I’ve been trying (perhaps not hard enough) to write more reviews. Or at least, to write reviews on a more consistent schedule. I’ve also been trying (definitely not hard enough) to write things other than reviews. Keeping in that spirit, I’ve decided to write this post, which is notably not a review, and will hopefully serve as a sort of commitment for me to write future reviews by announcing what movies (and television) I will be watching this Fall.
So here’s how this works: I’ve look at the release calendar of all the movies that will come out between Labor Day and Thanksgiving and looked for the ones I’m interested in. I’ve decided to write them up week by week, highlighting the movie that I’m most likely to write about, while still mentioning anything that looks like something I would watch.
Friday September 8
Not a particularly exciting week at the movies, I’m afraid (September is a notoriously rough month for big releases), so we’ll have to settle for television. This Friday sees the release of the fourth season of Bojack Horseman on Netflix, which is great news. If the mix of absurdist, very punny, Hollywood satire and existential dread sounds like the kind of cocktail you might like, then you ought to watch yourself some Bojack.
The really great news is that Jane Campion’s sequel series Top of the Lake: China Girl premieres on Sunday September 10. The original Top of the Lake was an outstanding piece of television, and the second season got nothing but rave reviews when it played at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. Elisabeth Moss returns in the lead role, this time joined by Nicole Kidman and Gwendoline Christie.
But if you really want to go to the movie theatre, I’m most curious about the Reese Witherspoon vehicle Home Again, a directorial debut by Hallie Meyers-Shyer, daughter of kitchen-loving auteur Nancy Meyers.
Friday September 15
Darren Aronofsky has a new movie coming out. I run hot and cold on Aronofsky. I’m getting mixed signals from mother!, not knowing if this is going to be the fun and silly Aronofsky who made Black Swan, or the insufferably serious Aronofsky of Requiem for a Dream. But who am I kidding? There’s no way I’m not seeing this movie because of one reason and one reason only… Michelle motherfucking Pfeiffer. So, yes, call this whatever you want. In my mind this is the new Michelle Pfeiffer movie, which also features Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, and Ed Harris.
There’s also Brad’s Status, the new movie by Mike White, beloved as writer of School of Rock and creator of HBO’s Enlightened. It stars Ben Stiller as guy taking his son on college tours and feeling sad. Midlife crisis movie doesn’t sound all that original, but White is known for being a particularly insightful writer so I’ll give it a chance.
Friday September 22
There’s a lot of movies to pick from this week, but the thing I’m most excited about is, again, television. The fourth season of Amazon’s Transparent. I know not a lot of people are watching this show, and some of those who watched were turned off by its dislikable characters, but I remain in thinking it one of the most emotionally daring and moving shows in the history of television. I will definitely be watching.
As for movies, lots to choose from but nothing I’m too thrilled about. There’s Kingsman: The Golden Circle, which is a sequel to a bad movie but has Julianne Moore in it so maybe I’ll see it? There’s Ninjago, which arrives just as I’m getting really tired of these Lego movies. There’s Victoria and Abdul, our yearly middlebrow British drama starring Judi Dench. There’s Battle of the Sexes, starring Steve Carell and Emma Stone as opponents in that historical tennis match. There’s Loving Vincent, the first (and probably last) animated movie consisting entirely of oil-on-canvas paintings. And then there’s Woodshock in which Kiki Dunst takes drugs in the woods or something. I’ll probably watch some of these.
Friday September 29
The thing I’m most excited for this weekend is the New York Film Festival, which of course is something that not everyone gets to enjoy. I will be seeing ten or so movies there, including new movies by international auteurs such as Lucrecia Martel, Agnes Varda, Aki Kaurismaki, and Claire Denis. I will try to do some short reviews of whatever I see while the festival is going on.
In other non region specific activities, there’s the premiere of The Deuce, the new HBO show about the porn industry in 1970s Time Square, which comes courtesy of David Simon (creator of The Wire) and stars James Franco and Maggie Gyllenhaal. And there’s also the Tom Cruise movie American Made, which doesn’t look all that interesting from the trailers but is directed by Doug Liman whose last collaboration with Cruise was the great summer romp Edge of Tomorrow.
Friday October 6
Two of the movies I’m seeing at the Film Festival open in limited release this week. Faces Places, the new very personal documentary by French filmmaking legend Agnes Varda. And The Florida Project, Sean Baker’s follow-up to his critically beloved Tangerine, which is somehow gotten even better reviews.
It might feel like I’m burying the lede here as far as big releases are concerned, so it’s time for a confession… I don’t like Blade Runner. Actually, I dislike it quite intensely. So my enthusiasm for Blade Runner 2049 is limited to say the least. I will see it, and I’ll probably review it. I just thought I’d let you know where I stand going in.
