It’s that time of year. The weather is getting cooler, the days are getting shorter, a Spirit Halloween store has opened in that abandoned Blockbuster you got banned from after losing your rental of “White Fang 2: Myth of the White Wolf.”
But that’s not even mentioning the most important part of autumn: all the movies being released! Fall is when studios release their big-budget blockbusters and Oscar bait onto an eager public, who are hungry for either mindless entertainment or formulaic biopics to get them through the pumpkin spice-scented season.
Here is a guide to the notable films coming to the multiplexes the next three months, as well as possible awards contenders and a slew of movies set to be released on streaming services.
The controversial “Joker,” opening Oct. 4, is an origin story of the infamous Batman villain starring Joaquin Phoenix, and critics have been mixed on whether its nihilistic tone is successful (the Venice Film Festival gave it its top prize earlier this month, though). Oct. 11 sees the release of Ang Lee’s sci-fi thriller “Gemini Man” starring Will Smith, along with the animated reboot of “The Addams Family,” featuring the voices of Charlize Theron and Oscar Isaac. And on Oct. 18, two sequels are lined up: the Angelina Jolie-starring “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” and horror-comedy “Zombieland: Double Tap,” which is out a decade after the first film’s release.
Two big Best Foreign Film contenders come out this month after making big splashes at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year: Pedro Almodovar’s “Pain and Glory,” out Oct. 4, which picked up Best Actor for Antonio Banderas, and the Palme d’Or-winning South Korean social satire “Parasite,” out Oct. 11. And on Oct. 18, look for “Jojo Rabbit,” a quirky Nazi comedy (you read that right) that picked up the coveted People’s Choice Award at the Toronto International Film Festival, and the much lauded “The Lighthouse,” an art house horror film from the director of “The Witch” starring Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson.
Netflix has two awards contenders available this month, with Steven Soderbergh’s Panama Papers comedy “The Laundromat,” starring Meryl Streep and Gary Oldman, available Oct.18, while “Dolemite Is My Name,” featuring Eddie Murphy as Rudy Ray Moore, is out Oct. 25.
The month opens with “Terminator: Dark Fate,” the fifth entry in the sci-fi franchise, set for release Nov. 1. It’s notable for being the first reunion between original stars Linda Hamilton and Arnold Schwarzenegger since 1991’s “Terminator 2: Judgment Day.” Stephen King-mania continues this fall with the big-screen adaptation of his best-selling novel “Doctor Sleep,” a sequel to his classic “The Shining.” It opens Nov. 8, the same day as romantic comedy “Last Christmas,” starring Emilia Clarke, Henry Golding and Emma Thompson. On Nov. 15, director/co-star Elizabeth Banks’ adaptation of the ’70s spy drama “Charlie’s Angels” is released, along with the Matt Damon and Christian Bale racing biopic “Ford v Ferrari.” Nov. 22 sees the release of Disney’s sure-to-be-massive “Frozen II,” while acclaimed whodunit “Knives Out” and crime drama “Queen & Slim” open Nov. 27.
Indie drama “Waves” scored rave reviews from critics during its premiere at the Telluride Film Festival, and it opens Nov. 1, as does Harriet Tubman biopic “Harriet,” with a lauded titular performance by Cynthia Erivo. And on Nov. 22 comes the Mr. Rogers-centric drama “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” with Tom Hanks sporting the children show host’s iconic cardigan.
Martin Scorsese’s highly anticipated crime epic “The Irishman” features a cast of Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci and a runtime of 3½ hours, so get comfy on your couch when it hits Netflix on Nov. 27. Netflix will also release Shakespearean drama “The King,” starring Timothée Chalamet, on Nov. 1 and Cannes Film Festival award winner “Atlantics” on Nov. 29. And Amazon Prime will make its acclaimed Adam Driver political drama “The Report” available to stream on Nov. 29.
On Dec. 13, “Jumanji: The Next Level,” the Dwayne Johnson sequel to the surprise 2017 hit, opens wide, a week before the most anticipated movie of the holiday season. That’s right, I’m talking about “Cats,” the bonkers-looking adaptation of the insane Broadway musical, which opens Dec. 20, the same day as some other film called “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.” And on Christmas Day comes the WWI drama “1917” and the Will Smith animated comedy “Spies in Disguise,” so you can leave grandpa at the former and the kids at the latter while you go see “Cats” again.
Several films that made splashes at film festivals earlier in the year finally get released in theaters, including critically adored French romance “Portrait of a Lady on Fire” (out Dec. 6); Terrence Malick’s spiritual drama “A Hidden Life” and the high-wire Adam Sandler crime caper “Uncut Gems” (both out Dec. 13); Sundance Film Festival top prize winner “Clemency,” with an acclaimed performance by Alfre Woodard (Dec. 27); and the crowd-pleasing “Just Mercy,” a based-on-a-true-story legal drama (out Christmas Day). Also set for release are two as-yet-unseen releases that could possibly rack up awards: Fox News exposé “Bombshell,” starring Margot Robbie, Charlize Theron and Nicole Kidman (Dec. 20), and Greta Gerwig’s highly anticipated adaptation of “Little Women,” with Saoirse Ronan and Meryl Streep (out Christmas Day).
So far, the title of most acclaimed film of the year goes to Noah Baumbach’s “Marriage Story,” starring Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver, which Netflix will drop Dec. 6. And Dec. 20 sees the release of two well-received dramas: Netflix’s “The Two Popes,” starring Anthony Hopkins and Jonathan Pryce, and the Amazon Prime adventure “The Aeronauts,” reuniting “Theory of Everything” stars Felicity Jones and Eddie Redmayne.
Michael Hunley is a copy editor at E&E News in D.C. He previously worked as a copy editor for the Frederick News-Post. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.