The Most Anticipated Fall Movies, From James Bond to Lady Gaga
Here are the movies we’re most looking forward to this fall, from a serial killer who loves having sex with cars to a trio of films that will surely vie for the Best Picture Oscar.
Look, we’re still in the throes of a once-in-a-century pandemic that’s claiming over 2,000 American lives a day. And so, while the cinema is sort of back—at least if you’re a Marvel superhero extravaganza or swoll goons driving cars off cliffs—it’s important to take the necessary COVID precautions, from getting vaccinated to wearing a mask for the duration of the film. (The recent Venice Film Festival served as a solid model for COVID-era moviegoing.)
With that said, there are plenty of exciting new films that will debut this fall season, from Palme d’Or winner Titane, a gender-bending serial-killer fantasy featuring someone having sex with a car, to French Canadian auteur Denis Villeneuve’s sci-fi epic Dune, to the great Paul Thomas Anderson’s excoriation of Hollywood, Licorice Pizza.
These are the movies we’re most looking forward to:
Dear Evan Hansen (Sept. 24)
The Broadway musical, about an anxious high school teenager who reinvents himself as the best friend of a classmate who dies by suicide, earned critical raves and took home six Tony Awards. But the movie adaptation has been critically mauled over its maudlin execution and the baffling decision to have the musical’s star, 27-year-old Ben Platt, reprise his role as the titular high schooler. Will it be the next Cats—a colossal misfire deserving of the history books? Either way, the brilliant Amy Adams deserves better.
The Guilty (Sept. 24)
This Netflix film is directed by Antoine Fuqua, who frankly hasn’t done all that much since 2001’s Training Day. Here, he’s reunited with his Southpaw star Jake Gyllenhaal, who plays a 9-1-1 dispatcher sent into panic mode when he receives a call from a kidnapped woman (voiced by Riley Keough). Yes, it’s penned by True Detective scribe Nic Pizzolatto, which means it’ll be overwritten to the point of exhaustion but will still prove a treat for fans of the oft-electrifying Gyllenhaal, who remains an unpredictable delight.
Venom: Let There Be Carnage (Oct. 1)
There’s been precious little buzz when it comes to this supercharged supervillain sequel, which is never a good sign, but witnessing Tom Hardy’s Venom square off against Woody Harrelson’s Carnage—and thus, seeing Hardy and Harrelson locked in a vicious battle of acting one-upmanship—should be good fun. Add the always reliable Michelle Williams, Stephen Graham’s detective, and Naomie Harris as Harrelson’s love interest, and you have a wicked stew.
The Many Saints of Newark (Oct. 1)
This prequel to HBO’s The Sopranos, perhaps the greatest television show ever, comes from show creator David Chase, who’s decided to dramatize the origin story of Tony Soprano—capturing his teenage years in 1960s and 1970s Newark, New Jersey, amid the Newark race riots. While fans of The Sopranos will recognize character names, from Dickie Moltisanti to Uncle Junior and Paulie Walnuts, and it’s touching that Chase chose to cast Michael Gandolfini, the real-life son of the late James Gandolfini, as young Tony, the whole ordeal could’ve used more humor.
Titane (Oct. 1)
The latest body-horror flick from the talented French filmmaker Julia Ducournau (Raw) was the toast of Cannes, taking home the coveted Palme d’Or. It centers on a woman, Alexia (Agathe Rousselle), who is sexually attracted to cars and gets her jollies murdering men and women. “Ducournau derives a kind of bewildered comedy from this set-up, as well as a great deal of discomfort, probing insistently at our understanding of gender, sexuality, identity, and family,” wrote Caspar Salmon at Cannes.
No Time to Die (Oct. 8)
It’s Daniel Craig’s final Bond film—of course you’re going to see it! That it’s directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga (True Detective), features Rami Malek as the deformed big bad, and Ana de Armas as the new Bond girl is just icing on the cake.
The Rescue (Oct. 8)
Filmmakers Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin’s documentary follow-up to their Oscar-winning Free Solo sees them swap mountains for cavernous depths, as they examine the Tham Luang cave rescue of 2018, which saw a group of divers attempt to rescue a junior football team trapped in a cave. Remember when Elon Musk tried to fashion a submarine to rescue the kids, only to be publicly embarrassed and then baselessly accuse one of the divers of being a “pedo guy?” Fun times.
