Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Movies: The Fall [movie] Schedule

-from Vulture magazine

this fall season boasts everything from Oscar bait like Sundance stunner Manchester by the Sea and Ang Lee’s Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk to superhero and Pixar flicks. So without further ado, here are the most anticipated movies hitting theaters this fall.

SULLY (Sept. 9)

Clint Eastwood’s last film in the director’s chair, 2014’s war saga American Sniper, was a bona fide phenomenon, grossing $547 million worldwide and earning six Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture. Eastwood’s follow-up is less jingoistic, more traditional Oscar bait: a film about Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger (played by Tom Hanks), the veteran US Airways pilot who successfully crash-landed his airliner on the Hudson River—saving all 155 souls onboard. After he’s anointed as a hero by the press, however, the brave man is forced to defend his reputation. Think of it as Flight sans the drugs, booze, and Denzel strut. The film also stars Aaron Eckhart as Sully’s first officer, Laura Linney as his wife, and Katie Couric as… herself.

KICKS (Sept. 9)

This grim, accomplished debut by writer-director Justin Tipping is a hip-hop infused Bay Area saga about inner-city teen Brandon (Jahking Guillory)—a diminutive, dirt-poor high school kid dodging bullies left and right. When fate grants him a fresh pair of Air Jordans, his luck seems to change—that is, until fate snatches them away, and he’s forced to embark on a dark pilgrimage to the mean streets of Oakland to retrieve them. Tipping’s film boasts stylish lensing, a pulsing hip-hop soundtrack that divides the action up into chapters, ace performances from its young, mostly inexperienced cast, and a towering one from acclaimed character actor Mahershala Ali.


Jeff Feuerzeig’s documentary Author: The JT LeRoy Story delves into one of the greatest literary hoaxes of the 20th Century: a counterculture author/novelist by the name of Jeremiah “Terminator” LeRoy, an abused, drug-addled, gender fluid teenager who channeled his chaotic life into his prose, culminating in the acclaimed 1999 collection of short stories The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things. Of course, it was later revealed that there was no JT LeRoy, and that is was merely an avatar created by the writer Laura Albert, raising interesting questions about authorship, responsibility, and the lengths to which someone will go to perpetuate a lie.

SNOWDEN (Sept. 16)

Filmmaker Oliver Stone has previously taken on General Patton, the JFK assassination, and George W. Bush. Now, he’s focusing his prying lens on the story of Edward Snowden, the securities contractor who leaked classified information from the NSA in 2013, thus exposing the government’s network of spying on American citizens (and those abroad). The film traces Snowden’s rise up the ranks of the data food chain all the way up to—and beyond—his fateful meeting with journalists Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras, and company in China. It starsJoseph Gordon-Levitt as Snowden, Shailene Woodley as girlfriend Lindsay Mills, Zachary Quinto as Greenwald, Melissa Leo as Poitras, and the inimitable Nicolas Cage.

BLAIR WITCH (Sept. 16)

I know what you’re thinking: Is the world really asking for a sequel to The Blair Witch Project? After all, the so-called 2000 “sequel” Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 was a total disaster. Well, this direct sequel to the original Blair Witch—let’s forget the other one ever happened, shall we?—has a talented director onboard in Adam Wingard, the man behind You’re Next and The Guest, and received critical kudos out of Comic-Con. So hey, why not follow six more people into the creepy backwoods of Maryland in search of the supernatural?


Bridget Jones’s Diary is one of the better rom-coms of the last 20 years. Its 2004 sequel, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, was shit. That brings us to 2016. Now, Bridget (Renee Zellweger) it pushing 40, has broken up with the love of her life, Mark Darcy (Colin Firth), and fallen for a dashing American in Jack (Patrick Dempsey). When she becomes pregnant, however, her life is once again thrown into chaos, as she must find out whether the child is Darcy’s or Jack’s. The film also features a stellar supporting cast, including Shirley Henderson, Jim Broadbent, Ed Sheeran (?), and the great Emma Thompson as Bridget’s gynecologist.


