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The Journal Gazette

  • Disney Angelina Jolie reprises her role as Maleficent, the dark fairy from the Sleeping Beauty legend, in Disney's “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil.”

  • Warner Bros. Joaquin Phoenix in “Joker”

  • Paramount Pictures Arnold Schwarzenegger and Gabriel Luna in “Terminator”

  • Warner Bros. Ewan McGregor stars as Danny Torrance in “Doctor Sleep,” a sequel to “The Shining.”

  • Disney Angelina Jolie is Maleficent in Disney's "Maleficent: Mistress of Evil." (Courtesy of Disney/Disney Enterprises/TNS)

Sunday, September 29, 2019 1:00 am

Fall Movie Preview

Hollywood's big fall bets

Lineup adds originality to menu of reboots, remakes

Associated Press

Oscar season always brings a welcome wave of originality after the reboots, remakes and sequels of summer. But this fall is especially rich in big, audacious bets on original films that will try to lure moviegoers with the most time-tested of draws: megawatt movie stars, genre twists and innovation.

Many of the season's most anticipated movies – including “The Irishman,” “Ford v Ferrari,” “Gemini Man,” “Knives Out” and “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” – hope to invigorate what some see as a stale moviegoing experience.

The stakes are high. As the opportunities for adult-skewing movies made with scale dwindle, the pressure rises on those that do get that once-in-a-blue-moon greenlight to excel. Following the success of Quentin Tarantino's “Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood” this summer, there's reason for optimism.

Here is a selective list of upcoming fall film releases. Release dates are subject to change:


“Ad Astra” (Opened Sept. 20) – James Gray's space adventure, originally slated for a summer release, stars Brad Pitt as an astronaut in search of his lost father, a renegade scientist.

“Rambo: Last Blood” (Opened Sept. 20) – Sylvester Stallone reprises his Vietnam War veteran in this fifth installment of the “Rambo” franchise, with a “Taken”-like plot involving a friend's kidnapped daughter.

“Downton Abbey” (Opened Sept. 20) – Julian Fellowes, who penned the upstairs-downstairs drama “Gosford Park” before small-screen smash “Downton Abbey,” returns to film for a movie that reunites much of the show's cast for an earth-shattering occasion: The king and queen are coming for a visit.

“Abominable” (Opened Friday) – A Yeti discovered in Shanghai searches for its family with the help of a teenager (Chloe Bennet) in this DreamWorks animated tale.

“Judy” (Opened Friday) – Renee Zellweger plays Judy Garland in this drama, adapted from the play “End of the Rainbow,” about the singer-actress during a string of London concerts in 1969.

“The Laundromat” (Opened Friday) – Steven Soderbergh's latest, for Netflix, burrows into the stories within the Panama Papers, the leaked financial files that exposed thousands of offshore accounts. With Meryl Streep, Gary Oldman and Antonio Banderas.


“Joker” (Friday) – Joaquin Phoenix takes his turn as the DC Comics villain in this character-based, “Taxi Driver”-inspired tale from director Todd Phillips (“The Hangover”).

“Dolemite Is My Name” (Friday) – Eddie Murphy makes his big-screen return as filmmaker Rudy Ray Moore, who created the 1975 Blaxploitation classic “Dolemite,” in this Netflix movie directed by Craig Brewer (“Hustle and Flow”).

“Pain and Glory” (Friday) – In Pedro Almodóvar's highly autobiographical drama, Antonio Banderas stars as an aging director whose memories and creativity are spurred by a reconciliation with an old friend and colleague.

“Lucy in the Sky” (Friday) – Natalie Portman plays an astronaut whose life is in freefall after returning from a lengthy mission in director Noah Hawley's debut.

“Gemini Man” (Oct. 11) – Ang Lee directs this 3-D science-fiction action film about an assassin (Will Smith) pitted against a younger clone of himself (also Will Smith, as a computer-generated creation).

“The Addams Family” (Oct. 11) – With a voice cast including Oscar Isaac, Charlize Theron and Snoop Dogg as Cousin Itt, the Addams Family returns in an animated film, 28 years after Barry Sonnenfeld's 1991 movie.

“Parasite” (Oct. 11) – Korean director Bong Joon Ho calls his Cannes Film Festival Palme d'Or winner, about one poor family and one rich family, “a comedy without clowns, a tragedy without villains.”

“The King” (Oct. 11) – Timothee Chalamet plays Shakespeare's Henry V, with Joel Edgerton as Falstaff and Robert Pattinson as the Dauphin, in David Michod's Netflix drama.

“Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” (Oct. 18) – Angelina Jolie returns as the “Sleeping Beauty” sorceress in this sequel to the 2014 film.

“Zombieland 2: Double Tap” (Oct. 18) – A decade after the original, Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg and Emma Stone return for a sequel to Ruben Fleischer's comic zombie movie. It also reportedly resurrects Bill Murray, whose cameo stole the first film.

“Jojo Rabbit” (Oct. 18) – Taika Waititi's World War II satire, co-stars Scarlett Johansson and Waititi himself as Adolf Hitler.

“The Lighthouse” (Oct. 18) – In Robert Eggers' black-and-white followup to his 2015 horror hit “The Witch,” Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe star as 1890s lighthouse keepers on a remote Maine island.

