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The 25 Most Anticipated Films of Fall 2018

on August 28, 2018, 12:00am
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It’s been a loud, expensive summer. Box office records were demolished alongside entire cities, would-be hopefuls failed to take flight, and a Singapore family full of drama and a giant shark took over the final weeks of the year’s laziest days. 2018 saw Hollywood embrace old styles anew, from the unabashed romantic comedy to the winkingly in-on-it B-movie, and we wound up having a hell of a lot more moviegoing fun than we have in recent summers.

This isn’t to say that the upcoming slate of year-end releases won’t yield some fun along the way, but let’s be honest. It’s about to be Oscar time, and Oscar time means that some of the best filmmakers working today are on the way with new and challenging material that we’ll surely be having Twitter scrapes over for the next six months. Long-gestating projects butt up against new voices, recent contenders look to return strong with promising follow-ups, and at least one of those James Cameron movies that we all just sort of assumed had disappeared is actually coming out, even if it’s no longer by James Cameron anymore.

The air will soon turn crisp and the leaves crunchy, so let’s settle in and have a look at some of the movies you’ll likely want to see when your heater inevitably goes out at some point.

–Dominick Suzanne-Mayer
Film Editor

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The Predator

Shane Black not only starred in the original Predator, but was also an uncredited script doctor. Now, he’s returning to the franchise as both writer and director, bringing some of his freewheelin’ magic that made Lethal Weapon, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, and The Nice Guys such re-watchable roller coasters. Joining him for the ride is an unlikely cast that includes everyone from Olivia Munn and Keegan-Michael Key to Jacob Tremblay and Thomas Jane. It’s also taking place in the suburbs, so expect plenty of scorched lawns and broken windows. –Michael Roffman

Release Date: September 14th
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Mandy

A couple times a decade, Nicolas Cage digs deep and reminds us of the breathlessly wild performances that once made him a star and later a cult hero. Sure, Cage has been living in a purgatory of straight-to-Redbox actioners for some time now, but if the early word around Panos Cosmatos’ psychedelic horror feature Mandy is any indication, a heaping helping of Peak Cage may be on the way. As a man living in the woods with his lover (Andrea Riseborough) in the early ’80s when they’re attacked by a Satanic cult, Cage is forced to survive the only way he knows how: bug-eyed, screaming, and wielding some kind of otherworldly sword. There’s a strong chance this is going to fucking rule–Dominick Suzanne-Mayer

Release Date: September 14th
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The Old Man and the Gun

Robert Redford has chosen a hell of a film to ride out on with The Old Man and the Gun. The Sundance veteran has re-teamed up with Pete’s Dragon filmmaker David Lowery for this true-life dramedy about real-life bank robber Forrest Tucker, who enchanted the general public by escaping San Quentin at the age of 70 and embarking on a string of unprecedented heists. In other words, a fitting bookend for the former Sundance kid. He’s hardly alone, either, gallivanting around with Sissy Spacek as the two evade the likes of Casey Affleck, Danny Glover, Tom Waits, and Tika Sumpter. Everything about this screams excellent and promises nothing short of a beautiful swan song for the Hollywood legend. –Michael Roffman

Release Date: September 28th
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Hold the Dark

It’s been two years since Jeremy Saulnier beat the shit out of audiences with Green Room. Now he’s back with an equally brutal film: an adaptation of William Giraldi’s 2014 thriller novel, Hold the Dark. The story follows a wolf expert (Jeffrey Wright) who’s been summoned to an Alaskan village to seek out the beast who killed three children. Calling it now: It ain’t the wolf. Already, Saulnier has promised this to be his goriest film to date, which says a lot given his past works. Suspense and thrills aside, it’ll also be intriguing to see how he puts his A-list cast to work in Wright, Alexander Skarsgård, James Badge Dale, and Riley Keough. Ahem, sounds like a Netflix and thrill kind of night. –Michael Roffman

Release Date: September 28th
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A Star is Born

There’s quiet a mantle for an actor to inherit when they take on A Star Is Born. After all, this will be the fourth iteration of the musical story about a young singer’s rise and the love affair that follows, and the previous ones starred Janet Gaynor, Judy Garland, and Barbara Streisand. Now, after Beyonce and Clint Eastwood briefly came close to giving it what would’ve been an extremely weird try, Bradley Cooper will make his directorial debut and star as a veteran country singer who happens upon Lady Gaga’s talented unknown and takes her on as a protege. Love, fame, and tragedy will surely follow. –Dominick Suzanne-Mayer