You might be asking yourself whether the world really needs a remake of a remake of the Kurosawa classic Seven Samurai, but then you’d be overthinking it. It’s Antoine Fuqua directing his Training Day star Denzel Washington as the leader of a gang of outlaws who band together to help a town from a deranged industrialist, played by Peter Sarsgaard. The other outlaws are played by the likes of Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke, Vincent D’Onofrio, Byung-hun Lee, and others. So yes, there’s plenty of gunplay, Denzel being a bad motherfucker, and Chris Pratt cracking one-liners. If that isn’t worth the price of admission, I don’t know what is.  


Filmmaker Mira Nair has been in a bit of a creative slump since her excellent 2006 film The Namesake, helming the mediocre Amelia Earhart biopic Amelia and the timely but disappointing The Reluctant Fundamentalist. She hopes to make a comeback with this Walt Disney biopic of Phiona Mutesi, a Ugandan girl from a poor village who strives to be a chess grandmaster. The film also stars Selma’s David Oyelowo as Robert Katende, a chess player running a program for aspiring tacticians, and Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o as Phiona’s mother, Harriet.

GOAT (Sept. 23)

On the surface, a dark drama about the antics of abusive frat boys starring pop singer Nick Jonas doesn’t seem like the most compelling sell. But Andrew Neel’s film—co-scripted by David Gordon Green—received positive marks out of Sundance, and is said to provide a searing exploration of toxic masculinity, and the depths young, impressionable men will go when confronted with it. The film also features a very memorable cameo by the ubiquitous James Franco as an aging former frat boy who just can’t let go.


Filmmaker Peter Berg’s (Friday Night Lights) last movie was the box office hit Lone Survivor, about a failed SEALs mission in Afghanistan involving sniper Marcus Luttrell. His latest is a $156 million blockbuster re-enactment of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, tracing how and why it happened, and the blackened, environment-raping aftermath. The film reunites Berg with his Lone Survivor star Mark Wahlberg as Mike Williams, the oil rig crew’s blowout preventer supervisor, as well as Kurt Russell, Kate Hudson, John Malkovich, Gina Rodriguez, and Dylan O’Brien.


This heist-comedy from filmmaker Jared Hess (Napoleon Dynamite) was supposed to hit theaters last summer—that is, before its studio, Relativity Media, went belly-up. It’s based on a real-life story about a night guard for an armored car company in the South who attempts to pull off one of the biggest heists in American history, stealing $17 million. The film boasts an all-star comedy cast, including Zach Galifianakis, Owen Wilson, Kristen Wiig, Jason Sudeikis, andSNL’s Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones (in other words, most of the cast of Ghostbusters).


The British filmmaker Andrea Arnold is incredibly talented. Don’t believe me? Go see 2009’s Fish Tank, which features one of the finest performances of Michael Fassbender’s career. It’s a road movie centering on Star (newcomer Sasha Lane) who joins a wild band of hell-raising misfits as they party, fuck, and fight their way across the Midwest to an addictive soundtrack. Arnold’s film, which received raves out of Cannes, also stars Shia LaBeouf, Arielle Holmes, Riley Keough, and McCaul Lombardi.

GIRL ASLEEP (Sept. 30)

This Aussie coming-of-age film from director Rosemary Myers tells the tale of 14-year-old social pariah Greta Driscoll (Bethany Whitmore), who, about to turn 15, is struggling with closing the door on her childhood, which provided her with a sense of safety in an insane world. When her parents throw her a surprise 15th birthday party, she’s transported to a mystical world where she must come to terms with her own demons—and, of course, growing up. The film’s received very favorable reviews out of the U.K. and Australia prior to its U.S. release.


This passion project from writer-director-star Nate Parker (Red TailsPride) sees him portray Nat Turner, the African-American slave who famously led a slave rebellion in Virginia on Aug. 21, 1831, that left 60 slaveowners (and many more slaves) dead. It’s named after the infamous 1915 silent film of the same name, and also stars Aja Naomi King, Gabrielle Union, Penelope Ann Miller, Jackie Earle Haley, and Armie Hammer as slaveowner Samuel Turner. Of course, the film has taken on a new dimension given a horrifying gang-rape allegation from Parker’s past—especially given that one of the movie’s most powerful moments depicts the rape of Turner’s wife, played by Union. The film nonetheless received raves out of Sundance, where it was acquired for a record $17.5 million by Fox Searchlight.

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