Autumn is prime time for great cinema, as film festivals stretching from Venice to Toronto yield some of the year’s finest flicks. General manager of the New York Film Critics Circle and critic-in-residence at The Picture House in Pelham, Marshall Fine has some sage advice on what to spy, whether it’s at the multiplex or the art house.
Blade Runner 2049, Oct 6
Ridley Scott’s visionary 1982, sci-fi classic gets a sequel, starring Oscar-nominee Ryan Gosling, who plays a guy hunting rogue “replicants” (think of the robots in Westworld). [Gosling] is tasked with tracking down Harrison Ford, reprising an early role. The new film is directed by Denis Villeneuve, whose sure hand on Arrival bodes well for this one.
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Suburbicon, Nov 3
This seems like a recipe for something tasty: Start with George Clooney as director; add the Coen brothers, who wrote the script in the mid-1980s (with a rewrite by Clooney and partner Grant Heslov); stir in a cast that includes Matt Damon, Julianne Moore, Oscar Isaac, and Josh Brolin — then add a plot about a town rattled by a home invasion. The result is a film packed with nervously outrageous fun.
Murder on the Orient Express, Nov 3
Spoiler alert — this film is based on one of Agatha Christie’s most popular mystery novels featuring detective Hercule Poirot. And while it’s been a 1974 movie and was twice filmed for TV, you won’t learn more here, other than the fact that a dead body turns up on the famous train, whose all-star passengers include Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Judi Dench, and Josh Gad, among others.
Wonderstruck, Oct 20
Director Todd Haynes returns with a film based on a young-adult novel about two teens — one in 1927, one in 1977 — each in search of someone who holds a key to their life. Julianne Moore and Michelle Williams lead the adult cast but the film, which caused a sensation at the Cannes Film Festival in May, is really about the kids, played by newcomer Millicent Simmonds and Oakes Fegley [Pete’s Dragon].
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Nov 10
Playwright and filmmaker Martin McDonagh [In Bruges] wrote and directed this small-town drama that features wild laughs, unexpected heartbreak, and the kinds of dark twists and turns for which he’s known. Oscar winner Frances McDormand plays the grieving mother of a murdered teen. Sure to be an awards contender.
Darkest Hour, Nov 22
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Among the group of film actors who came of age during the 1980s, Gary Oldman is considered the De Niro of his generation. He loses himself in characters — and will be all but unrecognizable as Winston Churchill in this film about the just-elected British prime minister facing the looming specter of World War II.