Release Date: October 5th
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Venom

How the hell is this going to work? Sony doesn’t get to use Spider-Man/Peter Parker anymore, so how are they supposed to make a movie about his archenemy, a character whose very origin is inextricably connected to the hero? Getting Tom Hardy to star as Eddie Brock/Venom and Ruben Fleischer (Zombieland) to direct is a good start, but this is all going to come down to execution. Sony also hopes to use this to launch their own mini-MCU focused on Spidey’s supporting characters, which may or may not cross over with the MCU Prime (prediction: it won’t). Talent aside, all the questions surrounding Venom certainly make it a production to keep an eye on. –Ben Kaye

Release Date: October 5th
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Bad Times at the El Royale

Few of this year’s remaining releases are shrouded in more secrecy than Bad Times at the El Royale, writer-director Drew Goddard’s first outing behind the camera since 2012’s The Cabin in the Woods. The enigmatic first trailer promises a wealth of style, a handful of character actors and A-listers and Broadway veterans getting weird together, and the ominous threat of something going very, very wrong at the titular Lake Tahoe destination. Goddard’s star has risen substantially ever since his Oscar nomination for his work on The Martian, so don’t be surprised if this is the kind of unknown entity that gets people talking and talking loudly. –Dominick Suzanne-Mayer

Release Date: October 12th
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First Man

Damien Chazelle’s follow-up to La La Land finds the young Academy Award-winning filmmaker back in the stars. However, we’re talking about literal stars, people, as he’s prepared to tell us the story we’ve all been waiting for: Neil Armstrong. Okay, so maybe we haven’t been waiting on pins and needles for this one — spoiler: THEY MAKE IT TO THE GODDAMN MOON — but color us impressed at the cast alone. You’ve got Ryan Gosling, Kyle Chandler, Claire Foy, Jason Clarke, Corel Stoll, Christopher Abbott … well, I’ll be damned, he is back in those stars, too. –Michael Roffman

Release Date: October 12th
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Halloween

We don’t really need to go back to Haddonfield, Illinois. Seeing how Dimension Films rebooted the Halloween series two decades ago with the poorly titled Halloween H20: Twenty Years Later, the idea of a second reboot, which comes only 11 years after Rob Zombie’s remake, is both gluttonous and confusing. Having said that, when you have an indie filmmaker like David Gordon Green behind the lens, superfan Danny McBride at the typewriter, John Carpenter doing the score, and Jamie Lee Curtis back (again) as Laurie Strode, well, um, trick or treat. –Michael Roffman

Release Date: October 19th
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mid90s

Sure, we’re only just at the beginning of an oncoming wave of ’90s nostalgia, wistful glances back at the last era before the internet connected us to all the people we wanted and a bunch of the ones we don’t. However, it won’t be all skateboarding and cartridge-based video games in Jonah Hill’s directorial debut, which is rumored to draw as much from Larry Clark’s classic Kids as anything. Starring newcomer Sunny Suljic as a 13-year-old growing up in the L.A. skate scene of the era and Lucas Hedges as his abusive older brother, this is the kind of thing that has “future cult fave” written all over it. –Dominick Suzanne-Mayer

Release Date: October 19th
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Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Director Marielle Heller made an auspicious screen debut with the thought-provoking The Diary of a Teenage Girl, so we’re already excited for her follow-up, an adaptation of the wild memoirs of Lee Israel. As played by Melissa McCarthy, Israel was a celebrity biographer who found herself unable to get published because of the changing times and because of the decidedly unchanging boys’ club nature of the publishing industry. To keep writing, she started fudging private correspondence by famous authors and passing the works off as lost rarities. McCarthy hasn’t had many chances to explore a more serious mode onscreen, and Heller’s already proven adept at getting unlikely performances out of name stars. Should be a match made in heaven. –Dominick Suzanne-Mayer

Release Date: October 19th
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Bohemian Rhapsody

Many questions surround Bohemian Rhapsody. Questions like, did this film only get approved after Brian May insisted that any Queen biopic not solely be about Freddy Mercury? What happened over years of development, studios, directors, and scripts that could push people like Sacha Baron Cohen and Ben Wishaw away? Is the final product a work of queer-washing, with FOX explicitly avoiding mention of Mercury’s AIDS diagnosis and place in LGBTQ history? Is the film nothing more than a glorified Greatest Hits mix trying to blind viewers with Queen hits? And just what the hell happened on set that got Bryan Singer cannedreplaced, and subsequently avoided in current promotional materials? —Blake Goble

