The cinema roster this autumn is a packed one, but we’ve sorted the wheat from the chaff for you. The best films break down into roughly four categories: there are the prestige movies with Oscar glory in mind (‘First Man’, ‘A Star Is Born’); the crowd-pleasing blockbuster sequels (‘Fantastic Beasts 2’); the crazed, Halloween-friendly horrors (‘Halloween’, ‘Overlord’); and for the thoughtful filmgoers among us, may we recommend Paolo Sorrentino’s ‘Loro’. See you at the popcorn counter.
A Simple Favour
You don’t immediately associate ‘Ghostbusters’ and ‘Spy’ director Paul Feig with thrillers but he’s made one and by all accounts he’s nailed it. This stars Anna Kendrick as a guileless mum and Blake Lively as a glamorous femme fatale who mysteriously disappears.
From Sep 26
Head to head: Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga in A Star Is Born
A Star Is Born
The fourth take on ‘A Star is Born’, this one has Bradley Cooper writing, directing and co-starring alongside one Stefani Germanotta. Yes, Lady Gaga is starring as a country musician heading for the big leagues. The buzz is building around this one, and it’s moved into a more awards-friendly spot. Could a new movie star be about to be born?
From Oct 3
Its trailers are getting progressively more vicious, a development that has fans giggly with joy. No word on whether we’ll actually be able to hear Tom Hardy as journalist-turned-monstrous avenger Eddie Brock, but unlike in ‘Dunkirk’ and ‘The Dark Knight Rises’, he doesn’t have to compete with a face mask. Michelle Williams and Woody Harrelson join the cast, too. This feels like a serious superhero movie.
From Oct 4
‘Smallfoot’ (as in, not Bigfoot) is the story of a yeti who doesn’t believe in humans – at least, until he actually meets one. An animation from the people behind ‘The Lego Movie’, it has James Corden, Channing Tatum, ‘The Greatest Showman’ breakout Zendaya and NBA superstar LeBron James on voice-cast duties. This one should keep the kids happy until that ‘Frozen’ sequel arrives.
From Oct 4
Rock star: Channing Tatum voices a yeti in Smallfoot
Johnny English Strikes Again
With the next James Bond movie still on ice, we’ve only got Rowan Atkinson’s doofus spy Johnny English standing between us and global catastrophe. Uh-oh, etc. His third outing has him pulled out of retirement when a cyber attack exposes Britain’s spying network. Expect exotic locations and extravagant pratfalls as Atkinson’s agent gets to work.
From Oct 10
If you’ve ever wondered how sleazy scandal-magnet Silvio Berlusconi kept power for so long in Italy, Paolo Sorrentino’s latest should provide some answers. With the never-less-than-terrific Toni Servillo playing Berlusconi in his heyday as Italian PM, this follow-up to ‘The Great Beauty’ and ‘Youth’ is more of a chaotic swirl through the man’s orbit than a conventional biopic. Expect sex, drugs and EDM – often all at the same time.
From Oct 11
Bad Times at the El Royale
With its Tarantino-y vibe and pulpy title, this one should be piquing your interest. The cast is A-class (Chris Hemsworth, Jeff Bridges, Cynthia Erivo, Dakota Johnson), its mood neon-lit, and its writer-director, Drew Goddard, has pedigree. With this one, it looks like he’s graduated from ‘Cabin in the Woods’ to a blood-soaked hotel by the lake.
From Oct 11
The Muppets gave us ‘Pigs in Space’, now prepare for Baby Goose in space. Ryan Gosling looks sure to get Oscar attention for his taciturn take on moon-conquering astronaut Neil Armstrong, recovering from the death of his daughter, in a reunion with ‘La La Land’ director Damien Chazelle. Claire Foy is also terrific as Armstrong’s wife. There may be spectacular ‘Gravity’-like zero-G dramatics but, at its heart, this is a heartbreaking story of grieving parents muddling through.
From Oct 17
Jamie Lee Curtis is back for more in Halloween
Rob Zombie already tried a Halloween reboot back in 2007, but he’s no David Gordon Green, the smart director behind ‘George Washington’ and ‘All the Real Girls’. Green has brought along long-time collaborator Danny McBride to work with him on the script. These guys know their John Carpenter classics. You know who else does? Original scream queen Jamie Lee Curtis, who’s back as well. Did we just get goosebumps?
From Oct 24
Long-planned and occasionally troubled, this Queen movie looks like it may just have defied the doubters. Californian actor Rami Malek is a bold bit of casting as Freddie Mercury but judging by the trailers, he’s nailed Mercury’s explosiveness on stage and his unusual blend of hedonism and shyness off it – not to mention those wonky gnashers. Move over ‘Mamma Mia!’, here comes Queen.
From Oct 31
On the eve of D-Day, American paratroopers are dropped behind enemy lines to carry out a mission crucial to the invasion’s success. But as they approach their target, they begin to realise there is more happening in this Nazi-occupied village than a simple military operation. Aussie director Julius Avery makes his Hollywood debut with a supernatural wartime thriller.
From Nov 8
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald
This bound-to-be-huge sequel picks up where the first film left off: with dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) in the custody of MACUSA, a kind of magical Interpol. But guess what? He’s escaped again. Cue Dumbledore (Jude Law) and Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne). They must team up to nab him before he wizards up some kind of apocalypse. Harry Potter fans are already rejoicing.
From Nov 14
If you still miss Nora Ephron – who doesn’t? – this musically minded take on a Nick Hornby novel will put a spring in your step. Ethan Hawke is fading alt-rock idol Tucker Crowe, Rose Byrne the woman who finds him online and sparks with him. The hitch? She’s married to his number-one fan (Chris O’Dowd). With this cast, it’s more proof that the romcom is on its way back.
From Nov 15
Danny DeVito has voiced the Lorax, Jim Carrey has lent his vocal powers to Horton, and Mike Myers has given voice to the Cat in the Hat. Now it’s Benedict Cumberbatch’s turn to get his Dr Seuss on as the misanthropic, Yuletide-hating Grinch (another Carrey role in the past) in this holiday family movie. The grouchy green critter will, once again, be trying to put a stop to Christmas in Whoville.
From Nov 28