“Black and Blue” (Oct. 25) – Naomie Harris stars as a rookie police officer whose body camera captures her partner killing a young drug dealer.

“The Last Full Measure” (Oct. 25) – Airman William H. Pitsenbarger Jr. (“Pits”) is awarded the nation's highest military honor for his actions on the battlefield 34 years after his death. Starring Samuel L. Jackson, Bradley Whitford and Ed Harris.


“The Irishman” (Nov. 1) – Martin Scorsese teams an all-star cast of Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci for this crime saga about hitman and Jimmy Hoffa associate Frank Sheeran.

“Terminator: Dark Fate” (Nov. 1) – The sixth installment of the “Terminator” films, set 27 years after “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” and starring Linda Hamilton and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

“Harriet” (Nov. 1) – Kasi Lemmons' biopic of Harriet Tubman, starring Cynthia Erivo.

“Motherless Brooklyn” (Nov. 1) – Edward Norton wrote, directed and stars in this adaption of Jonathan Lethem's 1999 novel about a private eye with Tourette syndrome.

“Marriage Story” (Nov. 6) – Noah Baumbach, who depicted his parents' divorce in “The Squid and the Whale,” returns with a drama about a marriage's dissolution, starring Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson.

“Last Christmas” (Nov. 8) – Paul Feig's romantic comedy stars Emilia Clarke and Henry Golding.

“Midway” (Nov. 8) – Roland Emmerich gives an action movie treatment to the pivotal World War II battle in the Pacific.

“Doctor Sleep” (Nov. 8) – An adaptation of Stephen King's 2013 novel and a sequel to “The Shining,” with Ewan McGregor as Dan Torrance.

“Playing With Fire” (Nov. 8) – John Cena, Keegan-Michael Key and John Leguizamo star in this comedy about a trio of firefighters who take in kids after rescuing them from a fire.

“Honey Boy” (Nov. 8) – Shia LaBeouf wrote this film, directed by Alma Har'el and starring Lucas Hedges and LaBeouf, about his own childhood.

“Ford v. Ferrari” (Nov. 15) – Matt Damon and Christian Bale star in James Mangold's action-drama about automotive designer Carroll Shelby and race car driver Ken Miles' battle to build a Ford that can beat Ferrari at the 1966 Le Mans race.

“Charlie's Angels” (Nov.  15) – Elizabeth Banks writes and directs this third “Charlie's Angels” film, starring Kristen Stewart, Naomi Scott and Ella Balinska.

“Atlantics” (Nov. 15) – Mati Diop's Cannes winner is about a young Senegalese woman whose boyfriend disappears while migrating by sea to Spain .

“The Good Liar (Nov. 15) – Bill Condon's conman drama, based on Nicholas Searle's novel, stars Ian McKellen and Helen Mirren.

“Frozen 2” (Nov. 22) – The much-anticipated sequel following the continuing adventures of Elsa, Anna and Olaf, six years after “Let It Go” became etched in the minds of millions.

“A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” (Nov. 22) – Marielle Heller's drama follows the relationship between Mr. Rogers (Tom Hanks) and a visiting journalist (Matthew Rhys).

“21 Bridges” (Nov. 22) – Chadwick Boseman, as a New York police detective, puts the city on lockdown to hunt a pair of cop killers.

“Knives Out” (Nov. 27) – Rian Johnson does his best Agatha Christie in this star-studded whodunit, with Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Jamie Lee Curtis and Lakeith Stanfield.

“Queen & Slim” (Nov. 27) – Director Melina Matsoukas crafts a kind of modern-day “Bonnie and Clyde,” with Daniel Kaluuya and Jodie Turner-Smith.

“The Two Popes” (Nov. 27) – Jonathan Pryce plays the future Pope Francis and Anthony Hopkins his predecessor, Pope Benedict, in this drama of a Vatican transition of power.


“Brahms: The Boy II” (Dec. 6) – After a family moves into the Heelshire Mansion, their young son soon makes friends with a life-like doll called Brahms.

“Jumanji: The Next Level” (Dec. 13) – A team of friends return to Jumanji to rescue one of their own but discover that nothing is as they expect.

“Black Christmas” (Dec.  13) – Based on the remake of the 1974 horror film of the same name, a group of students are stalked by a stranger during their Christmas break.

“Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” (Dec. 20) – The surviving Resistance faces the First Order once more in the final chapter of the Skywalker saga.

“Cats” (Dec. 20) – A tribe of cats called the Jellicles must decide yearly which one will ascend to the Heaviside Layer and come back to a new Jellicle life.

“Bombshell” (Dec. 20) – A group of women decide to take on Fox News head Roger Ailes and the toxic atmosphere he presided over at the network.

“Little Women” (Dec. 27) – Four sisters come of age in America in the aftermath of the Civil War.

“1917” (Dec. 27) – Two young British soldiers during World War I are given an impossible mission.

“Spies in Disguise” (Dec. 27) – When the world's best spy is turned into a pigeon, he must rely on his nerdy tech officer to save the world in this animated film.

“Clemency” (Dec. 27) – Years of carrying out death-row executions have taken a toll on prison warden Bernadine Williams.