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Photograph: 20th Century Studios

Autumn preview: The 17 movies you need to see this fall

Black Panther 2, a Paul Mescal masterclass and a return trip to Pandora

Phil de Semlyen
Written by
Phil de Semlyen
Contributor
Matthew Singer
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Top Gun: Maverick owned the summer but Mav can only star airborne for so long. Autumn is coming and with it is a whole consignment of exciting new releases to restock your local cinema.

And after a relatively quiet summer at the multiplex, there’s plenty of buzzy films to look forward to – including that Harry Styles/Olivia Wilde team-up, an old-school Julia Roberts and George Clooney romcom, blockbuster returns to Wakanda and Pandora, and  the first queer romcom actually written by a queer person to be released by a major Hollywood studio. (Hey, it only took 100 years.)

Here’s 22 films to circle in your calendar as the nights draw in and the local cinema beckons.

🔥 The best movies of 2022 (so far)

Movies coming out in fall

  • Film

A David Bowie doc that combines concert footage with archive interviews and the kind of trippy visuals last seen when 2001: A Space Odyssey took us through that stargate, Cobain: Montage of Heck director Brett Morgen’s film turns the amps up to 11 and unleashes a surround-sound journey through the lift of a musical icon. Essential viewing for any fan of the Thin White Duke.

In cinemas worldwide Sep 16

The Woman King
Photograph: Entertainment One

2. The Woman King

An absolutely badass-looking Viola Davis leads the way in this historical action epic about an all-female army who defended the West African state of Dahomey against French colonisers in the 1800s. John Boyega joins her as the kingdom’s ruler, King Ghezo, while Ralph Fiennes’ nephew, Hero Fiennes Tiffin, plays the colonial overlord looking to conquer them. Davis has described the training she underwent for the role as ‘intense’, and it’s obvious from the trailer that it pays off on screen.  

In US theaters Sep 16, in UK cinemas Oct 4

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Bros
Photograph: Universal Pictures

3. Bros

Before anyone saw a second of it, Bros was already historic – the first queer romcom from a major studio actually written by a queer person. But that milestone will only matter so much if the movie isn’t both funny and true to the gay experience. Judging by the trailer, it should succeed on both accounts. Its story certainly appears close to home for writer-star Billy Eichner: he plays a celebrity podcaster hired to produce a romantic comedy for a major Hollywood studio, and somewhere along the way finds himself falling for a hunky lawyer (Luke Macfarlane), against his better judgement.

In US theaters Sep 30 and UK cinemas Oct 28

The Greatest Beer Run Ever
Photograph: Apple TV+

4. The Greatest Beer Run Ever

Following up his improbable Oscar win for Green Book – sorry to remind you – director Peter Farrelly returns to nominally more familiar territory with this fairly insane true story about a schmoe from New York who ‘snuck’ into the Vietnam War to smuggle beer to his drinking buddies. Zac Efron stars, sporting a ‘stache, bad Boston accent and the name ‘Chickie Donohue,’ and Bill Murray is there, too, with an even worse Boston accent.

On Apple TV+ Sep 30

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TÁR
Photograph: Focus Features

5. TÁR

Writer-director Todd Field (In the Bedroom, Little Children) returns after 15 years in the wilderness with this drama about an acclaimed orchestra conductor, played by Cate Blanchett. In normal circumstances, Blanchett in a serious character study would be the headline, but given that Field was one of Hollywood’s buzziest directors before his decade-and-a-half break, there are many reasons to get excited here. 

In US theaters Oct 7

  • Film
  • Comedy

Swedish provocateur Ruben Östlund follows up Force Majeure and The Square with a Palme d’Or winner that’s a satirical comedy for our times. Triangle of Sadness is a magnificently unholy mix of Succession-like comedy meeting ‘Lord of the Flies’-esque shipwreck survival story, in which Harris Dickinson and Charlbi Dean play a model/influencer couple who get caught in the middle of super-rich yacht-goers and their mutinous servants.

In US theaters Oct 7 and UK cinemas Oct 28

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The Lost King
Photograph: Pathé

7. The Lost King

British readers will remember the discovery of King Richard III’s skeleton in a Leicester car park in 2012. What they maybe don’t remember is that it was a local historian, played by Sally Hawkins, who was responsible for the epochal find, overcoming the snobbery and condescension of academics and administrations along the way. Alongside Hawkins, team Philomena – Stephen Frears and Steve Coogan – regroup for another true-life story about a salt-of-the-earth woman making the world spin on its axis through sheer doggedness and smarts. 

In cinemas worldwide Oct 7

  • Film
  • Thrillers

Forget the hammer smashes and octopus guzzling of Old Boy and prepare for an altogether more slowburn and cerebral kind of Park Chan-wook movie, a thriller that picks up where The Handmaiden left off. The Korean auteur presides over a Busan-set murder-mystery about a detective and a young widow that takes a leaf out of the Hollywood erotic thriller handbook – albeit with a chillier atmosphere and more mazy plotting.