Halloween Kills (Oct. 15)
Jamie Lee Curtis is back to take on Michael Myers—and she’s joined by her fellow OG Halloween star Kyle Richards, of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills fame. We suspect she’ll do a better job of running from The Shape than she did exiting that restaurant in Amsterdam. Or will she?
The Last Duel (Oct. 15)
Filmmaker Ridley Scott is back in historical-drama territory with this drama set in 14th-century France that sees knight Jean de Carrouges (Matt Damon) challenge his squire Jacques Le Gris (Adam Driver) to trial by combat after his wife Marguerite (Jodie Comer) accuses him of raping her. It’s based on a real-life tale and, with a screenplay penned by Damon, Ben Affleck (who features as a creepy baddie), and Nicole Holofcener, feels like a creative mea culpa of sorts from two actors-turned-filmmakers who benefited from Harvey Weinstein’s reign of terror.
Bergman Island (Oct. 15)
If you haven’t seen French director Mia Hansen-Løve’s Eden, a vibrant chronicle of the French electronic music scene over the past thirty years, please do so immediately. Her latest is a more character-oriented affair, following a filmmaking couple (Vicky Krieps, Tim Roth) who travel to Fårö, the Swedish island where Ingmar Bergman wrote his films, for creative inspiration, only to see the real and imagined begin to blur.
The Velvet Underground (Oct. 15)
It’s Todd Haynes (Carol) directing a robust Apple TV+ documentary on The Velvet Underground. If that doesn’t sound rad to you, I don’t know what to tell ya. Plus, the film received raves when it debuted at Cannes.
Dune (Oct. 22)
This big-budget adaptation of Frank Herbert’s seminal 1965 novel about messianism, interplanetary struggle, and ecological plunder is a corrective of sorts to David Lynch’s renowned misfire. With Denis Villeneuve, the man behind Arrival and Blade Runner 2049, at the helm, this star-studded saga about a reluctant young prince (Timothée Chalamet) forced to avenge his people “is a transportive journey through space and time that immediately takes its place among the science-fiction cinema greats, and that begs to be seen on as big a screen as possible.” Hopefully, Warner Bros. will green-light a sequel.
The French Dispatch (Oct. 22)
Filmmaker Wes Anderson’s self-described “love letter to journalists” is set in the fictional French city of Ennui-sur-Blasé, and follows the trials and tribulations of the hard-working folks at a magazine modeled after The New Yorker. Any Anderson film is surely worth your time—especially one that includes a cast of Tilda Swinton, Frances McDormand, Timothée Chalamet, Jeffrey Wright, Adrien Brody, Benicio del Toro, Owen Wilson, Elisabeth Moss, Christoph Waltz, Saoirse Ronan, Edward Norton, Willem Dafoe, Liev Schreiber, Anjelica Huston, and of course, Bill Murray.
Last Night in Soho (Oct. 29)
Eloise (Thomasin McKenzie), a young student from the British countryside, is having trouble fitting in at her competitive London fashion school; by night, however, she’s transported to 1960s London, assuming the guise of Sandie (Anya Taylor-Joy), a glamorous up-and-coming singer mentored by the dashing Jack (Matt Smith). When Sandie’s story takes a very dark turn, Eloise goes on the hunt for answers, bridging past and present. If that weren’t enough, the film sees director Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead) return to the horror genre, and also marks the final film role of the late, great Diana Rigg.
Antlers (Oct. 29)
A creepy horror film starring Keri Russell and Jesse Plemons as a brother and sister in small-town Oregon who become convinced that one of her young students is hiding an otherworldly creature inside his house? Yes, please.
The Harder They Fall (Nov. 3)
The feature filmmaking debut of Jeymes Samuel—who happens to be the brother of the R&B singer Seal—is a history-making all-Black Western focused on Nat Love (Jonathan Majors), a gunslinger who reassembles his old crew to take revenge on the man (Idris Elba) who killed his parents. Samuel’s film, which will be released on Netflix, also stars Zazie Beetz, Lakeith Stanfield, Delroy Lindo, and the inimitable Regina King.