Friday October 13
Not a lot of exciting releases this week, but IMDb says Noah Baumbach’s new movie The Meyerowitz Stories is going to be released on Netflix this week. The movie focuses on an estranged family of New Yorkers composed of Adam Sandler, Ben Stiller, Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson. The movie premiered at Cannes, where Sandler got very positive reviews for his performance, so there’s something to look forward to.
Friday October 20
Todd Haynes has the difficult job of having to make another movie after his last one was a sublime masterpiece, but hey, such is the nature of the job. In his follow-up to Carol, he’s decided to change gears with Wonderstruck, a YA adaptation in which two stories -one about a deaf girl in the 1920s and one about a boy in the 1970s- slowly converge with each other.
There’s also the limited release of BPM (Beats Per Minute), the movie about the French chapter of AIDS-fighting activist group Act Up that took this year’s Cannes Film Festival by storm. It came out of Cannes with the Grand Jury Prize and the reputation of being a festival stand-out.
Friday October 27
There’s a lot to choose from this week. I’m most looking forward to The Killing of a Sacred Deer, Yorgos Lanthimos’s follow-up to The Lobster, in which a doctor and a family are haunted by a sinister young man. Colin Farrell, Nicole Kidman and Alicia Silverstone all star in this one.
I’m also looking forward to The Square, this year’s Palme D’Or winner, a two and a half hour Swedish comedy about the world of high art that is meant to be as awkward and dry as it sounds. Suburbicon a new satire directed by George Clooney and written by the Coen brothers which features a great cast including Matt Damon, Julianne Moore and Oscar Isaac. Felicite a drama about a Congolese singer, a rare opportunity to see African cinema that shouldn’t be missed. And Novitiate, about a young nun questioning her faith with Melissa Leo in a buzzy supporting role.
Friday November 3
I’m a Marvel agnostic, but the prospect of Taika Waititi (director of the hilarious What We Do in the Shadows and lovely Hunt for the Wilderpeople) putting his skills toward directing one of their movies is enough to get me excited for Thor: Ragnarok, even if the Thor arm of the franchise has never been my favorite. That and the presence of Cate Blanchett as a villainous Nordic goddess, of course.
I’m also quite excited for Blade of the Immortal, the latest from violent Japanese master Takashi Miike, which promises a lots of amazing samurai battles.
Friday November 10
There are two releases I’m very much looking forward to this week, and both feature one of my favorite working actresses. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri stars Frances McDormand as a foul-mouthed grieving mother in the latest movie by foul-mouthed playwright-turned-director Martin McDonagh. While Lady Bird brings a double the action as far as my favorite actresses are concerned, starring Saoirse Ronan in the very personal directorial debut of one Greta Gerwig.
In limited release, Norwegian auteur Joachin Trier brings us Thelma, about a woman with fantastic powers. And then there’s Kenneth Branagh’s version of Murder on the Orient Express. Johnny Depp is part of an otherwise exciting ensemble which includes Willem Dafoe, Olivia Colman, Judi Dench, and Michelle Pfeiffer. Branagh stars as inspector Poirot, and I certainly hope this project is as hammy as that cast makes it seem.
Friday November 17
It’s funny how Justice League suddenly became “the new Wonder Woman movie.” It’s probably for the best, considering how much palatable Wonder Woman’s heroic disposition is compared to the dour tone of the latest Batman and Superman installments. Is there any reason to believe this movie is going to be anything but terrible? I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.
As for more promising releases, we have Richard Linkalater’s pseudo-sequel to The Last Detail, in which three veterans reunite to honor the corpse of a fallen soldier in Last Flag Flying. Steve Carell and Laurence Fishburne are both in this one, but it seems like Bryan Cranston plays the lead and you know that can’t be good. There’s also Mudbound, a historical drama about a Mississippi plantation directed by the wonderful Dee Rees that will premiere on Netflix.
Wednesday November 22
This day sees two very exciting releases that got me a little nervous. First is the namesake of this blog, Pixar’s Coco, whose promotional materials feature a really funny ugly-cute dog, but have otherwise failed to impress me. Is it just me or is “dia de los muertos” the only thing Hollywood is interested in when it comes to Mexican culture? There’s also Darkest Hour, a Winston Churchill biopic that has me excited because it’s directed by my beloved Joe Wright but has me worried because it stars Gary Oldman in a fat suit and is a Winston Churchill biopic.
Friday November 24
Finally, Thanksgiving will greet us with some delicious peaches, courtesy of Call Me By Your Name. In his latest movie, Italian Luca Guadagnino, adapts a novel about a young boy who falls in love with an older student. The whole thing is set on the Italian coast, so you know it will be beautiful. If that weren’t enough, it is already one of the best reviewed movies of the year.