In US and UK cinemas Oct 14.

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Amsterdam
Photograph: 20th Century Studios

9. Amsterdam

It’s no exaggeration to say David O Russell’s ‘30s crime caper has the most loaded cast of any film this year. Christian Bale, Margot Robbie and John David Washington are three friends who become embroiled in some kind of government conspiracy. Robert De Niro, Chris Rock, Anya Taylor-Joy, Timothy Olyphant, Michael Shannon, Mike Myers, Zoe Saldaña, Rami Malek and Taylor Swift are all in it as well. If LeBron James, Abraham Lincoln and Jesus Christ himself also have cameos, we won’t be surprised. 

In cinemas worldwide Nov 4

Enola Holmes 2
Photograph: Netflix

10. Enola Holmes 2

What with Millie Bobby Brown being kind of a big deal and the murder-mystery being firmly back in vogue, Enola Holmes 2 should be destination viewing for those chilly November nights. Henry Cavill returns as Sherlock, but this one has his sis Enola (Brown) struggling as the owner of her own detective agency. Then a matchstick girl asks for help finding her missing sister and a far-reaching conspiracy slowly revealed. The game is, once more, afoot.

Streaming on Netflix worldwide Nov 4.

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Banshees of Inisherin
Photograph: 20th Century Studios

11. Banshees of Inisherin

In Bruges is an all-time comedy great, so the reunion of Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson under the watchful eye of director Martin McDonagh should be an enticing prospect for any movie lover. Instead of a gobby hitman and his long-suffering colleague, the pair are playing a couple of old pals on an Irish island whose friendship hits the skids in a big way. Barry Keoghan, a perfect fit for McDonagh’s blackly funny worlds, is also along for the ride on this one. 

In cinemas worldwide Oct 21

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
Photograph: YouTube/Marvel Studios Hong Kong

12. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Likely to be the most emotional Marvel movie to date, the first return to Wakanda after the death of Chadwick Boseman will seek to replicate the power and box office of the actor’s only solo effort, 2018’s mega-hit Black Panther. Afrofuturism and colonial conquest, plus some shady dealings from the CIA, will underpin a plot that sees a new Black Panther try to protect the country from Namor the Sub-Mariner and his kippery cohorts. 

In cinemas worldwide Nov 11

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The Menu
Photograph: © 20th Century Studios

13. The Menu

Nicholas Hoult and Anya Taylor-Joy are young foodies who pay a thousand-plus dollars for a night of molecular gastronomy at an ultra-exclusive restaurant located on a coastal island and run by a scowling head chef, played by Ralph Fiennes. What transpires from there looks like a combination of The Most Dangerous Game, The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie and possibly Soylent Green. Delectable!

In cinemas worldwide November 18

  • Film
  • Drama

This remake of Akira Kurosawa’s Ikiru shifts the story of a dying bureaucrat (itself inspired by Tolstoy’s ‘The Death of Ivan Ilyich’) from Tokyo to ’50s London. Bill Nighy plays this buttoned-up civil servant and gives arguably the performance of his long and illustrious career to date, as the terminally ill man discovers that there’s much more to life than pencil-pushing and form-filling.

In UK cinemas Nov 11 and US theaters Dec 23

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The Inspection
Photograph: A24

15. The Inspection

First-time filmmaker Elegance Bratton parlays his own experiences in the Marine Corps into this buzzy bootcamp-set LGBTQ+ exploration of identity, camaraderie and sexuality, One Night in Miami’s Jeremy Pope plays Ellis French, a young recruit sent to the brutal, dehumanising surrounds of Parris Island where his queerness is soon identified and violent victimisation quickly follows.

In US theaters in Nov

  • Film
  • Drama

Sunkissed vibes and a few ’90s indie bangers can’t mask the melancholy at the heart of this utterly beguiling father-and-daughter tale from first-time filmmaker Charlotte Wells. Told in flashback, it recounts a summer holiday in Turkey involving Calum (Paul Mescal) and his young daughter Sophie (Francesca Corio). Memories – some joyous, others much less so – co-mingle in a coming-of-age gem that you’ll need to prepare your tear ducts for.

In UK cinemas Nov 18

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Avatar: The Way Of Water
Photograph: Courtesy 20th Century Studios

17. Avatar: The Way Of Water

How do you follow-up the biggest movie of all time? Traditionally, you don’t wait 13 years and then unleash a seemingly endless string of sequels. But James Cameron isn’t a traditional filmmaker and his all-in approach to blockbuster moviemaking has served him pretty well so far. Whether you’d call Avatar 2 ‘long-awaited’ or not is a matter for debate; just don’t bet against an awful lot of cinemagoers making the return trip to Pandora this Christmas.

In cinemas worldwide Dec 16

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