Eternals (Nov. 5)
What do you do after winning Best Picture and Best Director Oscars? In the case of Nomadland’s Chloe Zhao, it’s helming this $200 million Marvel superhero movie about an immortal group of aliens with special powers, known as the Eternals, who protect humankind from the evil Deviants. The Eternals are played by Angelina Jolie, Richard Madden, Gemma Chan, Kumail Nanjiani, Brian Tyree Henry, and Salma Hayek.
Spencer (Nov. 5)
Kristen Stewart may very well win an Oscar for her gripping turn as the late Princess Diana in this nuanced character study. With all due respect to Emma Corrin, who dazzled on Netflix’s The Crown, Stewart’s is the definitive onscreen Diana, in all her wounded complexity.
Belfast (Nov. 12)
Any Oscar forecaster will tell you that the winner of the Audience Award at the Toronto International Film Festival stands a great chance of not only being nominated for the Best Picture Oscar but winning it (see: Green Book). And filmmaker Kenneth Branagh’s semi-autobiographical black-and-white tale of a young boy (Jude Hill) and his working-class family (Jamie Dornan, Caitriona Balfe, Ciaran Hinds, Judi Dench) scraping by amid Ireland’s troubles will no doubt continue the trend.
The Power of the Dog (Nov. 17)
Acclaimed filmmaker Jane Campion’s latest is a beautifully realized deconstruction of performative cowboy masculinity, as a sadistic ranch hand named Phil (Benedict Cumberbatch) who quietly terrorizes an alcoholic mother (Kirsten Dunst) and her oddball son (Kodi Smit-McPhee) while her husband/Phil’s brother (Jesse Plemons) is away. The less you know about this film going in the better, though the decision to award Campion with the Best Director prize at the Venice Film Festival surprised no one.
Ghostbusters: Afterlife (Nov. 19)
Do we need another Ghostbusters movie? I’m not sure. This one at least stars Paul Rudd as a teacher in rural Oklahoma who, along with a mother (Carrie Coon) and her two young kids (Mckenna Grace and Finn Wolfhard) stumbles upon their grandfather’s history as an original Ghostbuster. The film also brings back much of the original Ghostbusters cast, including Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson, Sigourney Weaver, and Annie Potts.
King Richard (Nov. 19)
We all want good things for Will Smith after Jada summoned him to The Red Table to discuss her “entanglement” with a D-list singer. And early buzz for this film is strong, with critics hailing Smith’s performance as Richard Williams, the embattled father of future tennis greats Venus and Serena Williams. King Richard traces the trio’s storybook journey from the streets of Compton to the grass of Wimbledon.
Encanto (Nov. 24)
The latest Disney animated film concerns the Madrigals, a family blessed with supernatural powers in the majestic mountains of Colombia. When Mirabel (Stephanie Beatriz), the youngest—and only ungifted—Madrigal learns that their mojo is in jeopardy, she embarks on an epic quest to preserve their magic and save the family. Directed by Byron Howard and Jared Bush, the team behind the masterful Tangled and Zootopia, the film also features music and lyrics by the ubiquitous Lin-Manuel Miranda.
House of Gucci (Nov. 24)
Lady Gaga’s accent alone is worth the price of admission.
Licorice Pizza (Nov. 26)
Any movie by Paul Thomas Anderson, one of our greatest living filmmakers, is cause for celebration. Here, he explores wild and crazy 1970s Hollywood through the eyes of a high school student breaking into acting (Cooper Hoffman) and Jon Peters (Bradley Cooper), a hairdresser turned film producer. Anderson’s cast is rounded out by Alana Haim (of the band Haim), John C. Reilly, Benny Safdie, Sean Penn, Tom Waits, and wife Maya Rudolph.
The Humans (Nov. 27)
Stephen Karam has adapted his Tony Award-winning one-act play of the same name about a young couple (Beanie Feldstein and Steven Yeun) who share a disturbingly awkward Thanksgiving with family members (Richard Jenkins, Jayne Houdyshell, Amy Schumer and June Squibb) in a cramped New York City apartment. “At first it seems like the Blakes are in a haunted house and things that go bump in the night are at work extracting drama and revelations. But the more specific the family’s issues get, the more evident it becomes that there is no supernatural meddling or puppet strings,” wrote our Kevin Fallon. “The emotional exorcism is a product of everyday life’s annoyances, of decades of intimate relationship with family, and of exasperation with, simply, the way things are. Of being humans.”