Release Date: November 2nd
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Suspiria

Any regular reader of this film section is probably aware that we here at CoS struggle to take kindly to most remakes. Even the ones that reasonably capture the spirit of the original seldom offer anything new or at least anything distinctive enough to justify spending time with the remake instead of the inherently more innovative original. From the looks of it, however, Luca Guadagnino’s remake of Dario Argento’s 1977 giallo masterpiece will be every bit as lustrously depraved as its predecessor, but may well take the film in some alternative (and heady) new directions. Get ready for some serious body horror. —Dominick Suzanne-Mayer

Release Date: November 2nd
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Overlord

Not to be confused with being another Cloverfield spin-off, this now-original sci-film stars both Wyatt Russell and Jovan Adepo as two soldiers in World War II who stumble upon some eerie Nazi experiments. Based on its first trailer, which came chock-full of AC/DC, Overlord looks like a brilliant medley of John Carpenter’s The ThingHeavy Metal‘s “B-17” segment, and the gameplay of Medal of Honor. Seeing how sci-fi horror is in short supply these days, we’re pretty stoked for this one and to get our creeps on a week or two after Halloween.  –Michael Roffman

Release Date: November 9th
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The Girl in the Spider’s Web

It’s no enviable task following David Fincher’s precise, icy adaptation of Stieg Larsson’s best-selling trilogy about the suffering and salvation of Lisbeth Salander, but Sony’s new crew is probably more than up to the task. Don’t Breath director Fede Alvarez takes over on this adaptation of the fourth Millennium novel, and the first published after Larsson’s death, with Claire Foy donning the severe eye makeup and spirit of savage retribution as Lisbeth this time around. Anybody who caught Unsane earlier this year already knows that she’s more than intense enough for the part. –Dominick Suzanne-Mayer

Release Date: November 9th
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Widows

Widows, the product of a surprising yet very welcome collaboration between director Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave) and writer Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl, Sharp Objects), looks to be one part heist thriller and one part empowerment drama. The story of four women who need to settle a debt left behind by their dead husbands’ criminal activities, the ensemble film seems to transcend mere criminality by encompassing a vast collection of characters from every corner of its Chicago setting. Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, Elizabeth Debicki, and Cynthia Erivo star as the titular widows, while the likes of Brian Tyree Henry, Daniel Kaluuya, Jon Bernthal, Liam Neeson, and Robert Duvall round out the incredible cast. –Randall Colburn

Release Date: November 16th
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Creed II

If you didn’t love Creed, you’re crazy. Ryan Coogler’s underdog spin-off film had all the trappings of a bad idea: Who the hell needed another Rocky movie? Well, we didn’t, but a movie about the Creed family? Well, you know how everything went down. Michael B. Jordan came out swinging, Sylvester Stallone nearly nabbed himself an Oscar (again), and we’re now months away from a follow-up. This time around, Adonis Creed (Jordan) is taking on a familiar face: the son of the man who killed his father. Yes, the Dragos are back and they’re probably still dickheads. Rest assured, this will be a hell of a fight to witness, even if a lack of Coogler behind the camera is worrisome. –Michael Roffman

Release Date: November 21st
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If Beale Street Could Talk

It took eight years for director Barry Jenkins to release his Oscar-winning Moonlight after the 2008 release of his breakthrough, Medicine for Melancholy. Thankfully, we only have to wait two for If Beale Street Could Talk, the acclaimed filmmaker’s adaptation of James Baldwin’s 1974 novel. Set in Harlem in the early ‘70s, the story finds Kiki Layne and Stephan James starring as Clementine “Tish” Rivers and Alonzo “Fonny” Hunt, a couple torn apart after Fonny is falsely accused of rape. Their tumultuous love story unfolds against a rich, tenderly shot facsimile of the neighborhood, while a crack supporting cast comprised of Regina King, Teyonah Parris, Brian Tyree Henry, Pedro Pascal, Ed Skrein, Diego Luna, and Dave Franco add heft to the central drama. Jenkins has brought along a slew of his Moonlight collaborators for the project, including editors Joi McMillon and Nat Sanders, cinematographer James Laxton, and composer Nicholas Britell. –Randall Colburn

Release Date: November 30th
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Mary Queen of Scots

