ll be another sign of the DCEU turning things around.

#5: The Snowman (October 13th)

There’s been a new tradition over the last few years in Hollywood around the month of October. Horror usually rules the month but there’s a growing trend of using the scary month to appeal to more literary-minded folks as well. This can be largely credited to 2014, when Gone Girl opened early in the month and went on to become a massive hit and an Oscar nominated-film. That in turn inspired Universal to release The Girl on the Train, based on Paula Hawkins thriller novel, last year. It didn’t capture the same magic but proved to be profitable, showing the studios that there is a market for older thrills in October.

That brings us to October 13th, when Universal will bring us The Snowman. Based on Norwegian writer Jo Nesbo’s crime thriller, the Tomas Alfredson-directed movie stars Michael Fassbender as a man on the hunt for a serial killer during the first snow of winter. He teams with Rebecca Ferguson’s recruit in an attempt to connect decades-old cases together with the new ones. Alfredson is known to horror fans as the man behind Let the Right One In and with a phenomenal cast that also includes J.K. Simmons, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Toby Jones, he has all the elements needed for a very chilling (no pun intended) crime flick here.

#4: Kingsman: The Golden Circle (September 22nd)

Not every comic book-inspired film has to be about superheroes in tights, post-apocalyptic something-or-others or serious drama. The graphic novel form is host to all genres. Case in point: Kingsman: The Secret Service. The Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons comic about a top-secret spy organization proved to be great source material for a raucously fun R-rated action comedy in the hands of Matthew Vaughn in early 2015. It also proved to be quite the hit, making a huge profit on its relatively small budget.

Normally a film as aggressively idiosyncratic as Kingsman would be a poor choice to try to mine for a sequel. Such a follow-up finds itself walking an even more tightrope between hitting the beats of the first entry and forging its own path than usual. In this case though, everything looks spectacular so far. Vaughn and co-writer Jane Goldman are bringing the Kingsman to the US to interact with the more cowboy-esque Statesman, including the casting coups of Channing Tatum and Jeff Bridges as Tequila and Champagne. That’s the exact kind of hilarity that made the first one work, but in such a way that they aren’t just hitting the same story beats. With Colin Firth, Taron Egerton and Mark Strong back for more and the new cast members looking to shine, there’s no reason why this can’t be another great time at the movies.

#3: It (September 8th)

Really, I shouldn’t be doing this to myself. It is exactly the kind of film I shouldn’t be going to see. As someone with legitimate, actual caulrophobia — one partially brought on by the 1990s ABC miniseries — a new adaptation of Stephen King’s It should be the last movie I find myself in the theaters for. But here’s the thing; horror movies don’t often scare me all that much. That’s not to say there aren’t good horror films out there. They may build the tension of have good jump scares, but like many horror-hounds I have a tough time being terrified. I want to be scared at a horror film.

It suggests it may buck that trend, and perhaps even if you aren’t pathologically afraid of clowns. There was skepticism to be sure in the early stages of this film’s development, particularly when Cary Fukanaga left over creative differences. But everything about Andrés Muschietti’s film thus far seems to promise one hell of a fright movie.
Bill Skarsgård looks terrifying as Pennywise and the updating to the current era looks to have been done very well. I’ll be going to this and expecting to be legitimately frightened…and somehow, that’s a good thing.

#2: Blade Runner 2049 (October 6th)

There’s no debating the fact that the original Blade Runner is an absolute science fiction classic. Ridley Scott’s dystopian 1982 neo-noir is a hallmark of the genre, rightly considered one of the best science fiction movies of all-time. That’s a high reputation to live up to, which is probably why it took so long to get a sequel. Fans have been clamoring for another trip back into the world of replicants for over thirty years now and while development has been active since the late 1990s, all the elements had to come together right for it to work.

Thus far, it looks like they’ve pulled it off. With Denis Villeneuve behind the camera and Scott on board as a producer, Blade Runner 2049 looks like it will have the elements that made the original so good. Villeneuve’s ability to handle high-minded, mind-bending sci-fi was proven with last year’s Arrival, after all. He has a strong cast on board here, with Harrison Ford being joined by Ryan Gosling, Ana de Armas, Robin Wright and Jared Leto among others. The trailers have shown the same visual flair as the first film and the story hints are certainly intriguing. This could well become one of the best films of the year.

#1: Thor: Ragnarok (November 3rd)

I wouldn’t have had Thor: Ragnarok at the top of my list of most anticipated fall films at the beginning of the year. Sure, I love the Marvel Cinematic Universe and I was looking forward to this, but I can’t say it was more anticipated than Blade Runner 2049, for example. But then the trailers and promos began to hit and I was completely geeked out. The Thor franchise has perhaps been the least good of the individual MCU franchises, but Taika Waititi seems to be determined to change that. Waititi came on to direct this entry and his quirky sensibilities are taking Thor in a new, exciting direction.

For Ragnarok, Waititi and writer Eric Pearson have decided to go full-out cosmic space epic here. The trailer basically reads like a love letter to films like Flash Gordon but with the Marvel stamp on it. The promotional materials have teased all the wackiest elements of the Thor comics (in a good way) and the cast is the best yet for the God of Thunder’s solo efforts, even with Natalie Portman left behind. I’m ready for gladiator Hulk, evil Cate Blanchett and double M16-wielding Skurge. Bring it on.

And that will do it for us this week! Join me next week for another edition of the 8-Ball! Until then, have a good week and don’t forget to read the many other great columns, news articles and more here at 411mania.com! JT out.