Saiorse Ronan and Margot Robbie in a movie together is worth the price of admission alone, honestly. But combine that with all the lush scenery and elegant period costumes inherent to a retelling of Mary, Queen of Scots’ attempt to claim the English throne over Queen Elizabeth I, and you’ve got the kind of sexy, baroque Merchant-Ivory throwback that seems perfectly suited to Oscar season. Sure, Elizabeth: The Golden Age already told this story, and historians are already crowing about Ronan’s Scottish accent, despite the real Mary having a French accent, but the sight of Robbie in that iconic white Elizabeth makeup has us intrigued, at the very least. (Not to mention David Tennant as Protestant cleric John Knox.) –Clint Worthington

Release Date: December 7th
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Under the Silver Lake

In 2015, David Robert Mitchell won us over with It Follows. It was simple, original horror that haunted us all the way down the hallway to our bedroom and beyond. That’s rare these days, which is why we’re intrigued by what he plans to do with the neo-noir genre for his much-delayed Los Angeles-set thriller Under the Silver Lake. Will he parody it like Rian Johnson a la Brick? Or will he make a sordid thriller in the vein of David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive? Who knows. What we do know, however, is that he’s lined up one of the best alternative casts of the new year with Andrew “Hot Streak” Garfield, Callie Hernandez, Topher Grace, Zosia Mamet, Riley Keough, and the great Jimmi Simpson. Hot. –Michael Roffman

Release Date: December 7th
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BackseatChristian Bale in Backseat

Three years ago, Adam McKay dropped jaws with The Big Short, a piece of too-relevant, viciously barbed political satire that left audiences wondering where in the hell the director of Anchorman and Step Brothers was keeping all of that. Apparently McKay decided to become Paddy Chayefsky at some point, because his follow-up to that will be Backseat, a Dick Cheney biopic that has the chance to get right what Oliver Stone’s W. got wrong in pretty much every possible way. With Christian Bale as Cheney, Amy Adams as Lynne, Sam Rockwell as Dubya, and Steve Carell as Donald Rumsfeld, this could wind up being the exact kind of bitterness Americans need after another grueling election cycle. —Dominick Suzanne-Mayer

Release Date: December 14th
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Roma

Since dazzling audiences with the tech-pushing theatrics of Gravity five years ago, Alfonso Cuaron has fallen a bit quieter, but the very end of the year will see him return with what at least appears to be the kind of intimate, stripped-down feature the director hasn’t explored since he found his way into the Potterverse years ago. Roma might be a Netflix joint, but it’s clearly being positioned by the streaming service as a major player in this year’s awards race, and unlike most of Netflix’s original productions, this one will actually get a proper theatrical release. –Dominick Suzanne-Mayer

Release Date: December 14th
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Mary Poppins Returns

Okay, so I am personally unable to be anything but thrilled about the prospect of a new Mary Poppins film, particularly one in which Dick Van Dyke is even just a little bit involved (and he is). But there’s a ton going on here. Meryl Streep! Lin-Manuel Miranda! Magical Britishness! Pretty music! Paddington Bear, Mr. Darcy, Molly Weasley, and Angela Goddamn Lansbury! But mostly, this is an Emily Blunt joint, as one of this generation’s great talents takes over a role made famous by one of the universe’s great talents. Chim-chim-cherree, motherfuckers. This is going to be great. –Allison Shoemaker

Release Date: December 19th
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Holmes and WatsonHolmes and Watson (Sony)

First off, it’s weird that we’re doing another one of these when technically the Robert Downey Jr./Jude Law movies never came to a precise end, right? No? Cool. Anyway, Holmes and Watson will clearly take a more comic approach to the classic detective story, given that it’s going to reunite Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly onscreen for the first time since … well, since Tim & Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie, but more to the point, since Step Brothers. Hopefully director Etan Cohen will know well enough to simply get out of the way and let one of the great onscreen comic duos of recent years rip. –Dominick Suzanne-Mayer

Release Date: December 21st
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Alita: Battle Angel

Anybody who’s been around the “film internet” since the early-aughts days of message board rumors can understand best just how weird it is that Alita: Battle Angel is actually making it to theaters at all. For years, James Cameron picked up and discarded the manga adaptation, dating all the way back to Fox’s initial registration of a web domain in 2000. Once Avatar and its eternally delayed sequels became Cameron’s primary focus, however, Robert Rodriguez signed on to helm the feature about a young humanoid woman with superhuman strength (Rosa Salazar) being pursued in a dystopic future city run by scrapyard overlords. Here’s hoping the long wait ends up being worth it. –Dominick Suzanne-Mayer

Release Date: December 21st

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